• Meuse-Rhine Gazette

Education

Each year more children from Limburg (NL) cross the border to school in Belgium. What is the attraction? 2,345 children from the 10 Limburg municipalities bordering Flanders crossed over for school in 2016-2017. Two years later there were 146 more. Figures for this year are not yet available. Two thirds of the students attend secondary school. 40% of pupils at Technisch Instituut Sint-Jansberg in Maaseik are Dutch. Why the switch? Communication is direct. If a child is slow with homework or doesn’t turn up to school parents know the same day. Lessons are almost never cancelled, and there is always someone keeping an eye on the children. Belgium is champion in “small classes” and that is popular with parents. "We don’t have 35 pupils in one group. You can’t give enough attention and support” is the opinion of Lieve Leenders of Athenaeum Alicebourg, and of Ronald Soudant of the Provinciale Secundaire School in Voeren. "We have classes with a maximum of 21 students. Authority is perhaps an unpleasant task, but it ensures structure. There is more respect for the teachers here than in the Netherlands.” Most Dutch Limburgers choose a primary school near home but some choose a Belgian school. Children can start at two and a half years of age. Staying at school during at lunchtime is free, a hot meal costs 2.75 euro. After school care is also cheaper in Belgium than in the Netherlands. Source: De Limburger Photo: Jeroen Kuit



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