The Flemish Parliament approved the secondary school registration decree in February. But it will only come into effect on September 1 and will only affect registrations for the 2023/2024 academic year. “Over the past two years, we also opted for our digital recording system, but that had something to do with corona, meaning no personal contact was possible,” says Karin Wuyts.
“This year we consciously chose our traditional way of enrolling for the last time. After all, anyone who chooses Sint-Michielscollege chooses the whole package in terms of knowledge acquisition, but also standards and values. We would like to explain this personally. In addition, we ask parents Bring their son or daughter’s report. Everyone is welcome in principle, but for those who score poorly in French and mathematics, you can start from here and turn into disappointment. We want to protect parents in consultation against any possible wrong choice of school.”
Karen Wittes, currently assisted by deputy directors Wouter de Smedt and Johann Schelvut, categorically refutes that the method is used to allow an “elite” audience to flow. “Here are children from the most diverse social groups. Boys and girls with immigrant backgrounds also feel at home at St. Michaels, just like everyone else,” stresses Karen. “Of course we prefer not to see these camping situations ourselves, just because there seems to be enough places every year for the first year (192). We advise against doing this, like a parent council, but some people don’t want to give up. We make it easy for parents to coffee and tables and provide Our toilets. They can spend the last night in our multipurpose room.”
Tim, an operations worker from Schouten, and his wife want to bring their daughter Lotte to the “lecture” at any cost. “I had heard that this wouldn’t normally be a problem, but after some rumors about waiting lists, I went to look at the school gate on Thursday afternoon. I wasn’t there alone and, unlike other parents, I decided not to leave,” says Tim.
In consultation with Kim, the mother of Elise of Purspick and a few other early birds, Tim took on the obligation to make a list of all the nominated freshmen, arranging their parents’ arrival.
Tim says: “We agreed to keep a close eye on that list and keep the names and ratings only when a parent or other ‘authorized person’ logs in with the child ID of the child in question now and then. Some would like to do this check every two hours. Finally, for practical reasons, We chose a period of only five hours. For example, parents can take turns and also attract grandparents or even neighbours. In this way, we have also restricted the impact of the waiting list on normal school life.”
When we went to see Saint-Michel’s College for ourselves on a Friday afternoon, it was relatively calm. Just a few dozen parents sat there chatting as if they were at a college secretariat summer festival. But by 5pm, when another pre-registration check took place, there were long queues again, though they quickly disappeared. Although it was noisy at times with heated discussions.
Kim speaks from experience: “I’d rather do it than ‘register’.” I live in Purspick and my daughter spent all primary school at St. Joseph’s Institute in Purspick. However, she missed it. Follow whoever can. I also enrolled her at Annuntia in Wijnegem, Pulhof in Berchem and a few other schools. It’s a try and a lot of error. I’m willing to sit here for a couple of days, just to be sure. By the way, Saint-Michel College is not the second choice. It is very likely that Elise will start here.”
At the Annuntia Institute in Wijnegem, they consciously chose a “registration” to select first-year students. “There were waiting lists here too, but that’s not fair. Not all parents have the opportunity to delegate someone for a few days. People with a smaller social network are at risk of being excluded,” director Anime Dirks defends this approach.
In her school, after automatic selection by “registration” algorithms, there are now seventy children on the waiting list. But here, too, it is considered that the waiting list will largely resolve itself because many parents have bet on two or more horses. (yes)