|Author (Person)||Banks, Martin|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.11, No.38, 27.10.05|
By Martin Banks
More than 600 parents, teachers and pupils demonstrated outside a meeting of the governing body of the European Schools on Tuesday.
Placard-waving protesters submitted a list of demands to the 28-member board of governors who are responsible for running the 13 schools.
The demands included the provision of a temporary school until a fourth Brussels school opens in 2009, a guarantee that class sizes would not exceed 25 pupils and the right for a child to be educated in his or her mother-tongue.
A delegation of representatives addressed the governors' meeting, which was held over two days in Centre Borschette, the European Commission's conference building on Rue Froissart.
Smaller demonstrations were also held at the same time at other European Schools, including ones in Luxembourg and Munich.
Michael Ryan said that while he was concerned at pupil numbers in some of the schools, the situation was not as dire as portrayed by parents and the trade unions.
He said the three Brussels schools, in Uccle, Woluwe and Ixelles, were originally built to accommodate 2,500 pupils each, but the "maximum capacity" of the three schools was greater as a margin was allowed in the schools' original conception.
"Overall, we calculate there are some 453 unfilled places in Brussels," he said.
Ryan said that he was negotiating with the Belgian authorities about the possible provision of a temporary school in Brussels.
The school at Laeken is not scheduled to open until September 2009 when it will provide places for 1,000 pupils. This will rise to 2,500 by 2010.
A former Belgian police academy in Ixelles, which would have provided places for up to 700 pupils, was considered as a temporary school but has since been deemed unsuitable, he said.
Ryan denied claims by some parents that the Woluwe school was so overcrowded that pupils were being taught in "cold corridors".
Tom Heale, treasurer of the Parents' Association, said the Brussels schools were facing an overcrowding crisis.
"The original design capacity for Woluwe was 1,800. This was increased to 2,200 in 1997 and 2,400 in 2000.
The Parents' Association in Luxembourg has also repeated its concern about conditions at the Luxembourg II school, which houses 850 nursery and primary pupils. It says conditions for children taught in prefabricated classrooms are inferior to those in other parts of the school.
Article reports on parents', pupils' and teachers' protests against conditions at European Schools, 25 October 2005. Their demands included the provision of a temporary school until a fourth Brussels school would open in 2009, a guarantee that class sizes would not exceed 25 pupils and the right for a child to be educated in his or her mother-tongue.
|Subject Categories||Culture, Education and Research|
|Countries / Regions||Europe|