Education unions ACOD Education, COC, and VSOA Education are set to organize demonstrations across five Flemish cities in May as part of a series of strikes. The unions' discontent stems

from a report by a committee of experts that proposed 70 recommendations for the professionalization of the teaching profession. The demonstrations will kick off in Antwerp on Tuesday morning at 10:00 in Operaplein.

Subsequent strikes are scheduled in Ostend on Wednesday at Sint-Petrus-en-Paulusplein at 10:00, Leuven on May 13 at Martelarenplein at 10:00, Hasselt on May 14 at Molenpoortplein at 13:00, and Ghent on May 15 in Citadel Park at 10:00.

Anticipating a significant turnout of at least 2,000 demonstrators in Antwerp, the trade union front expects varying participation levels in other locations. The unions have indicated that some schools will provide emergency care, while others may resort to distance learning due to an expected shortage of teachers.

In December, at the request of Flemish Minister of Education Ben Weyts (N-VA), a committee of experts led by Dirk Van Damme and Paul Yperman published their proposal report. ACOD Education, COC, and VSOA Education promptly criticized the proposals, dismissing them as "fantasies" and "ill-considered measures" that fail to enhance the quality and attractiveness of education. According to the unions, the recommendations overlook the insights of educational staff, undermining their expertise.

Minister Weyts expressed dismay over the strikes, characterizing them as an obstacle to constructive dialogue. He emphasized the importance of open discourse for educational reform and questioned the efficacy of striking against policy recommendations rather than engaging in meaningful dialogue. Photo by Malate269, Wikimedia commons.