Arts courses have positive impact on higher education later

Summary

A new study shows that students who follow extracurricular arts-related courses, like drawing or dance, have an increased chance of passing their first year in higher education

Registration fees to stay the same

Students who follow part-time arts education such as drawing or music lessons do better when they move into higher education, according to a study published by Steunpunt Studie- en Schoolloopbanen (SSL), or the Policy Centre for Study and Education.

SSL carried out a survey among more than 42,000 Flemish students, focusing on their performance in the first year of higher education. The survey showed that preparatory education in secondary school had by far the greatest impact on success in higher education.

A more surprising finding was that arts classes also had a statistically significant influence on students' success. Students who followed extracurricular lessons in music, writing, performance or visual arts showed a six percent better chance of passing the first year of higher education.

Based on the findings, Flemish education minister Hilde Crevits said she will not raise registration fees for community arts-related classes, which is €40 per class. She’s also like to see more collaboration between arts academies and secondary schools, she said.

“There are already academies that organise field trips for classes, during which music lessons are usually central,” said the minister. “There are also projects that bring professionals into the classroom to put students in contact with music, word, dance or visual arts.”

Photo courtesy Onderwijs Vlaanderen

Educational system

The Flemish educational system is divided into two levels: primary (age six to 12) and secondary school (12 to 18). Education is compulsory for children between the ages of six and 18.
Types - There are three educational networks in Flanders: the Flemish Community’s GO! network, and publicly funded education – either publicly or privately run.
Not enough space - In recent years, Flemish schools have been struggling with persistent teacher shortages and a growing lack of school spaces.
No tuition fees - Nursery, primary and secondary school are free in Flanders.
1

million school-going children in 2013

30

million euros Flemish education budget for new school infrastructures in 2013

11

percent of boys leaving secondary school without a diploma