Ghent bans wi-fi from pre-schools and day care


Ghent’s alderwoman for education and youth has announced a ban on wireless networks in day care facilities and pre-schools out of concern for radiation levels

Radiation feared

As part of a new policy plan for local schools, Ghent’s alderwoman of education and youth has banned wireless internet from spaces that cater to children between 0 and three years of age – essentially, pre-schools and day care facilities. Network cables can still be used in those facilities.

“In schools where they work with tablet computers, wi-fi can remain in place,” alderwoman Elke Decruynaere explained to Het Laatste Nieuws. “We want all children to have access to internet at school, but we also want to be careful. A report has demonstrated that we need to cautious with exposure of young children to radiation through wireless internet.”

Ghent politician Peter Dedecker (N-VA) spoke out against the plan, saying that the negative effects of radiation are not irrefutably proven and that restricting internet access could limit children’s general educational development.

“It’s important for children to get used to technology,” Dedecker told “There are also a lot of educational mobile applications that teach young children about colours and shapes, for example. It would be a shame if the apps can’t be used because there is no wi-fi at school.”

Photo courtesy Stad Gent

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.

million school-going children in 2013


million euros Flemish education budget for new school infrastructures in 2013


percent of boys leaving secondary school without a diploma