Lottery system for Brussels’ Dutch-speaking schools

Summary

The capital’s Dutch-speaking schools will implement a lottery system for registrations starting in 2018, eliminating unfair advantages and a rush to register

They’ve got your number

Starting in 2018, registration in Dutch-speaking secondary education in Brussels will no longer be organised via a first-come, first-served basis. Instead, a lottery is being introduced.

In the current system, parents sign their kids up online immediately once registrations are open, hurrying to get the school of their choice. Some parents rein in help from their family and friends, who all try to sign up the child as soon as registrations are open.

The result is that the most popular schools are full within a few minutes – or even seconds. “The current system, with schools that are full after three seconds, is actually also a lottery,” said Petrus Van den Cruyce, president of Brusselse Lokaal Overlegplatform. The current system is unfair, he said, as it offers advantages to parents who have a larger network of people, a computer or a faster computer.

For registrations for the school year 2018-2019, a lottery system will “generate a number for each student, and those numbers are then prioritised at random,” explained Van den Cruyce.

Socialist party SP.A has come out in support of the new system. “It’s much more transparent and thus more fair,” said Jef Van Damme, the party’s fraction leader in the Brussels parliament. Groen also supports the change but pointed out that this doesn’t solve the problem of the shortage of places. Bruno De Lille referred to studies indicating a shortage of 2,700 places by 2020.

Photo courtesy Maria Assumptalyceum