More girls following technical or scientific tracks

Summary

The Flemish government’s Stem action plan appears to be working, as more girls than ever before are entering science and tech study tracks in secondary school

Bottleneck jobs

An increasing number of female pupils in Flanders are choosing to follow one of the Stem tracks in secondary education – focusing on science, technology, engineering or mathematics. Education minister Hilde Crevits and labour minister Philippe Muyters presented the figures from the Stem Monitor this week.

The report indicates that the government’s Stem action plan is beginning to show results. The plan, set to run until 2020, encourages youngsters through a variety of events and activities, to consider studies in one of the Stem disciplines. Girls make up a vast minority of pupils in these studies and are therefore a specific target group.

It is hoped that more secondary students will continue the studies in higher education and eventually help fill Flanders’ bottleneck jobs in engineering and technical functions.

In the school year 2015-2016, girls made up 30% of the pupils following a Stem study in the final two years of secondary school, an increase on the 27.4% of five years earlier. The government’s goal is to reach a percentage of 33.3% by 2020.

While there is a good balance between boys and girls in the Stem tracks of general education (ASO), the large majority of these students in technical (TSO) and professional (BSO) education is still overwhelmingly male.

“Through the modernisation of the secondary education, we are making a clear choice to improve Stem as a strong study area,” she said. Together with Muyters, Crevits will soon launch a website listing all activities that promote Stem studies, both inside and outside of school.

Photo: Sarah Levantine/Flickr

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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