Reading software now available to every pupil with dyslexia

Summary

Flanders’ education minister has announced an increased budget of €900,000 to give all schools access to a reading program that was previously only available to a quarter of pupils

Improved reading and writing

Every child with dyslexia at each of Flanders’ schools will now have access to reading software, after the government made available €900,000 to license the online program.

Seven percent of Flemish pupils – 60,000 children – suffer from severe reading or writing problems, but only one in four currently has access to the software via their school. These children will all now benefit from the software to help them process reading material.

The software  is necessary for children with dyslexia to process reading material. It reads books and online texts aloud, and reads out texts written by the pupils themselves as they type, helping them make fewer mistakes when reading and writing.

Parents can also buy the software for themselves, but it costs €400. The Flemish government has invested in new software packages each year, but the annual budget has only been sufficient to buy 350 packages.

Education minister Hilde Crevits has now agreed to raise the budget to almost €900,000 and will invest the money in a web licence rather than individual packages for small groups of pupils, meaning every child in every school will now be able to use the software.

Photo: Ingimage

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