Crevits wants schools to stop serving soft drinks

Summary

Flanders’ education minister is working on incentives to encourage secondary schools to remove vending machines containing sodas and other sugar-rich drinks from their premises

Banned at primary level

Flemish education minister Hilde Crevits would like secondary schools to stop making sodas and other drinks high in sugar available to students via vending machines. She announced the intention to encourage schools to provide healthier alternatives during a discussion with citizens who were offering policy suggestions in the BEL10 programme on Radio 1.

Apart from the soft drinks issue, the discussion revolved around healthy food, exercise and first aid courses. Crevits later told public broadcaster VRT that increasingly more parents are also speaking out against sugar-rich drinks in schools.

“I want to encourage schools to offer only healthy drinks in their vending machines,” she said. “One of the possible measures to achieve this goal is the introduction of a health label for schools." 

Soft drinks have been banned in Flemish primary schools for several years, but most secondary schools still provide them in their vending machines.

Photo: Education minister Hilde Crevits during the #BEL10 debates organised by Radio 1
© Hilde Crevits / Flickr

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