After many other sectors and organizations, education is also asking the Flemish government to come up with support measures in light of the sharply rising energy prices. Various actors from education will do so in a joint statement on Thursday.
“In addition to the structural underfinancing, energy bills are taking an increasingly large bite out of the operating budgets of schools”, they complain, after which several examples follow, such as that of the PIVA in Antwerp. The provincial institute sees the energy costs within the operating budget increase from 19 percent in 2020-21 to no less than 48 percent in 2022-23.
Another example: the Sint-Agnes Institute in Hoboken, with 720 students, paid 75,000 euros for energy in 2020 (9 percent of the operating resources). In 2021, that amount rose to 88,000 euros (11 percent) and in 2022 there is a risk that 130,000 euros will have to be paid (17 percent).
Because much more money is now being forced to spend on energy, many valuable pedagogical initiatives are in danger of being scrapped, warns director-general Lieven Boeve of Catholic Education Flanders. He is joined by Koen Pelleriaux of the GO! Community Education, who points out that the pupil is ultimately the victim if a school has to skimp on didactic material.
“Schools don’t want to pass the costs on to parents and students, and at the very least they want to prioritize everything to do with quality education, so they are more likely to put off planned, sustainable investments for the long haul,” he said. the Educational Association of Cities and Municipalities (OVSG). “Just like for companies and families, there must also be measures for school boards,” says the organization.
In order to prevent schools from falling financially to the ground, there must be a full indexation of operating resources in secondary education instead of the current 60 percent, it sounds. In addition, the education providers are calling for a reduction of the VAT on electricity to 6 percent and they are asking for compensation for energy and resource-intensive training. And if additional heating is required, for example due to a tightening of the corona measures, this must also be accompanied by appropriate compensation, according to education.
The statement is based on Catholic Education Flanders, Community Education GO!, the OVSG, Provincial Education Flanders (POV) and the Consultation for Small Education Providers (OKO).
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