Yung-Do lives 100 meters from a secondary school in Brussels, but his son is allocated “30 minutes by public transport”

Yung-Do, a resident of Jette, pressed the orange Alert Us button to sue the registration decree system. He enrolled his son in primary secondary at the school less than 100 meters from his home, but it was ultimately the school of his 4th choice, more than 4 km away, that was assigned to him. This father does not understand why and has the impression that the criteria of the decree have not been respected, especially with regard to geographical distance.

“I registered my son as first choice at the Collège Saint-Pierre in Jette, because on the first day of the registration date I live two houses from the entrance. I get the response to announce his registration at the Institute of Word- Inserter (4e choice) ! This school is just over half an hour away by public transport. The choice of the inscription decree makes no sense to me.” Out of anger and incomprehension, Yung-Do contacted us via the orange Alert us button.

This September, her son Kaname will be entering the freshman year of high school. A crucial step in the young boy’s schooling. But before that inevitably arose the question of school choice. It’s the same every year: parents have three weeks in February to submit one registration form to the school of their first choice. In this form, they can indicate up to 10 school choices, arranged in order of preference. This is exactly what Yung-Do did, and he went for it right away, he says, on the first day of the registration period.“For me it’s a matter of common sense. We didn’t wait.’

Yung-Do and his son Kaname (© RTL INFO)

The problem ? Despite their swift approach, Yung-Do and her son were unable to secure a place in their first-choice school in the freshman year of high school. “It was a choice of heart and mind”this father slips, disappointed with his child. “I’m disappointed because since I know this school I wanted to go there. I thought it would be a good school for me”, says the 11-year-old boy. Kaname was also unable to obtain a place in the school of his second choice, nor in the school of the third choice… It is in the school of his fourth choice that this student has to start his secondary cycle next September. “When we got the document to fill out, we were told it was necessary to make 5 choices mandatorydefends Yung-Do. Because we live in Jette, we had set up 3 schools in Jette, because that makes the most sense. Then we wondered what we would put if 4e and 5e choice. Otherwise we would have only placed three.”

We were told that Mot-Couvreur was one of the least requested schools, so we were placed there

The school in question is the Institut De Mot-Couvreur, in Brussels. “In the centre of the cityKaname’s father responds. More than 30 minutes by public transport.” Referring to the enrollment decree and its rules, Yung-Do doesn’t understand why his son got a place in this school. “We are still quite surprised because the decree states the logistic calculation in relation to the place where we live. It is really the most remote school here… I am finally happy that I did not set up a school in Tournai or Bastogne , otherwise he would have ended up there if we had followed this logic”he continues.

This father tells us that he made contacts to try to understand the reason for this choice. But the explanation given is far from satisfying him. “We were told that Mot-Couvreur was one of the least requested schools, so we were put there”he complains. What annoys him most, he confides to us, is that he has the impression that “the rules of the decree are not followed”since, of course, the geographical location was not taken into account here. “Kaname can see the playground from his bedroom… It’s really next door. Wondering what the rules are for?’asks Yung-Do.

“We will have to organize ourselves differently… At a time when we are talking about ecology and non-fossil transport, here we had the choice to put our child next to it, which means less pollution. He will have to take the bus, the tram… And so do we, if we have to pick him up from school or go to parent meetings, we’ll have to take our car”regret this father.

Brussels is confronted with a large number of applications

A regrettable situation that nevertheless remains relatively rare. Generally, “92% of students get the school of their first choice”, reports Nicolas Naif, president of the Commission Inter Réseaux des Inscriptions (CIRI). But if we focus more on Brussels, this percentage tends to decrease. “We are no longer around 85%”he notes.

The reason ? Brussels, and more specifically the northwestern part of the capital, faces “greater tension in terms of requirements”says the General Education Administration of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation. “And this despite the relatively recent opening of new branches.” This means that the schools receive a number of applications that are significantly higher than the number of available places. In these cases, a division is made and the available places are allocated in two phases. “Initially, 80% of the forms that are ranked highest or that have claimed priority are registered immediately”explains the president of the CIRI.

Files are first classified according to priorities, “if there is already a sibling in school, if it is a student with special needs, or if the student has a parent who teaches at the school”, develops Nicolas Naif. Then according to a composite index, based on 7 criteria that multiply among themselves. “The three most important criteria are the order of preference, so the school of first choice is valued, then the distance between home and primary school and finally the distance between home and secondary school”, our interlocutor continues. The distance between the current primary and secondary school is also taken into account. And it’s software that cross-references and calculates all this data to display the composite index for each file. The highest composite indices obviously have a higher chance of being placed in the school of their choice.


It will then be the Inter Network Registration Commission, based on the same criteria and priorities as stated above, that will allocate the remaining 20% ​​of the places. “The different requests are analyzed and we try to place the students as close as possible to their best preference”, assures Nicolas Naif. Unfortunately, it also happens that the student ends up at the school of his fourth choice because the schools of the second and third choice are also in high demand. And this, even if the student’s composite index was quite high, and therefore he lives near the target school.

In Yung-Do’s case, her son is currently attending the Athénée Royal Léonard De Vinci in Anderlecht, just over 5 km from the family home. Even if the Collège Saint-Pierre de Jette is less than 100 meters from their home, the Institut du Mot-Couvreur gets a better score when calculating the distance separating it from the current primary school. And that counts in the balance!

Because there were still places available in this location, Kaname will therefore receive one before the start of the school year in September and will be placed on the waiting list in the other locations. “Then parents have to make a choice.says the chairman of the CIRI. Or they accept this school and therefore list all the branches where they are on the waiting list. Or, because the ranking can change, they decide to remain on the waiting list, even though they have been awarded a place in their fifth choice school.

Our interlocutor indicates that, depending on certain configurations, parents can remain on the waiting list until June or even August. “We were offered the offer to take us off the waiting lists, but we were not discouraged. We remain on the waiting list for the school of first choice and logical choice”concludes Yung-Do.

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