Educator Dirk Van Damme believes the problem of learning defects due to the Corona crisis is the perfect moment to resume the debate about shortening the summer vacation. “A nine-week break is harmful to a lot of students,” it appeared Monday on De Afspraak op Canvas.
About fifty pediatricians and youth psychiatrists urged in an open letter Monday for schools to be fully reopened – also for the second and third grades of high school. The signers point, among other things, to the growing health problems of children and young adults. The Corona crisis has also caused a significant delay in learning for a number of students.
Just like last year, teacher Dirk Van Damme of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is calling for a shorter summer vacation. He notes that international research shows that a long summer vacation has dire consequences for vulnerable students. “I think we should take advantage of this situation to bring this debate to the bottom,” he says. With 9 weeks of summer vacation, he adds, Belgium is an exception in Northern Europe.
To be clear: Van Damme is not arguing for a reduction in school holidays, but for a better holiday distribution. “Learning delay does not increase linearly,” says Van Damme. “It increases with increasing duration.” According to him, a short break of 2 to 6 weeks is not as tragic, but a break of 9 to 10 weeks is harmful.