The new registration decree definitively validated: here is everything that changes in secondary

The parliament of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation definitively approved on Wednesday, majority against opposition, the draft decree reforming the registration procedure in the first year of secondary education.

Flagship announcement of the rainbow majority agreement completed in 2019, this new version of the Registration decree – the fourth in nearly 15 years – prints a series of modifications, but without radical change in the mechanism for deciding places in the most desirable schools. Thus, the registration procedure will remain centralized, with an identical registration period for all and a single registration form (FUI) where parents will always have to indicate their choice of school(s) for their child.

In establishments where the demand for enrollment exceeds supply, the allocation of places will always be based on a composite index calculated according to various criteria, the number of which will increase from 7 to 8 in the new system. The relative weight of these different criteria is however somewhat modified. Thus, the distance home-primary school criterion, at the heart of parents’ criticism for years, has seen its importance significantly lighten in favor of the distance between the coveted secondary school and home. Enrollment priorities already in place, such as having a sibling already enrolled in the school, or a parent working there, will remain so.

Another novelty: in schools “deemed incomplete”, i.e. where the demand for places does not exceed supply (i.e. around 60% of schools in Wallonia and Brussels), parents will receive a certificate directly registration when filing their FUI.

Perhaps the most noticeable change is the introduction of a form of decentralization in the management of the registration system. Indeed, the Inter-Network Enrollment Commission (CIRI), the central body which until now piloted and arbitrated the entire procedure, will give way in the future to a new architecture. At its apex, there will now be an Enrollment Governance Commission (CoGI). But this will be accompanied by ten Local Enrollment Authorities (ILI) in each school area in order to better take into account the often very different local realities in terms of enrolment. An evaluation of the new system is already planned in five years, i.e. in 2026.

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Each year, more than 50,000 children in Wallonia and Brussels are subject to the procedure defined by the Registration decree, which gives many parents a cold sweat each year. The text was approved Wednesday evening by 62 yes (the PS-MR-Ecolo majority) against 23 no (the entire PTB-cdH-DéFI opposition).

Parents who currently have children in sixth grade can be reassured, however: the reform will essentially only apply for the 2023-2024 school year. For the next school year (2022-2023), it is therefore the procedures in place for ten years that will be applied. The registration procedure for the next school year will also begin on February 14 and extend until March 11. However, this will already be simplified this year in schools in Wallonia and Brussels, which have not had any waiting lists for the past three years. In these schools, the filing of the FUI must always be done by the parents, but they will immediately receive a certificate of registration in order useful for their child.

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