According to Groen, the Flemish government should provide 100 books for all primary schools in Flanders. According to Flemish MP Elisabeth Meulmann, these schools can achieve a ‘book jump’ in this way and help improve pupils’ reading levels.
The measure will require 5.4 million euros. “This is only 70th of the amount of 375 million euros that the government has invested in the digital leap,” says Meulmann, who is presenting his proposal through amendments to the education budget.
Recent poor results in the PIRLS tests have reignited the debate about the reading skills of our 10-year-olds. The study showed that Flemish students’ scores have declined sharply in recent years. Compared to the 2016 measurement, they are about ten months behind. This makes Flanders one of the strongest fallers.
The Flemish government is trying to do something about falling reading levels with various initiatives, such as ‘objectionable reading’. But according to the opposition party Groen, more efforts are still needed. The party points to studies that show that the presence of books in children’s immediate living environment is important. Not only the home environment, but also the school environment plays a role.
But the number of school libraries has declined by seven per cent in the last five years. This is why Groene MP Elisabeth Meulmann argues for a ‘book jump’. A nod to the digital leap the Flemish government has made in the digital sector during the Corona crisis. The government then released 375 million Euros to take hold in the field of digitization and ICT.
Book Jump will allow the government to provide 100 books for each primary school. “With this proposal, we want to make a start for school libraries in all primary schools in Flanders,” says Meulmann.