GO! onderwijs van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap, Brussels, Belgium
GO! education is organised by the public body called ‘GO! onderwijs van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap’, on behalf of the Flemish Community. Despite being financed by the government, it functions independently of the Flemish Ministry of Education. GO! is one of the three main educational networks in Flanders, the other two being the subsidised public network, run in our provinces and municipalities and the subsidised free network, principally organised by groups affiliated to the Catholic church.
GO! embodies the practical outcome of every parent’s constitutional right to choose a school within reasonable proximity to their homes.
According to the Belgian Constitution, every child has a right to education. In order to guarantee this, education is compulsory for a period of 12 years, starting on 1st September of the year in which a child reaches the age of 6 and ending in the year of his or her 18th birthday.
Our non-compulsory education includes nursery care for children from 3 months to two and a half years, pre-school kindergarten for children from two and a half years up to 6, part time art education starting at the age of 6 and finally education for adults from the ages of 18 to 99. Lifelong learning is one of our most important principles.
Another Belgian constitutional right is free access to education for the whole period of compulsory education. Consequently, primary and secondary schools are not allowed to charge an enrolment fee.
Our project for Teaching and Learning (our so-called PPGO, Dutch acronym for ‘Pedagogisch Project van het GO!) contains all of GO!’s basic principles, core values and general objectives. It is essential for students to reflect objectively and consciously about their actions and to make wise decisions. Besides education, our aim is to tutor each pupil’s entire personality. Our PPGO is the result of sound democratic management, based on insight, understanding and participation.
Education should provide each individual with opportunities to develop their talents fully, avoiding excessive standardisation. Education should be in accordance with everyone’s individual talents and skills. Special attention is given to the acquisition of an unbiased and creative view on man, nature and society. Each person is unique: that is why we want every pupil’s individual features to bloom in all educational situations. This implies, among other things, equal opportunities for pupils of equal ability.
GO! educates youngsters to become socially involved, eco-friendly and tolerant, with a broad-based interest in cultural events, both at home and abroad. GO! is bound to a neutral and respectful attitude towards the philosophical, ideological and religious beliefs of pupils and parents. It allows students either to attend lessons in moral ethics or one of the following six religions: Roman Catholic, Islamic, Jewish, Anglican, Orthodox or Protestant religion. Instructing youngsters how to cope with this diversity gives our teaching activities added value.
Our PPGO focuses on values such as respect, tolerance, equality, openness and solidarity.