The initiative will cost the local government 500,000 euros, Source: Tim Gouw / Unsplash

Free supplies worth 110 euros as a back-to-school special in Brussels

Free supplies worth 110 euros as a back-to-school special in Brussels

The supplies will come in the form of tailor-made kits for kids studying in grades 1 through 6

Today, authorities in the city of Brussels announced they will hand out a free care package to the 8,250 kids enrolled in primary schools. The kits are envisioned as a back-to-school special, as the school year in Belgium starts on 1 September.

As RTBF reports, the kits will be tailored to the needs of kids depending on their grade, between 1st and 6th. Every box will contain materials worth around 110 euros, helping to achieve a truly free public education.

While school education in Belgium is free, meaning that parents do not have to pay tuition fees, there are a number of hidden costs. Faouzia Hariche, Alderman of French-speaking Public Education, explained that by providing free school materials, swimming lessons and hot meals, the city is moving towards a true free educational system.

The hidden costs of education

According to a statement by the Socialist Party of Belgium, which has a majority in the city’s parliament, the educational system is free only theoretically. This is because, every year when kids have to go back to school, families often face a significant financial burden, between supplies, the cost of travel and canteen meals, the bill can go up quite quickly.

As a way to reduce the back-to-school bill, Belgian authorities introduced a host of measures to cut costs for education. In 2019 they made free photocopied textbooks legal in schools, in 2021, they introduced free school materials in kindergartens, while schools in less affluent areas provide hot meals.

The back-to-school kits

The back-to-school kits in Brussels have been tailor-made to fit the different grades in primary school. Depending on the grade, they may include pens, markers, binders, glue, a calculator, or even a reusable water bottle or gym bag.

The initiative cost the local government 500,000 euros and will go a long way to help cash-strapped families during the cost of living crisis.

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