A couple of days ago, CD&V (the catholic party) announced its intention of shortening the summer holidays for school children and teachers. This idea is part of their 'new concepts package' for the coming 2014 elections - although I suspect they won't gain many votes by it, rather lose some!
Since then, a whirlwind of comments has been blowing over. Nearly everyone is against the idea. Yes, we do have 9 weeks of summer holidays (the entire of July and August) but from experience I can telll it's not only spare time. For starters, you have to 'volunteer' to do secretarial work either in July or August (enlisting new students) and in many schools you are also expected to so some cleaning and freshing up of your class room. This can involve painting the walls. Do you know any other workplace where the workforce is asked to come and do chores during their well-deserved holiday?
Of course, not only the teachers are against the idea of shorter holidays. Also the students themselves think they need a long summer free of school. And the coast and other touristic area's think it will lessen their earnings if the holidays are only 6 weeks. Also travel organisations claim they'll lose clients with shorter holidays.
On Facebook groups have been formed that get many likes. They have titles like 'CD&V, keep your hands of our holidays' or 'Are you crazy?'
We have been having this long summer break since ages. It already existed when I first went to school, although we had to go every day, also on Saturday. Now kids only go Monday to Friday. And we had less breaks during the school year. But always off in July and August, it was something you looked forward to as a kid. Two long months to do what you liked, not to think of school (although I liked going), nothing to study....
CD&V will think twice before announcing any other stupid idea.