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83% of Brussels pupils use the internet for schoolwork

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Thanks to Fiber To The School, all 175 secondary schools of the Brussels Capital-Region will be equipped with broadband internet by the end of the year. The BRIC took this opportunity to evaluate the current situation regarding young people’s access to and mastery of digital tools at school as well as privately.

The Brussels Smart City strategy is geared towards making the region better connected, more sustainable and more accessible. In the same vein, the BRIC wants to democratise new technologies for everyone in Brussels, and especially our youth.

Since 1991, the BRIC has been providing our school network a lot of support through the Multimedia Plan. In total, no less than 40 million euros have been poured into the replacement of the computer appliances of the Brussels schools with new tablets, personal computers, servers or digital blackboards depending on the school’s needs.

In 2014, the BRIC launched Fiber To The School, a project aiming to equip all 175 Brussels secondary school with a broadband connection (100 Mbps) so that these schools can use an internet connection that represents the importance of education. And at the end of the year, we will have attained this goal.

In order to celebrate this milestone, an event took place on Wednesday 27 November in the Royal Athenium Crommelynck of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre allowing education stakeholders to exchange experiences – the perfect moment to discuss the opportunities and challenges brought upon by digitisation at school.

Poll: online behaviour of Brussels youth … And their teachers

In order to evaluate the extent to which digital tools are mastered at school as well as privately, the BRIC conducted a survey among 670 Brussels pupils, evaluating their access to and mastery of digital schools. Generally, the results are reassuring and show that young people who use internet, do so intelligently. 83% of all pupils claims to use the internet at least once per week for school. 37% does so multiple times per day and 34% multiple times per week. Just 3% says they never use it.

Thanks to Fiber To The School, 66% can now use the internet to stay updated with school matters and 50% already uses it to check their class or exam schedule.

New technologies in the classroom are also important for the teachers: 44% uses the internet during their classes.

New digital methods equal opportunities, but also create cyber security risks, of which pupils are well aware as they generally seem to know how to protect themselves. 73% claims to protect their social media accounts with a complicated password comprised of numbers, capital letters, symbols … (41%). Some of them even have a unique password per account (21%) and change their password regularly (11%).

Finally, we can also conclude that they think critically: when they look for information on the internet, 37% looks for another source corroborating it, and 30% consults other internet users to make sure that they are not faced with fake news.

“We are pleased about the analysis of these results as they show that sufficient awareness about digital matters is being raised in education. Our pupils do not only have access to information and technologies, which enriches their academic path, but are also being informed properly, allowing them to take maximum advantage. The BRIC is very proud of its contribution to this milestone and believes more than ever in its mission: creating a smarter Brussels Capital-Region for everyone,” says Hervé Feuillien, director general of the BRIC.