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Catholic schools want to postpone first day of school for Muslim holiday
Flanders' Catholic school network has asked Flemish education minister Hilde Crevits to postpone the first day of school until 4 September because the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, or Feast of Sacrifice, this year falls on 1 September, traditionally the first day of school across the region. Crevits, who does not intend to change the official start date, will instead give students the option, report the Mediahuis newspapers.
"Anyone who wants to can, out of respect for the religious experience of the students, start on Monday, 4 September, without having to move the first day of school for everyone in Flanders," Crevits told the newspapers.
The Feast of Sacrifice is an official holiday for Muslims, and one for which the children typically stay at home. This leads to massive absences most years on the first day of school across Flanders, especially in major cities. The Catholic school network has therefore asked to start the school year later.
"The school year has always started on 1 September," was Crevits' response.