Bednet - Online school education for children and youngsters with medical needs
Els Janssens, Bednet, Belgium
Summary of presentation
In her presentation Els presented the Belgian Bednet service which caters for chronically ill children. She explained that Bednet is not a school as such but rather a service that provides a link between the child at home and his or her own school, one that make sure the child can be virtually seen in the classroom and can participate in class in as normal a way as possible.
Bednet is a private initiative set up by well-known Flemish journalist and presenter, Kathy Lindekens which was originally intended for cancer patients and which is based on a belief that children have the right to be able to access school and to remain part of their peer group, even when they are ill. Els described Bednet as a service that diminishes the knowledge gap for chronically ill children and one where most of the students go on to next year. However while the educational part is clearly significant, she pointed out that what is most appreciated by these children from Bednet is the social contact it provides.
She explained how the system works and about the team of people who work together to make the service operational, this includes the parents, volunteers, teaching staff and Bednet staff. The technology used is very simple to operate and came about as a result of a research project carried out by IBBT.
This year 161 children have used Bednet services and Els explained how the service would eventually like to cater for 500 children and is currently making efforts to become a part of the formal structural educational offer in Flanders.