CEF was founded in November 2005 by secondary students from Liège (Belgium). These students shared the following common objectives: to tackle problems connected with secondary education; to develop democracy in schools; and to ‘open’ schools to society. For these three reasons, they decided to create a school student union. At the beginning, this union was named CEL (Comité des Elèves Liégeois) and was only active on the Liège region. But quickly, they decided to move to a next level, representing all the school student organisations of the French speaking Community of Belgium, having a grater and real impact on the Educational System in Belgium. CEL became CEF, which stands for Comité des Élèves Francophones (French speaking students Committee). CEF is a non-profit association and since 2011 it is officially recognised as Youth Organisation by the French Speaking Community.
Every student can become a member of CEF. They can be active on an individual basis, in a local section (in their school) and/or in a regional group (several local sections of a same region). There are two kinds of membership: - To be a full CEF member, you have to be a student in secondary or vocational education (or home schooled) in the French Speaking Community; being 18+ years old or providing the parental consent. - To be an associate member, you have to be a student in secondary or vocational education (or home schooled). You can also be a “supporting member”. Every member becomes a supporting member when he_she turns 25 and has to be admitted by the Board (e.g. volunteers). There are +/- 65 members, coming from about 30 different secondary and vocational schools.
To act on the educational problems; to empower students in their school; to be the voice of the students; to open the school to society.
Citizenship; students’ participation; student rights; school issues; social issues concerning school students (e.g. fight against discriminations).
The members of the CEF are fostering student participation in the ongoing reform of the educational system in the French speaking part of Belgium. For the first time, the students have been considered as a real actor and were consulted in the same way as the other major actors in education (parents, principals, teachers, etc.). In order to empower students to have a say in this reform, CEF went school by school and consulted the students. CEF created and mobilised also a group of fifty students to work more in depth on the topic. In the process, CEF has met thousands of students and published two reports: - According to the students, how to improve the school? (24/02/2016) - The students' opinion on the different proposals of the reform (16/07/2016) A third report has been drafted and will take up the students' opinion on the latest proposals, which should be adopted by the Minister. For the second year, we are also conducting a campaign against school bullying: we distribute information flyers to students in all secondary schools, we help them to implement actions against bullying in their schools and we also represent them into different networks against bullying (réseau prevention harcèlement, Inforef, etc.). Since last year, members of CEF have started a campaign against all the discriminations that students can undergo because of their origin, their sexual orientation and their handicap. This campaign is prepared with students who are actually facing these discriminations and is called "tou.te.s les élèves sont des élèves" (Every student is a student). This year, CEF has launched a new campaign about the students’ well-being in school. CEF staff and members went on the field to meet as many students as possible to get to know how they feel at school: the facilities they have, food, green spaces, relax areas, etc. Based on the result of this survey (and after having our proposals checked by the students) we will be able to make recommendations and carry out actions in schools. Besides, the results of the survey will help us to carry out the claims of the students of the secondary and vocational schools in the French speaking Community’s political arena.