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Belgium (French Community)

Competence for education, childcare and continuing education lies with the Communities, whereas training is a Regional responsibility. The Federal State’s powers with respect to education are very limited.

Education is either organised by the French Community or subsidised by it (grant-aided public education and denominational or non-denominational grant-aided independent education). Provided they comply with laws, decrees and orders, controlling authorities enjoy fairly extensive autonomy, particularly with regard to methods of education and assessment.

Pre-school education (nursery schools) is attended by virtually all children; pupils are then subject to compulsory schooling from the age of 6 to 15/16 (full-time) or 18 years (part-time). Continuing the work of primary education, the first stage of secondary education aims to construct and develop basic knowledge and skills in all pupils. From the third year of secondary education onwards, a distinction is made between four forms of education each of which contains options. As well as full-time secondary education, there is qualification-stream dual vocational secondary education and training and, in some institutions, post-secondary non-tertiary education. Specialised education is provided for pupils with special educational needs, but various measures have been taken recently to help ensure the integration of some of these children in ordinary education.

Higher education is organised in different types of institution: the universities (collected together in three academies), the higher education institutions and the arts colleges. Higher education dispensed in universities is long-type (bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees and postgraduate studies), whereas the higher education institutions and arts colleges offer long-type (bachelor’s and master’s degrees) and/or short-type education (vocational bachelor’s degrees). In each case, education is dispensed in compliance with the principles of the Bologna Process.

Adults can receive education run by the French Community: both training courses and childcare are organised in various types of structure.

Eurypedia describes education and training in the French Community from a comparative viewpoint, whereas the website of the Ministry presents very comprehensive, regularly updated information about the different levels of the education system. Statistical information about the education system may be obtained from the website of Etnic.

Other websites are intended for target groups outside the school system in the strict sense of the term. The website of the Office for Birth and Childhood relates to childcare, while a number of other websites deal with training for adults, in particular vocational training for job-seekers and workers, in the Walloon Region or in the Brussels-Capital Region, dual vocational education and training and training for the self-employed and for small and medium-sized enterprises, in the Walloon Region or in the Brussels-Capital Region.

Structure of the national education system 2014/15

Age of students                                                                                                                                                                                       Programme duration (years)

 Diagram 2015 Belgium French.png

Key Notes.3.PNG

source: Eurydice

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