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Belgium-French-Community:Primary Education

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Overview Belgium (French Community)

Contents

Belgium-French-Community:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Belgium-French-Community:Historical Development

Belgium-French-Community:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Belgium-French-Community:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Belgium-French-Community:Political and Economic Situation

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation and Governance

Belgium-French-Community:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Belgium-French-Community:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation of Private Education

Belgium-French-Community:National Qualifications Framework

Belgium-French-Community:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Belgium-French-Community:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Belgium-French-Community:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Belgium-French-Community:Funding in Education

Belgium-French-Community:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Belgium-French-Community:Higher Education Funding

Belgium-French-Community:Adult Education and Training Funding

Belgium-French-Community:Early Childhood Education and Care

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation of Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Belgium-French-Community:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Belgium-French-Community:Assessment in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation of Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Belgium-French-Community:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Belgium-French-Community:Assessment in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Belgium-French-Community:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Belgium-French-Community:Primary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation of Primary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Assessment in Primary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Primary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation of General Lower Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Teaching and Learning in General Lower Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Assessment in General Lower Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Assessment in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation of Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Teaching and Learning in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Assessment in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Belgium-French-Community:First Cycle Programmes

Belgium-French-Community:Bachelor

Belgium-French-Community:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Second Cycle Programmes

Belgium-French-Community:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Belgium-French-Community:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Belgium-French-Community:Adult Education and Training

Belgium-French-Community:Distribution of Responsibilities

Belgium-French-Community:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Belgium-French-Community:Main Providers

Belgium-French-Community:Main Types of Provision

Belgium-French-Community:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Belgium-French-Community:Teachers and Education Staff

Belgium-French-Community:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-French-Community:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-French-Community:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-French-Community:Management and Other Education Staff

Belgium-French-Community:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Belgium-French-Community:Management Staff for Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-French-Community:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-French-Community:Quality Assurance

Belgium-French-Community:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-French-Community:Educational Support and Guidance

Belgium-French-Community:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Belgium-French-Community:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-French-Community:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Belgium-French-Community:Mobility and Internationalisation

Belgium-French-Community:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Mobility in Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-French-Community:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-French-Community:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Belgium-French-Community:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Belgium-French-Community:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Belgium-French-Community:National Reforms in School Education

Belgium-French-Community:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Belgium-French-Community:National Reforms in Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Belgium-French-Community:European Perspective

Belgium-French-Community:Legislation

Belgium-French-Community:Glossary



The Structure of Primary Education

Although some institutions only provide primary education, most primary schools are grouped with pre-primary schools to form institutions of pre-secondary education. Some primary or pre-primary + primary schools are attached to a secondary education institution.

Pre-primary education and the first eight years of compulsory education, including the six years of primary education, are considered to be a pedagogical continuum structured in three phases: from entry into pre-primary to the end of the second primary year (phase 1); from the third to the sixth primary year (phase 2); and the first and second secondary years (phase 3).

The Legislative Framework of Primary Education

Under the Decree on the promotion of success at school in pre-secondary education (14 March1995) and the Decree on the missions of school (24 July 1997), students’ progression must be continuous from their entry in pre-primary education through to the end of the second year of primary education, and from the third to the sixth primary year.

The decree on the promotion of success at school in pre-secondary education, voted in March 1995, outlines a concrete action plan for all participants in pre-secondary education, which is intended to achieve a significant and lasting reduction in the number of school failures. It defines the cycle as a "series of school years within which the pupil carries out his education continuously, at his own pace and without grade repetition" (Art. 1). This decree organises the continuous progression of pupils from entry into pre-primary school up to the end of the 2nd year of primary school, and from the 3rd to the 6th year of primary school.

The Decree on the missions of school, voted in July 1997, defines the objectives of compulsory education. In particular, it specifies the framework within which teaching activities take place, sets the length of the cycles and phases, organises the definition of the core skills, the preparation of pedagogic tools and assessment instruments, as well as the control of study programmes. It imposes the implementation of formative assessment and differentiated pedagogy. It further defines the notion of free education, imposes the definition by the pouvoirs organisateursand the individual schools of texts specifying their options vis-à-vis pupils and their parents, and sets up a conseil de participation  in each school. The decree reaffirms that the pouvoirs organisateurs must ensure equal access to all education for girls and boys.

A framework decree dated of 17 July 1998 modified a number of important aspects of the regulation of primary education: in particular, it redefined the resources to be expended on ordinary and special pre-primary and primary education and the timetables; it also introduced on a widespread basis the teaching of modern languages from the fifth primary year onwards, and under certain conditions authorised immersion education in a modern language other than French or in sign language.

In 1999, the Core Skills (decree of 26 April 1999) were adopted. New curricula were elaborated on these bases.

The decree of 2 June 2006 made further significant modifications to the system of assessment. Before the decree was implemented, there was no compulsory external assessment leading to the issue of a certificate in all networks. Since the school year 2006-2007, the certificate of primary education (‘certificat d'études de base’ or CEB) has been issued following a common external test organised at the end of primary education.

The Objectives of Primary Education

Primary education addresses all the general objectives established by the Missions Decree (24 July 1997).
Whilst ensuring that children acquire the necessary basic knowledge for their academic future, the primary school should:

  • be open to the life of the group/class and the environment, provide ample opportunity for the widest means of expression, and devote a certain amount of time to spontaneous activities;
  • develop open-mindedness, curiosity, a taste and desire for learning, the ability to perceive a problem, define its elements, find a solution to it, and structure knowledge;
  • strive for personal growth of children, which includes self-affirmation, self-expression and action possibilities, and the ability to participate;
  • create conditions in which all children, whatever their social origin, can feel at ease, be recognised by the teacher and their peers, and pursue their initiation into society.

Primary education is officially expected to pursue the following overall objectives:

  • to prioritise learning how to read, with the emphasis on deciphering, written work and communication;
  • to gain a mastery of the basic mathematical tools for problem-solving;
  • to enable children to attain the overall objectives of compulsory education via a range of educational activities.

Primary education’s aim, within the continuum which also includes pre-primary education and the first stage of secondary education, is to ensure the attainment by all students of the objectives set out in the Core Skills, a “set of guidelines presenting in a structured manner the basic skills which are to be practised until the end of the first eight years of compulsory education, and those which must be mastered by the end of each of its stages because they are regarded as necessary for students’ social integration and the further pursuit of their studies.” As guarantees of the democratisation of school, learning guides and safeguards for assessment, the Core Skills map out the difficult path leading not just towards equality of access to school, but also to equality in the results of educational activity and in the requirements set for all children.

This system of reference defining skills to be attained places emphasis on the development of thought and meaningful teaching, as opposed to mechanical exercises and the mere rote-learning of material. It covers various disciplines: French, mathematics, modern languages, physical education, technology, artistic education, and an introduction to history and geography including social and economic affairs. It includes cross-disciplinary skills and disciplinary skills. The structure of the Socles itself underlines the need for coherence in the education system, and in particular the need for continuity of learning between pre-secondary education and the first stage of secondary education. For each competency and in each of the phases, a degree of requirement is indicated: the aim may be to raise awareness of the exercise of the competence, to certify it, or to develop it further.