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

Curriculum, Subjects and Numbers of Classes

The Curriculum

The two years of the first stage (observation stage) have four objectives:

  • to provide a wide-ranging basic education, allowing each pupil to acquire, at his or her own pace, all of the required skills;
  • to continuously observe and evaluate the abilities and behaviour of each pupil;
  • to help everyone to discover their capabilities and affinities;
  • to allow each pupil to choose the most fulfilling orientation for the second stage.

The Core Skills (decree of 26 April 1999), present in a structured manner the basic competencies to be taught up to the end of the first stage of secondary education. The general objectives are identical for all schools and they complement the traditional curricula, responsibility for which lies with the controlling authorities, which for their part define what needs to be learnt in order for the Core Skills to be attained. The Core Skills distinguish eight subjects: French mathematics introductory science; modern languages, physical education, education through technology, artistic education, and introductory history and geography including introduction to social and economic life. In addition, there are courses in religious or ethical instruction. For each skill and at each of the phases, a requirement level is indicated: the practice of the skill may need to be introduced; the skill may need to be certified; or it may need to be maintained.

The differentiated first stage, arranged for pupils who have not obtained the certificate of primary education (CEB), is intended to enable the pupils concerned to be integrated into the common first stage with a view to attaining the Core Skills set for 14-years-olds. In order to ensure this, the educational teams first help the pupils concerned to attain the Core Skills set for 12-year-olds.

For pupils who have failed to attain the Core Skills set for 14-year-olds at the end of the first stage, covered in three years, a specific differentiation and orientation year may be prescribed within the second stage (3 S-DO).

The Timetable for the Common First Stage

During the first and second common years, the timetable consists of28 periods per week of core curriculumand 4 periods per week of complementary activities.

The same weekly timetable, in 50-minute periods, is applicable in all institutions in 2010-2011. However, the timetable may be adapted to enable interdisciplinary projects to be carried out or remediation activities to be introduced.

In addition to two periods per week on ethics or religion, the common curriculum covers:

  • French: six periods per week in the first year and five periods per week in the second year;
  • mathematics: four periods per week in the first year and five periods per week in the second year;
  • the learning of modern language I: four periods per week;
  • historical and geographical studies, including social and economic studies: four periods per week;
  • introduction to science: three periods per week;
  • physical education: three periods per week;
  • technological education: one period per week;
  • art education: one period per week.

The complementary activities
do not constitute a prerequisite under any circumstances for any option at the second stage of secondary education. They must fall within one of the following four fields:

  • French. The complementary activities in this field may be organised in the following areas of activity: introduction to Latin – possibly including an introduction to classical culture, theatre and dramatic expression, poetical expression activities, and composition or reading workshops;
  • a modern language, which must be the same as that chosen in the common component. The complementary activities in this field may be organised in the following areas of activity: conversation workshops, introduction to cultural aspects of the countries, regions or communities where the language in question is spoken;
  • science, mathematics, social and economic studies and technological education. The complementary activities relating to technological education may be organised in the following areas of activity: introduction to IT, technical drawing, agronomy, metalwork, woodwork, introduction to electricity, construction or services;
  • sporting or artistic activities. To facilitate pupils’ social and personal development, complementary activities in this field may be devoted to a more specific focus on an artistic field or the introduction to the practice of a sport.

The organisation of schedules for complementary activities is subject to various rules. The controlling authority or the institution’s director may include common periods in all schedules that are offered. The complementary activities may be wholly or partly replaced by:

  • periods of musical education;
  • periods of sports training;
  • a specific curriculum aimed at ensuring that the pupil attains the competencies set for 14-year-olds.

One or two remedial periods devoted to French, mathematics and/or modern language I may be organised by the institution and made compulsory for certain pupils by the class council in addition to the 32 common periods.

The study of a second language (first foreign language) is compulsory for all pupils in the first stage. In the Brussels-Capital Region and the municipalities with special linguistic status, this language is obligatorily Dutch (or German). In the rest of the French community, this language can be Dutch, English, or German. In the first stage (observation stage) of secondary education, pupils continue studying the modern language which they started in primary education, as ‘modern language I’. Nevertheless, a modification to this choice can be made following a justified request from the parents and after an opinion from the admissions board and the CPMS. However, when pupils are enrolled in the first year, their parents or guardian may, after consulting with the head teacher, choose a different modern language course from the one taken during primary education. Under certain conditions, immersion education is authorised.

Timetable for Complementary Years within the First Stage

The purpose of the complementary year is to resolve difficulties encountered by the pupil in the attainment of the required competencies. Any institution may organise the complementary year once the class council has decided that a pupil should undergo it.

The pupil’s schedule consists of 32 weekly periods, including two periods of religion or ethics and three periods of physical education. The schedule is drawn up in accordance with the pupil’s needs. Although it may include attendance of lessons organised for pupils in the first or second common year, it should not be confused with that of a pupil in such classes and thus does not represent a repeated year.

The Timetable in the Differentiated First Stage

In addition to the two periods per week on ethics or religion, the weekly timetable in the differentiated first and second years consists of thirty periods covering:

  • French: eight to fourteen periods per week, including two periods on historical and geographical studies, including social and economic studies;
  • mathematics: six to eleven periods per week, including two periods on introduction to science;
  • modern language I: two to four periods per week;
  • physical education: three to five periods per week;
  • art education: one to five periods per week;
  • technological education: two to nine periods per week.

The Timetable in the Third Specific Year of Differentiation and Orientation (Second Stage)

Apart from the two periods of ethics or religion, the weekly timetable in 3 S-DO consists of 32 periods as follows:

  • French: nine to fourteen periods per week, including two or three devoted to history and geography;
  • mathematics: six to eleven periods per week, including two or three devoted to introductory science;
  • modern language I: two to four periods per week;
  • physical education: two or three periods per week;
  • artistic education: one to five periods per week;
  • an integrated training module: at least six periods.

The purpose of this integrated training is to enable the pupil to discover in concrete form the working world and trades and the training courses and qualifications that lead into them, and to work out with the pupil a life plan connected with an orientation, in both the transition and the qualification stream. A maximum of two-thirds of the periods reserved for this module may be devoted to participation in technical classes or vocational practice of grouped options within one or more sectors.

Teaching Methods and Materials

It will be recalled that the choice of teaching methods rests with the respective controlling authority.

Schemes Relating to the Whole of Secondary Education

Use of textbooks is not very widespread, particularly for scientific disciplines and mathematics. The decision to use a textbook or not, and which one, is left to the teachers. Under the terms of a decree introduced on 19 May 2006, financial support is granted to pre-secondary and secondary schools for the purchase of approved textbooks or collections of textbooks and software by the Steering Committee on the basis of formal opinions issued by the competent inspection services according to the criteria defined by the legislators (primarily equality, non-discrimination and conformity with official achievement targets).

In the late 1990s, every secondary school was equipped with a multimedia centre, and thanks to agreements between the French Community, the Walloon Region, the federal government, and the access provider, every school was able to have access to the Internet under very favourable terms. On the basis of a new agreement between the French Community and the regions, a new school equipment plan is in progress in 2010-2011.

Each network has its own media education resource centre. A Media Education Council was created in 1995.

Responsible citizenship and development education have been the subject of several initiatives. An inter-network unit, ‘Democracy or Barbarism’ co-ordinates citizenship education issues. A working and reflection group on development education in the school environment tracks projects dealing with this theme in schools. Under the terms of a decree adopted in 2007, a document entitled ‘Being and becoming a citizen’  has been created and distributed. This is intended to provide references for understanding civil society and political life, and is directed towards pupils in the 5th and 6th years of secondary education.  This same decree imposes the organisation of interdisciplinary activities for a responsible and active citizenship at least once during each cycle or stage and the set up of participative structures for pupils (election of class representatives by their peers, councils of pupils representing specific cycles or stages). On 13 March 2009, the Government of the French Community passed a decree on the remembrance, particularly with respect to young people, of genocide crimes, crimes against humanity, war crimes and acts of resistance or resistance movements against the regimes responsible for such crimes.

The education departments that are either part of the French Community or the different controlling authorities that administer grant-aided schools produce teaching aids that are designed to attain the Core Skills and the skills prescribed by the reference guides. These teaching aids can then be used by all schools organised or grant-aided by the French Community.

Two education information servers have been set up; one common to the different school systems and the other specific to schools organised by the French Community. An database of educational reference material is available online.

Finally, part of the timetable in secondary education may be organised in a modern language other than French, in the form of immersion learning.

Schemes Specific to the First Stage

The reform of the first stage recommends truly differentiated teaching methods, which should enable all pupils to reach their maximum potential by setting objectives within their reach and allowing them to carry out their learning process at their own pace and according to specific methods.

An individual learning plan (PIA) must be devised for pupils who take the complementary years of the 1st stage or the common 1st or 2nd year and who encounter learning difficulties which mean that orientation towards a complementary year is considered, as well as for those in the 3rd specific year of differentiation and orientation (second stage). The individual learning plan (‘plan individuel d’apprentissage’ - PIA) specifies for each pupil the skills to be attained at specific points, and the areas of progress and difficulty). The PIA must be devised by the guidance council, consisting of members of the relevant class council and a representative of at least each of the other class councils from the first stage (the competent CPMS has the automatic right to participate). The guidance council meets at least three times per school year in order to draw up for each pupil the report covering the state of attainment of the Core Skills, to diagnose specific difficulties and, where necessary, to propose appropriate remedial measures. In view of its provisional character, the PIA is a tool to aid information, communication and collaboration within the educational team as well as a reference tool for various decisions, and in particular in the event of an appeal against a decision. It is devised for each pupil on the basis of his or her potential and needs. It is adjusted throughout his or her schooling. It sets out the specific objectives to be achieved within a defined period (cross-disciplinary and disciplinary skills). It is devised from a formative assessment viewpoint. As far as possible, it is defined together with the pupil and his or her parents.

Pupils who encounter difficulties in attaining the Core Skills may have complementary activities imposed on them: individualised remedial and/or educational support activities, catch-up work; restructuring of acquired knowledge as part of optional activities or the 2 weekly periods of remedial classes. The school has a certain latitude in organising such remedial periods. For example, they may temporarily replace optional courses for pupils in difficulty. Two to four periods per week of remedial and/or reorientation activities are recommended (on average a maximum of 2 hours per week for the entire school year). The choice of subjects is unrestricted. The class council decides what is appropriate.

Schools are free to decide as regards the organisation of complementary years for pupils that have not successfully finished a stage or whose results at the end of the first year are deemed insufficient. A guidance council is created and charged with giving its opinion on the mastery of the Core Skills and the appropriate remediation for each pupil. The curricula for these complementary years aim at enabling the pupil to achieve the required level of studies. They are made up according to the needs of the pupil and may include courses given to other pupils and specific remedial courses.

During the specific year of differentiation and orientation (second stage), the pupil’s specific needs and the difficulties he or she experiences are taken into account in order to help with the further development of the competencies on which he or she has started working. In this way, he or she should be able to attain the level referred to earlier. The organisation of this year of differentiation and orientation is also intended to help each pupil to devise a personal plan which will enable him to continue his schooling. The personal plan is drawn up in conjunction with the relevant Centre for Psychological, Medical and Social Services (CPMS).