Education System in Belgium, French Community


 EducationSchool/LevelGrade FromGrade ToAge FromAge ToYearsNotes
PrimaryEnseignement Primaire - Elementary School  6126Certificate/diploma awarded: Certificat d'Etudes de Base (CEB)
MiddleEnseignement Secondaire - Premier Degré  12142Certificate/diploma awarded: Certificat d'Etudes de Base (CEB) at the end of the 1st or 2nd year if not obtained at the end of the primary cycle Secondary-Orientation/guidance
SecondaryEnseignement Secondaire - 2e Degré  14162Certificate/diploma awarded: Certificat d'Enseignement Secondaire du Deuxième Degré
SecondaryEnseignement secondaire 3ème degré - 2 year program  16182Certificate/diploma awarded: Certificat d'Enseignement secondaire supérieur général, technique ou artistique (CESS); Certificat de Qualification
SecondaryEnseignement secondaire 3ème degré - 3 year Program  16193Certificate/diploma awarded: Certificat d'études de l'enseignement secondaire professionnel; Certificat de Qualification Pre-university
SecondaryPréparation au Supérieur  18191At present, secondary education is divided into three levels of two years each. Secondary schools provide general education, technical education, professional education and artistic education.
VocationalHautes Ec - n-university level post-secondary studies (technical/vocational type):     33-4 years of study. Higher education at Hautes Ecoles comprises eight fields: Agronomy; Arts; Economics; Paramedical fields; Pedagogy; Social studies; Technology; and Translation and Interpretation.
TertiaryBachelier - University level first stage    3offered at Universities, Hautes Ecoles, Instituts supérieurs d'architecture, and Ecoles supérieures des Arts.
TertiaryMaster; médecin; médecin vétérinaire - University level second stage    3offered at Universities, Hautes Ecoles, Instituts supérieurs d'architecture, and Ecoles supérieures des Arts.\ leads to the title of Master after one or two years' study and 60 or 120 ECTS credits; of Médecin after four years' study and 240 ECTS credits; and of Médecin vétérinaire after three years' study and 180 ECTS credits
TertiaryDES, DEA, Doctorat - University level third stage    1Offered at Universities. Includes 1 year of doctoral training & 60 ECTS credits toward research training certificate, preparation of doctoral thesis & 180 ECTS credits toward title of Doctor after thesis defence. DEA adn DES diplomas will no longer be provided to comply with Bologna reform.

Primary Education

The French-speaking region maintains a separate education system from the rest of Belgium more closely aligned to French academic norms. School is compulsory from age 6 to 18. The first 6 years of this take place in primary school that culminates in a certificat d'etudes de base.

Secondary Education

There are 4 kinds of secondary schools, namely general, technical, vocational and artistic. In all three cases the education programs unfold through 3, two-year phases called 1st, 2nd and 3rd degrees.

Vocational Education

Ongoing education opportunities are available at lifelong education centers, and most universities. These may lead to lower-level certificates and diplomas.

Tertiary Education

Belgium-French EducationHigher education takes place on 2 levels. The lower of these two are called hautes ecoles, instituts supérieures, and ecoles supérieures. Universities offer the normal range of bachelor’s, masters and doctorate degrees.



Liége University was established in 1817 and continues to serve 20,000 French-speaking students through 4,300 employees at 9 faculties, 2 schools, 1 institute and 45 departments.


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