Education System in Belgium


 EducationSchool/LevelGrade FromGrade ToAge FromAge ToYearsNotes
PrimaryPrimary Education  6126Getuigschrift van Lager Onderwijs (Primary Education Certificate)
SecondaryGeneral Secondary Education (ASO)  12186Diploma van Secundair Onderwijs (Secondary Education Diploma)
SecondaryArtistic Secondary Education (KSO)  12186Diploma van Secundair Onderwijs (Secondary Education Diploma)
SecondaryVocational Secondary Education (BSO)  12197Diploma van Secundair Onderwijs (Secondary Education Diploma)
TertiaryTechnical Secondary Education (TSO)  12186Diploma van Secundair Onderwijs (Secondary Education Diploma)
TertiaryKandidaat and Bachelor's degree - University level first stage    22 - 3 year programs Before 2004/2005: Kandidaat cycle. A Kandidaat degree was obtained after two- to three-year basic university training. In the fields of Philosophy, Theology and Canon Law the degree conferred was the Baccalaureus.From 2004/2005, the academic bachelor's degree (180 ECTS) prepares students for advanced studies at master's level.
TertiaryTertiary      
TertiaryLicentiaat - Master's degree - University level second stage    22 - 3 year program. From 2004/2005, the master programme in at least one year (60 ECTS) was introduced.
TertiaryDoctoral studies -     2Since 2004/2005 the highest level of specialization is the doctorate degree and is only awarded by universities.

Primary Education

There are 3 different kinds of schools in Belgium, namely community schools, subsidized public schools, and subsidized free schools which are normally affiliated to the Catholic Church. Private home education is permissible too, and these numbers are rising slowly. Education is compulsory between age 6 and age 18. Following an almost universal period of voluntary pre-school, children enter primary school for a period of 6 years. There a curriculum based on reading, writing and basic mathematics encourages interest in a broader range of subjects too.

Secondary Education

Secondary schooling unfolds through 3 phases. The 1st one creates a solid general basis, while the 2nd and 3rd ones increase in specificity. Overlaid across these are 4 different genres of schools, namely general secondary schools, technical secondary schools, vocational secondary education schools, and art secondary education institutions. Over and above these, students with disabilities can follow special syllabi.

Vocational Education

In Flemish-speaking Belgium, ongoing vocational education and training provides a good spread of opportunities for further and second-chance adult education. Policy is dynamic, and the system is accordingly under continuous reform.

Tertiary Education

Belgium EducationAnybody with a qualifying secondary school diploma may enroll at any one of several universities, although additional entrance examinations are generally required by faculties of civil engineering, architecture, medical and dental sciences, nautical sciences and fine arts.

The oldest Flemish university is the University of Ghent illustrated here. It was founded by King William 1st of the Netherlands in 1817, and currently has a student body in excess of 30,000, plus approximately 7,100 staff in total employed in 11 faculties.


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