Belgium’s three language communities – Flemish, French and German – are responsible for the school system in their geographical areas and the teaching is held in each language. Only in Brussels do students have the opportunity to choose a school language. There is a compulsory schooling between the ages of 6 and 18.
Many children attend state-supported private schools, which are usually Catholic. In Flanders, more than two-thirds of children attend private schools. About half of the French and German-speaking children are educated in private, while the other half attend public schools. There are also a number of schools that are aimed at students from abroad, including a Scandinavian school.
- COUNTRYAAH: Country facts of Belgium, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.
Free preschool is offered from two and a half years of age and almost all children attend preschool. Most preschools are linked to an elementary school with the first, six-year stage.
In high school and high school – seventh to twelfth school years – students choose one of four specializations: general, technical, artistic or vocational. For the last two years, students can take schoolwork with work or internship.
Everyone who has completed upper secondary school has the right to study at any college. Most of the courses are freely chosen, but entrance exams are required, among other things, to study medical, dental, engineering and art courses.
There are about 20 universities, both state and private, and in addition a number of colleges for education, technology, art and more. Largest and oldest is the Catholic University of Leuven (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven), which was founded as early as 1425. In connection with the country being divided into two language parts during the 1960s, a French-speaking part of the university moved and became the Université Catholique de Louvain.
All higher education institutions are state-supported and many students finance their studies with government grants.
- Searchforpublicschools: Offers schooling information of Belgium in each level – compulsory, technical and higher education programs.
FACTS – EDUCATION
Proportion of children starting primary school
98.3 percent (2016)
Number of pupils per teacher in primary school
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP
12.2 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of the state budget
12.2 percent (2015)
King Albert II abdicates and hands over the throne to Crown Prince Philippe on July 21, which is Belgium’s national day. The 79-year-old Albert has been head of state since 1993.
The Minister of Finance resigns
Finance Minister Steven Vanackere leaves his post because of criticism that a union, which stands close to his Christian Democratic party CD&V, has received favorable loans from a state bank.