Educational System in Belgium

Belgium, though being a country divided into three communities with different languages (French, Flemish and German), has a unified school system. It offers education without major 'interference' by the national government, which only decides on the age for mandatory schooling and the financing of the communities.

 

The schools can be divided into three different groups:

  1. Schools owned by the communities
  2. Subsidized public schools
  3. Subsidized free schools (these are mostly operated by Catholic organizations)

The free schools are the most common, and attending school is compulsory between the ages of 6 and 18.

The process of education (normally) begins in the Preschool (from 2 until 6 years). In this instance the children learn in a playful way cognitive, social and languages skills, creativity etc. Though not compulsory, many children attend the preschool, as they prove to be a good preparation for the 'real' school later.

From the age of 6 – 12 years, the children have to attend Primary school, which is only restricted by age and does not require any fee. The classes span over 6 classes, and are divided into three cycles. Here the children learn basic skills like writing, math and general knowledge, as well as a broad range of other topics (biology, music, religion, history, etc.).

The Primary education is followed by the Secondary education, again with three cycles (year 1 + 2, year 3 + 4 and year 5 + 6). In each cycle, the student is given the chance to chose from different subjects he or she is interested in, like Latin / additional mathematics or technology in the first cycle and so on.

After successfully ending Secondary school the student is able to attend universities and colleges. The fee for the studies is fixed by the government and can be subdivided into three kinds of prices per year: Bursary-student (around 100€), Almost-bursary student (300 – 400€) and Non-bursary student 500 – 560€, in the french-speaking institutions around 830€).

There is also financial aid for families and students depending on the income and the social situation, whereas the amount is never bigger than approximately 3.300€ per year. The student can also lose financial aid if he or she fails too many classes.

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