Education in Belgium

Description of schools in Belgium for locals and immigrant children

The education system in Belgium differs from accepted European standards. The reasons are multilingualism in the country, each region has its own rules for teaching. Immigrant children can enroll in free public schools in Belgium, apply to private educational organizations. But before that, it is recommended to study the registration rules, the requirements for the future student, the accepted standards.

About the education system in Belgium

There are three language communities on the territory of the country – Dutch, French-speaking German-speaking. In each, the Department of Education has been created, which draws up the regulations for the admission and education of children in Belgian schools. A scheme of pre-school education has been developed, which will allow the child to acquire basic skills for a standard program. Compulsory primary education lasts from 6 to 12 years old, secondary – from 12 to 18. Children can be admitted to preschool from the age of 2.

About the education system in Belgium

Types of schools in Belgium, which are located in each region of the country:

  • It is possible to study in Dutch (gemeenschapsonderwijs), French (réseau de la Communauté française). Feature – a small amount of programs on religion.
  • Subsidized state educational institutions – officieel gesubsidieerd onderwijs or réseau officiel subventionné. They are organized by local municipalities or communes. But there are general training standards.
  • Private schools – vrij gesubsidieerd onderwijs; reseau libre subventionne. They offer paid programs for obtaining primary or secondary education. There are institutions with a religious bias.
  • Pay establishments. They teach according to international and state programs, it is recommended to consider Montessori schools separately.

The resulting certificate, regardless of the form of study, is valid on the territory of Belgium and all EU countries. It provides an opportunity to enroll in a higher educational institution – a college, university, or institute.

How performance is assessed

According to current European standards, public assessment of progress in primary and secondary schools in Belgium is not practiced. However, a number of institutions left awards and rankings of students. An example is Athénée Robert Catteau, located in Brussels. Grades are given at the end of each academic year as a percentage. In practice, this helps to find out the actual progress of the student, if necessary, to prepare additional courses.


Name of assessment Meaning
plus grandiosity 90-100%
Excellent 80-89%
Medium 70-79%
Satisfactorily 60-69%
below satisfactory 50-59%
Not handing over the item less than 50%

In the future, these scores can be used for admission to a higher educational institution. Belgian schools often cooperate with local foreign universities, which makes it possible to prepare students for higher education. Most parents have a positive attitude towards the reward and ranking system.

Stages of study in the country

To obtain the whole complex of school knowledge, it is recommended to go through all stages – from preschool to secondary education. If children of immigrants have previously studied in their own countries, knowledge will be tested upon admission to school. Exception – study took place in one of the states of the European Union. This must be taken into account during the preparation of the child.

Preschool education

This is not a mandatory but recommended step before entering a Belgian elementary school. According to the current legislation, most kindergartens provide their services free of charge. This only applies to working parents. the exception is private kindergartens, where the level of training is higher than in public institutions.

Preschool education

Useful information about preschool institutions in the country:

  • They are attended by over 90% of children living in Belgium.
  • The order of registration and submission of documents may differ for a particular region.
  • Places may be limited at popular preschools.
  • Children under the age of 200 are sent to a nursery – kleuteronderwijs in Dutch, enseignement maternelle in French.

Most kindergartens are in close contact with local schools. On their basis, initial training, the provision of educational materials, and the work of a psychologist with children take place. This system allows you to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the future student at an early stage. However, it does not provide for the assessment of knowledge.

Initial system

Primary education is compulsory for all children living in Belgium. they must complete basic courses between the ages of 6 and 12. Depending on the region, primary education may be called lager onderwijs in Dutch and enseignement primaire in French. Closed testing of knowledge takes place at the end of each year. According to its results, the student’s progress is determined. sq. after receiving primary education, a special certificate is issued – Certificat d’Etudes de Base (CEB) or Getuigschrift van Lager Onderwijs. It is required for admission to a Belgian secondary school.

Types of primary educational institutions:

  • State institutions. They offer traditional programs that include mathematics, literature, history, French, German, or Dutch. Getting primary education here is completely free, the only expense item is the purchase of educational materials, excursions. Before entering a Commune school, children must attend a preschool for a certain number of days.
  • Subsidized public schools. the difference lies in the teaching method. Often the emphasis is on a specific subject, which provides an opportunity for able students to develop their skills.
  • Private organization. These may be Montessori schools that offer an alternative form of education with an emphasis on creativity and student development. You can also enroll in international schools where children from other European cities or America study. In Belgium, religious schools are popular – Catholic or Jewish.

Before submitting documents to an elementary school, it is recommended to conduct a comprehensive testing of the child. This will help determine his passion, and potential abilities for a particular science, field of activity. The results of the test will not affect the possibility of enrolling in an educational institution, they are only advisory in nature.

Secondary education

High school education in Belgium starts at the age of 12. Before that, you need to present a certificate of primary education. Studying ends at 18, but from 16 you can choose part-time work, start undergoing professional technical training. This is one of the ways to acquire the skills of a future specialty on the basis of an educational institution. Depending on the required level of education, you can choose public secondary schools, private institutions. The latter includes tuition fees.

Secondary education

What you need to know about secondary education in Belgium:

  • Possibility to choose items. It appears after 3-4 years of study, allows you to get specialized skills for your future profession.
  • Types of education. Depending on the required level of knowledge, general, technical, vocational or artistic education can be obtained. Each provides for the possibility of internship at a future college, institute or university. It depends on the type and number of subjects studied.
  • Several types of private schools in Belgium. International ones offer education based on the English Scandinavian or European way of getting education. At Montessori or Steiner schools, you can get the official IB certificate – the international baccalaureate.

After the end of the training process, testing is carried out. This is the final stage, at the end of which the student receives an official diploma of secondary education – van Secundair Onderwijs (in Dutch) or Certificat d’Enseignement secondaire supérieur général, technique ou artistique (CESS) (in French). It is the basis for admission to the Higher Educational Institutions of the country or other European countries.

Belgian school ranking

Most public schools have a standard curriculum. To select a specialized educational institution, it is recommended to study the current rating of schools in Belgium. They offer tuition on a fee basis, but for especially gifted students there is an opportunity to apply for a scholarship. Grants are awarded based on the results of an interview with a special commission. The level of preparation of the child, to his intellectual, physical abilities, psychological state is taken into account.

Belgian school ranking

Ranking of private educational institutions in Belgium:

  • Montgomery International School in Brussels. Located at 133 Rue du Duc, 1200. It offers programs for the creative development of the child, an individual approach to each student.
  • Brussels International Catholic School (BICS). specializes in spiritual education, but also teaches classical subjects – mathematics, history, literature. Located at st. Froissart 57-59.
  • BEPS International School. Also located in Brussels, founded in 1970. Children from other countries are often enrolled here. This facilitates their socialization, enhances future professional skills.
  • Bogarts International School. It is located in the green suburb of the Belgian capital. During education, teachers are in close contact with parents.

The cost of annual education in these commercial schools in Belgium varies from 9,000 to 22,000 euros. But even taking into account the payment of the entire amount, students are required to comply with the rules of the institution. In case of gross violations, the school management reserves the right to expel the child without a refund. This should increase the responsibility of the students.

Stages of immigration

Under the laws of the country, every child is obliged to receive primary and secondary education. The same applies to the children of immigrants. Within 60 days of registering with the local municipality, children must be registered with an educational institution. To do this, you need to prepare documents.

Stages of immigration

What you need to enter a Belgian school, a list of documents:

  • an identity card with a translation into the official language of the region;
  • issued residence visa in Belgium;
  • confirmation of completion of a full course of vaccinations in a medical institution;
  • have a permanent address;
  • records, documents from the old place of study.

You can choose any educational institution, regardless of where you live. However, you need to take into account the number of free places. In the educational system of Belgium there is no link to the address of registration. For exact information, it is recommended that you contact your local Department of Education. Some of the information is posted on the official website of the Belgian government .

Home schooling is developed in the country, which is important for immigrant families. The program is slightly different from the standard one, but the general requirements remain the same. for a better adaptation of the child to, you can sign up for language courses, hire a private tutor. At the end of the academic year, testing is mandatory on a general basis.

How to change school

Registration to a secondary school takes place in December or January, this is true for public schools in Belgium. At this time, documents are submitted, an initial interview is held. In regions with a high population density, the number of places is limited. Therefore, you need to choose an educational institution in advance. This also complicates the process of transferring a student to another educational organization. The exception is private companies that can accept a child throughout the year.

Please check availability before transferring to another school. Some may not be able to provide training opportunities due to the completeness of the class. Additionally, you need to find out the list of documents for transfer to another educational institution. Good grades on test results, recommendations from teachers can increase the chance of finding a vacancy.