Education in Belgium

See also: Diplomas and Certificates

Education enjoys high priority, and the largest share of the regional governments’ annual budget in Belgium. Complete systems of public and private schools are available to all children between the  ages of 4 and 18, at little or no cost. A “Crêche/Kinderdagverblijfplaats” is available for younger children.

Belgium is proud of the high standards of its educational systems. The French and Flemish Communities provide  nursery schools, primary schools, middle or secondary schools, and technical schools; and universities or other educational institutions at university level are readily accessible.

A complete system of private schools “écoles libres/vrije scholen” parallels  the official systems in both countries. The majority of “écoles libres/vrije scholen” are Catholic schools. Rivalry between the two systems is keen in Belgium, and the question of the sharing of subsidies has often been a political issue.

The curriculum may be procured from one of the following addresses:

French-language:
Service des Etudes
Ministère de l’Education
Rue Royale 204
B-1010 Bruxelles

Dutch-language :
Studiedienst
Ministerie van Onderwijs
Arcadengebouw
B-1010 Brussel

Foreign students are welcome and are given assistance in gaining mastery of the language of the school, either French or Dutch, depending on the language of the “commune/gemeente” or district, in which it is located. Schools are available in both languages in the “communes/gemeenten” of Brussels.  Since the quality of education is maintained at the same high level in all schools by a system of State Inspection, parents choose schools with effective and attractive equipment, a desirable minimum of sports and creative work, a pleasant atmosphere and teachers receptive to American children.

Children are not obliged to attend schools in their neighborhood (though they must solve transportation problems for themselves). Parents should, therefore, keep looking at schools until satisfied that they have found one which is right for their children.

There are a number of pre-school nurseries and some very good non-Belgian schools, such as the “Ecole Européenne / Europese School” ,the “Lycée Français”, Dutch, German and British Schools, and the American “International School of Brussels”, which charge tuition fees and set their own conditions for admission. The “International School of Brussels,” “St. John’s International School,” and the “British School” charge very high fees.

Art, music, and other special subjects are taught in specialized schools; Académies/Academies, Conservatoires / Conservatoria, Instituts/Instituten.

See also: Diplomas and Certificates