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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Initial education for teachers working in early childhood and school education

Belgium - French Community

9.Teachers and education staff

9.1Initial education for teachers working in early childhood and school education

Last update: 27 November 2023

The initial training required of those responsible for education depends on the age of the pupils, but also on the type of institution and the study direction chosen.

Institutions, level and models of training

The requirement for initial training for staff at all childcare facilities is relatively recent, and the qualifications required vary depending on the type of facility.

A new decree dated 2 May 2019 setting out the authorisation and subsidy scheme for crèches, childcare services and independent (co-)childminders, defines the titles and rules for initial training for the functions of childcare, psycho-medico-social support and management.

Specifically for childcare functions, this new decree requires at least the upper secondary education certificate (CESS = Certificat d’Enseignement Secondaire Supérieur) accompanied by a certificate of qualification or an additional training diploma defined by the legislation of the Office of Birth and Childhood (ONE : Office de la Naissance et de l'Enfance).

For psycho-medico-social management functions, the titles required are much more restricted: 3 levels of bachelor's degree (psychology, social worker, nursing) and 3 levels of master's degree (psychological and educational sciences, engineering in social action, public health).

For managerial positions, all higher-level training with a psycho-pedagogical, health or social orientation is authorised for nurseries with more than 14 places. Nevertheless, the Office of Birth and Childhood requires that, within two years of taking up the post, proof of additional training recognised by the Office of Birth and Childhood be provided. This complementary certificate is currently being organised.

For the out-of-school childcare sector (3-12 year olds), holiday centres and homework schools are defined by several pieces of legislation. The decree of the Government of the French Community sets out the terms of application of the Decree of 3 July 2003 relating to the coordination of the care of children during their free time and support for after-school care and defines the titles required for the various functions found within the structures.


In April 2014, a decree (11 April 2014) (décret réglementant les titres et fonctions dans l'enseignement fondamental et secondaire organisé et subventionné par la Communauté française), changed the qualifications required for different functions.

The teaching profession can be categorised according to pupil age, educational level, specific nature of studies and training objectives. Initial training for teachers in pre-primary, primary and secondary education includes several training routes which lead to the following qualifications :

bachelor’s degree – pre-primary teaching

bachelor’s degree – primary teaching

bachelor’s degree – lower secondary education

master’s degree – teaching master’s

master's degree – upper secondary teaching diploma.

Non-school childcare facilities

The training of childcare workers is a vocational upper secondary education programme, in which courses on health and hygiene still feature prominently compared with educational psychology.

Childcare worker training is currently under review by the French-speaking Service for Jobs and Qualifications (SFMQ : Service Francophones des métiers et des qualifications).

Whereas no diploma had previously been required for childminders looking after children at home or parents staffing a parental day nursery, childminders must now hold a degree.

For childcare functions, the new decree of 2 May 2019 establishing the authorisation and subsidy scheme for crèches, childcare services and independent (co-)childminders, requires at least the upper secondary education certificate (CESS = Certificat d’Enseignement Secondaire Supérieur) accompanied by another title such as childcare worker, childcare assistant, educator, education agent or a diploma as a company manager: childminder issued by IFAPME/EFPME.

Bachelors (pre-primary, primary and lower secondary education)

The initial training of the bachelors (Pre-Primary, Primary and Lower Secondary Education) generally takes place in the Hautes écoles (some training courses are organised in social advancement higher education). All the networks organise this type of education. Administratively, the education departments at hautes écoles form part of the short-type, full-time higher education system. Teachers of Latin, Greek, Spanish and Italian are trained at university. Teachers of arts subjects, except those who have been trained at hautes écoles and hold a bachelor’s degree : certificate of lower secondary education in the fine arts, are trained in arts colleges.

In pre-primary and primary education, teachers hold a bachelor’s degree in pre-primary or primary teaching, depending on the level of schooling, whereas in lower secondary education, they hold bachelor’s degrees in lower secondary education (AESI).

An essential principle underpinning training courses and reinforced by the decree of 12 December 2000 is the linking of theory and practice. Various aspects of organisation, content, and teaching activities are instrumental in enabling students not only to acquire the reflexes of teaching professionals, but also to become theoreticians of their practices. The training model used is a simultaneous one. Teaching practice is organised during each of the three years of study: in the first year, this consists of participative observation in the presence of the internship supervisor; in the second and third years, the student takes charge of a class.

Students preferably undergo their teaching practice in teams of at least two people on the same school site. Guidance is provided firstly by associate teachers, lecturers, workshop heads, or haute école professors, and secondly by internship supervisors. Professors responsible for teacher training and professors responsible for discipline-specific training share in supervising each student at the rate of at least one visit per week.

Internship supervisors who have second-or third-year students in their class must be approved by the haute école authorities as part of an explicit collaboration agreement, and are remunerated.

Vocational training workshops provide students with a package of activities, which are designed to foster professional skills and reflective knowledge about those skills. They enable them to experience, observe, and analyse the different aspects of the profession. They are run by full professors of teacher training (1/3 of the time), discipline-specific training lecturers (1/3), and associate professors of practical training, who work separately or in teams of two or three. The associate professors of practical training are hired for no more than half-time by the haute école and work at least half time in pre-primary, primary or lower secondary education.

Additionally, professional identity-building interdisciplinary activities are organised during the course as seminar activities and supervised by either haute école professors or outside experts. They relate to :

  • developing teacher identity and preparing the teacher's dossier ;
  • the openness of the school to the outside world, training in neutrality, and education in cultural diversity ;
  • and professional ethics and the development of a career plan.

Masters (teaching master's, upper secondary teaching diploma)

Training is organised principally in the universities, Arts colleges and in the Hautes écoles which organise long-type higher education programmes that follow the consecutive mode (access to the teaching diploma for holders of a master's degree) or integrated within the 2nd cycle studies (master's degree in 120 ECTS of which 30 ECTS are identical to that of the teaching diploma).

It is governed by two legal texts: the decree of 08 February 2001 defining the initial training for holders of the teaching diploma in upper secondary education which applies to universities and higher education institutions, and the decree of the Government of the French Community of 17 September 2003 organising the teaching diploma of upper secondary education in the Arts Colleges, organised or subsidised by the French Community.

The training programme for all students enrolled in studies leading to the upper secondary teaching diploma has 30 ECTS and lasts 300 hours, of which 70% are common and 30% are dedicated to activities that the institutions decide on completely autonomously.

Practical analysis seminars are intended to allow students to experiment, observe and analyse the different parts of the profession, progressively develop their professional identity and plan their future training.

Teaching practice in real-life situations must include training periods as an observing participant, periods as a teacher (moving progressively into a teaching situation), as well as periods of school activities outside lessons (being involved in activities related to the running of the institution and the relationships between its players). Part of the teaching practice must be done by teams of at least two students in the same institution. Varying the places where the teaching practice is performed allows students to experience as many professional situations as possible (specialised education, social advancement education, part-time arts education, ...).

Internship supervisors who are approved by the institution that provides the teacher training, and paid, look after the trainees, provide them with educational support, and collaborate with the course teachers in the guidance and assessment of the trainees. They can contribute to the practical analysis seminars.

Second-cycle studies for the 120 ECTS teaching master’s degree include 30 ECTS specific to the teacher training for the upper secondary teaching diploma. Like the certificate, these studies are only organised for the academic degrees corresponding to the titles required to teach in upper secondary education.

Admission requirements

Non-school childcare facilities

Access to the third stage of vocational secondary education is contingent on successful completion of the fourth year of secondary education. Admission to studies to qualify as a childcare worker is subject to a number of additional conditions :

  • a favourable opinion from the admissions board (which may request the opinion of the Centre for Psychological, Medical and Social Services concerning the pupil’s aptitude for the practical part of the course) ;
  • the production of a certificate of fitness in which a doctor who is approved by the head of institution or the controlling authority confirms that he/she has not discovered any long-term health condition in the pupil which is likely to compromise the normal completion of the teaching experience programme, to be exacerbated by it or to endanger the safety of those with whom the pupil will associate in the school premises concerned.

Bachelors (pre-primary, primary and lower secondary education)

Training courses to become bachelors are accessible to holders of the upper secondary education certificate (CESS) or qualifications recognised as equivalent (decree of 7 November 2013, Article 107). They are also accessible to students who do not hold any of the qualifications which authorise access to higher education but can provide proof of having passed :

  • either the special exam for admission to engineering science (complete exam) ;
  • or the admission exam organised by a university in the French Community.

No one may be admitted to the examinations of 1st cycle studies : bachelor’s degree – pre-primary teaching, bachelor’s degree – primary teaching, bachelor’s degree – lower secondary education unless they have demonstrated a sufficient mastering of the French language. Such proof may be provided by possession of a diploma, title or certificate issued in the French Community or attesting to studies including sufficient teaching in French; or by passing a specific examination organised at least twice a year by higher education establishments.

An additional medical examination is required to determine whether the student is fit to undergo all the teaching and professional activities of lower secondary school teachers (bachelors) in physical education.

An admission test on artistic qualities is organised for the bachelor’s degree in music education.

Teachers of vocational practical courses and some teachers of technical courses for whom no full-time training is provided, may prepare for the teaching profession by attending training leading to the teaching proficiency certificate (CAP) organised by higher-level social advancement education, while in employment. Entrance requirements and the length of these courses depend on the candidate’s profile, and in particular on his/her school and/or academic record and the qualifications that he/she holds. There is a CAP section open to candidates who hold a higher education degree and one open to candidates who do not hold such a qualification.

Higher education is an open system incorporating legally defined gateways by which a student can change course, dispensations and the recognition of personal or professional experience. Many students begin a teacher-training course after having attempted to follow other higher education programmes.

Masters (teaching master's, upper secondary teaching diploma)

Second cycle studies organised in 120 ECTS may have a didactic purpose when 30 ECTS are devoted to the training of students who intend to teach in upper secondary education. Students who have received an academic degree after successful completion of a basic second-cycle programme (Master in 60 or 120 ECTS) or who are enrolled in such a programme, have access to programmes leading to the upper secondary teaching diploma. However, this diploma can only be obtained after obtaining a second-cycle degree.

Curriculum modifications are arranged for students who already hold a teaching diploma issued by an Haute école.

Curriculum, level of specialisation and learning outcomes

Non-school childcare facilities

The three-year curriculum leading to the childcare worker’s qualification consists of at least :

  • 1,000 periods of general, special and philosophical instruction ;
  • 1,700 periods of technical instruction and professional practice.

The course content covers the various skills in the childcare worker’s training profile. The profile is based on six functions (educating and socialising the child; caring, health and safety; organising and planning; management and administration; social and communication aspects; professional ethics), each corresponding to a number of activities, which are in turn translated into skills and indicators of the mastery of those skills. Thus, for example, the function ‘educating and socialising the child’ includes the activity ‘integrating the child in the group’, which involves – among other skills – ‘creating an atmosphere which enables, fosters and validates interactions, communication and cooperation between children’. The indicator of the mastery of this skill is as follows: ‘The learner identifies cooperative interactions and validates them while respecting the need for individual activities’.

Preparation for the qualification tests also requires successful completion of at least 1,000 50-minute periods of teaching experience, including at least 400 periods in the seventh year if the pupil has taken the ‘childcare’ grouped basic option and 500 periods if he/she has taken the nursery care work grouped basic option.

Internships are organised in institutions which are authorised for this purpose and located in Belgium or, by dispensation, abroad, and which offer the necessary clinical, social, ethical and educational psychology resources for pupils’ technical, psychological, ethical and social training. The supervision of trainees is the responsibility of an ‘internship supervisor’ who is qualified in accordance with the objectives assigned to each internship: this supervisor undertakes the individual educational supervision of the trainees and, by monitoring the development of the internship in collaboration with the staff at the host institution, assesses it. Under no circumstances may the number of children per trainee be less than four. At the end of each internship, the pupils draw up a report in order to provide evidence of their progressive learning of an approach of observation, analysis and adaptation and of their completion of the planned internships. The trainees must be given the opportunity to perform tasks that reflect their level of competence. These tasks must be consistent with the activities described in the training profile.

Bachelors (pre-primary, primary and lower secondary education)

With a view to aligning teacher training to the Decree on the Missions of Schools, a decree adopted on 12 December 2000 defines thirteen competencies to be developed as part of initial training for bachelors :

  • using knowledge of the human sciences for an accurate interpretation of situations encountered inside and outside class and for better adaptation to the school population ;
  • maintaining effective partnership relations with institutions, colleagues, and pupils’ parents ;
  • understanding their role within the school and functioning in the profession as defined by the relevant laws ;
  • internalising the disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge that underpins teaching work ;
  • mastering the disciplines’ didactics, which guide teaching work ;
  • demonstrating a broad general culture in order to awaken pupils’ interest in the cultural world ;
  • developing the relational skills commensurate with the profession’s requirements ;
  • understanding the ethical issues associated with day-to-day teaching practice ;
  • working in a team in the school ;
  • developing, testing, evaluating and refining teaching aids ;
  • maintaining a critical and autonomous relationship with past and future scientific knowledge ;
  • planning, managing and evaluating learning situations ;
  • maintaining a reflective view of one’s own practice and organising one’s own continuing training.

The training includes teaching activities for students from all sections (ordinary pre- primary, ordinary primary, ordinary secondary and ordinary technical), activities for students in a single section, and teaching activities of a practical nature, which are organised in small groups.

All students receive

  • discipline-specific training (including didactics, information and communication technologies, and French proficiency) ;
  • practical training (vocational training workshops and internships) ;
  • professional identity-building interdisciplinary activities (the teacher’s identity, individual learning paths, the openness of the school to the outside world, education in cultural diversity, professional ethics, the career plan).

They must also write a final dissertation.

In each of the sections, the training has the following points of focus :

  • Socio-cultural studies (at least 120 hours) ;
  • Socio-affective and relational studies (at least 120 hours) ;
  • Disciplinary and interdisciplinary studies (at least 1020 hours) ;
  • Educational studies (at least 180 hours) ;
  • Scientific approach and research attitudes (at least 45 hours);
  • Know-how (at least 780 hours) ;
  • Professional identity-building interdisciplinary activities (at least 80 hours).

Know-how is based on the link between theory and practice. It is acquired at professional training workshops and by taking part in teaching practice internships. The professional training workshops offer students a series of activities which are designed to develop methodological skills and a reflective attitude towards those skills. They enable the students to try out, observe and analyse the various components of the profession. They integrate discipline-specific and general didactics in the context of activities organised both in the field and at the Haute école. Teaching practice is arranged in all three study years. In the first year, it consists of participatory observation activities, with the student accompanying the internship supervisor. They may gradually lead to the student taking over a class, in close collaboration with the internship supervisor. In the second and third years, the student properly takes charge of a class. Students should ideally undertake their teaching practice in teams of at least two people at the same site.

Professional identity-building interdisciplinary activities are always coupled with teaching practice or a practical activity. They include the compilation of a career plan, training in neutrality, the school’s openness to the outside world, the teacher’s identity, professional ethics and the teacher’s dossier.

The final dissertation is a personal and original written work in which the third-year student uses his/her knowledge in the specific context of the subject he/she has chosen to discuss and of the research that he/she conducts in this connection. The paper is presented orally.

Optional modules may be organised in the pre-primary and primary sections: information on specialised education (15 hours), training in the teaching of ethics or religion (60 hours), training in teaching a second language (60 hours in the ordinary primary section), training in the didactics of education for philosophy and citizenship (60 hours).

The curricula are determined by the controlling authority of the teacher training institute, provided they cover the various compulsory elements of content, with a given minimum number of hours per domain, and within the framework of 1020 hours of disciplinary and interdisciplinary training. The minimum timetable and total hours for the pre-primary, primary and secondary sections are fixed.

Additionally, the hautes écoles have a hundred hours at their disposal which are reserved for teaching activities that they are completely free to determine. Some hautes écoles and a number of social advancement schools organise specialisations in psychomobility and special education.

Future bachelors (lower secondary education teachers = agrégés de l'enseignement secondaire inférieur : AESI) must choose an area of specialisation from among the following options :

Ordinary secondary section (general courses):

  • Bachelor : AESI, orientation Fine arts ;
  • Bachelor : AESI, orientation Physical education ;
  • Bachelor : AESI, orientation French and French as a foreign language ;
  • Bachelor : AESI, orientation French and education in philosophy and citizenship ;
  • Bachelor : AESI, orientation French and ethics ;
  • Bachelor : AESI, orientation French and religion ;
  • Bachelor : AESI, orientation Germanic languages ;
  • Bachelor : AESI, orientation Mathematics ;
  • Bachelor : AESI, orientation Sciences: biology, chemistry, physics ;
  • Bachelor : AESI, orientation Economics and applied economics ;
  • Bachelor : AESI, orientation Human science: history, geography, and social science.

Technical section (technical or vocational practice courses) :

  • Bachelor : AESI, orientation Woodwork/construction ;
  • Bachelor : AESI, orientation Family and social economics ;
  • Bachelor : AESI, orientation Electrical engineering ;
  • Bachelor : AESI, orientation Clothing.

The reference schedules for the sub-sections ‘Germanic languages’ and ‘physical education’ include training hours aimed at preparing the future teachers to teach pupils in primary education. The reference schedule for the sub-section ‘Germanic languages’ includes hours earmarked for a language-oriented trip lasting at least two weeks for one of the languages. 15-hour information modules on specialised education and on social advancement education may be organised for students who so wish.

Masters (teaching master's, upper secondary teaching diploma)

Since the Decree of the French Community of Belgium (7 November 2013) (décret définissant l'enseignement supérieur), students can attend classes in the chosen subject(s) for five years until they gain their second-cycle degree including the didactic training preparing them to teach. This degree certifies disciplinary and pedagogical training in several disciplines :

  • philosophy ;
  • history ;
  • classical philology ;
  • Germanic philology ;
  • Romance philology ;
  • chemistry, zoology, botany, physics, mathematics, and geography ;
  • physical education ;
  • psychology and educational science ;
  • economics ;
  • artistic disciplines ;
  • ….

Deferred training is also possible according to the consecutive model. After having obtained a master's degree (60 ECTS or 120 ECTS) which certifies the successful completion of a specific training course, students take compulsory courses aimed at developing teaching skills: the upper secondary teaching diploma. This Upper Secondary Teaching diploma allows students to prepare for the teaching profession during an additional year. The upper secondary teaching diploma curriculum does not include any discipline strengthening training.

The course for the upper secondary teaching diploma consists of 30 ECTS. The core activities are organised around four themes :

  • socio-cultural studies (educational sociology, analysis of the school institution and its players, theoretical approach to cultural diversity, educational policy, ethical aspects of the profession) (at least 30 hours) ;
  • educational studies, including the development of a scientific approach and research attitude (didactic transposition covering the discipline’s epistemology, the discipline’s didactics, the interdisciplinary approach, knowledge and educational use of information and communication technologies and media) (at least 60 hours) ;
  • socio-affective and relational studies (approaches to adolescents and school life, the management of groups in and around the class, the study of interpersonal relations in a school context) (at least 30 hours) ;
  • know-how (linking of theory and practice, during teaching practice in real-life situations and practical analysis seminars) (at least 90 hours).

No one may be admitted to master's studies for teaching purposes or leading to the title of Upper Secondary Teacher (Agrégé de l'enseignement secondaire supérieur (AESS)) unless he or she has previously demonstrated a thorough command of the French language. Command of French is assessed throughout the duration of the training.

The 120 ECTS teaching master degrees (two years) include the training leading to the upper secondary teaching diploma (300 hours – 30 ECTS) and therefore offers the same programme.

Teachers educators

Non-school childcare facilities

Future childcare workers are trained by secondary school teachers (during the day) and whose qualifications correspond to the courses in question.

In the case of training provided in other types of institutions (e.g. social advancement education - childcare assistant training), trainers have a different profile, defined according to the type of institution in which they teach.

Pre-primary, primary and secondary education

The trainers of future pre-primary, primary and secondary teachers hold the qualifications required to teach the courses on the curriculum of these future teachers at the various institutions (primarily the Hautes écoles, Higher Arts Colleges and universities, but also Higher social advancement education).

Qualifications, evaluation and certificates

Non-school childcare facilities

The requirements relating to initial training were updated by the decree of 2 May 2019 setting the authorisation and subsidy scheme for crèches, childcare services and independent (co-)childminders.

All Organising Authorities ensure that the staff of childcare facilities can provide proof of initial training and draw up a continuous training plan in relation to the childcare project and for the duration of the project (5 years). This continuous training plan is implemented by the participation of staff in the training modules proposed via a continuous training programme set every five years by the Government, on the proposal of the Office of Birth and Childhood (ONE : Office de la Naissance et de l'Enfance).

For independent (co-)childminders and staff from other care facilities, participation in initial training is organised via a training plan specifying participation up to a minimum of two days per year on average over the duration of the plan.

The paragraphs below concern the childcare worker diploma.


The childcare qualification certificate, endorsed by the French Community, is issued at the end of the vocational seventh year in ‘childcare’ to regular pupils who meet the following conditions :

  • they must have passed a qualifying test to check that they have mastered the relevant skills and incorporated them into their practice ;
  • they must hold a certificate of upper secondary education.

The examination board responsible for issuing this certificate consists of at least one nursing member of teaching staff and one member of the teaching staff with responsibility for training in educational psychology. The member of staff responsible for coordinating the internship automatically has a place on the board.

Assessment during training

Each controlling authority is free to adapt its assessment procedures (choice of subjects, types of exam, time allotted for each exam, etc.) for the various stages, forms and streams of education, and in light of the specific characteristics of its environment. Nevertheless, in order to avoid too wide a disparity, it is recommended that schools consult one another. Furthermore, the Decree on the Missions of Schools has created committees on assessment tools in relation to the knowledge and skills expected upon completion of qualification-stream education. These committees are responsible for producing batteries of standardised assessment tests, which correspond to these reference guides. The government distributes these tools as a guideline to all schools organised or grant-aided by the French Community. An Administrative Steering Unit organises non-certificative external assessments of pupils’ achievements at the start of the second and fourth/fifth year of secondary school. These relate successively to reading/production of writing, mathematics and introductory science. They enable teachers to better measure the level attained by their pupils and, consequently, to adjust their teaching. The unit produces an analysis of the results and develops teaching methods. The inspectorate ensures educational monitoring.

In qualification-stream education, it is suggested that global comprehensive exams on grouped options be given during the school year. These exams encourage coordination between theoretical and practical lessons and prepare pupils for the qualification tests. Certificates of competence are issued to pupils upon successful completion of these exams. The members of the qualification examination board from outside the school are invited to examine pupils’ work continually during the school year.

One or two sessions of annual examinations are organised every year. The primary purpose of the June exam is to ascertain whether pupils have achieved the minimum competencies needed to progress. A student deferred in June must take examinations in September.

There must be continuity between learning in school and in the childcare facility. An internship must meet precise educational criteria. The teacher who is the internship supervisor handles assessment preparation and guidance. He or she collaborates with the ‘tutor’, who is a company employee responsible for the student at the internship premises. According to predetermined criteria, the internship is continually assessed with the student’s involvement. The assessment is formative. A report is issued upon completion of the internship (summary assessment).

Bachelors (pre-primary, primary and lower secondary education)


The Hautes écoles issue bachelor’s degrees : teacher in pre-primary or primary education and bachelor’s degrees : teachers in lower secondary education.

Internal assessment

The modalities of internal assessment belong to the educational freedom of each teacher, but they are governed by statutory provisions (e.g. each teaching activity must be the subject of a descriptive sheet setting out the modalities of assessment, which must be communicated to students; the academic authorities communicate the timetable of tests and examinations at the latest one month before the start of the assessment period). Assessment is globally summative and certificative; it is based on the assessments at the end of the 2nd and 3rd semesters and a final dissertation.

A dossier is also examined in which the student’s performance is recorded, in particular in the practical training and teaching experience. Approaches to formative assessment also exist.

Upon completion of their studies, graduates must take the Socratic oath in public, vowing to “commit all their energy and skill to the education of all the pupils entrusted to them”.

Masters (teaching master's, upper secondary teaching diploma)

Students must either obtain the teaching master degree in the discipline of their choice, or first obtain a second-cycle university degree (60 ECTS or 120 ECTS), which certifies discipline-specific training, followed by an upper secondary teaching diploma (AESS), which certifies teaching proficiency (in the consecutive training model).

Trainee students are supervised at least three times during the course of their teaching practice under the responsibility of the teachers from the institutions that organise the teaching diploma. Upon completion of their studies, graduates take the Socratic oath.

Alternative training pathways

Non-school childcare facilities

A number of qualifications are recognised as possible substitutes for the childcare qualification to carry out care functions in childcare facilities for children aged 0 to 3 years old : either similar qualifications issued by full-time secondary education (educational worker, nursery worker, educational assistant), by dual vocational education (childcare assistant in collective structures, training diploma "business manager : childcare worker" awarded by IFAPME/EFPME. It is compulsory for these to be accompanied by the Upper Secondary Education Certificate (CESS : Certificat d’Enseignement Secondaire Supérieur) according to the new legislation of 2009.

Pre-primary, primary and secondary education

The unemployed

Any unemployed person can begin certain complementary training programmes while retaining the right to unemployment benefits, provided the training leads to an educational qualification for which the National Employment Office (Onem) considers there is a shortage. Specifically, for the last few years, this measure has related to the position of primary school teacher.

Moreover, some university programmes giving access to a teaching career, provided they are followed by the upper secondary teaching diploma, are compatible with maintaining unemployment benefits.

Supplementary educational qualifications

Practical and vocational teaching courses in secondary education can be entrusted to holders of a qualification in the subject to be taught who do not have a teaching qualification, provided they attend a training leading to the teaching proficiency certificate (CAP) in social advancement education upon completion of a training programme in a school for social advancement. These courses include a cycle of variable duration depending on prior studies, the frequency and intensity of the timetable as well as the students' choice of how to organise their studies.

The programme includes general courses, courses in educational science, and teaching practice. Following the consecutive model, the first year is spent on general training and the second and third years are spent on educational psychology and teaching practice. In the context of practical training, students receive a minimal introduction to teaching practice and develop their skills by teaching classes under the supervision of trainers.

Examination boards

It is also possible to sit for examinations in the presence of the French Community Examination boards, in order to obtain the teaching proficiency certificate (CAP).

Note : reform of initial teacher education

The decree of 7 February 2019 defining initial teacher training (ITE) and the reform it brings about are part of a vast project to improve the education system of the French Community of Belgium. This decree, issued in 2019, is subject to prior evaluation and adjustments before its implementation, which has been postponed to the start of the 2021 academic year.

The reform is linked to the work carried out under the Pact for Excellence in Teaching, the aim being to make compulsory education more effective and more equitable. And because the quality of an education system depends above all on the quality of teachers' practices, the reform of initial teacher training is described as a "prerequisite" for the success of the Pact. The main measures of the decree, which imply important changes within higher education institutions, include the following :

- The creation of a master's degree in education for all future teachers, including :

The transition from a professional baccalaureate to a transitional baccalaureate, possibly followed by a master's degree, for pre-primary, primary and lower secondary teachers.

Creation of a section 4 master's degree in education to replace the current initial training for upper secondary teaching diploma holders.

Extension of the upper secondary teaching diploma’s training.

Strengthening and broadening the content of teaching ;

- Creation of a master's degree in training teacher trainers ;

- A joint degree programme with one or more higher education institutions of another form (e.g. university and university college) ;

- The development of research in education sciences;

- The possibility of gateways for existing teachers wishing to acquire a Master's degree in teaching.