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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
National reforms in school education

Belgium - German-Speaking Community

14.Ongoing reforms and policy developments

14.2National reforms in school education

Last update: 10 January 2024
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No new reforms for the time being. 


Reduction of school attendance costs
The government plans to reduce school attendance costs for secondary school pupils. This is intended to relieve the financial burden on East Belgian families. To this end, it is introducing annual subsidies of 100 euros per secondary school pupil, so that from September schools will no longer charge parents for copies, the diary and the issue of the school-leaving certificate.

Homework reform 

In its scientific analysis of the East Belgian education system last year, the OECD found that the education system of the German-speaking community has a "very pronounced" homework culture compared to other systems. 

Many parents would also like to see more childcare facilities. In a 2019 survey on the vision of the East Belgian education system, 57 per cent of respondents were in favour of more homework support. 

Based on these findings and the recommendations of the homework researcher at the Bern University of Teacher Education, Dr Moroni, a legal framework has now been created within which schools can operate.  

Two measures for the implementation of school homework: 

Since 1 September, there has been a maximum length of time per day that a pupil in primary school should spend on schoolwork. 

The duration increases with the age of the pupils from the first to the last stage of primary school: 

  1. 15 minutes in the 1st and 2nd grades. 
  2. 20 minutes in the 3rd and 4th school year 
  3. 30 minutes in the 5th and 6th school year. 

These timings do not apply to secondary schools.

From 2024: free homework supervision at schools.

In a second step, all pupils are to have access to free homework supervision in the interest of educational equity. The planning for this has already begun. The schools have one school year to implement the supervision.


No more December examinations in community education in future  

As of the coming school year, the December examinations will no longer be held in the standard secondary schools of the Community Education System (GUW) at all levels. With this decision, the Minister of Education is creating the framework conditions for a changed and modern assessment of performance. As the responsible body for the GUW, she is following the recommendation of her school headmasters. For many years, a working group consisting of the headmasters of all GUW regular secondary schools, staff of the Department of Education and the Cabinet of the Minister of Education has been dealing with the development of performance assessment and evaluation in the GUW. At the suggestion of this group, the Minister of Education, as the responsible body for the GUW, has decided to abolish the December examinations in the 2nd and 3rd secondary levels as well, having already abolished them in the 1st secondary level four years ago.  

Laptops for secondary students and apprentices arrived at schools   

The first 1,800 laptops for 1st and 2nd year secondary students and 1st year apprentices were delivered to educational institutions today. The government is successively equipping all secondary school students and apprentices with laptops within three school years. Parents and students can find more information on the website All secondary school students and trainees receive ASUS laptops (model BR1100) for their lessons. It is a 2-in-1 device that can be used both as a classic laptop and as a tablet. The case is light and robust and therefore well suited for everyday school use. A protective cover is also included in the scope of delivery.  

The overall vision update

The "Overall Vision - Shaping Education for the Future" lays the foundations for a sustainable and equitable education system in East Belgium. The aim of all efforts is both to improve the professional framework conditions for teachers and to promote the educational opportunities of the younger generation. In dialogue with regional education stakeholders and citizens, as well as with the support of external experts, the course is currently being set for the future of the education region of East Belgium. 
Within the framework of an intensive diagnosis, the current and future fields of action of the education system in East Belgium have been identified in recent months. Based on this, appropriate solution strategies are being developed. All findings will be incorporated into an implementation plan that will show the perspectives until 2030 and beyond. 
In 2020, a broad online survey and several discussion forums produced a comprehensive picture of opinions on the current strengths and challenges of the education system in East Belgium. Around 3,800 interested citizens and education stakeholders actively participated in this dialogue, which is a very high level of participation given the small size of East Belgium. Individual reform and pilot projects have been strengthened, continued or launched as a result. 
The surveyed opinion was supplemented by an expert view from outside. Using objective international comparative data, an interdisciplinary team from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) analysed how effective, efficient and equal opportunities the school system in East Belgium is. The OECD analysts also examined which successful solution strategies from other education systems can be transferred to East Belgium. Corona-related developments as well as results from previous working groups on service reform have also been included in the analysis. The report on the results will be presented in March 2022. 
Based on the OECD report and the feedback from the various education stakeholders (participation forums, online survey), a vision will be developed and concerted with the stakeholders in the course of 2022. Based on this vision, concrete measures for the implementation of the education strategy will then be derived. The master plan should be available by 2024.  

Permanent contracts from the beginning of service for teachers :  

In view of the European priorities to ensure the quality and safety of the teaching profession, the German-speaking Community is also working hard to improve the quality of its teachers and trainers.   

And so, with the decree « sammeldekret » which presents new reforms in education and trainings: the coming school year teachers will receive a permanent employment contract from the beginning of their service, provided they have the required title and are appointed for at least one school year.  

   Such a measure does not exist anywhere in Belgium so far, partly because it is connected with time-consuming changes of legal texts. We are heralding a paradigm shift with the permanent contracts from the beginning of service, which will have a positive effect on the stability of the teams in our schools and thus facilitate school development processes. In addition, the recruitment effort will be reduced, as all those who are in order title-wise will no longer have to reapply, so that the school managements and sponsors will also be relieved and the bureaucratic effort will decrease. Last but not least, this is a measure to combat the shortage of teachers.  

Of course, this measure does not only affect those entering the teaching profession, but also those already working in the teaching profession. For lateral entrants, however, the acquisition of a teaching qualification is a condition for enjoying a permanent contract from the beginning of service in the future. Meanwhile, an analysis will be conducted in order to evaluate and monitor this complex and extensive measure.   

  • Quereinsteiger : career changers  

Measures are in place to favour and encourage the introduction of careers changers. 

  • Mentoring for new teachers and career changers  

The German-speaking Community wants to make it easier for new teachers and career changers to enter the teaching profession. To this end, the pilot phase of a mentoring programme will start in September 2022 in primary and secondary schools. Mentoring is a proven staff development tool for involving new staff members in the ongoing school development process and integrating them in the best possible way.  

Each new teacher will be assigned a mentor for the duration of one school year. The mentor acts as an advisor and guide. He/she shares his/her professional knowledge and experience with the newcomer. The mentor helps the newcomers to cope better with the demands of school and to integrate as well as possible into everyday school life.  

The goals of mentoring and supporting new teachers are:  

  • To develop professional behaviour from the very beginning  

  • To support developing meaningful routines  

  • To try keeping a long-term motivation   

  • To stabilize and strengthen in crisis situations  

  • To target the adoption of suitable school projects in the sense of using the innovative potential for school and teaching development  

The German-speaking Community is also working on other measures like : Reforming the assessment and evaluation system in education, the increase of entry-level salaries by 10%, the increase of head teachers' salaries and the creation and modernisation of functions such as Middle managers, workshop managers, management secretaries or nursery assistants taken.