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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education

Belgium - German-Speaking Community

6.Secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education

Last update: 27 November 2023

The basic structure of full-time secondary education was determined in the foundational decree of 31 August 1998. According to this, all secondary schools in the  German-speaking Community cover three levels, each lasting two years:

There are three streams of education in upper secondary education:

•    general education,

•    technical education,

•    vocational education,

Early secondary school graduation in the lower form (the first three years) and the upper form (the last three and/or four years) is irrelevant for the school structure today; however, it is still (up to the planned important amendments to certain previous versions of statutory regulations) important in other areas (e.g. determining teaching qualifications, questions about salary). Part-time education in the school environment is only offered in the two secondary schools that mainly provide studies in technical and vocational education. The educational objective of all secondary schools is to  develop the student's skills. The schools' mission is to make it possible for all pupils to acquire as many skills as they can, and to use these for the development of competences

The various fields of study of the three streams are formally differentiated by their actual objectives through other criteria.

As a result, there are two education paths: transitional education and qualification education.

•    Transitional education includes all the fields of study from the general education stream and a few fields of study from the technical stream.

•    Qualification education includes most fields of study from the technical stream and all fields of study from the vocational stream.

Transitional education fields of study mainly aim to prepare youths for university; however, there is also the option of entering into an active career with a lower level secondary school leaving certificate (due to the foundational decree of 31 August 1998, which is soon to be that will be abolished) or with a upper level secondary school leaving certificate. The fields of study or distribution of qualification education first aims to facilitate entrance into an active career by awarding a qualifications certificate after a four-year education, but still allows the option of going on to study at university (in vocational education only after the 7th year has been successfully completed).