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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Teaching and learning in vocational secondary education

Belgium - German-Speaking Community

6.Secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education

6.8Teaching and learning in vocational secondary education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Curriculum, subjects, number of hours

Skill guides and curricula

The skill guides (Rahmenpläne), drawn up by the Ministry of the German-speaking Community, are the main instruments for planning, realization and evaluation of lessons in all schools, at all levels and for different subjects. The skill guides contain the objectives to be reached by the pupils (competence expectations), the essential skills (core competencies) and the content, broken down on the different levels. They can help as well in the didactic-methodical realization. The skill guides are the basic for the creation of curricula (written by educational networks) and in-school plans (written by teacher teams). The teachers are required to carry out their pedagogic work on the basis of the skill guides.

On 29 April 2013, the skill guides for the second and third level of the secondary education were adopted. For the vocational secondary education, only a skill guide for Sport is available. It exists also a skill guide for the 7th year of vocational education in the option “nursing auxiliary”.

The cult carriers must present the curricula for religion and non-denominational moral teaching to the Ministry for approval. For the subject German as language of instruction, the community education system (GUW) has written a curriculum. For all the other subjects, the schools organized by the German-speaking Community follow the curricula of the French speaking community. The schools of the free subsidized education system (FSUW) use the curricula of the free subsidized education system of the French speaking community.


The vocational education system offers the following options:

  • Polytechnic
  • Business administration
  • Social, Family and medical services
  • Wood / carpenter
  • Carpenter and joiner
  • Cooking
  • Hotel Industry
  • Hair care
  • Metal Structures
  • Cutting machines
  • Agronomy
  • Electrotechnic
  • Electro installations
  • Mechanic
  • Electromechanics
  • Pneumatic
  • Wood manufacturing
  • Interior decoration - wood
  • Decoration - Art
  • Industrial clothing industry, sales, tailoring and alterations
  • Nursing auxiliary

With some exceptions (languages ​​and religion/ethics) – that will be discussed in more depth later – the school maintaining body decides on the selection and number of hours of the individual subjects. The school is committed to offer options.

Language learning

The Decree of 19 April 2004 on the transfer and the use of languages ​​in education specifies that German is the language of instruction. In the secondary education up to 50% of the lessons (all subjects with the exception of modern languages​​) can be granted in the first foreign language French. Except for the first stage of secondary education, where this percentage may increase to 65%. This is only possible if in the concerning schools the lesson is organized so that a student can choose between this form of education and an education with a percentage of maximum 50% of subjects in French.

French is the first foreign language in general secondary education. Depending on the form of school and the stage, other languages ​​can be taught. The school maintaining body has to determine them as part of the study program.

The decree also determines that the temporal extent of German teaching in general secondary education is at least 3 lessons (of 50 minutes) and the extent of French teaching is also at least 2 lessons (of 50 minutes).

Religion / non-denominational moral teaching

In Belgium, all public schools are required to offer the choice between a religious education and a religiously uncommitted moral instruction. The parents or legal guardians decide upon enrollment of their child in a school of the official educational system, whether the child follows a religious education or education in non-denominational moral teaching. This requires a written statement of the parents or guardians.

The weekly timetable includes in secondary education two lessons (each 50 minutes) either for religious instruction or for the non-denominational moral teaching.

Teaching methods and materials

The Basic Decree of 31 August 1998 provides that each school maintaining bodies are free to decide on a proposal from the Pedagogical Council, on the basic didactic and pedagogical methods in their schools.

In the upper secondary vocational education it is usual that activities are linked with companies and firms. A part of the education is also the practical training in firms.  This collaboration with resident companies appears also in the common procedure of the schools and the companies in the purchase of new equipment.

The development of a uniform policy for homework practice in the form of a guideline was currently underway.