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Teaching and learning in vocational secondary education


6.Secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education

6.5Teaching and learning in vocational secondary education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Curriculum, subjects, number of hours

Vocational education takes place in the upper years of general secondary education.

The policy of ESG secondary education is defined by the ministry of Education, Children and Youth, which is counselled by the vocational coordination commission. This body coordinates inter alia the cooperation between the different stakeholders of vocational secondary education (educational institutions and professional chambers), the definition of guidelines on curricula and methodologies, the introduction of new programmes and the definition of conditions of admission.

Syllabuses are established by the national syllabus commissions, according to the same procedure as those of general secondary education. They are published annually on the Timetables and Syllabuses' website (Horaires et programmes).

Vocational education and training is performed in modules. There are three types of modules:

  1. Fundamental modules. These are compulsory. In the event of failure, they cannot be compensated and must be made up for in the following semester within the framework of remedial modules
  2. Additional modules, which are also mandatory. In case of failure they can be caught up later during the training.
  3. Optional and preparatory modules aimed at widening the VET field or prepare for possible higher studies.

The complete list of modules can be found on the ministry of Education's website (Formation professionnelle), where the number of hours is also defined according to each type of training and the level of certification.

Teaching methods and materials

Each institution may choose its manuals and textbooks among the materials defined by the Syllabus Commissions or the National Commissions for Vocational Education. A complete list of facultative and compulsory teaching manuals can be found on the website

As regards teaching methods, secondary schools are free to choose the methods they esteem relevant. The ministry of Education has, however, drawn up a number of guidelines and recommendations concerning transversal issues (for example, educational guidelines for language learning or ITC, a guide for integrating foreign newly arrived pupils or a guide for creating a positive classroom climate).