Education System in Belgium, French Community


 EducationSchool/LevelGradesAgeYearsNotes
PrimaryElementary School6–126Enseignement Primaire -Certificate/diploma awarded: Certificat d'Etudes de Base (CEB)
MiddleEnseignement Secondaire (Premier Degré)12–142Certificate/diploma awarded: Certificat d'Etudes de Base (CEB) at the end of the 1st or 2nd year if not obtained at the end of the primary cycle Secondary-Orientation/guidance
SecondaryEnseignement Secondaire (2e Degré)14–162Certificate/diploma awarded: Certificat d'Enseignement Secondaire du Deuxième Degré
SecondaryEnseignement secondaire (3ème degré)16–1822 year program: Certificate/diploma awarded: Certificat d'Enseignement secondaire supérieur général, technique ou artistique (CESS); Certificat de Qualification
SecondaryEnseignement secondaire 3ème degré - 3 year Program16–193Certificate/diploma awarded: Certificat d'études de l'enseignement secondaire professionnel; Certificat de Qualification Pre-university
SecondaryPréparation au Supérieur18–191At present, secondary education is divided into three levels of two years each. Secondary schools provide general education, technical education, professional education and artistic education.
VocationalHautes Ecole33-4 years of study. - n-university level post-secondary studies (technical/vocational type): Higher education at Hautes Ecoles comprises eight fields: Agronomy; Arts; Economics; Paramedical fields; Pedagogy; Social studies; Technology; and Translation and Interpretation.
TertiaryBachelier3University level first stage. Offered at Universities, Hautes Ecoles, Instituts supérieurs d'architecture, and Ecoles supérieures des Arts.
TertiaryMaster1–4offered at Universities, Hautes Ecoles, Instituts supérieurs d'architecture, and Ecoles supérieures des Arts.\ leads to the title of Master after one or two years' study and 60 or 120 ECTS credits; of Médecin after four years' study and 240 ECTS credits; and of Médecin vétérinaire after three years' study and 180 ECTS credits. ; médecin; médecin vétérinaire - University level second stage
TertiaryDoctorat 1DES, DEA, Doctorat - University level third stage Offered at Universities. Includes 1 year of doctoral training & 60 ECTS credits toward research training certificate, preparation of doctoral thesis & 180 ECTS credits toward title of Doctor after thesis defence. DEA adn DES diplomas will no longer be provided to comply with Bologna reform.

Primary Education

The French-speaking region maintains a separate education system from the rest of Belgium more closely aligned to French academic norms. School is compulsory from age 6 to 18. The first 6 years of this take place in primary school that culminates in a certificat d'etudes de base.

Secondary Education

There are 4 kinds of secondary schools, namely general, technical, vocational and artistic. In all three cases the education programs unfold through 3, two-year phases called 1st, 2nd and 3rd degrees.

Vocational Education

Ongoing education opportunities are available at lifelong education centers, and most universities. These may lead to lower-level certificates and diplomas.

Tertiary Education

Belgium-French EducationHigher education takes place on 2 levels. The lower of these two are called hautes ecoles, instituts supérieures, and ecoles supérieures. Universities offer the normal range of bachelor’s, masters and doctorate degrees.



Liége University was established in 1817 and continues to serve 20,000 French-speaking students through 4,300 employees at 9 faculties, 2 schools, 1 institute and 45 departments.


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