The education system
There are four different networks of schools in Belgium operating according to different principles:
- Community education. This is organised by the two language communities (Dutch-speaking and French-speaking) and is the equivalent of state education in other countries. It is a neutral system in which the schools respect the religious, philosophical and ideological beliefs of the parents and children.
- Official subsidised education. This is organised by the municipal and provincial authorities.
- Free subsidised education. This is organised by private people or organisations. It consists mainly of religious schools, the majority being Catholic, though there are also Protestant, Jewish, Orthodox and Islamic schools. This category also includes free non-religious schools. This includes schools based on a particular educational method, such as Rudolf Steiner Schools and Freinet Schools.
- Private schools. A small number of schools are not recognised by the government and receive no financial support from the state. This category includes European and international schools. In some cases, private schools allow themselves to be inspected by the Belgian authorities, and issue students with certificates that are equivalent to official Belgian diplomas.
As a bilingual city, Brussels has both Dutch-language and French-language schools.
Need to know more about Dutch-language education?
For general information, visit www.ond.vlaanderen.be/english/ or call this number: +32 2 553 50 70 from abroad and this number:1700 (free of charge) from Belgium. For more information on Dutch-language education in Brussels, visit www.onderwijsinbrussel.be or call 02 563 04 80. For information municipal schools in your neighbourhood, contact the education service in your town hall.
Need to know more about French-language education?
The website http://www.enseignement.be/ provides extensive information on primary, secondary and higher education in the French-speaking sector. The site http://www.ecoles.cfwb.be/ provides links to educational websites, including most French-speaking schools in Belgium. For information on municipal schools in your neighbourhood, contact the education service in your town hall.
Need to know more about international education?
- For information on European schools, visit www.eursc.eu.
- General information on international education, visit http://www.ecis.org/
Other useful websites :
- http://www.siep.be/ (Service d’Information des Etudes et Professions)
- http://www.cediep.be/ (Centre de Documentation et d'Information sur les Etudes et les Professions)