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EACEA National Policies Platform


4. Social Inclusion

4.8 Current debates and reforms

Last update: 28 November 2023


Modernisation of secondary education

As mentioned in the general context section, Flemish pupils score generally high in international comparative research, but Flemish education also scores low on social inclusion and social mobility in education: The waterfall system, high school dropout, too many repeaters, inequality in educational opportunities...

On June 4, 2013, the Flemish Government approved the Master Plan for the reform of Secondary Education. This lists the strengths and areas for improvement in our secondary education system and outlines 71 measures for reforming secondary education. In 2015-2016 a lot of these measures are implemented (M-decree, dual learning, an action plan for school dropout...). At the end of May 2016, the Flemish Government approved two concept notes containing the key ideas for the modernization of Flemish secondary education that start the rollout of the final measures of the master plan. A first concept note (conceptnota) comprises measures for primary education and the first stage (year 1 and 2) of secondary education, while a second one addresses the second and third stage of secondary education (year 3 to 6/7). In the first stage of secondary education general education is strengthened. In addition to the general education there will be an optional component to explore new subjects or to deepen others. In the second and third stages eight study areas will be offered instead of the current 29 areas. The modernization of secondary education started on September 1, 2019 in the 1st year of secondary education and will now be introduced progressively - year by year – and will be fully implemented by 2026. More information on the modernisation of secondary education can be found in 6.10.