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EACEA National Policies Platform


6. Education and Training

6.10 Current debates and reforms

Last update: 28 November 2023
  • School timetable's reform

The Government has adopted the decision to revise, from the start of the 2022-2023 school year, the school timetables for all types ans level compulsory education. The fundamental element of this reorganization of the annual school calendar is to alternate periods of seven weeks of learning with periods of two weeks off. This "7/2" model is recommended by experts in chronobiology in the extent to which it confers the best balance between the length of the learning times and the rest periods necessary for the proper development of children and young people.

This reform was debated in the public sphere for 30 years. 

  • Reform of the decree for higher education (décret paysage)

The reform of the 2013 decree for higher education (décret paysage) intends to reduce the observed lengthening of studies by setting tight deadlines for students to succeed in their studies. Concretely, any student will have a maximum of five years to obtain his bachelor's degree. This tightening of the conditions for success will be accompanied by "reinforced and targeted" assistance for success for students who encounter difficulties, in order to guide them towards success and graduation.

  • “Teaching Excellence Pact” 

The “Teaching Excellence Pact” is the ongoing education reform in the French-speaking Community.

Its aim is to define action priorities at a 10-year horizon to strengthen the quality in education, make it more efficient and more equal. The Pact gathers numerous measures which will be translated into decrees. They will be submitted separately at the Government for approbation. 

 It will be implemented on a 15 years period from 2017 until 2030.

The first reforms will begin with pre-primary school in 2017 and will gradually affect every school degree from lowest (pre-primary) to highest (last degree of secondary school). 

It is based on a consultation process which run from 2015 to mid-2016. The whole education’s sector has been consulted (teachers, headmasters, educators, parents, students). The finale version of the proposal has been presented to the Government in January 2016. 

The main measures of the proposition of the pact are divided into 5 axes:

Axe 1: A core curriculum strengthened 

- Strengthen the quality of pre-primary education (Increase employment for nurses and pre-primary education, etc.);

- Implement a core curriculum with 7 learning fields for the first 9 years of education. 

5 learning fields are specific: 

  1. Languages
  2. Artistic expression
  3. Mathematics, sciences and technical skills 
  4. Social and Human sciences, philosophy and citizenship 
  5. Physical education or education linked to well-being and health 

And there are 2 cross-disciplinary learning fields: 

  1. Creativity and spirit of enterprise (esprit d’entreprendre)
  2. Learning to learn and make choices.

This core curriculum will be implemented in 2020 for pupils from pre-primary school until 2nd grade of primary school. 

- Success the digital transition 

- Develop the educational approach of guidance 

- Reform the structure of the last degree of secondary school

Axe 2: Empower every educational actors 

Axe 3: Reform of dual vocational education and training

- Increase the value of dual vocational education and training. 

Axe 4: Towards an inclusive school 

Axe 5: Quality life at school 

The civil society is divided regarding the adoption of the pact. 

Effective changes since 2020

Since the start of the school year 2020-2021, school is compulsory from 5 instead of 6 eyars old previously. This measure aims at fighting school failure in primary school, by signposting potential learning difficulties. 

Preschool has now precise pedagogical objectives and the measure aiming at making school free is extended to the third  year of preschool. It means that preschool cannot claim for fees to purchase school's material (painting, etc.).

 A Regional Pact for Employment and Training

See chapter 3, section “debates and reforms”

  • “Move the Lines” and the Artistic and Cultural Education programme

See Chapter 8, section “debates and reforms”