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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki


6. Education and Training

6.10 Current debates and reforms

  • “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” 

An important reform regarding the academic year is about to come into effect. 

At the moment, pre-school, primary and secondary schools academic year commences on 1st September and ends on 30th June. There are also vacations/breaks between the school terms. The Minister of Education is willing to change this school routine on a new basis: 7 weeks of school separated by 2 weeks of holidays each in November, December, February and April. Thereby, the summer holidays would be shortened of 2 weeks and the academic year would start at the end of August and would end the first week of July.

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

The one in favour of this reform defend a better awareness of a child's well-being.

Questions still remain regarding the gap it would create with schools based in Flanders, issues with the public transports, or with leisure activitiés (youth movements for instance).