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The ministry of Education, Children and Youth has developed several initiatives that provide educational support for children and young people with special needs and behavioural problems. These aim at:
- Strengthening the linkage between schools and child and youth welfare services
- Fostering inclusive education approaches
- Creating specialised centres for children with behavioural problems and learning difficulties
- Reforming the commission of social inclusion (commission d'inclusion scolaire), which makes decisions on the educational needs of individuals.
In general, educational support is focused on three target groups:
- Pupils recently arrived in Luxembourg
- Pupils who encounter difficulties with at least one of the three official national languages (Luxembourgish, French, German)
- Pupils with special educational needs (e.g. physical or cognitive disabilities, early school leavers).
(For further details, see Eurydice article: Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education)
Pupils in secondary education are supported by specific programmes and measures adapted to their individual needs. Language education for pupils who lack language skills is an important aspect of educational support:
Recently arrived pupils aged 12 years and above and their parents are welcomed and guided by the Reception Desk for Newly Arrived Pupils (CASNA; Cellule d'accueil scolaire pour élèves nouveaux arrivants). Moreover, parents can request an intercultural mediation. The intercultural mediators speak a range of different languages and help with issues regarding schooling and education. They facilitate communication and understanding between pupils and parents on the one hand and education professionals on the other.
There are two specific classes for newly arrived pupils between 12 and 16 years of age:
- Children between 12 and 15 years of age arriving in the Grand Duchy with no knowledge of either German or French may be admitted to a welcome class (ACCU; classe d'accueil) where they are taught French intensively and introduced to Luxembourgish
- Children who are 16 years old may join an insertion class for young adults (CLIJA; classe d’insertion pour jeunes adultes), where they are taught French or German intensively and receive basic training to prepare them for general secondary education or for getting a job.
Pupils in this age group who already have a very good academic level, but little or no mastery of the languages taught in the Grand Duchy, may join an insertion class in general secondary education.
There are two types of insertion classes in secondary school:
- For pupils with very little or no knowledge of French: 'STF' classes (secondaire technique à apprentissage intensif du français)
- For pupils with very little or no knowledge of German: 'STA' classes (secondaire technique à apprentissage intensif de l’allemand).
The international baccalaureate (IB) is a general baccalaureate degree that is recognised as a qualification equivalent to the secondary school leaving diploma. Classes leading to an IB in 'classic' secondary education are targeted at pupils who have recently arrived in Luxembourg and who have opted for 'classic' secondary instruction in French or English.
Specific measures and programmes focus on ELET (see: 6.3 Preventing early leaving from education and training [ELET]).
Information brochures on schooling in Luxembourg are provided by the ministry of Education, Children and Youth in several languages for pupils with different language backgrounds (see: brochures on the ministry's website).
Citizenship education is incorporated in curricula for general and vocational education at the upper secondary level. It is taught as a separate subject. The compulsory period of citizenship education is rather short in Luxembourg (3 years). The designated teaching time for citizenship education is specified only for upper secondary education. The currently recommended teaching time is 30 hours per year (European Commission, 2017). The objectives of citizenship education at upper secondary level are (European Commission, 2017):
- Developing political literacy (basic facts, key concepts)
- Acquiring critical thinking and analytical skills
- Developing values, attitudes and behaviour (sense of respect, tolerance, solidarity, etc.)
- Encouraging active participation and engagement at the school level
- Encouraging active participation and engagement in the local community.
Furthermore, the Training Institute of National Education (IFEN; Institut de formation de l'Éducation nationale) offers training courses for elementary and secondary school teachers in civic education.
Teachers, trainers, non-formal education workers and youth workers are offered the opportunity to receive training and certification related to the development of social and civic competences.
The National Youth Service is the main provider of training opportunities in the field of non-formal education (for further information on the various training activities, see: agenda.snj.lu). The majority of measures and initiatives within the field of formal and non-formal education are funded by the ministry of Education, Children and Youth. Since the start of the 2018/19 school year, there is no charge for the required textbooks for students at secondary school and in vocational training. This offer leads to savings of up to € 450 per family.