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Belgium
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Diagram of the education system



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Key
  • Diagram of education system in country language

  • Old diagram using ISCED 1997 classification

  • Methodological notes for this diagram
  • Education system in Belgium

    Belgium
    Overview of the education system (EAG 2015)
  • In Belgium, education starts relatively early, with more than 50% of all 2-year-olds enrolled in pre-primary programmes. In 2013, 98% of 4 year-old children were enrolled in early childhood education (OECD average: 88%). Belgium has one of the highest enrolment rates of 15-19 year-olds among OECD and partner countries with available data, after Ireland, Slovenia and Latvia. Only 8% young people in this age group in Belgium were not enrolled in education in 2013.
  • Some 30% of 18-year-olds are already enrolled in tertiary education (OECD average: 17%) and 96% of new entrants to bachelor's programmes are younger than 25 (only Korea has a higher rate: 98%. New entrants to master's programmes are also relatively young: 95% are under 30, the highest rate among OECD countries (OECD average: 73%).
  • International students make up 17% of new entrants into Belgian tertiary education. Among countries with available data, only Austria (23%), Iceland (18%), Luxembourg (41%) and New Zealand (26%) have higher rates. Although Belgium attracts many international students to doctoral programmes, only 0.5% of nationals are expected to start a doctoral programme during their lifetime (OECD average: 1.7%).
  • Belgium has relatively low students-to-teaching-staff ratios. In secondary education, the ratio is 10:1 (OECD average: 13:1). But teachers in Belgium have relatively above-average salaries. Both the Flemish and French Communities of Belgium pay above-OECD average salaries to teachers at pre-primary, primary, lower secondary and upper secondary levels, and salaries remain above the OECD average throughout teachers' careers. Upper secondary teachers at the top of the salary scale in the Flemish and French Communities earn 76% and 75% more, respectively, than those starting out, compared to 66% more on average across OECD countries.
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    The following list displays indicators for which your selected country shows the highest and lowest values among countries. The list can be sorted by level of education or by age group. All rankings are calculated including available data from OECD and partner countries. Find out more about the methodology here.

    Show indicators for which your country ranks among the top or bottom: Sort by:

    Educational outcomes

    Belgium has one of the largest shares of 25-64 year-old men whose highest education level is a master's or equivalent tertiary education degree. (16 %, rank 3/33 ) Download Indicator

    Participation in education

    The share of graduates from upper secondary vocational programmes who are younger than 25 is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (100 %, rank 6/31 ) Download Indicator

    Belgium has one of the highest percentages of young people expected to obtain a bachelor's or an equivalent degree during their lifetime. (42 Index, rank 10/34 ) Download Indicator

    Excluding mobile students, Belgium has one of the highest percentages of young people expected to obtain a bachelor's or an equivalent degree before the age of 30. (39 Index, rank 2/22 ) Download Indicator

    Excluding mobile students, Belgium has one of the lowest percentages of young people expected to complete a doctorate or an equivalent education during their lifetime. (0 %, rank 22/24 ) Download Indicator

    Compared to other OECD and partner countries, Belgium has a small share of female graduates from doctoral or equivalent programmes. (42 Index, rank 32/40 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of international students among graduates from master's or equivalent programmes is high compared to other OECD countries and partner economies. (26 %, rank 5/24 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of international students among graduates from doctoral or equivalent programmes is high compared to other OECD countries and partner economies. (46 Index, rank 4/24 ) Download Indicator

    The enrolment rate among 20-29 year-olds in Belgium is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (34 %, rank 5/37 ) Download Indicator

    The enrolment rate among 15-19 year-olds in Belgium is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (92 %, rank 4/37 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of upper secondary students enrolled in vocational or pre-vocational programmes is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (60 %, rank 8/38 ) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the number of expected years in formal education (all levels combined) between the ages of 5 and 39 is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (19 Years, rank 6/39 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of three-year-olds in early childhood education in Belgium is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (98 %, rank 3/37 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of four-year-olds in early childhood and primary education in Belgium is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (98 %, rank 7/38 ) Download Indicator

    The share of new entrants younger than 25 in bachelor's or equivalent programmes is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (96 %, rank 3/31 ) Download Indicator

    The expected number of years in part-time education for 5-39 year-old men in Belgium is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (2 Years, rank 3/29 ) Download Indicator

    The expected number of years in part-time education for 5-39 year-old women in Belgium is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (3 Years, rank 2/29 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of students in government-dependent private tertiary educational institutions is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (57 %, rank 5/33 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of young nationals expected to enter a bachelor's or equivalent programme during their lifetime is comparatively high. (62 %, rank 6/22 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of 25-years-old adults who enter tertiary education in Belgium is relatively high. (94 %, rank 1/26 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of international students entering tertiary education in Belgium is relatively high. (17 %, rank 5/18 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of students younger than 30-years-old entering master's or equivalent programmes in Belgium is comparatively high. (96 %, rank 2/31 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of students younger than 30-years-old entering doctorate or equivalent programmes in Belgium is relatively high. (77 %, rank 5/33 ) Download Indicator

    The share of international students entering doctorate or equivalent programmes in Belgium is relatively large. (48 %, rank 3/22 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of young nationals expected to enter bachelor's or equivalent programmes before turning 25-years-old is among the highest of all OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (60 %, rank 3/20 ) Download Indicator

    Fields of education

    The proportion of female graduates in health and welfare from upper secondary vocational programmes is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries. (45 %, rank 4/30 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of male graduates in health and welfare from upper secondary vocational programmes is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries. (10 %, rank 1/30 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of female tertiary graduates in sciences is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries. (29 %, rank 32/36 ) Download Indicator

    Classroom environment

    In Belgium, the ratio of students to teaching staff in bachelor's and tertiary advanced research programmes is one of the highest compared to other OECD and partner countries with available data. (21 Ratio, rank 5/27 ) Download Indicator

    Resources for education

    Annual expenditure per student from primary to tertiary level is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (12135 USD Equivalent, rank 8/37 ) Download Indicator

    Annual expenditure per primary student is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (9581 USD Equivalent, rank 10/38 ) Download Indicator

    Annual expenditure per secondary student is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (12025 USD Equivalent, rank 7/38 ) Download Indicator

    Annual expenditure per student for core and ancillary services, from primary to below-tertiary institutions is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (11007 USD Equivalent, rank 6/39 ) Download Indicator

    The share of private expenditure on all levels below tertiary education is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (4 %, rank 29/36 ) Download Indicator

    The share of private expenditure on tertiary education is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (10 %, rank 30/35 ) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP is comparatively high. (6 %, rank 7/38 ) Download Indicator

    Public expenditure on pre-primary educational institutions is relatively high compared to other OECD and partner countries with available data. (96 %, rank 3/26 ) Download Indicator

    The share of public expenditure on tertiary educational institutions is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (90 %, rank 6/35 ) Download Indicator

    The change between 2005 and 2012 in private expenditure on tertiary educational institutions is one of the largest compared to other OECD and partner countries with available data. (135 Index, rank 9/23 ) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, public expenditure on primary through tertiary educational institutions as a percentage of GDP is comparatively high. (6 %, rank 4/38 ) Download Indicator

    Between 2010 and 2012, the change in expenditure on educational institutions (from primary to tertiary level) as a percentage of GDP, excluding subsidies, is among the biggest of all OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (101 Index, rank 8/30 ) Download Indicator

    Between 2010 and 2012, the change in public expenditure on primary through tertiary educational institutions is comparatively big. (103 Index, rank 10/30 ) Download Indicator

    Compared with other OECD and partner countries with available data, Belgium has one of the largest shares of public expenditure on primary through tertiary educational institutions. (95 %, rank 5/34 ) Download Indicator

    Teachers

    The number of students per teacher in tertiary institutions is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (21 Students, rank 6/28 ) Download Indicator

    The number of students per teacher in primary schools is one of the smallest among OECD countries and partner countries with available data. (13 Students, rank 30/39 ) Download Indicator

    The number of students per teacher in secondary schools is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (10 Students, rank 31/37 ) Download Indicator

    Who the teachers are

    The percentage of primary teachers younger than 40 is especially high. (53 %, rank 7/36 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of lower secondary teachers younger than 40 is especially high. (46 %, rank 7/35 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of upper secondary teachers younger than 40 is especially high. (43 %, rank 9/34 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of secondary teachers younger than 40 is especially high. (44 %, rank 9/36 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of secondary teachers older than 50 is especially low. (3 %, rank 31/36 ) Download Indicator

    The share of teachers younger than 30 in secondary schools is among the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (16 %, rank 6/35 ) Download Indicator

    Economic and social outcomes

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-olds without upper secondary education is comparatively low. (48 %, rank 31/37 ) Download Indicator

    The unemployment rate among 25-34 year-olds with below upper secondary education is comparatively high. (25 %, rank 8/37 ) Download Indicator

    Compared with other OECD and partner countries, the earnings of men without an upper secondary education are relatively high compared to those of men with an upper secondary education. (87 Index, rank 4/34 ) Download Indicator

    Compared with other OECD and partner countries, the earnings of women without an upper secondary education are relatively high compared to those of women with an upper secondary education. (83 Index, rank 5/34 ) Download Indicator

    Compared with other OECD and partner countries, the earnings of adults without an upper secondary education are relatively high compared to those of adults with an upper secondary or a post-secondary non-tertiary education. (87 Index, rank 4/34 ) Download Indicator

    Compared with other OECD and partner countries, the difference in earnings between 25-64 year-old men with tertiary education and those with upper secondary education is quite low. (138 Index, rank 30/34 ) Download Indicator

    Compared with other OECD and partner countries, the proportional difference in earnings between 25-64 year-old adults with tertiary education and those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is quite low. (141 Index, rank 28/34 ) Download Indicator

    Earnings of women as a percentage of men's earnings (25-64 year-olds with upper secondary education and income from employment) are one of the highest among countries with available data. (82 %, rank 5/33 ) Download Indicator

    Earnings of women as a percentage of men's earnings (25-64 year-olds with tertiary education and income from employment) are one of the highest among countries with available data. (83 %, rank 1/33 ) Download Indicator

    Earnings of women as a percentage of men's earnings (25-64 year-olds with income from employment) are one of the highest among countries with available data. (87 %, rank 4/33 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of upper secondary graduates in health and welfare is one of the highest among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (27 %, rank 2/30 ) Download Indicator


    The data table will display up to six selected countries.
    General findings
    • On average, over 80% of tertiary-educated people are employed compared with over 70% of people with an upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education and less than 60% of people with below upper secondary education.
    • Across OECD countries, compared with adults with upper secondary education with income from employment, those with a tertiary degree earn about 60% more.
    • Adults with higher qualifications were more likely to report desirable social outcomes, including good or excellent health, participation in volunteer activities, interpersonal trust, and political efficacy.
    • First generation tertiary-educated adults and tertiary-educated adults whose parents also hold a tertiary degree share similar employment rates and pursue similar fields of study.
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    • OECD countries have made significant progress in narrowing gender gaps in educational attainment, pay and labour market participation. Nevertheless, in tertiary education, young women are still under-represented in the fields of mathematics, physical science and computing.
    • One in five 20-24 year-olds is neither employed nor in education or training. In addition, young people with lower attainment levels are more likely to be unemployed than their counterparts with higher attainment level.
    • Participation in employer-sponsored education is strongly related to proficiency levels in key skills such as literacy and numeracy as well as to educational attainment. About 57% of employed adults with good skills in ICT and problem solving participate in employer-sponsored formal and/or non-formal education, while only 9% of adults who cannot use a computer and lack of problem solving skills do.
    • When parents' education is taken into account, adults with tertiary education are 23 percentage points more likely than those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education as their highest level of education to be among the top 25% in monthly earnings.
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    • In a majority of OECD countries, education now begins for most children well before they are 5 years old. Some 74% of 3-year-olds are enrolled in early childhood education across OECD countries.
    • The average primary school class in OECD countries has 21 students, and this average increases to 24 in lower secondary education. Larger classes are correlated with less time spent on actual teaching and learning and with more time spent on keeping order in the classroom. Specifically, one additional student added to an average-size class is associated with a 0.5 percentage-point decrease in time spent on teaching and learning activities.
    • Graduating from upper secondary education has become increasingly important in all countries. Analysing countries for which comparable trends data are available for 2005 and 2013, the first-time graduation rate at the upper secondary level increased from 79% to 84%.
    • Across OECD countries, 77% of individuals with a vocational upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary qualification are employed - a rate that is 7 percentage points higher than that among individuals with a general upper secondary education as their highest qualification.
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    • Even though tertiary attainment is increasing, entry rate to more advanced tertiary degrees such as master's and doctoral levels tend to be lower than bachelor. More than one in two students is expected to enter a bachelor degree programme, compared to about one in five for master degree programmes
    • In most OECD and partner countries, labour market opportunities are better for adults with a master's degree or equivalent than for adults with a bachelor's degree.
    • Doctoral students tend to be much more internationally mobile than other students in tertiary education, and they are also more likely to study sciences and engineering. Women are still under-represented in doctoral programmes. In most OECD countries in 2013, around 45% of advanced.
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    • On average, OECD countries spend USD 10 220 per student per year from primary through tertiary education, with large variations between levels of education : Educational institutions spend an average of 1.2 times more per secondary student and 1.8 times more per tertiary student than per primary student.
    • Public funding accounts for 83% of funds for educational institutions from primary to tertiary education; varying from 91% for primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary educational institutions to 70% for tertiary institutions.
    • OECD countries spend an average of 5.3% of GDP on educational institutions from primary to tertiary education.
    • The share of private funding in tertiary education is increasing over the last 10 years, and the differentiation of tuition fees is increasing: About two thirds of private funding of tertiary institutions comes from households, through tuition fees.
    • More than 60% of current expenditure relates to compensation of teaching staff at primary and secondary levels. In most countries, salaries increased less since 2005 than between 2000 and 2005, and, only half of OECD countries show an increase in real terms between 2008 and 2013.
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    • Pre-primary and primary teachers earn 79% of the salary of a similarly-educated, 25-64 year-old full-time, full-year worker, lower secondary teachers are paid 81%, and upper secondary teachers are paid 83% of that benchmark salary.
    • Public school teachers teach an average of 1 005 hours per year at the pre-primary level, 772 hours at the primary level, 694 hours at the lower secondary level, and 643 hours at the upper secondary level of education. In countries with available data, the amount of teaching time in primary, lower secondary and upper secondary education remained largely unchanged between 2000 and 2013.
    • The teaching workforce across OECD countries is ageing with the proportion of secondary teachers aged 50 or older climbed by 3 percentages points between 2005 and 2013, on average among countries with comparable data.
    • Teacher appraisal is legislated/required by policy or regulation in three-quarters of OECD and partner countries with available data.
    • Despite the increased use of ICT in a student's life, the use of ICTs in learning and pedagogy remains scarce. This may be because, among other things, teachers feel they are not sufficiently skilled in using ICT.
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    Note: These values should be interpreted with care since they are influenced by countries' specific contexts and trade-offs. In education, there is often no simple most- or least-efficient model. For instance, the share of private expenditure in education must be read against other measures designed to mitigate inequities, such as loans and grants; longer learning time is an opportunity to convey more and better content to students, but may hinder investments in other important areas. If you want further information on the nature of different variables, please take the time to read the analysis and contextual information, available at the website for each publication.
    All rankings for individual variables are compiled on the basis of OECD and G20 countries for which data are available. The OECD average includes only OECD countries which are listed here: http://www.oecd.org/about/membersandpartners/

    *TALIS averages are based on all countries participating in the TALIS survey, including partner countries and economies. This explains the difference between the OECD average and the TALIS average. Data from the TALIS survey and Education at a Glance (EAG) may differ. See Annex E of the TALIS technical report and Annex 3 of EAG for more details about the data collections.

    For additional notes, please refer to annexes in the list of links below the introductory country profile text.