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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

- General methodological notes for ISCED diagrams

Education system in Belgium

Belgium
Overview of the education system (EAG 2017)
  • One-quarter of new entrants into tertiary education enrol in health and welfare programmes in Belgium, a higher share than in any other OECD country. These fields are particularly attractive to women and international students: women represent 72% of new entrants to health and welfare programmes, which are also chosen by 34% of international students.
  • Belgium has the highest enrolment rate in pre-primary education for 3-5 year-olds, with about 98% of them being enrolled in early childhood education.
  • New entrants into tertiary education in Belgium are among the youngest in Europe, and enjoy one of the highest relative employment advantages across OECD countries.
  • Even though up to 50% of students enrolled in upper secondary education in Belgium are in vocational programmes, its combined school- and work-based programmes are underdeveloped, with only 3% of students at that level attending them.
  • Teachers in Belgium are relatively young and earn relatively high salaries compared to those in other 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.

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    Educational outcomes

    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. (0.4 %, rank 23/27 ) Download Indicator

    Participation in education

    Compared to other OECD and partner countries, Belgium has a small share of female graduates from doctoral or equivalent programmes. (42.2 %, rank 31/40 ) 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. (91.7 %, rank 9/42 ) 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. (98.1 %, rank 4/42 ) Download Indicator

    Classroom environment

    The number of students per teacher in tertiary institutions is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (22.82 Ratio, rank 4/32 ) Download Indicator

    The number of students per teacher in secondary schools is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (9.77 Ratio, rank 34/37 ) 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. (12796 USD Equivalent, rank 9/40 ) Download Indicator

    Annual expenditure per primary student is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (10216 USD Equivalent, rank 10/39 ) Download Indicator

    Annual expenditure per secondary student is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (13118 USD Equivalent, rank 5/40 ) Download Indicator

    The share of private expenditure on tertiary education is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (12.1 %, rank 31/38 ) 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. (129 Index, rank 3/29 ) 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. (102 Index, rank 5/34 ) Download Indicator

    Economic and social outcomes

    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. (140 Index, rank 30/37 ) Download Indicator

    Compared with other OECD and partner countries, the difference in earnings between 25-64 year-old women with tertiary education and those with upper secondary education is quite low. (136 Index, rank 31/37 ) 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. (135 Index, rank 31/37 ) Download Indicator

    Compared with other OECD and partner countries, the proportional difference in earnings between 25-64 year-old adults with a bachelor's or equivalent degree and those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is low. (117 Index, rank 27/30 ) Download Indicator

    Compared with other OECD and partner countries, the proportional difference in earnings between 25-64 year-old adults with a master's or equivalent degree and those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is low. (157 Index, rank 25/30 ) Download Indicator


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    General findings
    • In most OECD countries, the most popular tertiary degrees held by adults are in business, administration or law. However, interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) grows with higher levels of education, with almost double the share of students graduating from these fields at doctoral level than at bachelor’s level in 2015.
    • STEM-related fields tend to benefit from higher employment rates on average across OECD countries though inequities persist: natural sciences, mathematics and statistics graduates are more likely to have similar employment rates as arts and humanities graduates – both lower than the rates enjoyed by engineers or ICT specialists.
    • Gender parity is still a distant dream for some fields of study. At the tertiary level, women still represent approximately only one in four entrants to engineering, manufacturing and construction, but three out of four entrants in health and welfare on average across OECD countries.
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    • On average across OECD countries, expenditure has been increasing at a much higher rate than student enrolments at all levels, particularly tertiary. Total expenditure on tertiary educational institutions increased by more than twice the rate of students over the same period, reflecting the priority given by government and society to higher education.
    • While public expenditure on educational institutions has clearly been rising, it did not keep up with the increase in GDP between 2010 and 2014 on average across OECD countries. This has led to a decrease of 2% in public expenditure on educational institutions as a percentage of GDP over the same period.
    • The share of public funding is significantly higher at lower levels of education than for tertiary education on average across OECD countries. While the public sector still provides 91% of the funds at primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary levels, it only provides for 70% of total expenditure at tertiary level.
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    • The teaching profession is getting older, particularly at higher levels of education. On average across OECD countries, 35% of primary to secondary teachers were at least 50 years old in 2015, up 3 percentage points from 2005.
    • The profession is still largely dominated by women, who make up seven out of ten teachers on average across OECD countries. However gender parity improves at higher levels of education – while 97% of teachers at the pre-primary level are women, they make up 43% at the tertiary level.
    • Primary and secondary teachers’ salaries are low compared to other similarly educated full-time workers. While salaries increase with the level of education taught, they still range between 78% and 94% of the salaries of full-time workers with tertiary education on average across OECD countries.
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    • In a majority of OECD countries, education now begins for most children well before they are five years old – 78% of three-year-olds are enrolled in early childhood education on average across OECD countries.
    • The proportion of children enrolled in private early childhood education programmes is considerably greater than the private enrolment shares at primary and secondary levels. On average, 55% of children in early childhood educational development programmes and 33% in pre-primary programmes attend private institutions.
    • Public expenditure accounts for 83% of all resources allocated for pre-primary education and 71% of funding for early childhood educational development.
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    • Based on current patterns, it is estimated that on average across OECD countries, 80% of today’s young people will graduate from upper secondary education before the age of 25.
    • General upper secondary education programmes are more popular than vocational programmes: 57% of 15-19 year-old students are enrolled in general programmes, compared to 43% in vocational programmes.
    • Adults with upper secondary as highest attainment level have lower employment advantages and are least likely to recover from economic downturns that those that have attained tertiary education.
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    • Based on current patterns of graduation, an average of 49% of today’s young people across OECD countries are expected to graduate from tertiary education at least once in their lifetime.
    • People’s relative earning advantage increases with their level of tertiary education. On average across OECD countries, those with a short-cycle tertiary degree earn only about 22% more than those with upper secondary education, while those with a master’s, doctoral or equivalent degree earn about twice as much.
    • Students become more mobile as they reach higher tertiary education levels. International students account for only 5.6% of total enrolment in tertiary programmes, but over a quarter of enrolments at doctoral level across OECD countries.
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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 2017 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.