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Belgium
Overview of the education system (EAG 2021)
  • In Belgium, men are more likely than women to pursue a vocational track. In 2019, 52% of upper secondary vocational graduates were men, compared to 55% on average across OECD countries.
  • In Belgium, 56% of 25-34 year-old women had a tertiary qualification in 2020 compared to 41% of their male peers.
  • In 2018, Belgium invested a total of USD 13 322 per student on primary to tertiary institutions compared to USD 10 454 on average across OECD countries. This represents 5.6% of GDP, compared to 4.9% on average across OECD countries.
  • In 2019, 98% of 3-5 year-olds were enrolled in early childhood education and care programmes and primary education in Belgium, compared to 88% on average across OECD countries.
  • Statutory salaries of teachers with maximum qualifications at the top of their salary scales are 73% to 119% higher than those of teachers with the minimum qualifications at the start of their career at pre-primary (ISCED 02), primary and general lower and upper secondary levels in Flemish Community and 86% to 118% higher in the French Community of Belgium compared to 86% - 91% on average.
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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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    Attainment

    The level of short-cycle tertiary attainment among 25-34 year-olds is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (0.6 %, rank 32/35 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Participation in education

    The enrolment rate among 15-19 year-olds in Belgium is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (94.2 %, rank 1/43 , 2019) 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. (97.9 %, rank 5/41 , 2019) 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. (98.3 %, rank 5/41 , 2019) 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. (57.4 %, rank 4/22 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The percentage of students in independent private tertiary educational institutions is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (0.2 %, rank 27/30 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The percentage of 3-5 year-old children in early childhood and primary education in Belgium is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (98.3 %, rank 5/41 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The share of students enrolled in school- and work-based programmes among all upper secondary students enrolled in vocational programmes is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (6.2 %, rank 20/22 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The share of students enrolled in programmes providing full completion and access to tertiary education among all students enrolled in upper secondary vocational programmes is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (22.6 %, rank 32/35 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Graduation expectancy

    The percentage of today's young people expected to obtain a master's or an equivalent degree before the age of 35 is one of the highest among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (23.5 %, rank 5/29 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Graduation

    The share of doctorate graduates in public institutions is relatively low in Belgium. (45.3 %, rank 32/35 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the share of first-time graduates in vocational programmes at post-secondary non-tertiary level is comparatively important . (100 %, rank 1/24 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Graduation by gender

    In Belgium, the share of female doctoral graduates in the field of Natural sciences, mathematics and statistics is relatively low. (35.7 %, rank 43/44 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the share of female tertiary graduates in the field of sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (8.1 %, rank 36/38 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The share of male tertiary graduates in the field of health and welfare is relatively high in Belgium. (17.9 %, rank 1/43 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the percentage of female post-secondary non-tertiary graduates in the field of business, administration and law is relatively small. (50.8 %, rank 21/24 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the share of female post-secondary non-tertiary graduates in the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (4.7 %, rank 22/24 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the share of female post-secondary non-tertiary graduates in the field of services is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (41.3 %, rank 21/25 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Graduation by age

    In Belgium, the average age of post-secondary non-tertiary graduates from vocational programmes is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data (21.5 Years, rank 23/23 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the percentage of first-time bachelor's graduates younger than 30 is relatively high. (95.8 %, rank 2/31 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the percentage of first-time master's graduates younger than 35 is relatively high. (96.7 %, rank 1/29 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the percentage of first-time doctorate graduates younger than 35 is relatively high. (80.8 %, rank 3/29 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Graduation by field of education

    The percentage of tertiary graduates in the field of information and communication technologies is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (2.2 %, rank 41/43 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The percentage of tertiary graduates in the field of health and welfare is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (27.8 %, rank 1/44 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The share of doctoral graduates in the field of information and communication technologies in Belgium is relatively small. (0.4 %, rank 42/43 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Fields of education

    The share of female who enter tertiary education in the field of natural sciences, mathematics and statistics is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (39.8 %, rank 35/36 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The share of female who enter tertiary education in the field of information and communication technologies (ICTs) is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (11.2 %, rank 35/35 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the share of new entrants in short-cycle tertiary programmes in the field of arts and humanities is relatively small. (0 %, rank 31/33 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the share of new entrants in short-cycle tertiary programmes in the field of business, administration and law is relatively small. (0 %, rank 30/33 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the share of new entrants in short-cycle tertiary programmes in the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction is relatively small. (0 %, rank 31/33 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the share of new entrants to tertiary education in the field of services is comparatively small. (1.5 %, rank 34/37 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Student mobility by field of education

    The percentage of students enrolled in the field of engineering, manunfacturing and construction among all international or foreign tertiary students in Belgium is relatively low. (9.3 %, rank 30/33 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Adult learning

    The annual training costs per participant are one of the highest across OECD countries and partner countries. (3250.9 %, rank 2/25 , 2015) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the annual training costs as a share of total labour costs is relatively high compared to other OECD countries and partner countries. (2.4 %, rank 4/25 , 2015) Download Indicator

    In enterprises of 10-49 employed persons, the annual training costs as a share of total labour costs is relatively high. (1.7 %, rank 5/25 , 2015) Download Indicator

    In enterprises of ver 249 employed persons, the annual training costs as a share of total labour costs is relatively high. (2.8 %, rank 4/25 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Expenditure per student

    At primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary level, the public expenditure on public educational institutions per full-time equivalent student is comparatively high in Belgium. (14530 USD Equivalent, rank 5/38 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The public expenditure per full-time equivalent student from primary to tertiary education is relatively high in Belgium. (15502 USD Equivalent, rank 5/37 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Expenditure in education and national wealth

    In Belgium, public expenditure on educational institutions as a percentage of GDP on primary to tertiary education from final source of funds is relatively high. (5.2 %, rank 5/40 , 2018) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the public expenditure as a percentage of GDP from initial source of funds on primary to post-secondary non-tertiary level is high. (4 %, rank 3/26 , 2018) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the international expenditure as a percentage of GDP from initial source of funds on primary to tertiary education is high. (0 USD Equivalent, rank 2/29 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The public expenditure as a percentage of GDP from initial source of funds at primary to tertiary education is relatively high in Belgium. (5.3 %, rank 2/25 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The proportion of private expenditure as a percentage of GDP from initial source of funds for primary to tertiary education is comparatively small in Belgium. (0.2 %, rank 21/25 , 2018) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, international expenditure as a percentage of GDP from initial source of funds on tertiary education is relatively large . (0.1 %, rank 4/30 , 2018) Download Indicator

    At tertiary level, the public expenditure as a percentage of GDP from initial source of funds is comparatively high in Belgium. (1.3 %, rank 5/27 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Public and private expenditure in education

    The share of private expenditure on all levels below tertiary education is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (3.1 %, rank 33/37 , 2018) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the relative share of public expenditure from initial sources of funds on primary to post-secondary non-tertiary education is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (96.8 %, rank 4/26 , 2018) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the relative share of private expenditure from initial sources of funds on primary to post-secondary non-tertiary education is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (2.5 %, rank 23/26 , 2018) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the relative share of public expenditure from initial source of funds at primary to tertiary education is relatively high . (94.4 %, rank 4/25 , 2018) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the relative share of private expenditure from initial source of funds for primary to tertiary education is relatively small. (4.2 %, rank 21/25 , 2018) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the relative share of private expenditure from initial source of funds on tertiary education is comparatively small. (8.8 %, rank 22/26 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Nature of expenditure

    The percentage of capital expenditure on primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education is relatively in Belgium. (4 %, rank 30/34 , 2018) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the share of current expenditure on primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (96 %, rank 5/34 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The share of capital expenditure for primary to tertiary education in Belgium is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (4.2 %, rank 30/31 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The share of current expenditure for primary to tertiary education in Belgium is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (95.8 %, rank 2/31 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The percentage of capital expenditure on secondary education is relatively in Belgium. (3.2 %, rank 30/34 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The percentage of current expenditure on secondary education is relatively in Belgium. (96.8 %, rank 5/34 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The percentage of current expenditure on tertiary education is relatively in Belgium. (95.2 %, rank 5/32 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Who the teachers are

    The percentage of primary to upper secondary teachers younger than 30 is especially high. (16.5 %, rank 5/37 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the share of female teachers younger than 30 in tertiary education is relatively large. (63.9 %, rank 3/33 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Ratio of student to teaching staff

    The ratio of students to teaching staff at the upper secondary level is especially low. (9.5 Ratio, rank 38/42 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The ratio of students to teaching staff at the vocational upper secondary level is especially low in Belgium. (8.5 Ratio, rank 26/30 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The ratio of students to teaching staff at the lower secondary level in government-dependent private institutions is especially low in Belgium. (8.9 Ratio, rank 16/19 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The ratio of students to teaching staff at the upper secondary level in government-dependent private institutions is especially low in Belgium. (9.5 Ratio, rank 19/20 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The ratio of students to teaching staff at the secondary level in government-dependent private institutions is especially low in Belgium. (9.3 Ratio, rank 18/18 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Employment and educational attainment

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-olds without upper secondary education is comparatively low. (46.9 %, rank 41/44 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-34 year-olds with below upper secondary education is compartively low in Belgium. (47.9 %, rank 39/43 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 35-44 year-olds without upper secondary education is comparatively low. (54.4 %, rank 40/43 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Employment by gender and educational attainment

    The employment rate among 25-34 year-old men with below upper secondary education is compartively low in Belgium. (57.5 %, rank 39/43 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Earnings, gender and educational attainment

    The proportion of male full-time earners among all earners aged 55 to 64 without upper secondary education is comparatively low. (22.9 %, rank 28/28 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The proportion of male full-time earners among all earners aged 55 to 64 with upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education is comparatively low. (37.9 %, rank 26/28 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The proportion of female full-time earners among all earners aged 55 to 64 with upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education is comparatively low. (18.1 %, rank 23/25 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The proportion of female full-time earners among all earners aged 55 to 64 with tertiary education is comparatively low. (34.4 %, rank 24/28 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Participation in education by gender

    The share of female students entering short-cycle tertiary programmes in Belgium is comparatively large. (87.8 %, rank 1/39 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Entrance

    In Belgium, the average age of new entrants in short-cycle programmes is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (19.4 Years, rank 32/32 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the average age of new entrants in bachelor's programmes is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (19.3 Years, rank 35/37 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the percentage of young people expected to enter in a short-cycle tertiary programme before the age of 25 is relatively low. (0.8 %, rank 28/32 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the percentage of new entrants in short-cycle tertiary programmes younger than 25 is relatively high. (98.8 %, rank 1/32 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the percentage of first-time entrants into tertiary education younger than 25 is relatively high. (96.7 %, rank 2/32 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The percentage of young people (excluding international students) expected to enter in short-cycle tertiary programme before the age of 25 is relatively low. (0.7 %, rank 26/29 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The average age of new entrants in tertiary education in Belgium is comparatively young. (19.2 Years, rank 31/32 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The proportion of youth (excluding international students) expected to enter bachelor's or equivalent programme before the age of 25 is comparatively high in Belgium. (63.9 %, rank 2/32 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the share of first-time entrants into bachelor's or equivalent programmes before the age of 25 is relatively high. (96.8 %, rank 3/37 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the share of first-time entrants into master's or equivalent programmes before the age of 30 is relatively high. (94.2 %, rank 1/38 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The share of young people expected to enter master's programmes before the age of 30 is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (30.9 %, rank 4/38 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Excluding international students, Belgium has one of the highest percentages of young people expected to enter master's programmes before turning 30. (27.3 %, rank 2/33 , 2019) Download Indicator


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    General findings
    
                            
    • One in five adults across the OECD has not attained upper secondary education.
    • In 2020, the unemployment rate of adults that had not completed upper secondary education was almost twice as high as those with higher qualifications, and 27% of these adults earn only at or below half the median on average across OECD countries.
    • In 2019, at least 10% of school-aged youth were not in school in about a quarter of OECD countries.
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    • In 2019, women made up 55% of new entrants to tertiary education on average. If current patterns continue, it is expected that 46% of young women will graduate with a tertiary degree for the first time before they turn 30, 15 percentage points more than men.
    • Women also earn on average about 76-78% of men’s salaries regardless of educational attainment, although the gender gap narrowed by 2 percentage points between 2013 and 2019.
    • Women are less likely than men to enter a STEM field of study, and the average share remained generally stable between 2013 and 2019.
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    • On average across countries, expenditure on educational institutions amounted to approximately USD 9 300 per student at pre-primary level; USD 10 500 at primary, secondary and post-secondary non tertiary level; and USD 17 100 at tertiary level.
    • The public sector funds 90% of total expenditure on primary and secondary institutions on average, often compulsory in most OECD countries, compared to 83% at pre-primary level and 66% at tertiary level.
    • In 2018, the OECD countries spent on average 4.9% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on primary to tertiary educational institutions.
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    • In 2019, less than 5% of pre-primary teachers were men, compared to 18% at primary level, 40% at upper secondary level and more than 50% at tertiary level on average.
    • Between 2005 and 2020, on average across OECD countries and economies with available data for all reference years, the statutory salaries of teachers with 15 years of experience and the most prevalent qualifications increased by 3% at primary level, 4% at lower secondary level (general programmes) and 2% at upper secondary level (general programmes).
    • In most countries, teachers above 50 years of age make up more than a third of the teaching force.
    • Attracting male teachers to the profession can be difficult: While the average actual salary of female teachers is equal to or higher than the average salary of other full-time, tertiary-educated women, primary and secondary male teachers earn between 76% and 85% of the average earnings of other full-time, tertiary-educated men.
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    • On average across OECD countries, 87% of children aged 3-5 are enrolled in education on average across OECD countries compared to 25% for children below the age of 3.
    • There are 15 children for every teacher at pre-primary level on average across OECD countries.
    • Half of children enrolled in early childhood development services and a two-thirds of pre-primary children attend public institutions on average across OECD countries
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    Key
    Diagram of funding flows - Belgium

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    Key
    Country Reviews for Belgium

    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 averages. 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 2021 for more details about the data collections.

    B-S-J-Z (China) refers to the four PISA-participating provinces/municipalities of the People's Republic of China: Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang.

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