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The coming school reforms: A brief overview of measures in Francophone education

Illustration picture shows children at work in class on the first day of the new school year at the 'Ecole communale d'Anvaing' language immersion school in Frasnes-lez-Anvaing. (BELGA PHOTO DAVID STOCKMAN)
05:51 02/06/2022

Many reforms will come into effect in in French-language education in the next two years, reports RTBF. They will affect both compulsory and higher education. Here's a short overview of what to expect…

Reform of school timetables in compulsory education

This reform, which has been awaited for years, will enter into force at the beginning of the next school year. This reform concerns only nursery, primary and secondary education, not higher education, and only concerns French-language education.

As a reminder, the next school year is scheduled for Monday, 29 August, 2022. Other big changes: the autumn break will last two weeks, from Monday, 24 October to Friday, 4 November. This also applies to the carnival break that will start on Monday, 20 February and end on Friday, 3 March.

Another change: the spring break will no longer necessarily fall during Easter. Next year, it begins on Monday, 1 May and ends on 12 May. Easter falls on Sunday, 9 April.

Finally, the 2022-2023 school year will end on Friday, 7 July.

The aim of this reform is in particular to better balance the periods of school terms between the different periods of leave.

Reform of the decree landscape in higher education

This reform was also expected and applies from the school year 2023-2024. Until now, a student who had passed 45 credits out of 60 could move on to the next year. Each course corresponds to credits, which vary depending on the importance of the course. This system, which prevented students being held down a year because they had not passsed everything, also had flaws. It was not uncommon for students to find themselves in master's degrees with outstanding bachelor's exams yet to pass.

The main change of this new reform is that it will be necessary to have passed every course and therefore have 60 credits to be able to move into the next year.

This new version will not be applicable for the next school year but for the start of the 2023 school year.

Teaching courses expanded from three to four years for the start of the 2023 school year

This reform, also long discussed, was due to enter into force in September 2022. But the government of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, at the request of universities and colleges, decided to postpone it by one year. As a result, this reform will apply from September 2023.

Written by Nick Amies