Educational system in Belgium and Ghent.


The Belgian School System

Belgium has free public education. Children are obliged to follow education between 6 and 18 years. However, most children start attending school from the age of two and a half. Education is offered in the language native to the particular region. This means that in Ghent the language used is Flemish (=Dutch). The school system in Belgium has a wide array of childcare and education facilities for expat families to consider.

Read more on the schoolsystem:

Preschool and primary schools

Public schools in Ghent teach in Dutch, with some schools also offering extra English lessons after normal school hours.

Registration for all preschools and primary schools follows the same timing:

  • October: for children who already have siblings at the school or whose parents work at the school;
  • February: for children who do not have siblings or parents at the school and who register online via this website
  • After the Easter holidays: for children that do not have siblings or parents at the school and did not register online.

When you register online, the advice is to enroll in at least five schools. There is a system that will select a school for you. In this selection, pupils with parents or siblings at a school are given priority as well as what are termed ‘indicator pupils’ (children who get a scholarship or whose mother does not have a high school certificate). The system also looks at who lives closest to the school or the distance between the parents’ workplace and the school.

There is one international school in Ghent, suitable for the children of expatriates living in Ghent and Ghent's region.

Higher education

Higher education in Flanders is organised at universities and university colleges (“hogescholen”). The standard of education in Flanders is one of the highest in Europe and steadily continues to improve. In Ghent (international) students have a choice of studying at 2 universities and 4 university colleges. Some but not all courses are taught in English.

Learning languages

Belgium has three official languages: Dutch (also called Flemish in Belgium / Flanders), French and German. Dutch is spoken in Flanders, French in Wallonia and German in the East Cantons. Our capital Brussels is bilingual in French and Dutch.

Dutch is a Germanic language, sharing its roots with English, German and Scandinavian languages.

There are various language schools in Ghent. For example, the University Language Centre offers excellent Dutch courses at various levels. Other possibilities are Het Perspectief, D-Teach (for distance learning), etc. In-Gent can help you in making the right choice of language courses (according to your own educational bckground or learning speed).