Under the Belgian Constitution, every child has a right to Belgium education. In order to guarantee this right to education, compulsory education was introduced.Compulsory education starts on 1 September of the year in which a child reaches the age of 6, and lasts 12 full school years. A pupil has to comply with compulsory education until the age of fifteen or sixteen. Afterwards only part-time compulsory education is applicable (= a combination of part-time learning and working). However, most young people continue to attend full-time secondary education.
Compulsory education ends at the eighteenth birthday or on June 30 of thecalendar year in which the youngster reaches the age of 18. If a pupil stops going to school on his 18th anniversary and does not finish the current school year, he does not have a right to a certificate or diploma which is awarded upon completing the course.
For young people who obtain a diploma of secondary education before the age of 18, compulsory education stops at that moment. In principle , all schools are mixed as a school is not allowed to refuse pupils on the grounds of gender. Education in Flanders and Belgium education in general principles all children who reside in Belgium and are subject to compulsory education. Thus, also children of foreign nationality are subject to compulsory education. From the sixtieth day of their registration by the local authorities, these children must be enrolled in a school and attend classes regularly. Schools are not allowed to refuse pupils without a residence permit.
In Belgium, compulsory education does not mean compulsory school attendance. It means that children do not necessarily have to go to school to learn. Parents may opt for home education and must inform the Flemish Ministry of Education and Training.
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