More people earning diplomas than ever before


The number of students graduating from secondary school and from institutions of higher education are growing in Flanders, according to the OECD

Impact on work opportunities and wellbeing

More people in Flanders are earning their secondary school diplomas than in previous years, and more are also obtaining degrees in higher education. The figures have been published in the OECD’s Education at a Glance annual report.

The annual report provides a detailed overview of the Belgian and Flemish education systems, comparing them to 35 OECD and partner countries. One of the standout trends in Flanders is the rise in the number of youngsters graduating from secondary school.

In 2000, 76% of pupils graduated with a diploma. That figure is now 86%. Nearly three-quarters of them earn the diploma in the normal six-year period. “That’s a very good score,” said Dirk Van Damme, the Flemish head of the OECD’s Innovation and Measuring Progress Division.

In addition, more people are earning a degree in higher education, from 36% of the population in 2000 to 45% now. Getting a university or college degree not only improves chances on the labour market, said Van Damme, it also has been linked to a reduction in psychological problems later.

In terms of Stem subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), the source of many campaigns in Flanders encouraging pupils to follow these tracks, about 19% of Belgian pupils are enrolling in them. The OECD average is about 25%. Education minister Hilde Crevits pointed out that the numbers in Flanders are steadily increasing.

The report is critical, however, of the socio-economic gap in the region: The figures for students whose parents do not have diplomas or with a migration background are much lower.
Photo courtesy OECD

Educational system

The Flemish educational system is divided into two levels: primary (age six to 12) and secondary school (12 to 18). Education is compulsory for children between the ages of six and 18.
Types - There are three educational networks in Flanders: the Flemish Community’s GO! network, and publicly funded education – either publicly or privately run.
Not enough space - In recent years, Flemish schools have been struggling with persistent teacher shortages and a growing lack of school spaces.
No tuition fees - Nursery, primary and secondary school are free in Flanders.

million school-going children in 2013


million euros Flemish education budget for new school infrastructures in 2013


percent of boys leaving secondary school without a diploma