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Secondary education

The Brussels-Capital Region is home to a host of secondary education institutions across all networks, teaching in various languages. Several international schools also operate in the Region.

Secondary education is part of compulsory education. All children must attend school until they reach eighteen years of age. Following a part-time course from 16 years of age is also an option (15 years of age if the student has followed a second full year of secondary education). This is what is called an apprenticeship - alternating education.

Secondary education is split into four tiers, with four orientations:

  • general education
  • technical education
  • vocational education
  • art education

All these orientations provide access to higher education, except vocational education, for which a seventh year must be completed to obtain the Certificate of Higher Secondary Education).

More detailed information on these External linksecondary education orientations (FR/NL) and the External linkapprenticeships combined with work placement (FR/NL) is available at

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The central examining board enables students that have not followed or completed their secondary education to prepare for exams and obtain their 'Certificat de l'Enseignement Secondaire Supérieur' (CESS, Certificate of Higher Secondary Education).