General themes

Summary of main elements ( 1 )

Luxembourg's vocational education and training (VET) system is centralised. The Ministry of National Education, Children and Youth is responsible for initial vocational education and training (VET); higher VET is under the responsibility of the Ministry of Higher Education and Research. The dual system is an important feature of secondary VET, with strong links between school- and work-based learning.

Secondary VET prepares learners for professional life and studies in higher education. 3-year pre-VET programmes provide 12 to 14 year-olds with general and practical knowledge based on learning outcomes and guidance. Afterwards, learners have the opportunity to acquire a professional qualification through the following programmes:

  • vocational 3-year programmes with apprenticeships at their core, comprising modules of general education and vocational theory and practice, and combining learning at school and in an enterprise under the guidance of a supervisor. Two types of programme are offered, leading to:

- the vocational capacity certificate (CCP), which attests holders semi-skilled worker skills and is designed for learners who are less likely to cope with other programmes. Basic vocational training includes practical training, and graduates can continue to the last year of DAP in the same field;

- the vocational aptitude diploma (DAP), which provides access to the labour market as a skilled worker. DAP holders can be admitted to specific DT technician programmes or can prepare a master craftsperson certificate. If they complete preparatory modules, they can also pursue higher technical studies;

  • technician 4-year programmes are school-based and include a job placement of at least 12 weeks; some programmes are carried out under an apprenticeship contract. Technician programmes offer in-depth and diversified competences and more general education than DAP programmes. They aim at a high professional level and lead to a technician diploma (DT). Graduates can enrol in the third year of a technical (ESG) programme or, after completing preparatory modules, pursue higher technical studies.

Also offered at upper secondary level are general and technical 4- to 5-year school-based programmes, leading to the technical secondary school leaving diploma (DFESG) in different fields: administrative and commercial, general technical, arts, healthcare and social professions, and tourism and innkeeper. The curriculum includes general and technical education. Graduates can enter the labour market or continue with higher education. In the national context these are not regarded as VET programmes.

Following amendment of the Education Law in 2017, general secondary education is nationally referred to as classical secondary education (ESC) while technical secondary is referred to as general secondary education (ESG).

At tertiary level, VET is offered as short-cycle (2-year) studies leading to a higher technician certificate (BTS). Depending on the field, graduates can continue with bachelor studies. Professional bachelor programmes include one compulsory semester abroad and enable graduates to enter the labour market or progress to master degree programmes.

All adults have access to formal and non-formal learning, as well as guidance services. Training leave and other incentives promote continuing VET (CVET) participation. There are financial incentives for companies, such as joint funding arrangements and support for language learning. Training is provided by the State, municipalities, professional chambers, sectoral organisations, private training centres and other organisations. The public employment service organises vocational training for upskilling or reskilling of jobseekers. Non-regulated CVET often leads to sectoral rather than formal qualifications.

Distinctive features ( 2 )

Social partner involvement is a core principle in VET policy. The professional chambers act as independent policy institutes; they are represented in the tripartite advisory committee on vocational training and consulted on VET legislation. They are involved in developing and revising VET programmes and curricula and accompany enterprises and apprentices through practical training and organise CVET.

Teaching in vocational programmes is based on modules with defined learning outcomes related to concrete professional situations.

Learners have an opportunity to follow cross-border apprenticeship to acquire qualifications for which school training cannot be provided due to the small number of learners. Practical training in a company based in Luxembourg is combined with learning at school in one of the neighbouring countries.

Close ties with neighbouring countries, multilingualism in all spheres of life, and the high share of foreign citizens with a mother tongue other than one of the three official languages have a strong impact on VET. Luxembourg provides more language training than any other country, in terms of both the number of foreign languages studied per learner and time spent in learning. Multilingualism is a strength but also a challenge for learning outcomes. In response to the multilingual demography, English, French and Luxembourgish teaching languages are offered throughout education levels and so apply also to VET programmes.

The short-term priority of the ministry is to tackle the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis and to minimise the long-term scarring effects of the economic recession on young learners and graduates.

Since the end of summer 2020, the education ministry has implemented the Summer School, aimed at supporting learners to catch up on subjects where they have faced difficulties. This offer will be maintained beyond the COVID-19 crisis. Online tools remain available to parents and learners to download revision materials.

To address the risk of a fall in the number of apprenticeship contracts due to the impact of the pandemic on the national economy, the government is offering financial support measures to training companies as an incentive to continue to hire new apprentices and take on laid-off ones. The Ministry also extended the offer of apprenticeship programmes in public training centres. The offer of full-track school programmes providing both the school-based and the work-based learning has been expanded.

In the medium term, one of the education ministry's priorities is to diversify the offer to meet the needs of the increasingly heterogeneous demography of learners, to ensure education and training equity, and temper effects of language skill level or socioeconomic status.

To support the transition to the labour market or tertiary education, young upper secondary graduates, including holders of a technician diploma, can follow, for up to 1 year, a modular, certifying programme Diplom+; this starts from the school year 2020/21. The programme focuses on transversal and soft skills and includes personalised support.

A comprehensive digital education strategy has been adopted in response to the increasing need for digitalisation. This introduced a set of measures strengthening the digital competences of pupils ( 3 ).

Demographics

Population in 2021: 634 730 ( 4 )

It increased by 12.7% since 2015 due to immigration ( 5 ).

Luxembourg's population growth is mainly due to immigration, as the natural balance is relatively low. The share of foreigners in Luxembourg's total population is growing steadily.

As in many other EU countries, the population is ageing.

The old-age dependency ratio ( 6 ) is expected to increase from 21 in 2021 to 52 in 2070. Demographic changes may have an impact on VET offer and organisation.

 

Population forecast by age group and old-age-dependency ratio

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Source: Eurostat, proj_19ndbi [Extracted on 07/05/2021].

 

In 2021, Luxembourg had 634 730 inhabitants. Since 1991 the population has increased by 65% mainly due to immigration, which has a major impact on VET.

The figure below shows that 47% of the country's population are foreign citizens ( 7 ). Their share has more than doubled in the past 25 years. In the first half of the 1960s most of the immigrants came from Italy. However, since 1966, the immigrant population from Portugal increased from 1 100 to 82 400 in 2011 ( 8 ) and became the largest in the country. In 2021, the Portuguese community was 94 335 inhabitants (15.0%).

 

Population structure by nationality - 2021 (%)

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Source: Source: Statec 2021- Table b1101 [accessed 14.7.2021].

 

The share of the population with a foreign nationality and a mother tongue other than the official German, French and Luxembourgish languages is high. Multilingualism is one of the country's strengths, but it is also a challenge for education and training. The high share of foreign nationals requires education and training and labour market integration policies.

The Ministry of Education has a dedicated department for schooling of children with a foreign language background, SECAM. One of its units, the CASNA, is dedicated to welcoming and guiding newly arrived learners (aged 12 or more), acting as an intermediary between learners and the academic institutions.

Economics

The economy has undergone structural changes in the past two decades (see figure below). The industrial economy continues to evolve into a service economy with jobs that often require tertiary level qualifications. Employment in the industrial sector decreased from 15% in 2000 to 8.2% in 2020. The professional, scientific and technical sectors and the administrative and support service sectors have had the highest growth, from 11.3% to 16.4%. In 2020, more than 40% of employment was concentrated in the following sectors:

  • wholesale and retail trade;
  • transport and storage;
  • accommodation and food service activities;
  • public administration and other public services.

Adapting VET provision to the constantly changing employment structure has been a challenge. The development of ICT and new technologies has a real impact on employee skills requirement. Companies need to reskill and upskill their employees if they want to adjust appropriately.

Public administration includes civil servants and public employees from the State (including teachers) and municipalities and permanent staff from national railways.

 

Employment by activity sector in 2000 and 2020 (%)

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Source: Statec 2021 Table - B3003 Emploi salarié intérieur par branche d'activité - données désaisonnalisées 2000-2020

 

Labour market

Access to skilled craftsperson and commercial activities and some liberal professions is regulated.

Commercial activities and skilled craftsmanship in the territory require a business permit, issued if the manager satisfies requirements on qualification and professional integrity. Qualification requirements for skilled craftsperson companies differ depending on the trade. For main craft trades, such as baker/confectioner, dental technician, specialist in mechatronics, the manager must have a master craftsperson certificate (Brevet de maîtrise) or a bachelor degree (if not linked to the core business it should be complemented with at least 2 years of professional experience), or a vocational aptitude diploma (diplôme d'aptitude professionnelle, DAP) complemented with a managing experience of 6 years in the field. For secondary craft trades such as dry-cleaner/launderer, heating mechanic, the manager must have a DAP or similar in a related field or 3 years' professional experience in the activity.

Total unemployment ( 9 ) (2020): 5.5% (6.2% in EU27), it is close to its level in 2016 (5.3%) ( 10 ).

 

Unemployment rate (aged 15-24 and 25-64) by education attainment level in 2010-20 ( 11 )

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Luxembourg - 2021 - 4

NB: data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series; low reliability for ISCED 3-4 and 5-8, age 15-24.
ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education
ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_urgaed [Extracted on 06/05/2021].

 

During 2010-20, unemployment differed between those with low- and high-level qualifications for the age group 25-64. In 2020, it was the lowest for VET graduates at ISCED levels 5-8 (4.5%) and highest for those at ISCED level 0-2 (8.1%). Between 2010 and 2020, the unemployment rate of the age group 25-64 has increased for all ISCED levels: 0-2 (by 4.0 percentage points), 3-4 (1.6 pp) and 5-8 (0.9 pp.).

The age group 15-24, however, faced a much higher risk of unemployment during those years (2010-20), especially those having only ISCED level 0-2 who suffered unemployment with an unemployment rate varying between 31.4% and 19.9% ( 12 ).

The employment rate of 20- to 34-year-old VET graduates is high and varied between 78.5% and 91.9% during 2016-20. Despite its trend variations, between 2016 and 2020, the rate remained higher than the EU average.

 

Employment rate of VET graduates (20 to 34 years old, ISCED levels 3 and 4) ( 13 )

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NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education
Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [Extracted on 29/07/2021].

 

The employment rate of all graduates aged 20 to 34 was 81.9% in 2016 and increased by 2.9 percentage points to 84.8% in 2020. In 2016 and 2020 the employment rate of VET graduates was below that of all graduates ( 14 ).

Share of high, medium and low level qualifications

Among the working population aged 25-64, 46.1% had ISCED level 5-8, above the EU-27 average of 34%, but only 30.7% had ISCED level 3-4, 13.8 percentage points below the EU-27 level. 21.0% of the population had a low or no qualification (ISCED 0-2), close to the EU-27 average of 21.3%.

 

Population (aged 25 to 64) by highest education level attained in 2020

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NB: Data based on ISCED 2011. Low reliability for 'No response' in Czechia and Latvia
ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education
ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education

 

VET learners by level

Share of learners in VET by level in 2019

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

Not applicable

61.9%

100%

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011.

Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs01, educ_uoe_enrs04 and educ_uoe_enrs07 [Extracted on 06/05/2021]

 

Share of initial VET learners from total learners at upper-secondary level (ISCED level 3), 2019

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NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; not applicable for Ireland.
Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs04 [extracted 06.05.2021].

 

Female share

In 2019/20, in upper technical secondary and vocational programmes (26 687 learners), there were more males (54.1%) than females (45.9%) ( 15 ).

Early leavers from education and training

The share of early leavers from education and training has increased from 5.5% in 2016 to 8.2% in 2020. It is below the national target for 2020 of no more than 10%, and the EU-27 average of 10.2% (2020).

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2011-20

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NB: Share of the population aged 18 to 24 with at most lower secondary education and not in further education or training
Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_14 [Extracted on 06/05/2021] and European Commission,

 

However, these data (from the labour force survey) are subject to important variations due to the small sample size in the country and may not allow easy identification of the causes of early school leaving at national level. In response to the lack of reliable data, the national education authorities produce annual statistics based on administrative data and on a survey of early school leavers. These data indicate a higher early leaving rate for those up to age 24 (8.2%) ( 16 ) for 2019 than the rate calculated via the labour force survey for this year (7.2%). The share of early leavers is relatively high among the migrant population, especially for those not having one of the three national languages as mother tongue.

Participation in lifelong learning

Lifelong learning offers training opportunities for adults, including early leavers from education.

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2009-20

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NB: Share of adult population aged 25 to 64 participating in education and training; break in series.
Source: Eurostat, trng_lfse_01 [Extracted on 06.05.21].

 

Participation in lifelong learning in Luxembourg has been increasing in the past decade. While it was at 13.8% in 2009, it increased to 19.1% in 2019, more than 8 percentage points above the EU-27 average. This trend reversed between 2019 and 2020, most probably due to the COVID-19 crisis.

VET learners by age

VET learners in secondary education by age group

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Source: MENJE 2021 ( 17 )

The number of learners in IVET has been decreasing between 2010/11 and 2020/21; the share of learners below age 19 has suffered the greatest fall.

The education and training system comprises:

  • pre-school education (ISCED level 0);
  • primary and lower secondary education (ISCED levels 1 and 2);
  • upper secondary education (ISCED level 3);
  • post-secondary non-tertiary education (ISCED level 4);
  • higher education (ISCED levels 5, 6, 7 and 8).

School attendance is compulsory between 4 and 16, i.e. for at least 12 years, including 2 years of pre-school education. At the end of each 2-year cycle of primary education (enseignement primaire), learners receive an end-of-cycle report, stating the level attained for each competence domain. Learners are guided towards either general or technical lower secondary education (including VET) ( 18 ). The guidance takes account of learning achievement (based on the end-of-cycle report), parents and teachers' opinions and performance in standardised basic skills tests (in relation to the national average). In the event of disagreement between the parents and the class teacher, a dedicated council, which includes a teacher working in VET, meets to find a solution.

Upper secondary education comprises three types with different objectives:

  • general secondary education (enseignement secondaire classique ESC) which conveys general knowledge in humanities, mathematics and natural sciences and prepares for higher education studies;
  • technical secondary education (enseignement secondaire général) which gives access to higher education and/or to the labour market.
  • initial vocational education and training (IVET) (formation professionnelle initiale).

Various programmes at post-secondary and tertiary levels are available as general pathways, others as vocational ( 19 ).

The dual system is an important feature of secondary VET, which implies a strong relationship between school-based education and work-based learning in enterprises. Depending on the occupation, secondary VET programmes may be provided in technical secondary schools or in mixed schools that offer VET, technical, and general secondary education.

Lower secondary technical programmes (pre-VET)

Lower technical secondary education (enseignement secondaire general, ISCED 254, EQF 1) is considered as pre-VET and lasts 3 years. It offers learners an orientation phase in which they can decide on their further education pathway. Practical activities in workshops make up an important part of lower technical secondary programmes and focus on supporting learners in choosing their career.

Upon completion of lower technical secondary education, learners can choose between:

  • upper technical secondary education,
  • initial vocational education (VET) programmes, including technician and vocational programmes (DAP and CCP).

Learners have the possibility to move from one type of secondary education to another. Tuition is in French, German and Luxembourgish.

Upper secondary technical programmes

Upper secondary technical education offers 4- to 5-year school-based programmes leading to a technical secondary school leaving diploma (diplôme de fin d'études secondaires générales, DFESG) (ISCED 354, EQF 4). The curriculum includes general and technical education. Graduates can enter the labour market or continue with higher education. In the national context these are not regarded as VET programmes.

Upper secondary initial VET

Upper secondary VET includes school-based programmes, apprenticeships and similar schemes. Learners acquire occupational qualifications for which a certificate or a diploma is awarded. Schooling includes various training schemes, which last from 3 to 4 years, depending on the chosen orientation. There are three different programmes within secondary VET:

  • 3-year vocational programmes leading to a vocational capacity certificate (certificat de capacité professionnelle, CCP) (ISCED 353, EQF 2);
  • 3-year vocational programmes leading to a vocational aptitude diploma (diplôme d'aptitude professionnelle, DAP) (ISCED 353, EQF 3);
  • 4-year technician programmes (formation de technicien) leading to a technician diploma (diplôme de technicien, DT) (ISCED 354, EQF 4).

Post-secondary VET

The master craftsperson qualification (brevet de maîtrise; ISCED 453, EQF 5) entitles holders to settle in the craft industry as self-employed and to train apprentices. The qualification confers the title of master craftsperson in the particular trade.

Preparatory programmes are organised by the Chamber of Trades and Skilled Crafts. To access these programmes, learners are required to have reached at least EQF level 3. Learners should also have at least 1 year of work experience to be able to take the final exam. The programmes are modular and the number of hours may vary by trade. However, all modules have to be accomplished within 6 years. The master craftsperson qualification does not give any access right for higher education; progression opportunities depend on the certificate gained at secondary level.

Tertiary VET

Traditionally, tertiary students acquired their qualifications abroad. In 2003, Luxembourg established its own university (SCL, 2003) with three faculties: science, technology and communication; law, economics and finance; and human sciences, arts and educational science. The university also has three interdisciplinary research centres. The following two VET programmes are offered at tertiary level.

  • Higher technician programmes

2-year programmes are offered in various fields ( 20 ), leading to a higher technician certificate (brevet de technicien supérieur, BTS; ISCED 550, EQF 5). To be admitted to the programme, learners require either a general or a technical secondary school leaving diploma (diplôme de fin d'études secondaires classique, diplôme de fin d'études secondaires générales), or a technician diploma (diplôme de technician, DT) complemented by optional modules.

BTS programmes alternate; they provide both theoretical instruction and training in a work environment. The programmes are offered in public and private secondary schools, and technical secondary schools recognised by the State. Depending on the domain, BTS graduates can pursue bachelor studies.

  • Professional bachelor programmes

Professional bachelor (ISCED 655, EQF6) programmes are accessible to holders of a general or technical secondary leaving diploma or a technician diploma (complemented by optional modules) in the field of study. These programmes last over six semesters including one semester of compulsory mobility abroad. They combine academic teachings and applied courses. They include internship abroad and/or case studies.

Professional bachelor programmes prepare students for career entry or for an application-oriented master degree (professional master).

Adult learning

All adults have access to education and training opportunities regardless of their age, education and employment status. Adult education and continuing vocational training more specifically, allow everyone at different stages of their lives to pursue training, be it to obtain a first degree, to develop or improve knowledge, to change careers or to adapt to new technologies.

The following vocational secondary programmes lead to a qualification and are available for adults:

  • last year of lower cycle of technical secondary education;
  • vocational programmes (DT, DAP and CCP): adult apprenticeship;
  • vocational programmes (DAP and DT): evening classes (first year of the vocational aptitude diploma as administrative and commercial agent, first three years of the technician diploma as administrative and commercial assistant);
  • vocational programmes (DAP): on-the-job training (the nursing assistant vocational aptitude diploma).

Training for jobseekers

The public employment service (ADEM) offers several types of training to jobseekers. These range from training schemes organised directly for a sector or an enterprise at the request of employer(s), to specific training aimed to increase general employability or improve the skills but also specific supporting contracts with a practical training component. In addition to the public employment service, training for jobseekers is provided by non-profit organisations/associations.

Other forms of training

Non-government-regulated continuing vocational education and training (CVET) is offered by private training providers (organismes de formation), non-profit organisations and institutional training providers (including professional chambers, municipalities). The various training opportunities they offer adults frequently do not lead to qualifications within government-regulated VET but to sector qualifications and development of skills.

Throughout the year, the professional chambers organise open public courses, work placements, seminars and lectures on general management and technical subjects. Some of these courses lead to official certificates. Each year, the professional chambers update their training offer and publish training catalogues.

Several institutions/centres offer sectoral training (construction, health, banking) to their target groups. A specific feature here is that workers hired by temporary work companies also receive tailored training, depending on their needs.

Learners can choose between three different training programmes which (can) include an apprenticeship contract and lead to different qualifications:

  • vocational capacity certificate (certificat de capacité professionnelle, CCP) at EQF level 2 always includes an apprenticeship contract. This programme is designed for learners who are less likely to cope with other programmes and leads to semi-skilled worker skills;
  • vocational aptitude diploma (diplôme d'aptitude professionnelle, DAP) at EQF level 3 can be done under an apprenticeship contract or an internship contract. They provide the graduate access to the labour market as a skilled worker;
  • technician programme (diplôme de technician, DT) at EQF level 4 which are school-based and include a job placement of 12 or more weeks. They are mostly organised under an internship contract but some are carried out under an apprenticeship contract. This programme offers in-depth and diversified competences and a higher part of general education than the vocational programmes.

Learners are responsible for finding a training place in an enterprise. The vocational guidance service of the public employment service (Agence pour le Développement de l'Emploi, ADEM) supports young people through counselling and a central register of all available apprenticeship places.

Once the learner has signed a contract with a company, (s)he has the legal status of an apprentice and receives an apprenticeship allowance which varies between EUR 450 and 2 000 depending on the trade/profession learned ( 21 ). Upon successful completion of an academic year, learners receive a premium allowance based on a monthly rate of EUR 130 for CCP or EUR 150 for DAP and DT. The best apprentices receive an award which also includes a prize of EUR 1 500.

Once concluded, the host company must register the apprenticeship contract by sending it to the competent employers' professional chamber; or to the education ministry in the case of host companies that do not depend on any professional chamber.

Enterprises offering apprenticeship places need to comply with certain criteria, verified by the professional chambers. Financial support and an award to encourage their engagement are available. VET trainers, who receive special training, supervise the apprentices in the training companies ( 22 ).

In accordance with the amended VET legislation of 2008 and the one of 2019 ( 23 ), an apprenticeship is based on key principles such as:

  • modular system allowing apprentices who fail a required module to continue their training and catch up at a later stage during their apprenticeship;
  • quantitative assessment of learning outcomes in accordance with an assessment framework.

Adult apprenticeship

Except for admission criteria, there are no differences between apprenticeships for adults and young people. Those aged 18 and above, having left school more than 1 year before, affiliated to social security for at least 12 months (based on at least 16 hours per week) and willing to learn a trade or to change their career, can follow an 'adult apprenticeship' leading to DT, DAP or CCP . This is available both to jobholders and seekers registered at the public employment service. Upon proof of certain work experience, a dedicated committee may orient the adult learner to the suitable grade. The committee includes representatives of the education ministry, Vocational Training Service, labour ministry, guidance service of the employment service, Chamber of Commerce, Chamber of Trades and Skilled Crafts, Chamber of Agriculture, and Chamber of Employees.

Adult apprentices receive wages equal to the minimum wage for unskilled workers (EUR 2 201.93, 1 January 2021) as defined in a 2010 regulation.

Cross-border apprenticeship

Learners may choose an opportunity to follow cross-border apprenticeship to acquire qualifications for which school training cannot be provided due to the small number of learners interested. Practical training in a company based in Luxembourg is combined with learning at school in one of the neighbouring countries. The list of trades and professions accessible on completion of a cross-border apprenticeship are defined by Grand-Ducal regulation. The apprenticeship contract must be registered with the relevant employers' professional chamber in Luxembourg, or with the Ministry of Education for trades and professions that are not covered by an employers' professional chamber. The apprentice must provide a copy of the contract to the cross-border training institution and competent authority responsible for the theoretical training. The apprenticeship allowance paid by the company in Luxembourg is defined by Grand Ducal regulation and varies depending on the trade/profession learned.

Learn more about apprenticeships in the national context from the European database on apprenticeship schemes by Cedefop: http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/apprenticeship-schemes/scheme-fiches

The Ministry of National Education, Children and Youth ( 24 ) is responsible for all types of education, including initial and continuing VET. Initial and continuing higher education is under the Ministry of Higher Education and Research ( 25 ). In cooperation with the Ministry of Labour, Employment and the Social and Solidarity Economy ( 26 ), the Ministry of National Education, Children and Youth is also responsible for training measures for the unemployed.

Cooperation between the State and the social partners is a core principle in VET. As stated in the law reforming VET ( 27 ), social partners are essential stakeholders who contribute to its organisation and implementation. The professional chambers' opinion is systematically sought on laws and regulations on economic, financial and social policy: labour law, social security, taxation, the environment, initial and continuing vocational training, and education. Development and periodic revision of programmes are ensured by curriculum committees, consisting of representatives of each school offering the respective profession or trade, representatives of the relevant professional chamber and the employee chamber, as well as sectorial representatives.

There are five professional chambers in Luxembourg:

  • representing employers:
    • Chamber of Commerce ( 28 ),
    • Chamber of Trades and Skilled Crafts ( 29 ),
    • Chamber of Agriculture ( 30 ).
  • representing wage earners:
    • Chamber of Employees ( 31 ),
    • Chamber of Civil Servants and Public Employees ( 32 ).

These chambers act as independent policy institutes; they are involved in Luxembourg's legislative procedures and are officially consulted on education matters. They are represented both at national level (Economic and Social Council, Tripartite Advisory Committee on Vocational Training) and European (Cedefop Governing Board, Advisory Committee on Vocational Training). In contrast to trade unions and employer associations, membership in the professional chambers is compulsory (with an annual subscription) for all employees and private companies.

The professional chambers were created by law in 1924 ( 33 ) and in 1964 (Chamber of Civil Servants and Public Employees) ( 34 ). They are public establishments, legal persons governed by civil law. Although the professional chambers are supervised by the government, they enjoy financial autonomy. Since 1929, the chambers have been involved in initial education, especially with regard to VET preparing for an occupation. They also have substantial powers regarding apprenticeships; in 1945, their remit in the establishment, supervision and termination of apprenticeship contracts was extended. Their power and involvement were reinforced by the 2008 law reforming VET ( 35 ) and the one of 2019 ( 36 ). Their involvement in vocational training includes:

  • identifying training needs;
  • guidance and information on training;
  • determining the professions or trades offered in VET;
  • training offers;
  • organising training;
  • designing framework training programmes;
  • assessing training programmes and the training system;
  • qualifications and validating experience acquired;
  • accreditation of training companies.

The respective professional chambers are responsible for monitoring practical training under an apprenticeship contract. The Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber of Trades and Skilled Crafts have appointed apprenticeship counsellors for each trade and profession. Under authority of the Minister for Education and the professional chambers, apprenticeship counsellors have the mission to inform companies and apprentices about vocational training issues (legislation, organisation, programmes, class visits):

  • ensure that practical training modules are applied during the in-company training periods;
  • ensure close follow-up on the evolution of the apprentice at the training company;
  • have the right to visit the training enterprises, and serve as an intermediary contact person for both parties in the event of questions or problems;
  • are available to apprentices who need to reorient themselves and find an appropriate apprenticeship;
  • follow their evaluation and, if needed or involved, take part in the class council and in the disciplinary councils;
  • signal irregularities in legislation on vocational training to the competent institutions;
  • contribute to the continuous adaptation of vocational training to new technologies by reporting on the evolution of the professions observed during visits to companies.

Professional chambers have established platforms for apprenticeship supervisors/tutors, responsible for the apprentice during work-based learning, where they can find all the necessary support during apprenticeship.

The professional chambers are also authorised by law to organise continuing training courses.

The Education Ministry has created two structures to improve the adaptation of schools to the needs of learners and the professional world.

A National Programme Council ( 37 ) was created alongside the National Observatory of School Quality at the beginning of 2018, to allow more exchanges and debates about education matters and to build a bridge between the educational and professional worlds. It should represent the voice of society in discussions about school programmes. The council has eight members (at least three men and at least three women), chosen according to their experience and expertise in different fields such as culture, economics, ecology, associations and others ( 38 ).

Private training providers are subject to the rules of the right to practise and must hold a ministerial authorisation to provide continuing training. For capital companies (legal entities) and partnerships (natural persons) the authorisation to practise as a 'manager of a continuing vocational training body' is issued by the Ministry of the Economy at the recommendation of the education ministry. Each body must comply with the worthiness ([1]) and qualifications criteria required.

Private non-profit organisations, foundations and natural persons need to apply individually to the minister responsible for vocational training to be approved as a continuing vocational training provider. Other institutional training providers can organise continuing vocational training without needing the request for authorisation. These include:

  • institutions with public or private school status recognised by the public authorities, and issuing certificates recognised by these same authorities;
  • professional chambers;
  • municipalities;
  • ministries, government services and public bodies.

Total government expenditure on public education as a percentage of GDP was 4.7% in 2019, equal to the EU-27 share ( 39 ). In 2018, Luxembourg devoted the highest level of financial resources to education per learner among the OECD ( 40 ) countries. At secondary level, the expenditure per learner is EUR 21 067, while the OECD average is about EUR 9 176 ( 41 ).

In 2018, funding for initial public education was EUR 1.85 billion ( 42 ), shared between the three levels of initial education: primary, general secondary, and technical secondary (including VET). Education is financed at two levels: central government and local administrations (106 municipalities).

In 2018, half (50.3%) of the funding went to primary education (EUR 928 million). At secondary level, expenditure on technical education was higher (EUR 578 million, 31.3% of total funding) than general education (EUR 339 million, 18.4% of total funding). It covered remuneration of teachers, administrative and technical staff, operating costs and investments.

 

Investment in education 2008-18

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Source: MENJE (2021). Ministry of national education activity report - 2020.
Statec E2100 Principaux agrégats: trois approches (prix courants) (en millions EUR) 1995 - 2020

 

Public funding for general and technical secondary schools slightly decreased between 2008 and 2011 but increased in 2012 (+26%). After a new fall in 2013 (-4.0%), it has registered a positive development until 2018.

Public funding includes:

  • teachers' salaries;
  • non-teaching staff salaries;
  • current expenses (goods and services to ensure the daily functioning of educational services; school allowances; care of children outside school hours at municipal level for extra-curricular and after-school activities; the costs incurred by school medicine and school transport);
  • capital expenses (movable and immovable assets).

 

School funding in 2018, (%)

Image

Source: MENJE (2021). Ministry of national education activity report - 2020 https://men.public.lu/fr/publications/rapports-activite-ministere/rapports-ministere/rapport-activites-2020.html p.170

 

As shown in the above figure, salaries make up the highest costs of all education programmes (74-77%). The share is greater in technical secondary education (including VET) (77%) than in primary education (74%). The share of current expenses is higher in primary (17.6%) education than in general (12.8%) or in technical (13.1%) secondary education, possibly because care of children outside school hours at municipal level is costlier at this level.

 

Funders of technical secondary education (including VET) in 2018

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Source: MENJE (2021). Ministry of national education activity report - 2020.

 

The financing of technical secondary education (including VET) comes unevenly from central government expenditures.

Funding for individuals in higher education

The government offers higher education learners financial support in the form of a grant and a loan (basic grant: EUR 1 050, mobility grant: EUR 1 286, grant on social criteria: EUR 0 to 1 995, family grant: EUR 262, student loan: EUR 3 250, registration fee: EUR 0 to 1 800) per academic semester: the grant and loan proportions depend on the applicant's income ( 43 ). Tuition fees are taken into account when calculating the financial support. In each academic year, higher education learners apply for the support twice: before the winter and summer semesters ( 44 ).

Funding continuing VET

Continuing training for employees or for individuals (private initiative) is normally funded by the enterprises or individuals themselves. However, in some sectors, companies must pay a levy to sectoral training providers to benefit from specific access conditions and prices. Companies may also contribute to training centres voluntarily to benefit from specific access conditions and prices. Companies and individuals can receive support and incentives for CVET, often non-financial but linked to working time arrangements.

Funding training for the unemployed and other vulnerable groups

Training for the unemployed and other groups excluded from the labour market is supported by the labour ministry, via the employment fund (Fonds pour l'emploi) and the education ministry. The public employment service also provides financial support and organises different training programmes for job seekers.

Some projects for job seekers are jointly financed by the European Social Fund. Most are focused on job segments with a high development potential or aim at upskilling or reskilling of participants, such as FIT4 digital future 2.0 (development of skills for the IT sector) or Skill you up (in cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce).

VET teacher types

The Law of 25 March 2015 established different teacher careers in the Luxembourgish education system. The new law of 1 August 2019 introduces a coherent initial training structure for all professionals in public education.

The recruitment and management of teachers for technical secondary education (including VET) is the responsibility of the State. According to the needs of secondary schools, their civil servant teaching staff may be reinforced by permanent, either full-time or part-time, teachers engaged as public employees (chargés d'enseignement à durée indéterminée). In addition, fixed-term, full-time or part-time teachers (chargés d'éducation à durée déterminée) may be hired as public employees for replacement purposes.

Teacher career (both for civil servants and employees)

Type of teacher

Type of teaching

Required diploma

Secondary school teachers A1

Technical, general secondary education and adult education

BA and MA

Technical education teachers A2

Technical secondary and adult education

BA

Master of technical education B1

Technical secondary and adult education

Master craftsman diploma or BTS

There are no additional specific access or training requirements for VET teachers beyond a diploma and language requirements (mastery in the three administrative languages). Recruitment procedures and training provisions for teachers in general secondary education are the same as for teachers in technical secondary education.

Secondary teachers in career A1 should hold a master degree and at least their bachelor degree, or the master, should be in relation to the subject taught. Master degrees preparing for the profession of teacher are also accepted (Lehramt, Master in secondary education). Technical secondary school teachers (A2) should hold either a bachelor degree or a recognised diploma certifying 3 years of study in their field of expertise. Masters of technical education B1 should hold a Master craftsperson diploma (Brevet de maîtrise) or a higher technician certificate or a foreign diploma attesting to at least 2 years of study in relation to the required field.

The University of Luxembourg offers training leading to a Master in secondary education (EQF7). This academic programme focuses on didactics. It is addressed to students holding a BA in a specific subject, who wish to be trained in didactics in this field. As future teachers will be able to acquire thorough knowledge in pedagogy and didactics, some courses may be exempted from the initial training programme of their teacher career. Master programmes are offered in German language and literature, in French language and literature as well as in mathematics.

To access the civil servant career, teachers must pass an examination. Civil servants and employees must complete a 2-year initial training programme at the Training Institute of National Education (Institut de formation de l'Éducation nationale, IFEN) created in 2015 ( 45 ) and 1 year of further development training. However, the organisation and the number of training hours differ, as well as the number of exemptions from weekly lessons depending on the career.

In-company trainers

The law of 19 December 2008 stipulates that an enterprise offering training or apprenticeship must have 'the right to train' by fulfilling a number of conditions defined according to the Grand-Ducal Regulation of 3 August 2010 ( 46 ). The company must appoint one or more tutors aged over 21 to mentor apprentices throughout their apprenticeship. The tutor is in charge of the practical training and the pedagogic supervision of the apprentice. He is also appointed as the contact person for the apprenticeship counsellor and the competent professional chamber with regard to the progress of the apprentice. The law has increased the responsibility of the tutor for training and assessment of the apprentices. Each tutor has to undergo 3-day training, organised by the competent professional chamber. A trainer holding a master craftsperson diploma (Brevet de Maîtrise) or equivalent is exempted from this mandatory training. The training Tuteur en Entreprise (tutor in company) comprises a legal part, a pedagogic part and a part on assessment. It gives tutors useful tools to set up a training path, manage the relationship with the apprentice, identify the mission of the tutor and be able to help apprentices integrate in the labour market and the enterprise ( 47 ).

Continuing professional development of teachers/trainers

The Training Institute of National Education (IFEN) designs, implements and evaluates the professional insertion (internship) and the continuing professional development of teachers and psycho-social staff in education.

CPD has become increasingly important over the years and is now considered a professional duty in the Luxembourgish education system. According to the law, teachers in secondary education shall attend 48 hours of continuing training over a period of 3 years. Half of these hours should either concern priority training areas or be part of the school's internal training plan. Ministry of Education staff do not pay any fees for training organised by the IFEN. Within the SCHiLW framework (Schulinterne Lehrer/innen-Weiterbildung, School teachers' continuing training), the IFEN supports secondary schools that are willing to set up training plans (plans de formation, not compulsory). These plans contribute to greater coherence between the school's objectives and teachers' training activities.

The continuing training offer is drawn up by the IFEN in collaboration with, and upon request of, the school staff, who are consulted yearly. IFEN tries to respond to individual needs identified at different levels, as well as to political decisions, and is in regular contact with the national vocational commissions (see Shaping VET qualifications). CPD is provided according to training objectives and the availability of the teachers being trained: seminars (one-off training courses), training days, conferences, sequential continuing training (introductory module followed by a practical phase which may or may not be accompanied by an exchange and intensification phase). In a period of rapid technological change, it is essential that VET teachers continuously update their vocational skills and knowledge, to ensure learners leave the VET system with skills that can be put into practice immediately.

In order to contribute to the academic success of learners, training offered to teachers aims to develop, in priority, the following teaching professional skills:

  • priority 1: teaching and learning in a competence-based approach;
  • priority 2: teaching and learning language skills in a multilingual context;
  • priority 3: information and communication technologies;
  • priority 4: teamwork and communication;
  • priority 5: personal professional development;
  • priority 6: school development;
  • priority 7: school management;
  • priority 8: socio-educational work.
Anticipating skill needs

VET standards are developed in cooperation between the education ministry and the professional chambers. Curricula are based on occupational standards and informed by skill needs in enterprises. The following institutions ensure VET provision in line with labour market needs:

  • Permanent Labour and Employment Committee (Comité Permanent du Travail et de l'Emploi): the ministries of education and labour cooperate through this committee. It is responsible for reviewing the labour market situation regularly. Its working methods include analysis of job supply and skills demand;
  • Training Observatory: established in 2012 by the National Institute for the Development of Continuing Vocational Training (INFPC); it provides the government and social partners with detailed statistics and reliable qualitative analyses on training issues; these are useful insights for public policy and private strategies in the lifelong learning domain;
  • Employment Observatory: established by the labour ministry; analyses labour market data, publishes a labour market dashboard and organises annual conferences on relevant labour market issues and employment;
  • Competence Centre: to help improve initial and continuing training offers, the University of Luxembourg Competence Centre, in cooperation with companies, identifies and anticipates competence needs in sectors and occupations. Analyses cover law, finance, health, and ICT & digitalisation;
  • Business Federation of Luxembourg: since 1997 has conducted annual surveys ( 48 ) on skill needs, alternatively in the industrial and in the information technology and communication sectors. It explores skill needs in enterprises to achieve a good balance between vocational training supply and labour market demand. The survey is the basis for the Qualifications of tomorrow (Les qualifications de demain) publication ( 49 ). It offers forecasts of enterprise skill requirements for replacements and new job openings, and the associated qualification levels. The publication provides young people and their parents with insights into education paths and encourages public authorities, professional chambers and other VET actors to take account of enterprises' training needs in CVET ( 50 ).

See also Cedefop's skills forecast ( 51 ) and European Skills Index ( 52 ).

Designing qualifications

Development of VET qualifications

The development of VET qualifications is based on the following elements:

  • occupational profile: lists the areas of activities as well as the activities and tasks of future occupations after 2 to 3 years of workplace experience;
  • training profile: based on the occupational profile defined by learning domains: occupational and general competences;
  • training programme based on the training profile:
    • defines the learning outcomes for each competence and regroups them by learning domain;
    • organises the learning domains and outcomes in modules and credits;
    • curriculum: determines the content of the different modules.

Responsible bodies

The main bodies responsible for designing qualifications are curriculum committees and national vocational training commissions ( 53 ).

a) Curriculum committee

A curriculum committee is associated with a specific profession or group of professions; training institutions ( 54 ) and schools are equally represented. The Minister for Education decides on the maximum number of representatives for each committee. The curriculum committee:

  • develops and revises the framework programmes ( 55 ) for the trades and professions it is responsible for;
  • ensures consistency between the objectives of school-based and work-based training;
  • provides guidelines and procedures for continuous assessment of learners at school and in the workplace, in cooperation with the respective national commissions. The guidelines and procedures feed into evaluation frameworks adopted by the Minister for Education;
  • develops and evaluates the 'integrated project' (projet integré) that replaces the former final exams. The project aims to check whether the learner has developed the complex competences needed to solve a real or simulated work situation.

b) National vocational training commissions

National vocational training commissions (commissions nationales de formation) exist for each division, trade and profession of technical secondary education; they

  • give advice or make proposals as regards course programmes, timetable, teaching language, didactic materials and the framework programmes and assessment framework;
  • elaborate and revise course content for the modules included in the programmes they are responsible for;
  • issue opinions on the framework programmes and assessment criteria that fall within their competence.

The national vocational training commissions comprise:

  • a teacher from each school where vocational or technician programmes are offered;
  • a representative of the national general education commissions, designated by the minister;
  • a representative of each professional chamber associated with the training;
  • representatives of the higher council of health professions and employer representatives for health sector professions;
  • employer representatives of education and social institutions, for social sector professions.

There are also national commissions on general education for each module dealing with general education subjects. They elaborate and revise the framework programme and then the course contents for general subjects taught in VET programmes in cooperation with the national vocational training commissions.

c) Division for Curriculum Development within education ministry

A Division for Curriculum Development ( 56 ) was created within the Department for Coordination of Educational and Technological Research and Innovation (SCRIPT) within the Ministry of Education, to simplify the implementation of the 2008 reform. It provides support to the national commissions of programmes in elementary and secondary education, as well as to the curriculum teams and national vocational commissions of vocational training, assisting them in their tasks of developing and adapting curricula. This division coordinates the work of national commissions, guarantees the implementation and supervises the coherence and consistency of curricula. The division works in close collaboration with various stakeholders to guarantee the scientific framework of curriculum development. It also works in collaboration with the recently installed National Programme Council.

Within the division a competence unit for curriculum design in VET is in charge, every 5 to 6 years, of the analysis and evaluation of all curriculum documents (documents curriculaires). During the process, they consult representatives of employers, young graduates and teachers in order to identify any possible needs for adaptation. Subsequently, proposals for the adaptation of curriculum documents will be submitted to the curriculum teams, which can then implement them with the possible support of the competence unit.

Qualifications framework

The development and implementation of the European qualifications framework for lifelong learning (EQF) is seen as an opportunity to make explicit the existing education and training levels and the links between them. The key objective of the eight-level national qualifications framework (cadre luxembourgeois des qualifications, CLQ) is to increase the transparency of qualifications. The CLQ serves as a non-binding guiding framework for stakeholders: individuals, education and training providers, and the labour market.

The CLQ was referenced to the EQF and the qualifications framework in the European higher education area (QF-EHEA) in 2012. Beginning in 2014, a committee represented by the education ministry and the higher education ministry published a report which detailed the links between the CLQ and the EQF and to the QF-EHEA. Levels 6-8 include qualifications awarded by Luxembourg University only. VET qualifications have been assigned to EQF levels 2-5, with the higher technician and the master craftsperson certificate, for instance, at the latter.

The philosophy of the CLQ is to show that lifelong learning is not fragmented and that it should not be restricted to formal qualifications. The referencing report, however, only reflects formal education and training, which is changing and moving towards a learning outcomes approach. Once this change is complete, a new report reflecting an adjusted lifelong learning framework, including qualifications acquired through non-formal and informal learning, will be published ( 57 ).

A national approach to quality assurance has been devised, and evaluation and review procedures are in development. There is no real quality framework, but legislation and the current organisation take the quality component into account.

Quality standards for VET providers are part of legislation and are used for accreditation and funding. Guidelines and standards are used to promote a culture of continuous improvement. Over the past 10 years, the education and training system has been overhauled to provide the resources needed to cope with the challenges of a rapidly changing environment. Administrative structures have been changed to allow modern school management with a degree of autonomy. In 2004, legislation promoted partnership-based school community approaches and school initiatives to improve the quality of education. For VET programmes, the education ministry coordinates the implementation of the EQAVET recommendation ( 58 ).

National indicators related to the 10 proposed by the recommendation are used and monitored nationally. While most are applied in IVET, their use for CVET, which is not monitored centrally, varies by sector or provider.

Secondary education - School development plan, PDS ( 59 )

The school development plan (PDS) was introduced by the law of 15 December 2016 ( 60 ).

Schools should describe their school and extracurricular activities in the school development plan to outline their profile and analyse their general situation, and their continuous development and innovation. This approach covers domains that may help their learners receive the best quality education. Each school should elaborate its own steps in a series of areas that are critical for success.

Seven domains are foreseen for secondary education:

  • organisation of pedagogical support. Each learner should have access to remedial measures that meet their needs and capabilities;
  • supervision of children with specific needs to provide tailor-made solutions for their needs and support their learning process;
  • partnerships with parents to improve their involvement in the schooling process and create a partnership culture between families and schools;
  • integration of information and communication technologies (ICT) to prepare learners for the challenges of the employment market influenced by ICT;
  • psycho-social support for learners who face problems at school, or have psychological or family problems, to prevent school dropouts/failure;
  • relevant guidance for learners to help them make the right choices, according to their profiles;
  • extracurricular activities to guarantee equal access for all learners to non-formal learning opportunities, in addition to mainstream classes.

For each of these domains, national objectives have been defined in a national reference framework. Secondary schools are free to choose the domains and objectives they need to focus on.

The school development plan also contains:

  • definition of at least one objective in relation to one of the domains mentioned above;
  • an action plan for each objective (persons in charge, resources needed, schedule, evaluation criteria);
  • evaluation and continuous adaptation of the current PDS.

Following the law of December 2016 ( 61 ), as of the 2017/18 school year each secondary school should elaborate a PDS produced by a school development committee ( 62 ). The development committee is coordinated by the school directorate and includes school staff appointed by the director for a 3-year period that may be renewed. Its mission is to analyse and interpret school data, to identify the school's priority needs, to define school development strategies, to elaborate the school charter, the profile and the PDS, and to ensure internal and external communication, while establishing a triennial plan for the continuing training of its high-school staff.

The Division for the Development of Schools ( 63 ), of the Department for Coordination of Educational and Technological Research and Innovation (SCRIPT), was set up according to the law of 14 March 2017 ( 64 ). Its mission is to accompany schools in their general approach to school development and, more specifically, to elaborate and implement the PDS, collaborating with various departments, education structures, national and international partners, who may help to optimise the quality of schools. The Division for the Development of Schools has provided several transversal tools, such as a website ( 65 ) which has been updated in 2020 and reports on the support offered (e.g. documents, tools, sharing experiences) by the school development division and provides active and continuous support to secondary schools in the implementation of their PDS.

The school development committees have been working on the PDS since September 2017; there were then adopted by the Education Ministry in September 2018. Each PDS is reviewed annually by the school development committee and, if necessary, updated, but the targets and objectives to be achieved cannot be questioned. The school development committee reports to the secondary school education council and to the secondary school conference ( 66 ) on the progress of the PDS.

A National Observatory of School Quality ( 67 ), created in 2018, is responsible for evaluating and supervising the quality of the education system. It is an independent structure. The observatory systematically evaluates the quality of the school system and the implementation of education policies. It does not assess the individual work of teachers, but the organisation and operation of schools and the Ministry of Education. The observatory is composed of eight observers, from public or private sectors, who are totally independent. They visit schools and meet representatives from various school stakeholders, such as parents, learners and teachers, and have exchanges with Ministry of Education departments. The Observatory produces an annual activity ( 68 ) report and at least one thematic report on a priority area. Every 3 years, it produces a national report on the school system with its findings and recommendations.

These reports are transmitted to the government and the chamber of deputies and made accessible to the public.

The Division for Data Analysis of The Department for Coordination of Educational and Technological Research and Innovation (SCRIPT) is commissioned to collect and analyse data on the quality of the education offer by analysing school reports or in the context of a project. The results of the surveys may be consulted during the elaboration of a PDS or before making decisions to improve the school's organisation. This division organises national and international standardised tests. Standardised tests elaborated by the Luxembourg Centre for Educational Testing (University of Luxembourg) and common tests are used as instruments of formative or summative evaluation, which aims at facilitating evidence-based decision making in national education. International tests like the OECD's PISA (Programme for international student assessment), the IEA's ICILS (International computer and literacy study) generate results which also help with the governance of the education system.

Tertiary education

Short-cycle programmes leading to higher technician certificates (BTS) ( 69 ) are evaluated externally before being accredited by the higher education ministry for a period of 5 years. After this time, the accreditation has to be renewed through a new evaluation. This procedure should ensure that the programmes are relevant to the related professional sector ( 70 ).

The university is largely free to design and implement its own quality assurance processes. At Luxembourg University, quality culture and regular quality control through internal and external evaluation of teaching, research and technical, administrative and logistics services are key elements. External audit of the University of Luxembourg has been conducted every 4 years since 2008 by an external evaluation committee. The independent external evaluator is appointed by the Minister for Higher Education and Research.

The University of Luxembourg produces a key performance indicator report in the frame of a multiannual development contract between the Luxembourgish government and the university (2018-21) ( 71 ); this includes publications per researcher, bachelor degrees awarded, master degrees awarded, and master recruitment rate.

Luxembourg has been a member of the European quality assurance register for higher education (EQAR) since 2008 ( 72 ).

Continuing VET

Even though there is no real quality framework, quality is a major concern and is covered in the legislation and in the organisation of CVET. Quality will be a major issue in the future of CVET.

The white paper on the national lifelong learning strategy ( 73 ), defines six cross-cutting key principles and related measures and recommendations for implementation. These include developing the quality of lifelong learning and establishing a framework for the quality of adult education and training. This framework will be based on:

  • a quality label awarded to training providers that meet specified criteria in structure and content of the training offer;
  • accreditation of training offers. A working group on training provider accreditation was set up in 2014.

A quality label for municipal governments and non-profit associations can be awarded in adult education by the Minister for Education for a 5-year period ( 74 ). Courses must be of general interest in so-called areas of general education and social advancement. They must meet educational and financial quality criteria. Objectives and course content must be in line with the priorities for adult education.

Quality criteria and priorities are defined for periods of up to 5 years by the education ministry based on the advice of the Adult Education Advisory Committee ( 75 ). The committee consists of the persons in charge of the Adult Education Department, two representatives delegated by schools offering evening classes, a representative of the Department of Vocational Education and a private sector representative. The committee may also involve adult training experts in its work.

While some private providers commit to quality assurance approaches, a large part of CVET is not subject to systematic evaluation or quality assurance ( 76 ).

Validation of prior learning (VAE) is a process which enables professional and non-professional experience to be recognised with a view to obtaining all or part of a:

  • Secondary technical education leaving diploma (Diplôme de l'enseignement secondaire général);
  • VET diploma or certificate;
  • Master craftsmanship (Brevet de maîtrise);
  • Higher technician certificate (Brevet de technicien supérieur);

Access university studies is also possible.

Individuals who have at least 3 years (5 000 hours) of paid, unpaid or voluntary work (whether continuous or not) directly related to the requested qualification may apply for validation of prior learning.

The 2008 legislation ( 77 ) reforming VET and the law of 2010 ( 78 ) define the procedure for the validation of prior learning to obtain all or part of a technical secondary leaving diploma, a VET diploma or certificate (Technician diploma, DAP and CCP) or a master craftsmanship. Validation of prior learning is a two-step procedure that recognises the value of formal, non-formal and informal education and experience (professional and non-professional). As a first step, the validation request must be declared eligible. Next, the applicant must file a validation request, which is submitted for analysis and decision to a validation commission. Throughout the validation procedure, candidates must prove their knowledge, competences, and skills in line with the curricula of the relevant qualification. A law of 2016 ( 79 ), modifying the 2008 legislation, specifies that during the validation of prior learning the Ministry of Education offers support to candidates through either collective workshop or personalised interviews with a coach nominated by the minister. If all conditions are met, the procedure leads to a certificate or diploma, or to a part thereof (to be completed within 3 years of the validation).

At higher technician certificate level ( 80 ), the application for validation of prior learning and the registration application should be sent to the directorate of the corresponding secondary school. The application should be accompanied by a portfolio setting out, with reference to the qualification being sought, the knowledge, skills and abilities that the applicant has gained through experience. An ad hoc evaluation committee is set up for each training programme for which validation of prior learning has been requested.

At university level, validation of prior learning allows formal, non-formal and informal education and experience to be recognised with a view to accessing various bachelor or master university studies and possibly to be partially exempted from taking certain courses ( 81 ). The request (consisting of a portfolio) is considered by a board of examiners whose members are appointed by the chancellor, following recommendation of the dean of the relevant department.

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop's European database ( 82 ).

Individual training leave

The objective of individual training leave is to ease access to continuing training. Employees working in a company for at least 6 months, self-employed workers and individuals in a liberal profession (and having been affiliated to the social security system for at least 2 years) can benefit from 80 days of paid leave during their entire career, but not more than 20 days per 2 years. Employers can have salaries reimbursed by the government. Training must be provided by an institution issuing certificates recognised by the government. The employee is required to submit a request to the education ministry which then approves the leave – stating the number of days granted – or refuses it.

Language training leave

Language training leave allows employees, the self-employed and individuals in a liberal profession of all nationalities to learn Luxembourgish for social and professional integration. The courses take place during normal working hours. The maximum paid leave is 200 hours over a professional career, which must be divided into two shares of 80 to 120 hours each. Each leave hour entitles the persons involved to a compensatory allowance equal to their average hourly salary paid by the employer. The employer advances the allowance and is reimbursed 50% by the State. The request must be sent to the labour ministry by the applicant prior to the start of the course; the leave can be deferred by the employer if it disrupts company operations.

Unpaid training leave and personal working time arrangement

The 2006 Grand Ducal regulation on the organisation of working time (organisation du temps de travail) ( 83 ) stipulates a general obligation to reach an agreement on access to CVET through inter-occupational social dialogue to be signed between the trade union federations and the Union of Enterprises. Organising working hours within a flexi-time arrangement and unpaid leave for vocational training purposes is part of this regulation.

Unpaid training leave releases a worker from duties to take part in professional training during minimum of 4 consecutive weeks and a maximum of 6 consecutive months. The agreement applies to private sector employees who have been employed for at least 2 years, regardless of the type of employment contract. During the leave, the employment contract is suspended. The request must be submitted to the employer by registered letter with an acknowledgement of receipt or by a hand-delivered letter with an acknowledgement of receipt. The employer can refuse the unpaid leave, if the applicant is a high-level executive or if the company has fewer than 15 employees. The employer can also defer the unpaid leave for up to 1 year where the leave is no more than 3 months or for up to 2 years where the leave exceeds 3 months.

Employees working flexi-time may request amendment of their working time to support participation in training. The employer can refuse to grant such an amendment based on operational needs or impact on the efficient organisation of the business.

Tax deductibility

Every income tax payer may deduct expenses for professional development from taxable income. Such expenses must have a direct link with the business activity performed by the employee and allow improving professional knowledge. They must be paid by the participant and refund claimed through a tax declaration.

State shared funding for CVET

A company can receive State funding (operated by the education ministry) for investment in CVET. Private companies established in Luxembourg that undertake most of their activities inside the country are eligible. The training targets:

  • employees affiliated with the national social security system;
  • persons bound to the company by an employment contract (fixed-term or permanent);
  • subcontractors working for the applicant company;
  • owners of craft, trade, industry, agriculture or forestry companies.

Investment in training is capped according to the size of the company:

  • at 20% of total payroll for companies with 1 to 9 employees;
  • at 3% of total payroll for companies with 10 to 249 employees;
  • at 2% of total payroll for companies with more than 249 employees.

The share of funding is calculated based on the investment in CVET ( 84 ). Companies receive direct grants: 15-35% of investment (depending on employee profiles).

Support for learning Luxembourgish

Private sector companies legally established in the country can partly recover the costs associated with learning Luxembourgish. Eligible costs, include training fees and study materials, and are paid by the labour ministry.

Funding for additional apprenticeship places

The fund for employment provides financial support for the creation of apprenticeship places to encourage enterprises to hire apprentices. It partly reimburses the apprenticeship allowance (27% for vocational DAP programme ( 85 ) and 40% for the vocational CCP programme ( 86 ) and covers the employer's share of social security costs for the apprentice ( 87 ). Applications for financial support must be submitted by the enterprises and the apprentice to the public employment service before 1 July of the year following the year in which the learning ended.

Apprenticeship award for a training company

Since 2013, the award for the best training company has been presented each year during the apprenticeship graduation ceremony to the company that commits itself most to apprenticeships (creation of apprenticeship places, follow-up of apprentices) ( 88 ).

Bonus for the promotion of apprenticeship

During the COVID-19 crisis, the Ministry of Education, jointly with the ministry of Labour and the social partners (professional chambers and trade unions) has put in place a bonus for the promotion of apprenticeship, which is a direct financial aid to support training organisations that welcome apprentices and ensure their employability.

The measure aims to:

  • support training organisations in maintaining apprenticeship contracts;
  • offset the risk of a reduction in the number of apprenticeship posts;
  • encourage training organisations to offer more apprenticeships;
  • encourage the resumption of apprenticeship contracts terminated due to the health crisis.

The bonus amount is determined on the basis of the number of apprenticeship contracts, the number of new apprenticeships created, the number of apprenticeship contracts taken over and the number of apprentices hired during the last 3 years or since the authorisation for training has been granted to the organisation. It varies between EUR 1.500 and EUR 5.000 per apprentice.

In the national school system, there are several milestones in guidance. At the end of primary school, learners are oriented towards lower general or technical secondary education. Then, in secondary schools, based on their results and interests, learners choose their specialisation (including VET).

Guidance at secondary schools

Since 2017, every secondary school must develop its own general guidance approach. The approach has to be in accordance with the reference framework for school and professional guidance elaborated by the House of Guidance ( 89 ). In each secondary school, a guidance unit is responsible for the implementation of the guidance process set out in the school's development plan (PDS). It is composed of at least two members of the teaching staff, two of the educational or psychosocial staff and at least one guidance counsellor.

The Higher Education Documentation and Information Centre (Centre de Documentation et d'Information sur l'Enseignement Supérieur) is available to people who require general information about higher education.

House of Guidance

Most guidance services offered during secondary education, operate within the House of Guidance (maison de l'orientation, 2012). The initiative centralises administrations and counselling services that help people (re)-enter working life. It focuses on young people but anyone can find information and advice there. The guidance house includes:

  • the vocational guidance service of the public employment service (Adem) which provides information on trades/professions and apprenticeship placement;
  • the Psycho-Social and Educational Accompaniment Centre (CePAS) which helps learners in their school or career guidance and may provide psychological support;
  • the school reception centre for newcomers (SECAM) ( 90 );
  • the Higher Education Documentation and Information Centre of the Higher Education Ministry (CEDIES);
  • the Local Bureau for Youth (Antennes locales pour jeunes) of the National Youth Service (SNJ) which offers individual coaching to achieve school or professional projects;
  • the Agency for the transition of independent living ( 91 ) (ATVA);
  • the adult education department ( 92 ) of the education ministry (SFA).

This centralisation ensures better coordination of services and stakeholders, while improving visibility.

Guidance Forum

In 2017, the Guidance Forum (Forum orientation) was set up; this is a national council in charge of establishing a national information and guidance strategy. It includes ministries, social partners, directors of secondary schools, parent and learner representatives. The guidance forum has adopted the following definition of guidance:

'Guidance refers to a series of activities that enable the citizen, at any time in his/her life:

  • to identify his/her abilities, skills and interests;
  • to make informed decisions as regards his/her studies and training choices as well as his/her professional activities.

The shared goal is to foster personal fulfilment and the development of society.'

Online guidance tools

The web site of the House of Guidance centralises information on

  • existing education pathways and school guidance;
  • tools to identify everyone's interests and skills and get to know the professions and trades better;
  • how to get practical experience on the labour market;
  • vocational training;
  • preparation for a job interview;
  • change of career path;
  • existing help and supports for learners, parents, young persons, or adults.

Among the available tools, the web site www.beruffer.anelo.lu ( 93 ) contains information on trades and professions and on the training programmes available in Luxembourg or abroad.

Tools have also been developed to support learners in their orientation towards VET:

  • TalentCheck, a competence test developed in 2016 by the Chamber of Commerce. It aims to help learners choose a suitable apprenticeship based on better insights into their own strengths and weaknesses;
  • the guidance tool www.basic-check.lu, launched in June 2016 by the Chamber of Employees and the Chamber of Trades and Skilled Crafts, is an aptitude test which analyses the knowledge and skills of fifth grade learners (third year of lower secondary education). It is a guidance tool that helps in making choices before learning a trade/profession.

Once their interests and talents have been identified, the counsellors at the Beruffsinformatiounszentrum (BIZ, Vocational Information Centre) offer individual counselling on a wide variety of occupations and professions in order to assist them in their education and/or professional choices.

The platform Beruffsausbildung.lu offers an overview of all apprenticeships by trade and profession.

Local offices for youth (Antennes locales pour jeunes)

The local offices for youth offer individual support to young learners in their transition between school and working life and have the mission to reach out to young school leavers who are neither in training, education nor employment, and offer personalised support, to facilitate their re-entering education or the labour market. They also offer short-time internships in companies, associations or public services to confirm their professional project, and inform interested candidates on the offer of long-term volunteer internships organised by the National Youth Service (Service National de la Jeunesse)

The lifelong-learning.lu portal, is the reference site for lifelong-learning. It is a platform of contact between individuals and training bodies that offers an extensive catalogue of more than 10 000 courses provided by nearly 300 training bodies. It also centralises information on training: news, law, practices, training environment.

Please see:

  • Guidance and outreach Luxembourg national report ( 94 );
  • Cedefop's labour market intelligence toolkit ( 95 );
  • Cedefop's inventory of lifelong guidance systems and practices ( 96 ).

Vocational education and training system chart

Programme Types

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

'Orientation programmes'(Les classes inférieures de la voie d'orientation)

In the orientation programme classes (3 years: 7G, 6G and 5G) of general education (languages, mathematics, human and social sciences, natural sciences) the learners' knowledge is deepened. The language of instruction is German, except for mathematics and the French language course, which are taught in French. During the second year, language courses (French and German), as well as mathematics, are taught on two levels: in a basic course or in an advanced class. The choice of enrolment in one of the two courses is made according to the level of competence of the learner and the orientation advice from the class council. In the last year (5G), English is also taught on two levels. The orientation programme includes workshops in secondary schools that allow the learner to discover several trades and occupations. This is complemented by placements and visits in companies.

There are also special language offers that allow for an upgrade in German or French during the 3 years and an offer where all teaching is done in French except German lessons.

The preparatory programme (Les classes inférieures de la voie de préparation)

The lower grades of the preparatory programme(3 years: 7P, 6P and 5P)are for learners who, in one or more disciplines, have not reached the core competence referred to at the end of cycle 4 of primary education. They prepare learners for later transition to the orientation programme or vocational training. German, French, mathematics, general culture, physical education and sports and practical learning in workshops are taught in modules spread over 3 years of teaching. These allow the learner to progress at his own pace and capitalise on a maximum of modules for the subsequent training envisaged.

These two lower secondary programmes are distinguished by their general orientation, the relative importance of the subjects taught and the teaching methods.

There is also a special language offer where all teaching is provided in French except for German lessons.

Main providers

Secondary schools and national school for adults (ENAD).

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

Programmes include workshops that allow learners to discover several trades and occupations. This is complemented by placements and visits to companies.

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults, including learners with immigration background and with special educational needs. In this respect a mediator for school maintenance, inclusion and integration was set up in mid-2018 ( 99 ). The mediator's role is to deal with complaints about learners at risk of dropping out of school, the inclusion of learners with special educational needs and the integration of children from immigrant backgrounds into the 'main-stream' school system.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Young people must have successfully finished primary education.

Candidates as adults should be aged 17 or more and have a school level allowing access to the last year of lower secondary education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The different functions of assessment are given in detail:

  • formative evaluation: helping the learner to become aware of their strengths and weaknesses while documenting their learning process;
  • certification of the learner's individual knowledge and competences at the end of a learning period;
  • serve as a basis for the learner's guidance.

With a view to these objectives, the quarterly school reports (bulletins trimestriels) are complemented by a report supplement (complément au bulletin).

The quarterly report includes for each taught subject the average (out of 60) of classwork notes and other tests or assignments. The supplement to the report gives information on the progress of the learner in the different areas of competence of the taught subjects, giving an unencrypted assessment. This assessment by skills area offers a differentiated and nuanced view of the learners' abilities.

At the end of each quarter (or semester), the parents (or the adult learner) receive a report (bulletin) detailing:

  • quarterly (or each semester) marks of the subjects taught;
  • the general quarterly (or each semester) mark;
  • remedial measures for unsatisfactory results.

The report at the end of the school year also includes further details:

  • each subject's annual mark;
  • the general annual mark;
  • promotion decision (positive or not) to the higher class (at the third year of the lower cycle of technical secondary education).
Diplomas/certificates provided

Not applicable

Examples of qualifications

Not applicable

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

After successful completion of the lower cycle, learners can choose between technical secondary programmes and vocational programmes.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

No

General education subjects

Yes

Languages, humanities and social sciences, mathematics and natural sciences

Key competences

Mathematics, languages, digital competences

Application of learning outcomes approach

Yes

Teaching by competences is applied in the lower classes of technical secondary.

Competences refer to the ability of a learner to implement an organised set of knowledge, skills, and attitudes to provide an adequate response to a problem.

Competences sets describe the knowledge and competences that learners must master in a sustainable way at the end of the last 2 years of lower cycle of technical secondary education.

For language and mathematics, these sets are divided into two levels: basic set and advanced set.

The set of competences differs from the teaching programme, which describes the contents treated in each domain (maths, French, history, etc.).

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

At the beginning of school year 2020/21, lower technical secondary education represented 44.1% ( 100 ) of total learners in technical education including VET (lower, medium and upper level) ( 101 ).

The total number of learners in lower technical secondary education has fallen slightly since 2011/12; at that time 13 206 were registered in lower technical secondary education at the beginning of the school year and 11 851 in 2020/21.

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

Information not available

Main providers

Information not available

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

Information not available

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults. For the latter, only the last year is available.

Integration classes (classe d'insertion) of the lower cycle of technical secondary education have been created for learners who have a good academic record in their country of origin, but do not have a sufficient command of the languages used for tuition. Based on language skills gaps, learners receive intensive support in learning French or German.

Learners with immigration background and with special educational needs are also targeted. In this respect a mediator for school maintenance, inclusion and integration was set up mid-2018 ( 104 ).

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Learners must pass an admission test

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

Not applicable

Examples of qualifications

Not applicable

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

After completion of the lower cycle, learners can choose between technical secondary school and vocational programmes.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Languages, citizenship education, mathematics

Application of learning outcomes approach

Teaching by competences is applied in the lower classes of technical secondary.

Competences refer to the ability of a learner to implement an organised set of knowledge, skills, and attitudes to provide an adequate response to a problem.

Competence sets describe the knowledge and competences that learners must master in a sustainable way at the end of the last 2 years of lower technical secondary education.

The set of competences differ from the teaching programme, which describe the contents treated in each domain (maths, French, history, etc.).

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

The curriculum includes general and technical education; the latter includes practical and theoretical classes. There are in-company internships for some programmes

Main providers

Secondary schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Not available

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice for some programmes
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and some also for adults. Learners with immigration background and with special educational needs are also targeted. A mediator for school maintenance, inclusion and integration was set up mid-2018 ( 107 ). The mediator's role is to deal with complaints about learners at risk of dropping out of school, the inclusion of learners with special educational needs and the integration of children from immigrant backgrounds into the mainstream school system.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Learners must have completed grade 11 of lower technical secondary education or equivalent.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learner assessment is mainly based on summative evaluations, i.e. periodical tests on contents which have been taught recently. Depending on the subjects, one, two or three tests may be organised quarterly.

The quarterly report includes for each taught subject the average (out of 60) of classwork notes and other tests or assignments.

At the end of each quarter (or semester), the parents (or the adult learner) receive a report (bulletin) mentioning among others:

  • quarterly (or each semester) marks of the subjects taught;
  • general quarterly (or each semester) mark;
  • remedial measures in case of unsatisfactory results.

The report at the end of the school year also includes further details:

  • each subject's annual mark;
  • general annual mark;
  • promotion decision (positive or not) towards the higher class.
Diplomas/certificates provided

Learners who succeed in technical programmes are awarded a technical secondary school leaving diploma (diplôme de fin d'études secondaires générales). This diploma confers the same rights as that from general secondary education; graduates can enter the labour market or pursue higher education.

Examples of qualifications

Work in the administrative field in private companies or public institutions.

  • administrative and commercial division

-Management

-Communication and organisation

-Finance

-Marketing, media and communication

  • division of arts

-Visual arts and communication

  • Division of tourism and innkeeping

-Management of innkeeping

  • division of health professions and social professions

-Health professions and social professions

-Social science section

-Training of educators

-Training of nurses

-Health science section

  • general technique division

-Engineering

-Architecture, design and sustainable development

-Computer science

-Natural sciences section

-Environmental sciences section

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates have the possibility to follow Master craftsperson programmes at post-secondary level, 2-year higher technician programmes at tertiary level, or 3-year bachelor programmes. More specifically, depending on the strands followed (nationally referred to as 'divisions'), graduates have following progression opportunities:

  • administrative and commercial: graduates can pursue higher education in economics, law and accounting. They may work in administration in private companies or public institutions);
  • healthcare and social professions: graduates can pursue higher education in these professions. Graduates in nursing education can continue their education as midwife or medical technical assistant in radiology. Graduates in educator training can continue their studies as a state-certified educator for a period of 1 year;
  • general technical: graduates can pursue higher education in their specialties: engineering, natural science, architecture, design and sustainable development, computer science, environmental sciences);
  • division of arts: graduates can pursue higher education in the same domain;
  • division of tourism and hospitality: graduates can pursue higher education while preparing for the profession of manager in hospitality.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Yes

Validation of prior learning (VAE) is a process which enables professional and non-professional experience to be recognised with a view to obtaining all or part of a technical secondary school leaving diploma (diplôme de fin d'études secondaires générales).

Individuals who have at least 3 years (5 000 hours) of paid, unpaid or voluntary work (whether continuous or not) directly related to the requested qualification, may request validation of prior learning from the education ministry. The 2008 legislation ( 108 ) reforming VET and the law of 2010 ( 109 ) define the procedure for the validation of prior learning to obtain all or part of a technical secondary leaving diploma, a VET diploma or certificate (Technician diploma, DAP and CCP) or a master craftsmanship. Validation of prior learning is a two-step procedure that recognises the value of formal, non-formal and informal education and experience (professional and non-professional). As a first step, the validation request must be declared eligible. Next, the applicant must file a validation request which is submitted for analysis and decision to a validation commission. Throughout the validation procedure, candidates must prove their knowledge, competences, and skills in line with the curricula of the relevant qualification.

The Vocational training act amendment of 2016 ( 110 ) modifies the 2008 legislation and specifies that, during validation of prior learning, the Ministry of Education offers support to candidates through either collective workshop or personalised interviews with a coach nominated by the minister. If all conditions are met, the procedure leads to a certificate or diploma, or to a part thereof (to be completed within 3 years after the validation).

General education subjects

Yes

The curriculum includes general and vocational (nationally referred to as technical) education; the latter includes practical and theoretical classes, including languages, mathematics and, depending on the division, history, physics, etc.

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Yes

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Technical programmes (medium and upper level) represent in 2020/21, 54.7% ( 111 ) of all VET and medium and upper secondary technical education at the beginning of school year 2020/21 ( 112 ).

The total number of learners in technical secondary education (medium and upper levels) has increased since 2014/15. At that time 6 797 learners were registered in technical secondary education programmes at the beginning of the school year, with the number increasing to 8 223 in 2020/21.

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

The technician programme is mainly offered as a full-time track (filière de plein exercice), where all training occurs in an education institution and includes a minimum job placement of 12 weeks; some other programmes are carried out under an apprenticeship contract. The offer of apprenticeship programmes in the concomitant track (learning in school and in an enterprise takes place in parallel throughout the year, filière concomitante) or mixed track (theoretical and practical training in school in the first years and last year with the concomitant track, filière mixte) has been extended since 2015/16.

Main providers
  • secondary schools
  • companies/ training centres/ public administrations
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults, including learners with special educational needs and immigration background. In 2018, the mediator for school maintenance, inclusion and integration was set up ( 115 ), dealing with complaints about learners at risk of dropping out of school, the inclusion of learners with special educational needs and the integration of children from immigrant backgrounds into the mainstream school system.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Guidance towards vocational programmes takes place at the end of third year of lower technical secondary education upon decision of the class council based on the assessment reports of the whole academic year.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Since the entry into force of the 2008 reform, the VET programmes (technician, vocational aptitude diploma (DAP) and vocational capacity certificate (CCP)) have been organised into modules (fundamental, complementary and optional). For each module, an assessment framework has been set up including the various skills to be mastered.

At the end of each semester, the parents (or the adult learner) receive a report (bulletin) attesting to the learner's progress. The semester report includes for each module a summative evaluation (out of 60) based on the assessment of each skill included in the module.

Successful work-based modules remain valid throughout life. If a student has not passed a module, he or she has the possibility to take it again without having to repeat a whole school year.

A first decision to move on takes place at the end of the first year based on the compulsory modules followed during the first year. An interim assessment is drawn up at the end of the second academic year to decide on the moving to the third year. The assessment is based on the learner's results in the compulsory modules ( 116 ) as planned in the curriculum during the first and second years. A second decision to move on takes place at the end of the third year, based on the compulsory modules followed during the first year. A final assessment is made at the end of the programmes taking into account compulsory modules followed during the third and fourth years. Neither the final integrated project nor the intermediate project is taken into account.

Assessments are successful if the following conditions are met:

  • 90% success in compulsory modules;
  • 90% success in compulsory work-based modules;
  • none of the complementary modules should have a score below 20 points;
  • success in all fundamental modules.

If the interim assessment is successful, the complementary modules that are not passed do not need to be taken again.

Technician programmes also foresee integrated projects in the middle and at the end ( 117 ). These integrated projects aim to monitor whether the learner has developed the complex skills needed to solve a real or simulated work situation. An integrated project can be spread over a maximum duration of 3 days (24 hours) for technician programmes. This project allows learners to demonstrate the acquisition of required skills in a professional situation. The intermediary and the final integrated projects are a compulsory module for these programmes.

Learners can participate in the final integrated project only if they have been successful at the final assessment.

Diplomas/certificates provided

The technician diploma certifies that the holder is competent to perform the trade/profession in question. It differs from the programme leading to the vocational aptitude diploma (DAP) ( 118 ) by in-depth and diversified competences as well as in-depth general education.

Examples of qualifications

Technician in agriculture, electrical engineering technician in communication, civil engineering technician.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Technician programme graduates may progress to the third year of the technical upper secondary programme or follow a 1-year optional preparatory module allowing them to enter tertiary education.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Yes

Validation of prior learning (VAE) is a process which enables professional and non-professional experience to be recognised with a view to obtaining all or part of a Technician diploma.

Individuals who have at least 3 years (5 000 hours) of paid, unpaid or voluntary work (whether continuous or not) directly related to the requested qualification may request certification from the education ministry. The 2008 legislation ( 119 ) reforming VET and the law of 2010 ( 120 ) define the procedure for the validation of prior learning to obtain all or part of a technical secondary leaving diploma, a VET diploma or certificate (Technician diploma, DAP and CCP) or a master craftsmanship. Validation of prior learning is a two-step procedure that recognises the value of formal, non-formal and informal education and experience (professional and non-professional). As a first step, the validation request must be declared eligible. Next, the applicant must file a validation request which is submitted for analysis and decision to a validation commission. Throughout the validation procedure, candidates must prove their knowledge, competences, and skills in line with the curricula of the relevant qualification.

The Vocational training act amendment of 2016 ( 121 ) modifies the 2008 legislation and specifies that, during validation of prior learning, the Ministry of Education offers support to candidates through either collective workshop or personalised interviews with a coach nominated by the minister. If all conditions are met, the procedure leads to a certificate or diploma, or to a part thereof (to be completed within 3 years after the validation).

General education subjects

Yes

Languages, citizenship education, health education, sports education

In comparison to the vocational DAP programme, the technician programme offers more in-depth general education

Key competences

Yes

Languages, citizenship education

Application of learning outcomes approach

Yes

The major VET reform of 2008 ( 122 ) was implemented between 2010/11 and 2013/14. Among the key principles of the reform is also that teaching by subject is replaced with teaching by units and modules. Each module focuses on concrete professional situations and aims at developing several skills; the learning outcomes to be acquired (competences and knowledge) are defined for each module.

The learner acquires theoretical knowledge as well as practical application.

There are three types of modules:

  • fundamental modules (compulsory): in the event of failure, they cannot be compensated and must be made up in the following semester in remedial modules;
  • complementary modules (compulsory): in the event of failure, they can be recovered later during the whole duration of the programme;
  • optional and preparatory modules: they broaden the domains of training or prepare for potential tertiary studies.
Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Beginning of school year 2020/21, the number of learners registered in technician programmes (medium and upper level) was 20.2% of all learners following VET and medium and upper secondary technical education and 44.6% of all learners registered in VET programmes ( 123 ). The total number of learners in technician programmes (medium and upper level) has fallen between 2014/15 (3 606 learners) and 2020/21: 3 035.