From Researching Virtual Initiatives in Education
For entities in Luxembourg see Category:Luxembourg
Partners in Luxembourg
Luxembourg in a nutshellBelgium, France, and Germany. Luxembourg has a population of under half a million people in an area of approximately 2,586 square kilometres (999 sq mi).
Luxembourg is a parliamentary representative democracy with a constitutional monarchy, ruled by a Grand Duke. It is the world's only remaining sovereign Grand Duchy. The country has a highly developed economy, with the highest Gross Domestic Product per capita in the world (U.S. Central Intelligence Agency 2007). Its historic and strategic importance dates back to its founding as a Roman era fortress site and Frankish count's castle site in the Early Middle Ages. It was an important bastion along the Spanish road when Spain was the principal European power influencing the whole western hemisphere and beyond in the 14th–17th centuries.
Luxembourg is a founding member of the European Union, NATO, the United Nations, Benelux, and the Western European Union, reflecting the political consensus in favour of economic, political, and military integration. The city of Luxembourg, the capital and largest city, is the seat of several institutions and agencies of the European Union.
Luxembourg lies on the cultural divide between Romance Europe and Germanic Europe, borrowing customs from each of the distinct traditions. Luxembourg is a trilingual country; German, French and Luxembourgish are official languages. Although a secular state, Luxembourg is predominantly Roman Catholic.
Schools in Luxembourg
Education population and language of instruction
In 1997, the number of young people aged under 29 was 158 600 (38% of the population), and 48 000 pupils were of compulsory education age. The language of instruction depends on the level of education. In pre-primary school and the first two years of primary school, Letzeburgesch is the language medium. German is introduced as the language of instruction during the first year of primary school and French from the beginning of the second.
Administrative control and extent of public-sector funded education
In 1995, 93% of pupils attended public-sector schools and 7% grant-aided private institutions (which, although set up and controlled by non-governmental bodies, received 95-99% of their subsidy from the public sector, specifically to cover their operational expenditure). Overall responsibility for all sectors lies with the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training which takes all major decisions as regards curricula, school books, timetables, budgetary matters and teacher training. Responsibility for primary education is shared by the Ministry and the municipal authorities (in particular the municipal school commissions); there are no school heads at this level. In secondary education, the Ministry of Education exercises control via the directors of lycées and technical lycées. As regards higher education, the new Ministry of Culture, Higher Education and Research is responsible for all matters concerning higher education and research. At present, the Ministry of Education is aiming to develop the autonomy of secondary schools. School inspectors visit primary schools and report to the Ministry. From secondary level, inspection becomes the responsibility of school heads, in accordance with ministerial regulations.
Up to the age of 4, children may attend day centres which, in most cases, are officially recognized by the Ministry of the Family. However, the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training has recently introduced pre-primary education for children aged 3, which is however optional. By contrast, compulsory pre-primary education is to be offered by the municipalities with effect from 2004. Attendance at the Spillschoul (pre-primary schools) has been made compulsory from the age of 4.
Compulsory full-time education
Spillschoul (pre-primary schools) 4-6 to six years of age Primary education 6-12 years of age Secondary education General secondary education Technical secondary education 12-15 years of age Education is compulsory between the ages of 4 and 15.
(b) Admissions criteria
To enter pre-primary (or pre-school) education, children must be aged 4 on September 1st of the year they enrol. Children entering primary school must be aged 6. Admission to secondary education is dependent on a recommendation made at the end of primary schooling. Pupils in pre-primary and primary education must attend a school near their home in their residential catchment area. At secondary level, there are no restrictions as regards either the choice of school or formal admission procedures. All state pre-primary, primary and secondary schools are free.
(c) Length of the school day/week/year
The school year comprises 212 days between 15 September and 15 July at primary level and 2 June at secondary level. Schools are open two full days and two half-days a week. Primary and lower secondary levels give 30 lessons lasting 50-55 minutes a week. The annual minimum number of class hours is 936 at primary level and 900 at secondary level.
(d) Class size/student grouping
The maximum size of classes at primary level is 26 pupils, while the minimum is usually 17. Classes are generally small with, on average, between 17 and 18 pupils grouped according to age. Primary classes have a (non-specialist) teacher for all subjects, while secondary school pupils have teachers who have specialized in each subject.
(e) Curricular control and content
The curriculum and school books are determined by an ad hoc committee and approved by the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training. Teachers choose their own teaching methods which must conform to formal curricular requirements. At primary level, the basic subjects are the three national languages (Letzeburgesch, French and German), mathematics, science, history, geography, religious education or moral and social instruction, handiwork, music and physical education. General secondary education offers classical and modern streams, whose essential difference is their linguistic provision; in addition to the three national languages, Latin is taught within the classical curriculum and English in the modern one. Technical secondary education entails a compulsory three-year general curriculum including mathematics, languages, science, technology, art, music, religious education religious or moral and social instruction, and physical education.
(f) Assessment, progression and qualifications
There are no formal national-level examinations during compulsory schooling. Primary school teachers conduct ongoing assessment in groups of subjects and an overall summary assessment (periodic tests, generally written) in broader curricular areas. Pupils move on to the next year on the basis of their results. Since 1996, the entrance examination has been replaced by a selection procedure (entailing standardized and psychological testing), in which pupils and their parents receive a recommendation regarding the kind of education they should choose. At secondary level, teachers organize three tests a term in each subject, the results of which determine continuation to the next stage. Pupils receive a certificate at the end of compulsory schooling.
Upper secondary and post-secondary education
(a) Types of education
Lycée général (general secondary school) 15-19 years of age Lycée technique (technical secondary school) Intermediate stage/upper stage (2+2 years) Intermediate stage (3 years) 15-19 years of age 15-18 years of age Post-compulsory general secondary education continues in lycées and is organized in two stages: general upper secondary education during the fourth and fifth years of secondary school (15 to 17 years of age), and the period of specialization in the sixth and seventh years of secondary education (17 to 19 years of age). Technical secondary education is offered in technical lycées and is sub-divided into an intermediate and upper stage. Some technical lycées also offer post-secondary vocational training (especially in the tertiary sector).
(b) Admissions criteria
Pupils continue their studies free of charge in the school where they began their secondary education.
(c) Curricular control and content
Courses in various subjects are devised by committees and approved by the Ministry. The curriculum in the fourth and fifth years of general secondary education remains fairly similar to that of the first three years, but includes certain optional subjects in addition to new science courses (in physics and chemistry). Pupils also choose between an emphasis on literature or on science (whose only difference is the number of weekly lessons in mathematics). At the specialization stage of upper general secondary education, pupils have to choose from among several specialized course offerings. During the intermediate stage of technical secondary education, the curriculum varies depending on the option chosen by pupils (technical stream, technicians’ stream, vocational stream).
(d) Assessment, progression and qualifications
Assessment at post-compulsory level is based on regular testing given in each period and all subjects. Pupils who pass a national examination at the end of their schooling in the general lycée are awarded the diplôme de fin d’études générales (general school-leaving diploma). Pupils who satisfactorily complete their three years in the intermediate stage of the technical lycées receive the certificat d’aptitude technique et professionnelle (certificate of technical and vocational aptitude). Pupils who pass the national examination at the end of the upper stage of the technical lycées receive a diplôme de fin d’études secondaires techniques (technical secondary school-leaving diploma) or a diplôme de technicien (technician’s diploma). Post-secondary education in the technical lycées leads to the award of the Brevet de technicien supérieur (BTS, or higher technician’s diploma). Results determine whether pupils move on to the following year.
Following legislation in 1991, pupils with special needs became subject to normal schooling for which special needs education now prepares them. In 1995, barely 1% of all pupils in primary and secondary education attended special schools.
Would-be pre-primary and primary school teachers undergo three years of initial teacher training at the ISERP, for the award of a teaching certificate (CEP) corresponding to pre-primary or primary education. Those intending to teach in general secondary education have to complete a four-year university course (abroad) and then theoretical and practical training (the teacher placement) in Luxembourg (at the teacher training department of the University Centre). The placement cannot last less than 30 months or more than 56 months. Depending on their area of specialization, those intending to teach in technical secondary education must undergo two to four years of higher education (abroad) and a teaching placement in Luxembourg. The vast majority of teachers have the status of civil servants or public-sector staff.
(a) Types of institution
The Centre Universitaire de Luxembourg (University Centre of Luxembourg) offers first-year university courses, after which students have to continue their studies abroad (second-year courses in some subjects are to be organized from the start of the 1999 academic year). Higher education is provided in various institutions: the Institut Supérieur de Technologie - IST (Higher Technological Institute) which offers higher technical training. Training for teachers in pre-school and primary education is undertaken by the Institut supérieur d’études et de recherches pédagogiques – ISERP (Institute for Higher Studies and Research in Teaching), and those of graduate teachers by the Institut d’Études Éducatives et Sociales – IEES (Institute for Educational and Social Studies). The Short Higher Education Management Courses Department of the above-mentioned University Centre provides specific training in management and computer studies for management.
Applicants for all courses must hold a secondary or technical secondary school leaving diploma, or other qualification recognized as equivalent. Only access to the Institute for Higher Studies and Research in Teaching is restricted: students are admitted after being examined in their knowledge of the three national languages, as well as on the basis of their results in the secondary or technical secondary school leaving examination.
At the end of their education in the University Centre, students obtain a certificate giving them access to foreign institutions with which there is an equivalence agreement. Students who complete an IST course receive a diploma and the title of ingénieur-industriel: they may continue their studies abroad with a view to obtaining a Bachelor’s level degree. Students who follow teacher training courses are awarded a certificat d'aptitude pédagogique (certificate of aptitude for teaching). Satisfactory completion of a short higher education management course leads to a diplôme supérieure en gestion Training as a higher technician culminates, after two years, in the award of the above-mentioned BTS.
Main fields and levels where reforms have taken place or are in progress. To locate higher education reform in the overall discussion it is necessary to go into educational reform generally.
Over the last five years the Ministry for National Education and Vocational Training has undertaken a certain number of reforms which are currently being implemented or prepared. The main items that have been on the agenda are as follows:
In pre-school education, we must mention the introduction of early education for 3-year olds. The purpose of this measure, which is optional for parents, is to promote better social integration for children, to encourage their individual abilities and to develop their initial training in languages, which is particularly important in Luxembourg, a multilingual country with a large proportion of migrant children.
At this level of education, school projects are being put together that involve both teachers and parents. Among other things, these projects envisage innovative measures with regard to the functioning of primary schools.
In addition, the introduction of moral and social education has been generalised since the start of school year 1998/99.
General secondary education
In general secondary education, the review of the 1989 reform relating to the higher division (with in particular greater differentiation among the different schools following the decision to allow them to determine the contents of the optional courses) must be mentioned.
Technical secondary education and vocational training
At this level of education, the Ministry has begun to develop a new professional profile for the training of technicians and to reform the aide-soignant course (auxiliary nursing) (within the framework of the training courses for healthcare professions) and the administrative and commercial division of technical education.
We must also take this opportunity to announce the placing on the statute books of a framework law on continuing vocational training.
Higher education reform
In higher education, the law on the reform of 11.8.1996 has led to the setting-up of the University Centre and the Higher Institute for Technology in public establishments that have legal personality and financial, administrative, pedagogical and scientific autonomy. The University Centre has been granted permission to organise a second year of university studies and 3rd cycle training courses. Reform projects are being implemented for the Higher Institute for Pedagogical Studies and Research (preschool and primary teacher training) and the Institute for Educational and Social Studies (training of éducateurs diplômés and éducateurs gradués).
Transition from primary education to post-primary education
A major reform was initiated in 1996/97 for the transition from primary education to post-primary education. This reform did away with the entrance examination for secondary/technical secondary education and replaced it with a more flexible orientation procedure that not only takes account of the academic abilities of the pupil but also assesses his personal skills.
Reform of the period of teaching practice for secondary school teachers
A reform has just been implemented in the area of teaching practice for teachers in general secondary and technical secondary education. The new system provides for the training of student teachers at the two levels of education and it includes a system of tutoring whereby the student teachers are gradually introduced to teaching practice with the necessary support. The system is organised by the teacher training department of the University Centre and leads to a period of candidature during which the candidate (with civil servant status) writes a thesis within the framework of research in Luxembourg.
offered in the different courses and extends the financial support to postgraduate studies.
The new information technologies
A commission has been set up within the Ministry of Education in the field of education media to coordinate and reinforce the special IT equipment programme adopted, inter alia, within the framework of the "national action plan for employment".
A total of 40.5 billion LUF has already been invested in the school infrastructures of post-primary education or will be invested in the years ahead under a construction plan adopted by the Government (in particular in view of the considerable increase in the school population).
Key debates and discussions
The main discussions concerning the education policy still revolve around the transition from primary school to post-primary level, the integration of foreign children into the Luxembourg education system, the criteria for the advancement of pupils in general secondary education, the reform of the training of primary school teachers and éducateurs gradués, the assessment of the quality of the national school system and, finally, an alternative approach to the management of the education system through the introduction of partial autonomy (budgetary, organisational and pedagogical autonomy) within lycées (grammar schools).
Administration and finance
The planned reform of financial support for courses in higher education
The new Ministry intends to develop even stronger structures for higher education, and to encourage a larger number of pupils to undertake studies at that level (in particular through a reform of financial support for students).
A bill that has just been placed before the Chamber of Deputies lays the groundwork for further reforms and improvements in the system of State financial support for higher education courses. It generalises the system of incentive awards
Virtual learning initiatives in Luxembourg
The Open University in Luxembourg offers recognised university qualifications through part-time study. On 27th of january 2004, the Luxembourg Chamber of Employees in the private sector (CEPL) and the OU signed a co-operation agreement to promote the Open University and its programmes in Luxembourg. CEP-L and the OU have chosen to focus their co-operation on the Bachelor's and Master's courses in the areas of management and business administration, and IT and computing. the Open University has been operating in Luxembourg since 1987. There are currently around 250 students studying with The Open University in Luxembourg including over 150 registered with the Business School.
With accreditation from all three of the major international recognition bodies, AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA, the OU Business School is in a good position in Luxembourg as it is the only institution with triple accreditation offering courses exclusively via supported distance learning. As a qualification from a British state university, the MBA from The Open University (OU) is recognised in Luxembourg as well as worldwide. For courses in the Bachelor's programmes and short courses there are no entry requirements. For courses in the Master's programmes a Bachelor's degree (usually in the same subject area) is necessary.