…Let’s go on with Austria and Belgium school systems


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AUSTRIA

The school system is as follows:

  • Primary School or Volksschule (6-10)
  • Secondary school or Hauptschule or AHS-Unterstufe (10-14)
  • Polytechnische Schule (PTS) (14-15)
  • Superiors / Upper level (15-18)

Kindergarten lasts 3 or 4 years (from 3 to 6/7 years old). The pre-school education is not included in the education system, but it is subject to law and does not depend on the Ministry of Education. There are public Kindergartens, established and financed at national level, at Land level or by municipalities, and private Kindergarten, offered by associations, churches or religious orders. Attendance is optional, but admission conditions are put down in the Education Act in Kindergarten for each Land.

Activities are not regulated by a national curriculum, but medium and long-term planning includes group activities and individual activities. The Kündergarten are opened  from 7 to 19 and the ‘school year’ starts in September. Families receive, in addition to the family allowance provided until the economic independence of their children, specific allowances for the care of children from the age of 3. Financial support for  taxes payment is guaranteed on the basis of individual income.

Classes are organized into same age groups and mixed groups, which can vary by providing part time, full time, and afternoon groups especially suitable for children with special needs. There is one teacher for each group and often a second person (a Kindergarten teacher or an assistant) takes care of supporting the educational work.

There are no fixed rules regarding the school time schedule; the day usually begins with playing moments, then follow group activities (for example, reading fairy tales, singing songs, playing sports, etc.) moreover can practice individual activities such as painting, drawing. The activities planning and relevant topics are free, infact  there is no compulsory annual curriculum.

There is no evaluation, but teachers are responsible for monitoring and analyzing their children progress in the working methodology, cooperating with parents and therapists, and monitoring children’s health. Teacher training takes place in special schools at upper secondary level or in special training institutions at post-secondary level.

 

BELGIUM

The school system is as follows:

  • Primary school  (6-12 years old)
  • Secondary school  (12-18 years old)

Ecole maternelle lasts 3 and a half  (from 2 to 6). The école maternelle is not compulsory but it is a part of the educational system and along with primary education, it is an integral part of the basic educational path (up to 12 years old). Usually children are grouped into same age classes.

The schools are opened  5 days a week full time, except on Wednesday afternoons. The school year begins on September 1st and ends on June 30th. There are no ‘lessons’ but a series of  activities to improve psychomotor, linguistic, artistic, logical and social skills of the children.

The evaluation is carried out  in compliance with general rules. The children are evaluated taking in account their approach in carrying out activities and observing their behavior, through individual monitoring  that is carried out 2 or 3 times a year; in fact teachers can give to parents a complete report of their child’s progress.

To be a teacher it is necessary to have completed a 3-year course of study (theoretical and practical) at a higher level to get a certification for pre-primary education. Pre-primary teachers are employees of the institution hey work for, since 2002 training is mandatory.

Qualified nurses take care of very young children. If a child has disorders or special educational needs, there is the support of qualified personnel who offer special activities.

                                                                                                                              …To be continued

                                                                                                                            Laura Di Masi

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