School will be compulsory for all children in Belgium from the age of five years, instead of six, from this academic year, which starts in September.
By adopting the new measure, aimed at fighting failure in school, the Wallonia-Brussels Federation now joins Flanders in implementing a bill passed last year by the Chamber, since setting the compulsory school age falls within the competence of the federal authorities.
Under the new decree, all children who attain the age of five must be registered in the 3rd grade of kindergarten school.
Envisaged about 15 years ago, the lowering of the compulsory schooling age is aimed at detecting any learning disabilities at an earlier age, enabling children to integrate school codes earlier, attain greater mastery of the language of education and thus enhance their chances of learning and success at primary school.
Until now, 97% of five-year-olds went to school in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation.
Now that school is compulsory from the third year of kindergarten, the number of half days of uncertified absence allowed there will now be reduced to nine, as in primary schools.
The Brussels Times