Education: Ensuring a brighter future for all children
Access to quality education is the basic prerequisite for a self-determined and successful life. In the DP’s view, public schools therefore have a key role to play in providing every child with fair opportunities for the future and in imparting skills that meet the requirements of the 21st century. Success at school should not depend on the origin, socio-economic status or language of the parents, but should be open to all children equally.
Under the leadership of the DP, public education has been consistently expanded and diversified over the past two legislatures to meet the individual interests, talents and needs of the students. We will continue to invest in the quality and diversity of the education system and remain true to the principle of “different schools for different children”.
The network of public international schools in Esch/Differdingen, Mondorf, Luxembourg City, Junglinster, Mersch and Clerf has been extended; further offers are to follow in Dudelange and Schifflange/Esch. The possibility of a further school in the surrounding area of Luxembourg City is also being examined.
With the support of the DP, considerable efforts have been made in recent years to improve the quality of childcare facilities and to strengthen non-formal education. After the introduction of 20 hours of free, multilingual early education in kindergartens, free “Maison Relais” were also introduced at the beginning of this school year. The DP has also introduced music lessons, which are largely free of charge, to promote creativity among children and young people and to facilitate access to culture. All these measures have significantly relieved the financial burden on families.
The DP has developed an innovative concept with the pilot project “alternative literacy” (German and French) in primary school to respond to the large diversity of the pupil population in the Luxembourg school system. In the coming years, the DP plans to further develop and expand these measures.
The DP pays special attention to the well-being of the students. In addition to the pure imparting of knowledge, it is important to us to support the holistic development of the children to the best of our ability. In this way, the promotion of social and emotional skills is to be given an even higher priority in schools in the future.
The DP is aware of the need to prepare children in the best possible way for the challenges of the digital transformation. Digital skills play a crucial role in equal opportunities and educational success. For this reason, the DP will continue to modernise the curricula and adapt them to the challenges of the 21st century. The students should be taught the so-called 4-C skills (creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration) in order to enable them to lead successful and self-determined lives in a digital world.
In recent years, the DP has introduced quality criteria for non-formal education and supported quality development. In addition, the DP has strongly supported parents financially by making the Maison Relais free during school hours and introducing 20 hours of free childcare for young children. However, one of the main problems remains in Luxembourg that there are currently not enough childcare places at the municipal level and that there are sometimes long waiting lists. The DP will work with the affected communities to develop concrete action plans to have all waiting lists resolved within 7 years. In doing so, DP will also rely on new financing models. This is to guarantee that from 2030 onwards, all parents in Luxembourg will have a childcare place guarantee.
In many integrated projects, Maison-Relais and schools have been realised in one building project in recent years. In general, the exchange between the two educational institutions has increased in many communities. However, the current legal framework still makes it difficult for Maison-Relais staff to intervene in the school and vice versa. The DP will create the possibility for staff from both structures to work together flexibly. This, in the interest of the children, who should be the focus.
The DP will improve the childcare ratio in the early childhood sector, which has been in place since 2009. This requires first and foremost a precise analysis of the existing distribution of resources. The DP will have this reform scientifically monitored to ensure that Luxembourg ensures the best childcare conditions for young children in international comparison.
The childcare sector has grown strongly in recent years. One of the main problems is finding the necessary qualified employees. With the DAP Education and DAP Auxilliaires d’Inclusion, the DP has created two new training courses for the field of education. The LTPES and ENAD will open a second site at Belval in the medium term to train additional educators. Through this training offensive, the DP will continuously increase the number of qualified personnel over the coming years.
In order to further improve the Luxembourgish language skills of the childcare staff, the DP will launch a major language offensive for early childhood care in cooperation with the INL and private language institutes. Courses are offered for beginners aiming for an A1 level as well as for advanced learners aiming for a B2 level.
Especially in the Maison-Relais, there are many employees who do not receive a full-time contract for organisational reasons. The DP will work with FEDAS and FELSEA to find a solution to this problem and work to guarantee better working conditions for the employees.
The current Chèques Service Accueil system has not been reformed since 2009 and is reaching its limits. The DP will harmonise the funding system between conventional providers and private providers. Commercial considerations should not affect the service provided to children.
The DP will revise the legislation on “mini-crèches” and make it more attractive. This should create a better mix between smaller and larger structures. The DP will also create further perspectives for the activity of childminders.
Digitisation is shaping the society of today and tomorrow. Applications such as ChatGPT have shown what possibilities lie in artificial intelligence. This raises more than ever the question of the skills of the future that schools should teach so that children and young people can lead successful and self-determined lives in a digital world. These 21st century skills are also called 4C skills: creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration. The 5th skill often mentioned is coding. The DP has initiated a broad consultation process in the Ministry of Education on the curriculum of the future. By 2025, the DP will have developed a new primary school curriculum that focuses on future skills. By 2028, the individual programmes will be revised and made more specific by means of pedagogical handouts.
As one of the most important projects for primary schools, the DP will implement the pilot project of alternative literacy (German and French) in all schools. This fundamental reform aims to guarantee the best possible educational opportunities for all children. For children with Luxembourgish as their first language, German literacy has proven its worth. For children with a migrant background, the public European schools have shown that French literacy leads to very good results. The project is explicitly designed to guarantee the integration of all children. Luxembourgish remains an important language of instruction and students are mixed in the subsidiary subjects.
The goal of the project is that in the C4 all pupils can be taught together and an orientation into the traditional school system is possible.
In recent years, the DP has brought new materials into primary schools to promote phonological awareness. These activities are to be further expanded to prepare the children even better for literacy in C2.
To support the teaching staff in differentiation and targeted activities, the DP will introduce a second person as an intervener in C1 on a selective basis.
There is a continued need to expand international offerings in primary school. Depending on the mother tongue, an English-language school offer proves advantageous. But also for pupils who start school in Luxembourg late (in C4) and have started their school career in other countries and in other languages, schooling in international classes is the better option. Depending on the region and the need, the DP will expand the offer of international public primary schools.
The DP has created more than 750 additional posts to support children with specific needs in the past years since 2017. In the process, the I-EBS (Instituteur Spécialisé pour Enfants à Besoins Spécifiques) was directly anchored in the schools. In addition to this specialised teacher, the DP will appoint an assistant (A-EBS) at DAP level in all schools by 2026. The first 50 assistants will already be deployed for the start of school in 2023/24.
A study by the Observatoire National has shown that social inequalities cannot be remedied by simply allocating more teaching staff to schools through the so-called quota calculation. Therefore, the DP relies on specialised teachers to support schools with high diversity in the school population and low socio-economic index. Additional I-EBS will be deployed in these schools and will be trained at Master’s level in the future.
In a convention with the University of Luxembourg, the DP has decided to create three new Master’s programmes (School and Teaching Development, Inclusion, School Management) with 60 ECTS credits. Persons who have completed a 4-year (240 ECTS) Bachelor’s degree programme such as the BSCE are admitted. In this way, the DP has obtained that the 4th year of teacher training is implicitly counted as the first year of a Master’s programme. These degree programmes will also be offered part-time, so that the path to a Master’s degree will be possible for anyone interested. Already, specialised teachers (I-EBS, IDS and ICN) are being recruited at Master’s level. New functions will be added successively in the future. This will include the school president and the Coordinateur de Cycle, among others , and the areas of responsibility and authority will have to be redefined.
By creating an Educational Science School at the University of Luxembourg, the DP will ensure that sufficient primary school teachers are trained in the future and that the funds earmarked for this purpose are used for practice-oriented training and research.
After the transfer of primary school teaching staff from the municipalities to the state in 2009, there are incoherences between the scope of responsibility of both partners in the field of education. The DP wants to revive this partnership by reorganising the responsibilities between the state and the municipalities. In addition to providing the buildings, the municipalities are to be given a stronger role in defining the goals of school development, while the state, in addition to pedagogical supervision, will take over personnel management completely and delegate it to the Regional Directorates of the Ministry of Education. The DP will work out such a reform together with the municipal representatives.
Following the example of the “Curriculum 2025” in primary school, the DP will push for the modernisation of programmes in secondary school. In addition to the 4C skills (critical thinking, creativity, communication, collaboration), other methods of teaching and evaluation are to be focused on. In the meantime, many secondary schools in the country are focusing on project teaching. The DP will support schools in adopting new pedagogical approaches to better prepare students for the future. The subject areas of education for sustainable development, sexual and affective health, drug prevention and financial education are increasingly being incorporated into the curricula.
The DP has created many new training opportunities in recent years. These include the new sections I and P in the Lycée classique, but also further degrees in vocational training. In the coming years, the DP will ensure that these trainings are available in all regions of the country.
Over the past decades, the diversity of the school population has increased steadily. This poses extraordinary challenges for our education system. One response was the creation of international public schools. Furthermore, there is a great need for French- and English-language school offers, so that the DP will open further accredited European schools in the south and centre of the country. Further locations will be built in the Esch/Schifflange area and in Dudelange. In addition to the EIGT (Ecole Internationale Gaston Thorn), which will continue to grow in the coming years, there is a need for a second agreed European school in the greater Luxembourg City area.
A key to school development and teaching quality lies in broadly based school boards. High schools are more demanding than a medium-sized company in terms of staff size and organisational challenges. Unfortunately, pedagogical aspects often fall by the wayside. The DP will therefore proceed with the expansion of school directorates in secondary schools. In 2023, a start has already been made on appointing officers for the psychosocial staff department. Further persons responsible for the technical staff and the maintenance of the building as well as for the administrative staff will follow so that the school management can concentrate more on pedagogical issues.
Every year, around 700 students between the ages of 16 and 18 leave the Luxembourg school system without a diploma. These drop-outs often wish for a further future in the school system. But it is either health, psychological or disciplinary problems that make them leave school. However, youths and young adults without qualifications have little to no chances on the labour market. This is why many countries before Luxembourg have already raised the age limit for compulsory education from 16 to 18. The DP will create new educational opportunities for these students to give them a new perspective in the education system. An important element is the CISP (Centres d’Insertion Professionelle), where the students receive psycho-social support as well as concrete experience in workshops (carpentry, lock smithery, gardening, etc…) to regain the joy of an education. The DP will further expand the CISP network and link it with secondary schools.
Children with specific needs have a right to be educated in mainstream schools. To make this possible, the DP will continue to expand the multidisciplinary teams (Equipes de Soutien pour Enfants à Besoins spécifiques) in secondary schools.
The DP has legislated that every institution working with children and young people should have clear procedures in place to prevent bullying, abuse and other forms of violence and oppression. The concept of the Child Protection Officer is therefore being introduced in secondary schools. These are trained employees who are available to students as confidants and can help them protect themselves and assert their rights.
The DP has already greatly expanded cardiac arrest resuscitation courses in secondary schools. Also, 500 people have already been trained for courses on recognising mental suffering, such as suicide risk. The DP will offer first aid courses throughout the country, as well as generalise courses on the recognition of mental illness.
The DP will further develop the Cellules d’Orientation in the secondary schools and network them with the Maison d’Orientation. In order to support all pupils in their choice of education and future profession, the DP will offer suitable internships in businesses and make them compulsory for all pupils.
The DP will implement a school guidance programme in the Luxembourg school system similar to the one in North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany). This includes targeted internships in businesses and sectors to explore different occupational fields and thus be able to make a conscious choice of training or career. To be able to cope with this task, the DP will further expand the Cellules d’Orientation in the secondary schools and further link them to the Maison d’Orientation.
To counteract the lack of physical activity among children, the DP wants to further promote the concept of “moving schools”. The main goal of the project is to integrate physical activity time into regular school hours. Through various measures, such as loosening up phases, moving breaks, movement stations in the classroom and moving lessons, the children should be taught to enjoy movement and at the same time their ability to concentrate and learn should be increased.
Refer to the chapter on Financial Centre
Refer to the chapter on Agriculture
Refer to the chapter on Sustainability
The DP has led vocational education and training out of the crisis into which it had fallen after the reform of 2009, which was not very effective. Together with the partners in vocational training, the DP has succeeded in creating many new apprenticeships and modernising existing ones in recent years. The DP will continue to build on this basis in the coming legislative period and adapt vocational education and training to developments in society and the economy. Especially in the areas of major social transitions: Green Technologies, Industry 3.0 and Digitalisation.
In order to give all pupils in Luxembourg the opportunity to choose a vocational training, the offers in French and also selectively in English must be expanded. The selection of the apprenticeships will be made together with the vocational training partners.
The DP had already started a project before the pandemic to give students the opportunity to obtain a secondary school diploma with access to higher education and at the same time be able to complete a DAP-level education. With the DP, the project will be continued in the coming legislative period. The corresponding learning content will be stretched over an additional training year after the “Première”. Students will already complete modules of vocational training instead of the option courses in the “Cycle supérieur” and complete the DAP training within one year in the final year after the “Première”.
In order to bring craftsmanship closer to the pupils at an early age, the DP will introduce a support programme in primary school modelled on the “Kulturama” programme. Just as teachers can draw on artists for educational projects at this one, the DP will create opportunities to connect primary school classes with crafts people through projects. The respective people will be reimbursed for their participation.
The technological progress is picking up its pace, so many people need to continuously train or even retrain during their working lives. The Luxembourg economy also relies on workers achieving higher qualifications in addition to their professional activity. For this reason, the DP will make great efforts in the area of continuous vocational training to expand education and training opportunities for adults. As part of the tripartite negotiations, the DP had set up the so-called skills table. The DP will implement the resulting OECD study with its recommendations.
Refer to the chapter Digitisation and Media
To be able to achieve the necessary momentum in professional development, the DP will open two more CNFPCs. The current structure of the Munnerefer Lycée will be converted into a CNFPC with a focus on paramedical and medical professions when the new building is completed, and the current LTB (Lycée Technique de Bonnevoie) building will become a CNFPC with a focus on the service industry (commerce) and gastronomy. This offer complements the current CNFPC in Esch/Alzette (Industry 3.0) with the Digital Learning Hub as well as the CNFPC in Ettelbrück (Green Technologies).
Children and youth welfare
With the reform of the Youth Protection Act and the introduction of a Youth Penal Code, the DP will complete a centennial reform that was drafted during the last legislative period. The implementation of this reform will be the focus of the upcoming legislative period.
The qualifications and possibilities of child and youth welfare services are not yet sufficiently known in schools. The DP will link the regional structures of the ONE with the Cellules d’Inclusion to guarantee that help reaches those places where it is needed. Problems and interventions in the family belong to the area of child and youth welfare, while the school should focus on the area of school inclusion.
With the Social Lab, the DP has created a participatory body through which child and youth welfare stakeholders could be involved in the elaboration of a quality framework. The DP will continue to use this model to further boost momentum and promote quality development.
Together with the municipalities, the DP will push for a systematic expansion of the youth houses. Adequate funding should ensure that each municipality has an adequate local or regional offer according to its number of inhabitants. Youth centres are an important stakeholder in non-formal education. In order to give young people the opportunity to develop their interests and important skills for the future, the DP will expand and diversify the services offered by the youth houses. The DP will encourage the youth houses to develop the following offers over the coming years: Ateliers where the young people can do handicrafts and realise projects together. Makerspaces where young people can familiarise themselves with digital technologies. Music and painting studios where the young people can engage in artistic activities. Participatory structures such as the Youth Community Council in which young people can get involved and learn to discuss together. Gaming evenings and e-gaming competitions where young people can play against and with each other.
Refer to chapter on European and Foreign Policy
Refer to chapter on Sport