Secondary/ Post-primary education in Luxembourg

What is secondary education in Luxembourg? - Secondary education follows after primary education. School education takes place in public establishments, such as high schools (lycées), private school institutions which apply the Ministry's official curriculum, private school institutions that apply another curriculum, and European schools.

Secondary/ Post-primary education in Luxembourg

Pupils join secondary education at the end of the last year of basic education, at the age of 12. The choice of secondary school is made jointly by parents and teachers, depending on the student’s performance and abilities.

37 public high schools and 5 private high schools offer the programs of Luxembourg public secondary education.

In the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, secondary education is provided by state schools (mostly high schools -lycées ), private schools teaching the official curriculum of the ministry, private schools teaching a different curriculum and European schools.

Public high schools are open to adolescents having reached the age of 12. Schooling is mandatory until the age of 16. A full high school cycle, without repeating a class, lasts seven years.

Luxembourg is a small country with a small population (726,000 inhabitants in 2021, in an area of 2,586 it is easy to forget that the Grand Duchy is a sovereign state in its own right.

It is a founding Member State of the European Union, which it presides on a rotating basis.
Although the population is small in terms of numbers, it is extremely diverse: more than 47% of residents are foreigners, of more than 170 different nationalities; 84% are nationals
of a European Union member State. The country's secondary education is for both foreigners and Luxembourgish.

What is Education?

Education is a purposeful activity directed at achieving certain aims, such as transmitting knowledge or fostering skills and character traits. These aims may include the development of understanding, rationality, kindness, and honesty.

Education is a discipline that is concerned with methods of teaching and learning in schools or school-like environments as opposed to various nonformal and informal means of socialization.


What is Secondary Education?

Secondary or post-primary education covers two phases on the International Standard Classification of Education scale. Level 2 or lower secondary education (less commonly junior secondary education) is considered the second and final phase of primary education. Level 3 (upper) secondary education or senior secondary education is the stage before tertiary education.

Every country aims to provide primary education, but the systems and terminology remain unique to them.

Secondary education typically takes place after six years of primary education and is followed by higher education, vocational education, or employment.

In most countries, secondary education is compulsory, at least until the age of 16. Children typically enter the lower secondary phase around age 12. Compulsory education sometimes extends to age 19.

Since 1989, education has been seen as a basic human right for a child; Article 28, of the Convention on the Rights of the Child states that primary education should be free and compulsory, while different forms of secondary education, including general and vocational education, should be available and accessible to every child.

The terminology has proved difficult, and there was no universal definition before ISCED divided the period between primary education and university into junior and upper secondary education.

Classical secondary education in Luxembourg:

High school studies always last 7 years, from 7th grade to 1st grade. This orientation is offered to students with a good knowledge of mathematics, French, and German.

Classical secondary studies are sanctioned by a classical secondary school diploma. They open the possibility of accessing higher education at a university in Luxembourg or abroad.

The high schools offer the standard classical education taught in German or French, depending on the subject. Students are taught literature, mathematics, natural sciences, and social sciences.

Classical high schools offer lower-division specials (grades 7 ESC to 5 ESC):

  1.  “German as a foreign language” or ALLET classes for French-speaking students with difficulties in German,
  2. “French Plus” for non-French speaking students,
  3. French language classes.
    Beginning in the first year of high school (7th grade), students can choose language options in Chinese (Lycée Athénée), English or Latin. The teaching of English is compulsory from the 5th grade on.

The specialization cycles offered in the upper division (3rd, 2nd and 1st grades) differ from one high school to another. We can find modern languages, mathematics and computer science, natural sciences and mathematics, economics and mathematics, plastic arts, musical sciences, humanities and social sciences.

The high school graduation exam in the classical stream covers 6 subjects, with 6 written tests and 2 oral tests. The student chooses his or her examination subjects from among languages and mathematics, general education and specializations studied.


Public international secondary education:

Some high schools also offer the possibility of preparing for the International Baccalaureate. The last two years (2nd and 1st) are devoted to studying the International Baccalaureate program.

This course is reserved for students who can follow a classical secondary education. It is mainly aimed at foreign students who have recently arrived in Luxembourg or wish to continue their studies abroad.

The International Baccalaureate is a diploma that is recognized in more than 140 countries around the world, including Luxembourg.

This course is offered at the Lycée technique du Centre for the French International Baccalaureate and at the Athénée and Lycée de Garçons d’Esch-sur-Alzette for the English International Baccalaureate.

If you want your child to continue the school curriculum in your country of origin, he or she can attend one of the international, European, French, or English schools in Luxembourg.

British public secondary education:

In high schools that offer this option, students will follow a curriculum that allows them to achieve A-Levels recognized in over 125 countries around the world. Courses are offered in English. French and German are chosen as 2nd and/or 3rd languages.

The International School Michel Lucius prepares students for internationally recognized British secondary school qualifications such as the IGSCE – International General Certificate of Secondary Education, Advanced Subsidiary Levels (AS-levels) and Advanced Levels (A-levels).

These courses are recognized by Cambridge University PA and are designed for English-speaking students who are likely to follow a higher international curriculum.

European public secondary education:

Based on the same model as the European schools, some Luxembourg establishments offer a European secondary education, leading to an internationally recognized European baccalaureate .

These public schools are open to all students and offer free education. These are the following high schools:

  1. International School of Differdange and Esch-sur-Alzette (EIDE) ;
  2. International school in Junglinster, Lënster Lycée International School (LLIS)
  3. Edward Steichen International School in Clervaux (LESC)
  4. International school in Mondorf-les-Bains (EIMLB)
  5. Anne Beffort International School in Mersch (EIMAB).
    European education is offered over 7 years, in the French, German and English sections.

General secondary education GSE (formerly technical):

General secondary education is offered as an alternative to students who do not enter the classical public system in Luxembourg. There are several ways to do this:

  • A course of study with a general secondary school diploma allowing access to higher education and university studies
  • More professional orientation, offered according to the student’s wishes and profile. Different diplomas can be obtained at the end of the course:
  • Diploma of technician for access to Higher Technical Studies with obtaining of Brevets de Techniciens Supérieurs
  • Diploma of professional competence
  • Certificate of professional competence via a preparation route.
    Here too, special classes will be offered to newly arrived foreign students.

Depending on the orientation chosen, secondary studies in vocational schools also last 7 years, from “7th GSS” to “1st GSS”. Students acquire skills not yet acquired at the end of basic school. They obtain a final diploma and can enter higher education, higher technical education via preparatory courses, or directly into employment.

The final exam in the general stream covers six subjects chosen by the student according to the priorities of his or her section.

Enrolment in Luxembourg high schools:

The orientation towards one type of education is decided in the last year (cycle 4.2) of the primary elementary school.

Enrolment in Luxembourg high schools is subject to the availability of places at the first chosen school. If the child is not accepted in this school, he/she will have to apply to another one in the second round, depending on the available places.

Don’t you find your way around the Luxembourg secondary school system? You can ask for help from CASNA (Cellule d’accueil scolaire pour élèves nouveaux arrivants). CASNA helps foreign students eligible for secondary education and newcomers to Luxembourg to orient themselves and integrate into the Luxembourg secondary school system. The office is located in the Maison de orientation in Luxembourg.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How many secondary schools are there in Luxembourg?

The choice of secondary school is made jointly by parents and teachers, depending on the student's performance and abilities. 37 public high schools and 5 private high schools offer the programs of Luxembourg public secondary education.

How is the education system in Luxembourg?

In Luxembourg, school is compulsory between the ages of 4 and 16. It comprises a minimum of 12 years divided between primary and post-primary education. Primary education comprises four cycles, including preschool and primary for children between 4 and 11.

How many secondary schools are there in Luxembourg?

The choice of secondary school is made jointly by parents and teachers, depending on the student's performance and abilities. 37 public high schools and 5 private high schools offer the programs of Luxembourg public secondary education.

Does Luxembourg have a good education?

The educational system in Luxembourg is one of the most successful in the world, and for a good reason. With well-paid teachers and multiple languages incorporated into the curriculum, there is a high standard for success.

The government runs most schools in Luxembourg for free. School is mandatory between ages 4 to 16 years old. Nearly every school is a multilingual melting pot of French, German, Luxembourgish, and some English.

What is an example of a secondary school?

What is Secondary School in the U.S.? Simply put, there is no such thing as a secondary school in the United States. Technically speaking, and by definition, middle school (grades 6-8), and high school (grades 9-12) can be considered part of secondary school because they are offered after elementary school.

Is secondary school the same as high school?

The term "high school" applies to the academic institution that follows elementary school. The term "secondary school" is often used as an alternative term. High schools prepare students for post-secondary education and training or employment after graduation.

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"Luxembourg Secondary Education" is an article that summarizes the secondary level of education in Luxembourg.

The article further explains the meaning of education, secondary education, classical secondary education, public international secondary education, British public secondary education, European secondary education in the country,

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