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Belgian school to become compulsory from five years old
The compulsory school age for children in Belgium will be cut from six to five in 2020 - after a unanimous vote in parliament.
While education is devolved to each of Belgium's language communities - French, Dutch and German - the law governing when a child must start school is a federal issue. Proposals to lower the starting age have been debated for at least the past 15 years.
The age reduction aims to better guarantee equality of opportunities and promote language learning, especially in families where none of Belgium's official languages is spoken at home.
The parliament's education committee voted unanimously on Tuesday on a bill put forward by CDH group leader Catherine Fonck, which had cross-party support from the MR, Open VLD and CD&V. The DéFI party had gone a step further and suggested compulsory school from three.
The law will be put to a final vote in full parliament shortly and is expected to come into force in September 2020.