Registering a young person in the lower level of public secondary technical education

Update in progress

After primary studies, the student receives guidance about the various paths for general secondary education or public secondary technical education. Each path offers a very specific type of education. Theoretically, it is possible for a student to change from one type of program to another, especially within the first 3 years.

Secondary technical education (enseignement secondaire technique – EST) prepares students for professional life by providing general, social and technical training. Certain educational pathways will also allow them to move on to higher education. Secondary technical education is organised around schooling institutions, some of which offer specialised programs in hospitality, agriculture, administration or business.

The lower level of EST includes the 7th, 8th and 9th classes. It aims to:

  • expand and deepen basic knowledge;
  • guide students towards further education and prepare them to pursue studies in the various intermediate systems;
  • facilitate the transition to working life.

In the lower classes, the lingua franca is German. There are specific language classes where it is French. English is taught from the 8th class onwards.

Who is concerned

Students age 12 or older who are seeking to deepen their general knowledge and gradually obtain technical or vocational training which corresponds to their interests and abilities are integrated into the lower level of secondary technical education.


In order to be admitted into the lower level of secondary technical education, the student must have satisfactory knowledge in the basic education subjects, as attested by a guiding decision prepared by the steering committee at the end of Level 4 of basic education (end of 6th class of primary level).

How to proceed

Guidance and registration for students at the end of the 4th level of basic schooling

The guiding decision

A student is admitted to a 7th EST class based on a guiding decision prepared by the steering committee and sent by post to the student's parents.

This admits the student to the 7th class of EST or to the modular preparatory system (régime préparatoire modulaire – MO).

To register, the student must adhere to that guidance, although an appeals process is available should their parents disagree with the decision.


In theory, the student is free to choose the academic institution. If the number of registrations exceeds the number of available places, the student receives priority registration at a secondary school in proximity to the commune where they reside, which offers the type of education indicated by the guiding decision.

The secondary school registration application pack must contain:

  • the original guiding decision or a document certifying the affirmative decision of the appeals committee;
  • a duly completed registration form (to be obtained from the teacher);
  • a photocopy of the report card from the last year of basic education, certified as conform by the school teacher.

The registration period is from the end of June through the beginning of July. After registering, the parents will receive confirmation from the headteacher of the secondary school, who will give the following information:

  • date of the first day of school;
  • supplies to be purchased;
  • code of conduct and internal regulations of the institution;
  • institution profile and guidelines;
  • school charter.
Admission of an adult student at a secondary school is subject to a counselling interview. The candidate must commit to the rights and obligations in the secondary school code of conduct and internal regulations, as well as the school charter. A secondary school is not required to register a student who was expelled from an academic institution as an adult.

Lower level of secondary technical education

The lower level includes the first 3 EST classes:

  • 7th: provides general basic training and deepens knowledge previously acquired;
  • 8th: consolidates the general basic training as well as previously acquired knowledge;
  • 9th: provides preparation for getting an apprenticeship and continues studies in the various systems and divisions of the intermediate level.
Guidance toward technical training at the end of the 4 th level of primary education

7th ST

7th modular preparatory system

8th theoretical

8th general

8th modular

9th theoretical

9th general

9th practical

9th modular

This level allows the student to deepen their general knowledge, so that they may then choose one of the 3 systems (technical system, technician training system or vocational system).

In parallel to the lower level, the preparatory system, which is an integral part of secondary technical education, is designed for students experiencing difficulties learning certain content and keeping up with the usual teaching pace. This education should serve as a bridge for these students so they can access other classes in the lower level of EST.

7th ST

In the 7th ST class, the curriculum includes languages (French, German), mathematics, humanities, natural sciences, technological education and applications, as well as common 'life and society' courses. A 7th adaptation class (classe d'adaptation) (7th AD) is offered to students who are experiencing difficulties following the prescribed curriculum.

8th theoretical and 8th general

Depending on the results earned in the 7th ST, students will be guided towards an 8th theoretical or 8th general class. These educational paths are distinguished by their general direction, the relative weight of the subjects taught, and the teaching methods.

9th classes

Successful completion of this class allows the student to begin a technical system, technician or vocational training programme.

The decision to grant admission to the 10th class of the intermediate level is taken by the class board, depending on the student's degree of success in the 9th class – be it theoretical, general or practical. The level and type of studies or apprenticeship that are available depend on student performance.

Apprenticeship paths after the 9 th class

9th theoretical

Technical system (technical secondary school diploma) (diplôme de fin d'études secondaires techniques) or technician's diploma (diplôme de technicien), or a vocational system (vocational aptitude diploma (diplôme d'aptitude professionnelle - DAP)), certificate of professional ability (certificat de capacité professionnelle – CCP)

9th general

Technician system (technician's diploma) or vocational system (DAP, CCP)

9th practical

Vocational system (DAP, CCP)

Modular classes in the preparatory system

The modular classes of the EST preparatory system (7th MO) are for students who have not achieved the targets set in the 6th year of primary. German, French and mathematics are taught in modules, which allows the student to progress at their own pace and catch up to the proper level. The preparatory system should allow these students to gain access to the lower level 8th general or 9th practical classes of secondary technical education, or enter a vocational training programme.

Moving from the lower to the intermediate and higher levels

Moving from the lower level to the intermediate and higher levels is based on a guidance profile, which is essentially determined by the student's grades, and which indicates the systems, divisions and sections for which the student qualifies. This is accompanied by the guiding opinion issued by the class board and the Psychosocial and Scholastic Assistance Service (Service psycho-social et d'accompagnement scolaires – SePAS).

Who to contact

Double click to activate the map
Double click to activate the map
Last update