An expatriate’s guide to Andorra’s educational system

An expatriate’s guide to Andorra’s educational system

Expatriate parents that have successfully established their family’s Andorran residency may have many questions about the Andorran educational system and how to get their children settled into a new school. As expatriates continue to be drawn to Andorra’s thriving, cosmopolitan and business-oriented environment one may be pleasantly surprised at the panoply of rich educational options that are available to them despite Andorra’s diminutive size.

 

A breakdown of Andorra’s educational system

1. Primary and secondary school education in Andorra

Firstly, it is important to note that homeschooling is not permitted in Andorra. Schooling is free for all resident children; attending school is compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 16. Parents who have recently relocated their family to Andorra can choose between three different public school systems: French, Andorran or Spanish. These three educational systems share the following similarities:

• A very high standard of education with a focus on general subjects such as Math, Science, languages, History, IT and Art

• Primary school: compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 12

• Secondary school: compulsory for children between the ages of 12 and 16

• Upper secondary education: for students between the ages of 16 and 18 who wish to attend university

• Multilingual children: Expatriate children often become competent or fluent in Catalan, Spanish, French and English due to a high exposure to multiple languages offered in their schools

• Focus on sports: sports are an integral part of the Andorran educational system (see second part of this article)

2. Post Baccalaureate educational opportunities in Andorra

A student can pursue graduate and post-graduate degrees once they have successfully attained the Andorran equivalent of the Baccalaureate. Since students that have completed the lower Andorran educational system are fluent in multiple languages they may choose to continue their studies abroad in neighbouring countries. However Andorra has its own highly competitive and well-recognized public University. The University of Andorra offers a wide range of graduate and post-graduate studies as well as online courses available at its Virtual Studies Centre. Due to Andorra’s location, nestled between Southern France and Spain, many of this University’s courses are taught in collaboration with the most prestigious Universities in these two countries.

Andorra has been a member of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) since 2003. This ensures that a higher degree obtained in Andorra will be recognized by the other forty-nine member states. This is a very important factor for multilingual Andorrans searching for employment upon graduation as this degree opens countless options throughout Europe.

The integral part sports and languages play in Andorra’s educational system

Outdoor sports in Andorra’s idyllic setting

Andorra’s prime location in the foothills of the Pyrenees offers breath-taking landscapes which make the ideal setting for outdoor sports. One does not need to wonder why winter sports such as skiing are so popular in Andorra. All schools teach skiing as part of their general curriculum along with a large variety of other indoor and outdoor sports including the following:

• Rugby

• Soccer

• Basketball

• Hiking

• Tennis

• Badminton

• Ping Pong

Andorran schools are not the only institution that places a great importance on sports. Public sports centers and swimming pools can be found in each town along with a government-funded sports complex in Andorre-la-Vieille, Andorra’s capitol. Diverse golf, horseback riding, roller hockey, trekking and other sporting clubs are available and can greatly enrich a student’s after school extracurricular activities. Each city also organizes summer camps, offering a mix of sports and lessons for children staying in the country during the summer.

Andorra’s multilingual and multicultural society

Andorra’s official language is Catalan however most Andorrans also speak Spanish, French and English. The Andorran educational system has taken its country’s geographical location into account. Due to Andorra’s proximity to Spain and France and an increase in English speaking tourists, schools place language instruction at the top of their priorities from a very early age. There is also a school that offers a total immersion bilingual educational program which is taught in Spanish and English. There are more than thirty language schools in Andorra, offering traditional classes as well as private courses which are taught at home with online learning options

Please note that public schools are free for all Andorran residents. If you are planning on moving to Andorra with your family we also provide information for expatriates on how to procure your Andorran residency, including a list of all the documents needed to successfully complete your residency request.

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