Is there a reason why "which program do you follow" is not accepted as a translation?
I will not bother to report, since you already have. But to me, if you are going to translate "programma" literally as: (programme/program), when the more natural English expression in this context would be: "course", then a literal translation of "volgt" should also be accepted. Although a more common expression would be: "take a course", you can certainly "follow a programme" too.
Programma is not really a common word in relation to the education system, although you can come across it sometimes. Without context, I would expect this sentence to be about a television show (televisieprogramma). Next to that you can come across programma in the meaning of het programma van de avond (the progam/agenda of the evening), het theaterprogramma (the theatre show) and het programmaboekje (program booklet of whatever is planned: football match, festival, wedding party).
And the common question: Wat staat er op het programma? (What is the plan?/What can I expect for today/this holiday/this course/etc?)
That would be the most likely meaning indeed. But as I said it's not used commonly, so usage will depend on individual schools/universities. Since university has the most choice of subjects within a studies, I guess one is most likely to come across it there. But then there also are some secondary schools (where 12 to 18 year olds go to) that have a special program for (potential) top athletes, for that kind of thing, programma is probably used as well.
Also programma is not used for the specialisation within a studies, that is afstudeerrichting, literally graduation direction.
I don't think so. But I'm probably not the best person to ask, after looking into it and looking up some things, I'm still not sure.
I would really like someone at Duolingo to answer this. Neither Van Dale or Wikipedia (in Dutch) have any reference to programma as being a word to do with education.
It is certainly not one which I am familiar with in the UK (unless things have changed significantly in the past few years). There you would follow a course or a syllabus, achieve a key stage, take a subject, study for a qualification, do an apprenticeship...
Can someone from Duolingo explain what this is doing in the education section?
In the Flemish university system we have different "programs": you could be a regular student, a working student (work by day, study by night), 'een schakelstudent/schakelprogramma' (I am not sure how to translate this to English, but it is someone who changed its field of study after being graduated to get an extra graduation in another field), personal program (that matches with your own agenda/work pace and you get guidance) and there might be some more that I missed. I believe this is what it refers to in a educational context.
Does the sentence you gave apply only to an academic sense? Or can we use it in a daily conversation, something like "What are the plans for today?"
It can apply to any situation where one person or group has arranged something for others so e.g. education, holiday, day trip, a town's King's day celebration, (bachelor) party, you name it.
Whether "which program are you in?" is a good translation depends on what "programma" means in this education context. As I mentioned in a comment in a different discussion, if it's like an academic program in the US, then being in that program would be preferable. "I'm in the Medieval studies program."
Isn't it possible "to attend" a course? Or is it not possible in this context?
I'm not sure if you're asking about the English, or the Dutch. To my mind, "to attend a course" is perfectly good English, but not an accurate reflection of what (I think!) the original Dutch is saying. It says nothing about "attending", so hypothetically could be an online or distance-learning course. It seems to be asking more about the structure or content.
Also, if it's talking about degree level education, or similar, I'm not sure I would use the phrase: "attending a course" (even if you do physically attend). I would usually use "attending a course" only for a short course of a few days, or (at most) a few weeks. Similar to "attending a conference". I would find it a bit odd if someone who had committed to several years of study described it as simply "attending a course".
does the word "programma" could also mean "faculty" or "major" ? if not, what's the suitable word for that?
"Faculty" is "faculteit", so people do not use "programma", but people do use "programma" for "major", just not as often I suppose.
While I still have seen no definite answer in this discussion, this question, "Welk programma volg jij?", is probably the equivalent of "What's your major?" or "What (academic) department are you in?"
In the US, the term "faculty (members)" refers by an large to professors. Quite a bit of this nuanced academic terminology is literally lost in translation. Most US-Americans in college/university say they go to school and make no semantic difference between primary, secondary and tertiary education. Even the word "pupil" sounds antiquated.