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1. The position of Flanders Flanders in Belgium and Europe, Flanders as a federated state Education of the communities Flemish education at regional, continental and world level. 2. Education in Flanders General principles Compulsory education for all children six/eighteen

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1. The position of Flanders

  • Flanders in Belgium and Europe, Flanders as a federated state
  • Education of the communities
  • Flemish education at regional, continental and world level

2. Education in Flanders

  • General principles
  • Compulsory education for all children six/eighteen
  • Freedom of education
  • Educational networks
  • Funding education
  • Autonomy
  • The legal position of staff
  • Organisation of the school and academic year

2. Education in Flanders

  • Levels of education
  • Nursery and Primary education
  • Secondary education
  • Tertiary education
  • Continuing education

2. Education in Flanders

  • Support and quality control
  • Pupil Guidance Centres (CLBs)
  • Information and communication technologies (ICT)
  • Communication
  • Quality control and promotion

2. Education in Flanders

  • Current issues
  • Study grants and study financing
  • More opportunities for everyone
  • Participation
  • Modularisation
  • Lifelong learning

Flanders in Belgium and Europe

  • Flanders lies in the northern part of Belgium.
  • Flanders has almost six million inhabitants.
  • Their official language is Dutch.
  • Brussels = capital of Flanders, Belgium, Europe.
  • The Flemish Community incl. Dutch Brussels.

Education of the communities

The process of federalisation took almost a quarter of a century.

The Flemish, French and German-speaking community

have their own educational system.


Flemish education at regional, continental and world level

International programmes

The Socrates programme and the Leonardo

da Vinci programme, Petra and Comenius.


General principles

Compulsory education for all children from six to eighteen. After 16 only part-time compulsory education.

All children who reside in Belgium, also children of foreign nationality.

Home education is possible.


General principles

Access to education is free of charge up to the end of compulsory education.

Access to Flemish nursery education is also free of charge, although it is not covered by compulsory education.


General principles

Freedom of education is a constitutional right in Belgium.

The concept of the governing body (or school board) is a key concept in the organisation of education in Flanders.

The governing bodies have a wide-ranging



General principles

  • Governing body (or school board)
  • Community education is education organised by ‘Flemish Community Education’
  • Subsidised publicly run schools are municipal education institutions
  • Subsidised privately run schools as non-profit-making organisation. Mainly catholic schools. Islamic, Protestant, Jewish, orthodox schools. Freinet schools, Montessori schools or Steiner ‘method schools’.

General principles

Funding education

The Flemish education budget = 7,86 billion EUR in 2004.

42.64 % of the total Flemish budget

4 % increase per year since 1989.


General principles


Greater responsibility on education providers by making pupils, students and parents accountable as well.

In 1998 the authorities continued giving broader responsibilities to schools and schools groups.


General principles

The legal position of staff

Legal security and a certain degree of job security.

A permanent appointment guarantees job and

salary security.

It also gives the member of

staff the right to leave, sick leave, and a state pension.


General principles

Organisation of the school and academic year

For nursery, primary and secondary education,

the school year starts on 1 September

and ends on 31 August.

In tertiary education, the academic year starts

between 1 September and 1 October.


Levels of education primary

  • Nursery and primary education
  • ‘Basisonderwijs’ comprises both nursery and
  • primary education.
  • Mainstream nursery and primary
  • Special nursery and primary

Levels of education primary

Integrated nursery and primary education is

the result of co-operation initiatives between

mainstream nursery and primary education

and special education.


Levels of education primary

The teaching periods are calculated on the basis of the numbers of pupils on a particular count date and the supplementary teaching periods.

Apart from the number of teaching periods, schools receive a number of periods to call in child carers.

The government allocates to each school a funding envelope for management and support staff.


Levels of education primary

Almost all children receive nursery education in Flanders.

In nursery + primary schools, the child is taught skills, such as language acquisition, motoric development, social skills, ... and an initial way of exploring the world.


Levels of education secondary

Secondary education

For people aged 12 to 18.

In principle, all schools are mixed.

• general secondary education (aso),

• technical secondary education (tso),

• secondary education in the arts (kso),

• vocational secondary education (bso)


Levels of education secondary

Young people whose physical, psychological, social or intellectual development is hampered by a disability can receive special education (BuSO).

A pupil only passes on to the next ‘learning stage’ when he/she is ready for this.

Young people with a disability can also be admitted to a school for mainstream secondary education through the system of integrated education (GON).


Levels of education secondary

From the age of 15 or 16, pupils can transfer to part-time vocational education (DBSO).

They can also opt for an entrepreneurship training course provided by the VIZO-Syntra-network


Levels of education tertiary

Tertiary education


• the K.U. Leuven Association

• the Ghent University Association

• the Antwerp University Association

• Brussels university association

• the universiteit - hogescholen Limburg

There are two kinds of bachelor courses: the professional and the academic bachelor course (180 credits).

Some admission tests are taken.


Levels of education secondary

Postgraduate courses and Continuing education within the context of lifelong learning.

Teacher training at colleges of higher education are transformed into professionally-oriented bachelor courses.


Levels of education post

Continuing education

Part-time education

in the arts (DKO)

DKO is a supplementary form of education aimed at children, young people and adults.

Participants enrol voluntarily and pay an enrolment fee.


Levels of education post

Adult education

More than 250,000 course participants

The course participant pays an enrolment. Continuing education is provided in centres for adult education.

Basic education focuses on all adults who

need a basic training in order to fully participate in society or follow further training.


Levels of education post

The 29 centres for basic adult education provide basic education in languages, mathematics, social orientation, ICT, introduction in French and English and stimulation and student counselling. Free of charge.

8 Dutch Language Houses in Flanders advising students on NT2 education providers, the VDAB, welcome offices and local authorities.


Support and quality control

  • Pupil Guidance Centres (CLBs)
  • The Pupil guidance centre or CLB is a service
  • which pupils, parents,teachers and school management teams consult for information or help.
      • • learning and studying
      • • the school career
      • • preventive health care
      • • social and emotional development.
  • Supervision by a CLB is only compulsory for truancy and some medical examinations.

Support and quality control

The Flemish Government has implemented a policy of promoting ICT in education (since 1996).

The ICT co-ordinator is responsible for technical and educational ICT support at school level

Training teachers in the educational use of ICT via REN Vlaanderen.

Free software and an educational site Klascement


Support and quality control

  • The website is a portal to all on-line information and services of the Education Department.
  • The department issues a lot of publications, a.o. KLASSE, a magazine for teachers and students.
  • Teacher card
  • SID (Studie Info Dagen)

Support and quality control

Quality promotion targets

Attainment targets of the Flemish Community clearly indicates its minimum expectations with regard to nursery, primary and secondary education.

The Inspectorate of the Flemish Community consists of inspection teams.

In addition, there is also an inspection team that inspects religious and/or philosophical education subjects.


Support and quality control

Every education network has its own educational advisors for educational and methodological advisory services (innovation projects, self-evaluation projects, support initiatives).

Colleges of higher education and universities

carry out their own internal quality control

through a self-evaluation. In addition, visitations of their courses are conducted by a committee.


Current issues

Current issues

Scholarships for low family incomes: to 1,403 euro in secondary, to 3,121 euro for students in higher education.


Current issues

The Act on equal opportunities:

• each pupil has in principle the right to enrol in the school of his/her (parent’s) choice.

• the establishment of local consultation platforms

• additional support that must enable schools to develop an extended needs provision geared toward deprived children.


Current issues

In higher education, a number of measures

are also taken to promote equal opportunities

among students. Colleges of higher education

and universities have extensive possibilities

to recognise foreign diplomas and

competencies acquired elsewhere.

In secondary education, there is a system of

reception classes for minor non-native Dutch

speakers. Similar to support to pupils with dyslexia.


Current issues

  • Participation
  • Parents’ associations
  • Students’ councils
  • Interuniversity Council

Current issues

Waterfall thinking, which means that ASO is

better than TSO and TSO better than BSO, is deeply rooted in Flemish educational structures.

The modularisation experiment gives pupils attending vocationally-oriented training courses (BSO, DBSO, BuSO OV3) the opportunity to complete a learning pathway in units or modules.



  • Assets and drawbacks
  • + autonomy
  • + freedom of choice
  • + internationally respected
  • + export of skills/knowhow language/research
  • waterfall
  • pressure on young teachers
  • conflicts pluralism/religion
  • rules
  • fixed envelope financing



+ equal opportunities

+ more autonomy to schools

+ more professional teachers

+ more coaching by senior teachers

+ more learner independence

+ learning for life

+ more co-operative learning/teaching



  • Exchanges
  • through Socrates
  • with three EU partners
  • for 3 years
  • teachers’ exchange
  • website:

Current issues

Lifelong learning

Lifelong and life-wide learning is a continuous

process in which the learners acquire the

necessary knowledge and competencies to

better cope with their professional, social and

cultural tasks in a quickly changing society.