Education in Flanders
In Belgium the educational authority has been transferred to the communities. Only the determination of the start and ending of compulsory education, minimum requirements for diploma conferrals and the pension system are still federal matters. In the Flemish Community the Department for Education and Training takes care of policy preparation and 4 internal autonomous agencies are responsible for policy implementation. Together they form the Flemish ministry of Education and Training. The Flemish Education Council (VLOR) is the strategic advice council for the policy domain of Education and Training. The Child and Family agency directs formal child care, including pre-school as well as out-of-school care of children up to the age of 12. The educational provisions, recognised, financed/subsidised and inspected by the public authorities, are organised by different (public and private) schoolboards/governing bodies on the basis of freedom of education.
Elementary education, principally from the age of 2,5 to 12, arches kindergarden and primary education. Full-time compulsory education takes until 16, but after completion of the 1st grade secondary education at 15, part-time compulsory education can be commenced through the system of working and learning, which equals a full-time engagement though. The learning paths are on the one hand part-time vocational education and on the other hand the apprenticeship (with the self-employed/entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized Enterprises) with a part-time personal development pathway if so needed. Higher education includes initial teacher training, higher vocational education (HBO5) and courses organised by university colleges and universities. Permanent training is very divers including adult education (VWO) and part-time arts education (DKO), as well as professional training VDAB, entrepreneurial training SYNTRA Flanders, agricultural training and non-formal socio-cultural adult work (SCVW).
For a short description of the various educational levels and related subjects such as employment conditions, in-service training and continuing education for teachers and management, guidance of pupils, teachers and schools, support, quality assurance, internationalisation and mobility we refer to the Eurydice National System Overview for Belgium – Flemish Community.
The most elaborate and up-to-date information is found on the website of the ministry of Education and Training. There you can also find all relevant links to other educational bodies and publications.
Higher Education System
Higher education in Flanders is largely shaped by the European developments in the framework of the Bologna Process. This is the process to create the European Higher Education Area and should facilitate students and graduates' mobility across Europe.
The Bachelor-Master structure is one of the most visible results of the Bologna Process. The higher education degree system actually consists of three cycles. The first cycle are the Bachelor's programmes, the second cycle are the Master's programmes and the third cycle are the Doctorate or PhD programmes. In general, there are two types of institutions: universities and university colleges. There are of course also other types of higher education institutions
Universities and university colleges have specific profiles. Only universities can award the degree of doctor while only university colleges can offer Bachelor's programmes with a professional orientation.
Universities and university colleges cooperate intensively, especially in the field of research, in so-colled "Associations". These are formed by one university and at least one university college.
Click here for more details on higher education in Flanders.
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