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Belgium-Flemish-Community:Bachelor

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Overview Belgium (Flemish Community)

Contents

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Historical Development

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Political and Economic Situation

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation and Governance

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of Private Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:National Qualifications Framework

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Funding in Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Higher Education Funding

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Adult Education and Training Funding

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Early Childhood Education and Care

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of Childcare

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teaching and Learning in Childcare

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Assessment in Childcare

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of Pre-Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teaching and Learning in Pre-Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Assessment in Pre-Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Assessment in Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of the First Stage of Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teaching and Learning in the First Stage of Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Assessment in the First Stage of Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of the Second and Third Stage of Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teaching and Learning in the Second and Third Stage of Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Assessment in the Second and Third Stage of Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of Vocational Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Assessment in Vocational Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of secondary-after-secondary education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teaching and learning in secondary-after-secondary education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Assessment in secondary-after-secondary education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Belgium-Flemish-Community:First Cycle Programmes

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Bachelor

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Second Cycle Programmes

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Distribution of Responsibilities

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Main Providers

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Main Types of Provision

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teachers and Education Staff

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Management and Other Education Staff

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Management Staff for Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Quality Assurance

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Educational Support and Guidance

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Mobility and Internationalisation

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Mobility in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Belgium-Flemish-Community:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Belgium-Flemish-Community:National Reforms in School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Belgium-Flemish-Community:National Reforms in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Belgium-Flemish-Community:European Perspective

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Legislation

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Glossary

 

Branches of Study

An overview of all programmes can be found in the Higher Education Register.

Admission Requirements

The following qualifications grant direct access to a Bachelor’s programme:

  • the Flemish secondary school leaving certificate,
  • a foreign qualification which is recognised as being equivalent by a Flemish law, Belgian law, a European directive or an international agreement.

In case a student does not hold a qualification which grants direct access to the course of study of his/her choice, (s)he may be required to finish a preparatory programme before enrolment.

The Flemish Community does not apply a 'numerus clausus' system, though organises admission tests for every student who wishes to register for the programmes of Dentistry and Medicine. These tests are organised by the Ministry of Education. 

Students wishing to enter higher artistic education have to pass a skills test (artistic admission tests) organised by the individual university college. This is a prerequisite for anyone registering for the programmes and programme components in the fields of study 'Audiovisual and Visual Arts' and 'Music and Performing Arts'.

An examination to assess the student's knowledge of the teaching language may also be required.

The boards of the institutions may facilitate admission to a Bachelor's programme on the basis of deviatory admission requirements, which are defined in their education and examination regulations. These deviations are based solely on humanitarian, medical, psychological or social grounds, and on the overall level of the candidate, which is assessed by the board of the institution.

A holder of a bachelor degree, who enters a different bachelor programme, can be granted a reduction of the course duration or of the required study load.

University colleges may decide to admit to their advanced Bachelor’s programmes only those students who already hold a Bachelor’s degree. They may restrict direct access to these programmes to graduates of Bachelor’s programmes with specific programme characteristics. A preparatory programme can be imposed on graduates of other Bachelor’s programmes as a prerequisite for admission. The content and study load of these preparatory programmes are determined by the university college and may vary according to the extent to which the content of the student's prior education relates to the advanced Bachelor’s programme in question.

Curriculum

University colleges and universities are free to compose their own curricula. The board of the institution sets out a programme for each course which consists of a coherent whole of course components. The higher education institutions determine the learning outcomes for each course and the the programme content.

When drafting the course programmes, the board takes into account the prevailing national and international (admission) requirements that are down by law (including the European Directive 2005/36/EC) for certain functions or professions, such as general nurse and midwife. The accreditation body indicates in its accreditation report and accreditation decision whether the board of the institution has compiled their programmes in compliance with this European Directive.

Teaching Methods

The institutions of higher education are free to choose their teaching methods and tools. By default, professionally oriented Bachelor programmes offered by university colleges consist of theory, practical classes and a traineeship. These elements usually do not feature in research oriented programmes, offered by research universities, where the emphasis is put on theoretical aspects and scientific research. In general students use syllabuses and text books which they must purchase themselves. The use of electronic learning platforms is gradually introduced (e.g. e-learning).

The higher education institutions can offer a course or course component entirely or partially in the form of distance learning, i.e. using multimedia so as not to tie the student to a specific place of education provision. The institution’s board develops adequate study and teaching materials and organises adequate supervision.

At the time of registration the board of the institution offers a student the choice between a credit contract, a degree contract and an exam contract. The institutions may however stipulate in their education regulations that, because of their specific nature, certain course components cannot be followed under an exam contract. In that case the board must disclose its reasons behind the decision. 

Students can thus choose between:

  • a credit contract: a contract between the board of the institution and the student, who registers with a view to obtaining (a) proof(s) of credit for one or several course components;
  • a degree contract: a contract between the board of the institution and the student, who registers with a view to obtaining a degree or who registers for a bridging or preparatory programme;
  • an exam contract: a contract between the board of the institution and the student, who registers, under certain conditions imposed by the board of the institution, to take exams with a view to obtaining:
    • a degree, or
    • a proof of credit for one or more course components

Some higher education institutions offer the option of supported self-study, for which the student must ensure that he or she is available for practical training and work experience placements. In addition to the possibility of obtaining a degree via distance education or e-learning, students can take various programmes via weekend or evening classes, or all classes may be grouped together on one day in the week.

For several years now university colleges and research universities have been introducing more flexible learning paths that are specifically targeted at students who are already working. These flexible learning paths can be found in the Higher Education Register (advanced search option: "Combine work and study"). For more information about the concrete details of the programme, the student is advised to contact the university college or research university itself.

Study progress

The Parliamentary Act on Flexibilisation of 30 April 2004 allows for more flexible learning paths with increased opportunities to change between courses and institutions, enhanced differentiation in respect of the types of programmes on offer, and more opportunities for lifelong learning. In this respect the act introduces the following principles, in which the research universities and university colleges can implement the credit system at their own discretion:

  • The year system is replaced by a credit system.
  • The course is and remains the basic and structural unit but is no longer seen as the total sum of study years but as one whole of course components.
  • A course is subdivided into course components. A component is a well-defined unit of teaching, learning and assessment activities aimed at acquiring well-defined (sub)competences regarding knowledge, insight, skills and attitudes. A course component may be filled in flexibly by the institutions and can as such consist of one subject (in the traditional sense of the word) but also of a cluster of subjects and learning activities.
  • The overall study load is expressed in credits, in conformity with the ECTS, in which one credit represents a study load of 25 to 30 hours.
  • The volume of a course component is expressed in full credits. A course component comprises at least 3 credits, with a maximum of 12 components per 60 credits.
  • Students have completed a course component when the assessment demonstrates that they have satisfactorily acquired the relevant (sub)competences. Students are usually assessed on a scale from zero to 20 (whole numbers), with 10 being the lowest number required to pass.
  • Students are entitled to register at least twice for each course component, and are entitled to two chances to pass per registration.
  • Completion of a course component (i.e. passing the programme component) results in official recognition in the form of a proof of credit, which is issued for that particular component, irrespective of how students perform in the other course components that may feature in their course.
  • There is no expiry date on acquired proofs of credit, which is valid for at least five calendar years after obtaining the proof. It is part of the intrinsic nature of knowledge however to develop at a very high pace, which requires institutions to update regularly. For this reasons the institutions of higher education may oblige a student, who wishes to continue or finalise its education, to take part in a special programme designed at updating the competences acquired in the course component.
  • Institutions may grant students exemptions on the basis of the recognition of prior learning, i.e. the recognition of qualifications (EVK) and/or the recognition of competences (EVC). Further details on this issue can be found in the teaching and examination regulations of each institute for higher education. The general principles and procedures for flexible study paths are thoroughly explained in the brochure 'Bewijs je bekwaamheid'.
  • The Parliamentary Act on Flexibilisation provides several measures to monitor study progress and to take peremptory action when things go wrong. For example, binding conditions may be imposed on students who have registered more than twice, ssuch as an interim assessment or a minimum of study performance. In addition, high-risk students may be refused after they have been given several chances.

ECTS-helpline provides information on the introduction of the European Credit Transfer System, the diploma supplement and the Bologna Process.

See also Learning credit, 3.2-1.3.6

Employability

Professionally oriented Bachelor’s programmes are primarily oriented towards (regulated) professions, and aim to bring students both the general and specific knowledge and skills necessary for the independent exercise of a profession or group of professions. They thus offer the possibility of proceeding directly onto the labour market.

Practical training in real working conditions (businesses, schools, hospitals, etc.) forms an essential part of each programme.

Students are guided in various ways to facilitate their entry onto the labour market. The majority of university colleges have installed employment services. Since there are no official guidelines in this area, their operating procedures however may vary. Some university colleges confine themselves to collecting details of vacancies or employment statistics, whereas others keep detailed employment records on individual graduates, run job interview training sessions and/or organise employment preparation seminars, etc. Students' traineeship regularly result in a job offer once they have graduated. The interaction between the labour market and the education programmes is not always optimal, but varies according to the branch of study or the course in question.

Research oriented Bachelor’s programmes are primarily oriented towards progression to a Master's programme, and thus aim to bring students the knowledge and skills required for autonomous scientific or artistic work in general, as well as those required for a specific field of science or arts in particular. Some reserarch oriented Bachelor's degrees programmes also allow to enter directly onto the labour market. 

Student assessment

Examinations take place in several exam sessions. These are usually organised in June and September. When a semester system is introduced, exams are also organised in January, at the end of the first semester. These exams are considered being part of the first exam session.

The Parliamentary Act on Participation of 19 March 2004 regulates students' legal protection in relation to decisions on study progress, such as examination decisions, exam-related disciplinary measures, the granting of certificates of competence, the granting of exemptions, decisions compelling students to follow a bridging or preparatory programme, and any measures in terms of monitoring study progress. The act also introduces the Council for Disputes over Decisions on Study Progress, which is an administrative court of law in Flanders. Any dispute first needs to be treated by the internal appeal body of the institution for higher education in question before the Council for Disputes over Decisions on Study Progress can be involved. In case the institution does not take a decision within 15 calendar days after the internal appeal was brought, the student may has five calendar days to lodge an appeal with the Council without the decision of the institution of higher education. In case the institution does take a internal decision, the student may appeal with the Council for Disputes over Decisions on Study Progress, again within five calendar days. The Council takes a final decision within 15 calendar days, which allows the student to know quickly whether and under which conditions (s)he may continue his/her studies. Thet student may appeal against a decision of the Council for Disputes over Decisions on Study Progress with the Council of State, by means of an administrative appeal.

The Council for Disputes over Decisions on Study Progress also acts as the appeal body for decisions on the recognition of foreign higher education qualifications by the institutions of higher education or by the Agency for Quality Assurance in Education and Training at the Ministry of Education and Training.

Certification

The board of the institution grants a proof of credit to students who pass a particular course component.

The board of the institution grants the degree of Bachelor (or Master) to students who have successfully completed a Bachelor’s (or Master’s) programme.

People may also gain rapid entry into a Bachelor's (or Master's) programme or even obtain the degree of Bachelor and Master if the institution deems, based on the recognition of prior learning (EVC and EVK), that the person in question has acquired the necessary competences. 'EVC' stands for recognition of competences, i.e. all knowledge, insight, skills and attitudes that have been acquired through learning processes that did not lead to an official proof of study (such as non-formal and informal education). 'EVK' stands for recognition of qualifications, i.e. any Belgian or foreign proof of study that attests to the fact that its holder has successfully completed a formal learning pathway, be it through formal education or not. Comprehensive information on the general principles and procedures for flexible study progress and EVC and EVK can be found in the brochure 'Bewijs je bekwaamheid'. 

NARIC-Flanders, the National Academic (and Professional) Recognition and Information Centre, is part of the Agency for Quality Assurance in Education and Training (AKOV) of the Ministry of Education and Training. The centre is responsible for the recognition of foreign qualifications and diplomas, professional recognition of the teaching professions on the basis of European Directive 2005/36/EC, the provision of information about (the recognition of) Flemish qualifications abroad and explanatory attestations for qualifications obtained in the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles and the Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft Belgien. NARIC-Flanders (the National Academic (& Professional) Recognition and Information Centre) is the Flemish unit within the ENIC and NARIC network. NARIC centres are recognition centres of the member states of the European Economic Area (the EU + Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and (sometimes) Switzerland). As these countries are also members of the Council of Europe and UNESCO/CEPES, all NARIC centres are also part of the ENIC network (European Network of Information Centres of the Council of Europe and UNESCO). The ENIC Network cooperates closely with the NARIC Network.

The format of the higher education degrees was officially laid down in Flemish legislation by the Flemish Governmental Decision of 11 June 2004, and has been updated on several occasions. Flanders was the first in Europe to introduce a statutory diploma supplement, initially (in 1991) only for research universities but later on (in 1994) also for university colleges. This diploma supplement contains details on the nature, level, context, content and status of the studies followed and a description of the system of higher education. The current diploma supplements are based on the model developed by the European Commission, the Council of Europe and UNESCO/CEPES who used the Flemish example as a model. This diploma supplement provides independent data with a view to improving international transparency and fair recognition of qualifications for academic and professional purposes. Every student receives the document automatically with his degree as the degree and the accompanying diploma supplement are intrinsically interlinked as one single whole. Officially registered institutions for higher education will also, on a one-off basis, issue degrees and diploma supplements in English, free of charge and at the student's request.

Degrees and diploma supplements for programmes taught entirely in a language other than Dutch are issued both in the teaching language and in Dutch (see also Europass 13.2.1).

Self-certification in the framework of the Bologna Process was completed on 2 February 2009 when independent international experts concluded that the qualifications framework for higher education in Flanders is compatible with the overarching framework of the European Higher Education Area. This official confirmation is mentioned on the diploma supplement and on the website of NVAO and the website of the ENIC and NARIC networks.

The Flemish degree titles are legally protected. Only those to whom the degree of bachelor, master or doctor (doctor of philosophy, abbreviated as PhD or Dr) has been granted, with or without further specification, and in accordance with the relevant Flemish parliamentary acts, are entitled to use the corresponding title of bachelor, master or doctor, with or without further specification. Violating thse provisions when granting or using the titles is penalized by a fine and/or imprisonment.

The specification "of Arts", "of Science", "of Laws", "of Medicine", "of Veterinary Science", "of Veterinary Medicine" or "of Philosophy" may be added to certain Bachelor's or Master's degrees in academic education. The addition of this specification is subject to the same legal protection as the degree itself and the title associated with it:

  1. Ba for holders of the degree of Bachelor;
  2. Ma for holders of the degree of Master;
  3. BA for holders of the degree of Bachelor with the specification "of Arts";
  4. MA for holders of the degree of Master with the specification "of Arts";
  5. BSc for holders of the degree of Bachelor with the specification "of Science";
  6. MSc for holders of the degree of Master with the specification "of Science";
  7. LL.B for holders of the degree of Bachelor with the specification "of Laws";
  8. LL.M for holders of the degree of Master with the specification "of Laws";
  9. MMed for holders of the degree of Master with the specification "of Medicine";
  10. BVetSc for holders of the degree of Bachelor with the specification "of Veterinary Science";
  11. MVetMed for holders of the degree of Master with the specification "of Veterinary Medicine";
  12. MPhil for holders of the degree of Master with the specification "of Philosophy".