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

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Belgium-Flemish-Community:Lifelong Learning Strategy

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

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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: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




Pupil guidance centres (CPGs)

The CPGs or Pupil Guidance Centres, are the result of a merger between the former PMS Centres and the centres for health supervision in schools (MSTs), based on the Decree of 1 December 1998. The Decision of the Flemish Government of 3 July 2009 reformulated and updated the CPGs' operational objectives. Henceforth, parents, pupils, teachers and schools should be offered the same basic service provision in all CPGs across Flanders). At the same time, deadlines were set by which CPGs should deal with queries.

CPGs are services pupils, parents, teachers and school boards can call on for information, assistance and guidance. Every school concludes a policy plan or policy contract with a CPG to that effect.

Throughout all the CPG activities, pupils always take centre stage. CPGs offer pupil-oriented services but can also support schools and parents in the optimisation of pupils’ welfare and the pupils' functioning within the school environment. The care provided by CPGs is complementary to that organised by schools and covers four areas:

  • learning and studying: problems with reading and spelling, speech and language, arithmetic, etc.
  • the educational career: monitoring compulsory education, study-choice guidance, information regarding education and the link to the labour market, directing to and from special education, etc.
  • psychological and social functioning: behavioural problems, social skills, emotional problems,etc.
  • preventive health care: medical check-ups, vaccinations, taking measures in the event of contagious diseases, healthy nutrition, substance abuse, etc.

The guidance they offer is multi-disciplinary. A CPG employs, among others, physicians, social workers, pedagogues, psychologists, psychological assistants and nursing staff and each one of them can make a contribution to youngsters’ optimal functioning within the school environment based on their own expertise.

Henceforth, every CPG will offer a basic package consisting of:

  • A pupil-specific service provision, in which both pupils and parents receive support and guidance with all kinds of problems and issues within the four care areas of the CPG.
  • Services to deal with truancy open to pupils, parents and school teams alike. Once a school has informed the centre that a particular pupil has not been at school for 10 half days for no apparent legitimate reasons, or if a pupil has been absent because he/she was suspended or temporarily or permanently expelled, the pupil guidance centre is obliged to organise learning-pathway guidance in and following consultation with the school.
  • In the context of participation by preschool children, the school together with the CPG starts a pathway for pupils from nursery education whose development and learning progress are jeopardised by their poor attendance record in nursery class.
  • For the role of the CPG in dealing with truancy, see the web page on Leerrecht/leerplicht. For the tasks of the CPG with regard to the right of school registration, see 2.1.-2.5 and the web page education and training > CPG > CPG registration right tasks.
  • School support, specifically for school teams and teachers: in addition to the efforts of the school, the CPG draws on its expertise to carry out the necessary actions to support the school's internal pupil guidance and to help optimise it. It takes as its starting point in this the analysis of its findings about pupils and their concrete problems. The school can involve the CPG in order to gain support with improvement programmes. Thus the school can seek the CPG's advice on how to deal with specific social or psychological problems and learning problems pupils are encountering. In conjunction with the schools, CPGs also organise actions on choice of study and vocation for pupils in the last grade of Elementary education, the 2nd grade of the 1st stage of secondary education and in the 2nd grade of the 3rd stage of secondary education.
  • Collaboration with the network: To deal with some problems, more specialised help is needed, and a CPG can refer a pupil to an external service. CPGs act as a pivot between schools and the exteral network of actors in assistance provision and young people’s health care. They are also involved in school-oriented policy projects that focus on the priority target groups.
  • Medical check-ups and prevention in which pupils' physical development is monitored and safeguarded. All pupils in the 2nd grade of nursery education, the 5th grade of primary education, the 1st and 3rd grades of secondary education, the 1st grade of PVSE or the school year in which PVSE or recognised training is started undergo a compulsory check-up by a physician and a paramedic. The general check-up is not carried out if the pupil has already had a general check-up within the twelve previous months, and is not carried out during apprenticeships as a different medical check-up takes place in this situation. In special education the general medical check-up takes place at the ages of 5, 11, 13 and 15 years. Compulsory specific check-ups also take place in the first grade of nursery education, the first and third grades of primary education, and at the ages of four, seven and nine in special education. Special check-ups are provided in special education, but are not compulsory medical examinations. WeTwijs - preventive healthcare.
  • Pupil-centred service provision consists of the following core activities: reception, answering questions, providing information and advice, diagnosis, short-term support and working together with relevant network partners.

Under their brief of a demand-oriented functioning, CPGs act on queries from pupils, parents and schools, but they can also make proposals to provide guidance themselves, or raise awareness in this area. Guidance takes place in an atmosphere of trust and dialogue. The initiative usually comes from the enquirer. Guidance can therefore only commence after a pupil or parent has taken the initiative. If a school requests the CPG to guide a pupil, the centre will always seek the explicit consent from the parents first (for a pupil under the age of 12) or from the pupil himself (from the age of 12 upwards). One major feature is that the pupil’s interests always come first. CPG guidance is always based on a request for help ensuing from a problem which may hinder the learning process or school career now or at any future moment in time.

In principle, CPG guidance cannot be enforced. Pupils, parents and schools are required to cooperate with the general and specific check-ups. It is important that every pupil receives this medical examination so that any underlying disorders or illnesses can be detected or prevented in time. In this manner important information can be gathered on the general health of youngsters. The measures that the CPG takes to prevent the further spread of infectious diseases likewise cannot be refused. In addition, in the case of problematic absenteeism, parents and pupils are obliged to seek CPG guidance in order to avoid pupils dropping out early and without qualifications.

Every pupil deserves special attention but centres first and foremost intensively guide pupils who are educationally challenged due to their personal characteristics, social background or living conditions.

Moreover, special attention is paid to pupils following special education, nursery education and the initial primary-school years, technical, artistic, vocational secondary education, part-time vocational education and the recognised training courses, the first grade B and the pre-vocational year.

The CPG also plays an important mediating function between school and welfare and health institutions. [See also counselling, 12.4.2].

By means of full inspections, the inspectorate monitors the quality of the CPG service provision (see Self-evaluation forms a valuable part of quality assurance and is taken into account during the inspectorate’s full inspections. Aside from the satisfaction tool (developed within the framework of the OBPWO study, see below), the CPG sector also has the necessary resources to improve their own self-evaluation tool.

The CPG study, carried out within the framework of the OBPWO, showed that pupils, parents and staff were extremely satisfied with the guidance they received but also highlighted the fact that there was a considerable lack of clarity about the actual tasks and brief of the CPG. It also brought to light that guidance satisfaction is directly related to the level of knowledge about the service.

The Decree of 8 May 2009 concerning the quality of education confirmed the role of the permanent resource centres in terms of the professionalization of CPG staff (see

For further information:

CPG regulations

Academic Guidance

The CPG provides academic guidance. See the introduction on this.

Psychological Counselling

Pupil guidance centres (CPGs)

CPGs operate on an easily accessible basis and offer a directly accessible basic range of integral youth-help services. The CPG is accessible to pupils, parents, guardians and the school for a wide range of questions apart from problem characteristics, but cannot itself offer guidance for all questions. It confines itself to short-term guidance based on the school's functioning, and makes referrals where necessary. The CPG works with other services in a demonstrable network of welfare and health services. As the assistance they provide is governed by professional secrecy, CPGs can play an important pivotal role between the school and welfare and health services, in which relevant information of importance for the guidance of the pupil and the school's functioning can be transferred from the external service to the school and vice versa. CPGs also keep a multidisciplinary file on each pupil throughout his entire school career. Access to these files is strictly regulated.

Bullying, extortion and violence at school

Henceforth, CPG's, Pupil Guidance Centres, also record data on bullying and being bullied. On this issue they cooperate with several organisations: the Centre for Deviant Behaviour at School (Steunpunt voor Grensoverschrijdend Gedrag op School) ( , the Flemish Network Show your Colours against Bullying (Vlaams Netwerk Kies Kleur tegen pesten) (

Time-out projects & Hergo

Since 2001, in Time-out projects, pupils who are causing major problems or who are completely demotivated have been taken out of school and given separate guidance. The projects, which run for three years, are subsidised by the Department of Education and Training (until 2013-2014). The long-term time-out projects (with a time-out period of three to six weeks) are co-financed by the Department of Welfare, Public Health and the Family.   

Within the short-term time-out projects (with a time-out period of five to ten school days), a reparation-oriented group consultation methodology may also be used. This form of mediation is suitable in situations where there is a need for reparation (i.e. in cases where an offender and victim can be identified, e.g. a pupil who has caused material damage at school or who has been in a fight with another pupil or a teacher). The entire process is moderated by a mediator in reparation-oriented group consultation, for which training with a certificate has been developed. (Flemish government decree, 19 June 2009).

WeTwijs - Time-out en hergo

Prevention coaches in mental health care in secondary schools

For the design, extension or refinement of a mental health policy, secondary schools have since school year 2009-2010 been able to seek advice from the prevention coach for mental health policy in their province. Until August 2012, the prevention coach worked on this together with the school team, the CPG, the pedagogical support service and in some cases representatives of the parents, the teachers and the pupils. This project has been extended and adapted. From 1 September 2012, the prevention coaches are primarily there to coach the Centres for Pupil Guidance (CPGs) so that they in turn can guide the schools that are in need of it in the development and application of a mental health policy. A coaching programme has been drawn up for this that is directed at the CPG. This programme is compiled by the prevention coaches, the pedagogical resource centres and the pedagogical support services. The prevention coaches will remain available to the education partners until the end of 2013 for coaching and guidance for those providing support in schools.

CBJs (Special Youth Welfare Committees)

The Special Youth Welfare Committee (CBJ) offers assistance to young people living in difficult situations who are in need of help. Such problems are collectively referred to as ‘a problematic situation with regard to upbringing (POS)’.   

In some cases, school-age children and young people are taken into one of the Community Institutions for Special Youth Welfare or the federal centre in Everberg because of a problematic upbringing situation or because they have committed a criminal offence. During their stay in the institution’s open section, they usually attend school elsewhere. In the closed section, they have to resume their studies on their return to their old school, or a new school is found.

In 2009, a commitment was signed by all the official bodies concerned about the collaboration of schools and CPGs with the residential Special Youth Welfare facilities to ensure that a stay in such a facility affects the young person's school career as little as possible. Children and young people up to the age of 18 and their families can receive guidance from a facility, project or service within Special Youth Welfare on the basis of a referral by the Committee for Special Youth Welfare or via the youth court. See the web page Education and training > CPG > Collaboration CPG-CBJ.

In 2012, a commitment was signed about the collaboration of schools and CPGs with the Community Institution for Special Youth Welfare and the closed federal centres in Everberg andTongeren. The goal of this was also to ensure that young people's school careers are not excessively affected by their stay in these institutions. For more information go to

Care farmers

Secondary-school pupils who have been suspended or require guidance because of problematic absenteeism are given an opportunity to take on useful tasks under the supervision and guidance of a farmer or horticulturist. Since 2005, these farmers can be subsidised for their guidance, provided they enter into a care-farm agreement (including plan of action) with a pupil guidance centre (see Circular OZB CLB/2008/1).

Safety policy

Every year, education records on average 90 000 registered school accidents involving pupils. In 2008, a cross-network welfare conference on safety and welfare at school was organised for the very first time which resulted in the umbrella organisations signing a joint statement on the issue. The following objectives were formulated.

  • Sustained attention to a safe school environment and infrastructure with the availability of the necessary structural and financial levers.
  • In addition to the Federal Welfare Act for employees, a welfare decree which offers at least an equivalent level of protection for all pupils/course participants.
  • The integration of welfare objectives into curriculums.
  • The valorisation and recognition of the position of 'health and safety advisor' within education legislation.
  • A quality assessment by the inspectorate on the manner in which the welfare legislation for pupils/course participants is being applied.
  • Health and safety measures within the companies which are geared towards the risk profile of beginning employees and trainees and focus specifically on reception, guidance and support.
  • Reorientation of the occupational health supervision and medical supervision in schools.

On 12 January 2010, representatives of the Flemish Ministry of Education, the Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue and the Flemish educational umbrella organisations signed a covenant on Health and Safety within Flemish Education. The signing of this covenant should lead to the integration of the welfare policy in schools and to cooperation and structured consultation between the various partners.

Career Guidance

Study-choice & vocational guidance

Good quality study-choice and vocational guidance

Good quality study-choice and vocational guidance prepares pupils for the choices that await them in and after secondary education. The goal of such guidance is to support each pupil in developing sufficient self-knowledge and making appropriate choices in and beyond school. Pupils need to acquire insight into their own interests and talents and be able to realise what the consequences of their choices are. Study-choice and vocational guidance should not be restricted to the pivotal decision-making moments: it is a continuous process that starts in nursery school and spans a person's entire life.

All parties concerned also need to be actively involved. The pupil should be surrounded by various parties within the guidance network: parents, peers, friends, individual teachers, teams of teachers, CPG personnel, pedagogical support services, etc. Each has an essential role to play in the process of choosing the course of study and profession. It is important for these players to understand how the roles and tasks are distributed, so that everyone is clear about what is expected of them. In this way, each pupil gets the chance to leave education with qualifications that reflect his or her possibilities and interests.

Within both the reform of secondary education and the new vision of pupil guidance, attention will be paid to improving and providing firmer foundations for study-choice and vocational guidance. Here, we want to clarify the distribution of roles and tasks between the different parties involved in the guidance process. We also want to make pupils more competent to make appropriate choices of course of study and profession and enhance teachers' competencies at supporting pupils in this. Within secondary education, we want to ensure that pupils discover a variety of subjects so that they gain a better understanding of their own talents, interests, competencies and possibilities. A personal pupil dossier will be a tool that can support pupils, parents and teachers in the process of choosing their course of study and profession.

Onderwijskiezer is a cross-network initiative of the subsidised private CPG umbrella organisation (VCLB) and the centres for pupil guidance of GO! in conjunction with the CPGs of Provincial Education Flanders (POV) and the Education Secretariat of Cities and Municipalities of the Flemish Community (OVSG).

In 2011, the website was launched with support from the Flemish government. The website is intended for pupils, parents, teachers, CPG personnel, and anyone looking for objective, independent, high-quality information about the entire education system. offers information about all courses of study and programmes in Flanders, about schools, university colleges and universities, about all educational levels, forms and types, with descriptions, admission conditions, transfer possibilities, details of follow-on programmes and so on. Boarding schools, medical and pedagogical institutes and CLBs are also included, as are informational events. For various different levels, there are interest tests available for free online, and different interests can be used as the basis for further investigation of the range of programmes available. Onderwijskiezer also has a question module and guarantees an expert answer to every question.

Since early June 2012, a new section has been online, on careers. For around 600 careers, there is a description and in some cases a film, information about possible training programmes, vacancies, information from the sector, and so on. It is also indicated whether the profession in question is one affected by a shortage of qualified people. At the end of 2012, specific voting pages were also developed within the website


Every year, the Flemish Ministry of Education and Training organises cross-network provincial study information days (SID-ins) to give pupils in their last year of secondary education a better insight into the study opportunities that are open to them once they have completed secondary education; these Sid-ins try to give an as comprehensive as possible overview of higher-education courses and the vocational sectors.

The Ghent House of Technical Professions (Het Beroepenhuis Gent)

The House of Technical Professions wants to introduce youngsters between the ages of 11 and 14 to mostly technical and practice-oriented professions.As well as a website there is also an interactive exhibition in Ghent for pupils from the third stage of elementary education and the first stage of secondary education. It receives an annual subsidy on the basis of a framework agreement.[1]

Choice-of-course project "de wereld aan je voeten (the world is your oyster)"

The project "The world is your oyster!" wants to boost the influx of youngsters into scientific or technological programmes and stimulate (international) entrepreneurship among this population group. It is coordinated by the Royal Flemish Society of Engineers and is supported by the Flemish Minister for Education and Training and the Flemish Minister for Economy. It is specifically geared towards pupils following the 3rd stage GSE/TSE and their teachers and consists of four sub-projects. The four sub-projects are:

  • a seminar on globalisation and the need for more graduates equipped with scientific and technological knowledge;
  • contacts with the world of business focussed on information about choice of course, career and job contents;
  • a web quest in which scientific and technological processes and international entrepreneurship are simulated in groups;
  • choice-of-course guidance

Portfolio: 'My Educational and Professional Career'

A portfolio is a folder in which pupils and students, people with jobs or job-seekers file their certificates or self-assessments of their competences and/or experiences. By means of a talent-development portfolio, youngsters can list, assess and develop their talents as it gives them a better overview of their talents and of the extent to which these tie in with the competences required for further education and/or the labour market. ‘My digital me’ is an online portfolio to help pupils through their learning and choice-of-course process which was developed within the project 'Mijn loopbaan (My Career)', thanks to a collaboration between the DBO and VDAB. In this portfolio an attempt was made to chart both the educational and the professional career in a parallel lay-out.

Education and training databases

An overview of the educational provision, provided by the Department for Education and Training, is available on

An overview of education and training providers, subsidised by the Flemish Government, and of the centres and organisations can be found on

In addition, there are also a number of regional information centres, such as the regional training database IVO for Oost-Vlaanderen

An overview of some non-commercial providers of training, coaching and on-the-job learning can be obtained from the Flemish Local Network Support Centre (SLN), the umbrella organisation for Flanders' "third parties".

On-the-job learning and work-experience placements

In 2012, new explanatory guidelines were drawn up by the Department of Education and Training and the FPS ELSD concerning on-the-job learning in full-time secondary education, special secondary education [see 12.2-4], secondary adult education and higher education. For on-the-job learning supervisors, a Guide to this form of learning has been compiled.

On-the-job learning can be defined as 'learning activities aiming at the acquisition of general and/or vocational competencies, in which the work situation is the learning environment'. A distinction is made between two possible forms:

1/ Observation activities in which pupils, individually or in a group, follow the working process without actually taking part in working activities. This can be regarded as an extramural activity.

2/ Work experience placements in which pupils, individually or in a group and in some cases accompanied by the teacher, in the framework of a learning programme organised by an educational institution, actually work for an employer, under similar conditions to the employees working for that employer, with a view to gaining professional experience. Work experience placements can be organised either on an alternance basis or as a block. Pupils fall in these circumstances under the definition of a trainee (Royal Decision 21 September 2004) and are regarded for employment legislation purposes as equivalent to an employee. Forms of on-the-job learning in which the teacher gives some of the practical classes by having pupils take part in the work process must therefore be regarded as work experience placements (for example, this would apply to out-of-school work practice).

A slightly separate form of work is practical classes in another educational institution. These classes should not be regarded as on-the-job learning, because they do not take place in an operational working setting. In this form of work, schools use the premises and in some cases the instructors of another educational institution to give practical classes. One familiar form of this is the 72-hour scheme at the VDAB.

On-the-job learning forms an essential component alongside learning in the alternance-training system and meets the full-time commitment of part-time compulsory education [see 6.2].

The arrangements for on-the-job learning are made concrete in the sector covenants and annual targets are set.

The website of the Ministry of Education of Training contains the regulations, as well as practical examples of on-the-job learning ( and the brochure 'Leidraad kwaliteitsvol werkplekleren (High-quality on-the-job learning manual;

More work-experience placements for pupils

Since September 2009, all VSE and TSE pupils have been encouraged to acquire work experience during the sixth grade, while, in VSE, as many pupils as possible are encouraged to gain work experience from the fifth grade onwards. Work-experience placements run for at least one week on a school-year basis, which corresponds to one timetable teaching period. Although pupils are encouraged to do work experience, it is by no means mandatory.

In Se-n-Se and the course of study 'nursing' in HIGHER VOCATIONAL EDUCATION, paid employment can qualify as work experience.

Sector covenants

The sector covenants are collaboration protocols between the sectors (sectoral social partners) and the Flemish Government concerning topical issues, with three main legislative focuses:

  • links between education and the labour market,
  • competency development and policy,
  • diversity and equal access to work.

All sector covenants are monitored and evaluated by the Flemish Government every year. After the completion of an operational year and on the expiry of a covenant, the sector is required to submit a progress or final evaluation report to the Flemish Government. The latter also draws up an overall annual report (based on the monitoring reports), which is submitted to VESOC.

Starting-job projects for young school leavers and the unemployed

The starting-job project was rolled out at federal level in 1999 and has gradually been expanded. Starting jobs are funded by the Federal Public Service (FPS) Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue. These projects are specifically aimed at the poorly educated (people who have not obtained a diploma secundair onderwijs (diploma of secondary education)), youngsters from an ethnic minority or disadvantaged background.

The Jo-Jo starting-job project 'Youngsters for schools, schools for Youngsters' comprises 3 sub-projects.

  • Prevention staff

Poorly educated youngsters who are no longer of school age and have not yet turned 26 can be assigned to secondary GOK and Special SE schools, located in the cities with regional facilities, which offer type 1, education form (OV) 3 (catering for a minimum of 100 pupils) and to Centres for Part-time Training to work on a positive school environment and improved contact between teachers and youngsters from ethnic minority or disadvantaged families. During their assignment, youngsters are given the opportunity to obtain additional qualifications so that they can improve their chances of employment on the labour market.

  • PVSE maintenance staff

Youngsters following part-time secondary education in the courses of study 'maintenance', 'decoration', 'agriculture and horticulture' can be assigned to a schools community of elementary and secondary education where they can work for one year.

  • Poorly educated maintenance staff

Poorly educated youngsters, who are no longer of school age and have not yet turned 26 and who are registered as job-seekers can be assigned to a schools community of elementary and secondary education as handymen.

In the VeVe starting- job project 'road safety', poorly educated youngsters, under the age of 26, who are registered as job-seekers are employed in cities, municipalities, provincial authorities or road traffic organisations in order to create a traffic-safe school environment and to make school and residential traffic safer. Since 2007, also 20 'school spotters' have been employed under the VeVe project to reduce the feelings of social insecurity amongst travellers using public transport. Antwerp and Ghent, as metropolises, are entitled to 5 spotters, the cities with regional services are entitled to a maximum of 2 and other cities and municipalities only qualify for one school spotter.

Stimulating entrepreneurship

The Flemish Minister for Education and Training cooperates with the Flemish Ministers for Economy and Work on an integrated policy on entrepreneurial education.This policy assumes concrete form in the Action Plan for Entrepreneurial Education 2011-2014.

With this action plan, we aim to operate a harmonised policy to stimulate entrepreneurial flair and entrepreneurship via education. The idea is that pupils, students and course participants should, by the time they leave education, be entrepreneurial, and have received preparation for and wish to choose self-employed entrepreneurship. We also wish to develop a positive attitude on the part of teachers towards self-employed entrepreneurship so that they can give an accurate picture to their pupils, students or course participants.

These four goals are of equal importance, but depending on the developmental level and the training process in which the pupil, student or course participant is engaged, certain goals may be emphasised more strongly than others.

In the Action Plan, these four strategic goals are translated into operational terms. Agreements are set out about the consistent use of the terms 'entrepreneurial flair' and 'entrepreneurship', so that all stakeholders are clear about what is being worked on and confusion is avoided. In order to support teachers, we are focusing on online support, exchanges of experience, a broad range of quality concepts and activities, and in-company work experience placements. The existing communication channels VON, Competento and the website of the DBO have made arrangements with one another to ensure consistent communication, and the Entrepreneurship Class Week is being turned into an Entrepreneurship Class Day. A curriculum is also being devised, with a progressive structure. The NVAO will also look into the possibility of awarding a special entrepreneurship quality label to programmes, and will consider a trial design for this. Finally, all the departments and agencies concerned have made agreements about the use of resources: an overview of subsidised actions has been included in the Action Plan.

The alternance training system

See secondary education > 6.4 organisation of the alternance training system.

Collaborations between education and the world of enterprise

Regional Technological Centres (RTCs)

RTCs, Regional Technological Centres, are cross-network collaborations between education and the world of enterprise, which were founded in 2000 and which organise actions at provincial level in the areas of infrastructure, work experience for pupils and in-company training/in-service training for teachers. Now, they also operate within Adult Education and, in the future, they will have to extend their support services to higher education.

RTCs take concrete initiatives regarding:

  • the inter-attunement between educational institutions and companies regarding the supply of and demand for high-technology infrastructure, apparatus and equipment for technical and vocational education which can play a pedagogical and didactical role;
  • the inter-attunement between educational institutions and companies in terms of the on-the-job-learning offer; to that end, extra 'bridge builders' were appointed at the RTCs (2.5 full-time equivalent staff in every RTC), who will have to forge the necessary contacts with the SERV sector consultants;
  • as a supplement to in-service training in schools facilitating or coordinating further training in the field of new technologies;
  • creating a platform to exchange knowledge and experience.

The Flemish Government enters into 5-year management agreements (2008-2010), which includes a strategic plan and an annual action plan, with the individual RTCs. This, in turn, entitles the RTCs to an annual operational lump sum. RTCs can also be co-funded under RTC projects with the world of enterprise and the jointly-managed training funds of the vocational sectors. The Flemish Government exercises supervision over the RTC via focused process auditing.

Since the 2008-2009 school year, the RTCs have been in charge of organising exams for anyone wishing to obtain an attest Basisopleiding Veiligheid, gezondheid en milieu Checklist Aannemers (B-VCA-attest) (Initial Health, Safety and Environment Contractors' Checklist Programme certificate (B-VCA certificate)). 

WeTwijs - RTC

VDAB training infrastructure

Since 1 September 2008, VDAB (see 8.4) has been offering its training infrastructure to all pupils in the second and third grades of the third stage TSE andVSE (various studiegebieden (areas of study)) and to pupils in the fifth grade of Special SE vocational training, free of charge. Schools can use the equipment in the VDAB competence centres for a period of up to 72 hours per pupil, at the times the equipment is not being used by the centres themselves. VDAB covers the cost for the use of the equipment, the materials to be used and the presence of an instructor. The Regional Technological Centres (RTCs) keep the schools posted on the availability.

DBO, Vocational Education Service

The DBO is a division of the Department for Education and Training and forms part of the entity Institutions and Pupils Secondary Education and Adult Education. The DBO,Vocational Education Service, sees to:

  • the coordination between the various administrations regarding cross-network issues on education and the labour market
  • contacts with other vocational-training providers: SYNTRA Flanders – VDAB – NGOs…
  • contacts with employers’, employees’ and sector organisations
  • the follow-up of advices from SERV - VLOR…
  • the follow-up of covenants between education and the world of labour
  • the follow-up of Flemish and European employment directives
  • the follow-up of discussions regarding filling in the 2nd part of part-time compulsory education and pathway-to-work guidance within PVSE
  • the follow-up of European structural funds with a view to realizing projects.
  • the coordination of ESF projects on education.


The DBO also hosts an alternance-training portal site: