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Belgium-Flemish-Community:Historical Development

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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

In 1830 Belgium was created as an independent state with a constitutional monarchy.

The Constitution honours the principle of the separation of powers: the legislative power (consisting of the King, the Chamber of Representatives and the Senate), the executive power (consisting of the King and the Government) and the judicial power.

In the second half of the 19th century a language conflict surfaced, seeking recognition for the Dutch language as a fully-fledged language alongside French, which until then had been the only official language of Belgium.

  • It was not until 1930 that the Ghent University became the first official Dutch-language university. From 1936, most lectures at the University of Leuven were taught both in Dutch and in French. The final split of the University of Leuven was not enacted until 1970.
  • Dutch only became an official legal language in Belgium in 1959.
  • In 1960 the unified broadcasting institution was split up into a Dutch-speaking and French-speaking broadcasting corporation.
  • In 1962 the ministerial portfolio for Culture was divided, in 1968 that of National Education (predecessor of Education and Training).
  • In 1962 the language boundary was territorially defined and in 1963 Belgium was divided into 4 language areas.
    • The Dutch language area: Flanders (provinces of Antwerp, Limburg, Vlaams-Brabant, Oost-Vlaanderen, West-Vlaanderen)
    • The French language area: Wallonia (provinces of Mons, Liège, Luxembourg, Namur and Brabant Wallon)
    • The German language area (the 9 municipalities of the East Cantons)
    • The bilingual area Brussels-Capital (the 19 municipalities of Brussels) with 6 bordering Dutch-speaking municipalities with administrative language facilities for French-speaking inhabitants.

The language conflict in the sixties led to 6 state reforms(1970, 1980, 1988, 1993, 2001, 2011 - ongoing) and amendments to the constitution resulting in a double federation of Regions and Communities.

Belgium is in fact a double federation, a federal union of 3 Regions and a federal union of 3 Communities. These communities are authorized for cultural and person-related, the regions for economic affairs. They each have their own Parliament and Government, only in the Flemish Community and the Flemish Region these are one and the same.

  • The Vlaamse Gemeenschap (Flemish Community) comprises the Flemish Region, but also the Dutch-speaking institutions within the territory of the Brussels-Capital Region. The Brussels-Capital Region, i.e., the bilingual area Brussels Capital, consists of 19 municipalities. This region is not to be confused with the City of Brussels, which is but one of the 19 municipalities of the Brussels Capital Region. In that Region, the decisions of the Communities only apply to the institutions which, on the basis of their organisational properties, exclusively belong to one particular Community (e.g. the Flemish schools in Brussels).
  • The Franse Gemeenschap (French-speaking Community) which comprises the Walloon Region, excluding the German language area, but including the French-speaking institutions within the territory of the Brussels-Capital Region.
  • The Duitstalige Gemeenschap (German-speaking Community) which comprises the German language area.
  • The Vlaamse Gewest (Flemish Region): the Dutch language area;
  • The Waalse Gewest (Walloon Region): the French language area and the German language area;
  • The Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest (Brussels-Capital Region): the bilingual area Brussels Capital.

Following the 2007 federal elections (and the early federal elections in 2010), negotiations were again held regarding a further state reform, with agreement finally being reached in October 2011. This sixth state reform has only a minor impact on the policy domain of education and training.

Education

The first organic education acts came about in 1835 (higher education), 1842 (primary education) and 1850 (secondary education). Until the Municipalities Act of 1836, primary education was by and large exclusively in hands of the clergy. After 1836 the municipalities also became actively involved in this branch of education. The very first organic primary-education act of 1842 did recognise the Catholic religion as the basis of education and gave municipalities the freedom to accept private schools but conferred the powers of appointment exclusively to the municipal councils. The clergy were only entitled to supervise religious education but had no say in the school books being used. This was also the case in the 1850 secondary-education act. The right to confer academic degrees proved to be a sticking point in higher education. However, this was regulated in 1849 with the establishment of central committees composed of representatives from both private and official education.

Freedom of education, inscribed in the Constitution (see 2.3.1.), has always been one of the central themes of education policy and has given rise to many a conflict. The parliamentary act on primary education (1879) and on secondary education (1881) resulted in the first school conflict, a.o. because municipalities were supposed to have at least one state school, were no longer permitted to accept or subsidise private schools, because all primary-school teachers needed to be in possession of a diploma from an official teacher-training college and state schools could no longer provide religious education during school hours. After the 1884 elections a new primary education act was established under the terms of which municipalities were once again free to 'accept' private schools, could decide whether to offer religious education or not and teachers were no longer required to have an official diploma.

It took until 1878, so well after Belgium's independence, before a separate Ministry of Public Education was set up (under the radical liberal Minister Paul Van Humbeek). In 1884 the ministry was abolished and incorporated in the Ministry of Interior. Between 1907 and 1932 education came under the remit of the Ministry of Art and Sciences. From 1932 onwards it became Public Education and in 1961 it changed its name to National Education, now Education and Training.

The development of education after World War II led to a second school conflict which ended in the Schools Pact Act on 6 November 1958. Since then, the Schools Pact Act of 29 May 1959 has formed the basis for the organisation of all educational institutions (with the exception of universities) in an education system funded or subsidised by the State. In order to monitor the implementation of the Pact a Permanent (political) Commission was set up. This era was closed once and for all with the communautarisation of education when the basic principles were laid down in article 24 of the Constitution and amended on 15 July 1988. Other articles (art. 127 § 1.2 and art. 142) assign the responsibility of compliance with this educational freedom henceforth to the Communities and no longer to the Federal Government and guarantee equal treatment for all pupils or students, parents, staff members and educational institutions. In Flanders, the communautarisation of education brought about a struggle for autonomy in state education and since 1989, the Minister for Education is no longer acting as its organising body. The distribution of operational resources, which were network-related, remained a sticking point until 2008. Since 1997, operational resources for pupils in private subsidised education amounted to 76% of those for pupils attending community education (funded by the government) (the former state education). The debate on an allocation based on objectifiable differences was finally settled by the decree of 4 July 2008 (see 3.1.1).

Since 1989 responsibility for education was transferred almost entirely to the Communities and entered in the Constitution (art. 127 § 1.2). Moreover, the guarantees which had previously been laid down in the so-called Schools Pact Act of 29 May 1959 (art. 24) (see 2.1.)) were also recorded in the Constitution on this occasion. Article 142 of the revised Constitution (17 February 1994) entitles every citizen to lodge an appeal with the Court of Arbitration (now the Constitutional Court) if he is of the opinion that the principles and guarantees on education which are among others laid down in article 24 of the Constitution, are being violated.

Since then, the Communities have gone their own way with regard to educational structure and policy.

European engagement

Belgium was actively involved in the reconstruction of Europe after the 2nd World War, more specifically through:

  • the signing of a Customs Convention between Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg (1947),
  • the establishment of NATO (1949),
  • the Council of Europe (1949),
  • the European Coal and Steel Community ECSC (1951),
  • the Western European Union WEU (1954),
  • the EEC and Euratom (Treaty of Rome - 1957),
  • the BENELUX (1958),
  • the European Free Trade Association EFTA (1960),
  • the European Monetary System EMS (1979),
  • the Single European Act (1987),
  • Schengen (1990),
  • the European Union (Treaty of Maastricht - 1992),
  • the European Monetary Institute (1994),
  • the European Central Bank (1998),
  • the euro area (1998).

Belgium also entered into cultural agreements with various countries to encourage mobility and mutual exchanges.

Belgium signed in 1957 the Treaty of Rome, making it one of the founding states of the European Union. In 2010, former Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy became the first President of the European Council.

Cf.: http://www.belgium.be/nl/over_belgie/belgie_internationaal/belgie_in_europa/historisch_overzicht/

 

Sources:

  • Jan De Groof, De schoolpactwet (The Schools Pact Act): coördinatie en annotatie (coordination and annotation). Kluwer, 1996
  • Jan De Groof, De grondwetsherziening van 1988 en het onderwijs: de schoolvrede en zijn toepassing (The 1988 constitutional revision and education: school peace and its applications) Story Scientia, 1989
  • Els Witte, Jan De Groof, Jeffrey Tyssens, Het schoolpact van 1958: ontstaan, grondlijnen en toepassing van een Belgisch compromis (The 1958 Schools Pact: origin, basis and the implementation of a Belgian compromise), Garant, 1999
  • Ludo Veny, Compendium van het Vlaams Onderwijsrecht. Die Keure, 2010.