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Belgium-French-Community:Bachelor

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Overview Belgium (French Community)

Contents

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

Belgium-French-Community:Historical Development

Belgium-French-Community:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

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

Belgium-French-Community:Political and Economic Situation

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation and Governance

Belgium-French-Community:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Belgium-French-Community:Lifelong Learning Strategy

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

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation of Private Education

Belgium-French-Community:National Qualifications Framework

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

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

Belgium-French-Community:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Belgium-French-Community:Funding in Education

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

Belgium-French-Community:Higher Education Funding

Belgium-French-Community:Adult Education and Training Funding

Belgium-French-Community:Early Childhood Education and Care

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation of Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Belgium-French-Community:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Belgium-French-Community:Assessment in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation of Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Belgium-French-Community:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Belgium-French-Community:Assessment in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

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

Belgium-French-Community:Primary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation of Primary Education

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

Belgium-French-Community:Assessment in Primary Education

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

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

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation of General Lower Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Teaching and Learning in General Lower Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Assessment in General Lower Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Assessment in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation of Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Teaching and Learning in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Assessment in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Belgium-French-Community:First Cycle Programmes

Belgium-French-Community:Bachelor

Belgium-French-Community:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Second Cycle Programmes

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

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

Belgium-French-Community:Adult Education and Training

Belgium-French-Community:Distribution of Responsibilities

Belgium-French-Community:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Belgium-French-Community:Main Providers

Belgium-French-Community:Main Types of Provision

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

Belgium-French-Community:Teachers and Education Staff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Belgium-French-Community:Management and Other Education Staff

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

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

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

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

Belgium-French-Community:Management Staff for Higher Education

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

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

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

Belgium-French-Community:Quality Assurance

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

Belgium-French-Community:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

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

Belgium-French-Community:Educational Support and Guidance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Belgium-French-Community:Mobility and Internationalisation

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

Belgium-French-Community:Mobility in Higher Education

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

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

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

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

Belgium-French-Community:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Belgium-French-Community:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

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

Belgium-French-Community:National Reforms in School Education

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

Belgium-French-Community:National Reforms in Higher Education

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

Belgium-French-Community:European Perspective

Belgium-French-Community:Legislation

Belgium-French-Community:Glossary

Introduction

Bachelor degree courses are provided in both long-type and short-type higher education.

Branches of Study

The programmes that each higher education institution may provide are defined for each cycle and each site by its accreditation.

Courses in the first cycle of both long-type and short-type higher education mostly consist of 180 ECTS, that are generally acquired in 3 years of study. Only two high school short-type bachelors are organized in 240 ECTS (studies in nursing and midwifery).

Each of the full universities (University of Liège, Catholic University of Louvain, Free University of Brussels) has at least five traditional faculties: philosophy and humanities, law, science, medicine and applied science. Additionally, each university has a variable number of faculties, schools, or institutes, which teach other disciplines such as agricultural science, art history, archaeology, oriental studies, business and economics, social and political science, criminology, psychology, educational science, etc.

In the other university institutions, instruction is limited to a certain number of disciplines and, for some of them, to just the first cycle of studies, which leads to a bachelor degree :

  • the University of Mons organises bachelor degree courses in most disciplines ;
  • the University of Saint-Louis - Bruxelles organises courses in law, economics, social science, political science, philosophy, history, languages, etc. and mainly of first cycle ;
  • the University of Namur organises mainly courses in law, philosophy, history, languages and literature, art and archaeology, political science, social science, veterinary science, medicine, and pharmaceutical science.

In the hautes écoles, long-type higher education may be provided in the following categories :

  • the agricultural science category ;
  • the economics category ;
  • the paramedical category ;
  • the social studies category ;
  • the technical studies category ;
  • the pedagogical category.

The arts colleges provide preparation for all artistic disciplines in four fields of study:

  • plastic, visual and spatial arts (drawing, photography, art in public spaces, etc.) ;
  • music (e.g. instrumental training - percussion; voice training - lyrical art; jazz and easy listening music - composition, etc.) ;
  • theatre and the spoken word (oratory, dramatic art) ;
  • performing arts and broadcasting and communication techniques (production for cinema, radio and television, theatre and communication techniques, radio, TV and multimedia, etc.).

The various courses of Social Advancement Higher Education are organized in the following areas :

  • Information and communication ;
  • Political and Social Sciences ;
  • Legal Sciences ;
  • Economics and management sciences ;
  • Psychological and educational sciences ;
  • Public health sciences ;
  • Motricity sciences ;
  • Sciences ;
  • Agricultural sciences and biological engineering ;
  • Engineering sciences and technology ;
  • Art of building and urbanism ;
  • Plastic, visual and spacial arts.

Admission Requirements

Access to Higher Education

Full-time education

The first cycle of higher education is open to students who hold a certificate of upper secondary education (CESS), that is awarded in the French Community, in the German-speaking Community, in the Flemish Community, or by the Royal Military Academy ( if it is considered as similar by the authorities of the higher education institution). The certificate of upper secondary education (CESS) may also be obtained by submitting the exams of the Examination Board of the French Community or in Social Advancement education.

No candidate may be admitted to examinations for a first-cycle study year without proving sufficient command of the French language (exemption in arts colleges for some courses). Enrollment in an establishment of tertiary education is also subject to other conditions (payment of registration fees, ...).

Other qualifications to access first-cycle studies are established by the legislation : Higher education degrees attesting academic grades awarded :

  • in the French Community (by a full-time higher education institution or by a social advancement institution) ;
  • in the German-speaking Community, in the Flemish Community or by the Royal Military Academy if they are similar to those awarded in the French Community. This similarity is to be appraised by the authorities of the higher education institution where the students wants to apply for registration.

Entry to first-cycle studies in engineering sciences is subject not just to the general conditions of entry to higher education, but to the passing of an entrance examination.

Access to the Bachelor's degree in medical sciences is conditioned by the prior and effective participation in a test of guidance of the health sector. An entry examination in the first year will be set up from the academic year 2017-2018.

Admission to Arts colleges is subject to specific conditions : the student must fulfill the general conditions of access to higher education but also pass the admission test (assessment of the artistic aptitudes of the student) organized by the institution.

A student who has obtained more than two academic degrees (same level) in the previous five years may be refused admission, except for an upper secondary teaching diploma or a doctorate.

Social Advancement Higher Education

From a pedagogical point of view, admission to Social Advancement higher education is subject to specific conditions. Indeed, admission to a section or to a unit of training in higher education is decided by the Council of Studies on the basis of the general regulation of studies, basing its assessment on the acquired qualifications, the results of tests, the other studies, documents or attestations of a professional nature.

Entrance Examinations and Customised Admission in full-time education

Students who do not hold any of the qualifications authorizing access to higher education may nevertheless have access to it through the success of certain tests :

  • the admission examination organized by some higher education institutions or by a board of the French Community ;
  • the examination of the paramedical board of the French Community (for access to the first year of bachelor in nursing responsible for general care or bachelor in midwifery in a “haute école”.

The legal gateways have not existed anymore since the decree of 7 November 2013. This decree allows the reorientation of the student in terms of validation of prior learning. The boards take into account the ECTS got by the students in higher education or in parts of higher studies which they have already successfully passed, and students may thus be exempted from the corresponding parts of the new curriculum.

The boards may also take into account within this framework the knowledge and skills acquired by students through personal or professional experience (VAE : validation of prior learning).

Qualifications Gained Abroad

Holders of a foreign diploma or study qualification (from secondary or higher education) are also entitled to admission to higher education in the French Community provided they have obtained confirmation of equivalence for their qualification.

The legal and regulatory framework makes it possible to recognise practically all diplomas that have been earned abroad, whatever their level, the discipline concerned, or the country where they were conferred. Equivalence may be granted for diplomas and other certificates gained at a foreign institution.

Two Equivalences Services are responsible for undertaking a single, overall examination of the administrative and educational aspects of applications from pupils from foreign countries :


Choice of Institution

Students freely choose the higher education institution in which they wish to enrol. The circumstances under which a university, an haute école or an arts college may refuse enrolment are defined, and an appeal procedure against enrolment refusals exists.

Admission Restrictions

Generally, the French Community does not apply a restricted admissions system (numerus clausus), but there are a few exceptions to this rule.

The decree of 16 June 2006 requires the authorities running the universities and the hautes écoles to limit the number of non-resident students enrolling for certain courses at an haute école or university without having been enrolled in the French Community on the same course during a previous academic year.

In long-type higher education, for universities, this measure relates to the enrolment in the courses leading to the bachelor degree in physiotherapy and rehabilitation, in veterinary science, in psychology and education with a specialisation in speech therapy, in dentistry and in medicine.

In the Hautes écoles, for the academic year 2016-2017, this decree concerns enrollments in bachelor courses in physiotherapy (and for short-type bachelors, the bachelor in speech therapy and bachelor in audiology).

Curriculum

Language of Instruction

The language of instruction and of assessment of educational activities is French, but the legislation establishes that some activities may be given and assessed in another language.

Some masters programs are partially or totally organized in English.

ECTS

All curricula in full-time higher education are expressed in credits (ECTS). The ECTS associated with a course within a curriculum are expressed in whole numbers, or exceptionally in half-units, with a minimum of 1 ECTS.

Accreditation

The list of accreditations to organize initial first-cycle studies can be found in the appendices to the "landscape" decree.

The accreditations to organize and open studies which the establishments had before the implementation of this decree are generally maintained.

In order to ensure an adequate supply of every initial curriculum in the French Community, the Government may establish for each higher education institution, after consulting the ARES (Academy for Research and Higher Education), the list of cycles of studies that it must continue to organize and the site which will receive them with respect to the accreditations, under penalty of being deprived of any subsidy and accreditation for the other studies that it would organize. This obligation must be notified two months before the beginning of the following four months.

Competency guidelines

The ARES, on the basis of proposals made by its committees and the institutions concerned, defines the competency guidelines corresponding to the academic degrees awarded and attests that they are respected by the programs of study offered by the institutions and attests their conformity with the other provisions in terms of professional access for graduates.

Teaching Methods

Higher education uses adapted methods and resources, according to the specific discipline, with a view to attaining the general objectives set out in the decree of 7 November 2013 (“Landscape Decree”) and to making higher education accessible to all, in accordance with their aptitudes, without discrimination. The education which is provided is based on the final attainment levels and core knowledge required at the end of secondary education.

Being intended for adults who are participating of their own free will, higher education uses teaching methods adapted to this characteristic. Educational activities comprise: • courses organised by the institution, in particular lecture courses, monitored exercises, coursework, laboratory work, seminars, creation and research workshops, excursions, visits and internships; • individual or group activities, including preparation, coursework, documentary research, dissertations and projects; • personal study, self-training and enrichment activities.

Long-type higher education starts out from basic concepts, experiments and illustrations. Establishments of higher education fulfil a mission of applied research linked to the subjects they teach, in close relation to professional or artistic spheres or in collaboration with university institutions.

Universities

University education is based on a close link between scientific research and the subjects taught. Partnerships between the private sector and higher education have been developing since 1980. Independent centres for industrial and technological research have been created by the universities in order to promote scientific collaboration with the business sector.

Each course leader enjoys academic freedom in the exercise of his or her task. This includes the choice of teaching methods, scientific and technical content, assessment, and the various activities undertaken to meet the specific objectives, subject to compliance with certain requirements set out in decrees.

In order to ensure a suitable distribution of the study and assessment load within each study year, the academic authorities distribute the courses making up the programme evenly between the two first terms of the academic year. At the different levels, teaching encompasses lectures, coursework, internships, and supervised exercises. In the first years, university education offers basic instruction in the selected discipline together with a broad, general scientific education. Later on, it intensifies the scientific research approach and offers specialised content. Every curriculum comprises compulsory courses and courses chosen by the student.

Hautes écoles

Each haute école must adopt an educational plan: this plan is a framework for teachers and students within an institute and defines the adopted teaching methods, the assessment methods, the educational facilities needed, and the values promoted through the educational relationship.

To meet their objectives, the hautes écoles must ensure that they develop and implement appropriate methods: high-quality initial training, teacher supervision, production and provision of information media, management of a documentation centre, applied research, continuing education, collaboration with the socio-economic environment, and cooperation at an international level.

Arts Colleges

The courses are grouped into three principal categories: arts courses, general courses, and technical courses. The 1999 decree provides methodological guidelines for some domains. For instance, higher education for the plastic, graphic and spatial arts must rest on a wide optional base with input from experimentation and interdisciplinary research.

Social Advancement Higher Education

Social Advancement Education organizes courses according to a coherent system of teaching units that can be capitalized.

Each section organized by Social Advancement Education includes traineeship (with the exception of specialization sections) and an integrated test, in addition to the teaching units. The articulation between these different teaching units is determined by a capitalization process represented by the organization chart of the section. Each of these teaching units leads to a certificate of success.

To obtain the qualification, the student must capitalize the certificates of success of each teaching unit constituting the section and show, through the integrated test, that he masters the learning outcomes aimed at, throughout the curriculum, in a synthesis form. Each institution offers a specific organization of the teaching units in accordance with the organizational chart of the section. Students have the opportunity to follow the offered curriculum or to personalize their pathway taking personal, professional and family constraints into account. In this case, they adapt their training rhythm by choosing the number of teaching units they want to follow, provided that they respect the organizational chart and the possible limit of the duration of validity of the certificates of success.

Progression of Students

In general, in full-time education, the student's annual program consists of at least 60 ECTS, which are divided into teaching units, which are themselves composed of learning activities. For the student in firs cycle’s first year, an assessment period is systematically scheduled for January. At the end of the first cycle’s first year : If the 60 ECTS of the annual program are validated by the board : the next academic year, the student can enroll in the teaching units of the following cycle program, with a minimum of 60 ECTS.

  • If at least 45 ECTS of the program are validated by the board, (and with its agreement) : of the next academic year, the student's annual program of at least 60 credits includes :
  1. the teaching units whose ECTS have not been acquired at the end of the previous academic year ;
  2. teaching units of the following cycle program.
  • If at least 30 ECTS (but less than 45) of the program are validated, the student's next annual program, with the agreement of the board, will be composed as explained above for the student who has successfully completed 45 ECTS. The student may also supplement this program with some remediation activities which may be valued if they have been evaluated (Article 148 of the Landscape Decree). However, the following annual program of this student may not exceed 60 ECTS.

In the following academic years, the student pursues his pathway until he obtains all the ECTS of the program of the cycle.

At the end of the cycle of studies, when the minimum number of ECTS is obtained by the student, the board gives him the corresponding academic degree with a possible mention.

Employability

Short-cycle bachelors’ studies include internships in a workplace or in a laboratory setting and thus familiarize young people with the world of work. Very often, the theme of the end of studies’ work implies contacts with a professional environment.

Student Assessment

Success requirements

The Landscape Decree harmonized the success requirements for all full-time higher education institutions. Since the decree "landscape", the concept of "year of study" has disappeared in favor of that of "annual program" of the student. Similarly, the notion of "course" is replaced by that of "teaching unit". In general, the student's annual program consists of at least 60 ECTS, which are divided into teaching units, which are themselves composed of learning activities (AA).

The single success threshold for acquiring ECTS in a teaching unit is set at 10/20. At the end of the academic year, the board validates the teaching unit (and the corresponding ECTS) of the student's program which have reached the 10/20 threshold.

The notions of "adjournment" and "refusal" are no longer valid and that of "success" is only used to attest the completion of a cycle of studies.

The student has the right to present two assessments for each teaching unit in the same academic year. For the first-year student an additional evaluation period is scheduled for January and is compulsory, except if the absence is considered legitimate by the authorities of the institution) and constitutes an admission requirement to the other tests of the academic year.

Boards

The authorities of the higher education institution constitute a board for each cycle leading to an academic degree. A separate sub-board may be set up for the first year of the first cycle.

These authorities fix the study regulations, as well as the special rules governing the operation of the boards.

Subject to the other legal provisions, these board regulations lay down:

  • the registration procedure ;
  • the exact composition of the board, its mode of operation and publication of decisions ;
  • the organization of deliberations and granting of ECTS ;
  • the evaluation periods and the organization and conduct of the tests ;
  • the sanctions for fraud in the conduct of evaluations ;
  • the methods of introducing, investigating and resolving student complaints relating to irregularities in the conduct of evaluations.

The academic authorities fix the schedule of the tests by preserving sufficient time between successive tests during the same evaluation period. The assessment for a course may consist of an oral or written examination or any other work carried out by the student for this purpose. Oral examinations are public, but the audience may not interact in any way with the examiner or examinee during the test, nor disturb its proper conduct. Corrected copies of other tests and written works may be consulted by students within the month of publication of the test results. The boards are responsible for sanctioning the acquisition of ECTS, for proclaiming the success of a program of studies, for conferring the academic degree which sanctions the cycle of studies.

A board includes, in particular, all teachers who are responsible for a compulsory teaching unit in the higher education institution. This board deliberates validly only if more than half of those teachers who participated to the academic year's examinations are present.

Those responsible for the other teaching units of the program followed during the academic year by at least one regularly enrolled student take part in the deliberations. In the case of higher artistic studies, the board responsible for the evaluation of the main artistic course at the end of the cycle is composed mainly of members outside the Arts Colleges. The board deliberates on the basis of the assessments of the achievements of each student for each of the teaching units followed during the academic year. The single success threshold for acquiring ECTS from a teaching unit is set at 10/20. It allocates ECTS for the teaching units whose assessment is sufficient or for those where the deficit is acceptable in the light of its overall results. The board can sovereignly proclaim the success of a teaching unit, of all the units studied during an academic year or a cycle of studies, even if the threshold of success is not reached in every teaching unit.

It also grants the ECTS associated with the teaching units followed outside the program and of which it considers the results sufficient.

At the end of a cycle of study, the board gives the student the corresponding academic grade, when it is recognized that the minimum number of ECTS has been acquired, that the requirements of the curriculum have been met, that the admission requirements to these studies were met and that the student was regularly enrolled there.

Certification

At the end of the first cycle of studies, the Bachelor’s degree is granted.

The bachelor's degree is granted to students who :

  • acquired in-depth knowledge and skills in a field of work or study that follows and is based on an upper secondary education. This field is located at a high level of training based, among other things, on scientific publications or artistic productions as well as on knowledge gained from research and experience ;
  • are able to apply, mobilize, articulate and value this knowledge and these skills in the context of a socio-professional activity or further learning and have demonstrated their ability to elaborate and develop reasoning, arguments and solutions to problems in their field of study ;
  • are able to collect, analyze and interpret, in a relevant way, data (generally, in their field of study) in order to formulate opinions, critical judgments or artistic proposals that integrate reflection on societal, scientific, technical, artistic or ethical issues ;
  • are able to communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions in a clear and structured way to informed and non-informed audiences, according to context-specific communication standards ;
  • developed the learning strategies that are necessary to continue their training with a high degree of autonomy.

The degrees are issued by the institutions in accordance with the legislation. The latter determines the models of degrees and degrees’ supplements. It also includes the instructions for their drafting to which the institutions must comply. These instructions relate in particular to the denomination of the degrees awarded, the information concerning the graduate student, the name of the institution ... Bachelor's degrees (short or long type) are positioned at Level 6 of the Higher Education Qualification Framework and correspond to Level 6 European Framework of Certifications for Lifelong Learning.