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Belgium-French-Community:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

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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

This chapter provides a thematic and chronological overview of national reforms and policy developments since 2013.

The introduction of the chapter describes the overall education strategy and the key objectives across the whole education system. It also looks at how the education reform process is organized and who are the main actors in the decision-making process.

The section on ongoing reforms and policy developments groups reforms provides an overview in the following broad thematic areas that largely correspond to education levels : Early childhood education and care (see 14.1.); School education (see 14.2.); VET and Adult learning (see 14.3.); Higher education (see 14.4.); and Transversal skills and Employability (see 14.5.). Inside each thematic area, reforms are organized chronologically. The most recent reforms are described first.

Finally the section on the European perspective provides links to European strategies in which education and training have a prominent role.

1. Overall national education strategy and key objectives

In addition to the reforms established and described in the following sections, the French Community adopted on 25th July 2014 its Declaration on Community Policy (DPC) 2014-2019 (http://www.federation-wallonie-bruxelles.be/index.php?id=dpc2014-2019) : Federate to succeed.

Several priorities are presented, including :

- Adopt a Teaching Excellence Pact;

- Revaluate vocational education;

- Strengthen the guidance and assessment tools to reduce failure in higher education and increase the number of graduates;

- Invest in basic research;

- Invest in school buildings and increase the number of free places;

- Develop cultural and artistic education.

These priorities deal with Compulsory education, Higher Education, Social Advancement teaching and distance learning, Research, Childhood, Youth, Parenting, The Youth Assistance, Houses of Justice, Equality, Associative, Culture, Media, Sport, Public Service, The fiscal governance, Europe, and International.

The future of Wallonia and Brussels are based on the quality of education. The development of a teaching excellence pact must allow to be up to this challenge. Quality education presupposes to overcome some taboos and to make best use of public resources available, to provide each social catchment area with adequate, complete and complementary supply.

The whole world of education should be part of the Pact. Teachers, headmasters, educators, parents, students, all have indeed useful expertise in the construction of this project, developed in close consultation with the economic, social and cultural sectors.

The "Pact for excellence in education" or "Teaching Excellence Pact" (http://www.pactedexcellence.be) is based on a participatory process, which will run from 2015 to mid-2016, with the aim to define action priorities at a 10-year horizon to strenghten the quality in education.

The Teaching Excellence Pact aims at 4 key investment themes to meet its various objectives :

I. Better support the student’s pathway to help him/her succeed;

II. Invest and support the actors of education;

III. Improve knowledge and skills;

IV. Improve governance of education.


I. Better support the student's pathway to help him/her succeed

A. Decisions taken and / or voted and applicable in September 2015:

1. School reintegration - fight against absenteeism: new rules for eligible days, 15 million for new projects to fight against absenteeism and additional care. (see chapter 14.2)

2. Redefining orientation conditions to special education and strengthening support for students with learning disabilities in mainstream education. (see chapter 14.2)

3. Differentiated Support: a complete renewal of the budgetary means of the additional provision with an orientation to the support of the student for success. (see chapter 14.2)

4. New provisions for the non-retention in the 3rd pre-primary year. (see section 14.1)

5. The fight against harassment at school. (see Chapter 14.2)


B. Decisions taken or to be voted in September 2015:

1. New rules about orientation of a young person coming from the second differentiated year, not having the CEB in the 3rd year of Vocational Education.

2. Experiments in various jobs (in the 3rd year of secondary education in the second half of the year to strengthen orientation).


II. Invest and support the actors of education

A. Decisions taken and / or voted in September 2015:

1. Welcome of new teachers

1 / A device to welcome and support new teachers should, based on the draft decree adopted in July at first reading, be compulsory from the 2016-2017 school year, after launching training and awareness modules.

2 / In order to sustain directions, beginning teachers and educational referents teams, a complete guide, for both directions and future referents was sent to schools.

3 / The first welcoming session will be organized for beginning teachers and teaching staffs interested in the reference function.

2. Launch of various calls for projects serving teachers and directions (including "Education for citizenship", "Media Education", the "fight against school dropout", ...).

3. Launch a week of training and information to be held each year during the last week of August.

4. New websites available to actors in education, including the sharing of resources.

5. Commitment of teachers from the Flemish or German Communities.

6. Recognition of children's books as educational tools for teachers in order to enhance reading.


B. Decisions and to vote in September 2015:

1. New training opportunities.

2. New duties for staff, particularly on the issue of facts or conduct taking place outside of the performance of duties but which may affect the image of the teaching because of their undemocratic nature.


III. Improve knowledge and skills

New measures decided by the Government and proposed to the Parliament by the end of September 2015:

1. Entry into force in public education of measures for exemption of philosophical lessons and for alternative educational support (EPA) and support of public schools in the implementation of this new educational support (see chapter 14.2).

2. Important advances for vocational education (VET) (see section 14.2).

3. Launch of reference guides for pre-primary schools that will enable teachers to implement a program (see chapter 14.1).

4. Launch of reference guides for philosophy and citizenship lessons.


IV. Improve governance of education

Action taken in September and / or to be voted in September 2015:

1. New measures against the leak of national examinations.

2. Strengthening the steering of institutions and redefining their school projects.

3. Implementation of a support for institutions with significant difference below the average of establishments.

4. New rules for funding schools.


THE STAGES OF THE TEACHING EXCELLENCE PACT :

The Teaching Excellence Pact enters an important phase :

The first phase of the Pact's work was closed July 2 by the adoption of broad guidelines of the authorities who spoke unanimously. These broad guidelines summarize the diagnostic and foresight elements established by the first two Working Groups of the Pact’s work and the support of external experts.

The second phase of the Teaching Excellence Pact’s work currently aims at defining specific priority objectives and themes within the four selected thematic areas of the Pact: the pupils’ pathways, the actors of education, knowledge and skills and governance. The list of priority objectives and themes will be submitted for approval to the Government. For the purpose of clarity and calibrating priorities, the proposal should cover five objectives and working groups by thematic area, for a total of 20.

The third phase of the work will be organized in two main stages, from late September 2015 to June 2016 and will consist - for each of the priority objectives and themes defined by the Government - in the implementation of a Working Group on the basis of specifications and methodology, will be tasked to develop action plans. These action plans will aim at improving students’ achievement, reducing the inequity of the current system, optimizing the implemented resources of the system, and implementing mechanisms and evaluation tools.


Moreover, the strategic directions of the Walloon Government for the period 2014-2019, detailed in its Declaration of Regional Policy (DPR) concerns three key points focused on by the Government's program:

- innovation;

- simplification;

- a common project.


2. Overview of the education reform process and drivers

The education reform process is described in the paragraphs 14.1. to 14.5.

Regarding childcare facilities, responsibility lies with the French Community. The Office for Birth and Childhood (ONE), a paracommunity institution, is the expert body of the French Community for all matters relating to childhood, policies on childhood, the protection of mothers, support for parenthood and childcare. ONE’s mission is to encourage and develop the protection of mother and child.

With regard to education, most powers are exercised by the Communities, although specific aspects concern other levels of power.

It will be recalled that the education and training systems fall within the competence of the various federated entities in French-speaking Belgium (the French Community, the Walloon Region and the French Community Commission of the Brussels-Capital Region or Cocof).

The Federal State

With respect to education, only three prerogatives included in the Constitution (coordinated version of February, 17, 1994) remain under the jurisdiction of federal (or national) authorities. These are:

• defining when compulsory schooling begins and when it ends;

• the minimum requirements for issuing diplomas; and

• the pension scheme.

The Federal Science Policy Office is a federal administrative body responsible for preparing, executing and evaluating science policy and its impact and more specifically for exercising the remaining federal powers in the area of education.

The French Community

Responsibility for policy on pre-school, primary, secondary and higher education and specialised education lies with the Parliament of the French Community and its Government. They are also responsible for social advancement education and distance education.

The government of the French Community has a dual responsibility:

• it is the controlling authority for schools administered by the French Community and, as such, establishes structures, curricula, and methods; it administers schools, and takes all measures with a view to improving their operation;

• it regulates public and independent grant-aided schools, in compliance with the applicable constitutional and legal provisions.

Each minister is assisted by a cabinet. This is a group of people who assist the ministers to accomplish the tasks entrusted to them (i.e. translating the decisions taken by the Council and Government of the Community into legal texts and carrying out preparatory work in connection with decisions to be made by the Minister and the Council). The cabinet's term is linked to the government's term, i.e. a maximum of 5 years.

The role of the Ministry of the French Community is primarily to execute ministerial decisions. It is also involved in the technical study of new regulations (laws, decrees, etc.).

At the different levels of education, the administration is responsible for administering different areas such as:

• the general characteristics of schools;

• the structure of the specific education on offer at each school, i.e. forms, years of study, streams, options, courses, programmes, etc. that each school is authorised to organise in compliance with the standards and rules in effect;

• the compliance of schedules, i.e. the combination of courses attended by each student during a week;

• the regularity of student enrolment;

• etc

Within the Ministry of the French Community, it is the General Administration of Education (AGE) that performs the functions related to education.

The Regions

The Regions’ only powers with regard to education relate to school transport; the regional administration also manages school buildings jointly with the French Community. As part of their vocational training policy, the Regions are developing increasingly numerous contacts with secondary technical and vocational schools, and subsidising various university/enterprise joint initiatives, e.g. in the new technologies sector. Dual vocational education and training is provided not only by schools but also by IFAPME (the Walloon Institute of Dual Vocational Education and Training for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises – in the Walloon Region) and the SFPME (Small and Mid-Sized Companies Training Service in the Brussels-Capital Region). These dual vocational courses known as ‘apprenticeship contracts’ satisfy the compulsory schooling requirement. IFAPME and the SFPME are run by small and medium-sized businesses and fall within the competence of the Regions.

In the various areas in which both Regional and Community powers are exercised, the French Community, the Walloon Region and the Brussels-Capital Region devise joint policies.

Adult vocational training outside the school system (mainly for workers and job-seekers) falls within the competence of the Regions.

A number of training courses intended for adults fall within the competence of the French Community : this is primarily true of social advancement education, but also of distance education and part-time secondary arts education, which is characterized by the diversity of students’ ages.


For more information on educational governance in the French Community of Belgium, see 2.6.