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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Administration and governance at central and/or regional level

Belgium - Flemish Community

2.Organisation and governance

2.6Administration and governance at central and/or regional level

Last update: 27 November 2023

Governance at Federal level

Federal matters of education

Since 1989, the Flemish Community has been in charge of matters of education and is therefore responsible for the administration of education in its language area. Indeed, after the revision of the constitution of 15 July 1988, the constitution (17 February 1994) transferred almost all responsibilities (art. 127 § 1.2) in relation to the educational system to the Communities. There are still a number federal competences: the beginning and end of compulsory education, the subdivision into different levels of education, teachers' pensions, language supervision in the schools in Brussels and the peripheral and language boundary municipalities and the funding of foreign university students. In addition, there are a number of other federal competences which confine Education and Training Policy. The most important of these are the regulation of access to certain professions, employee statuses that apply to on-the-job learning and paid educational leave. For a number of policy options, including truancy policy and monitoring school attendance, cooperation is required with Federal Government services such as justice, the policy and the other communities.

Federal pensions and educational leave

The pension system continues to form part of the national security system which is still funded by a national system based on solidarity between the Communities and Regions.


  • Competent minister: The Minister for Pensions.
  • Competent administration:
    • PDOS, Pension Service for the Government Sector, for the allocation, calculation and administration of pensions for civil servants
    • Federal Public Finance Service > Administration of the Treasury > Central department of overheads - pensions; for payments

Paid educational leave

Federal vocational education: military training and police training

Military training

  • Competent minister: The Minister for Defence.
  • Competent administration: Ministry of Defence > General directorate of training (DG FMN).
  • With a view to enhancing the training options of staff of the Ministry of Defence and promote their reintegration in the labour market following military service, a bilateral cooperation agreement has been concluded between the Ministry of Defence and the Flemish Ministry of Education and Training with regard to Adult Education.

Police training

  • The police is structured at two levels: the federal and local police (split up into police zones). The federal police training is at federal level in 3 federal police schools. The local police training is held in one of the 10 local police schools. We focus on the federal level only here. For the federal police: see for the federal police training, see For the local police: see
  • Competent ministers: the Minister of the Interior and the Minister for Justice. Pursuant to the Royal Decision of 30 March 2001, which regulates the legal status of the staff of the police forces (RPPol), the training policy for police services is determined by the Minister of the Interior and the Minister for Justice. The initiative and the daily management of the training actually fall under the authority of the Minister of the Interior, who involves the Minister for Justice in the general measures concerning the training of police officers. The Minister for Justice plays his own role in the training of personnel of the General Directorate of the judicial police (criminal investigation department). The RPPol specifies in that regard that the Minister for Justice sets up a national criminal-investigation school within the federal police service to provide judicial training programmes.
  • Competent administration: General Support and Administration Directorate (DGS) > Training Directorate (DSE); The DSE comprises the three police schools at federal level, as well as the knowledge centre (DSED). The Directorate draws up annual training schedules for the integrated police in close cooperation with its partners and on the basis of the national and zonal safety schedules. It also watches over the fulfilment of the training priorities from the National Safety Schedule (NVP). Since the Training Directorate is also open to external courses, it also joins forces with the Training Institute of the Federal Government (OFO). This training institute of the Federal Government is an entity of the federal public service 'personnel and organisation'. It manages full training programmes for the administration of the federal public services, including the police. Police personnel can register with the training institute of the Federal Government.
  • Federal educational institutions
    • The national school of officers (DSEO)
    • National school for criminal investigators (DSER)
    • The federal school (DSEF)

The State Audit Office

The State Audit Office is in charge of the external control on all budgetary, accounting and financial transactions by the federal State, the Communities, the Regions, their public institutions and the provinces.

Recent reports it published on education are:

  • Free elementary education and cost control (May 2011)
  • Pedagogical and administrative support of elementary and secondary schools (June 2010)
  • Staffing in mainstream full-time secondary education (January 2010)
  • Equal educational opportunities in mainstream elementary and secondary education (August 2008)
  • Quality control within higher education in the Netherlands and Flanders (July 2008)

All reports (with an English and French synopsis) can be found and downloaded from:

Council of State

Each draft of educational decree is submitted to the Council of State for legal advice.

The Council of State consists of two divisions:

  • The Legislative division which is the legal adviser to legislative assembly and the governments. It issues legal advice on the various drafts of law texts and texts of ordinances the assembly and governments present to the Council. These advices on bills, drafts of decrees or orders are added to the explanatory memorandum of the draft when they are presented to a parliamentary meeting. So, they are published in theparliamentary documents of the meetings in question and can also be consulted there.
  • The Administrative Law Division is the highest administrative court of the country. It mainly takes cognizance of petitions for suspension and nullity of administrative legal acts and appeals in cassation against decisions from administrative courts.

The Constitutional Court

The Constitutional Court is a 12-judge court which ensures that the Belgian legislators adhere to Belgium's Constitution. It has the power to quash and suspend laws, decrees and orders. Because of its specific task, the Constitutional Court is not connected to either the legislative, the executive or the judicial powers.

Governance at regional level: the Flemish Community

Within the Flemish Government it is the Minister for Education who is responsible for nearly all aspects of the education policy from nursery to university education. Only the pensions of the educational staff, the fixing of compulsory education and the minimum diploma requirements are a federal Belgian matter.

Education and training

Policy domain The Policy domain Education and Training ( comprises:

  • the Flemish Minister for Education who enters into strategic consultation with leading officials in the Governing Council Pascal Smet is Flemish Minister for Education, Youth, Equal Opportunities and Brussels and responsible for: the policy areas of education and training, youth work (including the coordination of child rights policy), equal opportunities policy and the coordination of policy with regard to Brussels-Capital.
  • 6 autonomous organisations who, together, form the Flemish education administration
    • the Flemish Ministry of Education and Training, consisting of:
      • The DOV, Department of Education and Training, headed by the Secretary-General, in charge of policy support;
      • 4 internal autonomous agencies, without corporate personality, each in charge of policy implementation and headed by an administrator-general:
      • AgODi Agency for Educational Services (elementary, secondary, part-time artistic education, pupil guidance centres, inspectorate and guidance)
      • AHOVOS, Agency for Higher Education, Adult Education and Study Allowances which looks after the staff, the institutions and the students and course participants following higher education or Adult Education;
      • AOC, Agency for Communication on Education, in charge of external communication;
      • AKOV, Agency for Quality Assurance in Education and Training (and VDAB and SYNTRA), founded in 2009, in charge of the quality-assurance system for pathways leading to certificates of recognised qualifications, in education, vocational training, non-formal education and EVC pathways (see 9.3.2.);
    • AGIOn, the Agency for School Infrastructure, an internal autonomous government agency (IVA) with legal personality which subsidises and funds the purchase, construction and renovation of school buildings for compulsory education and university colleges. (see 2.8.4.);
  • the VLOR, Flemish Education Council which functions as a strategic advisory council (see All preliminary draft decrees should be submitted for the formal opinion of VLOR. They are usually also submitted to the Council of State (for a legal opinion) and to SERV, the Socio-Economic Council of Flanders (for socio-economic advice focusing on the link between education and the labour market and lifelong and lifewide learning).

The agencies are led by the minister, particularly via a management agreement.

The Department of Education and Training comprises the following services and divisions.

  • A division personnel.
  • The division strategic policy support which, inter alia, formulates strategic policy options, prepares the contribution of the administration to the coalition agreement, the white paper and the long-range plans and guarantees that the policy letters and annual planning are in line with this; it also develops and implements the department's knowledge policy.
  • The project strategic education and training policy is set on the point of intersection of the responsibilities for education, work and culture and is aimed at stimulating lifelong and lifewide learning and at tightening the link between education, training and non-formal education, on the one hand, and the labour market, on the other hand also saw the light of day.
  • The division conditions of service policy.
  • The division elementary and part-time artistic education.
  • The division institutions and pupils in secondary and adult education.
  • The division higher education.
  • The division support policy supports partners including the pupil guidance centres, education inspectorate, the educational umbrella organisations, the parents' associations' umbrella organisations, in-service training organisations, and also works with other Flemish policy areas for these purposes.
  • The division international relations follows the educational developments within the multilateral organisations (see 11.4.2.) and coordinates exchange programmes for pupils, teachers and students. The European Lifelong Learning Programmes are contracted out to vzw EPOS.
  • A management-supporting service) (MOD) supports the department and agencies.

The education inspectorate (see is an autonomous service within the policy area of Education and Training, in direct relationship with the Agency for Quality Assurance in Education and Training.

A number of institutions relevant to education do not come under the policy area Education and Training:

  • EPOS vzw This Agency is an association between the Department of Education and Training, the Flemish Public Employment and Vocational Training Service VDAB and Flemish Agency for Entrepreneurial Training - SYNTRA Flanders and implements the European LLP programme, Lifelong learning (see 2.2).
  • Flemish Interuniversity Council VLIR & Flemish Council of University Colleges VLHORA and VLUHR, the Flemish Universities and University Colleges Council (see

There is also co-operation with several other Flemish policy areas with protocol agreements being concluded between the competent ministers, including:

  • the Minister for Work for the implementation of the qualification structure and competence agenda (see,
  • the policy area Welfare, Public Health and Family for the medical examinations in the pupil guidance centres,
  • the policy area of Culture, Youth, Sport and Media (CJSM), in relation to Arts and Culture Education, Previously Acquired Competences and broad school. ACCE, the Official Coordination Culture Education and the CANON Culture Cell shall actively network from a shared policy vision and sensitize in both sectors and at various policy levels.
  • the policy area Mobility and Public Works for the transport of pupils with De Lijn,
  • Child and Family for before and after-school childcare and encouraging infant participation in nursery education.

Policy documents

Important policy documents include the Flemish coalition agreement, the Declaration of the Flemish Government, the Policy-specific contribution from the Flemish Administration to Education and Training to the government programme of the incoming Flemish Government , the 2009-2014 Education and Training white papers at the start of the term; the annual policy paper from the minister and the draft proposals, green papers and follow-up papers on planned innovations. These documents are available on ( ).

With regard to conditions of service for staff, the collective labour agreements are decisive. Moreover, for policy developments the advice, annual planning and annual report of the VLOR are also important ( ), as is the 'Onderwijsspiegel', the annual report of the inspectorate ).

All the preliminary drafts of decree need to get an advice from the VLOR, the Flemish Education Council. They are usually also presented to the Council of State (for legal advice) and to the Flanders' Social and Economic Council SERV (social-economic advice focused on the link between education and the labour market and lifelong and lifewide learning).

Policy communication

The Ministry of Education and Training pursues an active communication policy through:

Every June, the Ministry of Education and Training Administration organises a 'Tour of Flanders' for school boards, during which the new measures for the coming school year are clarified in every province.

In 2008, the authorities launched an entirely new IT-system CREON for the collection of policy relevant information and for the exchange of data with schools.

Vocational training and entrepreneurial training

The policy area Work and Social Economy (WSE) ( ) comprises:

  • the minister for work and the minister for the social economy;
  • the department of Work and Social Economy;
  • the Flemish Subsidy Agency for Work and Social Economy (IVA);
  • the VDAB (Flemish Public Employment and Vocational Training Service) which organises vocational training for jobseekers and the employed (see 8.4)
  • the Flemish Agency for Entrepreneurial Training - SYNTRA Flanders, which is responsible for training self-employed and SMEs (formerly known as 'training for the self-employed') through its SYNTRA training programme network (see 8.5).
  • theESF Agency Flandersvzw (non-profit association) (a private-law EVA) which manages the European Social Fund Flanders. The European Commission does not only steer the Member States' employment policies through annual directives and recommendations but also offers them the resources through the European Social Fund (ESF) to actively implement the European Employment Strategy. In terms of the Flemish employment policy, especially ESF programme objective 3 is of importance which, for instance, supports other types of training and guidance activities for the unemployed and employees alike. It also supports the social integration and placement of the unemployed and the disadvantaged groups in the labour process.
  • the SERV, Flemish Social and Economic Council as a strategic advisory council( ).


Employment in Belgium is a shared portfolio. In broad terms, it can be said that the Federal Government is in charge of unemployment benefits and the Flemish Government of job placements and vocational training. Both the Federal Government and the Regional Government are in charge of a number of employment programmes. Increased entrepreneurship and more employment feature highly in the Flemish coalition agreement.

Both the Flemish Public Employment and Vocational Training Service and the Flemish Agency for Entrepreneurial Training - SYNTRA Flanders, fall within the remit of the Flemish Minister for Work.

For the 2009-2014 government term, the responsibility for employment resides with the minister for Finance, Budget, Work, Regional Planning and Sport. This is why a protocol has been concluded between the Minister for Work and the Minister for Education to further implement the commitments entered into with regard to the Competence Agenda. This cooperation is also needed for implementing the decree on the Flemish qualification structure and in the framework of career guidance.

Since 2009, a joint management committee on Education, Training and Work has been operational. It discusses policy proposal at the interface between the two policy areas and ensures the necessary harmonisation. It also formulates integrated policy proposals on quality assurance and EVC (recognition of prior learning).

WSE Centre, Work and Social Economy

The Work and Social Economy (WSE) Centre, has been recognised by the Flemish Government as a policy preparation and support centre (under the Flemish Programme Strategic Labour-market Survey and Programme Centres for policy-relevant research), with backing from the Steering Committee Strategic Market Research, the Flemish Inter-university Research Network for Labour-market reporting VIONA and the European Social Fund (ESF). At the request of the Federal Government (Programme AGORA - Federal Science Policy), the WSE Centre has helped develop and run the socio-economic employment and labour market databases.

Training in agriculture

Vocational education aimed at agriculture, which used to fall within the remit of the federal minister for Agriculture, has been transferred to the Communities in accordance with the special Act of 8 August 1980. Agriculture and Fisheries did not become full Flemish responsibilities until after the 5th state reform in 2002.

Policy area: Agriculture and Fisheries

Competent minister: In the current government, the policy areas agriculture and fisheries fall within the remit of the Flemish Minister for Economy, Foreign Policy and Agricultural and Rural Policy.

Competent administration: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries > Division of Sustainable Agricultural Development. It is responsible for the recognition of the organisers (the recognised centres), the registration of teachers, the subsidising of training activities, on-site inspections, the initialling of certificates and payment of social-advancement allowances to the participants (see 7.3.4.)

Socio-cultural adult work

Policy area: Culture, Youth, Sport and Media

Competent minister: in the current Flemish Government, the socio-cultural adult work falls within the remit of the Flemish Minister for the Environment, Nature and Culture.

Competent administration: the Flemish Ministry of Culture, Youth, Sport and Media.

  • The department of Culture, Youth, Sport and Media is responsible for policy preparation, follow-up and evaluation.
  • The agency for Socio-Cultural Work for youths and adults (an IVA) > division Local Cultural Policy and Socio-Cultural Adult Work takes care of policy implementation.

Strategic advisory Council for Culture, Youth, Sport and Media;


Policy area: The Flemish Agency Child & Family (see 3.) falls within the policy area Welfare, Public Health and Family.

Work is also done with the policy area for the medical checkups in the CPGs.

Competent minister: the Flemish Minister for Welfare, Public Health and Family.

Competent administration: the Flemish Ministry of Welfare, Public Health and Family.