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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Adult education and training

Belgium - Flemish Community

8.Adult education and training

Last update: 27 November 2023

Adult education and training in Flanders

Adult education and training is unrelated to the initial school career. It allows course participants to obtain a recognized qualification or certificate. Adults of 18 years and older and youngsters who have completed fulltime compulsory education may enrol in adult education.

In Flanders a distinction is made between adult education and adult training.

  • Adult education comprises all programmes of adult basic education, secondary adult education and (adult) higher vocational education. In Flanders the Adult Education Centres and the Adult Basic Education Centres provide adult education programmes.
  • Adult training is a broader concept than adult education and provides, next to the programmes of formal learning, all forms of non-formal and informal learning by adults. It comprises the programmes offered by the sector of adult education as well as those organized by the Flemish Employment Services and Vocational Training Agency, the Flemish Agency for Entrepreneurial Training, the employment sectors, socio-cultural organisations, private institutions, etc. ‘Continuing education’ and ‘lifelong learning’ are other descriptions often used for adult training.

Flexibility in adult education

The provision of adult education is characterised by modularisation and the possibility of blended learning. In addition, the programmes are organised at different points in time which further increases the flexibility of the offer.


Adult education is offered in modules. The subject material is subdivided in a number of certifiable modules. Several modules together compose a programme.

An Adult Basic Education Centre (ABEC) or Adult Education Centre (AEC) is free to spread a module over a part of a school year, over an entire school year, or over several school years. This implies that modules may start at various points in time. This structure allows a course participant to determine himself to a certain degree his study package and the duration of his studies.

Blended learning

The modules in adult education can be organised as face-to-face instruction or as blended learning. Face-to-face instruction implies that all classes are given in a centre. Blended learning consists of a combination of face-to-face instruction and distance learning. Part of the module is taught in class while another part of the module is processed independently, at home or in an open learning centre.

The Flemish government provides each year means within the available budget to support a number of centres that want to start a programme with a substantial share of distance learning.

Moment of teaching

In adult education programmes are organised in daytime classes, in evening classes or as a combination of both. In addition, the programmes or modules can also be followed on Saturday.