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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Continuing professional development for academic staff working in higher education

Belgium - Flemish Community

9.Teachers and education staff

9.6Continuing professional development for academic staff working in higher education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Organisational aspects

Continuous professional development of higher education teaching staff is left to the institutions. In accordance with the arrangements in collective agreements I and II for higher education, a training fund has been set up to provide institutions with additional resources for training initiatives for staff members. From the 2015 budget year onwards, there will no longer be a separate training fund but each year funds will be added to the operating envelope of the university colleges and universities for the education and training of staff. Every year, the universities and university colleges negotiate the planned training initiatives with the staff representatives within the local representative body and report on the results of the training initiatives of the previous financial year (art. III.34, para. 6, Codex Higher Education).

Incentives for participation in continuing professional development (CPD) activities

Horizontal occupational mobility in universities and university colleges is rather limited mainly due to the individual link between the staff member and the institution. A staff member is always appointed to one particular institution. A university college may also fill a vacant position by taking over an appointed member of another university college. At the time of takeover, the staff member will at least retain the salary scale and seniority he or she enjoyed at the university college to which he or she was appointed. A university college may also fill a vacant position in the teaching staff by taking over a staff member from a Flemish educational level other than higher education who previously worked at the university college via an assignment leave. Upon take-over, the staff member taken over will be graded in the relevant position at the university college and the associated salary scale. The staff member taken over will receive at least the annual salary equal to or immediately higher than the annual salary at 100% that he or she received in non-higher education (art. V.138 Codex Higher Education).

University colleges and universities may conclude an agreement with one or more higher education institutions or third parties under which a staff member will be responsible, with his consent or at his request, for performing tasks for the other higher education institutions or third parties. The staff member concerned will remain a member of his university college both legally and administratively, for the duration of the assignment (art. V.223 Codex Higher Education).

A member of the independent academic staff can take a sabbatical leave for a maximum of two years during his career for re-sourcing. He may also interrupt all or part of the term of office of visiting professorship or occupy a chair at a foreign university or for the performance of scientific assignments outside a Flemish university. A member of the Assisting Academic Staff may, with the approval of the university board, interrupt the performance of his or her duties in order to perform remunerated scientific tasks. The total duration of the interruption is a maximum of two years if the scientific assignments are fully integrated in the research design of the PhD research. If this is not the case, the maximum term is one year.