The Flemish government primarily develops a regulatory framework and provides global support to institutions in developing and rolling out inclusive policies. Within this framework, higher education institutions in Flanders are given considerable substantive and organisational autonomy to develop policies tailored to their specific context. There is a lot of consultation between the government and higher education institutions. The resources that were provided in the Incentive Fund are now part of the operating resources of higher education institutions. Institutions are encouraged to use their operating funds to develop inclusive policies for their students. In developing and rolling out this policy, the Flemish government provides support by the Steunpunt Inclusief Hoger Onderwijs (SIHO).
SIHO develops tools, provides training and advice, organises learning networks and develops and maintains the internet platform Moodspace. SIHO also provides policy advice to the Flemish government. The Flemish government also provides additional funding by giving extra weight (factor 1.5 instead of 1) to the following target groups when determining the amount of operating funds for universities and university colleges (see 12.5).
The Flemish Government co-finances student facilities at colleges of higher education and universities. Their aim is to safeguard the democratic character of higher education by taking measures of student support and social correction regarding the preconditions of studying. So they are not active in the field of education policy, but rather in the field of student restaurants, student housing, medical services, psychotherapeutic services, psychosocial counselling, job services, childcare, promoting student mobility.
Towards students, the Flemish government has developed and implemented study orientation tests a calibration tests. Study orientation tests are designed to facilitate study choices. Calibration tests are tests to check - once a study choice has been made - to what extent you have already acquired the entry-level competences needed for a particular programme.
The institutions provide their own study and route counsellors, career advisors and an ombuds service. There is a study and student guidance service at every higher education institution for all aspects of guidance. Moreover, the institutions often organise monitor stations where one can go for programme-specific guidance.
In terms of career guidance, higher education institutions organise various activities or offer useful tools:
- graduation fairs/job info days;
- links on institution websites to interesting job sites;
- application training courses;
- contacts with the business world via guest speakers and company visits;
- information sessions on specific topics relating to the labour market, such as applying for a job, working in spades, etc.