Institutions, level and models of training
The reformed teacher training courses started in the academic year 2019-2020. The reform of teacher training programmes was part of the Flemish Government's coalition agreement for 2014-2019 and the Education Policy Memorandum for 2014-2019. The aim of these reforms was to increase the quality of teacher education, including a strengthening of knowledge of the subject content to be taught, the necessary didactic skills, and classroom management.
The reforms were laid down in the decree of 4 May 2018 on the development of graduate training within colleges of higher education and the strengthening of teacher training within colleges of higher education and universities. This decree forms the basis of the current content, structure and organisation of teacher training programmes.
In order to simplify the transition to the reformed courses, some transitional measures have been laid down (see articles II.400 and II.401 of the Codex Hoger Onderwijs). For example, a transitional measure was foreseen when the specific teacher training courses organised in adult education centres were transferred to a college or university in September 2019. Students who have acquired at least fifteen credits at the start of the academic year 2019-2020 in a specific teacher training programme are entitled to complete their training up to and including the academic year 2020-2021. For this reason, the specific teacher training programmes are currently still being phased out.
Teacher education programmes: structure
Since the academic year 2019-2020, teacher training programmes have been set up exclusively by higher education institutions. Since September 2019, there are six types/types of teacher training programmes in Flanders with, in addition, the specific teacher training programme being temporarily phased out. Each teacher training programme has its own finality and is aimed at a specific group of prospective teachers:
- Educational graduate programme (non-university higher education first degree qualification) for secondary education (for VET subjects only)
- Educational bachelor's programme for pre-school education
- Educational bachelor's programme for primary education
- Educational bachelor's programme for (lower) secondary education
- Educational master's programme for (higher) secondary education
- Educational master's programme for art subjects
The educational graduate courses for secondary education are offered by university colleges in the field of Education. These are classified at level 5 of the Flemish qualification structure. This programme is aimed at prospective teachers who have already gained professional experience within an educational subject for several years and wish to pass on this knowledge as a teacher in technical or practical subjects.
The educational bachelor's programmes are offered by university colleges in the field of Education. These programmes are classified at level 6 of the Flemish qualification structure. Anyone wishing to become a teacher in nursery education chooses the educational bachelor's programme for nursery or primary education. Those who want to become a teacher in primary education choose the educational bachelor's programme for nursery or primary education. The educational bachelor's programme for secondary education is aimed at those who want to teach one or more subjects in the first or second grade of secondary education, in the third grade bso of secondary education or in adult education.
The educational master's programmes for secondary education and for arts subjects are offered by universities or university colleges within the framework of a School of Arts. These programmes are classified at level 7 of the Flemish qualification structure. The Decree of the Flemish Government establishing the list of educational master's programmes of 13 July 2018 laid down which educational master's programmes may be offered by the universities. The educational master's programmes are aimed at prospective teachers who wish to teach one or more subjects in the second and/or third grade of secondary education, part-time art education, or adult education.
Teacher training programmes
The decree of 4 May 2018 laid down that a teacher training programme must form an integrated whole of one or more subjects and the aspect of teaching, including a section on subject didactics and classroom management. Teacher education consists of a combination of theoretical and practical education that also responds to current social themes and developments.
- The educational degree programme for secondary education has a study load of 90 credits of which the practical component amounts to at least 30 credits.
- The educational bachelor's programmes have a study load of 180 credits. At least 45 of these credits go to the practical component.
- The educational master's programmes for secondary education, or an educational master's programme for art subjects, amount to 90 or 120 ECTS credits and follow directly from the academic bachelor's programme. The teaching component in an educational master's programme has a study load of at least 45 ECTS credits. However, students can only obtain the diploma of an educational master's programme if they successfully complete a total teaching component of 60 ECTS credits. Students can therefore acquire the 15 remaining ECTS credits by including part of the teaching component as a package of electives in an academic bachelor's programme, by following a preparatory programme in advance or together with the educational master's programme, or by including 15 ECTS credits of the teaching component as a package of electives in the educational master's programme. The practical component amounts to at least 30 ECTS credits. The remaining ECTS credits go to subjects of the domain master's programme. In the educational master's programmes for art subjects, the artistic component amounts to at least half of the ECTS credits.
The practical component of the study programme, in which the student mainly carries out tasks in a real school and classroom context, includes practice-oriented educational activities, pre-service training and/or in-service training.
In pre-service training, the student fulfils the practical component of the teacher training programme without a statutory relationship with a centre, institution or school.
In in-service training, the student fulfils the practical component as a staff member of a centre, institution or school. In-service training takes the form of a teacher-in-training (LIO) job. The LIO job must be at least five hundred hours of teaching, teaching hours, teacher hours or teaching time on an annual basis. The LIO job in a primary education centre must be at least 0.6 FTE on an annual basis.
The entrance test for teacher training programmes for educational bachelor's programmes
Since the 2017-2018 academic year, participation in the compulsory, non-binding entrance test for educational bachelor's programmes (pre-primary, primary or secondary education) ("the entrance test for teacher training programmes") is a prerequisite for enrolment. It is a generic, institution-neutral test that prospective students can take online (see also answer to the question: 'main trends and dynamics shaping the teaching staff population'...). The purpose of this entry-level test is to hold up a mirror to prospective students and to give them a good picture of their own competences in relation to the required starting competencies of the programme and in relation to other students. The feedback on the test, on the one hand, strengthens participants with a good result in their study choice and, on the other hand, refers participants with a lower score to remedial measures or challenges the participant to question their choice. Given the non-binding nature of the test, the student cannot be refused on the basis of the results.
Admission conditions for the educational degree programme
The admission requirements for educational graduate programmes are the same as those for other graduate programmes at university colleges (Art. II.176-177, Codex hoger onderwijs).
In addition to the general admission requirements, students in the educational bachelor's programme must be able to prove professional experience in the chosen subject.
There are two possibilities:
- demonstrate a minimum of five years' professional experience in an educational subject
- demonstrate at least three years of professional experience in an educational subject and hold one of the above-mentioned study certificates or a VDAB professional certificate in the domain of the educational subject.
For the teaching subjects of contemporary and classical dance, one has to:
- Pass an artistic entrance exam
- Demonstrate at least five years' professional experience as a dancer or at least three years' professional experience as a dancer and hold a diploma from the art-secondary education programme in Dance or Ballet, or a diploma equivalent.
University colleges that offer a secondary education degree check whether the candidate has sufficient professional competence. These university colleges determine a common procedure within the VLHORA for this purpose.
Admission requirements for educational bachelor's programmes
Educational bachelor's programmes are subject to the same admission requirements as other bachelor's programmes at the university colleges (Art. II.178-179, Codex hoger onderwijs). In addition to the general admission requirements, a number of specific admission requirements apply to the shortened tracks within the educational bachelor's programmes.
In order to have access to the abridged educational bachelor's programme for secondary education with one subject, students must have one of the following diplomas or diploma combinations:
- a diploma of an educational bachelor's or educational master's degree;
- a diploma of a specific teacher training programme combined with a Bachelor's or Master's degree;
- a diploma of academic initial teacher training, an initial teacher training of academic level or a certificate of pedagogical competence combined with a Bachelor's or Master's degree;
- a certificate of study recognised as equivalent to one of the previous diplomas by a legal standard, a European directive or an international agreement.
An abbreviated educational bachelor's programme for secondary education, without mentioning educational subjects, is accessible to students who already hold a bachelor's degree.
Admission conditions for the educational master's programme for secondary education and the educational master's programme for art subjects
Educational Master's programmes are subject to the same admission requirements as other Master's programmes (Art. II.180-183, codex higher education).
A student who already holds a Master's degree may be exempted from the subject content component of an educational Master's programme in secondary education or art subjects on the basis of that degree. The universities offering the educational master's programme then offer the teaching component, including a cluster of subject didactics, as a shortened trajectory of that programme. The shortened route is offered in terms of organisation and methodology tailored to the student.
Curriculum, level of specialisation and learning outcomes
The training programmes of all teacher training colleges lead to the defined basic competences. See 9.1.5]. The basic competences consist of 10 functional units
- The teacher as a facilitator of learning and development processes
- The teacher as educator
- The teacher as content expert
- The teacher organiser
- The teacher as innovator - the teacher as researcher
- The teacher as a partner of parents or carers
- The teacher as a member of the teaching team
- The teacher as a partner of externals/stakeholders
- The teacher as a member of the educational community
- The teacher as a participant in culture and society.
These 10 functional wholes are further translated into competences. Elements such as diversity, pupils with specific educational needs and school administration are taken into account.
The teacher training programmes are free to develop the curricula, as long as they enable each student to reach the basic competences.
In educational graduate programmes, students choose an educational subject within the possibilities offered by the university colleges on the basis of their professional experience. The educational subjects that can be offered within an educational graduate programme are laid down in the Decree of the Flemish Government on access to and organisation of the educational graduate programme for secondary education of 17 May 2019.
According to the decree of 4 May 2018, students in the educational graduate programme must choose at least one educational subject. Within VLHORA, however, it was agreed that a maximum of one educational subject can be included.
Upon enrolment, the university colleges check whether the candidate has sufficient subject matter competence within the chosen subject. The criteria for this were also laid down in the decree of 17 May 2019.
The educational bachelor's programmes for nursery and primary education train students to become 'class teachers'. They teach all subjects in nursery and primary education respectively.
In the educational bachelor's programmes for secondary education, students choose two subjects from the range offered by the university college. The Flemish Government has laid down a list of educational subjects that university colleges may offer within the educational bachelor's programme for secondary education by means of the Flemish Government Decree of 22 June 2018 laying down the list of educational subjects for the educational bachelor's programme for secondary education. The educational subjects followed by students during the study programme shall determine their teaching authorisation later on in the professional field.
In the educational Master's programme, students choose at least one subject didactics from the range offered by the university college or the university, which ensure that the student has the necessary prior knowledge of the subject. The Flemish Government has laid down a list of subject didactics that university colleges, within the framework of a School of Arts, and universities may offer within the educational master's programmes for secondary education and arts subjects. This was done via the Decree of the Flemish Government establishing the list of educational master's programmes of 13 July 2018. The subject didactics that students follow during the programme of study determine their educational competence later on in the field of study.
The professional development of teachers in teacher training programmes is the responsibility of the institutions.
Qualifications, evaluation and certificates
Since the academic year 2019-2020, teacher training programmes are set up exclusively by higher education institutions. The educational degree programmes for secondary education are offered by the colleges of higher professional education within the field of study Education. These are classified at level 5 of the Flemish qualification structure. The educational bachelor's programmes are offered by the university college within higher professional education in the field of study Education. These programmes are ranked at level 6 of the Flemish qualification structure.
The educational master's programmes for secondary education and for art subjects are offered by the university colleges within the framework of a School of Arts within academic education. These programmes are ranked at level 7 of the Flemish qualification structure.
Alternative training pathways
Since the reform, teacher training courses have been stepped up on pathways for side entrants. Side enrolments are the group of students who start teacher education after a basic education and/or professional experience. Institutional boards have the possibility to offer a programme or a programme component wholly or partly in the form of distance learning (article II.70, Codex higher education). Most teacher training programmes make use of this option. They offer flexible pathways that can be followed via evening, weekend or distance learning.
In addition, the decree of 4 May 2018 laid down a number of provisions enabling the provision of shortened teacher training courses for secondary education:
- Students who have already obtained a bachelor's degree and wish to teach within the scope of this degree can follow the shortened educational bachelor's programme for secondary education. This abridged programme focuses on teaching and forms a coherent whole of 60 credits. Of these, at least 30 credits go to the practical component.
- Those who have already followed an educational bachelor's programme for secondary education and wish to acquire an additional teaching qualification for a specific subject can also do so via a shortened route. The study load of this route differs from one university of applied sciences to another.
- Students who have already obtained a Master's degree and wish to teach within the field of this degree can follow the shortened or consecutive educational Master's programme. These programmes focus on teaching and have a study load of 60 credits. Of these, at least 30 credits go to the practical component.
The educational graduate programmes and the educational bachelor's programmes for nursery and primary education also offer shortened tracks. However, the provisions for this are not laid down by decree. These abridged tracks are only accessible to those with a relevant prior education.
In the same decree, it was included that teacher training programmes make greater use of the possibility of following a teacher training course in combination with an LIO (teacher-in-training) job. A teacher-in-training is appointed as a teacher in primary education, secondary education, part-time art education, adult education or primary education. He receives a salary for this and at the same time follows a teacher training course. The school, in consultation with the teacher training, then takes on part of the practical training.