In 1993, Flanders was given the powers to conclude its own international treaties on all the various areas under Flanders’ remit. These treaties allowed for the development of working programmes which extend beyond the fields of education and culture, open the doors to various forms of financing and facilitate thematic cooperation.
Flanders has participated very actively in the European programmes (such as Comenius, Erasmus and Leonardo Da Vinci) right from the start. In multilateral cooperation (Unesco, the Council of Europe and the OECD), Flanders opts mainly for projects that tie in with Flemish education policy or where Flanders is able to make a structural contribution.
In the White Paper on Education 2009-2014 and the policy letter 2010-2011 of the Minister of Education and Training, the following are among the operational goals.
- To further encourage studying abroad, extra financial support is planned under the Youth on the Move scheme for students with financial obstacles and with a functional disability. Likewise, under the ASEM-DUO programme, scholarships are provided for student exchanges with Asian countries. In addition, Flemish students will also be able to go on internships at international institutions and businesses in the USA. To make internationalisation easier, the language regulations will also be relaxed (among other things so that in Bachelor’s programmes up to 30 credits can be offered in another language).
- Foreign language learning is being intensified among other things by encouraging exchange projects with a special emphasis on the teacher training programmes [see 13.1], by means of a CLIL experiment in secondary education and through participation in the European Survey on Language Competences [see 22.214.171.124].
- The international dimension of education policy is being actively pursued in the European Union (with particular emphasis on the acquisition of basic skills, education for sustainable development, mobility promotion and European cooperation on vocational education and training), in the OECD [see 13.7.2], and through pupil exchanges with schools from the French and German-speaking Communities and from other European countries, twinnings between Moroccan and Flemish schools [see 13.1.1], and development cooperation with South Africa [see 13.7.1].
The Nadia database of the Policy section of the Flemish Department of Foreign Affairs archives the Intergovernmental and International Acts of the Flemish government. The intergovernmental acts are the domestic cooperation agreements that are entered into by the Flemish government with the federal government and/or the governments of the other Communities and/or Regions.
The following websites are particularly relevant to education:
- The Flemish Department of Foreign Affairs: among other things, this has details of the policy framework, white papers, the Flemish government accord (foreign policy and international cooperation section), Flanders’ contribution to the European Union, the OECD, the Council of Europe, and Unesco.
- The Department of Education has also devoted web pages to internationalisation in education.
- At Flanders in Action details can be found of the EU 2020 strategy and the Flemish Reform Programme Europe 2020
- EPOS vzw implements the European LLP (Lifelong Learning Programme); the Department of Education and Training is responsible for the conduct of policy in this area.