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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Mobility in early childhood and school education

Belgium - Flemish Community

13.Mobility and internationalisation

13.1Mobility in early childhood and school education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Pupil and student mobility


Buurklassen finances class exchanges between a Flemish school and a school from a neighbouring country of Belgium. Schools in primary and secondary education of all levels and forms (including special education) can participate. Through Neighbourhood Classes, a Flemish school can cooperate for one school year with a school from one of Belgium's neighbouring countries (the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, France and the United Kingdom). Schools can apply for a subsidy for this cooperation from Epos vzw. Class exchanges are the highlight of the project, but they are not the only project activities. Cultural visits or tourist excursions alone do not qualify for funding; the class exchanges have to be part of an educational project developed together with the partner school. More information can be found here: (Dutch).

Inter-community exchange for future teachers

Knowing different languages is not only an important asset on the labour market, but it also builds bridges between different cultures and makes it possible to understand each other better and to work and live together better. Knowing (a little of) each other's language enables contact and leads to cultural openness. Moreover, it stimulates mobility within Europe, but also between the (language) communities in Belgium.

On 27 May 2009, the ministers responsible for higher education in the three communities signed an agreement in which they expressed their will to structure and strengthen existing cooperation in the area of education and teacher training.

To achieve this objective, they launched the inter-community exchange programme for future teachers. Through this programme, students in the second and third years of their bachelor studies can follow educational activities for a minimum of five credits in a partner college of another community.

More information can be found here: (Dutch).

Exchanges between Dutch, French and German-speaking elementary and secondary schools in Belgium

  • These exchanges are designed for pupils attending mainstream and special elementary and secondary education.
  • They must be held between classes from at least 2 out of the 3 Belgian Communities.
  • Classes jointly work on one common theme. Pupils visit each other for at least one full day in each other’s Community. During this encounter pupils work on a common end product. As far as possible, project work is done on the basis of the final objectives.
  • The aim of these exchanges is to broaden pupils' linguistic skills and culture by allowing them to discover how their peers live, with due respect for each other's individuality.
  • The exchanges are funded by the Prince Philippe Fund (administered by the King Baudoin Foundation), in conjunction with the Departments for Education of the three Communities.

Twinning - Exchanges between Flemish and Moroccan schools

Twinning projects involve an exchange between Flemish and Moroccan schools, on the basis of cross-curricular activities, in which the development of identity and tolerance are central elements. They are subsidised by the Department of Education and Training.

Euro classes (European class exchanges)

  • This programme is open to pupils from the 4th grade of secondary education onwards.
  • Class exchanges can take place with schools in countries who participate in the European Union's 'Lifelong Learning' programme.
  • Class exchanges (in principle at least one entire class) must ensue from a common educational project between schools which is embedded in the pupils’ normal curriculum.
  • When visiting a partner school, pupils must remain at their destination for a minimum of 6 days and 6 nights, excluding travel time (4 schools for special secondary education).
  • The number of projects qualifying for funding depends on the overall budget available and is limited to one project per school and per school year.

See Circular letter SO/2004/05

EU exchange programmes

EPOS (European Programmes for Education, Training and Cooperation) is the National Agency for Flanders responsible for implementing the European Lifelong Learning Programme. It arranges in-service training grants, school partnerships, language assistants, visits and contact seminars.

An overview of current partnerships in Comenius, Leonardo Da Vinci and Grundtvig can be found in the brochure Partnerschappen voor een leven lang leren and on the EPOS website.

Recognition of foreign experience and certificates

NARIC-Flanders is responsible for recognition of the equivalence of foreign certificates and diplomas, the professional recognition of foreign diplomas and access to regulated professions, the determination of the level of foreign diplomas, the recognition of Flemish diplomas abroad and explanatory attestations for diplomas gained in French-speaking Belgium. NARIC-Flanders (the National Academic (& Professional) Recognition and Information Centre) is the Flemish unit within the ENIC-NARIC network. ENIC (European Network of Information Centres) groups together the national NARIC centres. NARIC is also the European National Information Centre of Flanders for the Council of Europe and Unesco.

The procedures that apply to the different educational levels are contained in various decrees. The handling of the procedures is largely parallel at the different educational levels.

Teacher mobility

Neighbouring-Countries programme for elementary education

This particular programme was set up to offer Flemish (mainstream and special) elementary schools the opportunity to cooperate on joint educational projects with one or several elementary schools located in one of Belgium's neighbouring countries, i.e. the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, France and the United Kingdom. Neighbouring countries comprises two components. The school boards and/or one or several members of the teaching staff, policy and support staff or paramedical staff go to a Dutch, Luxembourg, British, French or German elementary school for a minimum of one full day. During their visit they become acquainted with the education system, exchange information about a certain pedagogical or organisational issue, etcetera. During these visits they can also shadow one or several colleagues going about their daily activities. They can also receive subsidies for in-service training courses hosted in neighbouring countries.

This programme also has a section for pupils. [See 13.1.1 Pupil mobility].

Belgian Inter-Community exchanges for elementary and secondary-education schools within the framework of the Prince Philippe Fund

  • This programme is open to all elementary and secondary-education schools.
  • Under this programme, members of the board and/or teachers spend some time at a partner school where they get hands-on experience of daily life in a school of another Community. This form of collaboration must be based on reciprocity.
  • Projects of this type a.o. focus on the following aspects: observing new practices which may be a source of inspiration and can be implemented in the visitor's own school, teaching in a school of another Community.
  • This particular project may extend to pupils, teachers and school boards.

Exchange of teachers for language lessons in compulsory education in the Brussels-Capital Region

On 27 May 2009, the ministers of education of the three Belgian Communities signed an agreement facilitating cooperation between the Communities with regard to language teaching. One of the elements of the agreement relates to the exchange of teachers for language lessons in compulsory education. This project makes one-to-one exchanges possible of teachers from Dutch-language and French-language schools in Brussels at primary level (3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th grades) and at secondary level (1st and 2nd grades). It offers them the possibility of temporarily taking on one another’s teaching duties. The guest teachers speak their own language with the pupils, but the language of the school in their contacts with colleagues. The lessons that are given by the guest teachers must completely fit with the school’s existing curriculum. Projects that are approved in September must cover at least 50 teaching periods, spread over the school year; projects that are approved in January consist of two teaching periods per week until the end of the school year. [See Circular NO/2011/02].

Formaprim, French for elementary-school teachers, boards and pedagogical counsellors

This in-service training programme is organised by the Department of Education and Training in conjunction with the cultural service of the French embassy, the educational inspectorate, the educational umbrella organisations, the Belgian Association of French Teachers, the Alliance Française Brussels-Europe and the Alliance Française for East Flanders. The programme of the 3rd Formaprim agreement mainly relates to the new final objectives for French.

  • A training plan for in-service training providers. In-service training providers of former FORMAPRIM programmes, new colleagues recommended by the educational networks and university college lecturers will be involved for three years and will organise four in-service training sessions per year for Flemish instructors and offer guidance on the new final objectives and curricula. The in-service training providers will themselves receive four training sessions per year on the new final objectives for French; the Common European Reference Framework for Languages: learning, teaching and assessment; the development of a vision of foreign language learning; communication- and task-based language teaching; innovative teaching methods; the construction of a communication-based lesson series; and the common active vocabulary for French in elementary education and forms of evaluation. A two-week work experience placement in France was organised in 2010-2011 and a one-week work experience placement in Wallonia in 2011-2012.
  • An in-service training plan for teachers in every Flemish province and in the Brussels-Capital Region. Every year, three in-service training sessions and a follow-up session are organised. In 2010-2011, these focus on optimising the use of the manual to help pupils achieve the new final objectives; in 2011-2012 on learning to develop innovative and motivating teaching situations; and in 2012-2013 on another method of evaluating.
  • Work experience placements in France for teachers via European scholarships.

Formacom, for staff teaching French in secondary education and in Adult Education

  • First, teachers attend a training seminar in France. Subsequently, follow-up days are organised in Flanders and the in-service trainers organise workshops for their French-teaching colleagues.
  • The programme is organised by the Department for Education and Training in cooperation with the French Embassy, the Flemish universities and the Flemish educational umbrella organisations, within the framework of the Flanders-France cultural agreement.
  • Formacom is funded by the Department for Education and Training, the French Government and Comenius in-service training grants. The participants’ schools (school communities) pay a nominal fee to fund the follow-up days in Flanders.

In-service training courses German

Thanks to a collaboration with the German authorities, German teachers can in principle avail of annual exchange and in-service training activities: an in-service training course for Flemish teachers teaching German, hosted in Germany, and an in-service training course for German teachers teaching French, hosted in Flanders.

In-service training courses in English

For English teachers, there is an annual in-service training course in the UK funded by the Department of Education and Training. The trainees stay with a British family.

Workshops on the Council of Europe themes

Via the Council of Europe’s Pestalozzi programme, teachers can attend workshops abroad on topics on which the Council of Europe is working.