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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
National reforms in vocational education and training and adult learning

Belgium - Flemish Community

14.Ongoing reforms and policy developments

14.3National reforms in vocational education and training and adult learning

Last update: 27 November 2023


Modernising VET infrastructure: Recovery plan ‘From Vulnerable to Resilient’

Modernising VET infrastructure: Recovery plan ‘From Vulnerable to Resilient’

Within the Framework of the Flemish Resilience Plan, the recovery plan “from vulnerable to resilient” has been elaborated. The plan pays particular attention to infrastructure for technical and vocational education. It includes a study on good practices. The results of the study will be collected in a small teacher professional development program aiming at the integration of effective pedagogical-didactic principles in their teaching. The intention is to develop a website with a digital toolkit, including inspiring examples, lesson recordings, concrete materials and tools, such as observation tools and viewing guides, by April 2024. The plan also relates to additional ICT infrastructure and XR materials (eXtended Reality), and in this way it also wants to facilitate digitalisation.

Finally, the Regional Technological Centres (RTCs) ensure a better alignment of education and training with innovative challenges and the needs of the labour market. To this end, the RTCs gather partners from education and the world of work, for example regarding the sharing of infrastructure and the lending service for XR-hardware.

Modernising VET

Recently in Flanders, secondary education is being modernised, including VET.

Concretely, the orientation function of the first grade of secondary education is strengthened, the educational goals have become more amibitious and the new classification of study programmes ensures a more rational and transparant offering in the second and third stages.

The new attainment targets for the first grade are in force since 1/9/2019 and those for the second grade since 1/9/2021. The moment of implementation of the new attainment targets for the third grade has yet to be determined by the Flemish Government. The modernisation of secondary education will be finalised on 1/9/2025. The vocational part will be completed with professional qualifications and follows the same timing

The study programs in secondary education are periodically screened (on the basis of a decree) for their relevance and timeliness with a view to possible adjustments to the offerings. This involves examining whether the objectives of the modernization of secondary education are being met. Currently, we are working on the first stage, after which we will examine the second and third degree following the rollout of the modernization. For the labor market-oriented study programs (and the dual purpose) in the third degree, we will examine, among other things, to what extent they align with or meet the (predicted) needs of the labor market. (cf. decree on the modernization of secondary education).

All programmes will be screened every five school years at the latest. If necessary, adjustments will be made. The educational goals will also periodically be screened for their topical value and to keep them in line with the challenges and expectations of society.

The combination of both modernizing the offer in VET and a good screening, has to improve the quality of the programmes and increase their attractiveness.


Further implementation overview 2021


Edusprong (‘Education leap’): increased support for adult education

Adult education is an important element in the Flemish recovery plan. With the strategic plan “Edusprong for adults: adult education reinforced”, Flanders will boost adult education in order to make it even more central to social mobility in Flanders. Flanders has earmarked 60 million euro for retraining, extra training and qualifications that will help overcome the backlog of adult education caused by the health crisis as well address structural challenges. The key elements of the plan are (1) strengthening digital competences, (2) tackling unqualified youth and (3) strengthening labour market opportunities.

Edusprong wants to make adult education in Flanders a strong and well-known brand that connects with the labour market and other training providers. This plan has been developed and will be implemented as part of a long-term vision on lifelong learning and in collaboration with the public employment service of Flanders (VDAB), Syntra and other stakeholders.


Broadening the range of open modules 'Dutch as a second language' (NT2)

Adult education courses are offered according to a modular organisation: the subject matter is offered in modules. A module is the smallest part of a programme to be certified, corresponding to a certain content, size and level. Under certain conditions, the Centres for Basic Education and Centres for Adult Education can set up open modules, allowing them to offer a certain, relevant selection of basic competences tailored to learner(s). This possibility already exists in the areas of mathematics, Dutch and literacy in Dutch second language of primary education and in the literacy modules of secondary adult education.

Because of the need for a more tailored NT2 offer, from 1 September 2020, CVOs will be able to offer open modules with a selection of basic competences from the entire study area NT2 Guideline 1 and Guideline 2 or NT2 Guideline 3 and Guideline 4. At the level of directive 1 and 2, CVOs can also organise a tailor-made offer for the written NT2 competences.

This can improve the flow of students from primary adult education to secondary adult education. In addition, centres can offer these open modules for refresher courses for students who have been out of class for some time and who have lost this writing ability due to few writing opportunities. At the level of guideline 3 and 4, open modules are important for students who are already highly educated in a language other than Dutch, but who mainly need targeted work on specific NT2 basic competences at a higher level. A more specific, target-oriented offer tailored to the students in the high proficiency levels can help these students to acquire all basic competencies and to obtain a certificate of proficiency level 3 or 4 without much loss of time.

Secondary education diploma via the combination of Supplementary General Training (AAV) with a certificate of professional qualification

Under the EVC decree of 26 April 2019 (see annual overview 2018 and 2019), candidates who have passed the assessment of an accredited EVC test centre may obtain a certificate of professional qualification. If this certificate of professional qualification corresponds to a diploma-based vocational training course in secondary adult education, it may lead to a diploma of secondary education as from 1 September 2020 in combination with a certificate of the supplementary general education course. This is automatically the case when the certificate of vocational qualification has been issued by a Centre for Adult Education or issued by another organisation in accordance with the GKK decree of 26 April 2019 (see annual overview 2019). Only CVOs can issue a diploma secondary education.

New call for 'Certification of acquired competences (EVC)' projects

The Department of Education and Training foresees means to develop EVC instruments and - in anticipation of structural funding - to stimulate the Centres for Adult Education (CVO) to offer EVC pathways.

This new call for EVC projects in CVO is part of the implementation of the integrated EVC policy approved by the Flemish government in 2019 (see overview 2019). The elaboration of EVC trajectories starts with the preparation and approval of EVC standards. Valid and reliable EVC instruments will be developed on the basis of these standards. To support this process, project grants will be awarded to adult education centres. There are 2 types of project resources and the timing relatied to them differs:

  • project resources for the development of new EVC tools: finalisation and reporting in December 2021 and
  • project resources for offering EVC trajectories based on existing instruments: between September and December 2020, final report in 2021.

InnoVET: Professionalisation and innovation in labour market oriented education

InnoVET stands for Innovation in Vocational Education and Training (VET). With InnoVET, vocational education is strengthened. The programme is in line with the European programme on Centres for Vocational Excellence, which started in 2019, and which is resolutely in favour of innovation and transition trajectories.

InnoVET provides financial support to schools that want to innovatively tackle current and socially relevant challenges and work on (technical) developments. The project consists of three phases: a start-up phase (first half of 2019), a project phase (2019 -2020) and a disseminating phase (2020-2021). The end result of the project phase is the availability of thirteen well-documented, tested and thus replicable/modifiable, highly innovative pathways, specifically for VET SE. The results will be shared as good practices both in Flanders and elsewhere in Europe.