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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Organisation and governance

Belgium - Flemish Community

2.Organisation and governance

Last update: 27 November 2023

The constitutional principle of freedom of education is central to Belgian educational legislation. It gives every natural person or legal person the right to establish schools (the 'organising bodies' or, in elementary education, the 'school boards') and to organise and based them on confessional or non-confessional principles or on specific pedagogical or educational ideas. Parents (of school-age pupils) also have freedom of choice with regard to their children’s school. The organising bodies can select, recruit and promote teachers and support, administrative and management staff in accordance with statutory legislation. To support and represent their schools, they have established educational umbrella organisations.

To qualify for subsidisation/funding, schools must accept the educational structure imposed by decree, follow a curriculum that recognisably contains the attainment targets and development goals, submit to the supervision of the educational inspectorate, participate in an LCP (local consultation platform), adhere to the principles of participatory decision-making imposed by decree and apply a complete smoking ban.

In the new funding system for compulsory education, the basic funding of the operating resources is now the same for all networks. The system takes account of the educational level, the branch of education and the branch of study. As a result of the equal opportunities decree, schools may no longer refuse pupils on grounds of colour, national or ethnic origin, background, religion or gender. Schools with a minimum percentage of equal opportunities pupils who meet one of the equal opportunities indicators (parents that belong to the travelling population, poorly educated mother, Dutch not spoken at home, receive a school allowance, homeless pupil) receive extra financial resources and can give priority to such pupils during enrolment.

There is no enrolment fee in compulsory education. School/study allowances are allocated in nursery education, compulsory education and higher education on the basis of the same criteria and by means of a family dossier that covers all children from the same family for all educational levels. In order to increase pupils’ participation, however, the allocation is contingent on regular attendance at school. Moreover, the school regulations contain an undertaking in which mutual agreements are set out about contact with parents, regular attendance and truancy policy, forms of individual pupil guidance and positive engagement with respect to the language of instruction.

At all levels and in all educational networks, participatory bodies are being developed. The consultation structure is highly developed, including with regard to the employment conditions of staff in education.

Educational institutions are increasingly being encouraged to work together administratively in larger  partnerships: elementary and secondary schools in schools communities, higher educational institutions in associations, centres for adult and adult basic education in consortia, teacher training colleges in expertise networks, academies for part-time art education in art academies, and institutions for advanced secondary education and for higher vocational education with other institutions, companies, sectors or teacher training colleges.  

There are also various other forms of partnership, such as LCPs, (local consultation platforms on equal educational opportunities, RTCs (Regional Technology Centres for collaboration with the business sector), Regional Consultation Platforms for the alternance training system, ERSVs, (Recognised Regional Collaborations) for adult education and training, etc.