European, global and intercultural dimension in curriculum development
The global and intercultural dimension of the curriculum is left to the initiative of the institutions. All the higher education programmes in Flanders leading to the seven regulated professions (midwife, nurse, dentist, veterinarian, medical doctor, pharmacist and architect) however do have to meet the programme conditions stipulated in the European Directive 2005/36/EC. This is also legally confirmed in article 5 of the Flemish Law of 30 April 2004. The NVAO also has to confirm this (or not) in their accreditation reports.
The board of higher education institutions can decide that a language other than Dutch should be used to a limited degree for certain parts of the programme if the added value for students and the functionality of the programme is evident from the explicitly justified decision to do so, and on condition that the lecturer in question has a sufficient command of the other language. The higher education institutions can also have students take non-Dutch-language sections of the programme at a foreign higher education institution. Flemish students from the teacher training programme can teach or go on teaching practice in foreign schools, as this has a positive effect on their CLIL (Content Language Integrated Learning) skills, among other benefits. The institution’s board can offer entire programmes in another language if they are specifically intended for foreign students or in the case of Master’s programmes in the context of European and international programmes. For Bachelor’s programmes, the use of a language other than Dutch is limited to 10% of the curriculum.
The mission of the Accreditation Organiation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO) states clearly "the advancement of both the European and the international dimension in Dutch and Flemish accreditation and maintaining contacts in order to reach agreement and cohesion". In order to realise this mission NVAO formulated strategic aims, which focus on the international dimension of higher education. It says that NVAO is "to occupy an international leading position in the Dutch and Flemish accreditation and higher education systems so as to strengthen the international position of the Dutch and Flemish higher education institutions."
Partnerships and networks
The reform of Flemish higher education during the 90s was aimed at increasing participation of the institutions for higher education in international programmes. In that light, all institutions set up their own service to support the development of international contacts and relations from an administrative point of view.
Flanders Agency for Mobility and Co-operation in Higher Education (Flamenco) is an agency for internationalisation in higher education established by all Flemish higher education institutions, together with VLUHR, VVS and FWO. It is also subsidised by the Flemish Government. Flamenco is also responsible for the website Study in Flanders, which provides English-language information about higher education in Flanders and an overview of non-Dutch-language courses.
The unit University Cooperation for Development (UOS) also supports development cooperation and internationalisation, among other means by awarding scholarships to students from developing countries to attend a Master’s or training programme in Flanders.
Higher education institutions also participate in organisations such as:
- ACA, Academic Cooperation Association
- EUA, European University Association
- EAIE, European Association for International Education
- IAU, International Association of Universities
- IAUP, International Association of University Presidents
Flemish higher education institutions are highly active and successful in organising joint degrees and Master’s programmes in connection with the Erasmus Mundus programme.