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Management staff for higher education

Belgium - French Community

10.Management and other education staff

10.5Management staff for higher education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Management personnel and their conditions of service vary depending on the type of higher education establishment (university, higher education institution or arts college).

Requirements for appointment


A law dated 29 April 1953 defines the organisation of the two French-speaking universities whose controlling authority is the French Community (University of Liège and University of Mons).

The authorities in universities are the rector, vice-rector, and prorector. The rector and the vice-rector are appointed by the Government for a period of four years from a list of three ordinary professors presented by the academic council. On the rector’s proposal, the executive board may choose one or more advisers for the rector from among the members of teaching staff with full-time appointments. Their roles are defined by the executive board and run in parallel with the rector’s mandate.

A director coordinates the activities of the general administrative services. He/she helps draw up the institution’s budget, and oversees the execution of decisions taken by the executive board which fall outside the rector’s competence.

Hautes écoles

Each Haute école has at least a management body (the executive board in the case of education organised by the French Community), a steering committee, an educational board and a social board. Each higher education institution has at least as many departments as it provides study categories. Each category is run by a director, and overseen by a category board. Each department can have a departmental board, which submits its opinions to the category board.

In establishments organised by the French Community, the executive board is the management body. It consists of a Director-President, the category directors, four staff members representing trade unions, a representative of service, trades, and administrative staff, two persons chosen by the government from occupational sectors covered by the school, four persons chosen by the government to represent the general community, and student representatives (at least 20% of the executive board members).

The steering committee is made up of the departmental directors and is chaired by a Director-President, who ensures that the decisions of the executive board (in the case of higher education institutions organised by the French Community) or of the management body set up by the controlling authority (in the case of subsidised higher education institutions) are carried out.

The educational board is a consultative body for all questions relating to the use of educational resources and the allocation of human resources. The social board is consulted on all matters relating to the students’ material and social conditions.

The task of the category board is to issue formal opinions, in particular about any change to timetables. The departmental board takes the decisions in areas which have been delegated to it and exercises the competencies of the directors and deputy directors of higher education institutions in the case of establishments of higher education organised by the French Community.

Arts colleges

The mandates of director and assistant-director are accessible to members of staff who have been permanently appointed, or temporary members of staff who have been appointed for an open-ended or fixed period, as well as to any candidate that matches the administrative conditions and submits an educational and artistic plan for the mandate in question and presents it to a recruitment committee.

The recruitment committee selects, on the basis of the curriculum vitae and the educational and artistic plan, the candidates that will receive an individual interview, and prepares a justified report on each candidate that it submits to the educational management board. This board submits the report to the Government or to the controlling authority, depending on the network, together with its opinion.

Conditions of service


In the universities organised by the French Community, for example, the rector’s responsibilities include the general management of the university and the academic questions that are not the remit of the academic council by law. He/she chairs this council and executes its decisions. He/she also chairs the executive board.

The academic council is composed of the university’s ordinary and extraordinary professors. It considers all questions that concern the university and higher education, as well as the possibility of creating new faculties, institutes, schools and interfaculty centres. It exercises the functions stipulated by the law and confers honorary degrees.

The executive board makes proposals for various academic staff appointments (lecturers, tutors, career scientific staff, etc.), directly appoints other members of the academic staff (assistants, student-assistants, clinical interns etc.) within the limits of the framework approved by the King and the budgetary credits from the Ministry of Education. Within the same limits, it also appoints administrative staff of a grade lower then office manager, as well as specialist staff, supervisory staff, tradesmen, and service staff. It defines by order of priority the list of construction, development and maintenance work to be performed and submits it to the responsible authority; gives orders for the finalisation of outline plans for these works; and approves the requirement specifications and the implementation plans. It submits budgetary proposals for the university to the Ministry of Education. It manages, within the limits of the laws and regulations, the financial credits allocated to the university, other than those destined for the payment of salaries, and apportions these credits to the different university departments.

Hautes écoles

In the Hautes écoles, the controlling authority cannot designate or nominate to an elective position of director-president or category director a candidate who does not satisfy one of the following conditions :

  • he must be permanently appointed or employed in one or more specific positions ;
  • he must have exercised one or more of these positions for at least 10 years (the last two years in a higher education institution overseen by the controlling authority at which the position needs to be filled) ;
  • he must have been designated by either the Government or the controlling authority, from a list of three candidates proposed by the steering committee (in the case of the director-president), or have been designated by the government or appointed by the controlling authority from a list of three candidates proposed by all teaching staff in the category in question (in the case of the category director).

Generally, members of the management staff do not teach. The working hours of category directors and the director-president cover at least the opening hours of the higher education institution.

For each higher education institution under its jurisdiction, the controlling authority confers to a maximum of two staff members, recruited as supervisory assistants, responsibility for the administrative and legal management and the financial and accounting management of that institution. In the higher education institutions organised by the French Community, these people are designated by the Government from a list of three candidates, proposed, after examining the candidatures, by the executive board. In the grant-aided higher education institutions, they are designated or appointed by the controlling authority based on a proposal from the higher education institution’s authorities. The candidates must have relevant experience of at least two years, in a profession exercised in the public or private sector.

Arts colleges

An arts college is managed by a controlling authority and has the following boards :

  • an educational management board responsible for preparing the institution’s educational and artistic plan as well as its individual study regulations ;
  • one or more optional boards to make proposals aiming at implementing the educational plan ;
  • a student council ; and
  • a social board.

The director is the controlling authority’s or the Government’s delegate and executes their decisions. The deputy director replaces the director in his/her absence.

Directors and deputy directors are appointed for a five-year mandate, which is renewable (on the basis of an evaluation performed by the educational management board in the case of the director).

The full-time workload for these positions is 36 hours per week. This is complete and indivisible.

Where two or more arts colleges organising different fields of education are merged, the arts college resulting from the merger may decide to retain those holding the office of director and, where applicable, deputy director, for each educational field. The directors of the merged art college will then exercise the function of director of that field until their term of office has been completed. The mandate of director of a given educational field is renewable every five years. The appointment is made by the controlling authority. A steering committee is thus created consisting of all directors of educational fields referred to in the previous section and chaired by the director of the arts college created by the merger.