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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Other dimensions of internationalisation in higher education

Belgium - French Community

13.Mobility and internationalisation

13.5Other dimensions of internationalisation in higher education

Last update: 27 November 2023

European, global and intercultural dimension in curriculum development

In higher education, there is also increasing emphasis on international and European subjects.

In their teaching mission, the higher education institutions of the French Community pursue the objectives of enrolling their initial training and their Continuing Professional Development in a perspective of scientific, artistic, professional and cultural openness, encouraging teachers, students and graduates to mobility, to collaborations between the Belgian Communities and to international collaborations (landscape decree, 2013).

For example, to this end the decree of 17 May 1999 organising higher education in the arts explicitly stipulates that "education in the arts should reinforce the international dimension of practice and research, by putting in place initiatives and programmes in collaboration with the institutions of other countries and promoting the mobility and exchange of teachers and students at all levels of the structures".

Particular attention is now paid to the European and international dimension of education within the framework of initial teacher training. The legislative reform of initial teacher training (the decrees of 12 December 2000 for primary and lower secondary school teachers and of 8 February 2001 for upper secondary school teachers) includes in the curriculum for future teachers a module on socio-cultural knowledge specific to the practice of the profession, which takes into account this dimension. These decrees stress that future teachers must be able to call upon varied knowledge in the humanities, possess a significant amount of general culture, and develop the relational skills related to the requirements of their profession. In practice, although the international and interdisciplinary dimension of education is progressively transmitted to future teachers (through school trips and exchanges, study of a foreign language, etc.), it is especially in the disciplines of a strongly visible ‘extraterritorial’ character (foreign languages, geography, etc.) that the actions are more numerous.

Concerning the use of languages in higher education, the language of teaching and assessment of learning activities is French (Landscape Decree, 2013). However, activities may be provided and evaluated in another language :

  • in the first cycle of studies, not more than one quarter of the credits ;
  • for studies leading to the academic degree of master, except for the specific credits leading to the teaching master’s, half of the credits ;
  • for studies co-organized by several higher education institutions, including at least one establishment outside the French Community ;
  • for specialization studies ;
  • for postgraduate studies ;
  • for continuing professional development studies and other trainings.

In the case of second cycle studies, the Government may also grant exemptions to higher education institutions where the studies concerned are of an international character deriving from the excellence of the scientific or artistic field, or from its particular nature (Landscape Decree, art 75)

Finally, outside the school setting, the International Youth Bureau (BIJ), co-managed by the French Community, supports international non-formal education programs for young French-speaking students in Wallonia and Brussels. These programs promote youth mobility and the strengthening of their skills (including language) through a range of international experiences.

Partnerships and networks

Each higher education institution in the French Community is free to develop independently its policy on international relations. This is generally reflected in the three missions of higher education, namely: teaching, research and community service.

It can conclude academic and institutional partnerships with partners abroad, join the networks of their choice, be they institutional, thematic, disciplinary, dedicated to teaching, research, etc. or join international associations, develop joint programs, organize international symposia, etc.

For more information on this subject:

In order to make information accessible to students and the public, most Higher education institutions developed an international section on their website. Information on the international vision of Higher education institutions, their concluded partnerships, the human resources dedicated to international missions are generally included in these sections.


These partnerships can be facilitated by the international relations policy of the French Community Community (Policy Declaration 2014-2019 : « Agir de manière active et cohérente sur la scène internationale », p.72), which intends to register the French Community in several teaching and research networks, international initiatives and intergovernmental cooperation processes related to higher education, setting the guidelines for institution-wide cooperation (French Community registration within the European Higher Education and Research Area (EHEA), development, implementation and monitoring of European Union initiatives in the field of education, implementation of Erasmus + in the French Community, implementation of international mobility program, etc.).

Academic partnerships can be established within the framework of Belgium's development cooperation policy.

For more information about this: