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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Fundamental principles and national policies

Belgium - German-Speaking Community

2.Organisation and governance

2.1Fundamental principles and national policies

Last update: 27 November 2023

The basic principles of the education pact applicable to the education system are recorded in the constitution(article 24).

Art. 24 §1 - The education system is free. All measures to prevent this are forbidden. Offenses are punished according to law or decree. The Community guarantees parents the freedom of choice. The Community administers an impartial education system. This impartiality particularly includes respect for parents' and pupils' philosophical, ideological or religious opinions. The schools administered by the public authority provide the choice between an education in a recognised religion or non-denominational ethics throughout the student’s compulsory education.

§2 If, as an organisational institution, a Community wants to delegate authority to one or more autonomous organs, the decree for this purpose needs to have a majority of two thirds of the votes submitted.

§3 Everyone has the right to an education as part of the fundamental rights and freedoms. Students have access to education free of charge throughout their compulsory education. All students required to go to school are entitled to a religious or moral education at the expense of the Community.

§4 All students, pupils, parents, personnel and educational institutions are equal before the law or decree. The law and the decree allow objective differences that warrant relevant discussion, especially regarding features unique to each organisational institution.

§5 The organisation, recognition, or subsidisation of the education system by the Community is regulated by law or decree.

The organisation and management of education shall therefore fall within the competence of the Communities, which shall have the power to develop their teaching policies independently of one another. Education is organised, subsidised or merely recognised by the community.

In order to ensure the continuity of education in 1989 when the Communities assumed full responsibility for it, the existing national legislation remained in force, although it was adapted here and there to the specific needs of each Community. Although the country's two large communities, thanks to their own long-established administrative structures, were very soon able to embark on some important changes, the German-speaking community needed a little more time to do so, as it was first necessary to set up its own teaching administration. In 1998, the government began to develop a timeframe and basic decrees for the reform of primary, secondary and higher education.