The education system in the German-speaking Community is financed (subsidised, to be precise) by the budget. The budget amount largely comprise of an endowment from the federal state, finances transferred from the Walloon Region for the use of the delegated areas of competence of the German-speaking Community (primarily in employment), and a portion of the radio and television dues paid by the residents of the Community. It is worth noting that the Province of Luxembourg assists the German-speaking Community with expenses, particularly for special education, as a considerable proportion of the students with learning difficulties come from Luxembourg.
The endowment from the federal state to the German-speaking Community was correspondingly adjusted to include the additional charges for the education system upon transferring educational authority in 1989. Since the costs for the education system greatly increased because of an exceptional and unexpected increase in the number of students in the years to follow, the federal government decided to refinance the education system by increasing the endowment in 2000.
Budget planning 2017
Almost 75 % of the entire budget available for education, training and employment is paid out for wages for the education system and related social charges for the state agency for social security, the children's allowance fund, the national pension agency, etc. Developments in the structure of personnel, amendments to the legislation concerning personnel, and the development of index numbers are carefully monitored.
Since it is impossible to predict every development over a certain time period, it is possible to make potential adjustments to the budget during the financial year. Usually, a so-called budgetary adjustment is made twice a year.
It is very important that the budget is strictly planned with all available information right from the start in order to avoid bottlenecks in the entire BE de budget. This is of particular significance for education, training and employment, because the budget allotted to this area is one of the biggest in the entire BE de budget.
The entire organisational sector for education, training and employment comprised around 109 million euros in 2017. Aside from legislative expenses and the cost of wages, there are separate programmes for general initiatives, school transportation, operating subsidies and endowments, study grants and academic research, art education, extracurricular training in mid-sized companies and agriculture, and school buildings.
Financial sources other than the public funding from the Community's budget also exist (e.g. private donations, earnings from the economy or certain activities and events), but they are relatively insignificant and are of little consequence.
The three important financial areas are personnel costs, functional expenses, and building costs.
The salaries and wage subsidies (100%) of all head teachers, teachers, educators, secretaries, PMS Centre employees, and both public sector and non-private sector learning facilities are paid from public funding from the German-speaking Community insofar as they meet certain conditions and regulations (such as professional qualifications) and their function meets the corresponding conditions.
Every school authority is responsible for the operation of their school. Community schools are financed and administered by the Communities. They receive an endowment for covering the functional and acquisition costs from the Community budget. Subsidized school authorities of OSES (Officially Subsidised Education System) and CSES (Community-run Subsidised Education System) receive functional allowances from the Community that cover a large part of their expenses.
Every school authority is equally responsible for the construction and maintenance of their school building. The German-speaking Community made great efforts in the nineties to facilitate the finance of school construction, especially for the school authorities of community-run schools. Supporters of subsidised schools – both the municipalities and the local school authorities – receive 80% of the approved construction costs as part of the budget available from the German-speaking Community. Since 2006, BE de has implemented an extensive investment programme for schools. Primary, secondary and grammar schools in particular (all of which are within the Municipality of Eupen) are currently being elaborately renovated or built completely new as part of a large PPP agreement.
Conditions for financing (Subsidising) from the public sector
In order to be recognised and subsidised by the Community, every school must meet certain conditions. They include:
- The structure of the school must be approved by the Minister in charge;
- Schools must be able to produce curricula approved by the Minister of Education;
- They must accept the supervision from the public authority;
- They must have a school authority bearing full responsibility;
- They must be able to demonstrate a minimum number of students for every year;
- They have enough space to meet the hygiene, security and habitability criteria;
- The corresponding teaching and learning materials meet the pedagogical requirements;
- Schools provides pedagogical unity within a building or a municipality;
- They employ teachers who do not jeopardize the students’ health;
- They observe the legally determined school days and holidays.