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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Guidance and counselling in early childhood and school education

Belgium - German-Speaking Community

12.Educational support and guidance

12.4Guidance and counselling in early childhood and school education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Academic Guidance

Advising pupils on their school careers from primary to secondary school or switching between different courses in secondary school is primarily the responsibility of the school or the class council. Contact persons for pupils and their parents are the teachers or the school management.

In addition, however, the Centre for the Healthy Development of Children and Adolescents (Kaleido East Belgium) also offers counselling and consultation hours or school career counselling for young people and classes in the various schools. This also includes school readiness examinations and counselling during the transition from kindergarten to primary school and information and advice during the transition from primary to secondary school. This provision of a supportive offer of school career guidance for young people is attributed as a mandate of the Centre in the Decree of 31 March 2014 (§3.4) (§3.4) on the Centre for the Healthy Development of Children and Adolescents.

Psychological Counselling

The Psycho-Medical-Social Centres (PMS), which have existed in the German-speaking Community since 1936, were merged with other services in September 2014, so that a centre for the healthy development of children and young people called Kaleido East Belgium was founded (decree of 31 march 2014). This service takes care of the entire age range from -9 months to young adults aged 20 years. In addition to the focus on development promotion in the family setting, out-of-school development promotion (community, neighbourhood, leisure, workplace) and advising the government, another focus is on pre-school and school development and health promotion. The staff members are psychologists, nurses, doctors and social workers who work together in a team and thus ensure an integrative approach. The service performs preventive work and not therapeutic work. However, it will work closely with specialists such as therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists and the young people's living environment. The aim is to bring these people together in an effective network.

The service supports children and young people within the school. It is the direct contact for children and adolescents and their parents in questions of development and health promotion. The mission of Kaleido East Belgium is to help the students in their mental, psychological, physical and social development. The centre also supports and advises school staff members on health and psychosocial issues.

In secondary schools (ISCED 2-3), school psychologists have been working as a complement to Kaleido East Belgium since September 2013. The school psychology advisors are supposed to help to recognise behavioural disorders at an early stage. For the time being, the technical schools or departments have received such an educational psychologist. It is planned that a full-time position will be subsidized if at least 70 percent of the students at a school follow technical or vocational education. Half a job is granted if this standard is not achieved. Applicants with a Master's degree in psychopedagogy, psychology, social pedagogy, family and sexual sciences, educational science or criminology are eligible.

Career Guidance

Career guidance activities are carried out by various institutions:

- According to the decree of Basic Decree of 1998 on the mandate to school authorities and school staff and on the general pedagogical and organisational provisions for regular and special schools, the school is obliged to inform pupils about study, training and career opportunities (Career Choice Preparation and Career Guidance). For this purpose, it may cooperate with other services. The framework plan "Schulische Berufswahlvorbereitung und Berufsorientierung" (School-based Vocational Preparation and Orientation), which is to be used as an interdisciplinary framework plan in all levels and subjects, offers assistance.

- The Employment Office of the German-speaking Community offers a range of services relating to the topic of career choice and vocational orientation for young people. These range from the provision of vocational materials and information events for pupils and young people to individual counselling interviews.

- Various schools, the Employment Office, the Service Kaleido East Belgium, the Centre for Vocational and Further Training, the Institute for Vocational and Further Training of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and various youth information centres organise (sometimes in cooperation) vocational information days or weeks every year, during which pupils can obtain advice from experts on various occupations.

- Every year during the Easter holidays, the Institute for Initial and Further Training of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (IAWM) offers so-called taster weeks so that pupils can get to know craft and medium-sized occupations.

- The Ministry of the German-speaking Community has produced the information brochure "Jobstart" for secondary school pupils and apprentices in order to get closer to the goal of a seamless transition from school or training to further qualification or directly into working life.