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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Higher education

Belgium - German-Speaking Community

7.Higher education

Last update: 27 November 2023

For understandable economic and demographic reasons, the German-speaking community is not setting up its own long term colleges or universities. Traditionally, most students from the German-speaking community study at French-speaking colleges and universities in Germany, but increasingly also in the neighbouring Federal Republic of Germany.

Until 2005, there were three small non-university institutions of higher education in the German-speaking Community: two colleges of education and one college for the training of nurses. By decree of 27 June 2005, these three universities were merged into a single autonomous university. For more complete information on the Belgian colleges and universities, see the Eurydice contributions of the French Community (BE fr) and the Flemish Community (BE nl).

A law of 1933 protects the titles of higher education. The law of 7 July 1970 on the general structure of higher education has grouped and sorted all the training courses that follow secondary education. Training courses were classified according to the organisation of studies and the objectives pursued.

The main legal bases of the AHS departments include the Royal Decree of 3 November 1987 on the general regulation of short courses of study at higher education institutions with a full curriculum and the Royal Decree of 6 November 1987 defining the concepts of "regularly enrolled student" and "student to be considered for funding at full-time higher education institutions other than universities", as well as the two decrees of 21 February 2005 (a special decree) and 27 June 2005 creating an autonomous higher education institution in the German-speaking Community.

Higher education studies of short duration follow a curriculum that aims to provide students with a sound basic knowledge, professional, technical training and a professional qualification in a specific field. The training is very concrete and job-centred. The main objective is to impart scientific knowledge and its applications in the professions: pre-school teachers, primary school teachers, nurses and accountants.