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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
National reforms in higher education

Belgium - German-Speaking Community

14.Ongoing reforms and policy developments

14.4National reforms in higher education

Last update: 10 January 2024
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No new reforms for the time being. 


New bachelor offer

In September of last year, preparations for the Bachelor's degree programme "Social Work" at the Autonomous University of Applied Sciences were resumed after the interruptions caused by the pandemic.

A consultant from the Autonomous University of Applied Sciences has been commissioned to work out the contents and structure of the study programme.He is supported and accompanied by a steering group consisting of members of my cabinet, staff from the education administration and the management level of the Autonomous University of East Belgium.The study programme will be developed by the Autonomous University of East Belgium (AHS) in cooperation with the Haute Ecole Libre Mosane (HELMo), which has a supporting and advisory role.HELMo, as a higher education institution with many years of experience in training in the field of social work, will advise AHS on content-related questions about the degree programme and provide supportive assistance in recruiting lecturers.The originally envisaged cooperation with the Catholic University of Applied Sciences in Aachen was abandoned because it became clear that knowledge of the French language - especially the technical terms - and Belgian legislation are indispensable for social workers in East Belgium. These important competences are explicitly expected of graduates by East Belgian employers in the social sector.

The study programme will impart competences in dealing with clients and institutions as well as enable students to analyse the development of social problems.

In addition to a broad academic basis, the students should above all acquire concretely usable methodological knowledge and skills, whereby proximity to professional practice is always established. Here, too, the cooperation with HELMo offers many advantages, e.g. in the placement of internships to deepen the acquired skills.In order to enable a career entry into the East Belgian labour market, the degree programme will also integrate components that are specifically geared to the employment situation and the needs of the various institutions in the German-speaking Community.


To counteract the shortage of skilled workers, the government of the German-speaking Community wants to rely on a combination of several measures. By introducing the DuO (stands for Du and East Belgium) training grant, modelled on South Tyrol and some Austrian provinces, the aim is to attract more candidates to study or train in so-called shortage occupations and at the same time retain them in East Belgium as a location

The government created a budget fund through the decree of 26 June 2023. Through this fund, trainees or students who are no longer subject to compulsory education and who are enrolled at a higher education institution recognised by the German-speaking Community with the aim of obtaining a journeyman's certificate, a practitioner's certificate, a brevet or a bachelor's diploma or who have concluded a training contract with a recognised training company in the German-speaking Community through the Institute for Training and Further Education in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (IAWM) can be granted a DuO training grant under certain conditions.

In the context of public health and the right of access to health care for all citizens, the system of interest-free loan for the six-year basic training of medical and dental students in a state-recognised higher education institution within the European Union, another contracting state of the European

Within the framework of the DuO training grant, the government publishes annually, by 30 June at the latest, a list of the courses of study, training programmes and fields of study in mainstream secondary education that prepare students for a shortage occupation and thus entitle them to receive an interest-free loan. (The list can be found at Decree_of_the_Government_on_the_definition_of_the_list_of_study_courses.pdf ( The shortage occupations are determined annually by the Minister responsible for employment on the basis of an analysis by the Labour Office. These shortage occupations include, in particular, the teaching profession as well as care and craft occupations.

Following the system of minimum compensation for apprentices, the amount of the interest-free loan has been set at a monthly payment of 350 euros for the entire duration of the standard period of study or the standard duration of the apprenticeship contract. However, a maximum extension of one year is possible.

This is a new financial aid, in addition to the already existing support measures such as study grants for pupils and students. In the case of apprenticeship training and dual Bachelor's degree programmes, the compensation paid by the training company to the apprentices can be cumulated with the interest-free loan. The start-up and traineeship bonus for apprentices, which is regulated via the Royal Decree of 1 September 2006, can also be cumulated with the interest-free loan.

The loan received does not have to be repaid if the borrowers pursue at least part-time employment in the German-speaking Community for at least five years (in some cases: shortened to three years) within a period of ten years after completing their studies or training. The idea behind this is that the borrowers will get to know the advantages of a job in our community and will thus be available to the labour market of the German-speaking Community even after the obligatory period has expired.


Shortened study programme for career changers with Bachelor's and Master's degrees   

=> Via Bridge Studies PLUS into primary school  

In order to attract more people to the primary school teaching profession, a shortened study programme for people with a Bachelor's and/or Master's degree will start at the Autonomous University of East Belgium (AHS) in September 2022. In addition, a second round of the admission procedure will take place in August for late applicants. From September 2022, the AHS will offer another bridge study programme, the so-called Brückenstudium PLUS. This new measure is aimed at all persons who have a Bachelor's and/or Master's degree - regardless of the field of study. "In view of the acute shortage of teachers, we must try to open up new target groups for the teaching profession. In doing so, it is important, on the one hand, to make the study programme as attractive as possible for potential candidates and, on the other hand, to maintain the necessary quality requirements," explains Education Minister Lydia Klinkenberg. 


There have been no reforms.