|Belgium (Flemish Community)|
|Last updated: April 2013; Last revised: April 2013|
|Contact: Jan de Craemer, Ministry of Education, Flemish Community|
Belgium is a federal state, where different levels of organisation are assigned different powers. It is divided into three regions (Flemish, Walloon and Brussels-Capital) and three communities (Flemish, French and German-speaking). The latter are in charge of educational and cultural policies.
1. The Education Context
The Parliament Act on the Flemish qualifications structure was approved at the end of April 2009. The Flemish qualifications framework develops a classification of qualifications. A qualification is a comprehensive set of competences leading to a recognised certificate granted by the Flemish Community, indicating the competences relevant to exercising a profession or a social function or which are required for further education.The Flemish qualifications framework provides a skeleton structure to which further qualifications will be added.This skeleton describes eight competence levels and the required knowledge and skills as well as the context, level of autonomy and responsibility that the competences imply. The Parliament Act also dis-tinguishes between professional and educational qualifications.
1.1 Education Reform
A Qualifications Framework
Strategic Literacy Plan
The New Strategic Literacy Plan 2012-2016 (Strate-gisch Plan Geletterdheid) covers all forms of literacy (language, numeracy and ICT) and includes actions involving a number of partners. A key topic is the integration of ICT and media literacy in all learning pathways for groups with a low literacy level.
1.2 Key challenges/priorities for education
The Policy Note on Education & Training 2009-2014 mentions the followingpriorities:
2. ICT Policy
The Flemish Ministry of Education & Training is responsible for:
Educational school networks act as the representative associations of school governing bodies and take over some of their responsibilities (the governing bodies are the school boards, the main decision making body at school level). The networks are in charge of pedagogical and organisational issues such as curriculum development, timetables, school support, etc.
The four main educational networks are:
The various educational networks and schools are largely autonomous in terms of teaching methods, teaching programmes, pupil evaluation and pedagogical project. Each governing body (inrichtende macht) defines its own pedagogical project or mission statement and there is therefore no government control, provided that these projects do not contravene the democratic principles and the legal and statutory provisions upon which the Belgian State is based.
2.2. ICT policies for schools
Following the 2007 Policy Plan “Competences for the Knowledge Society”, a new policy regarding ICT and media literacy was drafted in 2012. The Media Literacy Policy Planwas approved by the Flemish Government in July 2012. The concept paper broadens the policy on ICT towards the field of digital media in general, and includes a 40-point action plan, including some programmes and projects from the former ICT strategy.
The Media Literacy Policy Plan was developed by 2 ministers: the Minister for Education & Training and the Minister for Media. The general rationale behind the media literacy policy is to equip citizens with the necessary competences to live in and deal with an increasingly mediatised society in a critical and active manner. The policy plan has 4 strategic targets:
The Flemish Government will contribute to these four key targets with an action plan with 40 concrete actions ranging from pilot projects on future schooling and the launch and development of new educational games, to new funding mechanisms for e-safety campaigns.
The Media Literacy Knowledge Centre is key to the support of organisations such as schools but also of media companies, NGOs, etc. It is a small, flexible organisation that receives financing for Human re-sources and activities by means of an agreement with the Flemish Government, more specifically with the Minister for Media. The Media Literacy Knowledge Centre subscribes to the following objective of the media literacy policy: to allow all citizens, both today and tomorrow, to deal with an increasingly mediatised society in a conscious, critical and active manner. To this end, the Media Literacy Knowledge Centre promotes the acquisition and sharing of knowledge among organisations and workers in the field of media literacy. The centre provides practical support and works on practice development, cooperates with the relevant authority and stake-holders, promotes dialogue and cooperation between those stakeholders, and works to the already existing initiatives in the field. The Knowledge Centre is planned to open in 2013.
1. Interactive whiteboards, laptop/notebooks, tab-lets or other mobile devices
Starting from January 2013, networks of innovative schools will be set up to become test beds for innova-tive pedagogical practices such as gaming, tablet computing and the educational use of mobile phones. “Bring your own device” (BYOD) will be a specific topic in these networks of innovative schools. Three different networks will be set up, each with a total of ten schools (possibly to be extended in the longer term). The first of these networks will be on 1:1 computing and tablets, the second on gaming and the third on BYOD and the educational use of mobile phones. The networks will be coordinated and will work on the basis of an annual work plan. This way of working is based on ENIS (European Network of Innovative Schools) and the aim is to disseminate results to the wider educational field.
2. Bring your own device (BYOD)
3. Cloud computing
Cloud computing solutions are to a certain extent part of the Telenet service. The Telenet service is a large- scale programme based on six specific profiles to which a school can apply for connectivity and IPS-services.
These profiles are "Connectivity only (hight bandwith)"; "Connectivity and network safety" and "Connectivity, safety and network maintenance.
Each of these 3 profiles exist in 2 formats, one with a lower bandwidth (50Mb) for average primary schools, and one with higher bandwidth (100 Mb) for average secondary schools. The Ministry of Education administered the tender for this programme and made an agreement with Telenet. Schools that wish to can sign up for the ser-vice, for which they pay themselves. R rates of the service are around 50% below market prices. (www.telenet.be/schoolnet)
3. Inclusion and special needs
See section 4.7
4. Connectivity (e.g. wireless internet, optical fibre connections)
From the 2011-2012 school year, schools are provid-ed with high bandwidth internet and supporting services such as security and supra-school IT management at reduced rates as part of the Telenet service outlined in section 2.3.3. The term supra-school refers to a network of a minimum of five schools who can apply together for these services.
5. Design of 21st century learning spaces
School of the Future
The Education and Training policy aims to develop an innovative overall concept for a school for the future. The aim is to create an efficient, sustainable, user-friendly and flexible learning environment for education that seeks to develop competences. All elements, including buildings, furniture and digital media, are addressed in the project, which is budg-eted at 1.2 million euro. Within this project, three specific prototypes will be funded: innovative class-room design (adaptable for specific settings and targets) for primary schools; competence driven education for secondary schools; and streaming and media use for adult education. (www.svdt.be)
The various educational networks and schools are largely autonomous in terms of teaching methods, teaching programmes, pupil evaluation and the peda-gogical project. Each governing body (inrichtende macht) defines its own pedagogical project (mission statement). The implications of this are, for example, that there are no national exams and that any individ-ual evaluation (examination and assessment as well as deliberations) is organised at school level.
3. The Curriculum and ICT
3.1. Curriculum framework
Curricula are defined for compulsory education5 by the Ministry’s “Agency for Quality in Education & Training”. The principle of “learning outcomes” is very important in the Flemish educational administration. In Flanders there is a distinction between final objectives (“eindtermen”) and developmental objectives (“ontwikkelingsdoelen”). Final objectives are minimum objectives with regard to knowledge, insight, skills and attitudes, which the educational government regards as necessary and attainable for compulsory education. Developmental objectives are minimum objectives which the educational government regards as desirable for special education. Final objectives and developmental objectives are used by the Flemish government for quality control. Both final and developmental objectives can be subject-related or cross-curricular. Subject-related objectives are stipulated at a certain stage for all pupils.
Cross-curricular final objectives are minimum objectives which do not specifically pertain to one area of learning but which can be aspired to by several areas of learning or educational projects. Schools are obliged to develop cross-curricular final objectives.
Curricula are generally structured as follows:
In primary education:
Subject-related final objectives: Physical education, Dutch, French, Environmental studies, Expressive arts, Mathematics. Cross-curricular Final objectives: ICT, Learning to learn, Social skills
In secondary education(first grade):
Subject-related final objectives: Physical education: Dutch, Modern Foreign languages (French, English), Natural sciences, Geography, History, Expressive arts, Mathematics, Technology Education. Cross-curricular Final objectives: ICT, Learning to learn, Social skills, Health Education, Environmental education, Citizenship6.
3.2. ICT in the curriculum
ICT is a separate subject in secondary education and not in primary education.
The ICT-related cross-curricular final objectives and development objectives are designed to be applied in primary education and/or at the first level of secondary education. No separate objectives are defined for pre-school education. The aim is to avoid creating a separate subject in basic education by using the cross-curricular final objectives. ICT provides opportunities within all subjects and fields of study.
Starting from the second level of secondary educa-tion ICT is applied in a more specific and subject-based way, depending on the type of education and the educational level. Specific or more specialised components are then added in accordance with the training needs.
The focus in primary education and the first stage of secondary education is on pupils’ social independ-ence. The eight cross-curricular final objectives and development objectives for primary education, as well as the ten objectives for the first stage of compulsory secondary education, form the basis for the ICT curriculum. Technical and instrumental knowledge and skills are not included in the curriculum targets.
ICT in basic adult education
The competence framework for adult education is now in line with the curriculum for primary and secondary education (see section 1.1). In 2011 and 2012, a key reform was introduced concerning the Centres for Basic Education (CBE) and since April 2012 the ICT modular training profile has been completely re-formed. In order to bring this profile in line with the new ICT curriculum in compulsory education, a new set of 30 attainment targets was developed and these targets are spread over five modules. A start on this had already been made in 2003, with the introduction of an ICT modular training scheme. Allowing adults to experiment in a safe and well-supervised environ-ment, the CBE, which play a key role in adult educa-tion, create ideal opportunities for ICT integration. The aim of the centres is to provide, on the basis of self-reliance and self-development, knowledge and skills to less-qualified adults. The key task of the CBE is to deal with illiteracy and low levels of literacy and numeracy. ICT competences are a more recent addition to the CBE curriculum.
3.3. Students' ICT competences
The cross-curricular final objectives and developmental aims of ICT are as follows:
General primary education and special primary education, types 1, 2, 7, 8:
First stage of secondary education A and B streams and first stage of special secondary education – education type 3:
Media Literacy in upper secondary education
As of 1 September 2010, media literacy has become one of the cross-curricular attainment targets for secondary education.
The media literacy attainment targets read as follows:
• Students deal with media in an alert manner.
• Students participate in the public space through media in a well-considered manner.
The explanatory memorandum on media literacy that was added to the attainment targets clarifies that media literacy should be understood as a conscious and critical attitude towards classical (television, radio, press) and new media (internet applications, SMS) and the ability to use media informally and creatively on a daily basis with the implicit or explicit aim of participating in the cultural public context (readers' letters, YouTube, chat rooms, blogs, web-cam, etc.).
3.4. ASSESSMENT SCHEME
Pupils are examined by their class or subject teacher. After the examinations it is the so- called “class team council” that decides if a student passes to the next year or grade. Pupils are assessed by means of tests and examinations, organized by the individual specialist teacher under the ultimate responsibility of the school’s organising body (inrichtende macht).
The final objectives are certified solely via the usual compulsory education channels: apart from the basic primary certificate, the secondary education diploma (general secondary education, secondary education in the arts, technical secondary education) or the study certificate (vocational secondary education) there is no separate certificate to confirm that pupils in compulsory education have acquired ICT competences. This is a very important aspect of the education system and the aim is to avoid any alternative certification such as the ECDL.The school inspectorate evaluates schools according to specific standards, including how the school adapts to the curriculum. It currently uses an assessment instrument that was developed in partnership with the Department for Educational Development. This is an instrument for audit that encompasses observations and data within what is known as the CIPO model. In this model input data, process and output are given and can be viewed in relation to one another. Recently, the principle of proportionality and risk-based inspection has been introduced. Instead of covering all aspects of the CIPO model, inspections will concentrate on particular aspects of the way the school functions, on parts of the curriculum, such as language or maths, or on infrastructure. During the differentiated inspection process, only selected areas or a specific focus will be extensively inspected. The inspectorate takes the final objectives of the core curriculum into account during school audits.
In secondary education, the class council (klassen-raad) acts as the central assessment body. The class council is responsible for guidance and deliberation and consists of the principal or his representative and all members of the teaching staff who teach a particular pupil in a particular grade. All members of the council are entitled to vote.
3.5. ICT based assessment
Programmes for ICT-based assessment are not incorporated in compulsory education.
3.6. Quality assurance of the use of ICT in schools
National Assessment Program (peilingtoetsen)
The National Assessment Plan (NAP) (peilingtoetsen) has also been implemented. This programme focuses only on the Flemish curriculum and assesses, at a national level, whether specific attainment targets have been reached. The inspectorate provides information, primarily at school level, on the way in which attainment targets are reached, on infrastructure, processes, equal opportunities policies, continuous professional development, parental and pupil involvement, etc., whereas the NAP focuses on the system level. The NAP is important for quality control and is specific to the Flemish education system. In spring 2012, a NAP will be carried out that contains a computer test to assess information processing skills and other ICT attainment targets of a sample of primary school pupils.
Although a wide variety of targets in various cur-riculum areas are tested in the NAP, surveys are not designed to measure all learning outcomes. Therefore, it is important that the inspectorate continues to evaluate whether schools fulfil their “duties” and work towards the achievement of all attainment targets.
A NAP survey is a test administered to a representa-tive sample of schools and students. All results are published without revealing the identity of the schools or students, so participation is anonymous.
ICT monitor (MICTIVO)
In preparation for future policy assessments, scientists from the Universities of Ghent and Leuven developed a unique web-based monitoring instrument, MICTIVO, providing information on 4 different indicators:
• ICT competences of pupils and teachers,
• ICT infrastructure (PC/internet to pupil ratio, type and age of PCs, internet facilities, etc.),
• The use and integration of ICT in the learning environment (level and type of ICT use, use of electronic learning environments, methods, etc.),
• The perception of relevant stakeholders on the educational use of ICT.
For 2012 the ICT-monitor was expanded to include the topic of media literacy. New monitoring results will be available in the course of 2013 (September).
4. Digital Learning Resources and Services
4.1. Content development strategies
The Key principles of the policy on development of software and digital learning objects are:
4.2. E-content development
Assessing learning objects via an educational portal site
One of the key projects is the creation of an online educational portal serving as a multipurpose elec-tronic knowledge centre. Firstly, the portal acts as a central access point for educational information and support. This involves developing and offering information, examples of good practice and thematic files to various target groups. These may be on general or specific themes (such as the various aspects of ICT integration, learning participation, lifelong learning, special needs education, etc.). The portal also offers effective digital teaching aids (e-learning opportunities) in an accessible and structured way. Consequently, a framework has to be developed to allow individual teachers and publishers to publish their software, examples and curricula online in order to reach a wider target group (www.klascement.net).
Standardising learning objects
The Flemish Ministry of Education was a key partner in the users’ commission for the IWT-Tetraproject “PUBELO”. Participants of the project agreed on an educational standard (learning object metadata profile) and deploy it within a large group of relevant stakeholders (such as publishers or managers of web portals or electronic learning environments). Gov-ernment input is providing incentives for the creation and recognition of open standards(www.pubelo.be).
“INgeBEELD” Platform for Media Literacy
“INgeBEELD 1 and 2” are media packages for primary education that were developed following the audio-visual training research in Flemish education (2004), in cooperation with different partners and in co-production with Jekino, the knowledge centre for movie and image education. These packages are offered to schools at a reduced rate. “INgeBEELD 3” is an online module for secondary education, in which many possibilities for teaching media literacy within different subjects have been developed. Since 2011, the online part has been integrated into the “INgeBEELD” platform (www.ingebeeld.be) This platform is an open digital learning environment where pupils, students, teachers and lecturers can develop multimedia literacy or media literacy together, through relevant practice examples. The platform has been developed in close cooperation with educational umbrella organisations (through a steering group) and, as of autumn 2011, is managed by the Agency for Educational Communication (AO-C). Talks regarding cooperation with the Flemish Radio and Television Network Organisation (VRT) have been entered into during the implementation of the new management agreement with the VRT.
The platform also includes a project for teacher train-ing. CANON, the Ministry of Education’s cultural unit, has geared its 2010 and 2011 lab projects to the fur-ther development and sharing of expertise in relation to the platform. Several universities and colleges of higher education have subscribed to the project (koesteren of goesting) and the first results are already on the platform.The platform outlines how multimedia can be used in subjects such as mathematics and sciences (www.canoncultuurcel.be).
Development of serious games
The Flemish Government developed several serious games within the framework of different projects:
• In September 2010, within the framework of the Belgian EU Presidency and the European Year for Combating Poverty, a serious game called PING was introduced in Belgian secondary schools. PING stands for Poverty Is Not a Game and is an online game aimed at secondary school pupils that forms a starting point for a discussion on the subject of “poverty” and what it means to be poor.
• In 2011, a serious game was commissioned as a learning tool to combat bullying and cyber bullying in secondary schools. The game will be launched in 2013 as part of a holistic school approach against bullying.
• In 2013, a serious game aiming to support student teachers in class management will be distributed within initial teacher training institutes.
In 2012, the Flemish Ministers for Education & Train-ing and for Media developed the Game Fund, aiming to stimulate and support the creation of games by Flemish developers and producers. The Flemish Audio-visual Fund is responsible for the management of the Game Fund, which supports both serious and entertainment games. A first call was issued in 2012, resulting in the financial support of 13 new games, four of which are serious games for compulsory and pre-school education (www.vaf.be/gamefonds).Digital media content sharing through “Library@school”
Through “the library at school” (De Bib op school), Bibnet wants to stimulate the structural cooperation between public libraries and local schools. Pupils and teachers can access reliable and high-quality re-sources from the local library through their school’s electronic learning environment. The physical collection (books, CDs, DVDs, etc.) can be browsed and reservations can be made, while the digital collection (e-books, digital music, newspaper archive, reviews, etc.) is immediately accessible. In 2011, Bibnet and the media database Mediargus extended the existing agreement in order to allow library members access to all articles in the database using their library login from home as well. This agreement also states that, as of 2012, all libraries subscribed to a Mediargus project can share their access rights with the primary and secondary schools of their municipality. This project will improve schools’ access to high-quality media content.
4.3. User-generated content
The educational portal Klascement has been at the forefront of the use of Web 2.0 for educational pur-poses for several years. Klascement is a Web 2.0 application in itself and its content is largely user-generated, as the portal is designed to be an ex-change platform for content by and for teachers. Additionally, the content is rated and actively com-mented on by the users themselves. Moreover, the portal hosts several learning objects on the educational use of Web 2.0. Finally, the “Classy” service, a subproject of Klascement, is offered to schools, teachers and classes. Classy is a free blog service where teachers and classes can receive free blog space and hosting (www.classy.be) (www.klascement.net)
4.4. WEB 2.0
See Section 4.3.
4.5. CONTENT SHARING
In order to make Flemish content available for international use (and vice versa), Flemish partners participate in the European Schoolnet Learning Re-sources Exchange. See also the information on the Klascement portal in section 4.2.
4.6. LEARNING PLATFORMS
Smartschool is a local commercial tool and the most widely-used platform in Flemish schools. The tool consists of 16 modules: news, links, assignments, web links, tests, learning paths, agenda, exercises, documents, an upload section, reports, questionnaires, forum, a collaboration zone, classmates and subject areas. Extra optional tools are “skore”, a follow up-system for pupils, communication tools and specific administration tools such as registration and reservation modules, picture storage and lesson schedules (www.smartschool.be).
EloV is the trademarked name of a specific virtual environment used by some Catholic Schools in Flanders. EloV is a localised version of the Blackboard platform and was introduced by the Flemish Secretariat of Catholic Education (https://elov.vvkso.be).
Open source products such as Moodle and Dokeos/Chamilo are also used by some schools to a lesser extent.
4.7. Access of SEN students
1.ICT without Limits Programme 2009
Since 2007, considerable effort has been made to support the use of ICT by pupils with special educa-tional needs (SEN), both in special and mainstream education. Within the 2009 ICT without Limits pro-gramme (ICT Zonder Beperkingen), specific actions that ran in 2009 and 2010 were set up to increase the use of ICT by children with special needs. Most of the materials developed are still available and used. ICT without Limits aimed at:
Programme action lines were:
2. Learning and Working with Autism
In addition to the abovementioned programme, a DVD with specific tools and an autism e-portfolio was produced to support the transition between (vocational) secondary education and entry into the workforce of pupils with autism. The DVD, entitled “Learning and Working with Autism”, was the result of a three-year pilot project with schools and school network associations, which ran from 2006 until 2009.
2. Government supported projects
The Ministry of Education funds and supports three service organisations in the field of ICT for SEN:
4. Dyslexia software initiatives
The Ministry of Education has an annual budget for the purchase of specific dyslexia software (Sprint or Kürzweil). Schools have to submit a request and can receive funding for a fixed number of software li-censes. In 2010, a campaign was launched in order to raise awareness about the rights and obligations of schools with regard to the use of specific hard- and software for pupils with serious dyslexia. A set of guidelines was published and two study days were organised, one for inspectors and school guides, and one for teachers.
5. Teacher Education for ICT
5.1. ICT in initial teacher education
The learning outcomes of teacher education are de-scribed as basic competences and there are three groups and ten subgroups of basic competences. ICT and media literacy are integrated into several of the subgroups and are therefore compulsory, but the way in which these topics are integrated into the cur-riculum can differ, ranging from 1:1 pedagogy and seminars to short-term training.
Responsibilities with respect to the learner:
Responsibility towards the school / the educational community:
Responsibility regarding the society:
ICT (and media literacy) are integrated in several of the subgroups.
5.2. ICT In in-service training
It is not compulsory to follow in-service training. Schools have full autonomy to develop an in-service training plan and policy. Every school in Flanders receives an earmarked budget for in-service training.
Increasing the digital literacy of teachers is one of the objectives of the present Media Literacy Policy Plan. Between 2000 and 2011, around 10,000 teachers per year received specific ICT training within the frame-work of the REN Flanders project. As of the school year 2011-2012, the ICT in-service training for teach-ers will be financed by the Flemish authority and organised by the educational guidance services. ICT training no longer stands alone (through separate ICT courses) but constitutes an integral part of a subject-oriented or theme-oriented training.
The innovation fund for teacher training programmes
Through the innovation fund for teacher training pro-grammes, the Flemish government aims to finance projects that benefit the quality of teacher training programmes through innovation. An innovation project can be submitted by one or several initial teacher training programmes, one or several expertise networks, a regional platform or a combination thereof. In 2011, projects could apply to the fund under five different themes. One of those themes concerned gaming, under which a game will be developed for the use in teacher training programmes on class management. For the 2012 call, media literacy was included as a separate theme and two media literacy projects were awarded funding of 125,000 euro each.
5.4. Assessment schemes
There are no general assessment schemes for ICT competence. ICT competence assessment can differ from institution to institution.
5.5. Training the teacher trainers
There are no specific programmes for teacher trainers.
5.5. IncentivesThere are no specific incentives.
5.5. ICT supporting inclusionSee section 4.7 for an overview of actions and policies regarding e-inclusion in education.
Ministries of Education are asked to update their country report on the basis of the 2011 questionnaire.
Timeline: March - June 2011
- Download the 2011 questionnaire (doc)
- Download the guidance sheet for Ministries (pdf)
COUNTRY REPORTS 2009/2010
Reports (pdf) available here
Previous reports (pdf) available here