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Currently, the Flemish government implements a transversal policy for cultural education. The policy is not organized by sub-sector, but runs across the different cultural sectors. Therefore one speaks about cultural education in a broad sense, of which art education, social-artistic work and heritage education are part of.
In recent years, the respective ministers for culture and education worked more closely together in their policies on cultural education and joint initiatives were taken. This led to a joint strategy, which was included in three official documents.
- Concept note ‘Groeien in cultuur’ (2012, ‘Growing in culture’):
On January 20, 2012, the Flemish Government approved the concept note "Growing in culture" . The note addresses the need for more transversal policy attention for cultural education, outlines the contours of a common strategic policy framework and a first action plan. Where in the past, the ministers in question each developed an vision for cultural education from their own jurisdiction, ministers Schauvliege and Smet (legislature 2009-2014) developed for the first time a shared policy framework. This made it possible to develop a joint policy in the long run, to build a single quality framework for cultural education and to better align existing regulations and to set up joint actions. All actions, mentioned in this policy paper, aimed at providing children and young people with all opportunities to develop their creative talents, thus enabling a lively interaction between culture, youth and educational practice.
- Concept note ‘Doorgroeien in culture’ (2013, ‘Further Growing in Culture’)
On the proposal of the Minister of Culture Mrs. Joke Schauvliege and Minister of Education, Mr. Pascal Smet, the Flemish government approved the concept note on Cultural education "Doorgroeien in Cultuur" on July 19, 2013. This note sets out a strategic policy framework for cultural education for adults (18-plus) and explains the policy vision and objectives. Also, the note entails some actions and initiatives that contribute to these objectives.
Doorgroeien in Cultuur is an additional complementary note on "Groeien in Cultuur", starting, like the previous note, from the need for a more overarching culture education policy, this time for 18-plus. In Doorgroeien in Cultuur, the key question is: how can we appeal to 18-plus people to "grow in" in different life stages and in different life domains? Also in this document the interfaces between Culture, Education and Youth remain as a starting point. Making connections between the different types of learning environments (part-time arts education, social association, art or heritage organization, an amateur company ...) is a priority.
- Action Plan 'Cultuur en Onderwijs – Samen voor meer en beter’ (2016, Action Plan Culture and Education: Together for more and better )
On 14/10/2016, the Flemish Government adopted the “Action Plan Culture and Education: Together for more and better “. Based on this plan, Flemish Ministers of Education and Culture Hilde Crevits and Sven Gatz strengthened their cooperation. It is their ambition to enjoy each child and every young person, regardless of the home and socioeconomic background, of culture. Cultural awareness and cultural expression help young people to meet the challenges of tomorrow more self-consciously. Professional organizations from the cultural sector are given a more pronounced role.
With the Culture and Education Action Plan and the previous concept notes, it is the ambition to let every child and every young person enjoy culture, regardless of the home and socio-economic background.
Professional organizations in the cultural sector are given a more pronounced role in this objective. Cultuurkuur.be will be further developed as a digital platform to facilitate dialogue and cooperation between culture and education, both virtual and in reality.
The action plan takes as a reference the theory of "Cultuur in de Spiegel" (Culture in the Mirror) and the empirical findings from the study “Cultuur leren smaken” (Learning to taste culture, See 8.1. for some empirical findings)
Actions are rolled out over three domains.
- information and communication on the theoretical framework "Cultuur in de Spiegel" and the digital platform "CultuurKuur"
- Providing professionals in both cultural and educational sector, possibilities for training and networking to work within the theoretical framework, to work together and to learn from each other
- Contentually deepening: This entails supporting, disseminating and facilitating knowledge building and sharing (e.g. by means of pilot projects, seminars, ….).
Existing channels within the culture and education policy areas will be activated to achieve the goals. In particular CANON Cultuurcel (within the Communication Division of the Department Education and Training) and ACCE (within the Departement of Culture, Youth and Media) will be responsible for implementation of the strategy. They will for instance:
- be responsible for the communication of the theoretical framework and empirical results
- be in charge for the training of experts in cultural education
- guide pilot projects
There hasn’t been yet an evidence-based monitoring or evaluation of the implementation of the action plan been conducted
The action note sets out a number of objectives in the short term. However, the two policy areas wish to go beyond the stated objectives and actions in this short-term plan and to set benchmarks in the long term.
To do this substantiated, the note and follow-up trails will be followed by a group of educational and cultural professionals with experience in the practice of cultural education. This focus group will be tasked to monitor closely the policy developments and monitor the actions listed in the note, and to report and make proposals for adaptation or improvement where necessary.