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EACEA National Policies Platform


6. Education and Training

6.6 Social inclusion through education and training

Last update: 28 November 2023

Educational support

Formal education

  • A number of top-level policies aimed at keeping vulnerable young people engaged in education exist as follows:

-    The French-speaking Community allocates grants and study loans to pupils in secondary and higher education under certain conditions (pupils from low income households) ; 

-    The decree of 3 March 2004 organising specialised education (Décret du 3 mars 2004 organisant l’enseignement spécialisé). According to Eurypedia, very early on (in the law of 6 July 1970), Belgium created a dedicated, well-structured organisation for the education of children who are "apt to be educated but cannot attend an ordinary school". Consequently, in addition to ordinary full-time education, the French Community organises or subsidises, at the nursery, primary, and secondary levels, specialised education for people between the ages of three and twenty-one (with possible age limit dispensations) with a disability. Such education has been adapted on several occasions (in the decrees of 11 March 1986, 3 March 2004 and 5 February 2009). More detailed information in Eurypedia ;
-    The decree of 30 April 2009 organising a differentiated framework within French-speaking Community’s schools to ensure to every pupil equal opportunities of social emancipation in a pedagogical quality environment (organisant un encadrement différencié au sein des établissements scolaires de la Communauté française afin d'assurer à chaque élève des chances égales d'émancipation sociale dans un environnement pédagogique de qualité) ; 

-    The French-speaking Community and the Regions have concluded agreements to formalise and support assistance for disabled pupils. 

According to Eurypedia, the Regional Agencies for the integration of disabled people (AWIPH in Wallonia and PHARE for the Brussels Region) may participate to certain costs associated with integration (the purchase of special equipment, the adaptation of a building, etc.). These bodies also offer support with the integration process (assistance with communication, psycho-educational support, etc.) (See Eurypedia for more information)

-    The decree of 18 May 2012 aimed at implementing a support to welcome and offer education to first generation immigrants in organised or subsided education (Décret du 18 mai 2012 visant à la mise en place d’un dispositif d’accueil et de scolarisation des élèves primo-arrivants dans l’enseignement organisé ou subventionné par la Communauté Française). 
Pupils are then welcome in DASPA (specifc classrooms) for a period of 1 week to 12 months. The period can be extended to 6 extra months maximum. The objectives include the optimal insertion of young migrants, an education adapted to their specific needs (language, culture), and a transition before the insertion in a regular classroom.

-    The Decree related to Homework School. These structures welcome young people from 6 to 15 after school. They offer learning and social support. 

  • The reform of the Excellence Teaching Pact focuses its 4th axe on social inclusion at school. The 4th objective of the Pact is to remove barriers of specialised education. According to the Pact, too many pupils, in particular young people with low socio-economic background, are guided to specialised education even though they should stay in ordinary education. The Pact plans to refocus specialised education on the right targeted public. 

The Pact aims at strengthening the role of Centres for Psychological Medical and Social Services in the field of school dropout and their role with the families. It will also aim at offering to pupils with specific needs the possibility to pursue their scholarship in the ordinary education system for which the reasonable arrangements will be made. 

Non-formal education

  • The decree related to youth centres sets out a specific support to equal opportunities for all (dispositif particulier d’égalité des chances). It gives extra public funding to youth centres working with disadvantaged public. 
  • The decree on Youth Organisations also sets out a specific support to actions targeted at beneficiaries with specific needs (Dispositif particulier de soutien aux actions destinées à des publics spécifiques). It gives extra public funding to youth organisations working with vulnerable public. 

Many recognised associations contribute to the welfare and education of disadvantaged young people. 

Social cohesion and equal opportunities

Several measures and policies have been adopted to combat all forms of discriminations :
-    The Schools Contract of 31 May 2005 ; 

-    The policy related to the introduction of a separate subject treating citizenship at school has been introduced in 2016 in primary school. It has been implemented in secondary school in September 2017.

-    The decree of 12 December 2008 (prohibition of any form of discrimination in social institutions, in particular in schools) ; 

-    The anti-discrimination plan which covers 53 measures to combat discriminations in particular for young people. It was initiated by the Minister of equal opportunities for the period 2014-2019. 

-    The decree of 30 June 1998 aims at ensuring to every pupils equal opportunities for social emancipation in particular by the implementation of “positive discrimination”. The decree has been revised many times. The last revision was in 2009. It affects only ordinary education system. 
According to this decree, the French-speaking Community grants extra funding to schools having pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. The Minister of Education is responsible for the implementation of this decree. 

-    Yapaka is a programme which runs campaigns to promote child well-being and to prevent child abuse. It addresses issues including gender and discrimination. It is ongoing since 1998. The responsible authority is the Ministry of the French-speaking Community. 

More information is to be found in the Eurydice 2012 report on Citizenship Education.