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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki
Belgium-German-Speaking-Community

Belgium-German-Speaking-Community

5. Participation

5.7 “Learning to participate” through formal, non-formal and informal learning

On this page
  1. Policy Framework
  2. Formal learning
  3. Non-formal and informal learning
  4. Quality assurance/quality guidelines for non-formal learning
  5. Educators' support

Policy Framework

The decree of the 6 December 2011 on funding for youth work in the German-Speaking Community regulates the development of young people, provides support for youth work, youth organisations and the youth council as well as for the organisation of education and training for young people and youth workers.

Youth work takes place in out-of-school settings and within the scope of particular leisure time activities. It is based on non-formal education and informal learning processes and achieved through voluntary participation.

To be funded, youth centres have to enable young people to gain self-efficacy experiences and learn shaping skills and support the participation of young people in their establishment. They also have to offer and provide activities that place the needs of the children and young people at the centre of the actions and take into account issues of children and young people in disadvantaged life situations, of children and young people with a migration background and children and young people with a disability.

Focuses of the youth work are:

  1. socio-political and social education to promote interest in socio-political participation, of the ability to form critical judgements of socio-political processes and of the readiness for active involvement in socio-political processes;

  2. cultural youth work to promote creativity and cultural forms of expression;

  3. leisure-oriented youth work as a contribution to holistic development through sport, play and movement;

  4. media work to promote media skills for critical and conscious media use;

  5. intercultural youth work to promote skills and finding one’s identity;

  6. gender-differentiated girls’ and boys’ youth work for the promotion of equality of opportunity and breaking down gender stereotypes;

  7. cross-community and international youth work to promote understanding within Belgium and internationally, peace-keeping and the European identity.

Starting from the voluntary nature of the participation of children and young people, funded youth centres fulfil their tasks within these focuses on their own responsibility and using a variety of methods.

Formal learning

Article 55 of the decree of 31 august 1998 regulating the organisation of formal education in the German-Speaking Community (Dekret vom 31. August 1998 über den Auftrag an die Schulträger und das Schulpersonal sowie über die allgemeinen pädagogischen und organisatorischen Bestimmungen für die Regel- und Förderschulen) states:

The pupils are involved in school life through elected pupil unions. The school principal is obliged to allow for a pupil union from the 2nd level of secondary education on. The pupils' representatives have an information and consultation right. The pedagogical project of each school contains provisions on the form of the participation of pupil unions. These provisions are elaborated together with the pupil's representation in the so called Pedagogical Council and presented to the principal for approval.

In some schools of the German-speaking Community, pupil unions are accompagnied by a trained youth worker from the youth information centres. This allows for a link between formal and non-formal education.

Non-formal and informal learning

As defined in the Decree of 6 December 2011 governing the funding of youth work (Dekret vom 6. Dezember 2011 zur Förderung der Jugendarbeit), youth work takes place out of school and during particular leisure activities and is based on the processes of non-formal and informal learning and voluntary participation.

This form of participation refers to offers that take place in open youth work or youth organisations. Greater say, participation and co-determination are part of the activities in youth organisations or youth centers. Young people get to experience teamwork and improve their social behaviour, that can be used to empower them as responsible citizens while being supported by trained youth workers.

Numerous activities are offered to young people by youth centres and youth organizations, where they are actively involved in the realization of projects. The Youth Commission of the German-speaking Community organises training courses for youth workers.

Quality assurance/quality guidelines for non-formal learning

Joint committees monitor the implementation and the evaluation of the contracts on performance of open youth work on the local level. Representatives of the DG, the respective local authority and the agencies of the Open Youth Work are represented in these committees.

Youth organisations meet annually with the ministry for an effectiveness dialogue during which the implementation of the concept and what has happened in the previous year are discussed.

Educators' support

The youth commission is responsible for the organisation and managing of training for youth workers and youth leaders.