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Cross-sectorial cooperation Education & Employment: the dual vocational training system
SME training is very popular in East Belgium. For many young people, an apprenticeship represents the first step into the world of work. Businesses are very appreciative of the practical qualification of the apprentices. The practical part of the training is taught in the business. The theoretical part and the "general education" and "languages" subjects are taught at the vocational school (Berufsschule).
In addition, the German-speaking Community forges cooperation agreements with other regions to provide double qualifications in the educational area. Thus, it is possible to be able to work in two countries with one training qualification. For example car mechatronics technicians or hairdressers can obtain two qualifications for one training course, which will be recognised both in East Belgium and in the CIC district of Aachen. This is the advantage of the border position of East Belgium for young people.
Cooperation agreement between the autonomous Province of Bolzano-Bozen, South Tyrol and the government of the German-speaking Community of Belgium in the educational area
There have been cooperations in the education area between Bozen and the German-speaking Community since 1992. The Government approved the updated cooperation agreement between the Autonomous Province of Bolzano-South Tyrol and the Government of the German-speaking Community of Belgium in the field of education, as well as the related work program for the years 2020 and 2021 on 5 December 2019.
With this agreement, the partners intend regular cooperation and periodic exchange of experience in the field of education, especially in areas relevant to the implementation of the regional development concept and the current work program in the German-speaking Community:
- Regular information about the regional development priorities,
- exchange on the organization and further development of remedial education,
- measures in the field of language promotion,
- Measures in the area of civic education - citizenship education,
- measures in the field of "first-arriving pupils",
- measures in the area of leadership training,
- new training concepts for teachers and models for lateral entrants,
- Invitation to the Rechtenthal Talks on School Development.
The education system at federal level
Since 1989 education has no longer been one of the areas of responsibility of the federal parliament and the federal government; now each of the three communities is itself exclusively responsible for it with the exception of:
- laying down the start and end of compulsory education;
- the minimum conditions for issuing diplomas;
- the pension regulations for staff in the education sector.
These areas remain reserved to the federal parliament.
The role of the government of the German-speaking Community
With the exception of the three aspects mentioned above, education in Belgium is the responsibility of the communities.
The government of the German-speaking Community consists of four ministers of whom one (the Education Minister) is responsible for education and scientific research and another for extra-curricular education. The Education Minister and the Ministry of the German-speaking Community must fulfil a double role in the area of education:
- on the one hand the Education Minister (on behalf of the government) is the governing body of the community schools (of the previous state schools) that are integrated into the educational network of the community education system (Gemeinschaftsunterrichtswesen, GUW). In this capacity, he lays down structures, syllabi and methods, decides on larger infrastructure measures and finances the schools in question; in cooperation with school heads, he takes all actions for improving the operation of the school;
- on the other hand the Minister and the Ministry as the supervisory authority are responsible for control of the application of all statutory provisions and regulations, not only in their own community schools but also in the schools of other school governing bodies. He approves the school structures and syllabi of the free and officially subsidies schools (Freies subventioniertes Unterrichtswesen, FSUW and Offizielles subventioniertes Unterrichtswesen, OSUW) and subsidises them to a large extent under criteria laid down by the annual Decree on Measures in the Field of Education (Dekret über Maßnahmen im Unterrichtswesen).
The Ministry of the German-speaking Community
As in every central administration, the main task of the Ministry lies in supporting its decision making and executing the decisions of the government. The Ministry circulates letters regarding the decrees and regulations issued by the legislative and executive organs of the German-speaking Community. The circulars from the Teaching and Training department in the Ministry are sent to all persons who administer the structures of the education system (in the Ministry, in the schools), as well as all other people concerned (school governing bodies, parents' associations, unions etc.). Apart from that, the Ministry is responsible for important administrative and inspection tasks.
Administration and control at local and/or institutional level
By local level we mean the nine municipalities of the German-speaking Community and by institutional level we mean the individual schools. The Decree on the mandate to the school boards and school staff and on the general pedagogical and organizational provisions for regular and special schools of 31 August 1998 (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) is considered as the legal basis.
The municipal administrations are exclusively responsible for the schools, the governing bodies of which are the municipalities, just like any other governing body (i.e. the German-speaking Community or a free, private governing body) can only be responsible for its own schools at local level. As the governing body, the municipality can decide what syllabi it would like to introduce for use in its schools and what methods should be applied. It recruits and appoints the staff of the municipal schools under the rules laid down by the Parliament of the German-speaking Community in staff regulations in accordance with the Decree establishing the statute of subsidized staff members of the official subsidized education system and official subsidized PMS centers of 29 March 2004 (Dekret zur Festlegung des Statuts der subventionierten Personalmitglieder des offiziellen subventionierten Unterrichtswesens und der offiziellen subventionierten PMS-Zentren vom 29. März 2004), which are equally binding on all municipalities and municipal schools. It decides on the required infrastructure measures and sets the budget each year that the municipal schools have available for the procurement of teaching aids.
Administration and control at institutional level
The assistance of the various persons involved in the education system is provided by the Pedagogical Council (Pädagogischer Rat), the School Representation (Schülervertretung) and the Parent Council (Elternrat).
All participants, i.e. the pupils and parents, the management, teaching, educational support and administration staff as well as the paramedic and social-psychological staff acquire rights and obligations that they exercise within the bodies provided.