Educational institutions and study programmes
Educational institutions and study programmes in the Flemish Community
Below, we explain what types of educational institutions and study programmes there are in the Flemish Community of Belgium. We also explain how we check whether these are recognised and/or accredited. We check the and/or to make sure that the quality is sufficient. We give the necessary information per educational sector.
The government of a country grants an official status to an educational institution and/or study programme. Usually, if the government recognises an educational institution, all its study programmes are also recognised. However recognition may also be arranged at the programme level. This means that the government must recognise not only the educational institution, but also its study programmes. We only evaluate diplomas from recognised institutions and recognised study programmes. Read more about recognition in the EAR manual.
An organisation checks and assesses the quality of education. Usually the accreditation is valid for a certain period. In some countries, accreditation is compulsory, in others it is voluntary. The government of a country often appoints one or more organisations responsible for accrediting institutions and/or study programmes. In addition, there are also private accreditation organisations. We only mention and (in the case of diploma evaluations) consult accreditation organisations appointed by the government of that country. Read more about accreditation in the EAR manual.
Secondary education | diplomas
Students conclude secondary education with exams for one of the following diplomas:
You can find more information about Flemish secondary education on the website Onderwijskiezer (in Dutch only).
Higher education | educational institutions
The Flemish Community has various types of higher education institutions:
- universiteiten (universities); and
Universities offer university education. This is academic (research-oriented) education that may lead to an Bachelor, Master or Doctor (PhD).
Hogescholen offer non-university education. This is profession-oriented education. There are 2 exceptions:
- The Hogere Zeevaartschool (Higher Maritime Academy) and the hogescholen that offer art programmes also offer academic bachelor's and master's programmes (in addition to profession-oriented bachelor's programmes).
- The HBO5 Verpleegkunde programme (HBO5 Nursing degree programme) is offered by schools for secondary education (in cooperation with hogescholen).
More information about different types of higher education institutions can be found on the website of the Flemish government (in Dutch).
Checking the recognition of higher education institutions
Flemish higher education institutions need to be recognised. The Hogeronderwijsregister (higher education register) includes an overview of recognised higher education institutions.
Higher education | study programmes
The Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO) monitors the quality of higher education programmes taught in the Flemish Community. Recognised higher education institutions are accountable for the quality of their study programmes.
Accreditation of recognised educational institutions
All institutions that have been recognised as universities or universities of applied sciences (hogescholen) bear responsibility for the quality of the study programmes they offer. Recognised universities and universities of applied sciences are required to undergo assessment by NVAO once every 6 years. This is the so-called institutional review.
Accreditation of study programmes offered by non-recognised educational institutions
All other non-recognised institutions must follow NVAO's procedure for programme accreditation.
New study programmes
If a formally recognised university or university of applied sciences wishes to offer a new study programme, it must follow the following NVAO procedure: initial accreditation. If a non-recognised institution wishes to offer a new study programme, it must undergo extensive initial accreditation.
Once a degree programme has been accredited, it is included in the Hogeronderwijsregister (higher education register) for a period of 8 years. This means that the registered degree is recognised by the national government, in this case the Flemish Community.
If the verdict of the assessment is negative, the study programme loses its accreditation and is removed from the register. As a consequence, the institution may no longer offer the study programme. However, an institution may apply for a temporary accreditation for a recovery period of between 1 and 3 years.
Checking the accreditation of study programmes
Accredited study programmes are registered in the Hogeronderwijsregister (in Dutch). You can use different search criteria to find a study programme, such as:
- Opleiding, field of study;
- Soort opleiding, the type of study programme;
- Instelling, the name of the higher education institution.
Study programmes in figures
On its website, the Flemish government also maintains an overview (in Dutch) called opleidingen in cijfers (study programmes in figures). You can find information on more than 600 study programmes. For example, about their and the institutions where students can follow these degree programmes. But there are also figures about how many students attended a study programme and obtained a diploma.
The official length of the full-time programme (not part-time) without study delay.