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In 2011, a mapping study of cultural education was requested by the Minister of Culture in Flanders.


In 2012 a Memorandum on knowledge sharing in the field of cultural education in Flanders will be produced.


A green paper on the reform of part-time cultural education is being prepared.

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Belgium/ 8.3 Arts and cultural education  

8.3.1 Institutional overview

Flemish Community

In Flanders, the development of (cultural) competences is an important strategic objective of the government as a whole. The "ViA" (Vlaanderen in Actie) strategic plan for Flanders in 2020 identifies individual development as a priority.

The responsibility for culture and education are separated in 2 different departments within the Flemish government. Fulltime (vocational) education and part-time art education are subsumed under the Education Department. Some of these institutions are funded directly by the Flemish Community; others are independent, subsidised institutions. The Culture Department of the Flemish government subsidises various art education organisations and initiatives. These include:

  • youth organisations (under the Flemish Parliament Act on Youth Policy);
  • organisations for socio-cultural adult work (under the Flemish Parliament Act on Socio-cultural Adult Work); and
  • local organisations (under the Flemish Parliament Act on Local Cultural Policy).

The relationship between culture and education has been a hot topic for some years. Several studies and policy documents have been presented, both by Ministers of Education and Culture respectively.

  • In 2008 the Flemish Minister of Education presented the findings of a reflection group which presented recommendations on the position of culture in the Flemish education system. These were based on a study by Anne Bamford, professor at the Wimbledon School of Arts, on the quality of arts and cultural education in Flanders. Proposals addressed the need for the development of a vision on culture, art and education, a plea for more integrated cooperation between the sectors of culture and education (policy and practice), improved organisational support and a financial injection.
  • Around the same time, the Flemish Minister of Culture presented a policy paper on cultural education and action in the context of the culture and youth sectors: both as an overview of current efforts and concrete actions for the future – all this in the context of the overarching policy for cultural participation.
  • In 2011, the minister of Culture ordered a mapping study of the "field" of cultural education (Veldtekening Cultuureducatie). The aim was to develop an overall image and a SWOT evaluation of a field that is fragmented into different policy domains: amateur arts, local cultural policy, youth, cultural heritage, arts, socio-cultural adult work and the Participation Decree.

From the point of view of cultural policy, the perspective in the current legislation is the optimisation of existing policy instruments. This is the aim of the newly set-up ACCE platform. "ACCE" stands for "Ambtelijke Coördinatie CultuurEducatie" and is the official coordination platform between the various entities of the policy domain Culture, Youth, Sports and Media, in which policy officials from different departments are represented.

Culture also seeks coordination with other policy areas. In 2012, the current ministers of Culture and Education will present a memorandum, including common support for the development of local/regional networks for knowledge sharing concerning cultural education.

In Education policy, one of the current topics is the reform of the DKO system (Deeltijds Kunstonderwijs, part-time cultural education). On 4 March 2011 the Flemish Government approved a green paper on reform of the DKO. This paper explains the framework for a thorough renewal of the system, in order to adapt the content and structure of the programme to the dynamics in recent years in the cultural field.

French Community

Performing arts

At the end of the 1960s, a funding programme was set up to sponsor theatre and musicals in schools. This policy contributed to the development not only of artistic creativity but also of its dissemination of information of their works and of the theatre in general within schools.

Literature and public libraries

Writers, aiming at students, have drawn up programmes of sensitisation to Belgian Francophone literature. Pilot projects develop collaborations between schools and public libraries. Schools are also associated to yearly events, such as "la fureur de lire" and "la langue en fête".

There is currently an education reform process underway, which will redefine its mission in a modern society and demonstrate the importance of cultural activity in the schools. Education and culture are within the Ministry of the French Community. Co-operative objectives and projects are currently being organised.

A specific programme, which associates the departments of culture and education, aims at the development of cultural practices at school, specifically in positive discrimination schools (socially underprivileged public). This programme focuses on activities relative to literature, arts, audiovisual, creativity and continuing education sectors.

German-speaking Community

Artists and schools co-operate within certain projects. There are no systematic promotion measures.

Chapter published: 09-03-2012

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              Council of Europe/ERICarts, "Compendium of Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe, 15th edition", 2014 | ISSN 2222-7334