Both culture and education are competences of the Flemish Community, but each resides under a different policy area and government department (see 5.1). Compulsory education is subsumed under the Ministry of Education and Training and is subject to attainment targets, which constitute a binding framework on what to teach. These attainment goals are currently in a process of reform, but in both the old and new versions there is attention for social and cultural diversity and intercultural competences. These are aimed at facilitating the recognition and appreciation of (cultural) diversity and at learning how to live together and cooperate within a democratic society. Although they constitute a binding framework, attainment goals still offer schools a large degree of freedom. As a result, the ways in which the topic of social and cultural diversity is implemented in the curriculum can vary among schools.
The Ministry of Education offers training and information sessions for school teams on inclusion and diversity. Schools can also apply for project support by Kruit, an expertise organisation on global citizenship education (funded within the federal policy field of Development Cooperation). Social and cultural diversity can also be the topic of cultural education projects (in which, for example, schools collaborate with cultural organisations, see 5.2).
Attention for diversity is not limited to the curriculum: there are also policies aimed at achieving equal access to schooling for pupils in different socio-economic situations (the ‘GOK’-policies). Next to these, pupils that have specific needs related to disabilities can take courses in a dedicated network of schools (the special educational needs education). Since 2017, these pupils have the right to register in ‘regular’ schools. The legal framework that arranges these rights and the consequent support for schools (the ‘M-Decree’) is currently being revised. It should be noted that Dutch is the compulsory language for teaching most courses in schools (see 2.5.4). The Flemish education system is primarily monolingual, with special programmes for Dutch language acquisition (such as the reception classes for non-Dutch speaking newcomers or ‘OKAN’).
Despite the attention for social and cultural diversity in the curriculum and in regulations on access to education, research has shown that socio-economic and ethnic inequality is an issue in the Flemish education system, with high performance gaps between students, tightly linked to one’s background. Researchers have also criticised the eurocentrist character of history education in practice. In light of the latter, academics have spoken out against the plan of the Flemish government of introducing a Flemish canon in education and integration policies, which is argued to enforce the eurocentric approach.
 See, for example, the research of education specialist Orhan Agirdag.
 Van Nieuwenhuyse, Karel, and Marjolein Wilke. 2020. ‘History education in Belgium/ Flanders since 1945 between a national and a global scope: whose past, what for, and for whom?’ Bulletin du CREAS 7: 65–76.
 The idea of introducing a canon is mentioned, among others, in the coalition agreement of the current Flemish government (Vlaamse Regering. 2019. ‘Regeerakkoord 2019-2024’, 17, 21, 25-26, 107) and in the policy memorandum of minister of Culture Jan Jambon (—. 2019. ‘Beleidsnota Cultuur 2019-2024’, 15). For comments by historians and other academics on the idea and use of a canon, see e.g. this open letter. For a defence from the side of policy makers, see here.
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