In Flanders, the development of (cultural) competences is an important strategic objective of the government as a whole. The “Vision 2050. A long-term strategy for Flanders” identifies lifelong learning as a priority.
The responsibility for culture and education are separated in 2 different departments within the Flemish government. Formal fulltime (vocational) education and part-time arts education are subsumed under the Education Department, funded directly by the Flemish Community.
In Education policy, one of the current topics is the reform of the DKO system (Deeltijds Kunstonderwijs, part-time arts education in music, dance, drama and visual arts). 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 and society. The new decree should be ready for the start of the new school year 2018-2019.
The Flemish government supports also independent, subsidised cultural institutions that focus on arts education, both in formal and informal settings. The Culture, Youth and Media Department of the Flemish government subsidises various art education organisations and initiatives. These include:
- youth organisations for cultural education and media literacy;
- organisations for socio-cultural adult work;
- amateur arts organisations;
- local circus ateliers; and
- artists and arts organisations.
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 and together.
- 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 was 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, and Media, in which policy officials from different departments are represented.
Culture also seeks coordination with other policy areas. In 2016, the ministers of Culture and Education presented an action plan, including common support for knowledge sharing and collaboration concerning cultural education.
French-speaking Community of Belgium
In keeping with the reforms to basic education and the redefinition of its missions in contemporary society and the allocation of education and culture to the Ministry of the French-speaking Community of Belgium, more and more space is being allocated to cultural action in schools. Work is underway to structure the collaboration projects and objectives.
A specific programme linking the departments of culture and education is designed to develop cultural practices in schools, in particular in those schools with positive discrimination (socially disadvantaged sections of the public). This programme involves activities relating to reading, the arts, AV, creativity and continuing education.
Programmes run by authors to raise students’ awareness of French-language literature in Belgium have been developed. Projects are underway to foster collaborations between schools and libraries. Schools are likewise involved in annual events such as ‘la fureur de lire’ (‘mad about reading’) and ‘la langue en fête’ (‘celebrating language’).
The late 1960s saw the emergence of a process of funding the dissemination of performances by theatre companies, and then song concerts, aimed at state schools. This policy helps the development of both artistic creation and schools outreach.
Artists and schools co-operate within certain projects. There are no systematic promotion measures.