Compulsory education in Flanders is subject to attainment targets, which constitute a binding framework on what to teach. These attainment targets contain artistic and cultural competences, which is also true of some of the development goals in nursery school. Nonetheless, these targets and goals still offer schools a large degree of freedom in organising and implementing the curriculum. As a result, the range and quality of artistic and cultural education within the curriculum can vary among schools. Moreover, teachers and cultural organisations have shown concern about the current reform of the attainment targets and other goals in secondary education. Although artistic and cultural competences feature prominently in the designs of the new goals (see 4.1.9), there are worries that their prominence is strongly reduced in the final, approved versions and in the effective adoption of the goals by Catholic Education Flanders (the largest network of schools in Flanders).
In secondary school (beginning in the third year), pupils can choose a course of study within secondary education in the arts (‘kunstsecundair onderwijs’ or KSO), which combines a broad general education with an active practice of art.
The Flemish government aims to stimulate the relation between culture and education in schools through a set of initiatives. Most of these are managed by CANON Cultural Unit, which is part of the Ministry of Education and Training. These initiatives include:
- Cultuurkuur.be, an online platform which offers information on how to organise cultural education and provides an overview of cultural education activities that can be booked by schools in Flanders and Brussels (see also 6.1)
- funding schemes, such as DynamoPROJECT (for creative projects at school, involving a cultural partner) and Kunstkuur (for collaborations between schools and academies for part-time education in the arts)
- Expert training courses on cultural education for teachers and other people working at schools