04 - Belgium - General Objectives

The ‘Bologna Decree’ of 31 March 2004 states that higher education organized or grant-aided by the French Community pursues, in parallel and without hierarchy, the following general objectives:

  • to accompany students in their role of responsible citizens, able to contribute to the development of a democratic, pluralist and united society;
  • to promote the autonomy and development of students, in particular by developing their scientific and artistic curiosity, their critical sense and their awareness of individual and collective duties and responsibilities;
  • to convey, through both the content of instruction and the other activities organized by the institution, the humanist values, the creative and innovative traditions, as well as the artistic, scientific, philosophical and political cultural heritage, which are historic foundations of this instruction, in the respect of the specificities of each;
  • to guarantee education – both general and specialized, both fundamental/conceptual and practical – at the highest level in order to allow students to play an active role in professional, social, economic and cultural life, and to open up equal opportunities of social emancipation;
  • to develop specialized skills designed to last, by imparting to students aptitudes to maintain their relevance, autonomously or within the framework of lifelong continuing education;
  • to situate initial training and supplemental programmes in a perspective of scientific, artistic, professional and cultural openness, encouraging teachers, students and graduates to engage in European/international mobility and cooperation.

In order to attain the general objectives, higher education requires from its personnel pedagogical qualities and specific, up-to-date skills, in direct link to the places of creation, critique, development and evolution of knowledge, art and thought.

To do so, the institutions that organize higher education take on, according to their means and specificities, the following three complementary missions:

  • to offer initial and ongoing education of high quality, according to their remit, and to certify the skills and knowledge acquired by their graduates;
  • to participate in research and/or creation activities in the ambit of their discipline;
  • to provide services to the community, in particular through collaboration with the educational, social, economic and cultural spheres

The institution determines specific activities for all members of its personnel in accordance with these missions. According to the form and type of higher education under consideration, these missions acquire different relative importance and can take concrete form in various ways, depending on the institution’s particularities.

The different missions of higher education are carried out within a dimension of collaboration and exchanges at the French Community, European, and international levels.

The French Community subordinates its recognition of studies and its grants to the institutions that provide them to the respect of these objectives and other provisions of the Decree



The primary mission of university education is to maintain, disseminate, and advance science. Education and research are closely linked. Universities are also vested with a cultural and critical function.

Universities provide education for managers responsible for research, development, and the application of new scientific knowledge. University education attaches great importance to abstraction and theoretical training.

Hautes Écoles

The missions of the hautes écoles are:

  • to offer initial education, based on the acquisition of knowledge and know-how;
  • to organize continuing education programmes open to the adaptation of knowledge following the evolution of professions and to specialization aiming at increasing the depth of initial education and broadening the professional scope;
  • to organize applied research, by undertaking works related to technical development and application of knowledge;
  • to provide services to the community, in particular by collaboration with the educational, economic, social and cultural spheres

Short-type higher education provided in the hautes écolesconsists of a programme that provides technical training in order to acquire an occupational skill in a specific domain.

Long-type (university-level) higher education provided in the hautes écolesstrives to attain abstraction beyond the concrete aspect of things and provides scientific and technological training geared more directly for practical applications. It trains highly technical management staff for transposition and development tasks and short-term applied research.

Art colleges

Artistic higher education is defined as a setting for multidisciplinary research and creation, in which the arts and their teaching are invented in an inseparable way.

The objectives have multiple facets: social integration, exploration, constitution and critical use of a base of knowledge, practices and attitudes, creative self-sufficiency, international and civic dimension The purpose of short-type education in the plastic, visual and spatial arts is the practice of an artistic profession. Through artistic instruction and knowledge of cultural research, the aim is to produce professional tradesmen, autonomous specialists able to take their future in hand, in particular through research based on professional purpose.

Long-type education in the plastic, visual and spatial arts offers in-depth and versatile training on a wide optional basis nourished by interdisciplinary experimenting and research.

Architecture colleges

No legal text assigns specific missions to the architecture colleges, other than the organization of studies leading to the degrees of bachelor and master of architecture.

Eurydice - the information network on education in Europe

Date: 2009
Privacy Policy