According to our legislation defining inclusive higher education in Belgium French-community, a student with a disability is a "student with a long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory deficiency, which combined with various obstacles may hinder his or her full and effective participation in education on the basis of equality with others ".
Those aspects are covered by two decrees adressing inclusive higher education and inclusive lifelong learning:
* Decree on Inclusive Higher Education for Students with Disabilities, January 30, 2014
* Decree on Inclusive Life Long learning, June 30, 2016
The commitment of higher education institutions to inclusive higher education and life long learning must be made explicit in their description of educational policy and must be included on the website accessible to prospective students.
The legislation defines "inclusive higher education" as education which implements measures aimed at removing or reducing the material, pedagogical, cultural, social and psychological barriers encountered in access to studies, during studies and socio-professional integration by beneficiary students.
In the context of higher education, the student who wishes to benefit specific support introduces a request for recognition of its disability to the service in charge of support according to the procedures set by the higher education institution and the « Commission for Inclusive Higher Education » (CESI). He/She provides any supporting document, including:
(1) or, the decision of a public body responsible for the integration of persons with disabilities;
(2) or, either a detailed report on the applicant's autonomy drawn up by a medical specialist or by a multidisciplinary team
(3) for information purposes, the reasonable accommodation that the applicant would have received during his secondary school studies.
In the event of a change of higher education institution during his education path, the documents referred to in the previous paragraph shall remain valid and shall be forwarded to the new higher education institution at its request after agreement by the student.
In the event of a change in the student’s disability situation over time, an update report may be requested by the HEI support service.
Article 7. - The request for recognition of disability is forwarded by the HEI support service for decision. In the event of an unfavourable decision by the academic authorities, the student shall exhaust all internal remedies within the institution before filing an appeal through the CESI.
Each higher education institution sets up its own support service or delegates this responsibility to an association.
The missions of support service are among others: welcoming the applicant student, analysing his/her needs and submitting the application to the academic authorities for a decision. After decision, the support service draws up an individualised support plan (which addresses the material, pedagogical, social, cultural, medical and/or psychological needs of the beneficiary student), ensures its implementation and adaptation according to the needs of the beneficiary student. It coordinates information, guidance and training of partners involved in the individualised support plan. The support service is also in charge of selecting a reference student to support the beneficiary student and providing them appropriate training.
*Decree on Inclusive Life Long learning, June 30, 2016
In the context of inclusive lifelong learning, a reference person is designated by the HEI to carry out the tasks relating to the student with a disability. The reference person (academic staff or an experienced volunteer) is responsible for welcoming the student requesting accommodation, submitting the request for reasonable accommodation and reporting to the Study Council in accordance with the model set by the Government in consultation with the requesting student. The reference person remains the contact person of the student with disability throughout his or her training in the institution.
When a student with a disability requests one or more reasonable accommodations, he/she shall provide one of the following documents in support of his/her request:
(1) a probative document, i.e. any evidence or certificate issued by a competent public administration or any judicial decision recognising a disability, invalidity, occupational disease, accident at work that has resulted in permanent incapacity. Such proofs and certificates shall be written or in any other form required by the issuing body;
(2) a report from a specialist in the medical or paramedical field concerned or from a multidisciplinary team that will make it possible to assess the reasonable accommodations that may be implemented, when the student reports specific needs due to a disability, a disabling pathology or learning disabilities. This report is less than one year old at the time of the request.
A student who produces an evidentiary document, as previously referred, is exempt from registration fees.
For information, for LLL, a Commission is also set up: la "Commission de l'Enseignement de promotion sociale inclusif" (which collects information, hears appeals, provides documentation, stimulates reflection and dialogue on inclusion in lifelong learning in collaboration with the CESI.
For more information: http://www.enseignement.be/index.php?page=28009&navi=4481
Higher education institutions receive funding to provide guidance and assistance to students with disabilities.
1. In Higher Education: reasonable accommodation as referred to, in Article 3 of the Decree of 12 December 2008 on the fight against certain forms of discrimination. They can be the materials, social, cultural, methodological, and pedagogical materials tending to meet the difficulties, linked to their situation that they experience in their lives as students and in their socio-professional integration processes during and at the end of their studies.
2. In Lifelong Learning: students may request "reasonable arrangements”, defined as appropriate measures taken according to the needs/in accordance with the needs in a concrete situation, to enable a person with a disability to access, participate and progress in LLL Education path, unless these measures impose a disproportionate burden on the person who must adopt them. This burden is not disproportionate when it is sufficiently compensated by measures existing within the framework of public policy on people with disabilities;
Art 7. Reasonable accommodation can be tangible or intangible, pedagogical, or organisational. It does not challenge the learning outcomes defined in the pedagogical dossiers but focuses on how to access and evaluate them. A student who produces an evidentiary document, as previously referred, is exempt from registration fees.
In Belgium, French Community, national funds are allocated since 2018 for mobility of students with disabilities. This subsidy covers additional costs (purchase of specific equipment, support staff, etc.) for international mobilities (in addition to Erasmus+ mobilities) and mobilities between HEI in the 3 Belgian Communities.
For people with special needs, in addition to the E+ mobility grant, it has been decided since 2018 to allocate € 10,000 per year from the FAME budget (Fond d’Aide à la Mobilité Étudiante) and € 5,000 from the Erasmus Belgica budget for students with disabilities. The student submits an application to the National Agency via his or her institution. This subsidy covers additional costs (purchase of specific equipment, support staff, etc.).
Good practices on special needs support in Erasmus+
Our National Agency for the Erasmus+ programme (AEF-Europe) has an annual target that 1% of all outgoing student should come from special needs groups.
AEF-Europe (Erasmus+ national agency) through Erasmus+ scholarships supports specific needs up to 100% of the costs (real costs), based on a request from the participant, via the home/sending institution. A budget of €20,000 is set aside each year for this purpose”. Furthermore, two additional national mobility funds offer support to students with specific needs: since 2018, the “FAME” (Fond d’Aide à la Mobilité Étudiante) allocates €10,000 per year for students with special needs and the “Erasmus Belgica” program provides €5,000 for those students. The student submits an application to the Agency via his or her institution. This subsidy covers additional costs (purchase of specific equipment, support staff, etc.). These provisions are published in the Project Leader's Guide
No additional mobility grant for incoming students with disabilities available.
But international students coming from abroad for a degree mobility can apply for and benefit from the same public grants and support services from the Ministry of Education as a local student would. No distinction is made between Belgian and international students in the decrees.