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National Support Services - Belgium (NL)

National Support Services - Belgium (NL)


EPOS vzw


    The EPALE NSS is part of the npo Epos. Epos is a non-for-profit organisation that strengthens and enriches the international dimension and cooperation in education and training in Flanders. Besides the EPALE NSS, Epos is also the National Agency for the Erasmus+ Program, the National Support Service for eTwinning,  the national Europass and Euroguidance Centre, the contact point for the European Language Label and National Relay for the European Day of Languages. Next to these EU related activities, Epos also runs two smaller programmes funded by the Flemish Government (Buurklassen and Erasmus Belgica). Epos is a cooperation between the Flemish ministry of Education and Training,  VDAB (Flemish Employment and Vocational Training Service, the public employment service in Flanders) and Syntra Vlaanderen (the Flemish Agency for Entrepreneurial Training, a public Agency co-ordinating the training system for apprentices). This unique partnership ensures that all the  official education and training providers in Flanders are stakeholders of the npo, and by doing so improve the real impact and benefits for the citizens.



    Here's a summary of our workplan for 2019/2020:

    In 2019/2020 to promote EPALE we will

    - conduct a needs assessment in Flanders

    - have talks and meetings with stakeholders

    - organize events about current topics

    - contribute to and participate in stakeholders’ events

    - participate in events organized by the NA

    - cooperate with our EPALE ambassadors

    - continue our campaign ‘Word vriend van EPALE’ to encourage users to share good practices

    - publish EPALE-zines with a selection of content on specific topics

    - assist the CSS to develop an how-to/help-section

    - have online webinars to introduce the platform to new users

    - launch a call for content to encourage users to contribute to the EPALE-focus

    - promote the Partner Search Tool to users looking for project partners

    - publish international project results on EPALE

    - use social media to promote the platform and users’ content

    - spread information on stakeholders’ websites, newsletters, etc.

    - disseminate and make new promotional materials


    To motivate stakeholders and users publish content on EPALE we will

    - work together with our ambassadors’ network

    - consult with representatives of organizations closely linked to policy-making

    - keep contact with universities, research centres, European organisations, etc.

    - organize, contribute and participate in stakeholders’ events

    - encourage users to deliver content for an EPALE special and share good practices

    - launch calls for content to promote EPALE focuses

    - post links to users’ content on social media

    - check that all content on EPALE is relevant and of high quality

    - identify and publish relevant content

    - organize study visits with stakeholders to organisations specialized in our thematic priorities.


    We defined our thematic priorities as

    • validation of prior learning
    • dual learning in adult education
    • social inclusion
    • key competences: communication in foreign languages and STEM
    • professionalisation of staff
    • guidance and orientation for adult learners
    To make sure to offer high quality content on the Dutch pages we will work with EPALE Ambassadors and start or strengthen collaboration with specialised research centres. Our EPALE Ambassadors’ network is representative of our different target groups. They will support us in motivating people in adult education to deliver relevant content. We’ll continue to make use of other proven strategies to curate content (such as screening stakeholders communication channels, cooperation with the CSS and other NSSs, etc.). In cooperation with the CSS, the Dutch and the other Belgian NSSs we’ll define thematic priorities to gather highly relevant content.
    The NSS Flanders will actively participate in the general implementation of EPALE. This means participating in formal EPALE meetings, being an active participant in the platform, cooperate with the CSS and the other NSSs, suggest new ideas and initiatives as well as suggest interesting topics and discussions. We’ll do everything in our means to improve the usability and user friendliness of the platform.
    Interesting content (in English) about our study visit to Iceland can be found here:


    The team

    Karine Nicolay is the EPALE-coordinator for Flanders at Epos.

    Renilde Reynders, responsible for the domain 'Adult Education' in Epas supports Karine.

    Flemish adults wanting to learn can look for education in the formal and non-formal adult education sector. Learning can be vocationally-oriented or not. An integrated education and training policy is being developed.


    Adult education in Flanders is offered in Adult Basic Education Centres (ABECs) and Adult Education Centres (AECs).

    • Basic education

    Adult basic education is situated mainly on the level of primary education and the first stage of fulltime secondary education for reading, writing, mathematics or other basic skills. Adult basic education is offered by 13 Adult Basic Education Centres.

    • Secondary adult education

    Secondary adult education is situated on the level of the second and third stage of fulltime secondary education. It offers a wide range of training in for example languages, cooking, ICT, etcetera. In 2013-14 there were 122 Adult Education Centres offering secondary adult education.

    • Higher vocational education and the specific teacher training

    Higher vocational education contains professionally oriented programmes on level 5 of the Flemish qualification framework. The specific teacher training takes up a separate space in the educational field and is not linked to an educational level. Higher vocational education and the specific teacher training are offered by the adult education centres.


    Next to formal adult education a range of non-formal adult education is being offered.

    • SYNTRA Flanders, the Flemish Agency for Entrepreneurial Training, is responsible for the co-ordination of the training towards entrepreneurship. The agency stimulates entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial skills and attitudes.
    • VDAB is the public employment service of Flanders founded in 1989 in order to make the labour market in Flanders as transparent and dynamic as possible. With a view to reaching that goal, the VDAB offers employment services, training and career guidance.
    • SoCius, the support point for socio-cultural work with adults, gathers activities from socio-cultural organisations who offer courses, lectures, debates etcetera.
    • Higher education institutes, university colleges and universities, offer distant learning and evening courses for adults.


    An overview of the educational system of the Flemish community on Eurypedia. Look for the subtitle 'Lifelong Learning'., gathering courses and training from the Adult Basic Education Centres, the Adult Education Centre, the Academies for part-time education in the arts, university colleges and universities, VDAB, SYNTRA Flanders socio-cultural organisations.

    Stakeholders are in the formal, non-formal and informal adult education:

    •  teachers and trainers
    •  the ‘actors of change’ (multipliers) like:
      •  policy-makers (key-persons of the Ministry of Education and Training, Culture, Labour, Welfare)
      •  professionals (unions of teachers/heads of adult education organisations, consortia of adult education, support centres in adult education (like SoCius, FARO, VOCVO…)
    • education providers (the adult education organisations in the formal and non-formal adult education sectors, cultural institutions, local authorities, the ‘umbrella’ organisations, Huizen van het Nederlands, Federatie van de Basiseducatie…)
    • VDAB (the public employment service also offering vocational training) and Syntra (Flemish centre for entrepreneurial training)
    • social partners (unions…)
    • media / journalists specialised in education
    • regional authorities, networks of local authorities…

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