Every year 1,200,000 Flemish people go to school, where they receive education from 120,000 teachers. The realisation that learning is a lifelong process that does not stop after attaining a diploma is growing. Almost one in ten Flemings between 25 and 64 years old follows additional schooling or training sessions.
Flanders has five universities (Leuven, Antwerpen, Gent, Hasselt and Brussel), among which the 'Katholieke Universiteit Leuven'.
Internationalisation plays an increasingly important role in education. European programmes such as Erasmus and Leonardo da Vinci ensure that both students and teaching staff get the opportunity to gain experience abroad. Thousands of Flemish students make use of this opportunity. Vice versa, thousands of foreign students come to Flanders within the framework of a European programme.
Flanders has various international schools. The Antwerp British School and the Antwerp International School are located in Antwerpen. Brussels offers a wide range, the International School of Brussels and the British School of Brussels being the two largest ones. The College of Europe in Brugge, providing education at university level, also houses the international research and traning centre of the United Nations University.
Several business schools of Flanders are ranked among the top of business schools in Europe. The 'Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School' holds a top 20 position in the annual Financial Times ranking. The University of Antwerp Management School (UAMS) also holds a good spot in the ranking.
Heading for the future
A society that invests in research and development (R&D) is able to keep up with a quickly changing world. Flanders is ready to take on that challenge.
Flanders’ R&D intensity, the percentage of the gross income that a region spends on research and development, shows that it is in the European second rank. Flanders places increasingly more emphasis on innovation. An estimated 25% of the total turnover of Flemish enterprises that work closely with knowledge centres are newly developed products and services.
Entrepreneurs can use the services of a knowledge centre to solve a specific technical problem, to support technological innovation or to test products. To determine which knowledge centre is the most suitable to solve a specific problem, the services of an innovation centre can be called upon. The innovation centre’s employees arrange appointments with various knowledge centres. The final decision regarding whom to work with is made by the entrepreneur.
Flemish knowledge centres are divided into strategic research centres and competence poles. Strategic research centres perform demand-driven, strategic basic research with a view to economic or social potential that can be realised within the foreseeable future. They are cooperative partnerships with an international scope and a permanent infrastructure. Competence poles build a bridge between the economy and technological innovation. These organisations all originated bottom-up and combine forces from different sectors, usually in the form of public-private cooperation projects.