Wallonia

The French-speaking community of Belgium exercises its competences in the Walloon provinces, with the exception of German-speaking communes, and in Brussels. The communities are based on the concept of “language” and have notably powers for culture and education, as well as in the field of scientific research.

There are six universities on the territory of the Belgian French-speaking community. The community government is the organising power of the universities of Liège and Mons. The four other universities – UNamur (Université de Namur), UCL (Université Catholique de Louvain), ULB (Université Libre de Bruxelles) and USL-B (Université Saint-Louis – Bruxelles) are supervised by different organising authorities. Liège, ULB and UCL are comprehensive universities; the other three have developed a certain academic focus historically and offer a selection of disciplines.

The two universities depending on the community government comprise about one-third of the student population. The present analysis refers to all six universities; differences of legal status generate clear-cut differences in some dimensions of university autonomy.

Recent developments:

  • New law passed in 2013 (implementation in 2015) reshaping the system governance around academic poles

(“Wallonia” is used as a proxy for “French-speaking community” in titles for technical reasons)

Organisational autonomy: medium low (community-governed) / high (other universities)

The community-governed universities are less autonomous than the rest of the system with respect to organisational matters. The law stipulates selection criteria and the term of office for the executive heads of these two universities. The rector’s dismissal is always regulated in the university statutes. The inclusion of external members in the university governance structure is mandatory and controlled externally for the community-governed universities but is an internal matter for the others.  Universities can decide on their academic structures and may create legal entities.

Financial autonomy: medium low

Universities have no decision-making capacity on tuition fees for domestic / EU students and limited options to reallocate funding internally. They can borrow money and may retain surpluses. Ownership of real estate is possible, with restrictions.

Academic autonomy: low

Free and centralised admission both at Bachelor and Master levels, combined with tight regulations on the introduction of new programmes, creates a limiting environment for universities. The law limits the options for universities to develop programmes in other languages and evaluation by the national agency is mandatory.

Staffing autonomy: low (community-governed) / medium low (other universities)

The community-governed universities are less autonomous than the rest of the system with respect to staffing matters. The community-governed universities must obtain external approval of their recruitment plan. Salaries, promotions and dismissals are strictly regulated due to the civil servant status of senior academic staff in all universities. Senior administrative staff may have civil servant status and, regardless of their status, their salaries are set externally.

Organisational weighted 90% unweighted 94%

100

100% Selection procedure for the executive head

The selection of the executive head is not validated by an external authority

100

100% Selection criteria for the executive head

The selection criteria for the executive head are not stated in the law

100

100% Dismissal of the executive head

The procedure for the dismissal of the executive head is not stated in the law

100

100% Term of office of the executive head

The length of the term of office is not stated in the law

This applies to 5 other countries: Denmark, The Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, United Kingdom

57

57% External members in university governing bodies

Universities cannot decide as they must include external members

External members are partly appointed by the university and partly by an external authority

This applies to 6 other countries: Austria, Croatia, France, Hesse, Iceland, Slovenia

100

100% Capacity to decide on academic structures

Universities can decide on their academic structures without constraints

100

100% Capacity to create legal entities

Universities can create legal entities without constraints

Financial weighted 52% unweighted 44%

60

60% Length of public funding cycle

60

60% Type of public funding

Block grant is split into broad categories and there are no or limited possibilities to move funds between these

This applies to 7 other countries: France, Hungary, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden

100

100% Ability to borrow money

Universities can borrow money without restrictions

This applies to 7 other countries: Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Flanders, Latvia, The Netherlands

80

80% Ability to keep surplus

Surplus can be kept but its allocation is pre-determined by an external authority

This applies to 3 other countries: Brandenburg, Poland, Sweden

60

60% Ability to own buildings

Universities can sell their buildings without restrictions

This applies to 9 other countries: Austria, Denmark, Estonia, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain, United Kingdom

Other restrictions

This applies to 2 other countries: France, Portugal

0

0% Tuition fees for national/EU students at Bachelor level

Only an external authority is allowed to set the level of tuition fees

This applies to 6 other countries: Croatia, Flanders, France, Ireland, The Netherlands, Spain

0

0% Tuition fees for national/EU students at Master's level

Only an external authority is allowed to set the level of tuition fees

This applies to 5 other countries: Croatia, Flanders, France, The Netherlands, Spain

0

0% Tuition fees for national/EU students at doctoral level

Only an external authority is allowed to set the level of tuition fees

This applies to 3 other countries: Flanders, France, Spain

40

40% Tuition fees for non-EU students at Bachelor level

Universities can set the level of tuition fees under a ceiling set by an external authority

This applies to 2 other countries: Iceland, Italy

40

40% Tuition fees for non-EU students at Master's level

Universities can set the level of tuition fees under a ceiling set by an external authority

This applies to 2 other countries: Iceland, Italy

40

40% Tuition fees for non-EU students at doctoral level

Universities can set the level of tuition fees under a ceiling set by an external authority

This applies to 2 other countries: Iceland, Italy

Staffing weighted 44% unweighted 43%

83

83% Recruitment procedures for senior academic staff

Other restrictions

100

100% Recruitment procedures for senior administrative staff

Recruitments are carried out freely by universities

0

0% Salaries for senior academic staff

Salaries are set by an external authority/civil servant status for all staff

This applies to 5 other countries: Croatia, Italy, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain

0

0% Salaries for senior administrative staff

Salaries are set by an external authority/civil servant status for all staff

This applies to 3 other countries: Croatia, Slovakia, Slovenia

0

0% Dismissal of senior academic staff

Dismissals are strictly regulated due to civil servant status for all staff

This applies to 9 other countries: Croatia, France, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Spain

100

100% Dismissal of senior administrative staff

There are no sector-specific regulations concerning dismissals (national labour regulations apply)

29

29% Promotion procedures for senior academic staff

Promotions are only possible if there is a post at a higher level

This applies to 7 other countries: Brandenburg, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Portugal, Serbia

Other restrictions

This applies to 7 other countries: Denmark, France, Hesse, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, North Rhine-Westphalia

29

29% Promotion procedures for senior administrative staff

Promotions are only possible if there is a post at a higher level

This applies to 4 other countries: Brandenburg, Lithuania, Portugal, Serbia

Other restrictions

This applies to 9 other countries: Denmark, France, Hesse, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, North Rhine-Westphalia, Serbia, Slovenia

Academic weighted 32% unweighted 31%

0

0% Overall student numbers

Free admission

This applies to 5 other countries: Austria, Flanders, France, The Netherlands, Switzerland

0

0% Admissions procedures at Bachelor level

Admissions are entirely regulated by an external authority

This applies to 7 other countries: Austria, Flanders, France, Hungary, Lithuania, Slovenia, Switzerland

0

0% Admissions procedures at Master's level

Admissions are entirely regulated by an external authority

This applies to one other country: Switzerland

0

0% Introduction of programmes at Bachelor level

All new degree programmes/courses must be submitted to prior accreditation to be introduced

0

0% Introduction of programmes at Master's level

All new degree programmes/courses must be submitted to prior accreditation to be introduced

0

0% Introduction of programmes at doctoral level

All new degree programmes/courses must be submitted to prior accreditation to be introduced

This applies to 9 other countries: Croatia, France, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain

100

100% Termination of degree programmes

Universities can terminate degree programmes independently

83

83% Language of instruction at Bachelor level

Universities can choose the language of instruction only if the programme is also offered in the national language

This applies to one other country: Slovenia

83

83% Language of instruction at Master's level

Universities can choose the language of instruction only if the programme is also offered in the national language

This applies to one other country: Slovenia

0

0% Selection of quality assurance mechanisms

Universities cannot select quality assurance mechanisms

0

0% Selection of quality assurance providers

Universities cannot choose the quality assurance agency

100

100% Capacity to design content of degree programmes

Universities can freely design the content of degree programmes and courses (other than for the regulated professions)