Autonomy vs. control: Quality assurance and governmental policy in Flanders

Main Article Content


Higher education in Flanders has seen some major changes in the 1990s. One of the key elements of the new higher education regulations was the quality assessment system. This exemplified best the government's policy of granting all institutions of higher education autonomy, making them responsible for their policies, while still keeping the quality of higher education somewhat under governmental control. In this article, we focus on the tension between the government's aim of improving and controlling the quality of higher education and universities ' concern for their autonomy. We describe the Flemish government's view on issues of quality in higher education and confront these with an account on the basis of case studies of how the quality assurance system was actually implemented in universities. We conclude that the model of the "market state" or the "evaluative state" is only realised partially in Flanders. The government is still interventionist when it comes to key policy issues


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
De Wit, K., & Verhoeven, J. C. . (2004). Autonomy vs. control: Quality assurance and governmental policy in Flanders. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 12, 71.
Author Biographies

Kurt De Wit, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Kurt De Wit is doctoral researcher at the KU Leuven (Belgium). As a member of the Centre for Sociology of Education (Department of Sociology) of this university, he is involved in research regarding education policy and the structure and functioning of higher education institutions. His publications include several articles and chapters on both Flanders (Belgium) and the European Union, for instance in the European Journal of Education, Higher Education Policy, and Studies in Higher Education.

Jef C. Verhoeven, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Jef C. Verhoeven is Professor of Sociology at the KU Leuven (Belgium) and Head of the Centre for Sociology of Education of the same university. He published in the field of sociology of education, and more specifically on higher education. Recently he conducted several projects on higher education in Belgium (amongst others, about merger in colleges of higher education, and about internationalisation and commercialisation of higher education in Belgium). He published several books, and articles in, among others, the European Journal of Education, Journal of Education Policy, Educational Management and Administration, Teachers‘ development, Studies in Higher Education, and Tsinghua Journal of Education.