Partners and experts with complementary expertise in the field of policy, social dimension and mental health implement the project activities.

Flemish Ministry of Education and Training (Flemish Community - Belgium)

The Department of Education and Training of the Flemish Community of Belgium is a part of the Flemish Ministry of Education and Training. The Department supports the Flemish Minister of Education with policy development, ranging from early childhood to lifelong learning. One of the key priorities for higher education is enhancing the implementation of the Bologna process, nationally and across the EHEA. The development of opportunities, which allow students of any age or background to have access to quality higher education is a major aim. Within the Department, the Division for Higher Education is responsible for the Flemish partnership in PLAR-U-PAGs.

Why participate in the project?

The Flemish Community of Belgium, one of the early-adopters of the Bologna process, has implemented many of the Bologna objectives, and is very much aware of the new challenges that are posed in the area of implementing the principles and guidelines for social dimension. The Ministry is coordinating several Erasmus+ projects on policy development and policy support.

Our role in the project

The Flemish Ministry of Education and Training is the project coordinator of PLAR-U-PAGs. Its main responsibilities include:

  • Run the overall coordination and financial management of the project
  • Lead the Transnational Steering Group
  • Monitor the progress and quality assurance against deadlines
  • Provide guidance and input for the preparation of the four peer-learning activities (PLAs); participate in the PLAs; provide input on the PLA report;

  • Provide guidance and input during the different phases (desk research, focus groups, design/revision toolkit, implementation) of the development and testing of the PAGs toolkit and the mental health framework;

  • Provide guidance and input during the different phases (desk research, focus groups, design/revision web portal, implementation) of the development and testing of the ‘Web portal Scholarships’;

  • Contribute actively to the dissemination and communication activities regarding the PLAR-U-PAGs project, including organising the final conference

Our project team

For PLAR-U-PAGs, the ministry has nominated staff with extensive experience in Bologna implementation processes, social dimension, peer learning activities and project coordination:

Magalie Soenen

Policy Advisor - Project Coordinator PLAR-U-PAGs

Magalie Soenen holds a master and teacher training degree in Geography from Ghent University, Belgium. She started working at Ghent University as policy officer in the field of quality assurance and internationalisation. Nine years later she became the general coordinator of EPOS vzw, the Flemish Agency for the European Life Long Learning Programme. Since 2009 she works in the Higher Education Policy Unit of the Flemish Ministry of Education of Training. She represents Flanders in the Bologna- and ASEM-process and is member of several boards of directors and committees. She also develops national policies concerning internationalisation and mobility in higher education. Since 2018 she is a co-chair of the Bologna Peer Support Group on Quality Assurance and the Bologna Coordination Group on Global Policy Dialogue. She also coordinates several European KA3 projects within the field of QA and inclusion.

Patrick Willems

Policy Advisor - Project Associate PLAR-U-PAGs

Patrick Willems has 15 years of experience in diversity and disabilities in higher education at national policy level (Ministry of Education and Training of Belgium/Flemish Community). Patrick Willems has developed several policies for higher education in Flanders, among which the regulation “Inclusive Higher Education” and the regulations “Incentives for under-represented groups”. These regulations create solutions to increase the participation of students of underrepresented groups in higher education. At the Flemish level Patrick Willems is an acknowledged expert on topics such as diversity and sustainability in higher education and he participates in various advisory boards. He is a member of the working group Diversity of Council of the Flemish Education Council which prepares recommendations towards the Flemish Minister on inclusion. Patrick Willems is a member of the Bologna Advisory Group on Social Dimension.

Mariëlle van Heumen

Account manager - Administrative and financial support PLAR-U-PAGs

Mariëlle van Heumen is account manager at the Flemish Ministry of Education of Training. She works on a wide range of European projects, for which she is responsible for the administrative and financial aspects and provides support to project management. Before taking up her current role, she has worked as a policy adviser at the Netherlands house for Education and Research (Neth-ER). Furthermore, she has also worked as coordinator of the Erasmus Mundus MA Euroculture at the University of Strasbourg, among other positions.