Adult education

Adult education ('volwassenenonderwijs') offers you the opportunity to obtain a recognised diploma or certificate (getuigschrift or certificaat) through (evening) education. Adult education offers a highly diverse and huge range of courses.
students  - photo © VGC - Lander Loeckx


The structure of adult education

You can follow adult education at one of the Centres for Adult Education (Centra voor Volwassenenonderwijs - CVOs) or at one of the Centres for Adult Basic Education (Centra Basiseducatie - CBEs). Adult education offers 3 different levels: ‘adult basic education’ (basiseducatie), ‘adult secondary education’ (secundair volwassenenonderwijs) and ‘higher vocational education’ (hoger beroepsonderwijs).

  • Adult basic education ('basiseducatie') offers poorly educated adults (from the age of 18 years upwards) an opportunity to catch up on what they missed at school. Adult basic education opens the door to full social integration and equips course participants with the necessary skills to embark on further training. The Centres for Adult Basic Education have a broad and varied course offer, ranging from reading, writing and arithmetic classes to community studies, ICT, Dutch as your mother tongue (reading and writing), Dutch for non-native Dutch-speakers, step-up English, step-up French…. The courses are organised in modules and per module that has been successfully completed you receive a modular certificate. Once all the course modules have been successfully completed, you receive a certificate.
  • Adult secondary education ('secundair volwassenenonderwijs') offers courses of study at full-time secondary-education level (as of the 2nd stage). In adult secondary education, adults from the age of 18 years can obtain a fully-fledged diploma of secondary education.
  • Higher vocational education ('hoger beroepsonderwijs - HBO or HBO5) offers vocational education at level 5 of the Flemish qualification structure (hence the name ‘HBO5’). HBO forms part of higher education and, level-wise, is classified just one step below the professional Bachelor’s programmes. Most HBO courses are organised through adult education. Nursing (the fourth stage of secondary education) also forms part of higher vocational education. HBO programmes prepare you for entry into the labour market.


Adult education in Brussels

On the website of (in Dutch), you can find out everything there is to know about adult education, by region and by theme.

The website of the Huis van het Nederlands Brussel (Dutch Language House of Brussels) features extensive information on how to learn Dutch through adult education in Brussels.



The websites of the centres for adult education: