Higher Education in Belgium

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    Abstract

    THE “Fondation Universitaire” was created in 1919 with funds appropriated from the final closing balance of the Commission for Relief in Belgium, of which Mr. Herbert Hoover was president. Last year Mr. Hoover accepted a joint invitation from the Fondation and the universities of Belgium to visit that country, and the occasion was marked by eloquent expressions by representatives of Belgian higher education of their sense of its indebtedness to him and to the United States and the value of the consequent cultural relations between the two countries. One of the principal functions of the Fondation is to make higher education available to poor students by means of loans, generally of 1,500-4,000 francs a year. The Fondation relies for the recovery of the loans on the sense of honour of the recipients. That this confidence is not misplaced is strikingly shown in its recently published annual report by a chart exhibiting the amounts of loans granted and refunds received from 1919 until 1938. In recent years the receipts have equalled or exceeded the grants, the annual total being in the neighbourhood of 800,000 francs. The Fondation's resources are also used for encouraging Belgian students, by means of bursaries, to study abroad, for subsidizing publications and scientific societies, for promoting international exchanges between professors and, since 1936, for the maintenance of a Bureau of University Statistics in which has been merged a commission for the study of overcrowding of the universities and unemployment of ‘intellectuals’. This body has formulated recommendations for reforming the content of primary and secondary education, making more stringent the tests for promotion from one class to another, for determining what a secondary school-leaving certificate should imply and for restricting to persons intellectually fit for them admission to institutions of university rank.

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    Higher Education in Belgium. Nature 143, 974 (1939) doi:10.1038/143974c0

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