Representatives of the Free University of Brussels (ULB) and the Institute for Higher Studies on Social Communication (Ihecs) have reported “significant advances” in talks to merge the two educational institutions.
The two sides aim to create a new school of journalism and communications, to be housed in the new Mediapark in Schaerbeek, currently home to the VRT and RTBF.
“Crucial advances in negotiations aimed at preparing the legal, financial, organisational and personnel-related means of achieving this merger now allow all parties to agree to make the plans a reality,” the two institutions said in a statement.
The plan is to have a new teaching plan ready for the start of the new academic year 2020-2021. The parties also called on the future members of the French Community, responsible for education, to come forward with a legal instrument to allow the merger, “which could be based on recent precedents for the integration of courses for architects and for translators-interpreters.
Interviewed by Le Soir, ULB rector Yvon Englert explained the timetable for construction of the new merged school. “In our agreement there is a solid business plan showing the plans are feasible within a timetable of four to six years. It will be quick. This is not just a dream.”
Before then, he said, the plan is to develop a new curriculum for the new term in 2020-2021, while students remained on the two existing sites. “That would allow for the students not to be too seriously disrupted in the short term,” he said.