Entrance exams required for four extra bachelor degrees

Entrance exams required for four extra bachelor degrees
Universities in Belgium have faced criticism for their handling of reports of transgressive behaviour. Credit: Belga

An additional four degrees in Flanders will require an entrance exam for admission, bringing the total number of Bachelors with such a requirement to 12.

As of next academic year (2022-2023), students enrolling in the Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, the Bachelor of Mathematics, the Bachelor of Bio-Engineering and the Bachelor of Physics/Physics and Astronomy in Flanders will be obliged to take an entrance exam.

"Step by step we must roll out this type of starting test throughout higher education," Flemish Education Minister Ben Weyts stated in a press release.

"The next step is to make the remedial route compulsory for those who perform below par on the test. Those who score poorly must be brushed up on immediately. This is the only way to prevent problems from dragging on and whole years being lost."

This measure is part of the Flemish government's efforts to guide young people in their choice when it comes to deciding what to do for their higher studies, as more than a quarter of students leave higher education without a diploma and barely one in three students obtain a bachelor's degree within the three-year period.

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Such entrance exams or "calibration tests" should help students gauge what amount of effort will be required to pass their first year, which is when most students fail their exams and either have to take resits or have to "carry over" subject to the following year. According to Weyts, even more programmes will require an entrance exam in the future.

Initially, just four programmes required a so-called calibration test: the Bachelors of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, the Bachelor of Engineering Sciences and the educational Bachelor's programmes for nursery, primary and secondary education.

At the beginning of this year, another four courses were added to the list, including the Bachelor of industrial sciences, the Bachelor of bio-industrial sciences, the Bachelor of life sciences and the Bachelor of Engineering Technology.

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