Diversity Barometer Education (2018)

Unia commissioned a study to be carried out about equal opportunities in the schools in the three Communities in Belgium. The Diversity Barometer Education is the final part of a triptych. The first two parts were about Employment (2012) and Housing (2014).

Education is an essential link and probably the single most important condition for promoting integration, combating exclusion and exercising civil rights. Nevertheless, there are significant inequalities in the Belgian education system. That is certainly the case when the social background, gender, disability or sexual orientation of the pupils are taken into account. Unia therefore wanted to investigate the current situation and uncover the mechanisms that contribute to inequalities in the different educational systems in Belgium.

We assigned the investigative work to academic researchers. They conducted a survey in the three Communities in Belgium. The discrimination criteria selected for the study were ethic background, social background, disability and sexual orientation.

The study focuses on various questions, such as:

  • What policy and what practices do schools apply in relation to diversity?
  • How does the school orientation process work? And how do pupils of foreign origin, or those who have a low socio-economic status or disability, end up being referred to less favourable programmes of study?
  • What are the chief results of the current research on education in Belgium?

Research by the KU Leuven, UGent and ULB

The study, which you can download on this page, is the result of long-term scientific research by the KU Leuven, UGent and ULB. The research was supported by the Ministers of Education of the three Communities and by the Minister for Equal Opportunity for the French-speaking Community.

Unia coordinated the research. Moreover, based on the research results and on our own expertise in the area of education, we formulated a number of policy recommendations. With the Diversity Barometer Education, we thus want to provide an instrument that contributes to initiatives for reducing inequality in education and to promoting a policy for equal opportunities and diversity. 

Read the complete study

The Diversity Barometer Education is available for download in the three national languages:

What's more, on this page, you can download a summary by the researchers in English of this research in both the Flemish and the French-speaking Communities.

Comparable publications

29 September 2021

Data on (in)equality & discrimination in Belgium: results of the project ‘Improving equality data collection in Belgium’ (2021)


"Improving equality data collection in Belgium” (IEDCB) is a Belgian project co-funded by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship (REC) programme of the Directorate-General for Justice of the European Commission. It was realised thanks to a partnership between Unia and the Equal Opportunities Team of the Federal Public Service for Justice. The project aims to improve the collection and processing of equality data in Belgium.