Course offered

Workshop offered: Scenarios for the Future of the EU (8h)

Current positions

  • Emeritus Professor at the Law Faculty (Antwerp University, Belgium)
  • UNESCO Chair for the Right to Education and former UNESCO Chargé de Mission
  • Extraordinary Professor at the Edu-HRight Research Unit, North-West University (South Africa)
  • Professor at the National Research University, Higher School of Economics (Moscow, Russia)
  • President of the ‘European Association for Education Law and Policy’
  • Honorary Government Commissioner for Universities in Belgium (Flemish Community)

Previous professional affiliations

De Groof is/was - besides his position as Government Commissioner for Universities (Flemish Community, Belgium) and former Chef de Cabinet of the Minister of Education and Training - professor at Tilburg University (the Netherlands), at the National Research University – Higher School of Economics in Moscow and extraordinary professor at the North West University, Potchefstroom (South Africa) and previously at Ghent University (Belgium). De Groof is/has been visiting professor and/or taught at universities worldwide.


  • Doctorate – Faculty of Law and Canon Law, Catholic University of Louvain – ‘Right to and Freedom of Education’ (1984);
  • Master in Law (University of Antwerp) – Magna Cum Laude (primus) (1976);
  • Master in Canon Law (Catholic University of Louvain) – Summa Cum Laude (1979);
  • Bachelor in Law (University Faculties Sint-Ignatius Antwerp) – Cum Laude (1973);
  • Bachelor in Philosophy and Arts (University Faculties Sint-Ignatius Antwerp) – Cum Laude (1973);
  • Bachelor in Religious Studies (Catholic University of Louvain) – Magna Cum Laude (1977).

Other professional activities

  • He is founder and president of the ‘European Association for Education Law and Policy’ (ELA) and co-founded i.a. the Russian and South-African Education Law Associations.
  • De Groof was UNESCO Chargé de Mission on the Right to Education (2007-2010).
  • He was and remains intensively involved in consultancy for national parliaments, governments and stakeholders, not the least in time of transition (Russia: 1990-2001, South Africa: 1995-2002, Balkan region: 2002-2010, 2016-2017, Iraq: 2013-2014, Ukraine: 2014-2017), often in cooperation with multilateral organizations. He is member of the ‘Council of Senior Advisors’ of the International Association of University Presidents (IAUP), accredited to the UN, vice-chair of the Legal Committee of EQAR, full member of the Club of Rome – EU Chapter (CoR-EU) and was the president of the Review Panel on ‘Research of Humanities’ of the European Science Foundation (2007-2012).
  • Furthermore, De Groof has been Team Leader of the EU-Project ‘The Rule of Law - Curriculum Reform of Legal Studies in Universities, especially in Iraq and neighboring countries’ (2013-2014) and was consultant of the Commission for the African Union on Research Strategy for Africa (2012).

Research interests

Education rights, education policy and governance, the legislative framework of education, international and human rights law, constitutional law, culture policy.

Recent publications

A. Books as Author, Editor or Co-Editor (in English):

  • De Groof J., Mollo, N., ‘Best Practices of South African Public School Leaders - A holistic legal-based practice of excellence’, Juta Publishers, 2021, p. XXX, forthcoming.
  • De Groof J., Jankiewiczs S.V., Multilevel Governance in Education : Top-Down Governance, Transfer of Authority and Regional Cooperation, Moscow, 336 p.
  • Fiorin I., Paletta A., Bezzina C., De Groof J., and Zani A.V. (eds.), New Educational horizons. Leadership in Catholic Schools and Universities, Citta del Vaticano: Liberia Editrice Vaticana, 2018, p. 229.
  • De Groof J., Du Plessis G. and Smirnova M. (eds.), Religion and Education - Perspectives and Tensions, Nijmegen, Wolf Legal Publishers, 2017, p. 280.
  • De Groof J. and Meix-Cerecada P. (eds.), Religious and Ideological Rights in Education. Judicial Perspectives from 32 Legal Systems, Nijmegen, Wolf Legal Publishers, 2017, p.544.
  • Misco T. and De Groof J. (eds.), Cross-Cultural Case Studies of Teaching Controversial Issues: Pathways and Challenges to Democratic Citizenship Education, Nijmegen, Wolf Legal Publishers, 2014, 274 p.
  • Glenn Ch. and De Groof J., Balancing Freedom, Autonomy, and Accountability in Education, 4 Volumes, Nijmegen: Wolf Legal Publishers, 2012.

B. Chapters in books (in English or French / Spanish / Portuguese):

  • De Groof J., On Good Governance in Higher Education: The Search for More Solid Autonomy Enshrined in Accountability, in Levrau A. and Gobert S. (eds.), Governace: the Art of Aligning Interests, Intersentia, 2019, p. 197-212.
  • De Groof J. and Comandè F., Juridification, judicialisation and judicial activism in higher education: views from the CJEU, in Sin C., Tavares O., Cardoso S. and Rosa M. (eds.), European Higher Education and the Internal Market - Tensions between European Policy and National Sovereignty, Palgrave MacMillan, 2018, p. 73-126.
  • De Groof J., On the ‘Innovative University’. A few Challenging Reflections, in European Review, 2018, Vol. 26, nr. 1, p. 114–123.
  • De Groof J., On the Implementation and Justiciability of the Right to Education, in De Groof J., El Beheri N. and Gerencsér B. (eds.), Special issue of the International Journal for Education Law and Policy, Wolf Legal Publishers, 2018, p. 13-21.
  • Du Plessis G. and De Groof J., Constitutional changes and values of the South African Schools Act, in De Waal E. (ed.), Pathways to successful schooling. The Schools Act 84 of 1996 – Twenty Years On, Juta, 2017, p. 7-20.
  • De Groof J., The Church, the State and the School : A Privileged Domain in the Complex Partnership between Religion, Education and the Law, in Educatio Catholica, Rome, Special Volume, 2017.
  • De Groof J., The new old Debate. Free Movement of Services and the Freedom of Establishment within the Internal European Market: Does the Directive 2006/123 EC move past Education? Concerning the border of national sovereignty within the EU, in Rosa, M.J., Sarrico C.S., Tavares O. and Amaral A. (ed.), Higher Education as Commerce: Cross Border Education and the Service Directive, London: Palgrave, 2016, p. 117-137.
  • De Groof J., Challenges for the European Higher and Research Education Area, in Ch. Russo, Handbook of Comparative Higher Education Law, Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2013, p. 105-119;
  • De Groof J., In Bluebeard’s castle? Some musings on academic freedom and academic integrity, in Alen André, Joosten Veronique, Leysen Riet and Verrijdt Willem (eds.) Liberae Cogitationes. Liber amicorum Marc Bossuyt, Antwerpen: Intersentia, 2013, p. 153-177;
  • De Groof J., On Transnational Education. Some Options and Questions, in Govaere Inge and Hanf Dominique (eds.), Scrutinizing Internal and External Dimensions of European Law/Les dimensions internes et externs du droit européen à l’épreuve, Liber Amicorum Paul Demaret, Vol. I, Brussels: P.I.E. Peter Lang, 2013, p. 29-38

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