K-12 Education System in Austria

Austria  is situated in the core of Europe, possesses a rich historical tradition. The education system of Austria is regulated by the federal government. The Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture is responsible for maintaining the schools. Austria has private and state schools wherein no tuition fee is charged. The Austrian school system offers a diversity of learning and training options, which are planned to meet the needs and interests of students and their parents. In Austria, compulsory education starts at the age of six and lasts for nine years.

Levels of Study in Austria

Elementary Education [ISCED 0]

The elementary education in Austria is conducted through the childcare institutions, like creches day care centres), kindergartens, etc. 
  • Kindergarten: Kindergartens offer child care services for children from 3 years to school age. The kindergarten education encourages the physical, intellectual and emotional growth of kids.
  • Special and remedial education and inclusive education: Children with special needs may attend either a general kindergarten (integration and special education groups) or a special kindergarten.

Primary Education [IS CED 1]

Compulsory education begins with a four-year primary school level education (Volksschule) on the September 1st till the child's age is six years old. Primary schools focuses on general education that includes developing written and oral communication skills, critical thinking skills etc., thus nurturing social and intellectual skills of the children.
Special Needs Schools (Sonderschulen): Primary Education also comprises of the Special needs schoolsChildren with special education needs can attend Special Needs Schools. These schools encourage and educate mentally or physically disabled kids, and  prepare for them for their career paths.

Secondary Education [ISECD 2]

After primary school students have the following options:
  • Elementary School-High School: The elementary school-high school is intended to provide a basic general education and enable the students according to their interests, skills and ability to move to middle or secondary schools.
  • Main School: The main school consists of the fifth to eighth grade. The prerequisite for attending a main school is the successful completion of the fourth grade of elementary school.  It is designed to train students for professional life and prepare them to move to a middle or high school in upper secondary education.  
  • New Middle School: The new middle school is a joint school of the 10 -14 years old, and requires a successful completion of the fourth grade of elementary school.  Classes at the new middle school are based on the course of study of the AHS- 5th to 8th grade, while in Lower Austria- 5th to 6th level. Successful completion entitles the student to attend a secondary school or college.
  • General Secondary School (AHS): The AHS offers a comprehensive and in-depth general education. The academic secondary school (AHS) is divided into lower level and high school. Students may attend lower secondary school (Hauptschule) or the lower academic secondary school (allgemeinbildende hohere Schule or AHS) [ISCED 2].
  • Lower Secondary Schools: These schools imparts a basic general education, i.e. enhances and develops the knowledge, aptitude, skills and abilities required for pursuing studies at the upper secondary level.
  • Lower Academic Secondary Schools: Such schools impart a wide-range of advanced secondary general education. Students can opt for further higher education like technical and general or vocational education (AHS ) after completing either of these school types. Vocational training programs are offered in the dual system at VET schools (BMS) or VET colleges (BHS).Students who have finished lower secondary school or the lower cycle of AHS and wish to go for an apprenticeship training program within the dual system must complete nine year of mandatory education. After completing the mandatory schooling criteria, they can attend  the apprenticeship training program at a one-year pre-vocational school [ISCED 3C]. Inaugral vocational training in an apprenticeship profession is provided partially by a training organization and partially by a part-time vocational school for apprentices (Berufsschule) [ISCED 3B]. These vocational schools provide general education and specialized profession related knowledge and skills to the students.
  • Polytechnic School: The 14 -15 year olds who want to learn a trade immediately after compulsory education attends a one-year vocational school. Students learn a trade in the Polytechnic School through company visits and practical sessions. 
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