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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
National reforms in vocational education and training and adult learning


14.Ongoing reforms and policy developments

14.3National reforms in vocational education and training and adult learning

Last update: 12 October 2022


Initiative for Adult Education

Status: new cycle 2018 - 2021; extendet until 2023



The Initiative for Adult Education enables adults who lack basic skills or never graduated from lower secondary education to continue and finish their education free of charge. The related joint funding programme developed by the state and the provinces (Bundesländer) has aimed to a quantitative expansion and to a qualitative development of education programs regarding compulsory education certificates and literacy/basic education during 2011 to 2014  as well as during 2015 to 2017.

Austrian educational institutions that want to take part have to apply for accreditation in accordance with the guidelines of the Initiative for Adult Education.

The initiative has two focus areas: training of basic skills and lower secondary education as a basic prerequisite for further education and enhancement of chances on the labour market. The main objectivestherefore are:

  • Equal opportunities and reduction of disadvantages,
  • reduction of the number of persons without basic education,
  • increase in the number of persons with basic educational qualifications and
  • increase in the permeability of the education system.


  • Training of basic skills and lower secondary education for adults in preparation for the compulsory school certificate on the basis of general quality standards
  • General quality standards: a Compulsory School Examination Act which contains adult-appropriate and innovative forms of implementation with competence-orientated, cross-curricular programs which are tailored to the target groups, taking their living situations and their particular potential into account.
  • Development of a "Framework Directive for Basic Training and Key Competences" targeted at adults
  • A clearing-period at the beginning and counselling in regard to the transition into work or further education at the end are very important parts of this programme.

Expected impact:

  • Increase of qualification levels, the reduction of disadvantages
  • Provide offers free of charge (literacy/basic education programmes, compulsory education).

Funding: the federal and provincial governments each bear 50% of the costs. This educational offer is free of charge to participants.


  • Consistent quality guidelines for all courses of this programme have been implemented.
  • A monitoring group supervises the process and the results.
  • The total costs will only be refunded to the institutions if participants graduate successfully.
  • Evaluation of the program.

Involved bodies:


See also: New Upper Level / Semestrial Upper Level

chapter 14.2 (2021)

See also: Reform of Nursing

chapter 14.4 (2021)