The following table provides an overview of quality assurance (QA) measures that are used in the various education areas in Austria and that are explained in more detail in the following subsections. The most important legal bases for quality assurance are listed below the table.
Fig. 1: Overview of QA measures and processes in Austria by education areas.
|EDUCATION AREA||MEASURES AND PROCEDURES|
Early Childhood Education and Care
External QA measures
Internal QA measure (example)
|Schools at Primary and Secondary Level|
Measures across all school types and levels
School type-specific measures
Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC)
- In Austria, the tasks and responsibilities in ECEC lie with the provinces. The provincial childcare laws cover regulations that contribute to the pedagogical quality (e.g. the staff-child-ratio, the group size, the equipment of the childcare facility, the in-service training requirements of the teachers and assistants, pedagogical supervision, etc.).
- The agreement between the federal government and the nine provinces, which was concluded for the period between 2022 and 2027, regulates investments in the quantitative and qualitative expansion of elementary education facilities in Austria.
Schools on the primary and secondary level
Quality assurance and development in schools and in dual VET programmes is primarily anchored in the following laws:
- The Federal Constitutional Act explicitly obliges Austrian schools to safeguard “an as high as possible educational level while continually assuring and developing the best possible quality”.
- With the Education Reform Act 2017 the autonomous scope for action in the area of pedagogical, organisational and personnel control of the schools was expanded, which led to a change of tasks and responsibilities of the school management with respect to quality assurance. In addition, the school supervision was reorganised with this law. It also forms the basis for the introduction of the new quality framework, which applies to all school types on the primary and secondary level.
- With the Federal Act on the Establishment of the Boards of Education in the provinces, these new authorities were set up which are, among others, responsible for the school supervision.
- With the Federal Act on the Establishment of a Federal Institute for Quality Assurance in the Austrian School System, IQS was founded as a subordinate agency of the Ministry of Education. It supports the ministry in the evidence-based governance and further development of the Austrian school system.
- The essential legal bases for quality assurance in the dual system (accreditation of training companies, quality of the LAP, Clearing Office) are laid down in the Vocational Training Act (BAG).
The laws relevant to quality assurance in the field of tertiary education are the University Act, the Act on the Organisation of University Colleges of Teacher Education, the Universities of Applied Sciences Act, the Private Higher Education Insitutions (HEIs) Act, and the Act on Quality Assurance in Higher Education.
- The basis of the “Quality Framework for Adult Education in Austria” (Ö-Cert) is the agreement between the federal government and the provinces on the “Recognition of the Quality Framework for Adult Education”.
- The federal government supports non-profit adult education organisations. Requirements and criteria for the award of subsidies are laid down in the Federal Act on the Promotion of Adult Education and the Public Library System from Federal Funds.
- The “Adult Education Initiative” is based on an agreement between the federal government and the provinces on the promotion of courses for adults in the field of basic education as well as courses for completing compulsory schooling and is therefore a uniform support programme throughout Austria.