The government is the supreme supervisory body for the education system, including vocational and adult education. It monitors the application of the laws by the bodies subordinate to it and supervises the management of the Office of Education, the Office for Vocational Education and Training, the School Council, the Vocational Education and Training Advisory Board(Berufsbildungsbeirat), the Board of Trustees of the Adult Education Foundation, the Matura and Vocational Baccalaureate Commission and the University Council. The processing of individual business is carried out by the bodies of the School Administration as well as the Vocational and Professional Education and Training.
It is the Government's responsibility to delegate duties to subordinate bodies. Thus individual officers implement allocated assignments with the reservation of possible complaints made to the government about their decisions; the same applies to government offices, special committees and advisory boards.
The Office of Education prepares issues for the attention of the government or other authorities (Schools Council, community school council) according to the relevant competences, or attends to them in their own name. Additionally the Office of Education is the main body responsible for the employment of all teachers at Kindergarten, at primary and lower secondary schools, and of further staff at the secondary schools. The organisation of the entire VET system is in the hands of the Office for Vocational Training and Career Counselling.
Administrative authorities in the education sector are the following:
Administration at national level
Government / Ministries
According to the constitution „the process of issues to attend to is partly in council and partly departmental“. Every member of the government is responsible for certain issues, allocated to the ministries as follows:
- Ministry of General Government Affairs and Finance
- Ministry of Home Affairs, Economy and Environment
- Ministry of Infrastructure and Justice
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Education and Sport
- Ministry of Social Affaiers and Culture
The political issues of economy, justice, education, sports, and culture are allocated to the government departments; the departmental designations are adapted accordingly. Under the current government 2017-2021 the education sector is allocated to the Department for Home Affairs, Education and Enviroment.
The ministries supervise the administration of offices and committees in their relevant fields. The Ministry for Home Affairs, Education and Enviroment is therefore responsible for the administrative proceedings in the Office of Education as well as for the ones in the Office of Vocational Training and Career Counselling; the Ministry is thus supervising the officials and other staff in these offices. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Education and Culture specifies the objectives of paramount importance to the offices.
National administration offices
The main tasks of the Office of Education are planning, maintaining and advancing the education system at Kindergarten, state school and university level. These objectives include supervision, the responsibilities for the teaching staff, for the school management, and for the further staff at state schools; also included are the tasks of developing legal and planning foundations, the administration and the operation of schools and services close to schools (swimming baths, youth centre), together with the respective preparatory government affairs. Pivotal duties additionally result in connection with the changes of school, with the efforts to ensure permeability between schools and access to secondary schools and universities; of equal importance are the counselling processes and participation in projects for new school buildings, as well as regional and international cooperation.
The Office of Education houses four divisions: Kindergarten and compulsory education, the division for upper secondary schools and higher education, the division for administration and legal affairs, and pedagogical and psychological services. The following constitute the associated agencies:
- Office for Scholarships and Grants
- Pedagogical Services and Special Education
- School Social Work
- School Psychology Services
- Centre for Educational Media
- Indoor Swimming Pool
- Youth Centre Malbun
- School offices and libraries of the secondary schools
- Information Centre for the Recognition of Academic Degrees / Euridice
The Office for Vocational Training and Career Counselling is responsible for the implementation of the Law on Vocational Education and Training. Specific tasks include e.g. preparing the relevant documentation for the government or for the Council for Vocational Education and Training, looking for apprenticeship places, and subervising vocational schools and host companies. The Office for Vocational Training and Career Counseling focuses on the explanation and the counselling in questions of professional education and career, on the stucture of the professional career, and on the cooperation with the schools, with the parents and the representatives of industry and businesses in the choice of occupation.
Committees and advisory boards
Committees are required to work autonomously in their fields, whereas advisory boards are permanent commissions advising the government in their decisions. The members of these permanent commissions are appointed by the government or by the parliament for a certain period of time and based on specific legal grounds. Remuneration of the commission members is based on time, according to the „Gesetz über die Bezüge der Mitglieder der Regierung, der Gerichtshöfe und der Kommissionen“ (art. 3).
The following are committees and advisory boards in the education sector:
- Schools Council (School Law, art. 107-109)
- Committee for Teacher Examinations (Teachers' Service Conditions Ordinance, art. 15)
- Teaching Commission at Gymnasium and at vocational upper secondary school (School Law, Art. 106a)
- Baccalaureate Committee (School Law, art. 58, ch. 2ff) and Vocational Baccalaureate Committee (School Law, art. 52f, ch. 2ff)
- Council for Vocational Education and Training (Law on Vocational Education and Training, art. 65-66)
- Sports School Committee (School Organisation Ordinance, art. 32a-32c)
Some committees and advisory boards that are relevant in the education sector are explained in the following examples:
The responsibilities of the Schools Council include decisions in appeals, transferring students to another type of school, allowing the early start of school, the exemption from compulsory education, and determining compulsory in-service training for the teaching staff etc. Implementing the Schools Council's tasks has been transferred to the Office of Education by ordinance.
The Teaching Commission at the Liechtenstein Gymnasium and at vocational upper secondary school observes tasks of counselling and supervision on behalf of the government at both schools. It consists of external experts, mainly from Switzerland or Austria, with long work experience in teaching, in teacher education and in staff appraisal; it is appointed for a period of four years. The Teaching Commission meets once a year, the meetings are chaired by the Office of Education.
Besides regular lesson visitations the experts make valuable suggestions for the internal training of the teachers and contribute to the format of the joint baccalaureate and towards appropriate assessment criteria by their cooperation with the relevant departments. In this way the experts ensure, confirm and refine the evaluation of examination standards and of the educational level of the schools in an ongoing process. Accordingly the commission contributes in an important way towards quality development and quality assurance of the schools.
The Baccalaureate Commission at Gymnasium and at Vocational Upper Secondary School are responsible for the implementation of the final exam in close cooperation with the rector's office. Traditionally in recent years the members of the Baccalaureate Commission at Liechtenstein Gymnasium have participated as experts in the oral final exams.
The Vocational Baccalaureate Committee is responsible for the procedures leading to certification at Vocational Baccalaureate School. Their prominent duties include supervising the final oral exams, approving and finalising exam marks and final marks; they also decide on the final qualifications at the Vocational Baccalaureate, and settle questions on candidates' special applications.
The Council for Vocational Education and Training is appointed by the government. The terms of office coincide with the Schools Council's. Its seven members regard applications towards the recognition of vocational training and courses, or are concerned with planning training programmes to be implemented in Liechtenstein; in addition they issue training regulations, and implement experimental school structures in vocational education.
Establishments and foundations under public law
The government is entitled to overall control over public companies according to the constitution (art. 78, ch. 4). For a responsible implementation of this objective the government in 2009 presented a comprehensive legislative package to the parliament considering the issue of Corporate Governance.
Corporate Governance in public companies in Liechtenstein regulates structures in a three-level model:
- Law on the Operation and Supervision of Public Companies (ÖUSG)
- special laws on public companies
- recommendations on leading and supervising public companies in Liechtenstein (Public Corporate Governance Code)
The law on operating and supervising public companies is a skeleton law regulating the influence of the state with regard to the operation and supervision of public companies. The law codifies the government's overall control over corporate bodies, and over establishments and foundations under public law according to the constitution.
The following institutions are organised as foundations under public law:
|Foundations / Public Law Institutions||Special Law|
|University of Liechtenstein||Law on University of Liechtenstein|
|Music School Liechtensetin||Law on Music School Liechtensetin|
|School of Art Liechtenstein||Law on School of Art Liechtenstein|
|Adult Education Foundation||Law on Adult Education Foundation|
|Agency for international Education Affairs||Law on AIBA|
The skeleton legislation intends to organise the above mentioned institutions according to generally accepted principles in company management. In addition there are the aspects of standardisation of all institutions and companies with respect to management and supervision as well as to their activities and surveillance.
Supplementary to the skeleton legislation and complementing the special laws the government issued „recommendations on leading and supervising public companies in Liechtenstein“, i.e. a public corporate governance code for Liechtenstein. The topics included in this governance code – with recommending, but not binding character – describe the collaboration between strategic and operational management, periodic self evaluation, planning of succession, or liability insurances (for directors and officers). The public enterprises are asked to implement the recommendations as far as possible or to disclose and justify failures to comply according to the principle of „comply or explain“.
The Finance Office is the body of coordination with respect to financial control and supervision of public companies, it supports the ministries as well as the public companies in this regard.
Administration at municipal level
The municipalities are the school authorities of the primary schools and of Kindergarten; they initiate to form the community school council consisting of five to seven members who are elected by the local council. One member of the local council is required to be a member of the local school council. The terms of office correspond to the ones of the local council. The local school council is responsible for the determination of the catchment area and approves of applications for job-sharing in Kindergarten and in primary schools. In addition the local school council is entitled to the following rights of participation: the right of proposing the school management of primary schools and Kindergarten; the right to application to merge school managements of several catchment areas; the right to comment on integration of children into mainstream classes in Kindergarten and at primary schools; and the right to decide on the external use of municipal school buildings and parts of the school campus at Kindergarten and at primary schools.
Municipal school council
The local school councils are the only decentralised authority in educational administration. The rest of the authorities are centralised, i.e. responsible for the assigned duties on national level. This means practically that the local authorities are responsible for the pre-school services in Kindergarten and for organisational issues at primary schools. The state, however, is the responsible authority for lower secondary school, for upper secondary school, for higher education, for vocational education and training, for adult education and for aestethic continuing education. School Law (art. 110-112)