Austria:Glossary

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Allgemein bildende höhere Schule (AHS)

Allgemeinbildende höhere Schulen are academic secondary schools, they impart a comprehensive and in-depth general education, and lead to university entrance qualifications. The education culminates in a Reifeprüfung. Academic secondary schools consist of a lower and an upper cycle (four years each, long form). They start after the fourth grade of primary (elementary) school and cover eight years (grades 5 - 12). The Oberstufenrealgymnasium is a special upper-cycle form starting after grade 8 and covers four years (grades 9 to 12), and a 1-year transitional grade may be set up.

Allgemein bildende Pflichtschule

Allgemeinbildende Pflichtschulen are general compulsory schools, covering primary schools, secondary general schools (Hauptschule), new secondary schools (Neue Mittelschule), special schools, and the pre-vocational schools (Polytechnische Schulen).

Allgemeine Universitätsreife

A "general university entrance qualification" means the successful completion of a Reifeprüfung at a higher-level school conferring the right to be admitted to a degree programme at a universiy or Fachhochschule institution. The Reifeprüfung may be substituted by the Berufsreifeprüfung (working students’ university entrance examination) or Studienberechtigungsprüfung.

Alternativer Pflichtgegenstand

Alternative compulsory subjects are elective subjects, affording students a choice of one out of several subjects proposed. The selected subject is then evaluated as a compulsory subject.

Arbeitsmarktservice (AMS)

The Labour Market Service is entrusted with implementing the federal (government) labour market policies. It is a service institution under public law and endowed with a separate legal entity.

Bachelorgrad (BSc)

Upon completion of all prescribed courses, studies and examinations within a bachelor’s degree programme at a university, Fachhochschule or Pädagogische Hochschule, a bachelor’s degree will be awarded.

Bachelorprüfung

To obtain a bachelor’s degree from a university, Fachhochschule or Pädagogische Hochschule, students must pass the prescribed bachelor’s examination.

Berufsbildende höhere Schule (BHS)

Higher-level technical and vocational schools are secondary schools (secondary level II), they start after grade 8 (except for one special form) and cover 5 years (grades 9 - 12). Higher-level technical and vocational schools impart a higher-level general and vocational education which qualifies students to exercise a higher-level occupation in the fields of engineering, trade, arts and crafts, commerce, domestic science and others, and at the same time lead to university-entrance qualifications. The education culminates in a Reife- und Diplomprüfung.

Berufsbildende mittlere Schule (BMS)

Medium-level technical and vocational schools are secondary schools (secondary level II), they start after grade 8 and cover one to four years, depending on the type (grades 9, 10, 11 and 12). Medium-level technical and vocational schools, i.e., mainly Fachschule and business schools, are to impart the basic specialist knowledge and skills which qualify students to directly exercise an occupation in the fields of engineering, trade, arts and crafts, commerce or domestic science, or in any other business-related or social area. At the same time, they are to enhance and promote the students' general background in a way which is consistent with their future occupation. Education in most of these school types culminates in a final school-leaving examination.

Berufsbildende Pflichtschule

Berufsbildende Pflichtschulen are Berufsschulen. They have the task of providing supplementary specialised instruction and offering persons who have to complete compulsory vocational schooling basic theoretical knowledge, promoting and complementing their company-based training, and to increase their general education. Apprentices must, in addition to their training in a company, attend the Berufsschule (compulsory attendance).

Berufsreifeprüfung

The Berufsreifeprüfung is a four-part examination for external students, successful completion of which confers all entitlements associated with a Reifeprüfung at a higher secondary school.

Berufsschule

Berufsschulen are part-time compulsory vocational schools (see also Berufsbildende Pflichtschule). There are three different types: all-year schools (at least one full day and two half-days of instruction per week), course-type schools (courses of a duration of at least 8 weeks, within school grades equivalent to half a year of apprenticeship employment, courses of a duration of at least 4 weeks) and seasonal schools concentrating instruction in a specific season.

Bezirksschulinspektor

District school inspectors are public officials of the school inspectorate and exercise school inspection over general compulsory schools (for one district or several political districts). School inspection comprises tasks across schools (participation in the management, planning and organisation, organisational and staff development, quality assurance, advice, conflict management), as well as the inspection of individual schools and teaching staff.

Bildungsanstalt für Kindergartenpädagogik (BAKIP)

Training schools for nursery school teachers, as higher-level institutions for the training of teachers and educators, are colleges, they start after grade eight and cover five years (grades 9 - 13). The training institutions for nursery school teachers impart the professional attitude, knowledge and skills required to fulfil the educational tasks of kindergarten education, and at the same time lead to university entrance qualifications. The education culminates in a Reife- und Diplomprüfung, and in the case of child care workers in a diploma examination for kindergarten and day-care centres.

Bildungsanstalt für Sozialpädagogik (BASOP)

Training for educators is taking place at higher-level institutions, they start after grade eight and cover five years (grades 9 - 13). The training colleges for educators are to train students to become educators who are qualified to fulfil the educational tasks at day-boarding schools, day-care centres, minding institutions for children and young people and in the attendant part at schools with all-day instruction as well as in non-school youth work, on account of their professional attitudes, knowledge and skills. Moreover, they are to lead students to university-entrance qualifications. The education culminates in a Reife- und Diplomprüfung.

Diplomgrad (Dipl.)

Upon completion of all prescribed courses, studies and examinations within a diploma programme at a university or Fachhochschule, a diploma degree will be awarded.

Dissertation (Diss.)

The approbation of a doctoral thesis is a prerequisite for obtaining a doctorate at a university. This academic paper, unlinke diploma and master’s dissertations, serves to demonstrate students’ ability to master academic topics independently.

Doktorgrad (Dr.)

Upon completion of all prescribed courses, studies and examinations within a doctoral programme at a university, the corresponding doctoral degree will be awarded.

Duales System

Parallel to practical training in a company, apprentices must undergo specialised vocational training at a Berufsschule (dual system).

Entlohnungsgruppe

Contract staff (including teachers employed under a private-law contract) are classified according to pay groups (Entlohungsgruppe).

Fachhochschule (FH)

Universities of applied sciences (Fachhochschulen) are university-level higher education institutions that have been authorised by the Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria to run bachelor's, master's and diploma programmes as well as continuing education courses.

Fachhochschul-Studiengang

University of applied sciences study courses are bachelor’s, master’s or diploma programmes at university of applied sciences institutions which provide academic or artistic vocational training. The main aims are: to ensure a practice-oriented training at university-level; to convey skills required to solve the tasks of a given occupation or profession that meet the state of the art and practical requirements; to promote the permeability of the educational system and professional flexibility of graduates.

Fachinspektor

Subject inspectors are teachers entrusted with the function of school inspection for individual subjects in one or several provinces. Subject inspectors for religious instruction are appointed by the church. See Bezirksschulinspektor.

Fachkoordinator

Subject co-ordinators co-ordinate the work of teachers in subjects with ability grouping. Ability groups exists at secondary general schools and Polytechnische Schule only, for German, Mathematics and Modern Foreign Language, and at Berufsschulen in one, two or several compulsory subjects in business management and special theory. Subject co-ordinators are responsible for creating a uniform system of grading, upgrading or downgrading, and for the organisation of remedial instruction. At schools with a special focus on music education or on sports, there are also subject co-ordinators who co-ordinate the work of teachers in those fields.

Fachschule

Fachschulen are medium-level secondary schools (medium-level technical and vocational schools, secondary level II), cover study courses of one to four years and provide an education with a trade, technical, arts and crafts, agriculture and forestry orientation, as well as training for domestic science and social occupations. See also Berufsbildende mittlere Schule.

Gebietskörperschaft

Territorial entities are public corporations and encompass all persons with a territorial affiliation to a given area (with regard to domicile, residence). The Federation, the provinces and the local communities are territorial entities.

Grundschule

Grundschule covers primary levels I and II of primary school or special school.

Handelsakademie (HAK)

Handelsakademien are a form of secondary school (medium-level technical and vocational schools, secondary level II), they cover a five-year study course and provide higher-level commercial training for all branches of business and industry; moreover, they lead to university-entrance qualifications. See also Berufsbildende höhere Schule.

Hauptschule

Hauptschule is a general secondary school for pupils aged 10 to 14; general secondary schools exist alongside the upper cycle of primary school (very rare), the upper cycle of special school, and the lower cycle of secondary academic school. The curriculum for Hauptschule is exactly the same as that for the lower cycle of allgemein bildende höhere Schule. This is to enable Hauptschule pupils under certain circumstances (basically an appropriate performance assessment in compulsory subjects or successful completion of an admission examination) to switch over to a allgemein bildende höhere Schule in each grade, or after successful completion of Hauptschule to be admitted to the upper cycle of allgemein bildende höhere Schule or the first year of a berufsbildende mittlere Schule or berufsbildende höhere Schule.

Häuslicher Unterricht'

Compulsory schooling may be accomplished by private tuition (with the exception of the pre-vocational year), if private tuition is at least equivalent to that offered at a corresponding school.

Höhere land- und forstwirtschaftliche Lehranstalt

The Höhere land- und forstwirtschaftliche Lehranstalt is a higher-level secondary school for agriculture and forestry (higher-level technical and vocational school, secondary level II), it starts after grade 8, covers five years (grades 9 - 13) and leads to university entrance qualifications. The higher-level schools for agriculture and forestry are to impart a general and vocational training which qualifies students to engage in higher-level occupations in agriculture and forestry. The education culminates in a Reife- und Diplomprüfung.

Höhere Lehranstalt für wirtschaftliche Berufe

The Höhere Lehranstalt für wirtschaftliche Berufe is a higher-level secondary school for business occupations (higher-level technical and vocational school, secondary level II), training lasts for five years and leads to university entrance qualifications. The Höhere Lehranstalt für wirtschaftliche Berufe provides a higher-level education for higher-level occupations in business, government administration, nutrition, tourism and culture. The education culminates in a Reife- und Diplomprüfung.

Höhere technische und gewerbliche Lehranstalt

Höhere technische und gewerbliche Lehranstalten are higher-level secondary schools (higher-level technical and vocational schools, secondary level II), cover five years of training and lead to a university entrance qualifications. The Höhere technische und gewerbliche Lehranstalten convey a higher-level technical education for different specialisations in industry and trade. The education culminates in a Reife- und Diplomprüfung.

Kindergarten

Kindergarten is an institution for educating and minding children aged three to six. Kindergartens in areas with declining number of children have extended the age limits for children below 3 and above 6 years. In urban areas age extended groups are often part of regular kindergartens.
Kindergarten is intended to support and complement education given within the family according to social, moral and religious values and to promote childhood development, education and the free development of children's personalities in play and social interaction. Moreover, kindergarten is to support children in attaining maturity for school education, without imposing any pressure of performance or school-like instruction. Kindergartens are educational institutions run on a half-day or full day basis (not overnight).
Attendance is optional except the last year before school entry. Since september 2010 kindergarten attendance for a minimum of 16 to 20 hours over a minimum of 4 days per week was made obligatory for these children (age 5 - 6).

Klassenforum

At all shool levels in each class is to install a class forum which discusses and partly decides on matters affecting the entire class. The class forum is made up of the parents of all pupils and of the class teacher or head teacher.

Klassenvorstand

At schools with a subject-teacher system, the head teacher accomplishes the tasks performed by the class teacher: co-operation with other teachers, co-ordination of educational work, matching classroom work to the performance of the class and the ability of pupils, guidance on educational matters, liaison between school and parents, performing necessary organisational tasks and maintaining all official documents and files. At higher-level technical and vocational schools, head teachers are called Jahrgangsvorstände.

Kolleg

Kollegs are special types of higher-level technical and vocational schools which provide the education of any higher-level technical and vocational school as a complement for graduates of other higher-level schools in three or four-semester training courses, and lead to a final diploma examination.

Kustos

A custodian is a teacher who is responsible for the provision of teaching aids and other facilities at school in line with pedagogical principles, as well as for their procurement, replacement, completion and, in some cases, maintenance. He/she shall also make proposals as to the development of the equipment for which they are responsible.

Landesschulinspektor

Province school inspectors are officials responsible for school inspection at one or several types of schools and departments or forms of schools within a province or in several provinces. School inspection comprises tasks across schools (participation in the management, planning and organisation, organisational and staff development, quality assurance, advice, conflict management), as well as the inspection of individual schools and teaching staff.

Landesschulrat

The province school board is the educational authority of the first instance for compulsory vocational schools, medium and higher-level secondary schools, training institutes for higher social occupations and teacher training institutes within a province. The province school board is the educational authority of the second instance for general compulsory schools within a province. In Vienna, it is called municipal school board for Vienna, acting at the same time as a district school board.

Mastergrad

Upon completion of all prescribed courses, studies and examinations within a master’s programme at a university, the corresponding master’s degree will be awarded. A master’s degree will further be awarded upon completion of a continuing education course at a university, a continuing study course at a [Austria:Glossary#gly22|university of applied sciences]] or a study course at a [Austria:Glossary#gly54|university college of teacher education]].

Neue Mittelschule (NMS)

New secondary school (Neue Mittelschule) is a comprehensive school for 10 to 14-year-olds which has existed since the 2008/09 school year.
In 2012 the Austrian parliament adopted the necessary legal amendments to integrate the NMS into the regular school system.
Until 2018/19 all general secondary schools (Hauptschulen) will be turned into new secondary schools. All lower stages of academic secondary school (AHS) are invited to join on a project basis.
New secondary schools follow year 4 of primary school and comprise years 5 to 8. They build on individualised learning and a competence-based approach.
Students who have successfully completed receive an end-of-year report and certificate at the end of grade 4, which entitles them to be admitted to upper secondary general and vocational education and training.

Oberstufenrealgymnasium

The Oberstufenrealgymnasium is a special type of upper-cycle academic secondary higher school (secondary level II), it starts after grade 8 and covers four years (grades 9 - 12), however, a transitional year may be set up. See also Allgemein bildende höhere Schule.

Öffentlichkeitsrecht

Private (non-public) schools are granted public-law status, provided that they meet certain requirements concerning the provider and educational achievements, if they carry an officially regulated designation and thus have an equivalent public-sector counterpart. Private schools enjoying public-law status are subject to the same statutory provisions as the corresponding public institutions. Certificates issued by these schools have the evidentiary value of public documents and the same legal effects as any certificates by similar public institutions.

Organisationsstatut

Private schools which do not have a public-sector counterpart are called schools with an organisational charter (Organisationsstatut). In a charter, these schools lay down their own curriculum, their house rules and the required training of teachers at these schools. The charter is subject to official approval if public-law status is aspired to, which is to be granted to these schools under certain requirements.

Österreichische Fachhochschulkonferenz

Association of all university of applied sciences providers to co-ordinate overarching issues pertaining to university of applied sciences training and to represent the interests of the university of applied sciences sector externally.

Österreichische Hochschülerinnen- und Hochschülerschaft (ÖH)

A public corporation, the Austrian National Union of Students represents the interests of students at universities, universities of applied sciences, private universities and university colleges of teacher education.

Österreichische Universitätenkonferenz (UNIKO)

Association of all universities to co-ordinate overarching issues pertaining to universities and to represent the interests of the university sector externally.

Österreichischer Wissenschaftsrat

The Austrian Science Board is a central advisory body for state bodies and universities in all matters pertaining to universities and their further development.

Pädagogische Hochschule (PH)

University Colleges of Teacher Education are state-accredited higher-education institutions maintained by the state or private sector. They offer bachelor’s programmes for the training of compulsory school teachers and continuing education courses for teachers.

Polytechnische Schule

The pre-vocational school (Polytechnische Schule) following grade 8 covers one year of secondary education (grade 9). It enhances the education of pupils in the last (ninth) grade of compulsory education with a view to practical life and a future occupation. It prepares pupils for career decisions through adequate vocational guidance and imparts basic vocational education and training.

Privatuniversität

Private universities are higher-education institutions not maintained by the state which have been authorised by the Accreditation Council to run higher-education study programmes.

Promotion

The Promotion is the ceremony during which a doctor's degree is conferred at a university.

Reife- und Diplomprüfung

The higher-level technical and vocational schools and the training schools for nursery school teachers as well as the training school for educators lead to the Reife- und Diplomprüfung.

Reifeprüfung

Academic secondary schools, higher-level technical and vocational schools, training institutes for nursery school teachers and educators, and higher-level schools for agriculture and forestry lead to the matriculation examination. The passing of the matriculation examination is an entitlement to take up studies at a university or higher education institution.

Rektor

The Rektor is the monocratic governing body at a university, university of applied sciences or university college of teacher education.

Rigorosum

The passing of a Rigorosum examination is a prerequisite for obtaining a doctorate at a university.

Schulautonomie

The concept of school autonomy relates to educational contents, budgetary management and school legislation (in particular, school-autonomous thresholds for opening new classes or dividing classes, curricular provisions and issues concerning school periods) and implies a co-determination in the creation of the framework of teaching, learning and co-existence at the local school level. School autonomy is to enable a degree of plurality and local or regional independence through curricular autonomy, in due respect of the comparability of qualifications and entitlements.

Schulfähigkeit

Children who are mentally and physically capable of undergoing compulsory schooling are deemed fit for schooling (Schulfähigkeit). Pupils who are unfit for schooling must be exempted from school attendance as long as the unfitness persists.

Schulforum

A "school forum" is set up at all primary schools, secondary general schools and special schools which are not run according to the curriculum of the pre-vocational year, to strengthen and promote the school community. The school forum decides on matters pertaining to school events, school-related events, career counselling at school, as well as health care and hygiene, which go beyond the level of the individual class. It further provides advice primarily on important issues in education and teaching. The school forum is made of up the class teachers and the parents.

Schulgemeinschaftsausschuss

A school community committee (Schulgemeinschaftsausschuss) is set up at Polytechnische Schulen (pre-vocational schools), compulsory vocational schools and medium and higher-level schools to promote and strengthen the school community. The school community committee is made up of the headmaster (without a right to vote), as well as three representatives of teachers, pupils and parents each. The school community committee decides on specific matters (similar to the Schulforum existing at primary schools, secondary general schools and special schools), e.g., school events lasting several days, the adoption of house rules, autonomous curricular provisions) and provides advice primarily on important issues in education and teaching.

Schulpraktikum

The curriculum of universty colleges of teacher education includes, among other things, mandatory practical training for all study courses.

Schulreife

School readiness exists if one may assume that a child will be able to follow instruction at the first age level without being overtaxed physically or mentally. Children who have attained statutory school age but who are not deemed ready for school education are admitted to the pre-school stage.

Senat

The Senate is a university’s highest collegial body. It is the university’s central body of autonomy and primarily responsible for academic and artistic matters.

Sonderpädagogischer Förderbedarf

Children who are considered fit for schooling, but are unable to follow instruction at a primary school, secondary general school or the pre-vocational year without special educational assistance on account of physical of mental disability, must have a special educational need diagnosed by the district school board (at the request of parents / guardians, the school head or ex officio). Children with special educational needs who are subject to compulsory schooling are entitled to comply with compulsory schooling by attending a Sonderschule or a Volksschule, Hauptschule, Neue Mittelschule or lower cycle of an allgemein bildende höhere Schule that meets the special educational needs (as far as such schools exist and the route to/from school is reasonable).

Sonderpädagogisches Zentrum (SPZ)

Sonderpädagogische Zentren are special schools which have been entrusted with providing and co-ordinating special educational measures for other school types, in order to ensure the best possible instruction of children with special pedagogical needs within the standard school system.

Sonderschule

Special school and its different types cover primary and secondary education (grades 1 to 8 or 9); they are to promote physically or mentally handicapped children in a way that is consistent with their particular handicap, and to convey, if possible, an education which corresponds to that of a primary school, secondary general school or the pre-vocational school, and to prepare pupils for taking up working life and a career.

Sponsion

The Sponsion is the solemn ceremony during which a diploma degree is conferred at university.

Stadtschulrat

In Vienna, the province school board is called municipal school board for Vienna.

Studienberechtigungsprüfung

The entrance examination for working students is a special form of Allgemeine Universitätsreife for those who wish to take up studies without the full university entrance examination. It applies to a specific course of study or groups of studies.

Studienkommission

The Study Commission is the highest collegial body of a university college of teacher education for academic matters.

Universität

Universities are state-maintained higher-education institutions at the highest academic or artistic level which run bachelor’s, master’s, diploma and doctoral programmes.

Universitätsassistent

Assistant lecturers (Universitätsassistenten) are members of the university teaching staff who do not have submitted a post-doctoral thesis (Habilitation); they are endowed with a course-linked authority to teach.

Universitätsdozent

University lectures having submitted their post-doctoral thesis, being endowed with a full authority to teach.

Universitätsprofessor

A university professor has full authority to teach the subject he or she represents.

Unterrichtspraktikum

During a one-year traineeship in teaching practice, graduates of university teacher training courses are initiated in the practice of teaching for medium and higher-level schools.

Unverbindliche Übung

An optional exercise (Unverbindliche Übung) is a class for which students must register at the beginning of the school year, but for which there is no assessment.

Verbindliche Übung

A compulsory exercise (Verbindliche Übung) is a class which all students of a schools must attend, unless they are exempted. Compulsory exercises are not assessed.

Verwendungsgruppe

Public officials, especially teachers employed under public-law contracts, are classified according to remuneration groups (Verwendungsgruppe).

Volksschule

Primary school is the general compulsory school for pupils aged six to ten in the lower cycle, and for pupils aged ten to fourteen in the upper cycle. The upper cycle is practically without significance today.

Vorschulstufe

The pre-school stage is part of primary level I of Volksschule. Children who have attained statutory school age but are not yet ready for school are admitted to the pre-school stage. Children whose early admission to Volksschule has been revoked may be registered to attend the pre-school stage.

Wiederholungsprüfung

Pupils having been assessed with an Insufficient in the end-of-year report in one or two compulsory subjects may - with the exception of elementary schools and special schools run according to the class teacher principle - undergo examination resits (Wiederholungsprüfungen) in those subjects, in which they were rated Insufficient.