- Access to lifelong learning through educational counselling, guidance and information
- Vocational, general educational, political and cultural education offers and provisions for adults
- Provides basic education and basic skills
- Catching up on educational qualifications ("Second Chance Education")
- Medium Level and Upper Level General, Technical and Vocational Secondary Schools for Adults, Add-on Courses, Post-secondary VET Courses and Academies
- Preparatory courses for qualifications taken on completion of compulsory school education, Higher Education Entrance Examination for external students, General Higher Education Entrance Examination for leavers of the apprenticeship training and VET schools and the Limited Higher Education Entrance Examination
- Continuing Education courses at universities, University Colleges for Teacher Training and Universities of Applied Sciences, Private Universities
- Media and Event Programme from the General Public Libraries
Adult Education is an important part of the process of lifelong learning. The term of Adult Education is understood to refer to all types of formal, non-formal and targeted informal learning by adults, and equally encompasses all vocational, general educational, political and cultural teaching and learning processes for adults. Previously, adults have completed an initial education phase, which can be of varying duration and level. Adult Education is based on educational policy strategies, responsibility, organisational structures and legal and financial principles. Adult Education institutions that are funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung, Wissenschaft und Forschung), such as Adult Education Centres (Volkshochschulen), Vocational Training Institutes (Berufsförderungsinstitute), Institutes for Economic Promotion of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (Wirtschaftsförderungsinstitute), Austrian Bildungshäuser, confessional institutions and a range of other regional non-profit Adult Education institutions, often also offer courses that enable individuals to catch up on educational qualifications in the context of "Second Chance Education". During their professional life, many people participate in Continuing Education arranged or organised by their place of work, or gain access, in the context of labour market policy measures, to funded Continuing Education.
Enabling access to lifelong learning for everyone is an important task for Adult Education. This takes place in the form of educational counselling, guidance and information, provision of basic education and basic skills and the opportunity to gain or catch up on educational qualifications at various levels. Free information and advice about Adult Education is available from education counselling, guidance and information centres in all federal provinces.
In a long-term perspective, the aim of the different offers and provisions of Adult Education is to diversify access to education as well as to increase the educational permeability from one level or segment of education to the next, as well as from education to the job. As a result of the demographic shift, Adult Education is becoming increasingly more prevalent in the post-employment phase.
For the past two decades, Adult Education has developed into one of the largest education sectors in Austria (measured in participant numbers). However, a tendency has also been observed that Adult and Continuing Education opportunities are still taken more by people who have the appropriate financial means and corresponding access to education. This means that the higher level of education an individual possesses, the more likely participation in Continuing Education will be. In order to enable Continuing Education measures to be accessed by a wider audience, adult-appropriate provisions are crucial and financial subsidies will be made available by the federal government, the federal provinces and municipalities.
Second Chance Education (Zweiter Bildungsweg)
Those who are interested are able to attend preparatory courses for compulsory school education, courses for the completion of the Higher Education Entrance Examination for external students (Externisten(reife)prüfung) (find more information on this examination under "Second Chance Education") and the Limited Higher Education Entrance Examination (Studienberechtigungsprüfung) at Adult Education institutions. In the context of preparatory courses for the General Higher Education Entrance Examination for leavers of the apprenticeship training and VET schools (Link) (Berufsreifeprüfung), three of the four examination components can be taken at Adult Education institutions.
The next step:
The type of education pathway that can be followed later depends upon the qualifications obtained during Adult Education or upon the outcome of a validation process, in the context of which non-formal and informally acquired skills and competences are proven, assessed as relevant and have been recognised in the form of a qualification.
Education pathways in Austria – Adult Education
Further information can be found on the internet
erwachsenenbildung.at – Website for adult teaching and learning
Ö-CERT – Quality framework for Adult Learning Institutions in Austria