Integrative Education at Secondary Level II
By ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2008, Austria took an important step towards establishing integrative education throughout the entire school system.
"Pupils with physical and sensory disabilities are principally integrated into all vocational technical, commercial, business, social, tourism and arts schools, provided that they can fulfil the requirements of the curriculum, although a certain amount of leeway is granted here by the law. For example, the School Centre at 69 Ungargasse in Vienna is the largest location for pupils with hearing disabilities at commercial schools and offers numerous special support measures." (see also: the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities - Austrian Initial Official Report, Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection 2010)
However, since the necessary formal prerequisites are not always fulfilled, it remains difficult for people with disabilities in Austria to attend academic secondary schools or colleges for higher vocational education.
In order to also ensure continuous support of pupils with physical or sensory disabilities in colleges for higher and intermediate vocational education and academic secondary schools (upper cycle), special legal provisions have been established that enable appropriate deviations from the curriculum and extended special instruction.
One possibility, within the scope of a school pilot project, is for pupils to follow an individual curriculum at secondary level II. As part of the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection's National Action Plan on Disability 2012-2020, increasing the number of school pilot projects is stated as a measure that will be coordinated by the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research. (National Action Plan on Disability 2012-2020 Strategy of the Austrian Federal Government for the Implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, p. 67)
- An example of a school pilot project at secondary level II that enables integrative education (aside from integrative vocational training) up to 18 years is the first pilot project in Austria to trial an inclusive upper cycle, launched in Salzburg in 2012. (www.morg.at)
- Another example is the HTL (college of engineering) HAK (college of business administration) School Centre at Ungargasse in Vienna, mentioned above. There, pupils with physical and sensory disabilities are educated alongside pupils without disabilities.
- In the Anton Krieger Gasse in Vienna, pupils with hearing difficulties are able to attend the academic secondary school upper cycle, in cooperation with the National Institute for the Deaf.
CiSonline: Community - integration/inclusion - special education www.cisonline.at/home (in German)