SECOND CHANCE EDUCATION (ZWEITER BILDUNGSWEG )
- Catching up on educational qualifications from basic education to Lower Secondary education up to continuing higher/tertiary education
- Opening up of cross-over points/permeability in the secondary and tertiary sectors
- This should not be confused with Continuing Education in a specific profession.
- Subsidies are central to Second Chance Education.
In addition to obtaining a basic education, second chance education comprises the opportunity to catch up on educational qualifications. The following qualifications can be caught up: Lower secondary school completion certificate (Hauptschulabschluss), Pre-vocational School (Polytechnische Schule) qualification, Apprenticeship Qualification (Lehrabschluss), Reifeprüfung (Higher Education Entrance examination) issued by an Academic Secondary School (AHS) or College for Higher Vocational Education (BHS) taken by means of examination for external students (Externistenreifeprüfung), Academic secondary schools for working adults or Add-on Courses, Career Advancement Examinations for Civil Servants (the "B-Matura"), the Limited Higher Education Entrance Examination (Studienberechtigungsprüfung) and the General Higher Education Entrance Examination for leavers of the apprenticeship training and VET schools (Link) (Berufsreifeprüfung). Though educational qualifications provide no guarantee of social security and professional advancement, they do however increase one's chances in the labour market, reduce the risk of unemployment and enhance the holder's personal development as well as access to further education. In the case of Second Chance Education, significant emphasis is placed on informing interested parties as to the types of subsidy that are available, as the participation in Continuing Education amongst adults is heavily dependent upon the financial resources and the amount of time available.
Catching up on qualifications taken upon completion of compulsory school education appropriate for adults (erwachsenengerechter Pflichtschulabschluss ePSA)
For students catching up on qualifications taken upon completion of compulsory school education appropriate for adults, examinations must be taken in six areas of competency. These examinations consist of four compulsory subjects (German, English, Mathematics and Careers Orientation) as well as two elective subjects (four elective subjects can be selected from: "Creativity and Design", "Health and Social Care", "Nature and Technology" plus an additional language). All examinations, with the exception of one, can take place at adult education institutions that have obtained authorisation to conduct examinations. A type of examination taken as an external student to obtain qualifications from a Compulsory Secondary School or a Lower Secondary School is also available. Preparation by following a course is not compulsory for all examinations taken as an external student and can even be carried out by means of independent study. If this is the case, the examination is taken at a school and not at an adult education institution. Catching up on qualifications taken on completion of compulsory school education enables those who successfully complete the programme to access School for Intermediate Vocational Education , Upper Level Academic Secondary Schools (AHS) and Upper Level College for Higher Vocational Education (BHS), Higher Technical College (HTL), Commercial College (HAK), etc.
Schools for Adults, Evening Academic Secondary Schools and Tertiary Continuing Education
Persons who have already entered the labour market or have completed a course of technical or vocational education, may obtain appropriate educational qualifications by attending courses that take place during the evening. Medium Level and Upper Level Secondary General, Technical and Vocational Schools for Adults, Add-on Courses (Aufbaulehrgänge), Post-secondary VET Courses and Academies are available. In Evening Academic Secondary Schools, i.e. state public schools, people under employment are given the opportunity to take the Reifeprüfung (Higher Education Entrance Examination) in Second Chance Education. Preparation for this can either take place via courses offered by the schools or via distance learning. In addition, a range of Continuing Education is offered at universities, private universities, University Colleges for Teacher Training and Universities of Applied Sciences. University of Applied Sciences-Study programmes (Fachhochschul-Studiengänge) are also available for employees.
Higher Education Entrance Examination for external students (Externistenreifeprüfung)
The Higher Education Entrance Examination for external students provides an additional option to gain access to the Higher Educational Entrance Qualification via Second Chance Education. By successfully completing the examinations taken as external students, graduates are awarded the same entitlement to study and other entitlements similar to those who obtain a Reifeprüfung (Higher Education Entrance Examination) certificate of the same type of Upper Level Academic Secondary School by attending a school. The requirement for admission in this case is successful completion of the eight years of education and an application for admission, which is to be submitted to the relevant Regional Education Board (Landesschulrat or Stadtsschulrat für Wien). The examination requirements are dependent upon the type of school selected during admission. In order to prepare for Higher Education Entrance Examinations taken as an external student, participants are offered courses in adult education institutions, for example adult education centres and various private schools.
The next step
The actual type of education that is available to an individual will depend on the qualifications he/she obtained while attending Second Chance Education. Whilst individual qualifications (such as compulsory school education and the Reifeprüfung - Higher Education Entrance Examination) can be used to access any form of further education, other qualifications (such as the Limited Higher Education Entrance Examination) only prepare students for a restricted or specific type of further education. Continuing Education courses in the context of Adult Education are, in any case, available, irrespective of the educational qualifications an individual has.
Source (in German)
Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research - VET Schools for Adults
Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research - Second Chance Education
erwachsenenbildung.at – Website for adult teaching and learning