6.10 Current debates and reforms
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Forthcoming policy developments
Recently introduced reforms include:
- Pedagogy package (Pädagogikpaket) - bundles five central measures in order to intensify competence-oriented teaching in primary schools, (new) middle schools, all lower secondary schools and in upper secondary schools throughout Austria
- Digital school (Digitale Schule) - combination of modern, digital infrastructure and inspiring, forward-looking pedagogy
- The education reform 2017 (Bildungsreform 2017) - the autonomy package created creative leeway in form of more pedagogical, organisational and personnel independence of schools
- The new upper school level (Neue Oberstufe) – in order to foster the sustainable acquisition of competences by the pupils, their personal responsibility is promoted and a careful handling of their learning and life time is undertaken
- Ethics lessons (Ethikunterricht) – introduction of the compulsory subject ‘ethics’ for all pupils who do not attend religious education classes
- German Support Classes (Deutschförderklassen) - pupils who are unable to follow lessons due to insufficient German language skills have been taught in own German support classes or courses parallel to lessons since 2018/19 in order to ensure equal opportunities and better integration into the class group. The aim is the early and intensive learning of the language of instruction German, so that these pupils can be taught together in class as soon as possible.
- Autumn holidays (Herbstferien) - the introduction of nationwide standardised autumn holidays is intended to optimise the compatibility of family, work and school and to avoid a long teaching period in the winter semester
- School trial nursing training (Schulversuch Pflegeausbildung) - 300 students start training in the field of nursing. School trials are planned in the area of colleges for social professions and at the higher educational institutions for social care and nursing
- Summer School (Sommerschule) - the summer school is a two-week programme for the individual and targeted support of pupils and the consolidation of German as a language of instruction in order to counteract impending educational disadvantages due to different framework conditions during the school closures as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic and to enable good preparation for teaching in the coming school year
During the COVID-19 crisis, school classes were moved to remote learning for considerable periods of time. Experts fear repercussions, particularly for socially disadvantaged pupils. The actual effects will however only become apparent in the near future - and they need to be counteracted with initiatives such as the voluntary summer school.