Country information for Austria - Teacher education for inclusive education
Early intervention training
In most Austrian provinces, non-government organisations provide additional training for early intervention teachers. Two associations offer this training as a university course.
The training is based on a uniform curriculum (about 1,440 lessons) and is financed privately in most cases. Some provinces provide co-financing for this training. Some types of disabilities (e.g. sensory disabilities) also require specific training in addition to the general early intervention training, for example, in the field of pedagogies for people with visual impairments.
Education of kindergarten teachers
After the eighth grade, those who wish to become kindergarten teachers can study at kindergarten education schools for five years, after which they graduate with a qualification of higher education and the kindergarten teacher qualification. Colleges at kindergarten education institutions provide a four-semester course for graduates of higher education schools who also graduate with the kindergarten teacher qualification. The education qualifies learners to care for children from one to six years of age (entrance to school). It also offers optional education for boarding school teachers (pupils from six to 14 years of age).
After the diploma exam for kindergarten teachers, learners can undertake an additional four-semester kindergarten education course in special needs and early intervention. There are courses for people who have several years of work experience. Some provinces provide training courses on special needs education in kindergarten every two years.
‘Special education’ is included in the fourth and fifth years of teacher education (one to two hours per week). Since 2016, ‘Inclusive education’ has also been included (two hours per week). ‘Educational partnerships’ is also part of the basic teacher education curriculum (Source: IECE – Austria Country Survey Questionnaire, p. 8).
The 2018/19 academic year saw a number of teacher training colleges start to offer Bachelor’s degree programmes in elementary pedagogy.
Austria’s university colleges of teacher education provide scientifically-based vocational continuing education and training in all areas of teaching, specifically for teachers. Fourteen university colleges of teacher education offer teacher training courses, with the option to focus on and specialise in different areas.
University colleges of teacher education remits:
- Vocational education and training programmes:
- Primary level course
- Secondary level academic education course in co-operation with universities
- Secondary level vocational education course
- Continuing education and training opportunities
- Continuing education and training opportunities in all teaching profession fields.
The minimum length of study for a teacher training degree at a university college of teacher education is four years (bachelor’s degree) plus 1–1.5 years (master’s degree). The teaching certificate for the corresponding teaching qualification is earned upon successful completion of the whole degree. The basic structure of the bachelor’s and master’s degrees is standardised. Training takes place according to age group (primary or secondary) and not according to school type. As such, there is no separate programme for special teacher education, since inclusive education is an important aspect in all abovementioned courses. However, students of primary teacher education may choose ‘Inclusive Pedagogy’ as a major field of study from the fifth semester, while students of secondary teacher education may do so from the first semester. The objective is to avoid exclusion of learners with special needs and to provide all teachers with the competences needed for teaching in a comprehensive school environment.
The university colleges of teacher education can provide further training in-school, regionally or supra-regionally. Teachers can attend further training for free. It is funded by the federal government and the provinces.
Teacher education reform 2013
The Federal Framework Act on the Introduction of New Training for Teachers (FLG I No. 124/2013) came into force in July 2013. It states that inclusive education should be included in the training for all teachers. The Act on the Organisation of University Colleges for Teacher Education (Hochschulgesetz) specifies that inclusive education must be offered as a main focus for primary school education and as a specialisation in general secondary education at all university colleges for teacher education and on all initial teacher training degrees which are jointly established with universities. The Act on the Organisation of University Colleges for Teacher Education states that curricula must observe the objectives of Art. 24 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Furthermore, the Act on the Organisation of University Colleges for Teacher Education puts particular emphasis on the needs of people with disabilities, as defined by the Federal Disability Equality Act, as a guiding principle.
Last updated 15/09/2020