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Conclusions (> Schlussfolgerungen)
National conclusions: Austria

Monika Thum-Kraft
Institut für Bildungsforschung der Wirtschaft (ibw), Wien 

November 1997 (confirmed January 2000)

Position of the WIFI Academies within the Austrian system of education
The variety of systems in Europe 
Aspects of mutual learning

Reference to national case study on AT: WIFI Academy courses.

Position of the WIFI Academies within the Austrian system of education 

In Austria approximately every tenth general higher secondary leaving exam (= Matura) is taken in second chance education (evening classes, add-on courses, external ex-ami-nations, university admission exams, vocational final exams for university admission). From these ten percent another ten percent are taken at the WIFI Academies, which means that one percent of all matriculation examinations of one year are passed at WIFI Academies. It may therefore be inferred that WIFI Academies have been well accepted as a further alternative of the educational system and will also be accepted in future (the number of graduates has been a regular 300 per year), but this new way of educa-tion has not yet influenced the Austrian educational system as a whole to a great extent and has not caused an eminent change in the mainstreaming towards the particular ways of education - quite contrary to most other INTEQUAL models.

The variety of systems in Europe 

Further education of skilled workers in the framework of the WIFI Academies in comparison to all other models (except Bac Pro) is a model of advanced training and not of primary education. In spite of various possibilities of double qualification of skilled workers in the European countries, results show a way for comparison by trying to see the par-ticular model in the context of all the others. The aim cannot be an equalization of all systems. The Austrian position, that the dual system of apprenticeship as an initial train-ing for skilled workers has many advantages but teaches only technical knowledge, is verified. Further general knowledge is frequently imparted in another context or in the framework of measures for advanced training. Proposals for a parallel imparting of both technical and general contents may be found in the German and Dutch models and possibly also in the British scheme. First steps in this direction have been taken in Aus-tria this autumn by introducing a vocational matriculation examination. 

Aspects of mutual learning 

> Unison of endeavours
Disregarding the different ways of embedding of the INTEQUAL models into the particu-lar national educational systems a resemblance of methods and aims stands out. 
In fact, all INTEQUAL models emphasize application oriented learning, self-training, learning-by-doing etc. as a distinctive feature of double qualification. 
Many subjects contained in the education, like imparting and training of key-qualifica-tions, may be encountered in all countries.

> Limits of integrating vocational and general education
It appeared in the course of the project that it is often difficult to find the balance between technical and general contents. Therefore frequently one field was stressed more, e. g. in Holland the technical contents, in England the general. The limits of twofold oriented training are reached here especially in initial education. Furthermore there is the danger of an equalization of formerly separate training courses - vocational and general educa-tion - and their reduction into one educational way. Therefore the Austrian way of pre-senting this training as further education is a possible alternative, since the present var-ied offer of chances for training which supports the differing abilities of the pupils must by no means be deminished.

> System of trainer-coaching
From the Norwegian system of trainer-coaching Austria might take over some stimulating efforts like pedagogical training.

> Equivalence of terms in the European Community
Despite concentrated concern with the terms ‘’vocational and general education“ and ‘’higher education“ in the course of this study it must be stated that within the educational systems of the various countries the meaning of these terms differs more or less. It must therefore be concluded not to aim at an equivalence of these terms but to attempt an understanding of their meaning within the context of the educational systems of the countries in particular.

> Studies versus exchange of literature
The aim to work out a transnational study together leads to a much more intensive con-frontation with the systems of education of the partner countries and their embedding into historically grown structures than a mere comparison based on literary research. Thus a common study produces results of a greater directness. Above all it is much easier to evaluate the possibilities of transfer of certain aspects of a training course into that of a different country.

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 First set up 19/01/2000
Latest update: 19/01/2000
 Contact: Sabine Manning