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Austria’s Lost Generation

Austria’s Lost Generation

If there is one thing that gets Austrians riled up, it’s education. So with Education Minster Claudia Schmied retiring and new coalition talks under way, a draft for the new teacher’s employment law was circulated for comment. A mistake? A record-breaking response of 1,800, predominantly negative, comments flooded in – many of them from individual […]

Background: Popular Petitions in Austria

A Volksbegehren, or popular petition, is one of three instruments of direct democracy guaranteed by the Austrian constitution. Unlike a referendum, it is not legally binding; nevertheless, the issue raised by a popular petition must be discussed by Parliament when its support exceeds 100,000 valid signatures. Hence, such petitions can fuel the public debate, but often don’t […]

The People May Petition, But Will Lawmakers Listen?

The People May Petition, But Will Lawmakers Listen?

Popular petitions (Volksbegehren) enable the electorate to initiate the law-making procedure. Yet the outcome of petitions is not binding for legislators, in contrast to plebiscites (Volksabstimmung), where the electorate decides whether a proposed law is passed. “Only in very few cases have popular petitions in Austria actually yielded concrete results,” conceded Eva Glawischnig, head of […]

My Teacher Told Me …

The recent Education Reform Initiative (Bildungsinitiative)has raised sharp debate about overhauling Austria’s educational system. Although its goal is admirable – better, more equal education for all – its approach may be overzealous. Is overhauling the entire system necessary? The initiative seems to ignore many of its details – its many options and variables, developed over […]

Study Supports Higher Education Expenditures

Although Austria is among the top three in education spending, it significantly lags behind the OECD average in successful graduates, according to the OECD study “Education at a Glance 2010” published Sept. 7.  In Austria, only 18% of matriculated students complete their degrees, as compared with an OECD member average of 28%. These and other […]

Choosing to Learn

The Nordic countries’ economies are performing well, and a part of the reason is that they are gradually reforming their “social model,” adapting it to new realities in ways that respond to people’s demands. But there is nothing uniquely “Nordic” about this change. On the contrary, it is one that others can emulate. Obviously, such […]

Frustration in Schools

What’s the point of teaching, with little recognition, poor working conditions, and few career prospects? If they had the chance, a third of all EU science and math teachers would change to another career, a recent OECD study revealed. The students aren’t motivated either. They are less willing to learn and often finding themselves in […]

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