Austrija -program “Regije koje uče” kao primjer kojim se unaprijedila kvaliteta adult education at the local level
Educational activities within the context of adult education in Austria are mostly an extension of professional training and retraining and are defined by age groups and the previously achieved level of education. Participants in programmes for the professional training and retraining of adults are usually over the age of 20. Initial professional education and the training of adults usually fall under the jurisdiction of the Federation and its provinces, while many training initiatives are organised by companies, private service providers and non-profit organisations.
Despite differences regarding organisation, legal status and service, the main areas of adult education in Austria are as follows:
- professional staff training organised by companies (organised by companies or partner companies, adult education institutions and other external organisations or organised through informal staff education at the workplace);
- continuing professional and workplace education (provided by educational institutions);
- upgrading basic competences and active employment measures is organised by the Public Employment Service (Arbeitsmarktservice) as tools of active labour market policy;
- opće obrazovanje odraslih (koja nude npr. centri za obrazovanje odraslih) i političko obrazovanje
- second chance education (education necessary for obtaining formal education certificates due to dropping out of school early).
Pursuant to the Austrian Constitution, the adult education sector is mostly regulated by provinces and counties, seeing that it does not fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government. The regulation of funding and organisation differs from one province to another. For reasons indicated above, the Federal Act on financing adult education and public libraries (Erwachsenenbildungs – Förderungsgesetz) was adopted in 1973 and espouses the idea of the voluntary promotion of adult education at the federal level and imposes a general obligation on the provinces to promote adult education, without including the parameters of the obligation. The Act was amended in 1990 and again in 2003. The Austrian Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection is responsible for the professional training of the staff, which is organised by the company, and for promoting the improvement of workforce quality via the Public Employment Service. The Public Employment Service funds programmes for upgrading workforce competence, but does not provide any education programmes. Such programmes are usually provided by public adult education institutions, such as the Vocational Training Institute – Berufsfördeungsinstitute (BFI) or the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber – Wirtschaftsförderungsinstitute (WIFI). Programmes for upgrading basic competences are measures funded by the Public Employment Service whose purpose is to reintegrate persons in the labour market as soon as possible. The main goal of these programmes is to create a balance between supply and demand on the labour market by providing skills and professional knowledge, as well as personal and social competences necessary for the social inclusion of individuals. These measures should prepare individuals for various occupations and increase their basic competences and long-term chances for finding a job that is suited to their qualifications and abilities. Adult education in Austria is currently targeted at low-skilled people, immigrants and older people and focuses on the issues of key competences, recognising informal learning, the professional orientation of adults and raising awareness of lifelong learning.
The “Learning Regions” programme was developed by the Austrian Institute for Adult Education (OIEB) as part of the LEADER programme. The programme is funded from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), despite its content being related to the implementation of the concept of lifelong learning and education management in rural areas/regions. The programme mostly includes (or at least it used to in the beginning) the undeveloped regions of eastern Austria, where the population ranges from 30,000 to 150,000. The programme's main objectives are connecting rural development with adult education, the gradual application of adult education in local development as a strategic element, the development of innovative projects related to education and lifelong learning, the application of lifelong learning in the regions and the stable and sustainable development of rural areas/regions.