Administration, Finance, & Educational Research
The administration of legislated educational affairs is vested at the federal level in the Federal Ministry for Education, Science, and Cultural Affairs. The Ministry's key departments responsible for education include General-education schools, Vocational training, Educational affairs, Adult Education, Teacher and Pedagogue training, and Universities and Postsecondary institutes. The ministry has wide-ranging authority regarding essential educational matters, including teacher training, including administrative staff, continuing teacher training, and professional development. There are a number of other jobs and departments it is responsible for as well.
The ministry has the authority to delegate certain administrative functions to provincial and local district educational boards. Standing and ad-hoc committees assist the ministry and its departments in developing and implementing policies that reflect a broad range of interests. Committees include, where appropriate, parent and teacher representatives as voting members appointed by the federal ministry. In addition, advisory bodies representing recognized churches, the superintendent of the provincial school boards, school inspectors, and other interest groups assist the ministry in formulating and implementing policy. While the federal ministry retains central administrative authority over much of the educational system, regional and district school boards have considerable control over key aspects of the educational system.
Individual provinces have specific legislation that vests educational authority either in the regional education board or in the provincial government. The regional education board, or the provincial government, has responsibility for appointments and is hence the official employer of teachers in compulsory public schools. With the exception of teacher training and postsecondary professional schools, the provincial education board also issues and enforces guidelines governing the structure, organization, and maintenance of general-education schools.
Responsibilities that are not delegated to the regional education boards or provincial governments remain under the control of the Federal Ministry for Education, Science, and Cultural Affairs, with the exception of universities, as well as schools of agriculture and forestry, for which special provisions and administrative authorities have been established.
University administration has been codified separately under the 1966 General University Education Act, the 1975 University Organisation Act, and more recently the 1993 University Organisation Act.
In the case of agriculture and forestry, considerable authority for educational affairs is vested in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management. Direct public expenditures in 1997 for all educational institutions in Austria accounted for 6.0 percent of total GDP. An additional 0.5 percent of total expenditures were covered through private sources (Statistisches Jahrbuch 2001).
In this respect, Austria lies somewhat above the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development) average with respect to public expenditures for education, but it lags behind the OECD average for private educational funding.
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