Agreement on Early Childhood Education
Based on the division of competences for the early childhood education system in Austria, which assigns responsibility to the federal states, an agreement is being concluded between the Federal Government and the federal states pursuant to Article 15a of the Federal Constitutional Law (Bundes-Verfassungsgesetz, B-VG) in order that the Federal Government provides investment, which is linked to certain conditions for the federal states. This agreement ultimately regulates the procedures and the conditions/obligations related to receipt of the special subsidies. Special subsidies are additional financial resources made available to the federal states by the Federal Government.
In order to give children in early childhood education institutions the best possible start to their education journey, to improve educational opportunities and to strengthen early childhood education institutions in their role as a child’s first education institution, the Federal Government is continuing to invest in the early childhood education sector, in the form of an agreement pursuant to Article 15a B-VG between the Federal Government and the federal states on early childhood education, for the 2018/19 to 2021/22 kindergarten years.
The current agreement includes the following priorities:
- Standardised, compact language proficiency assessment tool: BESK-DaZ KOMPAKT
- Increased support for language development in four year olds
- Drive forward training for kindergarten teachers and language support staff
- Compulsory teaching of fundamental values
- Ban on wearing a headscarf in early childhood education institutions
- Clear definition of the objectives of education and care through the specification of key educational documents
- Increased focus on the interface between kindergarten and school
- Increased monitoring and cooperation between the Federal Government and federal states
- Constant and efficient (impact) evaluation
- Continuation of the mandatory free kindergarten year for five year olds
- Focus on the expansion of early childhood education programmes for children under three
- Make opening hours more flexible, extend opening hours, and improve the general framework and childcare ratio
- Promotion of childminders as an alternative to early childhood education institutions
European Union funding – NextGenerationEU recovery instrument (Recovery and Resilience Facility)
The European Union is making an essential contribution to mitigating the economic and social impact of the coronavirus pandemic with its NextGenerationEU recovery instrument, a key component of which is the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). As part of this plan, it is making a total of € 672.5 billion available to its Member States in the form of loans and grants. Austria will also be receiving grants from the Recovery and Resilience Facility, some of which is earmarked for knowledge-based recovery, specifically for the expansion of elementary education. The aim is to improve access to inclusive, high-quality early childhood education and care. Part of the funding under the agreement pursuant to Article 15a of the Austrian Federal Constitution on elementary education for the kindergarten years 2018/19 to 2021/22 will thus be financed by the European Union – NextGenerationEU.
- Federal Law Gazette (BGBl.) 15a Agreement (RIS) (in German only)
- EU-Recovery Plan (oesterreich.gv.at) (in German only)
- Recovery and Resilience Facility