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Professionalisation

The education and training of adult educators is based on scientific principles, tried-and-tested teaching methods suitable for adults and an emphasis on the practical experiences of the learner.

Federal Institute for Adult Education

The Federal Institute for Adult Education (bifeb) www.bifeb.at (in German only) is part of the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF). As a competence centre for adult education and training, it develops scientifically researched education and training methods for adult educators and provides these from a seminar centre. Its mission also includes providing a platform for dialogue.

Areas of focus: Education and training programmes (courses, seminars, workshops, conferences, forums for specific target groups and themes, webinars) that convey general and subject-specific content. The areas of focus for these programmes include education and training in the professional fields of basic education, school-leaving qualifications, higher education entrance examination, educational advice, libraries, adult education, society and education management.

One programme offered by bifeb is ’eb in Residence’, which is aimed at researchers, students, authors and designers of adult education in general and enables them to use the resources of bifeb on site. The academic orientation of bifeb is underpinned by its own specialist library.

Recognition of skills

Adult educators can have their formal, non-formal and informally acquired skills recognised. The Austrian Academy of Continuing Education (wba) https://wba.or.at/ (some information available in English) is the certification body for adult education. It is an organisation within the Cooperative System of Austrian Adult Education, funded by the European Social Fund and the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research.

The Austrian Academy of Continuing Education (wba) is a certification body for people working in adult education. The organisation is not a traditional education provider; instead it offers an in-service recognition procedure for adult educators who can have their formal, non-formal and informally acquired skills recognised as a whole and certificated. The wba procedure thus also makes visible the skills that have been acquired during the course of the educator's working life.

It has the aim of setting uniform, provider-independent standards and driving forward the professionalisation and quality development of adult education and training.

The wba Certificate represents the basic-level qualification for which seven skills relevant to adult education must be demonstrated, as well as practical experience. To gain the wba Certificate, the candidate must take part in a three-day assessment (certification workshop) run by the Federal Institute for Adult Education in which important skills are verified.

The wba Diploma leads on from the Certificate and gives the opportunity for specialisation. The following areas of focus are available: Teaching/Group Leadership/Training, Education Management, Advice and Counselling and Librarianship. More advanced skills must be demonstrated in the chosen option. In a written thesis the candidate reflects on his/her own practice with reference to the theoretical background. There is also a final oral examination.

The wba is developed and sponsored by the Cooperative System of Austrian
Adult Education
, which comprises the ten Institutions in the Austrian Conference of Adult Education (KEBÖ) plus the Federal Institute for Adult Education. The wba is financed by the European Social Fund and the Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Research.