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History of the Austrian school system

The beginnings of the state school system date back to the 1774 School Reform under Empress Maria Theresa (public state school, six years’ compulsory schooling). The Imperial Elementary School Act (Reichsvolksschulgesetz) of 1869 standardised compulsory schooling as a whole and increased compulsory schooling from six to eight years.

A school reform which is still in force today was introduced after 1918 by the President of the Vienna Municipal Education Authority, Otto Glöckel. All children should be guaranteed an optimum educational development regardless of gender and social circumstances. General secondary school was introduced in 1924, being compulsory for 10-14 year olds.

In 1962 the Austrian school system was completely reorganised by an extensive school act. In addition to extending compulsory schooling to nine years, it also introduced a new form of compulsory school teacher training at colleges of teacher education (Pädagogische Akademien).

The option of mainstream schooling has been available to disabled primary school pupils since 1993, and in the secondary sector (general secondary school, lower cycle of academic secondary school) since 1997.

Introduction of the new secondary school, which superseded the general secondary school, in 2009 represents another sweeping change in Austria’s schools. This process was completed in the 2017/2018 academic year.