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School and education in Austria

Already during the Habsburg monarchy before 1918 Austria had a highly developed school system. In 1869, eight years of compulsory schooling for children from 6 to 14 years were introduced. After 1918, the school entered a reform period under the leadership of the educator and politician Otto Glöckel (1874–1935). He opposed the authoritarian school and advocated activity pedagogy. His goal was to make the 8-year school a unitary school (Gesamtschule) for all children. However, the reforms stopped in 1934 and were not resumed until after 1945.

The school is compulsory and free for all children aged 6 to 15 years. All children attend four years of primary school (Volksschule). After this, they can choose between two school types: either the four-year-old Hauptschule, which can be followed by several different technical and vocational schools, or the eight-year Allgemein-forming Hochere Schule, often called Gymnasium, divided into two four-year steps. Completed higher levels of high school leads to Reifeprüfung or Matura, which provides study skills to colleges and universities. Both from the Hauptschule and the upper secondary level is the transition to vocational training and apprenticeship. The Austrian vocational training traditionally has a rich offer of education of varying length, partly as an apprentice in the working life with one day at school and partly as a further schooling for youth with professional letters. See TOPSCHOOLSINTHEUSA for TOEFL, ACT, SAT testing locations and high school codes in Austria.

Austria has 12 universities and 6 colleges for the arts and music. The University of Vienna (founded 1365) is the oldest university in the German-speaking countries. The other universities were founded in the 19th and 20th centuries, except for the University of Graz (1585), Innsbruck (1669) and Salzburg (1622-1810, restored 1962).

Education in Austria

After several crises, the Habsburgs surrendered in power in 1490, but Maximillian the 1st, after Friedrich the 2nd, was the heir to the Austrian royal house and the German empire, while his son, Philip the 1st, was married to Princess Juana, made king of Spain.

At the end of the Middle Ages, the Habsburg royal house gathered together the alpine lands, and it corresponds quite closely to the Austria we know today. The Habsburgs constantly sought to gain supremacy over Bohemia and Hungary; a pre-existing Maximillian knew to keep alive.

Despite this gathering, each region retained its distinctiveness and set of rules. During this period, cities developed, while employment in the agricultural sector suffered setbacks, especially in Lower Austria, where interest was gathered on the mining industry.

Under the protection of certain noble families, Lutherans appeared in Austria, especially in the southern and central parts of the country. In 1521 the Protestant propaganda was printed in full openness in Vienna and the ban on its propagation, which had been in effect since 1523, had no practical significance.

During these years, a number of peasant uprisings were witnessed in Tyrol, Salzburg and Inner Austria. The Baptists, a sect with a background in Protestantism, rejected child baptism as inadequate and introduced adult baptism. They had many followers among the peasants and were subjected to fierce persecution from the beginning because they did not have the slightest support among the country's rulers and because they were considered the most radical.

The leader of the Baptists in the Danube and in the southern Moravia, Balthasar Hubmaier, was burned in the fire in Vienna in 1528, as was the Tyrolean Jakob Hutter, who was sentenced to death in Innsbruck, 1536, after preaching to his followers in the Moravia.

After the death of King Jagiellon of Bohemia and Hungary, Vienna saw the opportunity to expand the Habsburgs' sphere of power. Ferdinand the 1st was declared king of Bohemia in 1526, but his troops, with the assistance of the Turks, were knocked back as he tried to force the Hungarians to accept him as king.

With the signing of the Peace Agreement in Constantinople in 1562, Hungary was divided into 3 sectors: the northern and western ones joined the Habsburgs; the central became Turkish; and Transylvania, and its adjoining areas came under Hungarian control, by Janos Zapolya and his supporters.


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