In 1962, Parliament passed a law that largely regulates the education system. The provincial parliaments can only issue certain provisions in the general framework. Since education laws have constitutional status, a 2/3 majority is required for admission. In practice, this requires a consensus between the two major parties, which has been an obstacle to decisive reforms. of the structure of the lower secondary school, which meant that (1997) a parallel school system from year 5 is still being applied.
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There is a compulsory schooling from 6 to 15 years of age. The majority attend public schools, only 7% in private schools, most run by the Catholic Church. After 4 years of primary school, the main part, about 2/3, continues in the 4-year Hauptschule, which is an extension of primary school, while about 1/3 goes to 8-year-old high school. This parallel school system continues at the 4-year upper secondary level, which receives 2/3 of the students at the lower secondary level. The others go to a 5-year higher vocational school. Moving between school types is rare. The high school’s higher stage prepares for the university. Practical vocational training is communicated within the companies, and students usually spend one day a week in vocational schools, where also some general education is provided (duale Berufsbildung). Austria traditionally has a rich selection of vocational training programs.
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There are three types of university studies: 4-year studies for the master’s degree, which can be taken in over a hundred subjects, studies for a doctorate for at least two years after the master’s degree, and a series of shorter study programs which usually do not lead to the degree. Austria has 12 universities and 6 colleges for aesthetic subjects. The study period, especially the first-mentioned courses, is usually considerably longer than the official one, and only slightly more than half of the registered university students take the degree.
In July 2016, the country took a major step towards the police state, as the intelligence agency was given far-reaching powers to collect, without control or surveillance, electronic intelligence about all the nation’s citizens and people staying in the country of Austria. Please see COUNTRYAAH for list of countries that start with A.
The October 2017 parliamentary elections were a disaster for the Greens who lost 8.6% and lost all 24 seats in parliament. The ruling SPÖ retained its 52 seats, but at the same time the right wing progressed. The conservative ÖVP went 15 seats up to 62 and the Nazi FPÖ went up 11 seats up to 51. Peter Pilz had previously been a member of the Greens, but went out, formed his own list and came in with 8 seats. For almost two years – from mid-2015 to mid-17 – the Nazi FPÖ had been the largest in the polls, with up to 35% of the vote. Only in June 2017 was it overtaken by ÖVP. After the election, ÖVP chairman Sebastian Kurz was given the task of forming a new government. The SPÖ immediately announced that the party would go into opposition, thus paving the way for a conservative-Nazi government. It was deployed in December despite extensive demonstrations in Vienna. ÖVP got 8 ministers and FPÖ got 6. In addition to the post of vice-chancellor, FPÖ also got the posts of defense minister and interior minister. Another link was inserted in the chain of right-wing governments down through Europe from Norway over Denmark to Poland, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. The 31-year-old Kurz became the country’s youngest chancellor to date.
In May 2019, the government introduced a ban on headgear among primary school students. The ban was aimed solely at Muslims. The traditional headgear of the Sikhs and Jews was explicitly excluded. (Austria approves headscarf ban in primary schools, Guardian 16/5 2019)
Also in May, a video was published in which Vice-Chancellor and Chairman of the FPÖ, Heinz-Christian Strache promised public contracts to a supposed business partner in return for financial support for the party. The party was merely developing criminal links with the business community in the same way as the Spanish PP and the Danish Left. The announcement of the video led to the fall of the government 10 days later as it lost a vote of confidence in parliament. Despite the scandal, the conservative ÖVP went 7.5% up to 34.5% in the European Parliament elections the day before, and the criminal FPÖ declined only marginally 2%. The country is now ruled by a technocrat government and parliamentary elections will be held in September.