The Austrian school system – the way it should change


by Laura EDER, BORG Krems/Austria


Our school system has changed a lot over the years, in unison with our society. But after some time it started to get stuck. And this stagnation lasts till today. The biggest problem to be solved is the political attitude concerning the school system, because the only things that count are new laws and bylaws which are passed by ministers who don’t even have any idea how school really works. If they consulted students to make the laws more useful, the school system would change in a way which would be much easier for the whole society. Apart from that, there are too many standards to be met, which leads to despair among students and not uncommonly in depression or other mental problems like fear or resignation.

Because of all the reasons mentioned above, our school system should start to make sure that the students’ needs are taken into consideration. Their strengths should be promoted instead of their weaknesses, in order to turn going to school into a desire to learn more and to satisfy their curiosity, rather than a responsibility.

Furthermore, students should have the opportunity to choose their subjects on their own, except for two or three compulsory subjects. They should have the chance to set their own priorities where they know they want to learn more about. This way they would probably have a different attitude, than to a subject they are not interested in. Additionally, the curriculum should be adapted to the students’ needs to help them meet the requirements and not get lost in general education. In addition to this, students shouldn’t be forced to repeat a year, just because of a subject they don’t like or they are not good at.

Another thing to take into account is the way of teaching. In many subjects teacher-centred teaching is the essential method used during the whole lesson, which leads to less attention, boredom and distraction in every imaginable way. Lessons should be based on discussions and motivation to occupy oneself with the current topic.

Moreover, school should be an essential time to prepare for the future and for the working life. Not only should job orientation be a big topic, but also national and international political events as well as a profound knowledge of computers and modern technology.

What is more, teachers need to get a good pedagogical education before they start their job as a teacher. During this education they should learn how to interact with their students and learn how to prevent the common school phobia.

On the whole, I want to say that our school system is a bit square and urgently needs a complete make-over. Maybe we could take some countries like Finland or Sweden as an example of how to improve school and how to deal gently with our future – the kids.

One Response to “The Austrian school system – the way it should change”

  1. I thoroughly agree with you. Most politicians don’t have any notion of what should be changed in the school. In my opinion, they change the system just to change, for no particular reason. People who could make better changes would be the ones who are connected with school constantly: students, teachers, students’ parents. Newer and newer systems give students excessive aims which, I assume, a lot of politicians, who implemented them, wouldn’t be able to execute.
    Choosing subjects on our own, obviously, except for two or three compulsory ones, e.g. maths, mother tongue and one another language, is the best idea. Every student should have an opportunity to learn the subject they are interested in. Personally, I’m not in favour of forcing student to study to acquire unnecessary knowledge . We learn things which never use in future. It’s sad truth. And of course you’re totally right about repeating school year. It causes losing one school year. And I ask, WHY ? I know one person who is really ambitious in English but doesn’t like anything else and thinks that’s not valuable learning. And unfortunately, he ended up repeating second class in junior high school.
    Referring to the learning methods, in majority of school teachers, during lessons, lecture on a given topic and students are bored because they need to be made curious. They’re just the youth! I understand at university but high school – it doesn’t work. As you already said, school should put on emphasis on technology and international events, what I’m sure, wouldn’t dissolve into thin air.
    Summing up, in my view, school system should be changed slowly but beneficially for students. Sometimes if something is changed too fast, it’s not done carefully and has to be modified again. I wonder whether you could improve something in the education system, what would you change first ? Have you ever thought about that ?