In Austria, as in many other countries, compulsory schooling begins at the age of six. Most children attend primary school; a small proportion of school-age children attend special schools. School-age children who are not ready for school are taught in the pre-school level of primary schools. At the transition from the four-year primary level (ISCED 1) to the lower secondary level (ISCED 2) the general education system is divided into academic secondary schools, lower secondary schools and new secondary schools, respectively. Special schools comprise both primary and lower secondary levels.
The lower secondary level ends with the eighth school year and is followed by the upper secondary level (ISCED 3), which offers several options such as academic secondary schools, higher technical and vocational colleges, intermediate technical and vocational schools, vocational schools and the pre-vocational year, ranging from labour market relevant initial vocational qualifications up to university entrance qualifications. Other secondary formations such as the upper level education and training for health professions or the Berufsreifeprüfung (vocational examination qualifying for university attendance) are assigned to ISCED 4.
The pre-vocational year acts as a kind of bridge between the four-year lower secondary level (first stage) and entry into working life (in order to comply with the requirement of nine years of compulsory schooling) or entry into the dual system of vocational education (attendance at a vocational school and apprenticeship with a company). For most children, compulsory schooling is completed at the end of ninth grade. However, if a child has to repeat a particular year he or she is entitled to leave school earlier.
The last years of the colleges for higher vocational education and the post-secondary forms of these vocational colleges as well as schools for master-craftsmen, foremen and construction trades are ranked at ISCED-level 5.
© STATISTICS AUSTRIA, Last Changed 12.05.2021