Austria has a free and public school system, and nine years of education are mandatory. The city's day-care centres and private institutions offer child-care for more than 67,000 children.
All compulsory schools in Vienna are equipped with computers and are linked to the Vienna education network via the Internet. The Vienna education server supplies all of these schools with valuable teaching material. Digital versions are available for all users free of charge.
Schools offer a series of vocational- technical and university preparatory tracks involving one to three additional years of education beyond the minimum mandatory level. The country's university system is also free. A number of universities and academies of art offer high quality education and a full spectrum of degree programs. Established in 1365, the University of Vienna is Austria's oldest and largest university.
Private schools that provide primary and secondary education and some teacher training are run mainly by the Roman Catholic Church and account for approximately 10 percent of the 6,800 schools and 120,000 teachers. Roman Catholic schools have a reputation for more discipline and rigor than public institutions, and some are considered elite institutions. Because there is no tradition of private university education in Austria, the state has a virtual monopoly on higher education. This has been changing slowly in recent years as private universities become more commonplace.
The official term for exams or Matura in Austria is Reifeprüfung. Students need to successfully complete their exams and receive their Reifeprifung to prove that they have completed their education. The Austrian education system has undergone much reform in recent years. Under the new system, Fachhochscholen or (Universities of Applied Sciences) have been introduced alongside traditional universities. The training at these universities focus on more practical skills required in work places. Another change taking place is the slowly growing number of private universities in the country since 2001.
For an in depth guide to the education system in Austria, click here.
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