The Austrian education system is split partly between the Austrian states and the federal Austrian government. Education is compulsory for all young students for nine years commonly between the ages of 6 to 15. Preschool/Kindergarten education for children between the ages of 3-6 is a common practice in Austira, as well as free in most cases, but is not compulsory for children to attend. Primary education in Austria places children into a class room to be taught by the same teacher for 4 years between the ages of 6 and 10, the reason being that the Austrian government views this connection between teacher and student and important bond to develop through the 4 years of primary school.
Secondary schools in Austria mimic those in Germany. Where depending on their grades from primary school, students are either placed into a Gymnasium school, which focuses on more academic studies at the end of which a final examination, the Matura, is taken. It is those Matura grades that are then used for enterance into universities. On the other hand, Austira also has a vocational program for secondary schools, which focuses the students into learning a specific set of skills to follow a profession, although many vocational schools also allow the taking of a Matura exam in a students last years in the school.
Austria is becoming an ever more popular location for tertiary education in the international student community. For European students tertiary education in Austria is free so long as you finish the degree in the allotted time, otherwise the universities may charge students over 300 Euros per semester of study. Non European students must pay a tuition fee of around 700 Euros per semester to study in Austrian universities. However, Austrian universities have started to offer tuition free courses to students from "less developed countries" , including many from Africa and Asia:
- Burkina Faso
- Cape Verde
- Central African Republic
- Equatorial Guinea
- Sao Tomé and Principe
- Sierra Leone
- Solomon Islands
The Austrian school system uses a 1-4 point grading system, with 1(A) being considered Excellent, and 4(D/E) being Sufficient which is the minimum passing grade in most institutes.
Universities and programs in Austria are often taught in German however Austrian universities are more commonly offering programs taught in purely English or a mix of German and English. Some universities require students to have some knowledge of German before they can be admitted into the university.