2.3.1 Aspects of national policy on cultural education in lower secondary education

The content and aims of arts and cultural education in schools in lower secondary education is regulated according to the national curriculum. The categories and areas of activity in arts and cultural education are specified in 2.3.4.

The Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture  [Bundesministerium für Unterricht, Kunst und Kultur] specifies additional incentives and measures:

  • Regulations for the design of school education;
  • Invitations to tender for project initiatives in arts and cultural education;
  • Establishment of internet platforms for teaching organisations;
  • Establishment of coordination- and advice centres;
  • Education for children with special aptitude or learning needs.

Basic principles for a holistic-creative learning culture in schoolsStarting from the basic principles for a holistic-creative learning culture in schools, the Federal Ministry for Education and Culture calls on schools, including those offering lower secondary education, to have an open and cooperative learning atmosphere. A holistic-creative learning culture includes arts and cultural education in an interdisciplinary manner in the learning processes. Cooperation with artists and cultural services is characteristic of this learning culture. (Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture. 2009c)Basic principle for project based teachingThe 'basic principle for project based teaching' serves as the basis for setting up and organising arts and cultural projects in schools. The regulation makes it possible to make use of more open forms of teaching, to make amendments to timetables and allows for flexibility in the class set-up, for collaboration with people outside school and for teaching outside the school. (Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture. 2001)ToolsThe Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture specifies the following incentives and measures:Digital internet platform gemeinsamlernen.atTwo digital platforms were established to support teaching within the curriculum. One concentrates on lower secondary education:gemeinsamlernen.atThe gemeinsamlernen.at website provides information on the content and circumstances of teaching in lower secondary education. The platform was established with the aim of documenting 'the diversity and daily life of teaching' in lower secondary education. The library contains numerous examples of learning objectives in the teaching of arts and cultural education. From 2008 the collection of examples has been continued on the new net-1 platform.net-1Net-1 arose out of the 'Innovative Schulen im Verbund' [Innovative Schools in Combination] initiative and replaced gemeinsamlernen.at in 2008. The digital platform Net-1 claims to be a 'development area, learning workshop, market place and platform for individualisation, innovation and integration'. Net-1 is structured according to themes and projects. Aspects of artistic and cultural education are represented as cross-curricular, project-oriented and as traditional subject specific.Federal coordination centre of cultural work in schools (ZSK)The Federal coordination centre of cultural work in schools (ZSK) was established by the Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture. The ZSK encourages cultural education in schools primarily through the network, through coordination and by offering in-service and continuous professional development. A newsletter provides information on current provision, on further national and international opportunities, as well as on the results of cultural work in schools. ZSK is also aimed at schools for lower secondary education.  Schulische KulturarbeitCoordination centres for musical educationThe Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture has established a coordination centre for musical education. An internet portal provides information on important issues pertaining to musical education.musikbildung.atCultural contact peopleKulturKontakt Austria established so-called cultural contact people in federal schools. At the start of the school year, schools choose a cultural contact person who coordinates all cultural education activities at the school. In lower secondary schools, teachers chosen as cultural contact persons can use some of their contact hours for their coordination work.(Educult 2007, 139)Schools with a focus on musicAs schools have curriculum flexibility, they can create a 'cultural-creative specialism' alongside other specialisms. In this way schools can even introduce a new school subject, if amendments to teaching materials, teaching and learning tasks and basic methodological principles are defined. This arrangement is in turn valid for all school subjects where teaching time is increased. This applies to lower secondary education as well. (Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture 2008a, 3rd Part, P. 14)A number of schools focus on artistic-creative education for children with a special artistic aptitude. These include schools offering lower secondary education with a focus on music [Musikhauptschulen] as well as grammar schools that offer lower secondary education and specialise in music education for music students [Realgymnasium mit musischem Schwerpunkt]. All have a legal status within the Austrian school system.Musikhauptschule(Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture, 2000b,c,d,e,f,g  and 2008b)