3. Non formal education

Participation in non-formal education and training

In 2007, 39.8% on average of the Austrian population aged from 25 to 64 participated in non-formal education and training (i.e. courses, private lessons, distance learning, seminars, workshops and guided on-the-job-trainings) on their workplace the age group of the 35- to 44-year old having the highest participation rate (46.9%).
(Source: Statistik Austria)

Participation in art and culture strongly correlates with the level of education. Of participants in formal or non-formal education and training:

  • 76.9% visited museums, exhibitions or other historical or cultural monuments,
  • 70.9% attended a theatre, concert, opera, ballet or other dance performance and
  • 66.9% had been to a cinema performance at least once in the course of the past 12 months.
  • 15% of the Austrian population on average are member of a cultural association or engage in a regional cultural initiative [Regionale Kulturinitiative].

(Source: Kultur-Monitoring, 2007)Creative practiceOf the Austrian population over 15 years, 33% practise artistic activities during their leisure time. Women are generally more interested in culture, in particular those under 45 with at least Matura-level (A-Level) education.The preferred artistic expression of respondents was playing an instrument (13%); followed by painting, drawing and sculpture (11%), singing (8%), writing, poetry (7%) arts and crafts (6%) whereas performing arts like dancing and theatre were mentioned by 5%. (Source: Kultur-Monitoring, 2007)FrameworkNon-formal arts and cultural education in Austria has three principal domains and structural frameworks:

  • Extracurricular work for children and young people [Au├čerschulische Jugendarbeit] focusing on informal and non-formal learning of young people during their leisure time,
  • Adult education including work for senior citizens [lifelong learning] and
  • Learning opportunities provided by cultural institutions or regional initiatives (including amateur art [Amateurkunst] activities by the third sector), catering to all age groups.

In non-formal education the responsibility is with the learners. Especially, where employability is not on stake, non-formal education is optional and depends on learners' commitments. The structure of the Austrian non-formal education system reflects this fact. Instead of a nationwide legal framework and political commitment for the development of adult education in Austria, there is a fragmented structure of different actors in the area. A mix of publicly funded institutions and private education providers act on a "market", where vocational training and general education have been traditionally separated.(Source: Gruber, E., 2009)