1.1.1 General aspects of national policy


Cultural Education [Kulturelle Bildung] in Austria is commonly seen as a collective term which includes

  • education in the traditional arts at schools: music education [Musikerziehung], visual arts education [Bildnerische Erziehung], technical crafts [Technisches Werken], textile arts [Textiles Werken];
  • cultural education as part of other subjects, for example poetry in German or dance in physical education;
  • the use of aesthetic means of expression in new ways within general education ('towards a new culture of teaching and learning');
  • the impact of cultural heritage on every subject;
  • providing education programmes by cultural institutions [Kulturvermittlung];
  • stimulating cooperation between schools and cultural institutions.

In her policy, Dr. Claudia Schmied, the Federal Minister for Education, Arts and Culture [Bundesministerium für Unterricht, Kunst und Kultur ] (bm:ukk) puts particular emphasis on arts and cultural education. Her aim is that until 2013 every school cooperates with a cultural institution.Various national documents and debates provide the general objectives of the government's policy on arts and cultural education. Education and culture are regarded as inseparable. Arts and culture at Austrian schools facilitate and promote creativity and innovation. Schools should not be limited to conveying cognitive knowledge, but should rather have the task of promoting the development of a complete personality.Ordinance concerning a holistic-creative learning culture at schoolsAn important document is the ordinance concerning a 'holistic-creative learning culture at schools' that was re-published as a guideline for schools in 2009. This ordinance formulates important elements of the content of cultural education as a means for the comprehensive development of the personality of young people (Bundesministerium für Unterricht, Kunst und Kultur, 2009).Distribution of TasksAs Austria is a federal state, responsibilities for education policy are distributed among the different public bodies in a rather complex way. The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture (bm:ukk) is primarily responsible for education policy and for cultural education policy. Certain regulations and the implementation of laws may be delegated to the individual provincial or local authorities.Formally the Federal State has exclusive responsibility for the creation of the curriculum related to culture while the provinces [Länder] are responsible for the implementation of the curriculum in compulsory education. In reality there is a sophisticated system of checks and balances that takes into account the interests of the Länder when it comes to the reformulation of the curriculum. Supervisors of the various subjects [Fachinspektoren] at the provincial education authorities [Landesschulräte] are involved in the development of the particular curricula.Since 2007 cultural education has become a major issue for the Federal Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture. Cultural education is part of both cultural policy and education policy. There is a close cooperation of both departments. As a consequence studies in this particular field have been conducted and a strategic coordination department for cultural education has been implemented at the Ministry.In 2008 the coordination centre for cultural education in schools [Bundeskoordinationszentrum fur schulische Kulturarbeit, BKZ] was established. Its main goals are the coordination of culture and art education initiatives, and of research and training programmes of teacher training colleges [Pädagogische Hochschulen] in Austria.Schulkultur