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Education

Religious instruction

According to art 17(4) of Basic State Law of 1867, religious instruction is a right and duty reserved to the legally recognised churches and religious societies. The obligating aspect is founded (...)

According to art 17(4) of Basic State Law of 1867, religious instruction is a right and duty reserved to the legally recognised churches and religious societies. The obligating aspect is founded in general responsibility of the State to take care of education and in the cooperation here necessary. Protestant (Lutheran, Calvinist and Methodist) and Christian Orthodox religious education is organised jointly.

D 20 July 2012    AWolfgang Wieshaider

Religious private schools

According to §4(1) of the Private Schools Act, private schools can be established and run by: morally reliable Austrian citizens, public bodies corporate and legally recognised churches and (...)

According to §4(1) of the Private Schools Act, private schools can be established and run by:

- morally reliable Austrian citizens,
- public bodies corporate and legally recognised churches and religious societies,
- any other domestic legal entity whose representatives are morally reliable.

The latter category comprises all other religious communities than legally recognised ones, including registered confessional communities.

S. 14 leg. cit. sets forth requirements which the schools must meet in order to get bestowed public status. Hereby, schools of territorial units, legally recognised churches and religious societies and other public bodies corporate are automatically considered to guarantee correct and appropriate education; whereas other schools are individually scrutinised.

Ss. 17, 18 leg. cit. entitle public status schools of legally recognised churches and religious societies to public subsidies for the personnel. Not only schools that are directly run by these bodies corporate, but also schools established by associations, foundations and funds, which are recognised by the competent ecclesiastical authority, are considered such confessional private schools entitled to the subsidies necessary to fulfil the curriculum as far as the number of pupils and teachers corresponds to those of similar public schools.
Subsidies for other schools are left to the competent minister’s discretion.

D 20 July 2012    AWolfgang Wieshaider

For further information

Ednan Aslan, "Religiöse Erziehung der Muslime in Österreich", öarr 55 (2008) 1–1. Stefan Hammer, Johannes Franck, "Religion in public education – report on Austria" in Gerhard Robbers (Hrsg.), (...)

- Ednan Aslan, "Religiöse Erziehung der Muslime in Österreich", öarr 55 (2008) 1–1.
- Stefan Hammer, Johannes Franck, "Religion in public education – report on Austria" in Gerhard Robbers (Hrsg.), Religion in Public Education – La religion dans l’éducation publique, European Consortium for Church and State Research, Trier, 2011, 39-62.
- Herbert Kalb, Richard Potz, Brigitte Schinkele, "Religionsrecht", WUV, Wien 2003, 341–394.
- Alfred Rinnerthaler (ed.), Historische und rechtliche Aspekte des Religionsunterrichts. Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main 2004.
- Alfred Rinnerthaler (ed.), Das kirchliche Privatschulwesen – historische, pastorale, rechtliche und ökonomische Aspekte, Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main, 2007.

D 20 July 2012    AWolfgang Wieshaider

Public schools

The main legal basis is the Religious Instruction Act of 1949 (RelUG), whose s. 1(1) determines religious instruction as a compulsory subject for all pupils being members of a legally recognised (...)

The main legal basis is the Religious Instruction Act of 1949 (RelUG), whose s. 1(1) determines religious instruction as a compulsory subject for all pupils being members of a legally recognised church or religious society and attending schools with public status, such as primary and secondary schools, agriculture and forestry colleges, vocational schools, colleges for social work and pedagogical colleges. At other schools religious instruction is optional.
In accordance with religious freedom, s. 1(2) leg. cit. guarantees the possibility to withdraw from religious education. This right can be exercised by the pupil’s parents, after the pupils has reached the age of 14, by her- or himself.
Pupils who are not affiliated or members of other than legally recognised religious societies are allowed to stay in another denominational class. However, this does not mean that they attend another religious education; the latter is not provided by the law.
Religious education is a subject marked in the school reports. If registered confessional communities organise religious education outside public schools and not subsidised by the State, the pupils’ attending can be recorded in the school reports, but not marked.
The pupils’ denominational affiliation – be it to a legally recognised church or religious society or to a registered confessional community - is stated in the school reports.
According to s. 2 of Religious Education Act the curricula for religious instruction are adopted by the recognised churches and religious societies themselves, whereas the number of lessons per week is determined by the State. The teachers need to be authorised by the respective religious society. Their salaries are paid by the State unless there are less than three pupils registered for one class. Small groups – also of different schools – can be joined, in order to enlarge the class. For details see s. 7a leg. cit. Islamic religious education has been offered since 1982/83.

D 1 December 2014    AWolfgang Wieshaider

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