The Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS) was commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research to survey the status and development of academic continuing education in Austria. Among other things, the results show that Danube University Krems remains a leader in the field of academic continuing education.
According to the study, nearly 9,000 courses were enrolled for in the winter semester 2017/18, making up about one third of all academic continuing education courses (30 ECTS credit points and above) at Danube University Krems. Thus, it is as a public university, the institution with the most students in the area of academic continuing education in Austria. At the time of the survey, 62 out of the 70 Austrian universities - public and private universities, universities of applied sciences and teacher training colleges - carry out almost 900 continuing education courses. Currently, six per cent of students participate in academic continuing education in Austria. However, as data show, the overall share of academic continuing education in all continuing education measures is low: merely three per cent of all continuing education courses take place at public universities.
As results illustrate, academic continuing education studies at Danube University Krems are also possible in small groups. Danube University Krems is up to now the only public university for continuing education in the German-speaking world, with a meridian number of 12 students attending a course compared to 17 students at Austrian public universities.
Study confirms the importance of academic continuing education
Danube University Krems appreciates the implementation of the IHS study, in which the survey provides an overview of the status quo academic continuing education draws in Austria. From the perspective of Danube University Krems, a periodic survey, such as this study, would form a valuable foundation to evaluate academic continuing education in Austria and its further strengthening.
Friedrich Faulhammer, the Rector of Danube University Krems, believes that the study not only proves the increasing demand for academic continuing education, but also its growing importance for the education system in Austria. According to Faulhammer, academic continuing education is relevant because of its societal and economic value, be it the population benefiting from higher qualifications and more innovation that is effective compared to other educational pathways. Further measures are needed to raise the significance of academic continuing education considering the high societal impacts, and the fact that the overall education system is still poorly used, Faulhammer said.
Expansion of academic continuing education
The study shows that the majority of the representatives of the universities are planning to expand academic continuing education and that this is a relevant part of the overall university strategy at most universities. Public funding, says Faulhammer, will continue to enable Danube University Krems to promote research-led teaching that meets high academic quality standards.
Andrea Kulhanek, David Binder, Martin Unger, Anna Schwarz: Stand und Entwicklung wissenschaftlicher Weiterbildung in Österreich, Institut für Höhere Studien, Wien 2019