Austria

Christina Wallner-Paschon
Federal Institute for Educational Research, Innovation
& Development of the Austrian School Systema

Language and Literacy

Austria’s official language is German, with Slovenian, Croatian, and Hungarian as official languages in some districts in Carinthia and Burgenland.b German also is the language of instruction, except in districts with multiple languages. Primary school lessons in these districts are bilingual—German and either Slovenian, Croatian, or Hungarian must be used equally in instruction. Some new secondary schools have a minority language as a compulsory subject at the lower secondary level, and there is one Slovene secondary academic school in the country. Since the 2003–2004 school year, Austria has introduced a modern foreign language course in all primary schools beginning in Grade 1.

  • a Portions of this chapter are based on the PIRLS 2006 Encyclopedia Austria chapter, written by the Federal Ministry for Education, Arts, and Culture; the TIMSS 2007 Encyclopedia Austria chapter, written by the Federal Ministry for Education, Arts, and Culture and the Austrian National Research Center; and the PIRLS 2011 Encyclopedia Austria chapter, written by Wallner-Paschon & Suchan1
  • b Apart from Slovenians, Croatians, and Hungarians, minorities include Czechs, Slovaks, and Roma people.