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Responsibility for educational oversight in Austria is entrusted partly to the Austrian states (Bundesländer), and partly to the federal government. Optional kindergarten education is provided for all children between the ages of three and six years. School attendance is compulsory for nine years, i.e. usually to the age of fifteen. The Programme for International Student Assessment, coordinated by the OECD, currently ranks Austria's education as the 18th best in the world, being significantly higher than the OECD average.
Primary education lasts for four years. Alongside Germany, secondary education includes two main types of schools based on a pupil's ability as determined by grades from the primary school: the Gymnasium for the more gifted children which normally leads to the Matura which is a requirement for access to universities and the Hauptschule which prepares pupils for vocational education but also for further education (HTL = institution of higher technical education; HAK = commercial academy; HBLA = institution of higher education for economic business; etc.), where you also get the Matura.
The Austrian university system had been open to any student who passed the Matura examination until recently. A 2006 bill allowed the introduction of entrance exams for studies such as Medicine. Currently all EU students are charged a fee of about €370 per semester for all university studies. A recent OECD report criticized the Austrian education system for the low number of students attending universities and the overall low number of academics compared to other OECD countries.
Source: Wikipedia Encyclopedia
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