New approaches and instruments for quality development are a focus of ongoing developments in education in Austria and in our partner countries.
Fundamental changes in the organisation of teaching/learning processes and in education management are preconditions for the successful introduction of education standards, standardised external assessment of performance, quality development in schools and the utilisation of evaluation results for steering processes in the field of education.
In this context the OeAD offers special consultancy services in the “Management of Change”. These encompass further education and training measures, some of them also with train-the-trainer components, in the areas of education management, quality development at the school level, and the development and implementation of new quality assurance instruments and measures. The OeAD’s activities support an exchange of experience between experts from Austria and peers in countries of Eastern and South Eastern Europe as well as at regional and national levels. Other services include the provision of advice on the development of peer learning and education networks focussing on quality development.
Project example: Twinning project
In the EU-funded Twinning project "Support for the Implementation of the Kosovo Education Strategic Plan" (2014–2016) Finland and Austria provided support to Kosovo’s Ministry of Education and relevant educational institutions for the introduction of a new competence-based curriculum and the development and introduction of a quality development system at the pre-university level. The OeAD, the Austrian junior partner, was responsible for the quality development component. The OeAD and a group of Austrian experts jointly contributed Austrian experience in the design and implementation of initiatives on VET quality (QIBB) and school quality in general education (SQA) to the reform process in Kosovo. Existing QA mechanisms were analysed in a broad consultation process with relevant Kosovar stakeholders.
In the "QA Strategy for the Pre-University Level", adopted by the Kosovar government, reform priorities were identified to establish a comprehensive QA system for schools. Kosovo was supported in developing a corresponding regulation and a new law for school inspections in order to implement the new QA mechanisms on the school, administrative district, and ministry levels. Moreover, the establishment of corresponding training programmes was supported. In the process, a course was developed for school-based QA coordinators, ten local trainers were trained in its implementation, and about 200 school-based QA coordinators were trained. To complement this, QA coordinators were trained at the administrative district level to support and monitor school QA work in 24 of the 36 education directorates. Additionally, two school inspectors from each regional school inspectorate were trained to carry out external school assessments.
Project example: New competence requirements for school administrators in Ukraine
A new law on education is currently under review in Ukraine. The law calls for an expansion of schools’ autonomy for all types of schools. Greater autonomy for schools also means new competence requirements for school administrators. A new competence-based requirement profile for school administrators is intended to contribute to the implementation of the education reform. Experts from the University of Educational Management in Kiev (a central training and further education institution for management professionals in the field of education in Ukraine), the Odessa Regional In-Service Teacher Training Institute (LFI), the University College of Teacher Education Styria, and the OeAD have identified areas of competence that will be of growing importance for school administrators in the course of increasing school autonomy.
In an exchange of experiences between Austrian and Ukrainian experts the question of how the acquisition of these competences can be optimally integrated into existing training programmes is examined. The main focus of this exchange is the acquisition of social and self-competences by school administrators. The content is developed in joint seminars, the methods are tested and continuously honed. The developed modules are integrated into the training programmes offered by the University of Educational Management and LFI Odessa. At the same time trainers from the University of Educational Management and LFI Odessa are trained in the implementation of the new training modules.
Project example: Manual for School Headmasters/Headmistresses in their First Year of Office. Advice and Support for Newly Appointed Heads of Schools
In consultation with all education ministries and pedagogical institutes in Bosnia and Herzegovina work was done on preparing a manual for newly appointed school headmasters/headmistresses. This was done in close cooperation with representatives of the Agency for Pre-Primary, Primary and Secondary Education in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the education ministries of both entities and nine cantons, and representatives of the District of Brčko.
The main focal points that are dealt with in the guide are: programme and planning, conflict management, project work, office management, meetings and organisation management, personnel management, strategic planning, marketing, pedagogical work, quality assurance/evaluation, diversity, inclusion and individual learning needs, and cooperation among schools, parents, and community. In cooperation with educational institutes the OeAD continues to support the implementation of introductory workshops on the use of the guide for school administrators in their first year of service.