Berufsschulen (type of vocational school); developed out of Sunday schools and evening classes, e.g. "Wiederholungsschule" (revision classes), "Handwerker-Sonntagsschule" (Sunday schools for manual workers), "Abend- und Sonntags-Zeichenkurse" (Sunday and evening drawing classes) etc. The "Gewerbeschule" (trade school) at Gumpendorf (Vienna, 1858) was the first relevant initiative in this field. In Lower Austria, these part-time "gewerbliche Fortbildungsschulen" (Industrial Schools of Further Education) offering 2- to 3-year courses, were established by statute as early as 1868. In 1907, classes were restricted to working days. The 1897 amendment to the Trade Regulation Act made it compulsory for apprentices to attend these Colleges. As well as colleges offering general or specific vocational courses commercial schools and Schools of Agriculture and Forestry were established. Between 1918 and 1938, further education was extended to partly include people with no previous training, for example in schools of home economics, which were first established in Vorarlberg in 1929. Furthermore, the system increasingly stressed specialisation by training students for a specific trade rather than aiming at general education. After 1945, courses lasting some weeks were organised in boarding schools outside the larger cities ("Waldegg method"). In 1938, it was ruled that the Fortbildungsschulen were to be called Berufsschulen. This name was again adopted in 1947 and the Law relating to school organization structured the system on a uniform basis in 1962 berufsbildende Schulen. The Berufsschulen aim at giving apprentices a sound level of training in their respective branches focusing on basic theoretical knowledge and thus completing the practical training the apprentices receive at their workplaces. The schools also aim at broadening the apprentices' general education ("dual system"). Since 1984, students have been streamed in two groups for the theoretical and business management courses. Students do not attend classes on more than one and a half days of the week. Some colleges organise courses lasting up to eight weeks per school year or only hold classes in a certain season. In 1986, preparatory classes lasting from 1 to 2 semesters were introduced. Through such courses, apprentices gain access to the higher education system.
Literature#J. Schermaier, Die oesterreichischen Berufsschulen der Gegenwart, 1981.