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The history of a living cooperation

bifeb) as founding member of ARGE Bildungshäuser

Between 1950 and the late 1960s, various adult education institutions gradually merged to form associations covering the whole of Austria. This led to an increasing profile of the individual associations and to a clearer definition of the objectives and tasks of the respective institutions. The Volksbildungsheim at that time moved from Graschnitz in Lower Austria to St. Wolfgang in 1956 and was already a founding member of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Bildungshäuser in 1954.

The Federal Act on the Promotion of Adult Education and Public Libraries from Federal Funds (Federal Law Gazette No. 171/1973) put the cooperation between adult education and the public sector on a new basis.  This law also laid the foundation for the renaming of the former Federal Home and, associated with this, the establishment of the Federal Institute for Adult Education, which to this day is an important crystallisation point for the development of professionalism in adult education and, together with the KEBÖ associations, forms the cooperative system.

The development of the Cooperative System of Austrian Adult Education (=Kooperativen Systems der österreichischen Erwachsenenbildung)

Permanent personnel subsidies and the gradual improvement of a continuous and systematic basic funding system were the starting point for the establishment of two working groups for the professionalisation of personnel in CET (=continuing education), in which the bifeb) and KEBÖ associations cooperatively developed the courses "AE professional" and "Education management".  

The existing diversity of CET offers and the fact that best-qualified adult educators often do not have a vocational qualification led to the development and implementation of a recognition and certification system that has meanwhile been observed throughout Europe, the Austrian Academy of Continuing Education, wba. The "Cooperative System of Austrian Adult Education" was founded in February 2007 as the responsible body for three business areas: "AE Basics", "Education Management" and "wba". The members of the cooperative system are the KEBÖ associations and bifeb)..

New basis for the cooperation between bifeb) and ARGE Bildungshäuser

This also redefined the relationship between the ARGE Bildungshäuser and the bifeb).  As an institution of the Federal Ministry of Education, bifeb) is a neutral partner in the cooperative system. However, it is linked to the consortium of educational institutions by a cooperation agreement, the focus of which is a joint quality management system. In 2014, the ARGE Bildungshäuser consortium, with Gaby Filzmoser as course leader, took over responsibility for the business field of education management in the cooperative system. The bifeb) will continue to be an innovative and reliable partner in the future when it comes to quality development and professionalisation in adult education.  


Grete Wallmann