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70 years of ARGE Bildungshäuser Österreich and its impact

The tradition of educational centres in Austria goes back over 100 years. In 1919, under the leadership of Prelate Dr Josef Steinberger, the St. Martin Adult Education Centre near Graz was founded, inspired by the Danish model of residential adult education centres (named after the educationalist Nikolaj Frederik Severin Grundtvig).

This marked the beginning of a success story for our educational centres in Austria that continues to this day. 30 years later, more than 70 years ago, the directors of educational institutions decided to found a working group. Their aim was to support each other, strengthen each other and jointly raise funds for educational work. This is how the ARGE der Volksbildungsheime Österreichs was founded in 1954. The founding meeting took place on 23 September 1954 at the Schloss Großrußbach education centre.

The founding members included the Großrußbach Catholic Education Centre, the Puchberg Adult Education Centre, the St. Martin Adult Education Centre, the Retzhof Adult Education Centre, the Maria Trost Catholic Education Centre, the Graschnitz Federal State Adult Education Centre and the Pöckstein Rural Education Centre. The foundation of ARGE Bildungsheime was in tune with the times. In the same year, a further six homes joined the consortium and the next wave of foundations took place at the beginning of the 1960s with a further seven homes. Throughout Austria, there was now a network of educational institutions organised by the church and agriculture as well as individual educational institutions run by the federal states.

Dr Hans Wittmann from the Volksbildungsheim Graschnitz was elected as the first chairman, while Dr Martin Stur from the Catholic Volksbildungsheim Großrußbach was appointed deputy chairman. loss Großrußbach.

[Translate to Englisch:] Die Gründung der ARGE Volksbildungsheime Österreichs Gästebuch des Bildungshauses Schloss Großrußbach
[Translate to Englisch:] Die Gründung der ARGE Volksbildungsheime Österreichs
Gästebuch des Bildungshauses Schloss Großrußbach

The impact of educational centres yesterday and today.

The educational centres have a diverse impact, which can be seen both in their founding objectives and in their development over the years. The minutes of the founding meeting of the ARGE Bildungshäuser clarify the educational goal of the institutions, which is still decisive today: ‘The educational work of the Volksbildungsheime is aimed at the whole person and the totality of life. People should be guided towards making free, responsible decisions in their personal, professional and social lives."

The promotion of the exchange of experience and the discussion of educational policy issues have been central concerns of the ARGE from the very beginning. The motto ‘Education with a home advantage’ characterised the 1950s and 1960s and became the hallmark of the educational centres. Recognition as an umbrella organisation for adult education in 1972 enabled ARGE to take on a significant role in the Austrian education system and play a key role in shaping Austrian adult education.

The Bildungshäuser operate as professional educational organisations. The continuous further development and professionalisation since the late 1990s, in particular through the introduction of quality management in accordance with ISO 9001, underlines their claim to professionalism and effectiveness. Despite the challenges, especially in the area of conflict between economic necessity and educational policy responsibility, the needs of the people are always at the centre of attention. 

Education centres take on responsibility 

As a supporting organisation within the cooperative system of Austrian adult education, ARGE BHÖ plays an important role in the business area of ‘education management’. In this way, the educational centres make a significant contribution to the further development and shaping of Austrian adult education. They place the needs of the people at the centre of their activities and continue to develop in order to guarantee high-quality educational work. The educational centres are of considerable value for the further development of society. With local roots, they are actively involved in projects and measures. As major local employers, they contribute to strengthening the regional economy and play an important role in personnel development by helping to reconcile work and family life, promoting health and fostering employee loyalty. In addition, the educational centres make a valuable contribution to sustainability by acting as role models themselves alongside the educational events on environmental and climate education. Their commitment is reflected, among other things, in the numerous eco-labels they have achieved and maintain through their consistent quality.Overall, the educational centres demonstrate their profound relevance for society through their diverse impacts.

From their beginnings as popular education centres to their current professional status, educational establishments have undergone a remarkable development. Their role goes far beyond the mere provision of educational programmes. Educational centres are professional hosts for local, regional, national and international events. The internationalisation of adult education opens up new opportunities for cooperation at European level. In fact, they are key players in social development and democracy building by not only imparting knowledge, but also promoting values, social skills and democratic participation.

Through their diverse activities and commitment, the educational centres make a significant contribution to the further development of society and empower people to actively participate in this development. In this way, they make a significant contribution to overcoming new challenges and have a lasting impact on social coexistence.

Educational centres are not only places of learning, but also places of encounter, change and social shaping.

It is no coincidence that ARGE BHÖ's priorities for the next three years are: education and training as a core task, promoting democracy in practice, shaping digital change and living sustainability. Their daily work and these focal points illustrate the future-oriented approach of the educational centres and their efforts to play an active role in shaping a society worth living in.

 

Gaby Filzmoser

Managing Director of ARGE Bildungshäuser Österreich
from the anniversary brochure 70 years of ARGE Bildungshäuser Österreich

[Translate to Englisch:] Jubiläumsbroschüre 70 Jahre ARGE BHÖ
[Translate to Englisch:] Jubiläumsbroschüre 70 Jahre ARGE BHÖ
© matta wagnest 2024
[Translate to Englisch:] Jubiläumsbroschüre 70 Jahre ARGE BHÖ © matta wagnest 2024
[Translate to Englisch:] Jubiläumsbroschüre 70 Jahre ARGE BHÖ
© matta wagnest 2024

[Translate to Englisch:]

  

60 Years of ARGE Bildungshäuser Österreich

More than 60 years ago, courageous directors of the Catholic "educational homes" set about forming a community. The aim was to help and support each other and to jointly develop financial resources for educational work. This is how the ARGE der Volksbildungsheime Österreichs (Working Group of the Austrian National Education Centres) came into being in 1954. The constituent meeting took place on 23 September 1954 in the Bildungshaus Schloss Grossrussbach.

The founding members were: Catholic Educational Centre Grossrussbach, National Educational Centre Puchberg, National Educational Centre St. Martin, National Educational Centre Retzhof, Catholic Educational Centre Maria Trost, Federal National Educational Centre Graschnitz and Rural Educational Centre Pöckstein. From October of the same year the following institutions joined: Catholic VBH St. Augustin/Lungau, Catholic VBH Schloss Goldegg, Catholic VBH Batschuns, Evangelical Home Volkhochschule Deutschfeistritz, Catholic VBH Forchtenau, VBH St. Michael.

Dr. Hans Wittmann of the VBH Graschnitz was elected as the first chairman and Dr. Martin Stur of the catholic VBH Grossrussbach as his deputy.

 

 

The 2nd plenary Meeting on 8th Mai 1957 at Bildungshof Pöckstein (from left to right): Hermann Weber, Hans Winetzhammer, ?, Johann Kern, Josef Schmutz, ?, Hubert Lendl, Josef Gruber, Laurenz Mock, Josef Schneiber, Martin Stur, ?, Theresia Weiß, ?, Josef Maier, Josef Gabrutsch
Nikolaj Frederik Severin Grundvig
N. F. S. Grundtvig: Wikimedia

The roots of the Bildungshäuser

The history of the Bildungshäuser in Austria began at the beginning of the 20th century. At that time they had a very special mission to fulfil. Many educational homes took over the tradition of home folk high schools following the Danish model. The Danish pedagogue, Nikolaj Frederik Severin Grundtvig, is regarded as the founding father of the idea of folk high schools. As a forerunner of our educational institutions, the idea spread from Denmark via Northern Germany to Austria.

In 1919 Prelate Dr. Josef Steinberger founded the Volksbildungsheim St. Martin near Graz. This was the beginning of a success story for the Bildungshäuser in Austria that continues to this day. From the minutes of the founding meeting of the ARGE Bildungshäuser (ARGE BHÖ), at that time known as "Bildungsheime" (educational homes), the educational goal of the Bildungshäuser can be seen, which is still largely valid today:

"The educational work of the Volksbildungsheim aims at the whole person and the totality of life. The person should be led to free and responsible decisions in the personal, professional and social area.

Josef Steinberger
Josef Steinberger; Foto: BH St. Martin

The motto "education with home advantage" became the trademark of the Bildungshaeuser in the 50s and 60s. By 1972 at the latest, ARGE BHÖ was perceived throughout Austria as an umbrella organisation for adult education. Under the chairmanship of Dr. Josef Gruber from the Bildungshaus Puchberg, with Leo Prüller from the Bildungshaus St. Hippolyt and Hermann Weber from the educational institution Grillhof in Tyrol, the statutes were revised and an association was founded. With the foundation of the Conference of Adult Education Austria (KEBÖ) the ARGE Bildungsheime became an equal member within the Austrian non-profit adult education landscape.

Significant milestones in the past

The exchange of experience and the discussion of educational policy issues were central concerns of the ARGE. Study trips in Europe and the USA provided a view beyond the horizon and brought new impulses for the educational work in the houses.

Since the mid 1980s, the promotion campaign for unemployed teachers for adult education organisations and the campaign for pedagogical staff have led to an upgrading of pedagogical activities within AE organisations.

ARGE Bildungsheime was also a co-initiator of the Television and Radio Prize of Adult Education Austria, an important public presentation of AE on radio and television. With the appointment of Dir. Eduard Ploier from the Bildungshaus Puchberg, to the ORF (Austrian Public TV) Board of Trustees, ARGE BHÖ had a prominent adult educator for many years on the highest ORF committee. The Eduard Ploier Prize, which is awarded annually as part of the Austrian Adult Education Radio Prize for services to adult education in broadcasting, is named after him.

Change of members in the ARGE

Since the foundation of the ARGE, there have always been houses that joined the ARGE BHÖ and left for various reasons. The community consisted of houses with church and non-church sponsorship.

A special break came in 1997 when some of the ecclesiastical houses in the ARGE BHÖ were separated and became the Forum of Catholic Adult Education. In the run-up to this separation, there were intensive discussions on the question of whether or not the church education houses were in good hands with ARGE BHÖ. Points of criticism were the lack of content work and the insufficient financial support from the Ministry of Education.

An alternative was the newly founded Forum of Catholic Adult Education, the collection of all Catholic institutions at the federal level.

After the vote at the plenary assembly of ARGE BHÖ in 1997, 13 Catholic houses switched to the Forum. The ARGE was reduced to 18 educational institutions.

Due to the withdrawal of some of the Catholic educational institutions, the ARGE had to reassess its position. As a smaller organization within the AE associations, it had to reorient itself. 

The ARGE BHÖ focused on professionalisation and dealt intensively with quality management. The aim was to ensure and further develop quality in the Bildungshäuser in the long run. However, it was also necessary to adapt the educational content in the houses to changing requirements. Mission statements were modified, new visions and goals were defined. The balancing act between economic necessity and educational policy challenge is still a particular challenge for the educational institutions today. In all this, as always, the human being with his needs is the focus of our considerations. As a professional service organisation, seminars for occupational groups were offered to the employees in the houses and quality management in the houses was supported by quality circles. ARGE BHÖ is also responsible for the business field of "education management" throughout Austria as a supporting organisation within the cooperative system of Austrian adult education.


Ing. Rudolf Planton
Chairmen of ARGE Bildungshäuser Österreich