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Anna Thaller elected new chairwoman of ARGE Bildungshäuser Österreich

At the general assembly of the ARGE BHÖ, Anna Thaller, director at the Bildungshaus Schloss St. Martin, was elected as the new chairwoman. She is thus the second woman in this function.

The previous chairman, Erich Wagner-Walser, left the Bildungshaus St. Hippolyt and thus resigned his position.

Franz Knittelfelder from the Weinviertel Educational Academy was appointed to the board as a new member.

Erich Wagner-Walser: 3 years of commitment and diligence

Erich Wagner-Walser has shaped the chairmanship over the past 3 years with his great commitment and impressive thoughtfulness. Personal contact with the member houses and their 467 employees was particularly close to his heart. Through numerous visits, he has strengthened the cohesion in the ARGE and consolidated the cooperative partnership.

The challenging period of the Corona crisis coincided with his term as Chairman. He showed a lot of empathy and always had an open ear for the concerns of the employees. Through numerous online meetings and the creation of guidelines, he was able to actively support and motivate the member houses. As in many other educational institutions, digitization became a driving force for new formats and offerings. It was therefore no surprise that the last General Assembly was also held in hybrid form.

Through his active promotion of internationalization, contacts with European Bildungshäuser could be strengthened, and two Erasmus+ projects were even carried out. A special highlight was the Future Workshop at the Bildungshaus St. Hippolyt as part of the Erasmus+ project "Bildungshäuser der Zukunft - bedürfnisorientierte Lernraumkonzepte in der Erwachsenenbildung". As a result of this event a brochure was created, which is used as an impulse for the further development of educational formats.

Erich Wagner-Walser was able to demonstrate his strong communication skills as a member of KEBÖ (Conference of Adult Education Austria). The negotiations on the "new" performance agreement with the Ministry of Education, which took place during his term of office, deserve special mention. Thanks to his commitment, a valorization of 5% was achieved.

In recent years, ARGE BHÖ has increasingly addressed the issues of changing demands on employees, the individualization of employees and participants, and the resulting demands on the design of the learning space. By focusing on these future-oriented topics, new impulses were set in the educational institutions.

We wish Erich Wagner-Walser all the best for his new tasks.

Anna Thaller: The education policy networker

Anna Thaller is an enthusiastic adult educator and has a special fondness for art and culture. She applies her energy with great passion not only to the Bildungshaus St. Martin in Graz, but also to adult education in Austria as a whole. The new chairwoman's main concern is to ensure that general adult education continues to have its place in Austria's broad educational offering in the future, because: "Education is the only key to democratic freedom and helps to secure peace," says Anna Thaller.

She attaches great importance to actively participating in the development of the Austrian LLL strategy. Through her collaboration on the Styrian LLL strategy, which has already taken place, she contributes valuable expertise at the national level. Her clear goal: to present this strategy at the 70th anniversary of ARGE BHÖ in May 2024.

The financial security of the ARGE BHÖ and thus the support of the educational work of the member houses are equally important to them. Further negotiations regarding the performance agreement with the Ministry of Education are on her agenda. Furthermore, she is committed to a significant increase in the budget for adult education. Her good contacts to education policy will support her in this.

Anna Thaller has already served on the board and is known for wanting to involve other member houses in the network. She hopes that this will provide fresh impetus and new creative ideas for educational work in Austria.

Change of chairmanship from Erich Wagner-Walser to Anna Thaller - photo credit: Filzmoser