8.3.3 Intercultural education
Since 1992, intercultural learning in Austria has been anchored in the curricula of the various types of schools, both as a teaching principle and as a general educational objective. The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture (BMUKK) is responsible for this area. Alongside learning about other cultures, the objectives are the promotion of tolerance and the understanding and respect for cultural, linguistic and ethnic diversity, the critical analysis of ethno- and Euro-centrism, prejudice, racism and the strengthening of linguistic, cultural and ethnic identity. Beyond this, bilingualism and multilingualism are to be judged positively; children's knowledge in their mother tongues is to be incorporated in the teaching. Finally, intercultural learning is to be combined with other teaching principles (political education).
The school action "Interculturality and Multilingualism – a Chance!" has been carried out since 2005. The aims are quality development for the educational principle of "intercultural learning", sensitisation to multilingualism in schools and society, providing motivation and incentive for teaching German as a second language and for mother-tongue teaching. Participants can be schools of all types and grades. The projects promoted are documented in the bmu:kk's "intercultural school projects" database at http://www.projekte-interkulturell.at.
Another project to encourage cross-culturalism and multilingualism is the multi lingual rhetoric competition Sag´s multi (http://www.sagsmulti.at/) . In 2009/10, the project took place for the first time, initiated by Wirtschaft für Integration and organised together with EDUCULT. Over 100 pupils from Vienna with a migration background mixed their mother tongue and German. They had to convince the professional jury about their language skills and knowledge of several topics. Due to its great success the project will be continued with numerous business sponsors.
KulturKontakt Austria is also active in this field. Projects and educational courses, with an emphasis on intercultural educational work, are also provided by the inter-cultural centre (Interkulturelles Zentrum) in Vienna.
In cooperation with the "Minorities Initiative" and the involvement of students and teachers, the "Democracy Centre Vienna" has developed the travelling exhibition Migration on Tour, which was shown for the first time in October 2010. Current migration trends as well as historic migration patterns will be shown at many venues. The exhibition starts with individual migration stories and then illustrates the development of Austria as a country of migration as well as the European and global migration processes. It concerns itself with current questions in connection with asylum, residence and labour law, naturalisation policy and integration. The exhibition can be booked and shown by schools and other educational institutions. More than 70 schools and educational institutions and several thousand school students have already taken part.
For more information, see our Intercultural Dialogue section.