What is Ö-Cert?
Ö-Cert is an overall framework of quality ("umbrella label") for adult education providers. It´s a nationwide quality trademark, regulated by law (contract between the Federal Ministry of Education and all 9 provinces) and became effective with Dec 2011.
Ö-Cert sets the stage for transparency, simplified administration and
Providers which apply for Ö-Cert have to fulfill the Ö-Cert-basic-requirements and have to bring in a Quality Management System (QMS).
Adult education in Austria has expanded. The practice field is marked by considerable heterogeneity and diversity with regard to providers and provision. Depending on the definition of "adult education", between 1.800 and 3.000 providers are active in the marketplace. Comparing education provision, therefore, is difficult, and transparency for customers as well as public authorities often proves unsatisfactory.
Eligibility for public subsidy is complex. Adult education providers need to have a QMS in place in order for the learners to receive grants. Moreover, besides international certificates such as ISO or EFQM and specific QMS like LQW, also four federation states provide an external quality assessment. In consequence, providers being active in more than one federation state, had to obtain up to three or more quality management certificates; altogether a time-consuming and expensive procedure.
Benefits of Ö-Cert
- Transparency has improved. Customers/learners and public authorities see immediately who is a quality provider.
- Simplified administration. Providers do not have to pay for and pass more than one quality assessment. Now one certificate is sufficient.
- Access to financial support for customers/learners. Through the nationwide recognition, Ö-Cert facilitates the allocation of public grants – even if the course takes place in a different federation state.
- Strengtening the profession. Ö-Cert contributes to the quality and professionalization of adult education in Austria.
Structure and process of accreditation
To receive Ö-Cert, providers have to fulfil the Ö-Cert-basic requirements:
- General basic requirements concerning corporate mission and responsibility
e.g.: provider has to agree on the definitions of LLL, meaning of adult education
- Basic requirements concerning the organizational structure
e.g.: their main task must be adult education, the provider has to be in business for three years, the educational managers must have a corresponding education and practice and so on
- Basic requirements concerning the course offer
e.g.: the offers must be open to the public, not accepted are offers, which are solely orientated in leisure activities. If a provider is mainly working in the field of therapy or consulting or the offers are primarily esoteric it's not possible to get Ö-Cert.
- Basic requirements concerning ethical principles and democracy
e.g.: provider has to agree on the human rights
- Basic requirements concerning quality
Provider must submit a Q-Certificate according to the Ö-Cert-list.
Online-applications are processed by the Ö-Cert office and accredited by the committee of independent experts. Ö-Cert does not carry out external audits. After having received Ö-Cert, providers will be listed on the Ö-Cert-Website. Administration charge: 100,00 EUR