Rise In Number Of Immigrants Flooding Austrian Schools

Austria Mosque

The number of non native-German speakers in Austria’s schools has risen, despite a decline in the total student numbers, official statistics have revealed.

According to The Local, almost a quarter of a million students, or 21 per cent of the total student body, speak a language other than German, the 2013/14 figures from Statistics Austria show.

That’s an increase of 7,700, or one per cent in just twelve months. Most of the speakers who do not have German as their mother tongue are in the capital Vienna, with almost half of students cited as primarily speaking another language. This is followed by Vorarlberg, the most Western region of Austria and one of the wealthiest areas in the world bordering with Switzerland , on 22 per cent and Salzburg on 18 per cent. The highest number of native German speaking students can be found in Carinthia,  high up in the Eastern Alps.

In Vienna, two thirds of secondary school students speak a language other than German, raising concerns of communications problems in classrooms which could have a knock on effect on other students. And the number rises in state schools compared to private schools, raising the likelihood that it is poorer immigrant children who have altered the demographics.

The largest percentage of students who aren’t natural German speakers can be found in the ‘special schools’ for those with more specialised educational needs, with almost a third of pupils having to converse in a language which is not their mother tongue. Next is the New Middle Schools (NMS) and pre-vocational schools with 28 per cent each and primary schools at 27 per cent.
The most commonly spoken languages after German are dialects of Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian, who make up 67,000 in number. They are followed by Turkey, where a significant number can be found in Vorarlberg too following the considerable numbers who arrived in the 1960s. Albanian speakers form another sizeable group, with 16,000 coming from the troubled  country.

In 2013/14, eleven per cent of students were registered as foreigners, with the largest group of non-Austrian nationals coming from Turkey 16,100, followed by Serbia and Montenegro (14,100) Germany (13,600), Bosnia and Herzegovina (11,400) and Croatia (8,700 ).

There is an upward trend in the number of German nationals who have emigrated to Austria, whilst the number of Turks, Serbs, Bosnians and Croats has declined. This could be due to the good performance of the Austrian economy or the domino effect of increasing immigration concerns in Germany itself.