U.S. English Foundation Research



Language Research

6. Language in everyday life: The use of language in everyday life, e.g. education, broadcasting, and other


Is used in education but a number of difficulties pertain to Slovene educational efforts.

Carinthia: For several decades there was a complete lack of bilingual kindergartens in southern Carinthia. To fill this gap the Slovene community pooled impressive financial resources for the administration of 6 private kindergartens. Only in the past few years have the Slovene communities been able to establish 7 bilingual public kindergartens in conjunction with their municipalities.

Carinthian Slovenes have demanded for years that the State Kindergarten Act be amended. The right to bilingual schooling should be expanded to include bilingual kindergarten instruction. The amendment should guarantee that children attending public kindergartens would automatically have access to bilingual training. The current situation is such that villages must individually negotiate, and because of political in-fighting votes are cast against the establishment of public kindergartens.

In elementary schools a separate bilingual (Slovene/German) language class is set up when nine or more children per class register for bilingual instruction. In such cases the class consists solely of pupils taught on a bilingual basis and runs parallel to a class on the same grade level for students being taught exclusively in German. If the number of children registered for bilingual education is under nine then the class remains intact. During the periods when the regular teacher is instructing the bilingual students a teaching assistant is brought in to instruct the non-registered students. This system is intended to guarantee that the children are at all times under the supervision of a teacher: the registered students alternately in German and Slovene, the non-registered students in German only. In 1997/1998 25.7% of all students in the bilingual area were registered for bilingual education.

Registered bilingual Hauptschule (High School) students are offered Slovene language classes in the form of elective courses. Problems have arisen from the fact that these optional Slovene classes often compete with English classes. For understandable reasons many students prefer not to miss English class thereby sacrificing their instruction in Slovene.

The Federal Secondary School for Slovenes in Klagenfurt/Celovec was founded in 1957. The school has enabled the Slovene population of Carinthia, for the first time, to develop a broad base of well-trained citizens educated in Slovene.

The founding of the Bilingual Business Academy in Klagenfurt/Celovec in 1989 fulfils a long-standing request from the Carinthian Slovene community. Training in business and economics has drastically increased in importance over the last decades. The private School for Women’s Professions, a parochial Slovene school run by nuns has been upgraded to a Higher Training Institution for Business Professions.

There are several Slovene language weekly journals and periodicals published specifically for the Carinthian Slovenes. The field of electronic media is covered by Radio Carinthia, which broadcasts a daily one-hour radio show in Slovene and the Federal Austrian Radio and Television Network (ORF), which broadcasts a half hour Slovene TV program each Sunday. The Carinthian Slovenes recently founded two private media companies, Radio Korotan and Radio Agora. Both transmit a full day of radio programming in Slovene or bilingually.

Styria: The constitutional right to elementary education in Slovene is not respected in Styria. Modest attempts do exist to offer voluntary training in the Slovene language in various schools on the border with Slovenia; these include optional two-hour language classes for third and fourth graders in many elementary schools.

No media coverage in the Slovene language currently exists. There are neither electronic nor print media services specifically geared to the needs of the ethnic group in Styria.

Carinthian and Styrian Slovenes have the following constitutional rights under Article 7/Z.3 of the constitutional Vienna State Treaty. These rights do not extend to Styria and are observed only in Carinthia:

  • To use Slovene before the authorities: The right is granted in only 14 of the – according to the law – 41 communities
  • To use Slovene before courts of justice. This right is granted before 3 district law courts
  • To bilingual printed forms in the revenue office only
  • To bilingual public signage: This right is granted in 68 of the – according to the law – 800 localities


The Burgenland state Kindergarten Act (LBGl.35/1995) provides for the establishment of bilingual kindergartens. Croatian can be declared an “official kindergarten language” if the native Austrian parents and guardians of over 25% of the children make a formal request. Their parents must register the children in order to qualify. If a bilingual kindergarten does not have at least one staff member at its disposal that is fluent in the language of the ethnic group, then the government is required to appoint an assistant kindergarten teacher. The language of the ethnic group must be adequately taught for at least six hours a week, preferably at least for one hour each day. The use and effectiveness of native language training in kindergarten is almost exclusively dependent on the skills and dedication of the kindergarten teachers.

Since 1994 a child attending a traditional bilingual school can be unregistered from bilingual education. Children attending bilingual schools who have been unregistered must then be taught according to the “normal” teaching plan, i.e. in German. Teachers are no longer permitted to speak Croatian to them. The three hours usually reserved for Croatian class are then replaced with an hour each of German, physical education and handicrafts. The term “bilingual” has not been precisely defined. It remains up to the teacher and the proficiency of the pupils to determine to what extent Croatian is used and to what degree the children should be challenged to improve their skills. An optimal model for the preservation of the native language would be the introduction of mandatory bilingual education in the traditionally bilingual regions.

At secondary level (Hauptschule) teaching for ethnic groups may only be organized on a monolingual basis i.e. in either Croatian or Hungarian. German in these schools is taught for up to six hours a week as a foreign language. The Minority Schools Act provides for the establishment of one secondary school in Oberwart/Borta.

In relation to Article 7 of the 1955 treaty, members of the language group have the right to use Croatian as the official language in administrative and judicial affairs at the regional level. The use of Croatian as the official language is fixed by the 1990 decree. In 26 communities, Croatian is authorized as the official language serving the six relevant regions: Eisenstadt/ Äeljezno (9 communities), Güssing/Novi Grad (3 communities), Mattersburg/ Matrstof (3 communities), Neusiedl/Niuzalj (3 communities), Oberpullendorf/Gornja Pulja (5 communities) and Oberwart/Borta (3 communities). Also, Croat can serve as the official language by other administrative bodies such as the military command of Burgenland, the railways and the postal service.

Several Croatian language journals and periodicals are published catering mainly to the Burgenland Croats. The regional service of the Austrian Public Broadcasting (ORF) provides 40 minutes of Croatian programming a day, except on Sundays. The only Croatian television program that can be currently picked up in Burgenland is the weekly 30-minute program for ethnic groups.

The Burgenland Croats recently founded a private radio station, Radio “Mora”, which will transmit in the minority language.

Chancellor Schüssel has unveiled the first bilingual German-Croatian sign in the province of Burgenland, forty-five years after such signs were guaranteed by the Constitution. However, the occasion has been overshadowed by the imminent closure of a number of bilingual or multilingual media, both in Burgenland and in the minority Slovene areas of Carinthia. (July 14, 2000, by Brigitte Alfter)


The Czech educational system is based on the private Voluntary Educational Association, Komenský. The teaching plan of the private Komenský school is set up in parallel to the state teaching plans for elementary and the early years of secondary school. The intended language of instruction in elementary schools is Czech although this facility is now practically bilingual. Second graders receive five hours of German and six hours of Czech language instruction. One hour of English is added in the third grade. Pupils attending higher secondary school classes are taught bilingually. Czech, German and English language instructions supplement the system. The Czech ethnic group currently has no classes at this level. The students must complete their education in a language other then their own after graduating from the Komenský Hauptschule (High School).

The Voluntary Educational Association (Verein) Komenský began the 1996/1997 school year with an academic breakthrough.

The experimental “bilingual secondary school” program offers a limited number of students the opportunity to graduate in a four-year bilingual school setting. The teachers’ academy introduced a final exam in Czech in 1991 for its graduating teacher candidates. Czech can be studied on the university level either as a translator, teaching or master’s degree program.

The language is included in one television program. There are no Czech radio broadcasts in Austria. The following periodicals are published in Austria in Czech: Viennese Free Press; Journal for Our Fellow Countrymen; Klub; Information Bulletin; Komenský.


There are no Slovak language schools in Austria. The Austrian-Slovak Voluntary Cultural Association organized private Slovak lessons for children in Vienna, which now have been taken over by the city school board which funds two groups of 9 students. The courses have voluntary status. The secondary school for business in Vienna offers training in Slovak as do the Viennese University of Business and Commerce, the University of Vienna and the Academies of Continuing Education.

The Slovak ethnic group has neither radio and television programs nor daily, weekly, or monthly periodicals in its native language. The Austrian-Slovak Voluntary Cultural Association and the Slovak clergy publish the bulletin “Pohl`ady”, which has a circulation of 1,200 and is issued quarterly. It is in Slovak with individual German language articles.


The collapse of the Iron Curtain in 1989 did not leave Austria unaffected. The opening of the eastern border led to a consumer boom in Burgenland. Initially the lack of language skills in the region had a negative affect on trade and the labor market. The skyrocketing use of Hungarian then led to a boom in ethnic awareness among members of the ethnic group. The school system began to renew support for teaching in Hungarian. The Minority School Act for Burgenland (1994), as well as stipulations of the Burgenland Mandatory School Act (1995), governs the use of ethnic languages in Burgenland. Since the passing of the Kindergarten Act of Burgenland (Provincial Law Gazette No. 7/1990) Hungarian has been used as the language of instruction and care alongside German in 4 kindergartens in Burgenland. Bilingual Hungarian instruction is offered in the elementary schools in Oberwart/Felssör, Unterwart and Siget in der Wart. In all other schools it is either optional or available on a voluntary basis. One school (Haupschule/High School) in Oberwart/Felsöör introduced one class with Hungarian as the mandatory language of instruction. The secondary school system in Burgenland offers Hungarian training in the following schools: bilingual education in the bilingual secondary school in Oberwart/Felsöör, a mandatory course at the federal secondary school (BG/BRG) in Oberpullendorf and a voluntary course or optional class in various other schools in the state.

The first bilingual class in the federal secondary school in Oberwart/Felsöör is now approaching graduation. The number of students participating has steadily increased.

Three years after the introduction of Hungarian to the secondary business school, the language became so popular that the entire class of 1996 graduated with Hungarian as their second living language requirement. The value of this development can be judged by the success of this graduating class in so far as, not one of them is unemployed. Despite this success story the school dropped Hungarian completely.

The federal Austrian Radio and Television Network (ORF) Burgenland broadcasts a half-hour Hungarian language radio program every Sunday. The program airs in the evening at the same time the TV news is shown. Four times a year, on holidays, ORF Burgenland broadcasts a television program for the Burgenland Hungarians. The establishment of a private station is currently not possible because of technical, financial and legal considerations. The Burgenland Hungarian Voluntary Cultural Association produces the only Hungarian language periodicals published specifically for the Burgenland Hungarians.


At present no formal training in Romany exists. The standardization of Romany into a written language with hard and fast grammatical rules is currently underway. The Minority Protection Act for Burgenland (BGBl. No. 641/1994) includes provisions guaranteeing Roma the right to language instruction in the Romany native language. The implementation of this legal right however depends on certain technicalities, which need to be overcome. Because of the educational ban on Romany during the Third Reich and the decades of extreme segregation and discrimination following liberation, Romany families are now suffering from a state of educational underdevelopment, which will take years to reverse.

There are currently neither autonomous radio and television stations nor a daily newspaper serving Roma in Austria. The Roma publish two periodicals independently.

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Updated (January 2001)


According to news service CGH in Vienna, Austrian province of Carinthia started to implement 1977 legislation about bilingual place name signs. Six German-language signs in the town of Globasnitz have already been changed to bilingual German-Slovene signs, and a commission has been investigating which bodies are responsible for the signs in various parts of the Haider-governed province. However, signs on main roads, which are the responsibility of the province, have not yet been changed. Representatives of the Croatian minority in the province of Burgenland have asked the authorities to follow the example of Carinthia.

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Updated (July 2002)

Recently the governor of Carinthia, Jörg Haider, accused some representatives of the Slovene minority of making “aggressive, disruptive actions and abusing Carinthia.” In an interview with the newspaper “Kärntner Woche” Haider also said that he will put a stop to the games of the “radicals” and admitted that he had already took the first step to switch off Radio Dva.

Radio Dva is a common program of the private radio stations Agora and Radio Dva Ltd. that daily provides 12 hours of Slovene radio programming. This initiative is based on a project called “minority radio in Carinthia” launched in July 2001, in a cooperation among ORF, Radio Dva Ltd., and Agora. By doing this, Radio Dva fulfils the official commitment of the Austrian Broadcaster ORF to provide media for the Austrian minorities. Now the ORF’s management says this co-operation will finish by the end of the year because of the tight budgetary situation.

“The ORF argues that they have to save 60 million euro in total this year and it means that they also have to save on the minority programs,” says Angelika Hödl, manager from Agora. But the ORF has this official commitment for the minority programs. And if they would do it themselves it would cost much more than if private stations are doing it.

But Haider personally wrote to the head office of ORF that the minority radio broadcasting in Carinthia must stop. The ORF has to stop the program otherwise they will incur a penalty.

Source: http://www.eurolang.net/, Eurolang, Brussels, July 4, 2002 by Margret Oberhofer

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Updated (November 2002)


The Austrian Broadcaster ORF will, commencing 2003, stop financing “Radio Dva,” a private commercial radio broadcasting in the Slovene language, due to financial reasons.

Radio Dva is a joint program of the private radio stations Agora and Radio Dva Ltd. providing 12 hours of Slovene radio programs daily. This initiative is based on a project called “minority radio in Carinthia” launched in July 2001 in cooperation among ORF, Radio Dva Ltd. and Agora. Thus Radio Dva fulfills the official commitment of the Austrian Broadcaster ORF to provide media for the Austrian minorities.

According to the manager of radio Agora, Angelika Hödl, cooperation with the private radios is very beneficial for ORF, because they produce a large output with few financial means. Broadcasting fifty minutes a day by ORF costs 472,000 Euro a year. On the other hand, private radio stations can produce 24 hours of broadcasting for 872,000 Euro.

The question is also how ORF will fulfill its official commitment to provide consolidated media for the Austrian minorities, as it is stated in the broadcasting law.

Source: Eurolang News, Brussels, October 22, 2002, by Margret Oberhofer,

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Updated (December 2002)


TYPE OF EDUCATION Number of schools Enrolment figures
Kindergarten 27 600
Bilingual primary schools 29 1,464
General secondary schools (Haupschule) 11 316
General higher secondary schools (AHS) 5 335
Vocational middle and higher secondary schools (BMS) (BHS) 70
Vocational education

Table: Figures of schools and students enrolled in Croatian education (1999 or 2000)


Since pre-school education in Austria is optional, it is not a part of the national education system and it is regulated by provincial laws. Most public nursery schools are run by municipalities, some by the provincial or federal administration. In contrast to all public educational institutions attended after the age of six, pre-school education is not free of charge and has to be paid for by parents.

Many private nursery schools in Austria are run by church congregations, by minority organizations, parents’ associations, or even by private companies. Before 1989, there were no legal provisions for the teaching of Croatian at a nursery school level and thus the use of the minority language depended entirely on the initiative of nursery school teachers.

In 1989, the amendment to the Kindergarten Law for Burgenland (the Burgenländisches Kindergartengesetz) introduced bilingual pre-school education in German and Croatian in 25 municipalities in 6 districts. In all other municipalities of Burgenland education in Croatian has to be provided for six hours a week if 25 percent of the parents request it. In this case the municipality has to employ a bilingual pre-school teacher or, if this is not possible, the province provides an assistant with the Croatian language skills.

In the year 2000, about 600 children attended 27 bilingual nursery schools in Burgenland. There are no private Croatian pre-schools in Burgenland and only one in Vienna, which is run by the Croatian minority organization for approximately 20 children.

In 25 bilingual pre-schools of Burgenland Croatian is recognized as the second Kindergartensprache (pre-school language) besides German. Unfortunately, the law does not specify any language standards or the extent of Croatian language instructions so the schools vary greatly. Some are effectively bilingual, in some only a few Croatian songs are sung; it basically depends on the initiative and competence of a pre-school teacher.

In several cases municipalities have neglected to check the qualifications of bilingual pre-school teachers, so that in 1997, the municipal government had to bring a specific resolution requiring municipalities to enforce bilingual training requirements for the position of a pre-school teacher.


Primary education in Croatian is guaranteed by the Austrian State Treaty of 1955 and regulated by the Provincial Minority School Law (Minderheitenschulgesetz für das Burgenland) of 1994, which classifies 29 local primary schools as bilingual (German-Croatian). Eight of these are so called bilingual primary schools (Croatian is used as the second language alongside German in the teaching of all subjects) and 21 are primary schools with Croatian language tuition (Croatian is taught as a second language for three hours a week). There is no primary school with Croatian as the key medium of instruction in Burgenland.

The number of pupils in bilingual German-Croatian primary schools has steadily risen during the 1990s from 1,324 in 1992 to 1,404 in 1999.

In four German monolingual schools around 60 children attend Croatian classes as an optional subject. In 1999, only 342 out of 1,404 pupils in bilingual German-Croatian primary schools reported to have Croatian as their mother tongue, whilst the vast majority of pupils (751) gave German as their mother tongue.

Schools Pupils
Bilingual primary schools 29 1,404
Croatian as an optional subject 4 60
Total 33 1,464

Table: Figures of schools and pupils receiving Croatian primary education in Burgenland 1999


Bilingual education at secondary level is not compulsory as in bilingual primary schools; instead pupils have to specifically register for it. In 1999, there was only one general secondary school in Burgenland offering bilingual education in German and Croatian for all subjects. There was also a general secondary school, which offered Croatian as an optional core subject and bilingual German and Croatian tuition for several other subjects. In these two schools 141 pupils were registered.

Apart from that 102 pupils in nine other general secondary schools had registered for Croatian as an optional subject. This means that in 1999, only 243 pupils continued their Croatian education in the Hauptschule, the most common form of secondary education in rural areas of Austria. In the year 2000, the number of pupils registered for bilingual German-Croatian courses dropped to 233, but additional 83 students chose Croatian as an optional subject in monolingual German schools, so the overall number of pupils studying Croatian rose to 316.

Schools Pupils 1999 Pupils 2000
Bilingual primary schools 2 141 233
Croatian as an optional subject 9 102 83
Total 11 243 316

Table: Croatian in general secondary schools (Hauptschule) in Burgenland

The maximum number of pupils per a class in bilingual general secondary schools (Hauptschulen) in Burgenland is twenty as compared to thirty in monolingual schools.

For the majority of subjects, apart from straightforward language training, books in Croatian are not available, so German books are used instead. The teachers have to prepare their own materials or use textbooks from the Republic of Croatia. But since the Croatian language spoken in Croatia differs significantly from the variant spoken in Burgenland, and the curricula of the two countries are not at all compatible, this option has limited usefulness.


At all of 17 Austrian Universities, technical and art colleges, as well as at the recently established vocational post secondary high schools the language of instruction is German. Croatian as a subject can be studied at two departments for the Slavic languages, at several departments for translation studies. Two university departments also offer teacher-training courses for general secondary higher schools (AHS) in Croatian.

Source: Mercator Education, Regional Dossiers, the Croatian Language in Education in Austria




In Carinthia there are five municipal kindergartens with bilingual sections; in two more municipalities the decision to create bilingual groups has been taken, but the groups have not been opened yet. However, the first kindergartens offering bilingual or Slovenian groups were private ones. There are two established by Slovenian organizations in Klagenfurt, and three more in different villages in the bilingual area. These kindergartens are subsidized from the federal sources out of the special budget for minorities.

As the capacity of these kindergartens is insufficient, groups of parents and educators have founded autonomous groups.

The children’s language background is very heterogeneous: some speak the Slovenian dialects or the language close to the Slovenian standard at home, others do not speak Slovenian at all. Generally, at the age of three, when children start pre-school education, they are to certain degree acquainted with the German language through the media and German-speaking surroundings.


As bilingual education is organized on a territorial principle, it is up to the parents to decide, no matter what their own language background is, whether they want bilingual education within the public system for their children. In the last years the number of German speaking pupils in bilingual schools has increased.

In 1988, after a long discussion, an amendment to the Education Act was passed (Minderheitenschulgesetz-Novelle). This amendment provides for separate bilingual and monolingual classes and maintains an access to bilingual education for German-speaking children if their parents register them. If the number of pupils is too low to run a separate class, a mixed class is to be established. A second teacher comes into the class for 10 to 14 hours.

The curriculum also allows another form of Slovenian language teaching in primary schools. In monolingual German classes Slovenian can be taught as an additional practical subject (for two hours a week) without assessment.

In bilingual schools Slovenian is a part of the core curriculum. In the first three years of instruction both German and Slovenian language should be used to the same extent in all subjects. In practice; however, there are great differences in the amount of Slovenian instruction provided. Its status chiefly depends on the pupils’ command of the minority language when they begin school, on the commitment of bilingual teachers and on the involvement of parents in bilingual classes.

In the fourth year of primary education German becomes the only medium of instruction and Slovenian is taught only as a subject. Experimental classes in the fourth year of a primary school have been run in recent years, in which both Slovenian and German are used as a medium of instruction.

In 81 public primary schools in the bilingual area and in 2 primary schools (one public and one private) in Klagenfurt, bilingual education is possible (1996/97).

Until the beginning of the nineties, textbooks in Slovenian were only available for Slovenian literacy training. These textbooks were suitable for a homogenous language background but reality in the classrooms was much more heterogeneous. To cope with these lacunae, bilingual teachers took the initiative and developed new textbooks and teaching materials. These books are printed by the Slovenian publishing houses in Carinthia. Although currently there are textbooks for primary education (all subjects and all levels), the situation is still not satisfactory.


Although the Austrian school laws grant the possibility to establish schools where Slovenian is used as a medium of instruction, so far there are no such schools and Slovenian is only taught as a subject.

There are three different ways to register for Slovenian lessons:

  • To demand lessons in the Slovenian language under the Minority School Law
  • To choose Slovenian as a foreign language (alternatively to English)
  • To take Slovenian as an optional additional subject

Because the number of pupils interested in Slovenian and enrolled in general secondary schools is relatively low, in most schools the necessary number for differentiation is not reached and pupils are taught in one single group. The pupils’ language background in these classes is very heterogeneous and thus teaching is very demanding. Outside the area, to which minority school education applies, Slovenian is only taught as an optional subject in special language lessons.

Only 5.3 percent of the pupils (i.e. 298 pupils) in the bilingual area attend Slovenian language classes at general secondary level. Compared with the number of pupils registered for bilingual classes in primary schools (25 percent) there is an alarming decrease.

At the lower level of academic secondary schools there is only one school (in Klagenfurt), where Slovenian is used as a medium of instruction. It is the Bundesgymnasium für Slowenen (Zvezna gimnazija za Slovence) founded in 1957.

For most subjects schoolbooks in Slovenian are not available, so German books are used instead.

As all schoolbooks in Austria are state subsidized, authorities argue that those for the different levels of secondary education in Slovenian would be too expensive due to their small circulation.

Source: Mercator Education, Regional Dossiers, the Slovenian Language in Education in Austria (Carinthia), http://www1.fa.knaw.nl/mercator/regionale_dossiers/regional_dossier_slovenian_in_austria.htm

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Updated (April 2003)


The supervisory board of the Austrian Broadcasting Cooperation ORF has made the long awaited recommendation to the ORF management to set up two separate radio channels for minorities in Austria. One of the channels will be reserved for the Slovene minority in Carinthia and the other one for the Hungarian, Croatian and Roma minority in the neighboring Region of Burgenland.

Private Slovene radio stations in Carinthia, Radio Dva and Radio Agora, have come with a solution how to gain an additional frequency that ORF would need to establish a new minority channel. In the past the possibility of an ORF takeover of the frequency currently used by Radio Dva and Radio Agora was discussed. At present one of the envisaged solutions is that ORF rents the frequency from the two private radio stations.

Another goal of the negotiations with ORF should be to secure financial future of Radio Agora and to allow broadcasting of its own bilingual or multilingual non-commercial programs.

Source: Eurolang News, Vienna, March 28, 2003, by Margret Oberhofer,

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Updated (May 2003)


  • Croatian

The weeklies “Hrvatske Novine” and “Glasnik” published in Burgenland-Croatian receive financial aid under the government’s support scheme for ethnic groups and from the general press subsidy granted pursuant to the 1985 Press Promotion Act. The periodical publication “Put” was granted financial assistance in the framework of the support scheme for journalism.

  • Slovene

The Carinthia weeklies “Nas tednik,” “Slovenski Vestnik” and “Nedelja” published in Slovene receive financial aid under the government’s support scheme for ethnic groups and from the general press subsidy granted pursuant to the 1985 Press Promotion Act. The periodical publication “Punt” receives financial assistance in the framework of the support scheme for journalism.

  • Hungarian

The regional broadcasting station for Burgenland broadcasts Hungarian radio programs daily from 6:55pm to 7:00pm. Moreover, a Hungarian program is broadcast on Sundays from 6:30pm to 8:00pm and a program focusing on ethnic group issues is broadcast on Mondays from 8:50pm to 9:00pm.

TV programs in the Hungarian language are broadcast by the ORF regional broadcasting station for Burgenland on six Sundays per year; furthermore, a joint program of the ethnic groups is broadcast on four Sundays a year.

Source: Council of Europe, Initial Periodical Report by Austria presented to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe in accordance with Article 15 of the Charter, January 23, 2003, http://www.coe.int/t/e/legal%5faffairs/local%5fand%5fregional%5fdemocracy/regional%5for%5fminority%5flanguages/documentation/1%5fperiodical%5freports/2003_5e_MIN-LANG%20PR_Austria.asp

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Updated (October 2003)


After many discussions, accusations and postponed decisions Radio Dva and Radio Agora finally came to an agreement with the public broadcaster ORF. For months these two Austrian private stations broadcasting 24 hours in Slovenian were fighting for their survival and continuation of their program on the shared private frequency 105,5 MHz.

The new scheme should be implemented by February 1, 2004. The agreement foresees that ORF will broadcast eight hours in Slovenian and Radio Dva and Radio Agora will cover the remaining sixteen hours of the daily program. For this service they get from the public Austrian broadcaster nearly € 200,000 a year.

The representatives of Radio Dva and Radio Agora are satisfied that Slovenian radio broadcasting in Carinthia will increase and that their broadcasting license is valid until the year 2011, however, they are not happy with the amount of money they have received.

Since February 1, 2004 the Slovene-language program on ORF’s public frequency, called “Radio Kärnten,” will also change. An hour-longer, daily, cross-border program called “Servus-Srecno-Ciao” will substitute for the daily information program broadcast usually from 6 to 7 pm. The Slovene programs on Wednesday and Sunday evening will remain intact.

By the end of this year the contract should be signed by all parties involved. The last problem to solve is a schedule of broadcasting. Obviously the most attractive hours are those around lunchtime and in the early evening.

Depending on this division, the stations will decide on how many new employees they need. ORF has already announced that it increases its staff by five new people from the beginning of the next year. Currently around 15 people work for Radio Kärnten.

Source: Eurolang News, Vienna, October 3, 2003, by Margret Oberhofer,

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Updated (February 2004)


Minority education in Burgenland is regulated by the 1994 Minority School Law. The 1995 Provincial School Law prescribes compulsory instruction in minority languages at elementary and higher elementary schools.

Under this legislation, mandatory teaching of the Hungarian language can take place in four Hungarian-inhabited settlements, in Felsõpulya (Oberpullendorf), Alsóõr (Unterwart), Felsõõr (Oberwart), and Õrisziget (Siget in der Wart).

Since the fall of 1987, the Zentralverband (Central Federation of Hungarian Organizations and Associations in Austria) has maintained “the Hungarian School of Vienna”. Upon its initiative and intervention, since 1996 instruction in the Hungarian language has been successfully carried out in five Vienna primary schools. Since 2000 Hungarian-language instruction can be also received in Mödling near Vienna and in Linz, under the auspices of the local Hungarian association. A long-time demand of the Hungarians living in Vienna is the establishment of a Hungarian-language high school.

The Zentralverband publishes Austria’s sole Hungarian-language newspaper “Bécsi Napló” (Vienna Journal). In addition, there are other periodical association newsletters. The Hungarian Cultural Association of Burgenland publishes the periodical “Õrség”.

Since the end of 1995, the Burgenland cable television company has drastically cut the airtime of the Hungarian-language television programs. The cable company cited the decreasing number of viewers as a reason for its action. This move adversely affected the Hungarian community because these programs played an important role in preserving national identity.

Source: The EU Accession Monitoring Program (EUMAP), a program of the Open Society Institute, http://www.htmh.hu/reports2002/austria2002.htm

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