But that is precisely what has the highest priority for Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Maier, who is responsible for training the horses and the eight riders.

But that is precisely what has the highest priority for Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Maier, who is responsible for training the horses and the eight riders.

Not a word about the welfare of the horses.

But that is precisely what has the highest priority for Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Maier, who is responsible for training the horses and the eight riders. Each individual animal was trained and fed according to its individual needs. Spacious boxes of 14 square meters, regular paddock, rest days and holidays – Maier had meticulously arranged everything for the animals. The two stable cats, Mieze-Leutnant and Cop-Cat, were also lovingly cared for.

Who will get the horses?

Maier is not only a friend of the noble animals, but also a realist, as he demonstrated in an interview with News in June. When asked what would happen to the horses, another minister should close the business, he answered calmly: they had already thought about that too. Some riders would take the horses privately. Some previous owners would also be willing to buy back their animals. The future of the two horses provided by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán should be clear. They will have to return to their country of origin.

Quite a few horse lovers have already indicated their interest in acquiring the others. Equestrian teams from abroad would also want the trained horses. Another possibility would be to house the animals with the armed forces. Where and in which function still has to be clarified. In addition, clarifications are still required regarding the sales price due to budgetary and public procurement regulations, says Alexander Marakovits, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry.

The animal welfare organization “Pfotenhilfe” from Upper Austria and the Gut Aiderbichl sanctuary in Salzburg have also offered to take the horses in in an emergency. There is no concern that the horses will become homeless from one day to the next, says Marakovits. The lease on the grounds of the Military Academy in Wiener Neustadt ends in mid-2020. “” The horses can still be looked after as best as possible, “he says.

Cats out of order

Time enough to carefully examine every purchase offer. “The most important thing is the welfare of the animals,” emphasizes Marakovits. And when he says animals, he doesn’t just mean the horses.

The stable cats Mieze-Leutnant and Cop-Cat, which were specially acquired in the spring to keep mice away from the horses’ feed, also lose their jobs – regardless of whether the retired Minister Kickl offers the two feline guards asylum or an animal welfare association. All possibilities of where and how the two stable tigers will live best in the future are currently being examined, and some riders are expressly willing to take them into their own stables. Private individuals would also give them accommodation. “The aim is to find a common, adequate space for both cats,” says Marakovits.123 essay Cat connoisseurs know, however, that the best thing would be for the two of them to stay in their familiar surroundings. This is also possible. Because the stables of the Wiener Neustädter Reitverein are adjacent to the rented police stables. Feed guards will certainly be needed there too.

What about the people? “” They are assigned to the project and generally return to their previous offices after the assignment has ended. “

The article originally appeared in the print edition of News (49/2019)

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In the 2018 PISA study, Austria performed similarly to the last survey in 2015 and is roughly on par with the OECD countries. The rankings in reading, mathematics and natural sciences are dominated by various Chinese regions and Singapore, according to the survey published on Tuesday.

In this year’s main test area, reading, Austria achieved an average of 484 points (2015: 485), which is in line with the OECD average (487). In the natural sciences this time it was 490 points (2015: 495), which also corresponds to the OECD average (489). The 15- to 16-year-olds in Germany did the strongest in mathematics (499 points; 2015: 497), where they were above the OECD average (489).

Interesting: It’s going wrong in our schools

Read main test area

As in 2000 and 2009, reading was the main test area this time: This means that around half of all tasks came from this area and reading tasks were the only test field that all participating students worked on.

© APA / Christina Uhl / wax / aku

Not we got better, but others got worse

In contrast to previous PISA studies, Austria was not statistically significantly below the OECD average for reading this time. However, this was not due to a better performance by the local students, but rather to the decline in other countries. Of Austria’s neighboring countries, Germany (498 points) and Slovenia (495) achieved significantly better reading performance, while students from Italy, Hungary (476 each) and Slovakia (458) did significantly worse. The Czech Republic and Switzerland were on par with Austria. The European leaders are Estonia (523 points) and Finland (520).

Waste in science

With the seventh PISA study, the OECD is also taking stock of the previous surveys. Here, too, it can be seen that since the first survey times, the performance of Austrian students in reading and mathematics has remained more or less constant, while there has been a slight decrease in the natural sciences.

© APA / Christina Uhl / wax / aku

Further information: Here you can do parts of the test yourself.

Wide gap between locals and migrants

In Austria, students with a migration background also still do significantly worse than young people whose parents were born in Austria. In recent years there has been a convergence in performance, then a drifting apart again. The gap has remained the same since 2015.

The proportion of migrants has increased

The proportion of students with a migration background in Austria has risen in recent years, from 11 percent in the first PISA test in 2000 to 23 percent today. In PISA, they have achieved fewer and fewer points over the years, but the gap to students without a migration background has become significantly smaller: In reading, it fell from 93 to 51 points between 2000 and 2012; This time, this distance has remained practically the same (63).

Among countries with greatest disadvantages for migrants

With this difference of 63 points, Austria is one of those countries with the greatest performance disadvantages at the expense of migrants. It is higher in Finland (92), Sweden (83), Iceland (74), the Netherlands (72) and Denmark (65), and the same size in Germany and Slovenia.

If the significantly lower socio-economic status of this group is factored out, 37 points remain in performance difference. With this approach, too, Austria is one of the countries with the greatest differences.

Parent education makes a difference

The difference in student performance depending on the educational qualifications of the parents is also clear: in reading, children of academics in Austria achieved an average of 509 points, children of parents with high school diploma as the highest qualification 491 points, children of parents with an apprenticeship / vocational secondary school / master craftsman’s examination 473 points and children only 420 points from parents with no more than compulsory schooling. This gap of 89 points between the highest and lowest qualifications is slightly lower than in 2015 – but not statistically significant. Incidentally, it can be explained by the poorer performance of the academic children with the same performance of the children of people with only compulsory schooling

Girls’ lead in reading increased

There has been some movement in terms of gender differences in Austria: in reading, the performance advantage of girls (499 points) compared to boys (471) rose from 20 points in 2015 to 28 points – but this is not statistically significant and is roughly in the OECD average (30 points).

Guys better at math

In mathematics, the gender differences are in favor of boys, but are smaller than in reading: In Austria, boys (505 points) averaged 13 points more than their peers (492). In the OECD, Austria is the country behind Colombia and Italy with the third largest gender difference in favor of boys (OECD average: five points). Conversely, the gender gap in favor of boys in the natural sciences has almost closed since 2015: If Austria was still the country with the greatest performance advantages for boys in 2015 (19 points), these have now practically disappeared: girls (489) achieved practically the same points as in 2018 Guys (491). Across the OECD, too, the two sexes are on par in the natural sciences.

SPÖ calls for “” more efforts for equal opportunities “”

The quasi-standstill has also resulted in practically constant statements from politics and organizations on education policy. SPÖ education spokeswoman Sonja Hammerschmid demands in a broadcast “” more efforts for equal opportunities in schools and a focus on reading promotion and reading motivation “”. The most important measures for them are a rapid expansion of all-day schools, more funds for schools with special challenges – keyword: opportunity index – and more support staff for the schools. There is also “room for improvement” when it comes to reading. “” The efforts that have been made in the school system in recent years to promote reading are evidently being thwarted by developments in society as a whole and the increasing use of smartphones, even among younger children. “”

FPÖ: “” Austria is just lagging behind “”

For its FPÖ counterpart Hermann Brückl, the PISA results show “” no change, but major problems in integration “”: “” According to this study, Austria is actually lagging behind, but of course you can’t talk well. “” A new government Under ÖVP leadership, “” it is now necessary to pursue the points agreed under Blau-Schwarz in order to improve the skills of our students. “”

Green places “” Challenges “”

The Greens, on the other hand, see “” major challenges in education “”. It is particularly bitter that Austria continues to do badly in terms of equal opportunities, said National Council member Sibylle Hamann. “” Austria is one of the countries in which education is most strongly inherited. Therefore, the leverage should also be used here if we aim for a real turnaround. “”

NEOS: “” Clumsy steamer “”

The NEOS see themselves as confirmed: “” The current education system is like a clumsy steamer which obviously – as the Austrian PISA results show once again – does not allow any improvements “”, says education spokeswoman Martina Künsberg Sarre. Developments in the field of education are blocked by party politics. Politicians must therefore “” agree on common, evidence-based and long-term goals that are also binding over legislative periods.

IV sees “” wake-up call for reforms “”

The Federation of Industrialists (IV) also wants to see the PISA results as a “” wake-up call for fundamental reforms “”: “” If almost a quarter of 15-year-olds are particularly poor at reading, this has been a permanent finding that has been worrying for years. ” “That’s why a quality offensive is needed in basic education. The Chamber of Commerce (WKÖ) also sees improvements as necessary, especially in the compulsory school area.

AK calls for an opportunity index

The Chamber of Labor (AK), in turn, calls for school financing based on an opportunity index. Schools should get more funding if they have a large number of students who need additional support.

PISA 2018 at a glance

PISA WINNER: The best results of the OECD countries in the main test domain reading came from Estonia (523 points), Canada and Finland (520 each). In mathematics, the students from Japan (527), South Korea (526) and Estonia (523) lead the way, in natural sciences Estonia (530), Japan (529) and Finland (522). Among all tested participants, the (summarized) Chinese regions of Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang are ahead in all three domains (reading: 555 points; mathematics: 591; natural sciences: 590), followed by Singapore and Macau.

PISA LOSERS: The bottom of the OECD countries are Colombia (reading: 412, math: 391, science: 413), Mexico (420; 409; 419) and Chile (452; 417; 444) in all three areas.

SOCIAL STATUS: The socio-economic status in Austria has a comparatively large influence on the performance of students. In all three areas, children of academic parents achieve around 90 points more than students whose parents have no more than a compulsory school certificate. This corresponds to a performance difference of around two years of learning. Compared to the last study in 2015, this gap has narrowed – albeit not statistically significantly. This is due to the fact that the performance of the children of academics became weaker and that of the children of compulsory school graduates remained the same.

RISK STUDENTS: 24 percent of 15-year-olds in Austria are particularly weak in the main test area reading, which corresponds roughly to the OECD average (23 percent). For comparison: In Estonia (eleven percent), Ireland (twelve percent), Finland and Canada (both 14 percent) there are significantly fewer.

TOP STUDENTS: Seven percent of the test participants in the main test area reading are among the top students with particularly good results in Austria, which is slightly fewer than the OECD average (nine percent). The largest reading groups are in Canada (15 percent), Finland, Estonia and the United States (14 percent each).

MIGRANTS: Austria’s share of students with a migration background has doubled since the first PISA study in 2000 (eleven percent) to meanwhile 23 percent – this results in the seventh-highest share of the OECD countries after Luxembourg, Canada, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand and the USA . In the PISA study, migrants do significantly worse than students whose parents were born in Austria. In reading, the “” locals “” have an average of 500 points, migrants 437.

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