WU4Juniors: Berndorf Private Foundation supports new economics and finance education programme for young people in Austria

The Berndorf Privatstiftung supports WU4Juniors. Free online education programmes give young people from low-income families access to economic know-how. Foto: © WU

Together with Edeltraud Hanappi-Egger, Rector of WU Vienna and a representative from the Federation of Austrian Industry (on the left), the chair of Berndorf Private Foundation, Sonja Zimmermann, introduced the new learning platform WU4Juiors. Foto: © WU

VIENNA/BERNDORF (1 Feb. 2019) – “What is economics?” A new economics and finance education programme for young people – the first of its kind in Austria – aims to explore the many possible answers to this question. The WU4Juniors programme was launched by Vienna University of Business and Economics (WU Vienna) in cooperation with the Berndorf Private Foundation and the Federation of Austrian Industries (IV). An advisory panel, including Berndorf AG Management Board Member Dietmar Müller, is providing input from industry. The initiative aims to help 16 to 19-year-olds gain an understanding of interrelated aspects of economics and finance.

On the programme’s interactive online modules, participants quickly learn how they play a role as economic actors every day. Students who successfully complete the modules from two subject areas can apply for a two-week summer school at WU Vienna. 30 places have currently been made available, and applications are open from 1 March until 31 May 2019. Alongside interactive courses, trips to companies, a business simulation and workshops are planned.

Reaching a wide cross-section of society
There is a considerable need for a programme like this, according to education experts such as the Rector of WU Vienna Edeltraud Hanappi-Egger: “Lots of countries are pressing ahead with activities to promote financial literacy at all levels of the education system. Austria has been lagging behind until now.” WU4Juniors will help to close this gap. Around the world there are many good examples of what can be achieved through online education, said the chair of Berndorf Private Foundation, Sonja Zimmermann: “The success of the edX education platform founded by Harvard and MIT has been astonishing.”

Just four years after its launch, edX ( had over 10 million users and was offering courses from more than 90 universities across the globe. Teenage course participants sometimes achieve better results than Harvard students. Sonja Zimmermann added: “Success like this is only possible if you address the needs of a wide cross-section of society. Through our support for WU4Juniors, we are helping to provide fair access to educational opportunities for children and young people, which is something I feel very strongly about.”

Free to all schools and pupils
WU4Juniors is aimed at pupils at all of Austria’s various school types. Providing the modules free of charge will give young people from low-income families access to financial know-how. The content of the topics and corresponding modules has been designed to supplement schools’ geography and economics, history and social studies, political education, and mathematics curriculums.

Hot topics: when is buying on credit and borrowing money dangerous?
The programme addresses a wide range of economics-related questions, which are continually being added to with the help of the participants’ feedback: Who actually “does” economics? What do we pay taxes for? Are the free phones from mobile providers really free? Where’s the line between manageable and dangerous levels of debt? The young people taking part in the programme have access to interactive, video-based modules on WU Vienna’s Learn Public platform, which are organised into different subject areas. When participants have completed all the modules in one of the subject areas, they can take the corresponding test. They get an ‘online badge’ for each test they pass, and are awarded the WU4Juniors Certificate if they collect two or more badges. The certificate is a prerequisite for applying for other elements of the programme.

For more information about WU4Juniors visit (German only)
For more information about WU Vienna’s open learning platform LearnPublic visit (German only)