The year 2020 was different for VET competitions, as they had to be conducted online due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
On 30 November, the ‘Competition of young electronics’ was held on a communication platform with 43 participants from 23 VET schools from all regions of Slovakia. Participants competed from their school premises or their home, supervised online by judges. The professional guarantor of the competition was the Slovak Society of Electronics (SSE), which prepared the theoretical and practical components of the competition. The contestants completed a 30-item online test in 45 minutes, and then produced an audio spectrum analyser following the submitted scheme in two and a half hours. Students described their activities during the competition online and the evaluators interacted with them as needed. The communication between participants and evaluators was streamed live. The full version of the competition (almost five hours) is available on YouTube. Finally, the contestants submitted detailed images of the front and back of the board (to assess the quality of the printed circuit boards) and a video demonstrating the functionality of the product according to the instructional video. Detailed assignment, evaluation of results and a video from the competition are available on the website of the State Institute of Vocational Education, the organiser of the competition. Technical support during the competition was provided by the Slovak Centre of Scientific and Technical Information. If it was not for the Covid-19 pandemic, this competition would have taken place during the ‘Young creator’ exhibition, where secondary students from all over Slovakia meet and compete.
In 2019, the ‘Young creator’ exhibition included the International training firms fair. This activity also required a different approach in 2020. The results of competitions in eight categories (logo, slogan, catalogue, business card, e-presentation, website with e-shop, video advertising-shot and best business plan) were announced during an international online conference attended by experts from eight countries, in June 2020. In the category of e-presentation, the seven most successful out of 45 training firms from four countries competed in the online finals. The presentations of these training firms, followed by a juror assessment, are available on YouTube. In November 2020, 43 Slovak and 17 foreign training firms were trading online.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, VET learners’ competitions took place on a yearly basis in a variety of ways and activities. Many of them were organised during an annual exhibition popular with the public.