National vocational education and training (VET) policy is currently focusing on green challenges. The draft education strategy 2021-27 makes green thinking and digital competences a priority.
The former is considered a relevant component in an individual’s civil activity, and as a factor in restructuring the national economy to move from a labour-intensive and resource-intensive economy to a knowledge- and technology-intensive one. It is also closely linked to the quality of education, promoting learners’ potential throughout their life and developing their ability to adapt and manage responsibly the constant societal and economic changes.
Green developments in VET curricula started in 2012 with the introduction of the first ‘Green skills’ module, which also marked the beginning of the VET transition to a modular approach. Until that time, VET curricula had only occasionally taken green thinking and green economy into account, mainly at the initiative of VET providers. Over the past decade, green skills have gradually become a ‘must’ in VET curricula.
In light of the EU environmental priorities, the content of the ‘Green skills’ module was updated in 2020. Since 2021, VET curricula have included it as a separate module, under lifelong learning competences or integrated in professional competence modules. Green thinking has become a transversal skill required for every young specialist.
While the 2012 module placed emphasis on the idea of green thinking and on its substance, it has now shifted to sustainable development and a sustainable future. The content of the new module has a broader outlook on the theme of renewable natural resources, renewable energy sources and circular economy.
At institutional level, there are clear guidelines set by the Ministry of Education and Science regarding the green component in the development and investment strategies of VET institutions that help guide them on a day-to-day basis; the strategies include achievable and measurable indicators for every activity, turning them into functional action plans. The strategies also help schools carry out their self-assessment, monitor progress and ensure the quality of their work.
To ensure a uniform approach, a special interactive training course of three months was organised for the management teams of VET providers. This allowed for in-depth discussion on all development issues, including the green approach. It also broadened the understanding of green issues. VET institutions are encouraged to link sustainability and the green course. The planned activities should bear a clear message: act sustainably and secure the future; plan sustainably and teach sustainability.