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General themes

VET in Estonia comprises the following main features:

  • slightly decreasing participation in VET and merging providers due to demographic and migration challenges;
  • rapidly developing but still relatively small share of dual VET;
  • there are more females in post-secondary VET than males;
  • early leaving from education and training has increased and it is still high from VET; the risk is the highest in the first year of VET studies.

Distinctive features ([1]Cedefop (2017). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Estonia. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8114_en.pdf
):

VET programmes are offered not only in Estonian but also in other languages. In 2017/18, 78.5% of VET learners studied in Estonian, 21.5% in Russian and 0.02% in English. Estonian language classes are mandatory for foreign-language curricula to the extent provided for in the school curriculum, which ensures proficiency in Estonian at a level necessary for working in the acquired profession. To complete upper secondary vocational education (ISCED 354), foreign language learners must pass the State examination in Estonian as a second language or take a vocational or professional examination in Estonian. The aim is to equip graduates with language skills sufficient for professional activity in an Estonian-language working environment.

Although the number of VET learners has been decreasing, the share of adult learners (age 25 and over) in initial and continuing VET has more than doubled since 2010/11, reaching 35.3% of the total VET population in 2017/18. This reflects demographic trends but also changing labour market needs. Since 2010, the proportion of adult university degree holders entering VET has also been increasing.

The share of work-based learning in VET programmes varies between 35% and 70% depending on the type of training. It is usually divided equally between school workshops and workplace learning, featuring work and study assignments with specific objectives.

Most basic education graduates pursue general secondary education but the government’s goal is to increase the share of learners enrolling in VET by 2020. Preferences in education paths vary greatly by region and gender. Many basic and upper secondary education graduates make a choice in favour of VET within several years after graduation; within three years after completion of basic school, 38% of young people reach vocational training.

In 2018, 27% of adults aged 25 to 64 had no VET or higher education qualification; the objective is to reduce this share to less than 25% by 2020. Several measures have been launched to encourage adults without a prior professional or vocational qualification to return to formal education.

There is a high level of skills mismatch. A labour market needs monitoring and forecasting system (OSKA) was launched in 2015 to improve alignment between education and the labour market. Results are available online and are used in curriculum development, career counselling, and planning of State-funded education.

Early leaving from VET is a significant problem. Compared with 11.3% of early leavers from education and training, the rate in the first year of initial VET was 22.4% in 2017 and 23.4% in 2018 ([2]New methodology is used since 2018.); the goal is to reduce it to less than 20% by 2020. There are career counselling services and several other measures to prevent early leaving. Schools are also expected to take more responsibility in this area. Keeping the most vulnerable learners in VET programmes is a challenge.

Participation in lifelong learning increased from 6% in 2005 to 19.7% in 2018. The goal is to increase it to 20% by 2020 and VET has been playing a greater role in achieving this. Age appears to have a substantial impact. The share of people aged 55 to 64 who participated in lifelong learning in 2018 was 10.5%; this is low compared with 28.2% in the 25 to 34 age group. There is a focus on broadening access to non-formal education, training courses for developing key competences, career services, and on facilitating the participation of adults in formal education, aiming to increase participation rates.

Participation in apprenticeships has increased since 2016/17 and now accounts for 7% of VET learners. The number of participants started to increase gradually in 2015 following the education ministry´s efforts to develop a functioning and sustainable work-based learning system with stronger employer involvement, including more ESF investments.

Data from VET in Estonia Spotlight 2017 ([3]Cedefop (2017). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Estonia. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8114_en.pdf
), updated in May 2019.

 

 

Population in 2018: 1 319 133 ([4]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It decreased since 2013 by 0.08% due to negative natural growth and migration ([5]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

As in many other EU countries, the population is ageing.

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 29 in 2015 to 56 in 2060 ([6]Old-age-dependency ratio is defined as the ratio between the number of persons aged 65 and more over the number of working-age persons (15-64 years). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).).

 

Population forecast by age group and old-age-dependency ratio

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Demographic changes have an impact on vocational education and training (VET).

Participation has been decreasing since 2010/11 due to the low birth rate in the second half of the 1990s.

This has led to rearrangement of the VET institutions network: the number of State-owned VET providers has been reduced from 54 in 2002/03 to 26 in 2018/19.

To increase the quality and efficiency of VET, many small providers were merged into regional VET centres offering a wide range of qualifications. Adjustments will continue in line with demographic trends.

The country is multicultural and has a bilingual community. In April 2018, about 69% of the population was Estonian. Most VET institutions teach in Estonian, though there are schools where they use Russian or both Estonian and Russian.

Most companies are micro- and small-sized.

Main economic sectors:

  • information and communications;
  • electronics and components;
  • machinery and metalworking;
  • transport and logistics;
  • timber and furniture.

VET qualifications are required in these sectors.

Exports mainly comprise electronic equipment, machinery and equipment, mineral products, metals and metal products, timber and wood products, food and transport vehicles, agricultural products and food preparations.

A limited number of occupations/professions is regulated and the labour market is considered flexible.

Total unemployment ([7]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) in 2018: 4.8% (6.0% in EU-28); it increased by 0.2 percentage points since 2008 ([8]Eurostat table une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019].).

 

Unemployment rate (aged 15-24 and 25-64) by education attainment level in 2008-18

NB: data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series; low reliability for ISCED 0-2 and 5-8, age 15-24. ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education. ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education. ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_urgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Unemployment is distributed unevenly between those with low- and high-level qualifications. The gap has increased during the crisis as unskilled workers are more vulnerable to unemployment. In 2018, the unemployment rate of people with medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4) was higher than in the pre-crisis years. It is lower compared to the total unemployment rate ([9]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) in Estonia (4.8% in 2018).

Employment rate of 20 to 34 year-old VET graduates decreased from 79.4% in 2014 to 79.1% in 2018 ([10]Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

 

Employment rate of VET graduates (20 to 34 years old, ISCED levels 3 and 4)

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

The increase (-0.3pp) in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates at ISCED levels 3 and 4 in 2014-18 was negative compared to the increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates (+3.5pp) in the same period in Estonia ([11]NB: Break in time series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

The employment rate of 20-34 year-old VET graduates at ISCED levels 3 and 4 in 2018 in Estonia (79.1%) was lower compared to the employment rate of all 20-34 year-old graduates in the same year in Estonia (79.5%) ([12]NB: Break in time series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

For more information about the external drivers influencing VET developments in Estonia please see the case study from Cedefop's changing nature and role of VET in Europe project [12a]Cedefop (2018). The changing nature and role of vocational education and training in Europe. Volume 3: the responsiveness of European VET systems to external change (1995-2015). Case study focusing in Estonia. Cedefop research paper; No 67. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/estonia_cedefop_changing_nature_of_vet_-_case_study.pdf

 

Education traditionally has a high value in Estonia. For many years, the share of the population aged up to 64 with higher education has been greater in Estonia than in most EU Member States.

The share of those with a low qualification, or without a qualification, is the sixth lowest in the EU, behind Lithuania, Czechia, Poland, Slovakia, and Latvia.

 

Population (aged 25 to 64) by highest education level attained in 2018

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011. Low reliability for ‘No response’ in Czechia, Iceland, Latvia, and Poland.
ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_pgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

2.9%

40.7%

100%

Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs01, educ_uoe_enrs04 and educ_uoe_enrs07 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Share of initial VET learners from total learners at upper secondary level (ISCED level 3), 2017

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011.
Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs04 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Traditionally, there are more males in VET (53%), except at post-secondary level.

Males prefer engineering (the most popular option), manufacturing and construction, science, and services programmes, while females more often enrol in services (the most popular option), business and administration, production and processing, and arts.

The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased from 13.5% in 2009 to 11.3% in 2018. Despite high attainment rates, it is still not reaching the national target for 2020 of no more than 9.5%, and is slightly above the EU-28 average (10.6%).

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2008-18

NB: Share of the population aged 18 to 24 with at most lower secondary education and not in further education or training; break in series. Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_14 [extracted 16.5.2019] and European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/info/2018-european-semester-national-reform-programmes-and-stability-convergence-programmes_en [accessed 14.11.2018].

 

Despite recent positive developments, the dropout rate ([13]Measured on 10 November each year; excludes those who: attended classes less than 31 days, were readmitted within 31 days, applied but never attended or who changed programme in the same curriculum group and in the same institution.) from VET during a school year is high (23.4% in 2017/18). The risk of dropping out is at its highest in the first school year and the challenge for VET providers is to keep the most vulnerable learners in VET programmes. Typical examples of dropout are those who had low grades in basic education ([14]See Chapter 2 for the information on education levels.) and may not have had a positive learning experience or had not developed study habits. Dropout rates also vary by region, school and curriculum group.

Lifelong learning offers training opportunities for adults, including early leavers from education and training.

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

NB: Share of adult population aged 25 to 64 participating in education and training.
Source: Eurostat, trng_lfse_01 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Participation in lifelong learning in Estonia has been increasing in the past decade. In 2018, it reached 19.7%, more than eight percentage points above the EU-28 average. The government has set the 2020 goal of 20% and VET has been playing an increasing role in achieving this goal.

 

VET learners by age group

Source: National data

 

The share of adults (aged 25 and above) in initial and continuing VET has been increasing. It has more than doubled since 2010/11 and reached 39.6% of the total VET population in 2018/19. This reflects demographic trends and the changing needs of the labour market, but also the changing attitudes towards lifelong learning.

The education and training system comprises:

  • preschool education (ISCED level 0);
  • integrated primary and lower secondary education (ISCED levels 1 and 2) (hereafter basic education);
  • upper secondary education (ISCED level 3);
  • post-secondary non-tertiary education (ISCED level 4);
  • higher education (ISCED levels 6, 7 and 8).

Preschool education is not compulsory and is generally provided at childcare institutions (koolieelne lasteasutus) for one-and-a-half to seven year-old learners.

Compulsory education starts at age seven and includes nine years of basic education or until a learner reaches age 17. Primary and lower secondary education are usually offered together in basic schools. However, primary education (grades 1 to 6) can also be offered in separate schools, usually in rural areas to ensure better accessibility for learners.

General upper secondary education is provided by so-called gümnaasium. This three-year programme gives graduates access to higher education, provided through academic and professional programmes. Professional higher education programmes are not formally considered VET. Professional higher education institutions may also provide post-secondary VET programmes along with higher education.

The Vocational Educational Institutions Act ([15]Parliament (2013). Vocational Educational Institutions Act (Kutseõppeasutuse seadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I, 30.12.2015, 25. https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/514012019002/consolide/current) distinguishes between initial and continuing VET.

 

Formal, non-formal, initial and continuing VET

Source: Cedefop and ReferNet Estonia.

 

While both types provide the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to enter the labour market, initial VET also gives learners access to the next qualification level. Non-formal continuing VET is part of adult learning regulated by the Adult Education Act ([16]Parliament (2015). Adult Education Act (Täiskasvanute koolituse seadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I, 23.3.2015, 5.
https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/529062015007/consolide
).

Formal VET leads to four qualification levels (2 to 5) that are the same as in the European qualifications framework (EQF). The VET standard specifies the volume (number of credits), learning outcomes, conditions for termination and continuation of studies for each VET type ([17]Government (2013). Kutseharidusstandard. [vocational education standard]. Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I 2013, 13, 130. https://www.riigiteataja.ee/akt/116072016008?leiaKehtiv).

There are several VET learning options:

  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • self-learning (excludes work practice; at least 15% of a programme should be acquired through autonomous learning; if it exceeds 50%, the programme is considered to be ‘non-stationary’; 17.2% of VET learners were in ‘non-stationary’ programmes in 2017/18, mostly at EQF levels 4 and 5).

Apprenticeships were introduced to VET as a stand-alone study form in 2006.

 

VET learning options

Source: Cedefop and ReferNet Estonia.

 

Upper secondary VET learners receive two qualifications simultaneously: a formal education qualification awarded after completion of a programme; and a professional qualification that is a professional certificate verifying learning outcomes for a specific occupation or profession ([18]Cedefop (2017). Estonia: European inventory on NQF 2016.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/estonia-european-inventory-nqf-2016
). We will refer to them as VET qualifications and professional qualifications.

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a professional qualification examination, if available. That can be replaced by a final examination if unsuccessful in the professional qualification examination. Both examinations are learning outcomes based and usually include a practical part.

In addition to VET examinations, State examinations (mother tongue, mathematics and foreign language) are available for upper secondary VET graduates as an option. They are organised centrally by the Foundation Innove ([19]Innove - Basic school final examinations:
https://www.innove.ee/en/examinations-and-tests/basic-school-final-examinations/
).

Apprenticeships (töökohapõhine õpe) were introduced in 2006 (Parliament, 2013, Article 28). They can be offered at all VET levels and in all its forms (initial and continuing), and lead to qualifications at EQF levels 2 to 5. Apprenticeships follow the same curricula as school-based programmes. VET institutions cooperate with employers to design implementation plans for apprentices based on the existing curricula.

General characteristics of apprenticeship programmes are:

  • training in the enterprise comprises at least two-thirds of the curriculum;
  • the remaining one-third of the programme (school part) may also comprise of training at school; in some cases, schools have better equipment than companies;
  • the apprenticeship contract between the school, learner and employee stipulates the rights and obligations of the parties as well as the details of the learning process; the contract is usually initiated by schools, but can also be proposed by companies and learners; it should be in accordance with the labour code but learners retain student status even if an employment contract is signed in addition to the apprenticeship contract; apprentices have the same social guarantees as learners in school-based VET;
  • the total study duration is from three months to three and half years ([20]Currently, apprenticeships are not provided in upper secondary VET (ISCED 354).), equal to school-based VET programmes;
  • employers recompense students for tasks performed to the amount agreed in the contract; it cannot be less than the national minimum wage of EUR 500 per month or EUR 2.97 per hour (2018);
  • apprentices have to pass the same final examinations as in school-based VET;
  • each apprentice is supported by two supervisors: one at school and one at the workplace.

The apprenticeship grant covers the training of supervisors and other costs ([21]Salaries, training materials and maintenance (such as heating and electricity).). Within an apprentice contract, schools may transfer up to 50% of the grant to the training company to pay a salary to supervisors at the workplace.

In 2015/16, there were 678 apprentices, including 30 whose studies were partly financed by the European Social Fund (ESF). In 2016/17, further ESF investment has allowed an increase in the number to 1 381 (5% of VET learners), including 996 of the partly ESF-financed apprentices ([22]More partly EU-financed apprentices started training in January 2017 but they are not included in this figure.). In 2017/18, there were 1 718 apprentices. A total of 78% of vocational education institutions and around 400 companies offered apprenticeship training. During 2015-23, the government’s intention is to attract a total of 7 200 apprentices.

The most popular apprenticeship study fields (curriculum groups) are wholesale and retail sales, social work and counselling, hairdressing and beauty services, motor vehicles, home services, and electricity and energy. Approximately 70% of apprentices are studying in initial and continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 4.

Learn more about apprenticeships in the national context from the European database on apprenticeship schemes by Cedefop: http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/apprenticeship-schemes/scheme-fiches

According to legislation ([23]Vocational Educational Institutions Act (Parliament, 2013); Vocational education standard (Government, 2013), work-based learning regulation (MoER, 2007); Private Schools Act (Parliament, 1998b); Professional Higher Education Institutions Act (Parliament, 1998a); Adult Education Act (Parliament, 2015); Professions Act (Parliament, 2008a); Recognition of Foreign Professional Qualifications Act (Parliament, 2008b); Study Allowances and Study Loans Act (Parliament, 2003a); Youth Work Act (Parliament, 2010b).), the parliament (Riigikogu), the government (Eesti Vabariigi Valitsus) and the education ministry jointly oversee the VET system at national level. The VET legislation was substantially renewed in the late 1990s and in 2013. Social partners, including trade unions and employer organisations participated in the working group on developing legislation.

The parliament adopts legal acts. The government approves national education policy, with the Estonian lifelong learning strategy 2020 ([24]MoER et al. (2014). The Estonian lifelong learning strategy 2020. Tallinn: Ministry of Education and Research.
https://vplive.hm.ee/sites/default/files/estonian_lifelong_strategy.pdf
) guiding the most important developments in education. It also approves higher education and VET standards and framework requirements for teacher training.

The VET standard ([25]Government (2013). Kutseharidusstandard [vocational education standard]. Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I 2013, 13, 130. https://www.riigiteataja.ee/akt/116072016008?leiaKehtiv) defines:

  • a learning outcomes approach;
  • requirements for VET curricula:
  • the volume and structure of programmes, including joint programmes, for example between VET and professional higher education;
  • entry and completion requirements;
  • key competences;
  • principles for curriculum updates;
  • principles for recognition of prior learning and work experience;
  • the list of programme groups, study fields and curriculum groups combining several programmes. Examples of the curriculum groups are ‘travel and tourism’, ‘social work’ and ‘banking, finance and insurance’.

The education ministry is responsible for delivering the strategy and its eight programmes ([26](1) Competent and motivated teachers and school leadership programme; (2) digital focus programme; (3) labour market and education cooperation programme; (4) school network programme; (5) general education programme; (6) vocational education programme; (7) higher education programme; (8) adult education programme.), including the vocational education programme ([27]Elukestva oppe strateegia kutseharidusprogramm 2019-22 [Lifelong learning strategy vocational education programme 2019-22].
https://www.hm.ee/et/tegevused/arengukavad
). The education minister also approves national VET curricula.

Since 2012, Foundation Innove ([28]Until the end of 2011 this function was performed by the National Examinations and Qualifications Centre (NEQC) (Riiklik Eksami- ja Kvalifikatsioonikeskus). In 2012, NEQC joined Foundation Innove.) has been implementing the national education policy, as designated by the education ministry. In VET, the foundation organises the development of national curricula, supports implementation and organises VET teacher training.

Several advisory bodies and social partner organisations participate in policy implementation. Local government prepares and implements local education development plans, and coordinates activities of municipal education institutions. Social partner participation in VET is regulated by national legislation and partnership agreements.

At national level, the Chamber of Commerce (Eesti Kaubandus-Tööstuskoda), the Employers´ Confederation (Eesti Tööandjate Keskliit) and the Confederation of Trade Unions (Eesti Ametiühingute Keskliit) represent social partners. Employers play an active and influential role in the professional councils (kutsenõukogud) and in drawing up standards for each occupation.

At local level, social partners participate in VET school counsellor boards (kutseõppeasutuse nõunike kogu), established under the Vocational Educational Institutions Act ([29]Parliament (2013). Vocational Educational Institutions Act (Kutseõppeasutuse seadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I, 30.12.2015, 25.
https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/514012019002/consolide/current
). The boards comprise at least seven members in total. Advisory bodies link VET schools and society, advising the school and its management on planning and organising education and economic activities.

VET schools can be owned by central or local government, or can be privately owned. They all have a similar management structure in line with the Vocational Educational Institutions Act ([30]Parliament (2013). Vocational Educational Institutions Act (Kutseõppeasutuse seadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I, 30.12.2015, 25.
https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/514012019002/consolide/current
). The highest collegial decision-making body of the school is the council (nõukogu), which organises the activities and plans school development. The head of a school (direktor) is also the head of the council, managing the school according to the development plan of the school, including financial resources ([31]Cedefop ReferNet Estonia (2014).).

In 2018/19, 26 of 32 VET institutions were State-owned and run by the Ministry of Education and Research. Municipalities ran two VET schools and four were private. In addition, five professional higher education institutions provided VET programmes at the post-secondary level (ISCED 4) along with higher education (ISCED 6).

Total expenditure on VET has decreased from EUR 129 million in 2010 to EUR 108.6 million in 2015 due to reduced investment in infrastructure and equipment as several big VET investment projects have been completed.

 

VET total expenditure and investments in 2008-15

NB: Most recent data.
Source: State Accounting Balances System (UOE methodology) [extracted 18.5.18].

 

Public VET expenditure as a share of total government expenditure has also decreased, from 1.6% in 2012 to 1.3% in 2015, because total government expenditure has increased nominally more than the expenditure on VET. Approximately 49% of total expenditure is expenditure on staff compensation.

Formal VET is mostly State-financed. In 2018/19, 99% of the 23 387 initial and continuing VET learners were in State-financed programmes.

 

Expenditure per student in 2008-15 (EUR)

NB: Most recent data. Investments in infrastructure and equipment are excluded.
Source: State Accounting Balances System (UOE methodology) [extracted 18.5.18].

 

Until 2018, the education minister defined the number of learners to be financed from the State budget for the following three years according to curriculum group and VET provider (for example ‘media technologies’ that comprises curricula from related fields such as ‘multimedia’, ‘printing technology’ and ‘photography’). The figures were updated annually for the next two years.

Since 2018, a new model for financing vocational education was introduced, which no longer proceeds solely from the number of State-commissioned student places. Instead, the school, its activities and performance will be financed as a whole.

The new financing model consists of basic financing and performance-based financing. This secures the budgetary stability of the management and HR expenses of schools.

Basic financing considers the number of learners, the areas taught, the salary rates of teachers, the specific features of specialties, students with special needs, the need for support specialists, and the buildings used by the school. Basic financing is fixed for three years and guarantees the funds required for the main activities of the schools.

Performance-based financing, which values the outstanding achievements of schools, is based on performance indicators, which comply with the strategic goals important to the State. These include the share of students who graduate after the nominal period of study, the share of graduates who go further in their learning or participate in employment, the share of students who graduate by taking a professional examination, and the share of students participating in apprenticeship training. One of the ideas behind performance financing is to guarantee that vocational schools have the funds they need for cooperating with companies and general education schools. Performance financing will comprise up to approximately 20% of the money the school receives from the State budget.

A few privately financed VET programmes are available in State and municipal VET schools. Such programmes are usually in high demand (as with cosmetician programmes) but are not part of the State-financed programmes.

Apprenticeships are also co-financed by ESF.

State and municipal vocational schools may provide continuing training for adults for a fee without age restrictions. They can also attract additional financing from other sources, such as international projects.

In VET, there are:

  • general subject teachers;
  • vocational teachers.

The Vocational Educational Institutions Act ([32]Parliament (2013). Vocational Educational Institutions Act (Kutseõppeasutuse seadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I, 30.12.2015, 25.
https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/514012019002/consolide/current
) uses the term ‘teacher’ for both teachers and trainers. The Act specifies that qualification requirements of VET teachers are determined by the professional standards of a teacher or a vocational education teacher. There are different standards at different EQF levels for general education subject teachers and vocational teachers in VET.

General education subject teachers can work in VET but also in general education schools. They require a master’s degree (also called ‘second cycle higher education diploma’) equal to 300 ECTS ([33]European credit transfer and accumulation system.) credits and teach, for instance, mathematics, physics and languages.

Vocational teachers offer knowledge and skills in the field of their professional expertise (the so-called ‘speciality subjects’). Qualification requirements are more varied and at different EQF levels compared to teachers of general education subjects, allowing more flexibility for professionals who want to teach. This also improves the link to the labour market. The professional standard of vocational education teacher ([34]Kutsekoda:
http://www.kutsekoda.ee/en/kutsesysteem/tutvustus/kutsestandardid_eng
) (kutseõpetaja) defines three qualification levels (EQF levels 5, 6 and 7). According to the professional standards, a VET provider cannot employ more than 20% of staff with the lowest level qualification (at EQF level 5).

Teachers are employed through contracts. The head of a school concludes, amends and terminates employment contracts with teachers in accordance with the labour code. Employment contracts are of indefinite duration; reduced working time (35 hours per week) applies.

The lifelong learning strategy up to 2020 supports creating conditions for competent and motivated teachers as one of its five strategic goals. It aims at offering competitive wages and working conditions, leading to a positive image of a teacher in society. Since 2014, the basic salary of teachers has been constantly raised and has passed the average salary in Estonia. This is a strategic decision and political priority ([35]https://www.haridussilm.ee/ Õpetajate keskmine brutokuupalk 2007-17).

Currently, the teaching profession is not an attractive option for young people. The highest share of VET teachers (51.7%) are aged 50 and above ([36]Source: Estonian education information system (Eesti Hariduse Infosüsteem).) and their share has been increasing in the past decade. Most VET teachers are female; however, the share of males in VET (39%) is more than double the share in general education.

The Vocational Educational Institutions Act ([37]Parliament (2013). Vocational Educational Institutions Act (Kutseõppeasutuse seadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I, 30.12.2015, 25.
https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/514012019002/consolide/current
) stipulates that each teacher is obliged to self-monitor their professional competences and upskill their personal needs. Self-evaluation is done annually and discussed with their immediate head. This approach takes account of teachers’ individual needs depending on their current competences and tasks and the needs of VET providers. This approach applies to all VET teachers.

Teacher practice at an enterprise or institution ([38]E.g. healthcare or social services.) may also be counted towards continuing professional development. It is professional work performed in a work environment with a specific purpose and has a direct link with the teachers’ area of expertise. Teachers are excused from teaching during practice.

The leading continuing professional development providers are universities, followed by VET providers, private companies and foundation courses.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers ([39]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers).

Anticipation of skill needs in the Estonian labour market is based on labour market forecasts by the economics ministry ([40]Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.), updated annually since 2003. They show demand in the national economy for employees by sector and qualification level. Forecasts are based on the data of the 2011 population census and labour force surveys conducted by Statistics Estonia. They cover 39 economic (sub)sectors and five major professional groups:

  • managers;
  • specialists;
  • service staff;
  • skilled workers;
  • unskilled workers.

The forecasts reflect changes in employment and the need to replace employees leaving the labour market. The latest forecast considers the period 2017-26 ([41]MoEC (2016). Tööjõuvajaduse ja -pakkumise prognoos aastani 2024 [Forecast of labour force until 2024].
https://mkm.ee/sites/default/files/toojouprognoos_2024_lyhikirjeldus.pdf
).

In 2015, the education ministry launched a new labour market needs monitoring and forecasting system, known by its Estonian acronym OSKA. Managed by the qualifications authority (Kutsekoda), it assesses skill needs by economic sector (such as information and communications technology, accounting) and develops new evidence and intelligence for stakeholders in education and the business world. The system comprises 23 expert panels of employer representatives, education professionals, researchers, public opinion leaders, trade unions and policy-makers. By 2020, each panel representing one sector will publish a report with practical recommendations for decision-makers and stakeholders.

The first five OSKA reports on accounting, forestry and timber industry, information and communications technologies (ICT), manufacturing of metal products, machinery and equipment, and social work were published in 2016. Another six sectors were covered in 2017: construction; energy and mining; healthcare; production of chemicals, rubber, plastic and construction materials; the agriculture and food industry; and transportation, logistics and repair of motor vehicles. An additional five sectors were covered in 2018 ([42]Apparel, textile and the leather industry; human resources, administrative work and business consultation; education and research; trade, rental and repairs; accommodation, catering and tourism.). Based on the sectoral reports, a 10-year forecasting report on changes in labour market demand, developments and trends is updated and presented to the government annually. The forecasting results are used for career counselling, curriculum development and strategic planning at all education levels, including vocational education and training (VET).

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([43]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European Skills Index ([44]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index)

Initial and continuing VET qualifications are based on professional (occupational) standards that are part of the professional qualifications system.

 

VET qualifications and professional standards

Source: Cedefop based on ReferNet Estonia.

 

Professional standards

Professional standards are used for designing VET curricula, curricula for higher education and other training programmes, for assessing learner competences, and awarding a professional qualification. They:

  • are based on a job analysis and describe the nature of work; analyses are carried out by working groups designing professional standards;
  • describe expected competences as observable and assessable;
  • define the method(s) for assessing learner competences and a ‘satisfactory’ threshold;
  • define qualifications (EQF) levels.

All professional standards are available in the State register ([45]Kutsedoda: State register of occupational qualifications:
http://www.kutsekoda.ee/kutseregister
). In May 2019, the State register of professional qualifications included 555 professional standards in 93 professional areas.

VET qualifications

Uniform requirements for VET curricula and qualifications are stipulated by the VET standard ([46]Government (2013). Kutseharidusstandard. [vocational education standard]. Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I 2013, 13, 130.
https://www.riigiteataja.ee/akt/117042019006?leiaKehtiv
). The standard:

  • describes the requirements for national and school curricula and the curriculum groups in line with ISCED levels, their objectives and expected learning outcomes;
  • determines the terms and conditions for recognising prior learning, volume of study and graduation requirements by initial and continuing VET curricula;
  • defines requirements for teachers and trainers;
  • assigns the national qualifications framework levels to VET qualification types.

VET schools design curricula for every qualification offered.

Upper secondary VET programme curricula that give access to higher education are based on the national curricula. National curricula are based on professional standards, the VET standard and the national (general education) curriculum for upper secondary schools. Foundation Innove coordinates the process of curriculum design, including cooperation with social partners.

Other VET curricula are based on the VET standard and the respective professional standard(s). Where such standards do not exist, the school must apply for the curriculum to be recognised by social partners.

The vocational orientation curriculum (legal framework introduced in 2018) is not required to correspond to a certain professional standard. This facilitates transitions from compulsory education to VET and/or the labour market, especially for vulnerable groups.

National upper secondary VET curricula that give access to higher education are approved by the education minister.

The VET standard determines how learning outcomes of modules are described:

  • profession-specific knowledge are facts and theories acquired through the learning process;
  • profession-specific skills are the ability to apply knowledge for performing tasks and solving problems; skills are described in terms of their complexity and diversity;
  • autonomy and responsibility describe to what extent the graduate is able to work independently and take responsibility for the results of work;
  • learning skills are the ability to manage the learning process using efficient strategies and appropriate learning styles;
  • communication skills are the ability to communicate in different situations and on different topics orally and in writing;
  • self-management competence is the ability to understand and evaluate oneself, give sense to one’s own activities and behaviour in society, develop oneself as a person;
  • operational competence is the ability to identify problems and solve them, plan one’s own activities, set goals and expected results, select adequate tools, act, evaluate the results of one’s own actions, cooperate with others;
  • ICT competence is the ability to use ICT tools and digital media skilfully and critically;
  • entrepreneurship competence is the ability to take initiative, act creatively, plan one’s own career in the modern economic, business and work environment, apply knowledge and skills in different spheres of life ([47]Cedefop ReferNet Estonia (2014). Estonia: VET in Europe: country report. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports.
    http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2014/2014_CR_EE.pdf
    ).

Managing qualifications

Several bodies are involved in designing, updating and awarding qualifications:

  • the education ministry;
  • professional councils;
  • awarding bodies;
  • qualifications committees;
  • assessment committees.

 

Stakeholders participating in the design and award of qualifications

Source: Cedefop based on ReferNet Estonia.

 

The education ministry is responsible for developing a professional qualifications system. This task is delegated to the qualifications authority (Kutsekoda), a private foundation led by a council comprising representatives of the: Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Employers' Confederation; Employees' Unions Confederation; Confederation of Trade Unions; and the education, finance, economic and social affairs ministries. The qualifications authority organises and coordinates the activities of professional councils and keeps the register of professional qualifications.

Professional councils represent 14 job sectors. The councils approve and update professional standards and are represented equally by trade unions, employer organisations, professional associations and public authorities. Chairs of professional councils form a board of chairmen for these councils to coordinate cooperation between them.

Professional councils select awarding bodies (public and private) to organise the assessment of competences and issue qualifications. The awarding bodies are selected for five years through a public competition organised by the qualifications authority. VET providers may also be given the right to award qualifications, if the curriculum of the institution complies with the professional standard and is nationally recognised. Qualifications are entered into the register of professional qualifications. As of 2019, there were a relatively large number of institutions (108) awarding professional qualifications.

The awarding body sets up a committee involving sectoral stakeholders: employers, employees, training providers, and representatives of professional associations. It often also includes customer representatives and other interested parties. This ensures impartiality in awarding qualifications. The committee approves assessment procedures, including examination materials, decides on awarding qualifications, and resolves complaints.

It may set up an assessment committee that evaluates organisation and the results of the assessment and reports to the qualifications committee.

The assessment committee verifies to what extent the applicant’s competences meet the requirements of the professional qualification standards. The assessment criteria are described in the rules and procedures for awarding the qualification or in the respective assessment standard ([48]Cedefop ReferNet Estonia (2014). Estonia: VET in Europe: country report. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2014/2014_CR_EE.pdf
).

A person’s competences can be assessed and recognised regardless of whether they have been acquired through formal, non-formal or informal learning.

VET quality is assured through external and internal processes that do not differentiate in their approach between school-based learning, work-based learning, self-learning (including ‘non-stationary’) ([49]Comprising more than 50% self-learning.) and apprenticeships.

External quality assurance

External quality assurance of schools’ curriculum groups ([50]A curriculum group (e.g. media technologies) comprises curricula from related fields (e.g. multimedia; printing technology; and photography).) is confirmed by awarding the ‘right to offer VET programmes’.

Following changes in the approach to learning and teaching, the approach to quality assurance (i.e. external assessment process) was changed in 2019. The former extension of the right to provide instruction based on the accreditation results in the curriculum group was replaced with a permanent right to provide instruction in curriculum groups, where schools have accreditation for the full period (six years).

The external assessment is organised by the Quality Agency for Higher and Vocational Education (EKKA). A quality assessment in curriculum groups will take place once in six years and the result of the assessment is not directly connected with the right to provide studies. The process is more focused on achieving constant improvements in the teaching and learning process and the development of quality culture at school.

An assessment of the right to provide instruction, giving a school this right for a term of three years, shall be conducted in curricula groups, and repeated if necessary, by 31 August 2019. The minister responsible for the area shall make one of the following decisions:

  • to grant the right to provide instruction without a term;
  • to grant the right to provide instruction for three years;
  • not to grant the right to provide instruction.

A school that has received the right to provide instruction in a curriculum group for a specified term, in order to obtain the right to provide instruction without a term, should submit an application for a repeat assessment, together with the internal assessment report, at least six months before the expiry of the right to provide instruction. Schools that have received the right to provide instruction in a curriculum group for a specified term, but have not submitted an application to the Ministry of Education and Research, or if the minister responsible for the area makes a decision not to grant the right to provide instruction as a result of the repeat assessment, shall have its right to provide instruction terminated upon the expiry of the term.

Internal evaluation

In 2006, internal evaluation of education institutions became mandatory, the objective being to support the development of VET providers. VET providers regularly (formally at least every three years) conduct an internal evaluation of each curriculum group and draft a report. Since 2013, EKKA has consulted them on this process.

The internal assessment shall form the basis for preparing the development plan of a school and the assessment of quality. The internal evaluation criteria are similar to those for external evaluation: leadership and administration; resource management (including human resources); cooperation with interest groups; and education process. Methods of internal evaluation are chosen by VET providers ([51]MoER; SICI (2016). The inspectorate of education of Estonia. Tartu: SICI, Standing International Conference of Inspectorates.
http://www.siciinspectorates.eu/getattachment/21147d5b-bc8d-49c8-8fc0-864d2d31cc01
). They often use activity and performance indicators provided in the education statistics database HaridusSilm.

The education information system collects data about the internal evaluation and feedback reports, so the ministry is able to check whether internal evaluations have been conducted and supported by advisory services. The results of internal evaluations are public but education institutions are not obliged to make them available on their websites.

EKKA provides free counselling to VET schools that support self-assessment and internal evaluation reporting. The competent and motivated teachers and school leadership programme, one of the nine programmes of the Lifelong Learning Strategy 2020 ([52]MoER (2015b). Pädevad ja motiveeritud õpetajad ning haridusasutuste juhid [Lifelong learning strategy competent and motivated teachers and school leadership programme].
https://www.hm.ee/et/tegevused/arengukavad
), enables training for school leaders and teachers.

Recognition of prior learning helps assess applicant competences against stated criteria, indicating whether these competences match education programme enrolment requirements and learning outcomes or those in occupational standards. The process helps value competences regardless of the time, place and the way they have been acquired, supporting lifelong learning and mobility, improving access to education for at-risk groups, and supporting more efficient use of resources ([53]Cedefop (2016). 2016 update to the European inventory on validation of non-formal and informal learning: country report Estonia.
https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/2016_validate_EE.pdf
).

The VET sector in Estonia has introduced recognition of prior learning following developments in the higher education sector. The recognition process is legally established by the Vocational Educational Institutions Act ([54]Parliament (2013). Vocational Educational Institutions Act (Kutseõppeasutuse seadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I, 30.12.2015, 25.https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/514012019002/consolide/current). General principles for all VET providers are set in the VET standard ([55]Government (2013). Kutseharidusstandard. [vocational education standard]. Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I 2013, 13, 130.https://www.riigiteataja.ee/akt/117042019006?leiaKehtiv).

Awarding bodies, including VET providers, are responsible for developing detailed recognition procedures. Education institutions may consider prior learning when admitting learners to their programmes. Learners may also be exempt from a part of a curriculum, if they have achieved and demonstrated relevant learning outcomes. In such a case, the level of learning outcomes demonstrated can be considered as the final grade for the subject or module.

VET providers offering recognition of prior learning make public the terms, conditions and procedures that apply, including deadlines and fees. They must also provide counselling to candidates.

Successful recognition results in a certificate or diploma. Experiential learning, hobby activities or any other everyday activity are certified by reference to the work accomplished upon presentation of a qualification certificate, contract of employment, copy of assignment to the post or any other documentary proof. A description of vocational experience and self-analysis is added to the application. If necessary, VET providers may give applicants practical tasks, conduct interviews or use other assessment methods ([56]Cedefop (2016). 2016 update to the European inventory on validation of non-formal and informal learning: country report Estonia.https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/2016_validate_EE.pdf).

The lifelong learning strategy up to 2020 and its adult education programme ([57]Elukestva oppe strateegia täiskasvanuharidusprogramm 2019-22 [Lifelong learning strategy adult education programme 2019-22].
https://www.hm.ee/et/tegevused/arengukavad
) support the development and broader use of quality validation practices.

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database ([58]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/european-database-on-validation-of-non-formal-and-informal-learning)

Allowances, meals and travel subsidy

VET learners can apply for basic and special study allowances:

  • the monthly basic allowance is EUR 60 and is available from semester two in formal full-time programmes. Around 40% of VET learners receive the allowance based on performance merit;
  • a special allowance can be granted to learners in a difficult economic situation; the board of the education institution approves the procedure to use the provider’s special allowance fund.

VET providers create allowance funds (basic and special) which are financed from the State budget. The special allowance fund can be up to 50% of the resources of the basic allowance fund.

Lunchtime meals are also paid for by the State. This applies to VET learners up to age 20 who have not completed secondary education ([59]Excluding ‘non-stationary’ programmes, i.e. comprising more than 50% self-learning.) according to the initial training curricula ([60]Parliament (2013). Vocational Educational Institutions Act (Kutseõppeasutuse seadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I, 30.12.2015, 25.https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/515012016003/consolide).

VET learners ([61]Excluding ‘non-stationary’ programmes, i.e. comprising more than 50% self-learning.) are reimbursed public transport tickets for travel between the learning venue and home. Dormitory residents and those who rent apartments close to the learning venue are reimbursed one return ticket to their hometown per week and an additional ticket during national and school holidays.

Study loans

In 2003, study loans were introduced to improve access to full-time post-secondary VET and on-time graduation. Secondary education graduates who wish to enrol in at least six-month formal VET programmes, can apply. Since 2015/16, part-time students have also been able to apply. In 2016/17, 1.6% of VET learners benefited from the loan ([62]). Since 2018/19 it can be up to EUR 2 000 per year.

Tax exemption on training costs

Estonian residents can be exempt from income tax on training costs for programmes and courses at a State or local government education institution, or licensed private/foreign provider ([63]Parliament (1999). Income Tax Act (Tulumaksuseadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I 1999, 101, 903. https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/505042019004/consolide/current).

Study leave for employees

The Adult Education Act ([64]Parliament (2015). Adult Education Act (Täiskasvanute koolituse seadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I, 23.3.2015, 5.
https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/529062015007/consolide
) provides the right for employees to take leave of up to 30 calendar days per year while in formal education or professional training. On application, the employee must present written proof of studies from the provider. During leave, employers pay the average study leave for 20 calendar days. Additional study leave (15 days) is granted for preparing for final exams; study leave pay is calculated on the basis of the national minimum wage (EUR 500 per month or EUR 2.97 per hour in 2018). An employee also has the right to leave without pay to sit entry examinations. These rights and benefits are applied in the public and private sector, in small, medium-sized and large companies

Incentives for the unemployed

The social affairs ministry (Sotsiaalministeerium) is responsible for training the unemployed. Vocational training for the unemployed is funded by the public employment service ([65]Unemployment Insurance Fund.
https://www.tootukassa.ee/
). This allocates resources to employment services to purchase and organise labour market training. It commissions training from education institutions from State and private VET providers.

The public employment service also supports work practice placement for the unemployed through agreements. The participant continues to receive unemployment benefit and is granted a scholarship and travel compensation, paid by the employment service.

Since 2009, labour market training for the unemployed is also offered on the basis of a voucher system. Vouchers offer a quick and flexible way for the unemployed to use the resources for further training or to retrain to find a new job. The service covers up to EUR 2 500 per training for two years.

In May 2017, the public employment service launched a new package of services for unemployment prevention through continuing training and retraining. Individuals are encouraged to move to jobs that create higher added value. Typical examples are: workers who are likely to lose their jobs but could retain their employment; those without a qualification or whose skills are outdated and do not correspond to the needs of the labour market; workers with poor knowledge of Estonia; and those aged over 50. The package also supports employees who cannot continue their present employment due to health issues.

This service package also offers a study allowance scheme that supports participation in VET and in higher education. People at risk of unemployment now have access to labour market training through vouchers. In addition to direct support to employees, skills development is supported by compensating 50% to 100% of the training costs to employers. Employers can apply for a training grant to support their workers in adapting to the changes in business processes, in technology or changes in formal qualification requirements. Employers can also use the grant to fill vacancies in high demand roles by equipping potential employees with the necessary skills.

More than 3 700 people are estimated to have received this support in 2017, and around 15 000 to 19 000 annually in 2018-20.

Wage subsidy and training remuneration

Employers are reimbursed by the State for supervising work practice for the unemployed ([66]Parliament (2005). Labour Market Services and Benefits Act (Tööturuteenuste ja - toetuste seadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I 2005, 54, 430. https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/511012017005/consolide/current), with a daily supervision rate of EUR 22.24 – eight times the minimum hourly wage (EUR 2.97 in 2018) ([67]Parliament (2009). Employment Contracts Act (Töölepingu seadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I 2009, 5, 35. https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/520032019008/consolide/current) – for each day attended of the first month of training. Reimbursement decreases to 75% of the daily rate during the second month, and to 50% during the third and fourth month.

Tax exemptions

There is no value added tax for formal training; this includes learning materials, private tuition relating to general education, and other training services unless provided for business purposes ([68]Parliament (2003b). Value Added Tax Act (Käibemaksuseadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I 2003, 82, 554. https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/504012017001/consolide/current).

Since 2012, enterprises have been exempt from income tax if they finance the formal education of their employees ([69]Parliament (1999). Income Tax Act (Tulumaksuseadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I 1999, 101, 903. https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/516012017002/consolide/current).

Strategy and provision

The lifelong learning strategy up to 2020 promotes diverse learning opportunities and career services that are of good quality, flexible, and take account of the needs of the labour market. This will also help increase the number of people with VET qualifications in different age groups and regions.

Since January 2019, the Unemployment Insurance Fund has been providing career advice and career information services for everyone, including schoolchildren. The Unemployment Insurance Fund has restructured its system of career services and integrated the services of Foundation Innove Rajaleidja offered to young people into the existing career services. Counselling includes topics related to learning, workplaces and choice of specialisation. Since 2019, in addition to career counselling and the mediation of career information, the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund is responsible for the development of the methodology of career services, quality management, and monitoring and analytical activities. Career counsellors offer their services in all the offices of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund. Career counselling is offered to everyone and the service is free of charge.

The Ministry of Education and Research is still responsible for providing high-quality career lessons in basic schools and upper secondary schools, ensuring curricula development in the field, quality learning materials, and enhancing career teachers’ skills and knowledge with in-service training. Development activities and monitoring activities are planned jointly in order to enhance the capacity of education institutions and further develop the integrity of the field of career services.

Career studies focus on the implementation of the topic ‘Lifelong learning and career planning’ in a school environment. It is important to support the implementation of cross-curricular topics in order to develop the key competences across all subjects, as a result of which students will have the necessary career skills by the end of basic school.

Career education focuses on the optional subjects offered in basic school and upper secondary school. Career education relies on the developed career competence model, the main competences of which are self-determination, acknowledgment of opportunities, planning and acting. In 2018/19 the optional career education subjects are being taught in 538 schools.

The modernisation of the national VET curricula has been in process during recent years. New curricula include the learning outcome: ‘the student understands his/her responsibility to make informed decisions in lifelong career planning processes’. This means that career management has become an integral part of VET. In developing career planning skills in VET there is a focus on self-evaluation, how best to use the learner’s professional skills in the labour market, how to keep and raise professional qualifications through continuous self-improvement, how to combine family life and work, and how to value health.

Please also see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Programme Types
Not available

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

VET programmes,

0.5 to 2.5 years,

WBL: min. 50%

ISCED 454

Initial and continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 454 (viienda taseme kutseõpe)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

454

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

Usually 19+

Usual completion age

19+

Length of a programme (years)

0.5 to 2.5 years

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Information not available

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Information not available

Is it available for adults?

Y

(no age limit)

ECVET or other credits

The volume of the studies is 60 to 150 credits and 60 to 150 credits for military and public defence programmes.

Continuing VET programmes study volume is 15 to 60 credits.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • self-learning (excludes work practice; at least 15% of a programme should be acquired through autonomous learning; if it exceeds 50%, the programme is considered to be ‘non-stationary’;
  • apprenticeships.

 

VET learning options

Source: Cedefop and ReferNet Estonia.

 

Main providers

Information not available

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • half at a VET institution
  • half at an enterprise
Main target groups

Programmes are available for people who have completed upper secondary education and have an EQF level 4 or 5 VET qualification or relevant competences (depending on IVET or CVET).

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Learners must have completed upper secondary education and must have an EQF level 4 or 5 VET qualification or relevant competences.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a professional qualification examination that can also be replaced by a final examination in case of failure to pass a professional qualification examination. Both examinations are learning outcomes based and usually include a practical part.

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET learners receive a leaving certificate after the learning outcomes corresponding to the qualification or partial profession described in the curriculum is achieved. If a professional qualification examination is passed a professional certificate will also be awarded.

Examples of qualifications

Accountant, business administration specialist, sales organiser, and small business entrepreneur.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates:

  • can enter the labour market;
  • can follow further pathways in bachelor or professional higher education studies;
  • those with initial VET may progress in continuing VET.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

20% ([82]2017/18)

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 2

VET programme,

up to 2 years,

WBL: min. 70%

ISCED 251

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 2, ISCED 251 (teise taseme kutseõpe)
EQF level
2
ISCED-P 2011 level

251

Usual entry grade

No entry requirement

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

Depends on entry age

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Information not available

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

30 to 120 credits depending on the programme ([72]The Vocational Educational Institutions Act (Parliament, 2013) defines credits for VET curricula describing the time required to achieve learning outcomes. One credit is 26 hours of learner ‘study load’. The number of credits per programme and school year is 60.).

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • self-learning (excludes work practice; at least 15% of a programme should be acquired through autonomous learning; if it exceeds 50%, the programme is considered to be ‘non-stationary’;
  • apprenticeships.

 

VET learning options

Source: Cedefop and ReferNet Estonia.

 

Main providers

Information not available

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=70%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school;
  • in-company practice.
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

Many curricula at this level, for example for assistant cleaners, are also suitable for learners with special educational needs, such as those with moderate and severe disability. Special arrangements are available for them in VET schools and social welfare institutions.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

There are no minimum entry requirements but learners must be at least 17 years old to enrol.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a professional qualification examination, if available, that can also be replaced by a final examination . Both examinations are similar. They are learning outcomes based and usually include a practical part.

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET learners receive a formal education qualification awarded after completion of a programme and a professional qualification that is a professional certificate verifying learning outcomes for a specific occupation or profession ([73]Cedefop (2017). Estonia: European inventory on NQF 2016.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/estonia-european-inventory-nqf-2016
). We refer to them as VET qualifications and professional qualifications.

Those who have been simultaneously enrolled in general education and meet basic education requirements are issued with a basic education certificate by general education schools in addition to a VET qualification.

Examples of qualifications

Cleaner assistant, assistant gardener, electronics assembly operator, logger ([74]As described in ILO; ISCO 08:
http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/stat/isco/
)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates:

  • can enter the labour market;
  • can continue their studies at EQF level 3;
  • can continue their studies in general education; schools for adults leading to general basic education.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

<1% ([75]2017/18)

EQF 3

VET programmes,

up to 2 years,

WBL: min. 50%

ISCED 251

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 251 (kolmanda taseme kutseõpe)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

251

Usual entry grade

No entry requirement

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

Depends on entry age

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Information not available

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Information not available

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

30 to 120 credits.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • self-learning (excludes work practice; at least 15% of a programme should be acquired through autonomous learning; if it exceeds 50%, the programme is considered to be ‘non-stationary’;
  • apprenticeships.

 

VET learning options

Source: Cedefop and ReferNet Estonia.

 

Main providers

Information not available

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • half practical training at school
  • half in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

There are no minimum entry requirements.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a professional qualification examination, if available, that can also be replaced by a final examination. Both examinations are learning outcomes based and usually include a practical part.

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET learners receive a formal education qualification awarded after completion of a programme and a professional qualification that is a professional certificate verifying learning outcomes for a specific occupation or profession ([76]Cedefop (2017). Estonia: European inventory on NQF 2016.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/estonia-european-inventory-nqf-2016
). We refer to them as VET qualifications and professional qualifications.

Examples of qualifications

Woodworking bench operator and electronic equipment assembler

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates:

  • can enter the labour market;
  • those who acquired basic (general) education (before or in parallel to a VET programme) can continue their studies at upper secondary level;
  • those without completed basic education can continue their studies in general education schools for adults.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

3.9% ([77]2017/18)

EQF 4

VET programmes,

up to 2.5 years,

WBL: min. 50%

ISCED 351

Initial and continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 351 (neljanda taseme kutseõpe)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

351

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

at least 17

Usual completion age

Depending on entry age

Length of a programme (years)

2.5 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Information not available

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Information not available

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

30 to 150 credits (depending on the programme) and 180 credits for music and performance programmes.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • self-learning (excludes work practice; at least 15% of a programme should be acquired through autonomous learning; if it exceeds 50%, the programme is considered to be ‘non-stationary’;
  • apprenticeships.

 

VET learning options

Source: Cedefop and ReferNet Estonia.

 

Main providers

Information not available

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • half practical training at school
  • half in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Completed basic education is a prerequisite to enrol in these programmes. Those entering continuing VET programmes must have an EQF level 4 qualification or competences in addition to basic education to enrol.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a professional qualification examination, if available, that can also be replaced by a final examination. Both examinations are learning outcomes based and usually include a practical part.

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET learners may receive a formal education qualification awarded after completion of a programme and a professional qualification that is a professional certificate verifying learning outcomes for a specific occupation or profession ([78]Cedefop (2017). Estonia: European inventory on NQF 2016.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/estonia-european-inventory-nqf-2016
). We refer to them as VET qualifications and professional qualifications.

Examples of qualifications

Welder, junior software developer, IT systems specialist, farm-worker

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates:

  • can enter the labour market;
  • can continue in upper secondary general education;
  • can continue in a VET programme at ISCED level 354.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

30.9% ([79]2017/18)

EQF 4

VET programmes,

up to 3 years,

WBL: min. 35%

ISCED 354

Initial upper secondary VET programmes, ISCED 354 (kutsekeskharidusõpe)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

At least 17

Usual completion age

19

Depending on entry age

Length of a programme (years)

3 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Information not available

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Information not available

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

The volume of studies is mostly 180 credits, including at least 60 credits of general education; 30 credits are common for all programmes and 30 are tailored to the programme.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • self-learning (excludes work practice; at least 15% of a programme should be acquired through autonomous learning; if it exceeds 50%, the programme is considered to be ‘non-stationary’;
  • apprenticeships.

 

VET learning options

Source: Cedefop and ReferNet Estonia.

 

Main providers

Information not available

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=35%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults aged 22 and above.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Students may enter upper secondary VET if they have acquired basic education. The existence of competences corresponding to the level of basic education is required from a person without basic education and who is at least 22 years of age. Schools assess the existence of the required competences.

Assessment of learning outcomes

VET students receive a leaving certificate after the learning outcomes corresponding to the qualification or partial profession described in the curriculum is achieved. To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a professional qualification examination, if available, that can also be replaced by a final examination in case of failure to pass a professional qualification examination. Both examinations are similar. They are learning outcomes based and usually include a practical part.

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET learners receive a leaving certificate after the learning outcomes corresponding to the qualification or partial profession described in the curriculum are achieved and also if a professional qualification examination is passed. a professional certificate will also be awarded

Examples of qualifications

Heat pump installers and catering specialists

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates:

  • can enter the labour market;
  • can continue in higher education, provided the entry requirements are met ([80]Higher education institutions may require passing State examinations (mathematics, foreign language and mother tongue) in addition to VET qualifications.);
  • can continue with an optional year of general education (bridging programme) to prepare for State examinations.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

44.4% ([81]2017/18)

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available

General themes

Summary of main elements and distinctive features of VET([1]Adopted from Cedefop (2017). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Slovenia. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8122_en.pdf
)

VET in Slovenia, attractiveness of which is slightly increasing (70.4% of VET students in 2017), is characterised by the following main features:

  • Occupational standards form the basis for competence-based VET programmes implemented by the schools and for the National vocational qualifications as a system of validation of non-formal and in-formal learning.
  • Both main types of upper-secondary programmes, vocational and technical programmes, are offered in all professional fields, all programmes combine general subjects with vocational modules that integrate theoretical and practical learning, permeability between levels and programme types is high.
  • VET schools support students to complete their studies with partly external final examination Vocational matura and to continue their studies in higher vocational programmes, placed at the same VET school centres.
  • Work-based learning represents an integral part of all type of programmes. Students are trained in modern Inter-company training centres and/or companies, in 8 (pilot) VET programmes also in apprenticeship form.
  • VET schools are open for local initiatives and they can adopt 20% of the curricula (open curricula) to the local company’s need
  • CVET is not state regulated, but first (pilot) VET programme was accepted by the counselling body of the education ministry in late 2018.

Improving VET response to labour market needs has been at the heart of the development of competence-based curricula since 2006. The implementation period has brought changes in school curriculum planning, school-company cooperation culture, didactic and student assessment approaches and VET attractiveness. Significant efforts were made through investing in new training facilities (intercompany training centres) and reinforcing in-company work-based learning (WBL). The quality of WBL and competence-based assessment remain a challenge. Development of career guidance services, and promoting more flexible and individualised paths, are current development priorities.

Offering a new way to enter the labour market and to reinforce the competences required in working life are the main reasons for reintroducing the apprenticeship system and accredited CVET programmes.

With the adoption of the new Apprenticeship Act in 2017, a current pilot implementation of the apprenticeship path in 8 vocational programmes (ISCED 353) has started. Along with companies and schools, chambers also have a significant role in assessing suitability of training places, approving apprenticeship agreements and monitoring companies. Companies are supported to train apprentices.

Another response to labour market needs is the development of accredited CVET programmes up-skilling specific vocational competencies. This has the aim of offering training to employees in SMEs, to develop their competences and to offer new areas of specialisation.

In recent years, significant effort has been made in developing examination materials for the theoretical and practical part of vocational examinations. Greater involvement of employers in vocational examinations remains a priority.

Adopted from VET in Slovenia Spotlight 2017 ([2]Cedefop (2017). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Slovenia. Luxembourg: Publications Office..
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8122_en.pdf
).

Population in 2018: 2 066 880 ([3]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019])

It increased by 0.4% since 2013 due to some positive net migration and natural growth ([4]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

The population is ageing. An old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 27 in 2015 to 55 in 2060 ([5]Old-age-dependency ratio is defined as the ratio between the number of persons aged 65 and more over the number of working-age persons (15-64). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).).

 

Population forecast by age group and old-age-dependency ratio

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Demographic changes have an impact on VET.

In response to ageing population, the government adopted active ageing strategy ([6]Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development of the RS, hereinafter IMAD, 2017.) and comprehensive support to companies for active ageing of employees ([7]Public Scholarship, Disability and Maintenance Fund of the RS, hereinafter Public Fund, 2017b.) aimed at increasing the vocational competences of the adult population.

The country has two minorities, Italian and Hungarian. The Italian minority has an option to learn in their native language and learn Slovene as a second language. A VET school in Obalno-kraška region offers 12 different VET programs in Italian teaching language ([8]Scuola media Pietro Coppo:
http://www.pietrocoppo.net/sl/
).

The Hungarian minority has a bilingual VET school in Pomurska region, offering 15 different VET programs ([9]DVOJEZIČNA SREDNJA ŠOLA LENDAVA, KÉTNYELVŰ KÖZÉPISKOLA, LENDVA:
https://www.dssl.si/sl/
).

Most companies are micro and small-sized.

Main economic sectors:

  • manufacturing (automobile, metallic, electronics, pharmacy and chemicals, etc.);
  • service sector;
  • construction.

Export comprises mainly manufacture of motor vehicles, electrical equipment, pharmaceutical products and preparations, machinery, equipment and basic metals.

The process of deregulation started in 2010, when there were 323 regulated professions. Deregulation means to withdraw the regulation of the profession or to renew the regulation. In 2014, it became one of the key governmental projects with cross-sectoral status ([10]Ministry of Economic Development and Technology (in Slovenian: Ministrstvo za gospodarski razvoj in tehnologijo); Ministry of Economy (2017). Zaključno poročilo projekta VSRP 10. Prenova reguliranih dejavnosti in poklicev [Final report of the VSRP 10 project. Renewal of regulated professions].). Deregulation was done mostly in fields such as tourism, funeral and cemetery activity, construction, geodetic survey, chimney sweeping service, veterinary, trade, driving schools, social assistance, seller and commercial manager.

The aim is to ease entry conditions and access to the labour market and to minimise the administrative burden for immigrants in acquiring work permissions. The number of regulated professions is currently down to 215.

Total unemployment ([11]Eurostat table une_rt_a, (percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old) [extracted 20.5.2019].) (2018): 4.8% (6.0% in EU-28); it increased by 1.1 percentage points since 2008.

 

Unemployment rate (aged 15-24 and 25-64) by education attainment level in 2008-18

NB: data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series; low reliability for ISCED 0-2 and 5-8, age 15-24.
ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education. ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education. ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_urgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Unemployment is distributed unevenly between those with low- and high-level qualifications, with unskilled workers being most vulnerable to unemployment. The gap was highest in 2013.

Since 2013, the share of low- and medium-level qualified unemployed people decreased due to economic recovery and more employment opportunities in the manufacturing sector.

The lowest unemployment rate is among people with high-level qualifications (ISCED 5-8).

Employment rate of 20 to 34-year-old VET graduates increased from 77.4% in 2014 to 86.2% in 2018 ([12]Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

 

Employment rate of VET graduates (20 to 34 years old, ISCED levels 3 and 4)

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

The increase (+8.8 pp) in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates in 2014-18 was higher compared to the increase in employment of all ISCED levels 20-34 year-old graduates (+8.5 pp) in the same period in Slovenia ([13]NB: Break in series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

The share of the population aged up to 64 with higher education (32.5%) has been higher in Slovenia than in most EU Member States. The share of those with low or without a qualification (11.9%) was among the lowest in the EU in 2017.

 

Population (aged 25 to 64) by highest education level attained in 2018

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011. Low reliability for ‘No response’ in Czechia, Iceland, Latvia, and Poland.
ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_pgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

not applicable

70.9%

not applicable

Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs01, educ_uoe_enrs04 and educ_uoe_enrs07 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Share of initial VET learners from total learners at upper-secondary level (ISCED level 3), 2017

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011.
Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs04 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Traditionally, there are more males in VET than females. Males prefer professions in the fields like science and engineering, manufacturing and construction, while females more often enrol in programmes from the fields like education, social sciences, business and law, health and welfare, humanities and arts and services.

Table: Young people, enrolled in VET, number and structure, by sex, in %, school 2017/18

   

Structure of enrolment by sex, in %

Total, number

Men

Women

Fields of education - TOTAL

47 724

58.2

41.8

Education

2 709

10.7

89.3

Humanities and Arts

2 865

37.6

62.4

Social sciences, business and law

5 570

37.5

62.5

Science

3 089

95.6

4.4

Engineering, manufacturing and construction

17 456

90.2

9.8

Agriculture

2 582

48.1

51.9

Health and Welfare

5 861

26.1

73.9

Services

7 592

37.5

62.5

Source: Statistic Office of the Republic of Slovenia, SI-STAT Data Portal - Demography and Social Statistics - Education.

The share of early leavers from education and training decreased from 5.3% in 2009 to 4.2% in 2018. This is lower than the national target for 2020 of not more than 10% and significantly lower than the EU-28 average of 10.6%.

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

NB: Share of the population aged 18 to 24 with at most lower secondary education and not in further education or training.
Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_14 [extracted 16.5.2019] and European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/info/2018-european-semester-national-reform-programmes-and-stability-convergence-programmes_en
[accessed 14.11.2018].

 

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

NB: Share of adult population aged 25 to 64 participating in education and training.
Source: Eurostat, trng_lfse_01 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Although national 2020 target set in 2013 is 19% ([14]https://livelink.cedefop.europa.eu/livelink/livelink.exe?func=ll&objId=27855839&objAction=browse&viewType=1), participation in lifelong learning in Slovenia has decreased from 18.5% in 2010 to 11.4% in 2018. However, it remains slightly above the EU-28 average.

VET learners by age group

 

Graph: The number of young people and adults, enrolled in VET at ISCED 3-4, school year 2016/17

Source: Statistic Office of the Republic of Slovenia, SI-STAT Data Portal - Demography and Social Statistics -– Education.

 

In the structure of enrolments in VET almost three quarters falls in the age group 19 or less, one fifth in the age group 20-24, while the shares for other age groups are much lower.

The education and training system comprises:

  • pre-school education (ISCED 0);
  • integrated primary (ISCED 100, EQF 1) and lower secondary education (ISCED 244, EQF 2) (nationally referred as basic education).
  • upper secondary education:
  • short vocational programmes (ISCED 353, EQF 3);
  • vocational programmes (ISCED 353, EQF 4);
  • vocational – technical programmes (ISCED 354, EQF4);
  • technical programmes (ISCED 354, EQF 4);
  • general programmes (ISCED 344, EQF 4);
  • tertiary education;
  • higher vocational programmes (ISCED 554, EQF 5);
  • professional bachelor programmes (ISCED 655, EQF 6);
  • bachelor programmes (ISCED 645, EQF 6);
  • master programmes (ISCED 767, EQF 7);
  • doctoral programmes (ISCED 844, EQF 8).

81.7% of children aged 1 to 6 are enrolled in kindergarten (vrtec). Each child is by law entitled to a place in a kindergarten, but it is not compulsory. Kindergartens are public or private. 96% of children attend public ones that are founded and financed by the local communities. Fees can be subsidized by the government.

Basic education is 9 year, single structured primary and lower secondary education and is compulsory (ISCED 1-2). Learners start at age 6 and finish aged 15 years of age in 6 private and 284 public schools. Learners that do not finish basic education successfully in 9 years can enrol in short vocational education (ISCED 353, EQF 3). Public schools are founded by local communities and funded by education ministry. Parents contribute mostly for meals, school supplies, books and extracurricular activities.

General upper secondary education lasts 4 year (ISCED 344, EQF 4) and is completed by external examination, General Matura (splošna matura). Enrolment depends on grades in the last 3 years of basic education. Graduates have access to tertiary education. 5-7 private schools and approx. 60 public schools offer gymnasia program. Public schools are founded and funded by the education ministry. Parents contribute mostly for meals, school supplies, books and extracurricular activities.

Learners can also enrol in professional gymnasia which provides general education but with some emphasis on professions (technical, economic, art).

If a learner wants to transfer from general education to vocational path they can after completed 3 years of gymnasia attend a one year vocational course, enabling them to pass a Vocational Matura.

Tertiary education comprises higher vocational education (2 years), professional and academic programmes at a bachelor level (3 or 4 years) and master level (1 or 2 years). Doctoral programmes last 3 years.

 

 

 

Formal initial VET

Both young people (students) and adults can enrol in initial VET. Young people attend VET programs free of tuition. Once enrolled they can repeat one grade and re-enrol in the same grade but different program. If they are not successful and want to continue or want later in life to re-enter or change profession they can enrol as adults.

Initial VET consists of accredited, formal programmes on upper-secondary level. There are 3 entry points. Short vocational programmes (2 years) on ISCED 353, EQF 3 levels with assistant type of professions and is accessible to learners with minimum EQF 1 (attending 9-years of basic education). Graduates, passing Final exam, can continue to the second entry point: Vocational programmes (3 years) on ISCED 353, EQF 4. After 3 years of professional work experience, graduates, passing Final exam, can pass the craftsman, foreman or shop manager exam and can continue also to Higher vocational programmes. But especially young vocational programme graduates mostly continue to Vocational technical programmes (2 years) on ISCED 354, EQF 4 that gives them access to Vocational Matura (poklicna matura).

However, most VET students (41.9% in 2018/19) start upper-secondary level in Technical programmes (4 years) on ISCED 354, EQF 4, completing programme with Vocational Matura that gives them access to tertiary level: Higher vocational programmes (2, year, ISCED 554, EQF 5), professional bachelor programmes and with completed additional 5th Matura subject also to academic bachelor programmes. Transferring from VET to general path is possible also through one-year Matura bridging course, which prepares learners for General Matura.

The above-mentioned programmes are mainly school based with in-company WBL from 10 to 40 % of curricula. Since school year 2017/18 apprenticeship was reintroduced, meaning that gradually 3 year Vocational programmes are being prepared on national level to be implemented in apprenticeship form. Meaning that students spend at least 50 % of time learning with mentors in companies.

VET graduates pass Final exam (mother tongue), Vocational Matura (2 general, 1 vocational subjects) or Higher vocational diploma. Final exam and Vocational Matura include also practical exam.

Since 2000, all upper-secondary learners can have their prior knowledge assessed by the school that can lessen learners obligations within the programme.

Formal continuing VET

Craftsman, foremen and shop manager exams are traditionally understood as CVET as the applicants (3 year vocational programme graduates) must have specific professional experiences. It is a way that experienced employee can be promoted to a more demanding work position that does not require next educational level. Optional preparatory courses and literature may be offered by the chambers, which also assess the candidates.

CVET short programmes have been developed since 2017, with the first published programme in 2019. They are prepared in close cooperation with the employers to up-skill employees to perform specific tasks, up-grade, modernise some concrete professional skills etc. They focus entirely on the vocational and professional competences and 50 % of its curricula is conducted at work place and the other half in school. They last for a maximum 6 months and are prepared on the same educational (ISCED or EQF) level as initial programs at upper-secondary and tertiary level (higher vocational programmes).

National vocational qualifications enable citizens to get their vocational competencies verified, but cannot gain levels of education through this option.

Adults can enrol in non-formal courses on educational service market provided by private entities or public schools, to gain numerous VET or general competencies.

Learn more about apprenticeships in the national context from the European database on apprenticeship schemes by Cedefop: http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/apprenticeship-schemes/scheme-fiches

With the adoption of the new Apprenticeship Act in 2017, a pilot implementation of the apprenticeship path in four upper secondary vocational programmes (ISCED 353, EQF) has started. In 2018, next five programmes were included. Learners can enrol in those 8 programmes choosing between school based path and apprenticeship path.

Apprenticeship path means that 50-60% of the programme is undertaken at an employer, while at least 40% – general subjects and VET modules – is in schools.

At the beginning of an apprenticeship, the plan for implementation of the apprenticeship is prepared in cooperation between the school and the company under the provision of the chamber and signed between student, and representatives of company, school and chamber. It includes the objectives and set of competences for WBL, distribution and schedule of education at the school and in the company, ways and modes of communication and cooperation between the company and school, information regarding the mid-term and final exam for the apprentice.

The Organisation and Financing of Education Act ([15]http://pisrs.si/Pis.web/pregledPredpisa?id=ZAKO445), Vocational Education Act ([16]http://pisrs.si/Pis.web/pregledPredpisa?id=ZAKO4325), Higher Vocational Education Act ([17]http://pisrs.si/Pis.web/pregledPredpisa?id=ZAKO4093&d-49682-p=2&&tab=strokovni&scrollTop=557), Slovenian Qualifications Framework Act ([18]http://pisrs.si/Pis.web/pregledPredpisa?id=ZAKO6958) and Adult Education Act ([19]http://pisrs.si/Pis.web/pregledPredpisa?id=ZAKO7641) represent main legislation dealing with VET.

The education ministry ([20]In Slovenian: Ministrstvo za izobraževanje, znanost in šport.) is responsible for the quality and development of the education system, it formulates and implements education policies and makes system regulations. It prepares budget for public financing, oversees its implementation and allocates VET programmes. It intensely cooperates with the labour ministry and social partners (representatives of employees and employers), who are active members of four national expert councils ([21]The Expert council for VET, for specific elements also: the Expert council for general education, the Expert council for AE and the Expert council for Higher education.) operating as a consulting body for the education ministry. A school inspectorate operates within the education ministry. Cooperation with the public employment service (PES) and cooperation with the economy (chambers) is established.

Eight public institutions for the implementation of regulations are also active, supporting education institutions and taking care of development, and supervising, as well as taking care of quality monitoring and counselling.

  • Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Vocational Education and Training (CPI);
  • National Education Institute of the RS – responsible for General Education;
  • Slovenian Institute for Adult Education –responsible for Adult Education;
  • National Examinations Centre – external assessment in education;
  • Educational Research Institute - research;
  • Centre of the Republic of Slovenia for Mobility and European Educational and Training Programmes – mobility - National EU agency;
  • National School of Leadership in Education – development of management in education;
  • Slovenian Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education ([22]Respectively: Center RS za poklicno izobraževanje, Zavod RS za šolstvo, Andragoški center Slovenije, Državni izpitni center, Pedagoški inštitut, Center Republike Slovenije za mobilnost in evropske programe izobraževanja in usposabljanja, Šola za ravnatelje., Nacionalna agencija RS za kakovost v visokem šolstvu.).

The public institutions are government controlled by appointment of representatives to governance bodies, public funding, salary system, adoption of common rules and guidelines of public service, centrally adopted curricula, etc. The providers of accredited educational programmes are under supervision of the school inspectorate.

The governance body of public education institutes is the council. VET school councils are composed of representatives of the founder, school employees, parents and students. The founder –state – participates in the governance of VET schools through representatives appointed to the council and directly in administrative procedures.

The management body is the head teacher, who is also a pedagogical leader. Teachers enjoy professional autonomy and the head teacher has the autonomy in accordance with requirements to employ teachers of their own choice.

The system of VET education is centralised; decisions about the foundation and financing of VET schools, as well as agreement on and distribution of education programmes are adopted at the national level. However, schools and teachers enjoy autonomy in designing the implementation of national curricula and choosing teaching methods.

Higher vocational schools shall establish governance and management bodies depending on the founder (state, private) and organisation (independent college, unit of another institution or company). The management body is the director or head teacher, whereas the council is the governing body.

Legislation ([23]The Organisation and Financing of Education Act (2007-17).) stipulates the public financing of upper secondary VET and higher vocational programmes. The sources of funding are specified by purpose, duty and responsibility. The terms and conditions for financing and supervision are presented. Adults in VET (part-time) are the only students required to pay for tuition.

The ministry for education annually determines the cost of a VET programme per learner, based on the methodology for financing educational programmes for upper secondary schools, mostly regarding cost of work (salaries of the school employees), expenditure for goods and services (heating, electricity, water), number of hours in a programme.

The total level of funding is specified in a financing agreement signed by the education ministry and the school for each budget year.

Additional public funding is also accessible for extra costs and through the cooperation in developmental (national and international) projects.

Other possible funding sources for VET include:

  • contributions from industry associations and chambers;
  • direct contributions from employers for the provision of work practice;
  • payments and fees from students;
  • funds from the sale of services and products;
  • donations, sponsorships and other sources.

The public expenditure (figure below) allocated to formal education (including VET) in 2017 amounted to EUR 2.056 million, or 4.80% of GDP. The biggest share of total public expenditure for formal education was allocated to basic education (43.5%) followed by pre-school education (20.1%), tertiary education (19.5%) and upper secondary education (16.9%).

 

Public formal education expenditure; share of 4.8% of GDP by level of education in 2017

Source: Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia (SORS).

 

In VET, there are:

  • at upper secondary level
    • teachers of general subjects;
    • teachers of the professional theory;
    • teachers of the practical training; and
  • at the higher vocational education
    • lecturers.

Teachers of general subjects must have a master degree (ISCED 7), completed one year pedagogical/andragogical training and the State professional exam.

There are two types of teachers of vocational modules.

  • Teachers of the theoretical part are expected to meet the same requirements as teachers of general subjects.
  • Teachers of the practical training must have at least vocational upper secondary education (ISCED 354), one year pedagogical/andragogical training, the State professional exam and at least 3 years of relevant work experience.

In-company mentors must have professional education in the appropriate field, an appropriate number of years of work experience and short pedagogical/andragogical training designed for mentors.

Lecturers at the higher vocational education level must have a relevant master's degree (ISCED 7), three years of work experience and relevant professional achievements (the co-authorship of valid education programmes, textbooks or study materials, membership of exam committees, and similar).

In-company mentors are employees of the company conducting WBL as part of VET programmes.

Teachers and lecturers are employed by the schools and funded by the education ministry. They can be full-time employed, regarding the number of students enrolled some may have part-time contracts.

Salary in general depends on the education level. Apart from this, teachers are included in a promotion scheme through which they can achieve three mayor promotion levels.

Teachers have limited options for continuing their professional development, which is defined only as a right of 15 days in three years ([24]Collective agreement for the education sector in the Republic of Slovenia; Ministry of Education (1994).) and not as an obligation. The education ministry partly finances programmes for the continuing professional development of teachers and the other part is cover by the school. A great deal of additional teacher training is also provided through national and international projects. Schools can also order private providers of programmes.

According to the new rules ([25]Rules on the selection and co-funding of further education and training programmes for educational professionals.), there are two types of CPD programmes for teachers:

  • First are for teachers who need to gain additional training for the position of a teacher (for example mechanical engineer does not get this type of training during university studies, so he needs to pass this training) or special tasks (for example for teachers to work with SEN students as SEN experts).
  • Second type of CPD programs are shorter (8-24 hours) courses on various topics that teachers can choose from a catalogue published by the education ministry. Providers can be private or public organisations are chosen via public tender and may be co-financed.

Through the ESF project ([26]Strengthening the competences of professionals in the field of managing an innovative educational institute 2016-22.) teachers and other professional workers in upper-secondary vocational schools and higher vocational schools are trained to strengthen their competences in promoting entrepreneurship, innovative methods of teaching, quality completion of education, upgrading professional skills, working with special needs students, acquiring pedagogical/andragogical skills for higher-education lecturers, and supporting quality assurance in higher vocational schools.

In addition, CPI analysed VET teachers’ knowledge, attitude and use of ICT in designing and implementing digital competences in VET programmes. Results of this analysis are fed into training of teachers in 12 vocational schools in 2018-19 to help them develop their teaching approaches in developing students’ digital competence.

Training of in-company mentors

CPI prepared a programme for mentor training ([27]In-company training for students in upper secondary VET and higher vocational education.). From 2014 onwards two ESF funded projects have been implemented, led by two Consortiums. Training is free of charge and aims to equip the mentors with the basic pedagogical/andragogical knowledge, basic developmental characteristics of the youth, psychological and pedagogical elements of learning and teaching, communication skills, health and safety at work, relevant legislation ([28]They also get to know the importance of a good organisational culture for successful work, how to include the student into the work process, how to prepare documentation for an efficient management, monitoring and validation of students.).

The programme lasts for 50 hours for mentors included in upper secondary programmes WBL and 60 hours for mentors in higher vocational programmes WBL.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers ([29]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers).

VET programmes are prepared based on labour market data such as the data on labour market movements. A public employment service (PES) and Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia (SORS) collect these data in their official records using their own classification tools in the process.

As labour market data are presented at the aggregated level (i.e. unemployment, the active population, needs for new employment positions, and the like), the need for a research institution to analyse and monitor changes in the labour market has emerged several times in the past. This is to provide support for decision-making processes within the scope of the preparation of VET programmes and to forecast potential education requirements.

The official records on current work place demand managed by the PES, where the majority of all the employment positions offered by employers are recorded, have proven to be a comprehensive source of information. However, the problem with these records is the poor organisation of the data in the various educational programmes, which changed during the various educational reforms, and so a comprehensive data review, as well as its translation into high-quality topical data (educational programmes), is required. In addition, the systematic collection of the demands of private sector employers ended in 2013, and the country therefore lost one of the databases from which the data was drawn ([30]Since 2013 private sector employers are not obligated anymore to inform PES about a vacancy, therefore PES collects data from Pension and Disability Insurance Institute of Slovenia (Labour Market Regulation Act, amendment in 2013).).

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([31]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European Skills Index ([32]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index)

Vocational qualifications

There are two types of vocational qualification (poklicna kvalifikacija). The first may be acquired following the path of education and training system and the second by following the path of recognition of non-formal and informal learning. In 2007, the legislation ([33]The National Professional Qualifications Act (2007, 2009).) connected both systems with the occupational standards (poklicni standardi), which represent a learning outcome standard for each vocational qualification that can be formally acquired or recognised in Slovenia. Vocational qualifications are classified in the sectoral qualification structures approved by the sectoral committee for occupational standards. The labour ministry established ten sectoral committees for occupational standards, which are composed of experts and representatives from the chambers, ministries and trade unions.

Occupational standards

Occupational standards serve as the basic documents for the performance of examinations and the verification of vocational qualifications acquired through the recognition of non-formal learning. The methodology for the preparation of occupational standards is prescribed, which ensures their transparency and comparability.

The preparation of occupational standards is conducted through social dialogue. It is important for the employers to describe the knowledge and skills the employees are required or need to possess – now and in the future. Occupational standards do not simply serve as a record of the current situation; they are also an indicator of the situation as it develops. This is of considerable importance for the changing labour market, not just from the employer's perspective, but, more importantly, from the point of view of the certificate holder.

Occupational standards must be prepared in cooperation with experts who are familiar with the profession, work organisations, technology and trends in the development of the profession and the sector itself. Occupational standards are closely related to sector and profession. The key competences necessary for a profession are also included.

Occupational standards development process

The processes of the preparation of occupational standards and National Vocational Qualifications catalogues are determined in the National Professional Qualifications Act. It starts with an initiative submitted by any legal or natural person at the Institute of the RS for VET (CPI). The CPI provides an expert assessment and submits it for discussion to the relevant sectoral committee for occupational standards. When discussing the initiative, the following is especially important: information on the needs of the labour market, the comparability of standards for a specific qualification among EU member states, and, if necessary, compliance with the regulations and norms.

If the sectoral committee for occupational standards considers the initiative to be well founded, they appoint the experts who, with methodological support from the CPI, prepare a proposal for an occupational standard. The national methodology provided by the CPI serves as a uniform basis for all occupational standards and NVQ catalogues, thereby ensuring the transparency and comparability of documents at the national level.

Based on the occupational standard, experts prepare a proposal for an NVQ catalogue. The sectoral committee submits the NVQ catalogue to the Expert Council for VET for discussion. When the council supports the NVQ catalogue, it proposes its adoption to the labour ministry. The procedure for revision that takes place every five years is the same as the procedure for the preparation of new occupational standards.

Preparation of VET programmes

Based on one or more occupational standards, a VET programme is developed. The national curriculum standards (minimum hours for general subjects, professional modules, the proportion of open curricula, etc.) for each VET programme level are set by the Expert Council for VET, who proposes the adoption of the VET programme to the education ministry.

In VET, the learning outcomes approach is seen as a very useful way of bringing VET programmes closer to ‘real life’ and the needs of the labour market. National VET framework curricula define the expected knowledge, skills and attitudes to be acquired by students. The syllabi usually follow the Bloom's taxonomy method for learning outcomes. Broad competences in the catalogues of knowledge for modules/subjects are defined as the ability and readiness to use knowledge, skills and attitudes in study and work contexts.

Inclusion of VET qualifications in the Slovenian qualifications framework (SQF)

The SQF Act has defined the unified system of qualifications as the Slovenian Qualifications Framework (SQF) since 2016. Three qualification categories that consist of qualifications share a common purpose. All qualifications that are included have successfully completed formal accreditation procedures.

  • Educational qualification is the outcome of formal VET programmes and denotes the level and field of the formal qualification an individual has obtained. A certificate is awarded as proof of qualification;
  • National Vocational Qualification is a qualification obtained under the NVQ procedure;
  • Supplementary qualification is a qualification that supplements an individual's competence at the level attained and in a specific professional field and is tied to the needs of the labour market.

The Vocational Education Act in 2006 and Organisation and Financing of Education Act in 2007 identified the importance of quality assurance and self-evaluation as obligatory and crucial method for quality assurance (QA) and quality development (QD), while it strengthened the autonomy and the developmental role of IVET. Schools are required to establish a quality committee consisting of a minimum of a chairperson plus five members, from the representatives of teachers and other professional members of school staff, employers, students and parents. The committee is obliged to publish an annual quality report on the school website. The structure and content of the report is up to the school. However VET providers have to monitor 11 national quality indicators (10 EQAVET indicators included), upon request they have to send the data to the Institute of the RS for VET (CPI) (EQAVET NRP in Slovenia), but they do not have to make the information on 11 national indicators public.

There is a national reference point for quality assurance in upper secondary VET (EQAVET NRP in Slovenia ([34]http://www.eqavet-nrp-slo.si/equavet-v-sloveniji/)) within the EQAVET network at the CPI. It gathers information about the quality assurance in VET schools, monitors quality indicators at the national level ([35]Renewed set of 11 national quality indicators were set in 2017 by the Expert Council for VET. All ten EQAVET indicators are included into the set of 11 national indicators:
http://www.eqavet-nrp-slo.si/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/09_Nacionalni_kazalniki_kakovosti_PSI2017.pdf
) and supports VET schools with trainings, publications (CPI, 2007 ([36]Mali, D. et al. (2007). Priporočila šolam za izvajanje samoevalvacije: ugotavljanje in zagotavljanje kakovosti v poklicnem in strokovnem izobraževanju [Reccommendations for schools on self-evaluation: determing and ensuring quality in VET]. Ljubljana: Center Republike Slovenije za poklicno izobraževanje.
http://www.cpi.si/files/cpi/userfiles/Publikacije/sola_za_izvajanje_samoevalvacije_slo.pdf
), CPI 2017 ([37]Grašič, S.; Pogačnik Nose, Š.; Žagar, T. (eds) (2017). Okvir EQAVET za ugotavljanje in zagotavljanje kakovosti: priročnik za implementacijo evropskega okvira kakovosti poklicnega in strokovnega izobraževanja in usposabljanja na ravni šole [The EQAVET framework for determing and assuring quality: a manual for the implementation of European quality framework for VET]. Ljubljana: Center Republike Slovenije za poklicno izobraževanje.
http://www.eqavet-nrp-slo.si/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Prirocnik_EQAVET_2017.pdf
), ŠR 2019 ([38]Brejc, M.; Širok, K. (eds) (2019). Zbirka kakovost v vrtcih in šolah [Quality in kindergartens and schools series]. Ljubljana: Šola za ravnatelje.
http://solazaravnatelje.si/index.php/dejavnosti/zaloznistvo/zbirka-kakovost-v-vrtcih-in-solah
)) and cooperation in national and international projects in the field of QA and QD. According to the legislation, CPI is obliged to regularly prepare and publish National quality report on VET ([39]http://www.eqavet-nrp-slo.si/gradiva/).

The education ministry prepared guidelines on common national framework for quality assurance, which encompasses levels of education from pre-school until the end of upper secondary level in 2017 ([40]Ministry of Education, Science and Sport (2017). Nacionalni okvir za ugotavljanje in zagotavljanje kakovosti na področju vzgoje in izobraževanja. [National framework for determining and assuring quality in education].
http://www.mizs.gov.si/si/delovna_podrocja/urad_za_razvoj_in_kakovost_izobrazevanja/sektor_za_razvoj_izobrazevanja/ugotavljanje_in_zagotavljanje_kakovosti_v_vzgoji_in_izobrazevanju/
), whose implementation is planned in the next few years.

On this basis the education ministry appointed 4 national institutes ([41]National School for Leadership in Education (Šola za ravnatelje), National Examinations Centre (Državni izpitni center), Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for VET (Center RS za poklicno izobraževanje), National Education Institute (Zavod za šolstvo) Slovenia.) to further develop the national QA framework. Standards and indicators of quality on 5 areas ([42]School/kindergarten leadership, quality assessment and quality assurance with self-evaluation, learning achievements, professional learning and performing of teachers, safe and facilitating learning environment).) were developed and are presented in a “Collection of quality in kindergartens and schools” ([43]Brejc, M.; Širok, K. (eds) (2019). Zbirka kakovost v vrtcih in šolah [Quality in kindergartens and schools series]. Ljubljana: Šola za ravnatelje.
http://solazaravnatelje.si/index.php/dejavnosti/zaloznistvo/zbirka-kakovost-v-vrtcih-in-solah
). Common national framework for quality assurance includes 11 national (10 EQAVET included) indicators for VET schools. In the “Quality assessment and quality assurance with self-evaluation”, the standards/indicators of quality of the process and the role of school staff members of the quality commission (quality team) are defined and required competences of its members and crucial assignments in the process are described. The quality team and school management lead the process of quality assessment and quality assurance with self-evaluation on school level and are also responsible for establishment of a functional quality system/framework in a school.

According to Higher Vocational Education Act (2004, 2013) a Quality committee consisting of five lecturers and two students is also requested in higher vocational schools, while Slovenian Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (NAKVIS) ([44]Nacionalna agencija republike Slovenije za kakovost v visokem šolstvu (NAKVIS).) monitors the quality assurance of higher vocational schools.

Responsibilities/assignments of Quality committee are:

  • create conditions for the promotion and development of the quality of educational work at school;
  • establish mechanisms for continuous monitoring and assessment of the quality and efficiency of work at the school;
  • plan, organise and coordinate monitoring and quality assurance at school;
  • cooperate with the NAKVIS and make comparisons between schools at home and abroad;
  • monitor the employment opportunities of graduates,
  • on the basis of employers' responses, makes proposals for improvement; and
  • prepare evaluation reports to be discussed with the NAKVIS.

A part of CVET that is conducted by adult education institutions and is funded by state undergo the quality assurance regulation included in Adult Education Act (2018). It requires VET providers to establish an internal QA system lead by quality committee. This includes regular monitoring and self-evaluation, cooperation in the external evaluation and public presentation of their internal quality assurance system on their web pages.

Slovenia has a system of validation of non-formal and informal learning in place since 2000.

Several national and regional organisations and institutions implement this policy in practice. The awareness of validation has grown amongst the general population and is no longer considered a new topic ([45]Košmrlj, K. (2016). 2016 update to the European inventory on validation of non-formal and informal learning: country report Slovenia.
https://cumulus.ced)efop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/2016_validate_SI.pdf
).

Validation procedures are included in legislation for higher education, higher vocational education, and adult education. The national system (National Vocational Qualifications) enables acquiring formal qualifications by means of validation procedure as legally regulated ([46]National Professional Qualifications Act (see Chapter 2.3.2). First published in Official Gazette of the RS, No 85/2009. In Slovenian: Državni zbor Republike Slovenije (2009). Zakon o nacionalnih poklicnih kvalifikacijah.
http://pisrs.si/Pis.web/pregledPredpisa?id=ZAKO1626
). The education and the labour ministries are responsible for issues regarding education, classification, the validation for employment, and qualification frameworks.

In tertiary education for higher vocational programmes, The European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) criteria are considered along with a comparison between the competences achieved by the candidate and the competences declared in the accredited syllabus of the course or in the study module/programme. Each institution and university member is free to prepare and use ECTS in accordance with the qualification for which they provide education (autonomy granted by the Higher Education Act).

In VET, there are two main legally regulated routes for the recognition of non-formally and informally acquired knowledge. For the purpose of further participation in formal education, the validation process is based on the educational standards (catalogues of knowledge, professional modules and the operational curriculum). If the purpose of validation is recognition of occupational competences in the labour market the National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) system is used and the knowledge and experience gained by the candidate are compared with the skills and competences in the NVQ catalogue.

The recognition of non-formally and informally acquired knowledge is often seen as the domain of adult education, and so recognition of non-formal and informally acquired knowledge in the formal education system is not widespread. It is most common with part-time students in higher vocational education and least common with upper secondary school students ([47]Žnidarič, H. et al (2010). Poročilo o spremljanju izvajanja postopkov priznavanja neformarnega znanja [Report on monitoring the implementation of procedures of recognition of non-formal learning]. Ljubljana: Center RS za poklicno izobraževanje (CPI).
http://www.cpi.si/files/cpi/userfiles/Datoteke/evalvacija/Porocilo_PNZ-9_11_2010.pdf
).

According to the rules ([48]Ministry for Education (2018). Assessment in upper secondary schools rules.), class teachers must prepare the individual learning plan for adult (part-time) student, that must include information about previously gained and recognised formal and non-formal knowledge. However, higher vocational education is the exception since the procedure is well defined by the common guidelines and standards in the procedures for the recognition of previously acquired knowledge in higher vocational education ([49]Državni zbor Republike Slovenije (2010). Pravilnik o priznavanju predhodno pridobljenega znanja v višjem strokovnem izobraževanju [Rules on the recognition of the previous education in higher vocational education]. Official Gazette of the RS; No 20/2010.
http://pisrs.si/Pis.web/pregledPredpisa?id=PRAV9668
).

The development of the system of non-formally and informally acquired knowledge for adults in VET has also been dealt with at systemic level by the Slovenian Institute for Adult Education (SIAE) in cooperation with the Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Vocational Education and Training (CPI) in 2011. Technical criteria have been drawn up for the systemic regulation of the evaluation and recognition of non-formally and informally acquired knowledge in VET for adult learners primarily. This remained at the proposal level and has never been implemented on the systemic level. The responsibility has been left to the VET schools.

Candidates whose previously acquired knowledge has been recognised within the formal education system may therefore be exempt from certain requirements of a formal education programme (e.g. practical training, subjects or modules, and similar), and may obtain a NVQ certificate or career progression within an enterprise.

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database ([50]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/european-database-on-validation-of-non-formal-and-informal-learning).

Scholarships

  • All students in upper-secondary and tertiary education coming from economically weaker families are eligible for State social scholarship (državna štipendija). It ranges from EUR 95 for underage students ([51]<18) (depending on social status) and up to EUR 190 for students aged 18 or more (depending on social status). Students get a rise in the scholarship in the second and further years of education up to EUR 40 monthly if they achieve good results;
  • Talented students can get a higher scholarship (Zoisova štipendija) as an incentive to achieve exceptional results, and performance in terms of knowledge, research and art. It amounts to EUR 120–140 for upper secondary and higher education students respectively. The amounts are doubled if they study abroad; extra funds are also available for housing and special needs. Each student can get one of these two scholarships.

VET learners are also eligible for the following two types of scholarship.

  • First is for shortage professions (štipendija za deficitarne poklice). The purpose is to encourage enrolment into shortage occupations or the ones that are dying out and promotion of VET. Each year 1 000 scholarships are offered amounting to a EUR 100 per month. The list of professions for which a grant is offered changes annually and is prepared by the public employment service (PES) based on the current situation on the labour market and of expected trends in education;
  • The second is Intern scholarships (kadrovska štipendija) that employers grant directly to students. In this way the employers may have tailor made workers that they need in the future and the students are offered a first contact with the company, first work experience and also assured first employment. After completed education, the company is obliged to employ the grant receiver, who is obliged to accept the position offered in accordance with the scholarship contract. The duration of employment usually equals the duration of receiving the scholarship. Employers can use a support information system operated by twelve regional developmental offices and apply for the State subsidy. An Intern scholarship must not be lower than the State social scholarship. On average, it is the highest, but many go unclaimed. Students can get one of these two scholarships in addition to state social scholarship or the scholarship for talented students ([52]Public Fund, 2018.).

Co-financing of tuition for raising educational levels

The purpose is to increase participation in lifelong learning as well as improve competences the adult needs for successful entering into the labour market, increased employability, mobility, personal growth and functioning in modern society. One of the criteria for applying is completed vocational upper secondary education or less. Persons who completed only basic education and/or are 45 years of age are at an advantage. All programmes of upper secondary VET, general upper secondary education, Matura course, vocational course, foreman, shop manager and master craftsman exam are eligible.

After completing the education programme, they can apply to have their tuition reimbursed. In the period 2014-22, the co-financing amounts to a maximum of EUR 2 500.

Co-financing of non-formal education and training

All trainings providing knowledge that is largely transferable to other companies or work positions (computer skills, languages, communication, etc.) is eligible. Eligible participants are regularly employed individual, self-employed, self-employed people in culture. The last tender (2018) enabled reimbursement of training costs of EUR 813 per person, who applied for the co-financing.

Textbooks, commute and school meals

The government funds preparation of textbooks for professional modules in VET programs, because of the lack of economic interest of publishing houses due to low number of students (Institute of the RS for VET - CPI coordinates the preparation of textbooks).

Most VET schools have an organised so-called school textbook fund with initial financial support of the State and offer students rental of textbooks for maximum one third of its cost. Economically weaker families can ask the school for a lower borrowing fee.

All upper-secondary schools have to organise one meal per day for students at school; the State subsidizes the cost for economically weaker families. All students have a subsidized cost for daily commute with their public transportation. Employers are not obliged to award VET students financially for their work-based learning period at their companies but are obligated to award apprentices. All student can apply for a student job, a form of employment adapted to their circumstances (short period, during school vacation, part-time etc.).

Co-financing the cost of work-based learning (WBL)

The aim of the programme is to offer companies support by co-financing the cost of the implementation of WBL for upper secondary VET programmes and higher vocational programmes. The application for co-financing is coordinated by the schools, while the employers are the beneficiaries. The programme is going to last until 2022.

The main providers of career guidance services are schools, the ESS and The Adult Education Guidance Centres (ISIO). Professional counsellors are employed in all settings. They provide a broad range of guidance services (e.g. personal, social and vocational).

Guidance in schools is provided by school counsellors who work in school counselling services. Most schools have at least one school counsellor, while larger schools have two or three. Career guidance is not a compulsory part of the education pathway. The National Education Institute is responsible for the professional framework for school counselling work and for the professional support for school counselling services.

Guidance in the ESS is provided by 59 local offices and career centres throughout Slovenia and is coordinated by the ESS.

Career counsellors in the ESS and career centres provide a guidance service (giving information, advice and counselling, e-counselling, group information sessions, job-search seminars and guidance in employment programmes) for unemployed (80%) and learners (15%). The ESS also provides limited guidance activities for school students in primary and secondary schools.

Guidance in higher education is provided by career centres, which organise and perform various activities for students, graduates and prospective employers. With the help of co-financing from the ESF, career centres have played an active role in the development and implementation of higher education activities since 2010. These activities are designed to contribute to the better recognition of students and future graduates, knowledge, key skills and competences, their successful transition to the labour market and higher employability.

The main tasks of career centres are activities focused on students and graduates to raise their awareness, and help them acquire and develop knowledge, skills and competences for lifelong learning, career development and establishing high quality and effective links between the worlds of knowledge creation and application.

Career centres enable young people to establish the professional contacts they need to help them in their search for a high standard of study practice, student work, traineeship and, last but not least, their first jobs. They cooperate in various ways with employers, representatives of work organisations, companies and public services.

Guidance in AE is provided by ISIOs and by other public educational organisation as a part of the learning process. ISIOs have been functioning under the auspices of fourteen regional Folk High Schools. They provide adults with free, impartial, confidential and high quality information and guidance for their education and learning. ISIOs are open to all adults in the region, but particular attention is given to those groups of adults who are marginalised, have more difficulties accessing learning and are less educated and less proactive about their education. Each year around 25 000 adults search for information, advice or counselling via ISIOs. Their work is supported by the SIAE.

In 2008, the education ministry established the Expert Group for Lifelong Career Guidance. The purpose of the group is to promote integration and effective collaboration between users, politicians and experts in the field of career guidance in Slovenia. The tasks of the expert group are to coordinate policies and monitor Slovenia's participation in international networks, to coordinate project preparation, monitor the implementation of training, prepare reports and proposals for solutions to policy makers, to consult on the preparation of policies, design a draft for a National Strategy, and to oversee existing and emerging quality systems and the annual reporting of the members to their institutions.

Please see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

Higher VET programmes,

WBL 40%

2 years

ISCED 554

Higher Vocational programmes leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 554 (višje strokovno, VSI)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

14

Usual completion grade

16

Usual entry age

19

Usual completion age

21

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

for full-time learners

N

for part-time learners

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

120

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

School-based learning - 40% of which (20 weeks) takes place as in-company training, for which a learning contract must be signed between the student, the school and the company. However, this is not an employment contract.

Learners can study full-time or part-time ([64]According to the instructions on customising part time study in higher vocational education (2012).).

Main providers

Higher vocational schools (which might be organisational part of a School centre), public and private.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

40%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • in-company training
  • practical training at school (in school estates or intercompany training centres – MIC or school workshops)
Main target groups

Young people, adults

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)
  • General or Vocational Matura, or
  • 3 years of working experiences, master craftsman, foreman or managerial examination and vocational matura general subject exams.
Assessment of learning outcomes

The diploma exam consists of a practically oriented diploma thesis and a thesis defence. As part of the thesis, the learner can also carry out project work or services with a theoretical defence.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Diploma of higher vocational education (diploma o višji strokovni izobrazbi), an integral part of which is a diploma supplement in Slovene and one official language of the European Union and title of Engineer or title that corresponds to the same level.

The certificate is nationally recognized by the education and labour authorities. With this certificate, someone can access the next level of education or enter the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Higher ballet dancer, Bionics engineer, Forestry and hunting engineer, Social network organiser, Woodworking engineer.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

First cycle professional and academic

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

N

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

In the school year 2018/19, 13% enrolled in Higher Vocational Education

A share of all students enrolled in tertiary level by the type of the programme, (%)

 

Source: Statistical Office of the Republic Slovenia (SURS).

 

Post-secondary

Programme Types
Not available

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 4

Mainly

School-based

Technical VET,

WBL 15%,

4 years

ISCED 354

Technical upper secondary programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (srednje strokovno izobraževanje, SSI)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

19

Length of a programme (years)

4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

240

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

Programmes are mainly school-based.

Approximately 15% of the programme is practical training, of which at least eight weeks (minimum 304 hours, depending on the programme) are in-company training. The rest is practical training at school workshops as a part of the vocational module.

Main providers

VET schools or school centre

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Approximately 15%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • in-company training
  • practical training at school (in school estates or intercompany training centres – MIC or school workshops)
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and adults.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

To enrol in Technical upper secondary education (SSI), successful completion of basic education or Short Vocational upper secondary education (NPI) is required.

Usually the learners are 15 years of age.

Specific programmes may have additional entry requirements.

Assessment of learning outcomes

SSI programmes are completed with a Vocational Matura (poklicna matura). It is composed of two parts, two exams each:

  • compulsory part: written and oral exam in (1) mother tongue and (2) theoretical-technical subject (depending on the programme);
  • elective part: oral and written exam in either (3) foreign language or maths, and (4) various forms of practical assignment as product, service or project work with a presentation or seminar, where the student can choose the topic in cooperation with teacher of vocational module.

The Vocational Matura examinations rules are the same for all candidates. The written parts of the first and third exams are external and provided by the National Examination Centre (NEC), whereas the second and fourth exams and all oral parts of the exams are carried out and assessed on the school level by the School Examination Boards for the Vocational Matura. The schools with the same programme may cooperate in the provision of the examination.

For the fourth exam, employer representative as an external member may be part of the examination board. This member is required to possess, as a minimum standard, technical upper secondary education in the appropriate field, at least five years of relevant professional experience, and to have met all the requirements for the Vocational Matura set by the National Committee for the Vocational Matura.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Upon passing the Vocational Matura examination, learners obtain a Vocational Matura Certificate (spričevalo o poklicni maturi).

Graduates also receive a Europass Certificate Supplement, which is individualised for each student and prepared in Slovenian and English language.

The Vocational Matura Certificate is nationally recognized by the education and labour authorities. With this certificate, someone can access the next level of education or enter the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Economic Technician, Electrotechnician, Pharmaceutical Technician, Geomining Technician, Nature Protection Technician, Environmental Technician, Nautical Technician, Electronic Communications Technician, Technician of Mechatronic

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

After completing the Vocational Matura, learners can gain entry into the labour market or continue their education in Higher vocational education (ISCED 554) programmes or the First Cycle Professional education (ISCED 655).

It is possible for students with a Vocational Matura to pass one additional exam (5th subject) from the General Matura subjects, which then enables learners to enrol in some of the First Cycle Academic programmes (ISCED 645).

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

In formal VET receiving a school leaving certificate through validation is not possible. What is possible is recognition of a part of a programme (module or a subject).

Only validation of non-formal knowledge for which you get a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) is possible.

General education subjects

Y

4-years Technical programmes contain minimally 2137 hours of general education subjects like, Slovene language, maths, foreign language, arts, social science subjects, natural science subjects and sports education ([55]In line with the guidelines for the preparation of the upper secondary programmes.).

Key competences

Y

The upper secondary programmes are competency based which means that there is an emphasis on development of key and professional competences. This is done by connecting the vocational – theoretical education with practical education and systematic inclusion of key competences.

The key competences are defined in nationally prescribed catalogues of knowledge. Schools may also include key competences in the open curriculum ([56]Schools must prepare 20 % of the curricula by themselves. Legislation delivers 80 % of the content of VET programmes, and the rest is a so-called ‘open curriculum’, which should be designed by schools in cooperation with local employers and local communities in accordance with local specifics or needs.), where competences, objectives and content may be added to existing content categories, or additional (new) content categories may be designed for the specialised part of the programme.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

All VET programmes are modularised since 2006.

Several modules together enable the acquisition of a vocational qualification.

Vocational modules are competence-based and include vocational theory and practical training at schools. For each vocational module, a catalogue of knowledge is prepared at a national level. It includes general objectives, vocational competences, informative and formative objectives of the vocational module.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

In the 2018/19 school year 41.9% of learners were enrolled in these programmes (share of all students enrolled in upper secondary programmes)

A share of all students enrolled in upper secondary level by the type of the programme, (%)

 

Source: Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia (SORS).

 

EQF 4

Mainly

school-based

technical VET,

WBL 10%,

2 years

ISCED 354

Vocational technical upper secondary education programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (poklicno tehniško izobraževanje, PTI)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

14

Usual entry age

18

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

120 credits

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

PTI is a school-based learning programme:

Approximately 10% of the programme is practical training, of which two weeks (76 hours) are in-company training. The rest is practical training at school workshops as a part of the vocational module.

Main providers

VET schools or School centre

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

10%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • in-company training (2 weeks - 76 hours);
  • practical training at school (in school estates, or intercompany training centres – MIC or school workshops).
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

To enrol in Vocational Technical Upper Secondary Education (PTI), successful completion of Vocational upper secondary education (SPI – ISCED 353) is required. Learners are usually 18 years of age.

Assessment of learning outcomes

PTI programmes are completed with a Vocational Matura (poklicna matura). It is composed of two parts, two exams each:

  • compulsory part: written and oral exam in (1) mother tongue and (2) theoretical-technical subject (depending on the programme);
  • elective part: oral and written exam in either (3) foreign language or maths, and (4) various forms of practical assignment as product, service or project work with a presentation or seminar, where the student can choose the topic in cooperation with teacher of vocational module.

The Vocational Matura examinations rules are the same for all candidates. The written parts of the first and third exams are external and provided by the National Examination Centre (NEC), whereas the second and fourth exams and all oral parts of the exams are carried out and assessed on the school level by the School Examination Boards for the Vocational Matura. The schools with the same programme may cooperate in the provision of the examination.

For the fourth exam, employer representative as an external member may be part of the examination board. This member is required to possess, as a minimum standard, technical upper secondary education in the appropriate field, at least five years of relevant professional experience, and to have met all the requirements for the Vocational Matura set by the National Committee for the Vocational Matura.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Upon passing the Vocational Matura examination learners obtain a Vocational Matura certificate (spričevalo o poklicni maturi).

Students also receive a Europass Certificate Supplement, which is individualised for each student and prepared in Slovenian and English language.

The Vocational Matura certificate is nationally recognized by the education and labour authorities. With this certificate, someone can access the next level of education or enter the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Automotive Service Technician, Economic Technician, Electrotechnician, Gastronomy, Geomining Technician, Construction Technician, Graphic Technician, Horticultural Technician

Not to be confused with the Technical upper secondary programmes, the name might be the same, but the programme is not.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

After passing the Vocational Matura, learners can gain entry into the labour market or continue their education in Higher vocational education (ISCED 554) programmes or First cycle professional education (ISCED 655).

It is possible for students with a Vocational Matura to pass one additional exam (5th subject) from the General Matura subjects, which then enables learners to enrol in some of the First cycle academic programmes (ISCED 645).

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

In formal VET receiving a school leaving certificate through validation is not possible. What is possible is recognition of a part of a programme (module or a subject).

Only validation of non-formal knowledge for which you get a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) is possible.

General education subjects

Y

These programmes contain ([57]In line with the guidelines for the preparation of the upper secondary programmes.) minimally 1178 hours of general education subjects like, Slovene language, maths, foreign language, art, social science subjects, natural science subjects and sport education.

Key competences

Y

The upper secondary programmes are competency based which means that there is an emphasis on development of key and professional competences. This is done by connecting the vocational – theoretical education with practical education and systematical inclusion of key competences.

The key competences are defined in nationally prescribed catalogues of knowledge. Schools may also include key competences in the open part of the curriculum, where competences, objectives and content may be added to existing content categories, or additional (new) content categories may be designed for the specialised part of the programme.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

All IVET programmes are modularised since 2006. Several modules together enable the acquisition of a vocational qualification.

Vocational modules are competence-based and include vocational theory and practical training at schools. For each vocational module, a catalogue of knowledge is prepared at a national level. It includes general objectives, vocational competences, informative and formative objectives of the vocational module.

 

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

In the 2018/2019 school year 4.6 % of learners were enrolled in the these programmes (share of all students enrolled in upper secondary programmes)

A share of all students enrolled in upper secondary level by the type of the programme, (%)

 

Source: Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia (SORS).

 

EQF 4

VET programmes with

School-based (WBL 20%) and

Apprenticeship (WBL 50%) paths,

3 years

ISCED 353

Vocational upper secondary education programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 353 (srednje poklicno izobraževanje, SPI)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

353

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

180 credits

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

SPI is mostly offered as school-based learning option. It includes 40% practical training, of which 24 weeks (912 hours) is in-company training ([58]The extent of work-based learning differs in some programs (e.g. in the programme Gastronomy and Hotel Services there are 29 weeks of work-based learning).
), which can be prolonged to up to 53 weeks if an individual learning contract is signed. Otherwise there are also collective contracts, which are more common.

In the school year 2017/18 the apprenticeship path has been implemented in selected SPI programmes as an option to the school based path.

Apprenticeship path: 50%-60% of the programme is undertaken at an employer, while at least 40% – general subjects and VET modules – is in schools. In 2019/20 school year there will be 21 schools and 12 SPI programmes included ([59]Those programmes are: metal shaper-toolmaker, mason, joiner, gastronomic and hotel services, painter-sign painter, glassmaker, bricklayer, machine engineering mechanic, industrial mechanic, electrician, paper maker, tinsmith-roofer.).

Main providers

VET schools or school centre

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

40% in school-based path

50-60% in apprenticeship path

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • in-company training;
  • practical training at school (in school estates or intercompany training centres – MIC or school workshops).

School based path:

It includes 40% practical training, 20% of which (24 weeks or 912 hours is in-company training.

For the implementation of in-company training, a learning contract must be signed. A learning contract contains the competences the learner should acquire and develop, the duration of the in-company training as well as the other responsibilities and obligations of both parties, and contains no elements of employment. A contract can be collective or individual. A collective one (more common) is usually concluded between the school, an employer and student or his/her legal guardians. An individual one is concluded between an employer and a student. Such a contract allows the WBL in companies to be extended to up to 53 weeks (in this case, practical training in school is reduced). Students with individual contracts are required to pass a mid-term test of practical skills in the second year, which is provided by the relevant chamber.

Apprenticeship path:

Apprenticeship path: 50%-60% of the programme is undertaken at an employer, while at least 40% – general subjects and VET modules – is in schools.

At the beginning of an apprenticeship, the plan for implementation of the apprenticeship is prepared in cooperation between the school and the company under the provision of the chamber and signed between student, and representatives of company, school and chamber. It includes the objectives and set of competences for WBL, distribution and schedule of education at the school and in the company, ways and modes of communication and cooperation between the company and school, information regarding the mid-term and final exam for the apprentice.

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

Some programmes are adjusted to the special needs students or the classes are bilingual for ethnically mixed areas.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

To enrol in Vocation Upper Secondary education (SPI), successful completion of basic education or Short Vocational Upper Secondary education (NPI) is required.

Usually the learners are 15 years of age.

In some cases, fulfilling specific conditions if required as well ([60]There is a special condition for entry into the geo-operator miner vocational upper secondary programme, i.e. psychophysical ability.).

Assessment of learning outcomes

SPI programmes (school-based and apprenticeship) are completed with a final exam. It comprises:

  • written and oral exam of mother tongue
  • the final practical assignment - a product or service with a presentation

An examination catalogue for final work with presentation for SPI programme is prepared on a national level.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Final examination certificate (spričevalo o zaključnem izpitu)

Students also receive Europass certificate supplement, which is individualised for each student and prepared in Slovenian and English language.

The Final examination certificate is nationally recognized by the education and labour authorities. With this certificate, someone can access the next level of education or enter the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

The apprenticeship programmes as of 2019/202 school year: metal shaper - toolmaker, mason, joiner, gastronomic and hotel services, painter – sign painter, glassmaker, bricklayer, machine engineering mechanic, industrial mechanic, electrician, paper maker, tinsmith – roofer.

Other:

Administrator, florist, chimney sweep, gastronomy and hotel services, baker.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Upon successful completion of the final exam, SPI graduates may be employed without the need for any further formal education or training (traineeships) or may continue their education.

SPI graduates have access to Vocational technical programmes (PTI).

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

In formal VET receiving a school leaving certificate through validation is not possible. What is possible is recognition of a part of a programme (module or a subject).

Only validation of non-formal knowledge for which you get a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) is possible.

General education subjects

Y

These programmes contain [61]In line with the guidelines for the preparation of the upper secondary programmes. minimally 1048 hours of general education subjects like, Slovene language, maths, foreign language, art, social science subjects, natural science subjects and sports education.

In the apprenticeship path the hours for sport education are decreased, as are the extracurricular hours (not included above).

Key competences

Y

The upper secondary programmes are competency based which means that there is an emphasis on development of key and professional competences. This is done by connecting the vocational – theoretical education with practical education and systematic inclusion of key competences.

The key competences are defined in nationally prescribed catalogues of knowledge. Schools may also include key competences in the open part of the curriculum, where competences, objectives and content may be added to existing content categories, or additional (new) content categories may be designed for the specialised part of the programme.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

In the last major VET reform (began in 2006), all IVET programmes were modularised. Several modules together enable the acquisition of a vocational qualification.

Vocational modules are competence-based and include vocational theory and practical training at schools. For each vocational module, a catalogue of knowledge is prepared at a national level. It includes general objectives, vocational competences, informative and formative objectives of the vocational module.

 

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

In the 2018/19 school year 16.7% of learners were enrolled in these programmes (share of all students enrolled in upper secondary programmes)

Share of all students enrolled in upper secondary level by the type of the programme, (%

 

Source: Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia (SORS).

 

EQF 3

Short VET

Programmes,

WBL 35%,

2 years

ISCED 353

Short Vocational Upper Secondary Education programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 353 (nižje poklicno izobraževanje, NPI)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

353

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

17

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

120 credits

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

NPI is offered as school-based learning option. It includes 35-40% practical training, of which 4 weeks (152 hours) is intended for in-company training.

Main providers

VET schools or School centres

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

35-40%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • in-company training
  • practical training at school (in school estates or intercompany training centres – MIC or school workshops)
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

NPI programmes qualify learners who have completed compulsory education (nine years of basic education) ([62]Attending nine years of basic education is obligatory; this requirement is deemed fulfilled when the learner is enrolled in basic education for nine years. Basic education is successfully completed when the learner achieves the minimum learning outcomes.) or completed basic education for special needs learners with lower educational standard.

Assessment of learning outcomes

NPI programmes are completed with a Final exam. It comprises the final work (a product or service) with a presentation.

An examination catalogue for final work with presentation for NPI programme is prepared on national level.

In the final examination learners demonstrate their acquired theoretical and practical knowledge, demonstrating that they are qualified for the profession.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Final examination certificate (Potrdilo o zaključnem izpitu)

Students also receive Europass certificate supplement, which is individualised for each student and prepared in Slovenian and English language.

This certificate is nationally recognized by the education and labour authorities. With this certificate, someone can access the next level of education or enter the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Woodworker (also adjusted for the hearing impaired)

Assistant construction worker, Biotechnology and Care Assistant, Assistant in Technology Processes (also for physically disabled students as well as hearing impaired)

Auxiliary Administrator (also for physically disabled students), Textile Reworker (also for or the hearing impaired and students with speech disorders).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Upon successful completion of the final exam, NPI graduates may be employed (as an assistant in several professions) or may continue their education by enrolling in Vocational Upper Secondary education (SPI).

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

In formal VET receiving a school leaving certificate through validation is not possible. What is possible is recognition of a part of a programme (module or a subject) exemption and shortened education.

Only validation of non-formal knowledge for which you get a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) is possible.

General education subjects

These programmes contain ([63]In line with the guidelines for the preparation of the upper secondary programmes.) minimally 675 hours of general education subjects like, Slovene language, maths, social and natural science and sports education.

Key competences

Y

The upper secondary programmes are competency based which means that there is an emphasis on development of key and professional competences. This is done by connecting the vocational - theoretical education with practical education and systematic inclusion of key competences.

The key competences are defined in nationally prescribed catalogues of knowledge. Schools may also include key competences in the open part of the curriculum, where competences, objectives and content may be added to existing content categories, or additional (new) content categories may be designed for the specialised part of the programme.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

All IVET programmes were modularised in 2006. Several modules together enable the acquisition of a vocational qualification.

Vocational modules are competence-based and include vocational theory and practical training at schools. For each vocational module, a catalogue of knowledge is prepared at a national level. It includes general objectives, vocational competences, informative and formative objectives of the vocational module.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

In the 2018/19 school year 1.4 % of learners were enrolled in these programmes (share of all students enrolled in upper secondary programmes)

A share of all students enrolled in upper secondary level by the type of the programme, (%)

 

Source: Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia (SORS).

 

EQF 4

Vocational

bridging courses,

1 year

ISCED 354

Vocational bridging programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (poklicni tečaj, PT)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

14

Usual completion grade

15

Usual entry age

19

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

1

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

for upper secondary learners,

N

for adults

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

60 credits

Exception: Computer technician 77 credits

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

The course is primarily intended for learners who wish to transfer for general education to vocational education

It is a route to technical education level, general education subjects are recognised, so the programme consists solely of technical modules with WBL.

Vocational course is available for 4 programmes, 34 weeks each:

  • Economic Technician
  • Gastronomy and Tourism
  • Preschool Education
  • Computer Technician
Main providers

Schools, Adult education providers

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies
  • Economic Technician 1150 hours
  • Gastronomy and Tourism 508 hours
  • Preschool Education 304 just in-company training
  • Computer Technician 418 hours
Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • Practical training at school
  • In-company practice
Main target groups

Young people, adults

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Successfully completed 4 years of upper-secondary general education (gimnazija) or technical school (without vocational matura).

Learners are usually 19 years of age.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Vocational bridging programmes are completed with a Vocational Matura (poklicna matura). It is composed of two parts, two exams each:

  • compulsory part: written and oral exam in mother tongue and theoretical-technical subject (depending on the programme)
  • elective part: oral and written exam in either foreign language (or second language in ethnically mixed area) or maths. The fourth exam is on various forms of practical assignment as product, service or projects work with a presentation or seminar, where the student can choose the topic in cooperation with teacher of vocational module.

Candidates who already successfully completed General Matura (after general upper-secondary education); do not have to undertake general subjects of Vocational Matura (mother tongue, foreign language and math). The Vocational Matura examinations rules are the same for all candidates. The written parts of the first and third exams are external and provided by the National Examination Centre (NEC), whereas the second and fourth exams and all oral parts of the exams are carried out and assessed on the school level by the School Examination Boards for the Vocational Matura. The schools with the same programme may cooperate in the provision of the examination.

For the fourth exam, employer representative as an external member may be part of the examination board. This member is required to possess, as a minimum standard, technical or professional upper secondary education in the appropriate field, at least five years of relevant professional experience, and to have met all the requirements for the vocational Matura set by the National Committee for the Vocational Matura.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Upon passing the examination, learners obtain a Vocational Matura certificate (spričevalo o poklicni maturi).

Students also receive a Europass certificate supplement, which is individualised for each student and prepared in Slovenian and English language. The certificate is nationally recognized by the education and labour authorities. With this certificate, someone can access the next level of education or enter the labour market.

Examples of qualifications
  • Economic Technician
  • Gastronomy and Tourism
  • Preschool Education
  • Computer Technician
Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Access to Vocational Matura, and afterwards Higher VET or First cycle professional education

Destination of graduates

Official data unavailable

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

In the 2018/19 school year 0.3 % of learners were enrolled in these programmes (share of all students enrolled in upper secondary programmes)

A share of all students enrolled in upper secondary level by the type of the programme, (%)

 

Source: Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia (SORS).

 

EQF 4

Craftsman/foreman/

shop manager exams

ISCED 354

Master craftsman, foreman and shop manager exams (mojstrski, delovodski ali poslovodni izpiti). EQF level 4, ISCED 354. Each exam is under the auspice of the individual chamber who organizes the exams. Candidates study independently, however preparatory courses may be prepared due to demand on the market and literature may be also offered.
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

Not applicable

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

Not applicable

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

N

  • Master craftsman EUR 1 284 – 1 683, depending on the profession. Currently the cost can be co-financed through the “Public tender for co-financing of tuition for raising educational levels”
  • Foreman: EUR 1 264.86
  • Shop manager: EUR 717.74
Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

60 credits

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

Independent study, however preparatory courses may be prepared due to demand on the market and literature may be also offered.

Main providers

The Chamber of Craft and Small Business of Slovenia conducts the master craftsman examination.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia conducts the foreman examination.

Slovenian Chamber of Commerce conducts shop manager exam.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Not applicable

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

Not applicable

Main target groups

The exams are intended for those with vocational upper secondary education (ISCED 353) and at least three years of relevant work experience.

Adults who would like to improve their level of education, and/or become a mentor to a student or an apprentice in a company.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

For Master Craftsman and Foreman:

  • Vocational education and at least three year of work experience in the exam profession
  • Technical education and two years of work experience in the exam profession
  • At least Higher VET education and one year of work experience.

For Shop manager:

Vocational education and three years of work experience

Assessment of learning outcomes

Master craftsman/foreman/shop manager exams are conducted based on the catalogues (approved by the Expert Council for VET) and carried out in accordance with the Rules on Master Craftsman’s Examinations and the Rules on Examinations for Foremen and Plant Manager (Ministry for Economy 2009, 2004).

The examinations consist of four units:

  • Practical unit
  • Specialised theoretical unit
  • Business – economics unit
  • Pedagogical – Andragogical unit

Each unit consists of one or several exams.

Diplomas/certificates provided

After passing one of the examinations, which tests the ability of a candidate to independently manage a shop, plant or pursues a master craftsman’s trade and provide practical instruction to learners, candidates obtain a master craftsman/foreman/shop manager certificate (spričevalo o opravljenem mojstrskem, delovodskem, poslovodskem izpitu) and gain technical upper secondary education. (ISCED 354).

Examples of qualifications

Master Craftsman: Master Confectioner, Master Joiner, Master Butcher, Master Beekeeper, Master Watchmaker

Foreman: Foreman in Electro energetics, Construction Foreman, Food Foreman

Shop manager

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Candidates who pass their exams gain a technical upper secondary education level (ISCED 354) and, by passing the general exams of the Vocational Matura, can enrol in higher vocational education programmes of first cycle professional

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Not applicable

Key competences

Not applicable

Application of learning outcomes approach

Not applicable

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available