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);
- 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.