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General themes

VET in Romania comprises the following main features:

  • VET has a double role: promoting economic and social development in the country; it supports addressing challenges linked to very low participation in lifelong learning and a high share of early leavers from education and training;
  • training standards were updated in 2016 to increase the relevance of qualifications to the labour market.

Since 2017/18, a dual form of initial VET has also been available; participation is growing but still low.

Distinctive features ([1]Cedefop (2019). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Romania. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8128_en.pdf
):

Distinctive features of initial VET are its inclusiveness, with pathways among different levels of learning and between vocational and more academic tracks, and its focus on easing progression and avoiding dead ends. Reflecting the double role of VET in promoting economic as well as social development, initial VET’s main goals are to ensure:

  • learners’ personal and professional development;
  • equal access opportunities to VET;
  • high-quality provision, organisation and development.

Initial VET qualifications are based on training standards which describe the training process in units of learning outcomes and include, for each unit, an assessment standard. The standards were revised in 2016, to help increase VET labour market relevance by ensuring a better match between qualifications and the reality of working life after graduation.

Creating sector committees, which represent the various sectors of the economy, made the involvement of social partners in designing and assessing vocational qualifications more systemic. To ease education planning, social partners also participate in partnerships at regional level (regional consortia) and local level (local committees for social partnership development in VET).

During the past decade, Romania has developed a system for validating non-formally or informally acquired skills and competences. In line with guidelines adopted by the National Authority for Qualifications, procedural arrangements have been put in place to create a network of providers acting as validation/assessment centres. These centres are active in more than half of the counties.

Investments to support the institutional development of education and training are still few.

The main challenges are unequal access to education and training and the high rate of early leaving; this particularly affects children in rural areas, from poor communities, and Roma. The 2015-20 Strategy to reduce early school leaving was developed to address these challenges, and a mechanism will be established for early warning and intervention that will help detect young learners at risk of leaving school.

Another challenge is to reduce youth unemployment by fostering skills acquisition and securing smooth and sustainable transitions from education and training to the labour market.

The National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development introduced the dual form as part of initial VET, leading to a level 3 EQF qualification; it will be extended to levels 4 and 5 EQF. The VET Strategy 2016-20 aims for better links between VET provision and labour market demand. In this respect the centre will launch in 2019 an ESF-funded project that will develop:

  • a mechanism for quality-assuring work-based learning and certification of learning outcomes;
  • a mechanism to adjust the education and training offer to labour market demand;
  • a monitoring system for initial VET graduates;
  • a mechanism for identifying, rewarding and promoting excellence in initial VET.

Continuing VET also addresses the unemployment challenge, with variable duration training programmes linked to labour market needs; depending on the EQF qualification level addressed, these can be from 180 hours for level 1 to 1 080 for level 4.

Participation in lifelong learning is the lowest in the EU and has slightly fallen since 2013. The attractiveness of CVET, and the participation of adults in it, are also of concern. The 2015-20 Strategy for lifelong learning is currently addressing these challenges with a number of actions to increase participation in training, improve recognition of prior learning (including non-formal and informal), increase the quality and relevance of training through a new act on quality assurance in adult learning, and coordinate stakeholder actions. In November 2018, the labour ministry developed a list of elementary occupations giving unskilled adults access to participation in programmes leading to qualifications at EQF level 1, such as six-month apprenticeship programmes.

Data from VET in Romania Spotlight 2019 ([2]Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Romania. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8128_en.pdf
).

Population in 2018: 19 530 631 ([3]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It decreased since 2013 by 2.4% due to negative natural growth and emigration ([4]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 25 in 2015 to 57 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.

Participation in secondary education has been decreasing, leading to optimisation of the school network: merging, and sometimes closing, schools.

Since 2012/13, the number of VET upper secondary schools has decreased by 8.5% ([6]INS-TEMPO-online database: education units, by categories of units, ownerships, macro regions, development regions and counties [SCL101A] at the beginning of school year; exclude ‘vocational’ high schools (military, theology, sports, music, visual arts, theatre, cultural heritage, choreography, pedagogy).). School network optimisation required offering additional transportation for learners; this issue is addressed by local authorities.

The country is multicultural. According to the most recent census, 88.9% of the population declared themselves as Romanians, 6.1% as ethnic Hungarians and 3% as Roma ([7]INS (2011). Recensământul Populaţiei şi al Locuinţelor [Census of population and housing].
http://www.recensamantromania.ro/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/REZULTATE-DEFINITIVE-RPL_2011.pdf
). Their residential density varies across the country.

For the Hungarian population enrolled in initial VET, teaching may also be provided in Hungarian.

Most companies are micro and small-sized.

Services are the main economic sector in terms of contribution to gross value added to the national economy. They accounted for 62.7% of all economic activities in 2017. The share of industry was 32.5% and agriculture 4.8% ([8]NB: Provisional data. Source: Eurostat table, nama_10_a10 [extracted 7.3.2019].).

The main export sectors are:

  • machinery/mechanical appliances, electronics, electrical equipment and its parts (28.4% of total export in 2017); 
  • transportation means and associated equipment (18.1%);
  • base metals and their products (8.5%).

Employers value formal qualifications that are often a prerequisite for hiring qualified staff.

Total unemployment ([9]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) in 2018: 3.3% (6.0% in EU 28); it decreased by 1.0 percentage point since 2008 ([10]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 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, but the gaps are small. The differences are bigger for the age group 15-24. There, people with higher qualifications (ISCED levels 5-8) were more exposed to unemployment than those with lower qualifications (ISCED levels 0-2) during the economic crisis years.

Unemployment levels have been steady since the pre-crisis period; ISCED level 5-8 graduates were affected the most by the crisis. In 2018, the unemployment rate of people with medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4), was lower compared to the pre-crisis years. It was similar to the total unemployment rate ([11]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) in Romania (3.3%).

The employment rate of 20 to 34-year-old VET graduates increased from 77.5% in 2014 to 79.5% 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 (+2.0pp) in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates at ISCED levels 3 and 4 in 2014-18 was slower compared to the increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates (+2.8 pp) in the same period in Romania ([13]NB: Breaks in time series. Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

However, the employment rate of 20-34 year-old VET graduates at ISCED levels 3 and 4 in 2018 in Romania (79.5%) was higher compared to the employment rate of all 20-34 year-old graduates in the same year (76.7%).

In 2018, the share of population aged 25 to 64 with upper secondary education including vocational education (ISCED levels 3 and 4) was 60.7%, the fourth highest in the EU.

The share of 25-64 year-olds with low or without education was 21.5%, slightly less than the EU average. 17.8% of the population had a higher education diploma.

 

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

56.2%

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 (57.9% in 2016 in upper secondary education), except at post-secondary level ([14]Source: Eurostat tables educ_uoe_enrs01, educ_uoe_enrs04 and educ_uoe_enrs07 [extracted 26.2.2019].).

Romanian initial VET offer is provided within:

  • the professional school (three-year VET programme, leading to level EQF level 3 qualification), and the dual initial VET that is currently provided at EQF level 3;
  • technological high schools / colleges (four-year technological programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (liceu tehnologic);
  • technological high schools / colleges (one- to three-year higher VET programmes leading to a professional qualification at EQF level 5, ISCED 453).

There are three main study fields: technical, services, natural resources and environmental protection.

Males prefer the technical field, whereas females enrol more often in services and natural resources and environmental protection.

The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased from 16.6% in 2009 to 16.4% in 2018. In 2009-18, it has been above the national target for 2020 of not more than 11.3% and the EU-28 average (10.6% in 2018).

 

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; 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].

 

Drop-out rate ([15]School dropout rate is the difference between the number of learners enrolled at the beginning and registered at the end of the same school year divided by the total number of learners enrolled at the beginning of the school year.) among VET learners is higher compared with general education and is predominant among groups at risk: young people in rural communities and/or from low-income families, Roma and other minorities, and those required to repeat the same grade because of poor performance. There are also disparities between regions. For example, in the north-east region drop-out is 23.6% compared with 11.3% in the west region. It is also 1.5 times higher in rural than in urban areas in lower secondary education ([16]Ministry of National Education (2015). Strategy to reduce early school leaving 2015-20, approved by Government Decision No 417/2015.
https://edu.ro/strategia-privind-reducerea-p%C4%83r%C4%83sirii-timpurii-%C8%99colii-%C3%AEn-rom%C3%A2nia
) ([17]Eurostat, edat_lfse_16 [extracted 17.9.2018].).

The 2015-20 strategy ([18]Ministry of National Education (2015). Strategy to reduce early school leaving 2015-20. Approved by Government Decision No 417/2015.
https://edu.ro/strategia-privind-reducerea-p%C4%83r%C4%83sirii-timpurii-%C8%99colii-%C3%AEn-rom%C3%A2nia
) aims to address the issue of early leaving from education and training. It combines prevention, intervention (especially at school and learner levels) and compensation measures.

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

 

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 Romania has decreased from 1.5% in 2014 to 0.9% in 2018. It is below the EU28 average and Romania’s objective 2020 of at least 10% ([19]https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/national-policies/eurydice/content/lifelong-learning-strategy-64_en)

Discussions between national policy makers and Cedefop ([20]On 26 and 27 September 2018, in Bucharest.) have revealed how citizens perceive participation in lifelong learning. While official certificates/diplomas are highly valued by learners and employers, non-formal training not offering such certificates is not always seen by learners as lifelong learning and is possibly not reported as such to the statistical authorities.

Participation in initial VET

 

Number of learners in public schools

 

 

2017/18

2013/14

Age

three-year programmes

(ISCED-P 352, învățământ profesional) ([21]The figures for 2013/14 relate to the two-year professional programmes organised after the ninth grade of technological high school that have been replaced starting with the school year 2014/15 with the current three-year professional programmes organised after grade 8.)

87 841

26 361

14/15-16/17

Out of which: short VET programmes (ISCED-P 352)

671

2 056

 

four-year technological programmes

(ISCED-P 354, liceu tehnologic)

266 031

376 963

14/15-18/19

four-year vocational programmes

(ISCED-P 354, EQF level 4)

50 915

49 395

14/15-18/19

Upper secondary education (total including general, vocational, technological and professional programmes)

715 151

786 815

17-18/19

post-secondary VET programmes (ISCED-P 453),

51 973

55 296

18/19+

Source: National Institute of Statistics, education statistics for school years 2013/14 and 2017/18): high school education at the beginning of school year; professional, post-high school and foremen school at the beginning of school year.

The education and training system comprises:

  • early education (ISCED level 0):
    • early pre-school level (age up to three);
    • pre-school education (age three to six);
  • primary education (ISCED level 1):
    • preparatory grade (age six to seven);
    • grades 1 to 4;
  • secondary education (ISCED levels 2 and 3):
    • lower secondary education (ISCED 2, grades 5 to 8) ([22]Also called ‘gymnasium’ (gimnaziu).)
    • upper secondary education (ISCED 3) ([23]Also called ‘secondary superior education’.), which comprises VET programmes;
  • post-secondary VET programmes (ISCED level 4) ([24]Postliceu.)
  • higher education (ISCED levels 5, 6, 7, and 8).

Early education is not compulsory and is divided into early pre-school level (age up to three), and pre-school education (age three to six).

Compulsory education starts at primary school (age six) and it includes primary, lower secondary and the first two years of upper secondary education (grades 9 and 10), for a total of 11 years.

Primary education is divided into a preparatory grade (age six to seven), and in grades 1 to 4 (ages 7 to 11). Secondary education is divided into lower secondary education (ISCED level 2, grades 5 to 8, ages 11 to 15) ([25]Gimnaziu.), and upper secondary education (ISCED level 3, from grade 9 and age 15 onwards).

After completing lower secondary education, learners continue their studies in upper secondary education, in any of the following programmes: general, vocational, technological or school-based VET.

Higher education has no formal VET programmes. However, some bachelor and master programmes are more practice/technical-oriented than others.

Ethnic minorities have the right to study in their mother tongue in all types, forms and levels of education (including tertiary). Special needs education is provided based on type and degree of needs identified, either in regular or specialised schools. School boards may decide to provide activities after classes. Private education and training is organised by education institutions, at all levels and forms, according to current legislation.

Initial and continuing VET are regulated by the government.

Initial VET

Initial VET is provided at upper secondary and post-secondary levels. Qualifications can be acquired in upper secondary VET through vocational, technological and school-based programmes.

At upper secondary level, there are four types of VET programme:

  • four-year technological programmes (liceu tehnologic, ISCED level 354). They offer graduates an upper secondary school-leaving diploma and the EQF level 4 ‘technician’ qualification ([26]A qualifications certificate and, after passing a qualifications examination, a Europass supplement to the certificate.);
  • four-year vocational programmes (liceu vocational, ISCED level 354). They provide graduates with a professional qualification in military, theology, sports, arts and pedagogy as well as with an upper secondary school-leaving diploma at EQF level 4; 
  • three-year school-based VET programmes (învățământ profesional, , ISCED level 352) ([27]Available since 2014/15, approved by the Education Minister Order No 3136/2014.). They may be offered as initial dual VET, and they provide graduates with a professional qualification ([28]A qualifications certificate and, after passing a qualifications exam, a Europass supplement to the certificate.) of ‘skilled worker’ at EQF level 3;
  • short VET programmes (stagii de practica, ISCED level 352). They provide learners, who have completed two years of a technological programme (grade 10) with a professional qualification at EQF level 3, after 720 hours of practical training.

Post-secondary VET provides one- to three-year higher VET programmes (ISCED level 453), leading to a professional qualification at EQF level 5.

Initial VET learners may choose between the following study forms:

  • daytime learning (most popular); 
  • evening classes ([29]The three-year professional programmes are organised only as daytime learning.);
  • work-based learning;
  • dual form.

Continuing VET

Continuing VET (also known as adult vocational training) ([30]Regulated by Government Ordinance No 129/2000 on adult vocational training and other acts.) is available for learners from age 16. Training programmes help develop competences acquired in the existing qualification, the acquisition of new competences in the same occupational area, the acquisition of fundamental/key competences or new technical competences, specific to a new occupation.

It is provided by authorised private and public training organisations ([31]Also by individuals (trainers for adults, formatori de adulti) acting as vocational training providers.) considering the needs of employers and basic skills needs of adults in the form of:

  • apprenticeship at workplace;
  • traineeship for higher education graduates;
  • adult training courses.

Apprenticeship at workplace

The public employment service has been managing continuing ‘apprenticeship at workplace’ programmes since 2005 ([32]Currently apprenticeships are provided according to Law No 279/2005 (last amendments in November 2018).). They are only available in continuing VET and are legally distinct from the dual form offered in initial VET. Apprenticeships offer adults (16+, minimum legal age for employment) a professional qualification at EQF levels 1 to 4.

Traineeship for higher education graduates

Traineeship for higher education graduates is regulated by the law on traineeships (No 335/2013) and the Labour Code (No 53/2003). After graduation from a higher education institution, learners may take six-month traineeship programmes to practice their profession in a real work environment. This does not apply in some professions, such as doctors, lawyers, and notaries, for whom special legislation provides different opportunities. This process is subsidised by the government. Employers may apply for the public employment service subsidy of approximately EUR 483 per month (RON 2 250) for each trainee for the duration of the programme.

Adult training courses

Adult training courses are offered by authorised training providers or by employers to adults willing to obtain a qualification, specialisation or key competences:

  • authorised courses for the unemployed, employees, people who resume work after maternity leave or long sickness leave, Roma, groups at risk and other groups;
  • courses organised by employers for their staff without issuing nationally recognised certificates;
  • internship and specialisation, including periods of learning abroad;
  • all other forms of training.

Since 2017/18, a dual form of ‘professional’ VET has also been available ([33]Based on the Government Emergency Ordinance No 81/2016.). In this, the municipality (local authority) engages in the partnership agreement alongside the standard contract concluded in regular school-based VET programmes between school, employer and learner (or legal representative). Companies are also obliged to pay dual VET learners a monthly allowance that is not less than that provided by the government. Other features are equal to work-based learning in school-based programmes. The share of learners in dual VET was 1.5% of the total VET population enrolled at upper secondary level in the school year 2017/18.

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

Governance in initial VET

Ministry of National Education

The education ministry designs and executes legislation in cooperation with stakeholders (academia, trade unions, teachers associations, students, parents, public administration, businesses and NGOs).

It approves financing and enrolment plans, it awards VET certificates (both in initial and continuing ([34]For continuing VET, certificates are awarded by both labour and education ministries.) VET), and it coordinates national exams.

It approves methodology for teacher enrolment, career advancement and transfers, and approves curricula through subordinate bodies, including school inspectorates.

National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development

The centre is accountable to the education ministry. It:

  • evaluates and suggests changes to policies and strategies, and coordinates their implementation;
  • coordinates the design, implementation and review of national curricula, assessment and certification for the initial VET component;
  • supervises the development of professional training standards for qualifications validated by sectoral committees (coordinated by the National Authority for Qualifications) and approved by the education ministry;
  • develops methodologies for the quality assurance and monitoring of programmes.

Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in Pre-university Education

It is in charge of authorisation (licence), accreditation and external quality evaluation of schools at pre-university education level, including initial VET schools.

Institute of Educational Sciences

It is a national institution for research, development, innovation and training in education and youth. It:

  • establishes and coordinates working groups for the development and review of the national curriculum component;
  • develops various learning and curriculum resources.

Regional consortia ( [35]According to Order of the Ministry of Education No 4456/2015 for the approval of general framework of organisation and functioning of consultative partnership structures in VET.)

They are advisory partnership bodies of the National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development. They update, implement and monitor regional education action plans.

County school inspectorates

They propose to the education ministry the VET enrolment plan for the next school year. This is based on proposals from schools and taking into consideration labour market needs, defined through direct requests from employers. The inspectorates also organise the national recruitment of teachers, including VET.

Local committees for development of social partnerships

They are advisory managerial structures that aim at improving VET relevance and quality.

Teaching staff resource houses( [36]Casa Corpului Didactic (CCD).)

They organise continuing teacher training. There is one in each county and in the municipality of Bucharest. The teaching staff resource houses are subordinated to the education ministry.

County centres for resources and education assistance

The centres support learners with special needs, including those in VET. There is one in each county and in Bucharest. The centres are under the control of the education ministry.

Local authorities

They:

  • support the implementation of national strategies on education;
  • ensure the joint financing of projects sponsored by the EU and other funds;
  • maintain school infrastructure.

VET school administration boards

They approve institutional development plans, local/school-based curricula and teacher training plans proposed by their schools.

Commissions for quality assurance and evaluation

In each VET school, a Quality Assurance and Evaluation Commission is appointed to supervise all quality assurance processes and activities, in line with the quality assurance law ([37]Law 87/2006.).

Governance in continuing VET

 

Ministry of Labour and Social Justice

The labour ministry develops and promotes policies in continuing VET, including training for the unemployed, apprenticeship at the workplace, actions for NEETs (not in employment, education and training) and traineeship for graduates of higher education.

It coordinates the authorisation of continuing VET providers, and it manages and updates the nomenclature of qualifications.

It also monitors, analyses, controls, and evaluates vocational training for the unemployed.

National and county agencies for employment

The National Agency for Employment coordinates vocational training of jobseekers at national level, carried out by the county employment agencies.

National Authority for Qualifications

It is responsible for:

  • the national qualifications framework;
  • the national registers of:
    • qualifications in higher education;
    • professional qualifications;
  • centres for the evaluation and certification of professional competences obtained outside formal education;
  • evaluators of competences, external evaluators and evaluators of evaluators.

The authority ensures the link between the standards used for defining qualifications and labour market needs, provides assistance for development of occupational standards, and registers the standards in the national register of professional qualifications in education.

The authority also approves the occupational standards for continuing VET, and endorses the professional training standards used in initial VET programmes.

County authorisation commissions

They are in charge of authorisation and monitoring of training providers, and they decide on the examination commissions at county level. County authorisation commissions are set up by the labour ministry.

Continuing VET providers

Adult vocational training providers carry out vocational training, after authorisation by the county commission ([38]In line with Government Ordinance No 129/2000.).

In 2009, total public expenditure on education and training reached 4.24% of GDP. It fell significantly in 2010-11 due to the economic crisis, and it reached 3.6% in 2017. The National Law on Education of 2011 targets 6%, but this objective is not likely to be achieved before 2025.

In 2018, per capita financing was as follows ([39]Approximate values, based on euro exchange rate.).

  • three-year ‘professional’/school-based programmes (all qualifications): EUR 1 115. Programmes offered in minority language(s): EUR 1 143; 
  • four-year technological programmes (all qualifications): EUR 1 057. Programmes offered in minority language(s): EUR 1 101;
  • four-year vocational programmes (except music and sports): EUR 1 330. Programmes offered in minority language(s): EUR 1 403.

The budget for education and training, including VET, is approved annually. The financing mechanism ([40]Government Decision No 72/2013 on the approval of the methodological norms for determining the standard cost per learner and the establishment of the basic financing of the State pre-university education units. This ensured from the State budget, from sums deducted from VAT through the local budgets, based on the standard cost per learner (last updated by Government Decision No 30/2018).) comprises per capita expenditure supplemented by coefficients (such as for rural/urban areas, number of students and climate area ([41]This refers to geographic areas with difficult weather conditions, especially during winter.), EQF level, type of programme, total number of learners in the school, teaching language).

Financing is provided to schools by the education ministry from the State budget (main source: value added tax) based on actual enrolment. It covers:

  • wages, allowances; 
  • staff continuous training;
  • learner assessment expenditure;
  • materials, services and maintenance.

The basic financing of a school unit is obtained by multiplying the standard cost per pupil by the specific coefficients mentioned above. This is approved annually by Government decision.

VET in public schools is free of charge. The State also provides financing for accredited private and religious education institutions to the same level as for public VET schools. In private education, institution learners pay fees.

Continuing VET is financed by ([42]According to Government Ordinance No 129/2000.):

  • employers/enterprises; 
  • unemployment insurance budget;
  • EU structural and cohesion instruments;
  • personal contributions;
  • other sources.

Jobseekers benefit from free continuing training financed by the unemployment insurance budget. The budget also provides subsidies to employers who provide continuing VET (apprenticeship, traineeship and vocational training programmes).

Initial VET

There are two teaching positions in initial VET:

  • teacher; 
  • practical training instructor ([43]Maistru instructor.).

Requirements for VET teachers are the same as for teachers in general education.

At upper secondary and post-secondary VET, teachers require both:

  • a master degree in a field related to the VET qualification(s) they teach;
  • two psycho-pedagogical modules, totalling 60 ECTS ([44]Ministry of National Education (2017). Order No 3850/2017 regarding the mandatory certification of teaching competences.), that can be obtained either during higher education studies (by enrolling for one module of 30 ECTs during the bachelor programme and for the second module of 30 ECTS during the master programme), or after graduation, by enrolling for both modules within a university department for Teacher Training.

Practical training instructors must have:

  • a post-secondary education diploma in a field related to the VET qualification(s) they teach;
  • psycho-pedagogical training of 30 ECTS provided by a higher education institution ([45]Usually by the Department for the Teaching Staff Training within an accredited higher education institution.).

To become a certified teacher, new employees have two class inspections and produce a professional portfolio; this is an elimination stage, followed by the so-called teacher-confirmation exam ([46]Definitivat.) in the subject they will teach and its methodology, 12 months after their initial employment. During this period, they are supported by an experienced mentor and enjoy the same rights as other teachers with a labour contract. If they fail to pass the exam after 12 months, they may have another two attempts within a five-year period. The share of qualified VET teachers and instructors (vocational theoretical subjects or practical training) is 98.75% of the total teaching staff in initial VET ([47]Based on data from National Institute of Statistics for the school year 2017/18.).

Continuing VET

Continuing vocational training programmes are provided by trainers with a profile or specialisation relevant to the training programme. They should have:

  • the national qualifications framework level of education equal to or higher than the level of the training programme they undertake; 
  • a qualification in the training programme's field of activity;
  • any form of certificate for the following occupations: instructor/trainer/trainer of trainer or the certificates for the teaching profession (60 ECTs ([48]Ministry of National Education (2017). Order No 3850/2017 regarding the mandatory certification of teaching competences.) ).

Continuing professional development of teachers and instructors is a right defined by the Law of National Education ([49]Education Law No 1/2011, Title IV, Chapter 1, Section 2: Initial and continuous teacher training; the teaching career.) that supports career advancement and professional development. Advancement in a teaching career is ensured by acquiring the relevant degrees:

  • the second teaching degree is awarded after at least four years of service (after passing the teacher-confirmation exam ([50]Definitivat.) ), undergoing at least two school inspections and passing an exam in methodology and main subject ([51]The Ministry of National Education provides rules for promotion and methodologies for the exams.); 
  • the first teaching degree is awarded after at least four years after awarding the second degree, undergoing at least two school inspections and defending orally a written thesis ([52]Regulation No 1/2011, Article 242.).

Professional development is compulsory by participation in accredited training courses (teachers have to gather minimum 90 ECTS every five years). The training is provided by public and private education institutions and by NGOs, and can be partially or fully covered by the State budget.

To supply the labour market with VET qualifications that are relevant, the National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development, supported by stakeholders and experts, has developed a strategic planning model for VET supply, approved by the education ministry.

Its main objective is to increase the contribution of VET in an efficient transition to an inclusive, participatory, competitive and knowledge-based economy that relies on innovation.

The term ‘strategic planning’ refers to a medium-term (five to seven years) forecast. The model analyses the relevance of supply to the (forecast) labour market demand from quantitative and qualitative perspectives and using the following sources:

  • regional education action plans; 
  • local (county) education action plans;
  • school action plans.

Regional education action plans (set out by the regional consortia) and local education action plans (by the local committees for development of social partnerships) include:

  • analysis of the regional/county context from the point of view of demographic, labour market and economic changes and forecast 
  • analysis of the capacity of VET to serve the identified needs of the labour market in the regional/county contexts;
  • priorities, targets and actions for VET development at regional/county level;
  • the contribution of higher education to regional development.

Desk research is carried out by regional consortia and members of local committees for development of social partnerships who analyse:

  • the national development plan; 
  • the national strategy for human resources development;
  • regional development plans;
  • VET strategies and action plans;
  • the national strategy for employment;
  • labour market and training demand and supply forecasts;
  • company surveys on short-term (six months) labour demand.

The model is based on decentralised decision-making at regional, county and local levels. Strategic planning is characterised by the collective action of multiple social partners, representing the interests of employers, professional associations, employees/trade unions, public administration, relevant government and civil society organisations.

The model combines top-down and bottom-up decision-making processes as demonstrated in the figure below, involving regional consortia at regional level, local committees for development of social partnerships at county level, and school boards at local area level.

 

Anticipating skills: planning levels

Source: National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development.

 

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([53]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European skills index ([54]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index)

Initial VET qualifications

Initial VET qualifications (excluding vocational programmes) are based on training standards. The national qualifications register currently comprises 131 qualifications at EQF level 3, 69 at EQF level 4 and 203 at EQF level 5.

 

Training standards ([55]Standard de pregatire profesionala) describe learning units consisting of learning outcomes and are based on occupational standards. Training standards are developed by representatives of companies from the corresponding sectors and of VET providers, with the methodological support of the National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development, endorsed by National Authority for Qualifications. They are validated by employers and other social partners through sectoral committees. The revision of standards is carried out at least every five years or at the request of economic operators.

 

From training needs to curricula

Source: National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development.

 

Training standards

Training standards play a key role in designing VET curricula, assessing learning outcomes and awarding qualification certificates.

To design the training standards and to establish units of learning outcomes in its structure, one or more occupational standards concerned with the qualification need to be analysed as a starting point.

Each training standard comprises:

  • introduction: description of qualification, occupation(s) the standard leads to; 
  • list of competences as in occupational standard(s) or considering recommendations of the sectoral committees, company representatives or other interested parties;
  • learning outcomes units (a learning unit consists of a coherent set of learning outcomes) for the qualification:
    • general (e.g. maths, language, sciences) and occupational learning outcomes; 
    • minimum equipment requirements for each learning outcome unit;
    • assessment standard for each learning outcome unit.

Core and local curriculum

Curricula for each qualification have two main components:

  • core curriculum designed at national level by education working groups; 
  • local (school) curriculum designed by schools and local businesses to adapt training to the requirements of the local and regional labour market.

The share of national and local curricula varies by qualification level. At EQF level 3, 20% of learning time is reserved for the local curriculum and 80% for national; at EQF level 4, the share is 30% for the local curriculum and 70% for national. At EQF level 5, all curricula are national.

Continuing VET qualifications

Continuing VET qualifications are based on occupational standards, validated by the sectoral committees and approved by the National Authority for Qualifications.

An occupational standard is a national instrument describing professional activities and requested abilities, skills and competences necessary to practise a specific occupation, defined in terms of autonomy and responsibility, and capacity to apply specific knowledge and understanding at the workplace.

Occupational standards stipulate two types of requirement:

  • requirements linked to labour market needs in terms of skills:
    • occupation;
    • identification number from the classification of occupations;
    • qualification level;
    • specific activities to be carried out at the workplace;
    • skills and competences required to practice the occupation;
  • requirements for provision of professional training:
    • established learning content;
    • duration of training and specific requirements for the assessment;
    • access/entry requirements;
    • necessary resources to organise the training.

 

Initial VET

At national level, the law on quality assurance of education ([56]Law No 87/2006.) sets a series of basic principles applicable for all levels of pre-university education, including initial VET: focusing on learning outcomes, promoting quality improvement, protecting education beneficiaries (learners as priority), centring on the internal evaluation process (self-assessment) of providers.

Quality assurance in initial VET comprises:

  • VET school self-assessment; 
  • programme and provider authorisation and accreditation;
  • programme and provider external evaluation;
  • programme external monitoring;
  • monitoring of the quality of vocational certification exams.

The Agency for Quality Assurance in Pre-university Education is responsible for authorisation, accreditation and external evaluation of pre-university education, including initial VET. Authorisation and accreditation are compulsory for each initial VET programme:

  • authorisation (licence) grants the right to carry out the education process and to organise admission to new education and training programmes. It gives the right to operate for up to three years ([57]Before June 2018, two years (Government Emergency Ordinance No 48/2018).) after first graduation from the programme ([58]Until the programme is accredited, examinations and issuing diploma/certificates take place in another (accredited) school.); 
  • accreditation follows authorisation and grants the right to issue diplomas/certificates recognised by the education ministry and to organise graduation/certification exams. Accreditation is compulsory after three years from the date of the first graduation from the programme.

Accreditation assures that providers and programmes meet standards approved by the government and defines requirements for:

  • institutional capacity: administrative/management structures, logistics, and human resources; 
  • education effectiveness: learning facilities, equipment, human resources, the quality of the locally developed curricula, the quality of the teaching-learning-evaluation processes, financial activity;
  • quality management (strategies and procedures for quality assurance, procedures concerning the design, monitoring and review of the school action plan.

Accreditation is granted by education ministry order, based on the recommendation of the quality assurance agency.

Every five years following accreditation, initial VET providers have to be externally evaluated by the quality assurance agency. External evaluation of VET providers and programmes is a multi-criteria assessment of the extent to which a VET provider and its programmes meet the quality standards. These standards describe the requirements that define an optimal level, compared to the accreditation standards that describe the minimum level for the existence and functioning of a VET programme/ provider.

School inspectorates offer guidance and support to VET providers about the quality assurance process in initial VET. It is called external monitoring and comprises:

  • validating VET provider self-assessment reports; 
  • verifying that quality requirements are met;
  • proposing and approving improvement measures to address the identified quality assurance issues.

Self-assessment of VET providers and programmes is based on a set of quality descriptors (input, process and output), grouped in seven areas, several of which have a direct effect on the content of training and the qualifications acquired:

  • quality management; 
  • resource management (physical and human);
  • design, development and revision of training programmes;
  • teaching, training and learning;
  • assessment and certification of learning;
  • evaluation and improvement of quality.

The the Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in Pre-university Education publishes on their website decisions containing evaluation reports and decisions approved by the education ministry.

Quality assurance in continuing VET

Quality assurance in continuing VET comprises:

  • programme and training provider authorisation; 
  • programme and training provider external evaluation;
  • training provider self-assessment;
  • programme external monitoring.

Authorisation of vocational training providers is coordinated by the labour ministry. It is made through county authorisation commissions and gives VET providers the right to issue qualification or graduation certificates with national recognition. To become authorised, training providers must meet certain eligibility conditions. Authorisation is based on the following criteria:

  • professional training programme; 
  • the resources needed to carry out the training programme;
  • experience of the training provider and results of previous work.

The training provider completes a self-assessment form that contains the name of the training programme, the occupation/qualification code, the level of qualification, the access conditions, the objectives expressed in the competences, the duration, the training plan, the evaluation modalities, the curriculum, the necessary material, and financial and human resources.

The external evaluation for authorisation is conducted by two independent specialists appointed by the county authorisation commissions. The specialists are selected from the list drawn up each year of those whose training and experience are directly related to the occupation for which authorisation is requested.

Authorisation of a training programme is based on occupational standards and professional training standards, recognised at national level and with a validity of four years.

Periodic monitoring of authorised training providers is carried out by two external specialists appointed by the county authorisation commission in the list of specialists drawn up annually. Legislation requires at least three monitoring visits during the four years that authorisation lasts.

The methodology for certification of adult vocational training includes procedures authorised vocational training providers to organise and conduct the adult vocational training programmes graduation examination; it also covers the procedures for issuing, managing and archiving certificates of qualification and graduation with national recognition. The examination committee includes two independent experts selected by the county authorisation commissions from the lists of specialists approved annually.

Validation of prior learning is done through assessment centres. The centres are local private or public bodies authorised to conduct validation procedures, for one or more occupations, developed at national level.

Since 2000, legislation on the national system for validation of non-formal and informal learning has been gradually developed and put in place ([59]Government Ordinance No129/2000, Article 45; Law of National Education No 1/2011, Article 340-34; Ministry of Education and Ministry of Labour joint Order No 468/2004 on validation procedures; Ministry of Education Order No 3629/2018 on national register of evaluators.). The National Authority for Qualifications, through the newly established National Centre for Accreditation, ([60]Government Emergency Ordinance No 49 of 26.6.2014.) coordinates and monitors the validation process. The centre is a specialised structure within the authority responsible for:

  • authorisation of the assessment centres and staff involved in validating non-formal and informal learning of adults; 
  • coordination of assessment centre activities;
  • quality assurance;
  • managing the national register of the authorised centres and national register of evaluators (evaluators of competences, evaluators of evaluators of competences, external evaluators).

The validation procedures consist of well-defined national standards, criteria and guidelines. The assessment centres develop their own assessment instruments, based on national occupational standards and/or training standards, to evaluate the candidates. They are responsible for providing validation services following specific requests by beneficiaries/candidates who can acquire full or partial qualifications at EQF levels 1, 2 and 3. Certificates of competences are nationally and internationally recognised. As part of the validation process, the centres offer information and counselling to the candidates. Currently, there are 37 fully functioning local assessment centres that can validate prior learning of candidates, mainly in services, construction and agriculture.

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database ([61]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/european-database-on-validation-of-non-formal-and-informal-learning).

Professional scholarship for three-year professional programmes

The professional scholarship is a national social protection programme ([62]Government Decision No 951/2017.) that offers approximately EUR 43 (RON 200) per month for all three-year professional programme learners. This scholarship can be combined with grants provided by training companies.

Dual VET allowance

In addition to a professional scholarship, dual VET learners receive at least approximately EUR 43 (RON 200) per month in allowances from the company where they undergo training. Companies also pay for work equipment for learners.

High school scholarship

High school scholarship is a national social protection programme that offers approximately EUR 54 (RON 250 since 2018/19) ([63]See the press release published on the Ministry of National Education portal: 114 million euros of European funds for education through ‘High school money’ and ‘professional bursa’ :
https://www.edu.ro/114-milioane-euro-fonduri-europene-pentru-educa%C8%9Bie-prin-%E2%80%9Ebani-de-liceu%E2%80%9D-%C8%99i-%E2%80%9Ebursa-profesional%C4%83%E2%80%9D?fbclid=IwAR2yMchXsNmQUn2wS4iTeOIzKKIjUrwbpqVYgytc4Z58OKLeTyVJuKMwA3U
) monthly financial support for upper secondary education learners in grades 9 to 12, including those in VET (technological and vocational programmes). The scholarship is linked to family income and is not available for all learners.

Euro 200 scholarship

The Euro 200 scholarship is a national programme that supports VET and other learners who otherwise cannot afford to buy a personal computer and develop their digital skills. The programme has been in place since 2004 under Law No 269/2004, granting financial aid based on social criteria. In 2018, the government spent more than EUR 2.6 million on this measure.

Local public transport

All formal education learners, including VET, receive a 50% discount for local public transportation (bus, subway and train) up to age 26. Local authorities may also partly reimburse the cost of a monthly pass for learners with special education needs, orphans or those from a children’s home/orphanage.

Apprenticeship and traineeship cost reimbursement

Employers who sign an apprenticeship ([64]Law No 279/2005 on apprenticeship.) or traineeship ([65]Law No 335/2013 on the completion of the traineeship for graduates of higher education.) contract may apply for subsidies to the public employment service ([66]ANOFM.). They can receive approximately EUR 483 (RON 2 250) per month for each apprentice/trainee for the entire duration of the programme (six months to three years in the case of apprenticeship programmes and six months in the case of traineeship). The subsidies are financed from the unemployment insurance budget or ESF.

Employers who employ graduates from initial education are eligible for a public employment service monthly grant of approximately EUR 483 (RON 2 250) for each graduate for a period of 12 or 18 months ([67]18 months for disabled people.), provided the employment is not terminated during 18 months from its start.

Tax exemption

Authorised VET providers are exempt from paying value added tax ([68]Article 58 of Government Ordinance No 129/2000 on Adult Vocational Training.) for training operations. Companies may also deduct the training costs from their taxable income ([69]Article 47 of Government Ordinance No 129/2000 on Adult Vocational Training.).

Two main strands of guidance and counselling are available, embedded in the:

  • education system (university and pre-university levels);
  • labour market services (e.g. public employment service).

Guidance and counselling include:

  • information necessary to plan, obtain and keep a job; 
  • education on careers;
  • counselling that helps understand individual goals, aspirations and the skills needed to find a job.

The national education law stipulates that:

  • in primary education, counselling is provided by the teacher in cooperation with parents and the school psychologist; 
  • in lower and upper secondary education, guidance and counselling is provided mainly by the pedagogical assistance offices in schools with more than 800 pupils.

In higher education, guidance and counselling is provided by career guidance and counselling centres in universities to aid the transition of graduates from education to work.

Most guidance and counselling staff in the education system are psychologists, teachers, sociologists and social workers. They are trained by the psychology, educational sciences, sociology and social work faculties. Many also follow post-graduate training modules in counselling and guidance, psychotherapy, management and school administration.

The Institute of Educational Sciences supports counsellors through research, working tools and information/training sessions. It is also a member of the Euroguidance network. In 2017, it published several supporting documents ([70]For example:
- contributions to two publications of the European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network: (a)
Euroguidance network’s highlights 2017: activities and achievements across Europe, (b)
Lifelong guidance policy development glossary;
- three reports on national curricula for guidance and counselling: (a) for grades 0-2, (b) for grades 5-8 and (c) for grades 9-11.
).

Within the initial VET system, the National Centre for Vocational Education and Training Development contributes career guidance and counselling activities aiming to increase the awareness of young students and their parents. The Job orientation - training in businesses and schools ([71]www.jobsproject.ro) project offers training to learners enrolled in the last years of lower secondary education and the first years of technological and professional VET programmes to help make well-informed decisions when choosing the VET or general pathway. The target groups also include teachers and companies involved in VET who need to meet the challenges of continuously changing labour markets.

The novelty in the approach to teaching is in using student-centred methods such as task-based learning, which places students in the centre of their own learning process by setting them clear tasks: identify, explore, ask questions, find answers, give solutions and seize and understand the interrelationships between life and work roles, work opportunities and career building processes.

Initially the project was piloted in two schools of one county (judet). In 2017, it expanded to 180 schools from 19 counties, involving more than 800 teachers and 9 000 pupils. The duration of the project has been extended until 2019.

Labour market services

County (judet) agencies for employment are responsible for guidance/counselling for the unemployed, older workers, young graduates, former convicts and ethnic minorities. They provide information about training and job opportunities to their target groups.

Employment agencies also draw up an individual job-matching plan for every jobseeker. Professional information and counselling is carried out in specialised centres, organised within the employment agencies, as well as by other centres and accredited public or private service suppliers, who conclude contracts with the employment agencies. With the consent of the employer, employees may benefit from guidance services for up to three months from accepting a new job.

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

Post-secondary

VET programmes,

WBL varies,

1-3 years

ISCED 453

One- to three-year higher VET programmes leading to a professional qualification at EQF level 5, ISCED 453
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

453

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

1-3

  
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?
  • State budget financed/free of charge
  • some are based on fees
Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • daytime learning 
  • evening classes
  • work-based learning
Main providers
  • technological schools;
  • colleges/universities ([83]Colleges and universities provide the programmes under independent departments. These departments are called post-secondary high schools.) ([84]Both provide the programmes at the request of companies or learners.)
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Varies

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

Secondary school graduates

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

Secondary school graduation; the baccalaureate certificate is not required.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a post-secondary VET programme, learners need to pass:

  • a written examination;
  • a practical examination;
  • project-based assessment.

All these steps form the examination for the professional qualification (EQF level 5).

All forms of examinations are learning-outcomes-oriented.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional qualification certificate EQF level 5 (specialised technician) (if they pass the examination) and the descriptive supplement of the certificate based on Europass.

(https://www.edu.ro/invatamant-postliceal)

Examples of qualifications

Nursing and pharmacy, optician, analyst programmer, meteorologist.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can access the labour market.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

N

However some general subjects may be part of these programmes and are usually strongly related to the domain. For example, for the qualification as general medical assistant the training standard includes theoretical subjects such as:

  • anatomy or elements of bio-chemistry that are taught in a more in-depth/specialised manner. Yet anatomy, biology, chemistry are also taught in high school, as part of general education subjects;
  • general psychology and also medical psychology, because they are necessary in their future work to know how to address patients;
  • elements of sociology, because they are necessary in their future work to know how to address patients;
  • communication in foreign language;
  • statistics/informatics/digital competences.

Other features are:

  • postsecondary education relies also on the training standards;
  • the training standards are learning-outcomes-oriented; 
  • the eight key competences are integrated in the training standards throughout the learning outcomes units/modules.
Key competences

Y

Some key competences are more emphasised, highly dependent on the qualification to be achieved; some of them are transversal.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

All initial VET programmes are based on training standards and are learning-outcomes-oriented; practical training greatly relies on the acquisition of learning outcomes.

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

11.4% ([85]2017/18)

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 3

School-based VET

Programmes,

WBL 50%,

3 years

ISCED 352

Three-year school-based VET programmes , including the initial dual VET, leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 352 (învățământ profesional)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

352

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

11

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

17

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

for grades 9 and 10

Grade 11 is not part of compulsory education.

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

Only in public schools, up to the age of 26

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • daytime learning (most popular)
  • work-based learning
  • dual form
Main providers
  • school-based VET schools (also known as ’professional schools’) or technological schools/colleges
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50% ([74]This is an average. Work-based learning is distributed as follows: 20% in the first year, 58% in the second and 72% in the third.)

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

Lower secondary education certificate

Assessment of learning outcomes

Assessment is made based on the performance criteria in the training standard.

Besides the formative assessment of work-based learning (portfolio of evidence and practical demonstration) and of classroom learning (combination of written and oral examination) learners need to pass a summative assessment at the end of the training programme.

For impartiality and validity of this final examination, teachers are not allowed to assess their own students.

The summative assessment for the certification of a qualification (EQF level 3) is performed by a team of external evaluators that form an independent examination committee including: director/deputy director of the VET school, vice-president who usually is a representative of social partners, evaluation members (representative from an employer in a related-field and a VET teacher from a school other than the one students come from). The certification exam consists of a practical test and the oral presentation of the final product.

All the requirements and regulations (the general frame) for the assessment and certification of qualification in initial VET are set by the Ministry of National Education.

Assessment is learning-outcomes-oriented, stands as the reference point in the certification and is also included in the training standards approved by the Ministry of Education.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive a professional qualification certificate as ‘skilled worker’ if they pass the qualification certification exam. Specifically, they receive a qualifications certificate and, after passing a qualifications exam, a Europass supplement to the certificate.

Graduates also receive a certificate attesting completion of compulsory education that allows access to the third year of EQF level 4 technological programmes.

Examples of qualifications

Cook, welder, baker, carpenter

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • access the labour market;
  • continue in the third year of EQF level 4 technological programmes.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

The Law of National education adopted all eight key competences within the curriculum for all learning programmes (general, vocational, technological and school-based VET programmes).

Initial VET programmes are delivered based on the general curriculum (common core for all learning programmes) and the training standards.

The training standards rely on the occupation standards.

The training standards are documents describing the competence units of a qualification that is an aggregated result of competences specific to one or more occupations, as defined by occupational standards.

In order to ensure the acquisition of the eight key competences, each training standard includes them to provide support for the general aim to ensure the personal and professional competence development of each learner.

Consequently, each training standard comprises:

  • introduction: description of qualification, occupation(s) the standard leads to;
  • list of competences as in occupational standard(s) or considering recommendations of the sectoral committees, company representatives or other interested parties;
  • learning outcomes units (a learning unit consists of a coherent set of learning outcomes) for the qualification:

(i) general (e.g. maths, language, sciences). They are common for all qualifications in the main three domains of initial VET (technical, services, agriculture and environment protection)

(ii) occupational / specialised learning outcomes. they are specific for each qualification supporting labour market immediate responsiveness.

(iii) they integrate the eight key competences

  1. communication in mother tongue (Romanian);
  2. communication in foreign language;
  3. mathematic competences and basic competences in science and technology;
  4. digital competence;
  5. learning to learn;
  6. social and civic competence;
  7. sense of initiative and entrepreneurship.

Based on the type of qualification, some of these competences are strongly emphasised, others are transversal throughout the learning/teaching process and based on the teaching methods (work in pairs, project-based tasks, scenarios for marketing, role play);

  • minimum equipment requirements for each learning outcome unit;
  • assessment standard for each learning outcome unit.
Application of learning outcomes approach

Initial VET programme is learning-outcomes-oriented and is based on the training standards that include this approach.

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

19.3% ([75]2017/18)

EQF 4

Technological programmes,

WBL 25%,

4 years

ISCED 354

Four-year technological programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (liceu tehnologic)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

4 ([76]The programmes comprise lower and higher cycles, two years for each.)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

for grades 9 and 10

Grades 11 and 12 are not part of compulsory education.

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

Only in public schools, up to the age of 26

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • daytime learning (most popular);
  • evening classes;
  • work-based learning.
Main providers
  • technological high schools
  • colleges
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=25%

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.

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

Lower secondary education certificate

Assessment of learning outcomes

Assessment is made based on the performance criteria in the training standard.

Besides the formative assessment of work-based learning (portfolio of evidence and practical demonstration) and of classroom learning (combination of written and oral examination) learners need to pass a summative assessment at the end of the training programme.

For impartiality and validity of this final examination, teachers are not allowed to assess their own students.

The summative assessment for the certification of a qualification is performed by a team of external evaluators that form an independent examination committee including: director/deputy director of the VET school, vice-president who usually is a representative of social partners, evaluation members (representative from an employer in a related-field and a VET teacher from a school other than the one students come from). The certification exam for qualification (EQF level 4) consists of elaboration and presentation of a project (which may include also the practical elaboration of a product).

All the requirements and regulations (the general frame) for the assessment and certification of qualification in initial VET are set by the Ministry of National Education.

Assessment is learning-outcomes-oriented, stands as the reference point in the certification, and is also included in the training standards that are approved by the education ministry.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive an upper secondary school-leaving diploma (baccalaureate diploma, if they undertake and pass the examination) and the EQF level 4 ‘technician’ qualification certificate (if they pass the qualification certification exam) in services, natural resources and environmental protection, and technical study fields. Specifically, they receive a qualifications certificate and, after passing a qualifications examination, a Europass supplement to the certificate.

Examples of qualifications

Technician in gastronomy, industrial design technician, computing technical supervisor, furniture designer.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • access the labour market;
  • enrol in higher education after passing the baccalaureate examination;
  • opt out after completing the first two years of the programme ([77]Lower cycle, part of compulsory education.) , and enrol in a short VET programme (ISCED level 352) offering a professional qualification only.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

The Law of National education adopted all eight key competences within the curriculum for all learning programmes (general, vocational, technological and school-based VET programmes).

Initial VET programmes are delivered based on the general curriculum (common core for all learning programmes) and the training standards.

The training standards are documents describing the competence units of a qualification that is an aggregated result of competences specific to one or more occupations, as defined by occupational standards.

In order to ensure the acquisition of the eight key competences, each training standard includes them as support; the general aim is to ensure the personal and professional competence development of each learner.

Consequently, each training standard comprises:

  • introduction: description of qualification, occupation(s) the standard leads to;
  • list of competences as in occupational standard(s) or considering recommendations of the sectoral committees, company representatives or other interested parties;
  • learning outcomes units (a learning unit consists of a coherent set of learning outcomes) for the qualification:

(i) general (e.g. maths, language, sciences). They are common for all qualifications in the main three domains of initial VET (technical, services, natural resources and environment protection)

(ii) occupational / specialised learning outcomes. They are specific for each qualification supporting labour market immediate responsiveness.

(iii) they integrate the eight key competences

  • communication in Romanian;
  • communication in foreign language;
  • mathematic competences and basic competences in science and technology;
  • digital competence;
  • learning to learn;
  • social and civic competence;
  • sense of initiative and entrepreneurship. Based on the type of qualification, some of these competences are strongly emphasised, others are transversal throughout the learning/teaching process and based on the teaching methods (work in pairs, project-based tasks, scenarios for marketing, role play);
  • minimum equipment requirements for each learning outcome unit;
  • assessment standard for each learning outcome unit.
Application of learning outcomes approach

All learning programmes in the pre-university system, including initial VET, are learning-outcomes-oriented and rely on the general curriculum documents; the initial VET training standards that is structured accordingly.

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

58.3% ([78]2017/18)

EQF 3

Short VET

programmes,

WBL 100%,

720 hours

ISCED 352

Short VET programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 352 (stagii de practica)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

352

Usual entry grade

It takes place after grade 10. But it is not considered as part of grade 11.

Usual completion grade

After grade 10 (for six months)

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

17

Length of a programme (years)

Six months

  
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

Only in public schools, up to the age of 26

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • work-based learning
Main providers
  • employers ([79]VET schools coordinate the programmes.)
  • school-based VET schools (also known as ’professional schools’)
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

100% ([80]I.e. 720 hours of work-based learning.)

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 for young and early leavers from education and training.

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

Students must have completed two years of a technological programme (completed grade 10).

Young and adult early leavers from education and training can also access these programmes after completing a second chance programme.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Certification of qualifications at EQF level 3 includes elaboration and presentation of a practical test (which may include also the practical elaboration of a product).

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive a professional qualification certificate at EQF level 3 (if they pass the qualification certification exam).

Examples of qualifications

Cook

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can access the labour market.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Some key competences are more emphasised, highly dependent on the qualification to be achieved.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

All initial VET programmes are learning-outcomes-oriented and practical training greatly relies on the acquisition of learning outcomes.

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

0.1% ([81]2017/18)

EQF 4

Vocational programmes,

WBL up to 15%,

4 years

ISCED 354

Four-year vocational programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (liceu vocational)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

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

Only in public schools, up to the age of 26

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • daytime learning (most popular)
  • practical learning in similar learning context / work-based learning
Main providers
  • high school
  • colleges
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

<=15%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • practice in institutions related to vocational domains:

(i) for those studying theology, for example, they go in a church and perform specific activities;

(ii) for those enrolled in military schools they go to military departments/units and perform specific, practical tasks.

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people.

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

Lower secondary education certificate

Assessment of learning outcomes

Project-based assessment

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive a professional qualification certificate in military, theology, sports, arts and pedagogy (if they pass the qualification certification exam) as well as an upper secondary school-leaving diploma, the baccalaureate diploma, if they enrol and pass the exam (the baccalaureate exam is not compulsory, but only after passing this exam learners may enrol in higher education/university programmes).

Examples of qualifications

Pedagogue, librarian, sports instructor, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • access the labour market;
  • enrol in higher education after passing the baccalaureate examination.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Some key competences are more emphasised, highly dependent on the qualification to be achieved.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

All initial VET programmes are learning-outcomes-oriented and practical training greatly relies on the acquisition of learning outcomes.

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

11.2% ([82]2017/18)

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 1 to 4

Training

for the employed

Training for the employed, leading to a qualification at EQF level 1 to 4
EQF level
1 to 4
ISCED-P 2011 level

Information not available

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

16+

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

The duration depends on the EQF level:

  • for EQF level 1: minimum 180 hours;
  • for EQF level 2: minimum 360 hours;
  • for EQF level 3: minimum 720 hours;
  • for EQF level 4: minimum 1 080 hours.

For participants that already have the necessary set of skills, the duration of the programme may be reduced by up to 50% following initial assessment.

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?
  • N (usually)
  • some of them are free of charge; depends on the employer if he takes over the costs and then if he requires the employee to perform activities for a minimum period of time.
Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • adult training courses
Main providers
  • authorised private and public training organisations / employers
  • individuals (trainers for adults ([86]Formatori de adulti.)) acting as vocational training providers
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=67%

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

In-company practice/training

Main target groups

Employees

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

Age 16+

Assessment of learning outcomes
  • practical tests or other types of assessment.
Diplomas/certificates provided

Qualification and graduation certificates ([87]Graduation certificates are issued at the end of around 40-hour specialisation programmes that do not provide learners with new qualification(s).)

Examples of qualifications

Information not available

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can access the labour market (it is more for upskilling/reskilling)

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

N

([88]There are some exceptions.)

Key competences

Key competences may be integrated/transversal.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Adult learning programmes are learning-outcomes-oriented.

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

Information not available

EQF 1 to 4

Training

for the unemployed

and other vulnerable groups

Training for the unemployed and other vulnerable groups, leading to a qualification at EQF level 1 to 4
EQF level
1 to 4
ISCED-P 2011 level

Not applicable

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

16+

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

The duration depends on the EQF level:

  • for EQF level 1: minimum 180 hours;
  • for EQF level 2: minimum 360 hours;
  • for EQF level 3: minimum 720 hours;
  • for EQF level 4: minimum 1 080 hours.

For participants that already have the necessary set of skills, the duration of the programme may be reduced by up to 50% following initial assessment.

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

(provided through the National Agency for Employment and its territorial units, one in each of the 42 counties)

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

Specialised theoretical knowledge (lectures) and practical training.

The duration depends on the EQF level:

  • for EQF level 1: minimum 180 hours;
  • for EQF level 2: minimum 360 hours;
  • for EQF level 3: minimum 720 hours;
  • for EQF level 4: minimum 1 080 hours.
Main providers
  • authorised private and public training organisations;
  • individuals (trainers for adults ([89]Formatori de adulti.)) acting as vocational training providers.
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=67%

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

Information not available

Main target groups

Unemployed and other vulnerable groups

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

There are no minimum entry requirements for education and training, but learners must be at least 16 years old to enrol.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Written test and practical training (portfolios)

Diplomas/certificates provided

Qualification and graduation certificates ([90]Graduation certificates are issued at the end of around 40-hour specialisation programmes that do not provide learners with new qualification(s).).

Examples of qualifications

Qualified worker in various economic fields

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can access the labour market.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

N

([91]There are some exceptions.)

Key competences

Key competences may be integrated.

Application of learning outcomes approach

These programmes are learning-outcomes-oriented.

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

Information not available

EQF 1 to 4

Apprenticeship

at workplace

for adults (16+),

WBL >70%

Apprenticeship at workplace for adults, leading to a qualification at EQF level 1 to 4
EQF level
1 to 4
ISCED-P 2011 level

Information not available

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

16+

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

The duration depends on the EQF level:

  • for EQF level 1: minimum 180 hours;
  • for EQF level 2: minimum 360 hours;
  • for EQF level 3: minimum 720 hours;
  • for EQF level 4: minimum 1 080 hours.

For participants that already have the necessary set of skills, the duration of the programme may be reduced by up to 50% following initial assessment.

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Apprenticeship is free of charge for the apprentice.

The apprentices conclude an apprenticeship contract with an employer and are remunerated while learning and working at the workplace.

The apprenticeship scheme is based on a special type of labour contract supporting work and vocational training at the workplace. Employers may apply for the public employment service subsidy of EUR~483 per month (RON 2250) for each apprentice for up to three years (the duration of the apprenticeship programme) from the unemployment insurance budget or ESF.

Training periods alternate with working time allocated for the tasks specified in the job description; the practical training of the apprentice is performed under the guidance and supervision of the training provider.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

No credit system in adult learning

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • apprenticeship at workplace
Main providers
  • authorised private and public training organisations / employers
  • individuals (trainers for adults ([92]Formatori de adulti.)) acting as vocational training providers
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=70

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

Adults (16+), the unemployed and early leavers from education and training

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

For each qualification level there are minimum entry requirements, but learners must be at least 16 years old.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners need to undertake a final, written examination and practical test in order to pass the professional qualification examination

Diplomas/certificates provided

Qualification and graduation certificates ([93]Graduation certificates are issued at the end of around 40-hour specialisation programmes that do not provide learners with new qualification(s).)

Examples of qualifications

Cook

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can access the labour market.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

N

([94]There are some exceptions.)

Key competences

Key competences may be integrated.

Application of learning outcomes approach

These programmes are learning-outcomes-oriented.

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

Information not available

General themes

VET in Slovakia comprises the following main features:

  • Employment rate of 20- to 34-year-old VET graduates has increased since 2014
  • Almost 7 out of 10 upper secondary learners are in VET programmes
  • The share of early leavers from education and training has significantly increased during the last decade
  • Dual VET was introduced in 2015/16 and it is gradually expanding
  • Participation in lifelong learning is well below the EU-28 average.

Distinctive features ([1]Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Slovakia. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8102_en.pdf
):

IVET is strongly State-regulated, predominantly school-based, combining provision of general education and developing key competences with vocational skills. A broad variety of upper secondary programmes contributes to high youth education attainment and, despite a negative trend, still low early leaving from education and training (8.6% in 2018).

Ties between VET schools and the business world loosened during the early period of economic transformation in the 1990s. Since then, with new legislation, involvement of social partners in VET has been increasing in programming, curriculum design and qualification award. Since 2015, social partners have been also more actively involved in VET governance.

Stronger engagement of the business world in informing VET schools about skill needs via sectoral (skills) councils ([2]Sectoral (skills) councils are a voluntary independent association of employers' representatives, trade union representatives, education institutions, state administration and self-government authorities regulated by the Act on Employment Services 5/2004.) should help IVET better adjust to a rapidly changing labour market.

Deterioration in many international indicators calls for action:

  • decreasing performance in reading, mathematics and science, visible from PISA ([3]In mathematics, from 492 in 2006 to 475 in 2015. In science, from 488 in 2006 to 461 in 2015. In reading, from 466 in 2006 to 453 in 2015. 2015 PISA overall results are on average 463 points, far below the OECD average (492) and well below the national target of 505 percentage points set by the government.), negatively affects participation in mechanical and electrical engineering VET programmes, leading to shortage of supply of technically skilled graduates in the national economy;
  • early leaving from education and training data of Eastern Slovakia deteriorated extremely, being in a long-term over the EU 2020 target;
  • participation in lifelong learning is well below the EU-28 average (4.0% compared to 11.1% in 2018).

The 2012 European Council country-specific recommendations have identified three areas for action:

  • strengthening labour market relevance of education and vocational training;
  • improving education of vulnerable groups, including Roma;
  • ensuring labour market reintegration of adults.

They are still relevant: ESF projects have had some impact, but more time is needed to address them fully. In spite of substantial progress in reforming VET since 2008, systemic changes, including additional investments, are needed to:

  • secure up-to-date equipment in VET schools to improve training quality;
  • increase the attractiveness of the VET teacher and trainer profession and improve their in-service training substantially;
  • strengthen VET research and labour market analysis, focusing on graduate tracking and identification of transferable skills, to improve understanding of labour market and skill needs;
  • support more systematically the mobility of learners, VET staff and experts, and learn from international expertise and experiences to mainstream activities;
  • bridge the worlds of learning and work by ensuring that experts with a business background can inform VET schools on emerging skill needs, particularly by reinforcing the position and role of sectoral (skills) councils;
  • make the qualification system more flexible through continuous revision (linked to the work on the Slovak qualifications framework) and development of validation procedures for non-formal and informal learning.

Information based on VET in Slovakia Spotlight 2016 ([4]Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Slovakia. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8102_en.pdf
).

Population in 2018: 5 443 120 ([5]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It increased by 0.6% since 2013 ([6]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 6.5.2019].).

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

An old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 20 in 2015 to 59 in 2060 ([7]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].

 

Life-births decreased severely from 73 256 in 1993 to 50 841 in 2002, followed by a slight increase up to 57 639 in 2018. Population decline resulted in a surplus of places in schools and caused intensifying competition among education providers. The number of secondary VET schools decreased from 506 in 2008/09 to 444 in 2018/19 (performing arts schools excluded).

Furthermore, a shift towards ISCED 354 programmes, entitling to apply for higher education, to the detriment of ISCED 353 programmes leads to a lack of skilled workers in some professions, and craftsmen in particular: only 22% of upper secondary VET graduates completed ISCED 353 programmes, while 78% completed ISCED 354 programmes in 2017.

The population is composed of Slovaks (80.7%), Hungarians (8.5%), Roma (2%) and other minorities (less than 1% each) ([8]Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic (2011). Collecting statistical data based on ethnicity is forbidden. According to estimations by experts, only 25% of ethnic Roma declared themselves as belonging to the Roma nationality.). About three quarters of ethnic Roma declared other than Roma nationality. Hungarian minority is served by schools with Hungarian as the language of instruction from kindergartens to higher education; provision of VET is limited compared to general education. In 2018, there were 444 VET schools, of which 392 had Slovak as the language of instruction, 25 had Hungarian and Slovak, 12 had Hungarian, 13 had English and Slovak and 2 had German and Slovak.

203 092 out of the 219 466 companies registered in Slovakia as of 31 December 2017 were micro-sized (0-9 employees).

26.2% are employed in large enterprises, while 73.8% in other enterprises; 44.7% of employees are working in micro companies, 13% in small companies and 15.1% with medium-sized companies ([9]Slovak Business Agency (2018). Malé a stredné podnikanie v číslach v roku 2017 [Small and medium-sized enterprises in numbers in 2017]. Bratislava: SBA.
http://www.sbagency.sk/sites/default/files/msp_v_cislach_v_roku_2017_infograf_sep2018.pdf
).

Main economic sectors:

  • manufacturing;
  • wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles;
  • construction;
  • health and social work activities;
  • transportation and storage.

The Slovak economy is among the most open economies in the EU heavily depending on exporting industry products, mostly automotive; the country is a world leader in manufacturing of cars per capita.

The two faster growing sectors are professional, scientific and technical activities (+28.8%) and health sector and social work activities (+21.3%).

There are 290 professions in Slovakia, according to the EU regulated professions database ([10]http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/regprof/index.cfm?action=regprofs&id_country=25&quid=1&mode=asc&maxRows=*#top).

Trade Licencing Act (455/1991) is very relevant for secondary VET, as it stipulates preconditions for starting a business via listing the crafts requiring a certificate of apprenticeship (or fulfilling other prescribed requirements) and a list of trades requiring a variety of certificates of proficiency, often in addition to formal education certificates.

Furthermore, there is a variety of sectoral legislation prescribing requirements for entering respective working positions, sometimes set in cooperation with professional organisations.

A full list of regulated professions is available (in Slovak) at the education ministry portal ([11]http://www.minedu.sk/data/files/8184_7711_6972_5996_revizia_zoznam-rp-2018-secure-08012018.xls).

 

Total unemployment ([12]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) (2018): 5.9% (6.0% in EU28); it decreased by 2.6 percentage points since 2008 ([13]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 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. Unemployment of low-qualified has been in decrease since 2015. The crisis influenced medium- and high-qualified young people more than low-qualified.

In 2018, the unemployment rate of people with medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4) was lower than in the pre-crisis years. Furthermore, the unemployment rate of people with medium-level qualifications aged 15 to 24 is significantly lower than the unemployment rate of tertiary education graduated aged 15 to 24.

Many low-skilled Roma living in segregated communities of low living standard can hardly escape the poverty trap without specific interventions. Emerging social enterprises is one of policy tools that are now targeting disadvantaged groups.

Employment rate of 20- to 34-year-old VET graduates increased from 73.8% in 2014 to 82.1% in 2018.

 

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 (+8.3 pp) in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates in 2014-18 was higher compared to the increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates, from 69.1% to 76.3% (+7.2 pp) in the same period ([14]NB: Breaks in time series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].). Employment rate is negatively affected by the low employment rate of people without at least lower secondary education.

Eurostat data show that in Slovakia the share of medium-level educated population in the age group 25 to 64 is the second highest in EU (67.1% compared to 45.7% in EU28), while the share of low educated is the fourth lowest (8.3% compared to 21.8% in EU28). When it comes to high educated, Slovakia however performs below the average of EU (24.6% compared to 32.2% in EU28), despite substantial growth in the share of young tertiary educated people (37.7% compared to 37.1% in EU28 in the age group 30 to 34 in 2018) ([15]Source: Eurostat, table t2020_41 [extracted 10.5.2019].).

 

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

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; low reliability for ‘No response’ in Czech Republic, Iceland, Poland, and Latvia.
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 2013-17

 

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

2013

1.5%

68.1%

100.0%

2017

2.6%

68.9%

100.0%

Change 2013-2017

+1.1 pp

+0.8 pp

-

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

 

In 2018/19, in full-time programmes 45% of VET learners were females, while in part-time programmes females were 66% ([16]Organised as evening classes for adults.).

In textile and clothing and teacher training (including child and social care) full-time programmes more than 90% of learners are females, while in healthcare and veterinary females are more than 80%. In technical studies, such as mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, wood-processing and ICT more than 90% of learners are males, while in construction more than 80% are males.

60% of part-time learners participate in healthcare, teacher training and economics and organisation programmes, which are programmes that females chose more often. Professions related to these studies are also more strictly regulated compared to others.

The share of early leavers from education and training has increased from 4.9% in 2009 to 8.6% in 2018. Although it is still better than the EU-28 average of 10.6%, it is well above the national target for 2020 of not more than 6.0%.

 

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; 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].

 

Moreover in 2017, the share of female early leavers from education and training was for the first time in history above the EU 2020 target of not more than 10%, increasing from below 5% in 2008-2012 to 10.3% in 2017 ([17]Eurostat LFS edat_lfse_14 [extracted 16.5.2019].). Severe regional disparities are visible from 14.7% of early leavers in NUTS 2 region – Eastern Slovakia.

 

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 Slovakia has remained stable, but very low in the past decade. In 2018, it reached 4.0%, still well below the EU-28 average (11.1%).

Share of ISCED 2 to 5 VET learners by age groups (%)

Age group

2012/13

2013/14

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

%

%

%

%

%

0-19

44.8

31.4

31.2

30.9

30.2

20-24

94.0

95.4

94.6

93.8

94.2

25+

95.3

97.1

96.8

96.4

96.9

Source: Slovak Centre of Scientific and Technical Information data, tabled by ReferNet Slovakia.

While the share of VET learners in the youngest age cohort decreases, it is only slightly changing in other age cohorts. Comparably high influenced by post-secondary programme structure, within which only VET programmes are offered. Adults prefer VET over general education, or enter tertiary education.

The education and training system comprises:

  • pre-school education (ISCED 0);
  • integrated primary (four years, ISCED 1; EQF 1) and lower secondary general education (five years, ISCED 2; EQF 2), nationally referred to as basic education);
  • lower secondary VET (ISCED 2; EQF 2-3);
  • upper secondary general education (ISCED 3; EQF 4);
  • upper secondary VET (ISCED 3; EQF 3 and 4);
  • post-secondary non-tertiary VET (ISCED 4 and 5; EQF 4 and 5);
  • academic higher (tertiary) education (ISCED 6 to 8; EQF 6 to 8).

Pre-school education starts at the age of three.

Compulsory education starts at the age of six and includes nine years of basic education (integrating four-year primary and five-year lower secondary education) and at least one year of upper secondary education. This mechanism is intended to prevent leaving education early, as learners usually stay at upper secondary education after the mandatory first year.

Upper secondary general education can take the form of either an eight-year programme starting after completing grade five of basic education ([18]From 2019/20, only 5% of respective age cohort will be allowed to enter this programme. Shares may differ among regions based on a decision of the education ministry.) or of a four-year programme after completing basic education (bilingual programmes are five years). Upper secondary general education graduates receive the maturita school leaving certificate allowing access to higher education.

Higher (tertiary) education comprises bachelor, master (or integrated bachelor and master) and PhD programmes. Labour market oriented bachelor programmes emerged, supported by the ESF. Professional bachelor studies in mechanical engineering started in 2017/18. Tertiary educational attainment in the age group 30-34 is in steep increase, it has almost tripled since entering the EU: from 12.9% in 2004 to 37.7% in 2018.

Special programmes cater for learners with special education needs.

The Slovak education and training system is still based on the 1970s model aimed at providing all learners with at least upper-secondary education, mainly through school-based VET. In addition to work-based learning backed by school-company contracts, ‘dual’ VET providing work-based learning in companies based on contracts with individual learners was introduced in 2015 ([19]Act on VET 61/2015 amended in 2018.
https://www.slov-lex.sk/pravne-predpisy/SK/ZZ/2015/61/20180901
).

VET at lower, upper and post-secondary levels is delivered by secondary VET schools (SOŠ, stredná odborná škola). VET schools, similarly to general education schools, are highly regulated through legislation and detailed curricula, although they are legal entities and are also obliged to adjust their curricula within the limits set by the national curricula. Most VET schools are public.

VET can be currently offered as:

  • school-based programmes with practical training (mainly) in school workshops;
  • dual VET, where learners (or their parents) have contracts with enterprises for provision of in-company training, while companies and schools have agreements on provision of dual VET specifying in detail duties of both partners;
  • mixed scheme, with school-based learning along with training provided by a company within the framework of school-company contract specifying numbers of trainees and a share of training performed by the company.

Most VET programmes are provided at upper secondary level. The strong majority of secondary VET graduates receive the maturita school leaving certificate allowing access to higher education. There are programmes with extended component of practice that offer the maturita school leaving certificate and a certificate of apprenticeship.

Three-year VET programmes, regardless whether school-based or offered in cooperation with companies offer a VET qualification (nationally referred to as certificate of apprenticeship). Graduates of these programmes can enter a two-year programme to receive a maturita school leaving certificate.

Participation in lower secondary VET and post-secondary programmes is low.

Dual VET was introduced in 2015/16. Companies can sign individual training contracts with learners for in-company practical training, complemented with an institutional contract between secondary VET schools (SOŠ) and companies. Learners are considered VET students and not employees. Training in dual VET is offered by company instructors in specific company training premises, but can be complemented also by training in school workshops or other companies’ premises.

Four-year (occasionally five-year) and three-year (occasionally four-year) upper-secondary programmes (ISCED 354 and 353 respectively) can be offered as school-based or ‘dual VET’. From 2018/19 school-based and ‘dual VET’ will be based on the same national curricula. Companies participating in dual VET are expected to contribute to respective school educational programme development. Although enrolment in dual VET has been gradually increasing, its overall share is still (at the time of reporting) less than 3% of all learners starting upper secondary level ([20]See information about introduced changes in: Slovakia: making dual VET more attractive. Cedefop news on VET.http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/news-and-press/news/slovakia-making-dual-vet-more-attractive).

Institutions of VET governance

A new VET governance architecture was created in 2009 and revised in 2015 and 2018 ([21]Act on VET 184/2009 and Act on VET 61/2015 as amended.). It consists of the following coordinating and advisory bodies:

  • National VET Council is the coordinating body affiliated to the government ([22]http://radavladyovp.sk/) that discusses VET policy, such as regional and sectoral strategies. 18 working groups covering selected study fields support adjustments in VET programmes better matching them to labour market needs. A working group for the verification of labour market needs focuses on assessing self-governing regions activities related to secondary VET regulation;
  • Regional VET Councils are composed of representatives of state, self-government, employers and employees. They are advisory bodies to the heads of the eight self-governing regions; they prepare regional VET policy documents, discuss number of places to be offered in respective schools and programmes, etc.;
  • Sectoral (skills) councils ([23]Sectoral (skills) councils are a voluntary independent association of employers' representatives, trade union representatives, education institutions, state administration and self-government authorities regulated by the Act on Employment Services(5/2004.They were originally established as working groups participating in creation of the National System of Occupations.) are voluntary independent associations of employers' representatives, trade union representatives, education institutions, state administration and self-government authorities regulated by the Act on Employment Services (5/2004). The Alliance of Sectoral Councils’ is their umbrella organisation ([24]https://www.sustavapovolani.sk/aliancia_sr). Sectoral (skills) councils provide expertise to policy-makers concerning labour market needs in terms of knowledge, skills and competences required in occupations and cater for delivery of occupational standards for labour sector-driven information system on the labour market ([25]www.istp.sk), and support the creation of a national qualifications system (NQS) ([26]Responsibility for NQS and Slovak qualifications framework lies with the education ministry.);
  • Sectoral assignees (institutions of the world of work selected from chambers and employers’ associations) represent employers’ interests in each VET study field as professional counterparts to education authorities and experts. Sectoral assignees should play a prominent role in adjusting VET to labour market needs and in assuring its quality. The Employer Council for Dual VET ([27]The Employer Council for Dual VET is set by the Act on VET 61/2015:
    http://www.rzsdv.sk/wordpress/
    ) encompassing sectoral assignees involved in dual VET, coordinates their activities;
  • Expert groups and ad hoc working groups affiliated to the State Institute of Vocational Education covering respective fields of study focus on diverse curricula issues and conditions of provision of VET (material, spatial and equipment-related requirements).

Schools are headed by directors appointed by school establishers for a five-year term, based on a tender organised by a school board (rada školy). School board can also have impact on development plans of schools and can also suggest dismissing of the director. School board is as a rule composed of 11 members representing school staff, parents, school establisher, students, and, if requested, also sectoral assignee. School director is not a member of school board.

In 2018, there were 444 VET schools, out of which 87 private and 17 church-affiliated. The rest of schools are established by self-governing regions with few exemptions of schools established by the state.

Since 2009, the influence of employers on VET policy has been gradually increased also concerning school-based VET. VET schools must submit their school educational programmes (autonomously elaborated school curricula reflecting and adjusting national curricula to local/regional needs) to sectoral assignees unless they were elaborated in cooperation with companies participating in dual VET or discussed with companies offering practical training within the mixed scheme ([28]VET can be also offered as a mixed scheme of school-based learning along with training provided by a company within the framework of school-company contract specifying numbers of trainees and a share of training performed by the company.). In 2017/18, sectoral assignees for the first time checked assignments related to school leaving examinations. There is also a strong engagement of sectoral assignees in dual VET in assessment and certification of companies offering practical training and in training of in-company trainers (instructors).

Regulation of secondary VET

Self-governing regions are responsible for maintaining public secondary VET schools and for regulating inflow of learners into schools in their territory. VET programmes and numbers of students are strictly regulated to address regional labour market needs, based on macroeconomic forecasting data and opinion of regional stakeholders. The education ministry supports schools by providing regulations for content, pedagogy, qualification of staff, etc. Some VET schools are under the responsibility of the interior and health ministries.

In relative terms, total public expenditure on education in Slovakia is lower than in EU28. Furthermore, substantial inflow comes from the European structural and investment funds.

 

General government expenditure on education in Slovakia and EU28

Source: Education ministry, finance ministry; Eurostat, table gov_10a_exp; last update: 17.8.2018 [extracted 23.8.2018].

 

Expenditure on secondary education including secondary VET (0.8% of GDP) is substantially lower than the EU28 average (1.9% of GDP). Despite more generous support for dual VET, financing secondary education and in particular VET remains critically low.

Initial VET

Initial VET, regardless of ownership, is subsidised from the state budget. In 2019, per capita contribution varied between EUR 1 917.68 to EUR 3 657.65 depending on school category ([29]Detailed data on financing of schools in respective 15 categories are available at
http://www.minedu.sk/data/att/12740.pdf
). This type of financing often forces VET schools to attract learners regardless of their capabilities and personal aspirations. Capital expenditures are covered by bodies that establish schools (and by the State in case of emergency). Schools must attract additional funding to complement state subsidy. Private schools can collect fees. Church-affiliated VET schools can benefit from parish community donations.

Continuing VET

Continuing VET is funded by learners, employers, public finances and EU funds. Cost per person is substantially lower compared to EU-28.

 

Cost of CVET courses (EUR)

NB: (b) = break in time series.
Source: Eurostat Continuing Vocational Training Survey (CVTS) [trng_cvt_17s], last update: 14.6.2018, [trng_cvt_18s], last update: 14.6.2018 [extracted 5.9.2018].

 

Labour market training

Labour market training for unemployed and employed job seekers heavily depends on ESF funding.

 

Trends in training expenditure within labour market polices (million EUR)

(*) Expenditures on training per person wanting to work in purchasing power standard (PPS).
NB: mill. = million; LMP = labour market expenditure.
Source: Eurostat, [lmp_expme_sk], [lmp_ind_exp] [extracted 5.9.2018].

 

In VET, there are:

  • general subject teachers;
  • vocational subject teachers;
  • trainers in school (nationally referred to as ‘masters of practical training’);
  • in-company trainers (nationally referred to as ‘instructors’); from 2018, also head instructors can be employed by companies).

 

Teachers and trainers in VET schools in 2010/11, 2015/16 and 2017/18

NB: Full-time teachers only, including (deputy) directors. Data on in-company trainers are not available.
Source: Slovak Centre of Scientific and Technical Information.

 

The number of in-company trainers has been in gradual increase, though still limited, as the share of dual learners is less than 3% of all first-year learners in upper secondary education. Companies often employ trainers from schools in the case of lack of own employees able to serve as in-company trainers.

General and vocational subject teachers are university graduates. Graduates from non-pedagogical programmes need to also complete pedagogical studies to obtain a full VET teacher qualification.

General subject teachers are trained and also fully qualified for the general education stream. They are adjusted to the VET learner needs within their continuing professional development and in-service training.

Trainers in VET schools are formally required to have a maturita school leaving certificate or completed pedagogical studies. However many of them have a Bachelor’s degree, as it provides better remuneration.

The 2015 legislation amending the 2009 Pedagogical Staff Act has made qualification requirements more flexible to attract (more) people from business and industry to teaching and make it easier to change subject areas/positions:

  • specialists in occupation-oriented areas are not required to comply with qualification requirements in pedagogy provided that they teach at most 10 hours per week; ensuring/assessing their teaching competences is the school directors’ task;
  • those who would like to move to other areas/positions, would only need to do the pedagogy part required for the new position.

In-company trainers are not considered pedagogical staff. Since the introduction of dual VET in 2015, in-company trainers are required to:

  • have at least a certificate of apprenticeship in the respective study field;
  • have three-year experience as a fully qualified worker in the respective occupation;
  • have completed an ‘instructor training’ offered by sectoral assignees ([30]Institutions of the world of work selected from chambers and employers’ associations to represent employers’ interests as professional counterparts to education authorities and experts.) within one year of their first appointment.

Responsibility for teachers’ continuing professional development (CPD) is with school directors and is based on annual plans. Provision of in-service training is very sensitive to ESF sources. Traditionally, most of the training is provided by the Methodological-Pedagogical Centre much of it focuses on pedagogy and general issues. There is a lack of training aimed at innovations and changes in the business world. Although it is not their responsibility, professional and employer organisations also provide CPD for teachers. Some offer places in courses for business and industry professionals for reduced fees or for free. Eligibility for public funding is linked to competence development in areas covered by the respective professional standards.

The Act on Pedagogical and Professional Staff (317/2009) specified four career levels of teachers/trainers: beginner, independent teacher and attested teacher (first and second (advanced) level attestation); it also defined the professional standards of each level and introduced credits in continuing training. In April 2019, a fully new Act on Pedagogical and Professional Staff (138/2019) was approved abolishing both a heavy criticised credit system and the Accreditation Board responsible for accreditation of continuing training programmes. Instead of this, the new legislation speaks about professional development and financial bonus for completion of training specified by the law or passing the state examination in foreign languages. In fact, CPD has been again reduced to traditional in-service training, as also visible from renaming in-service teacher trainers to trainers of professional development.

Pre-service training of teachers and trainers also faces changes due to the transformation of higher education already in progress ([31]See Act on Quality Assurance in Higher Education (269/2018) that came into force on 1 November 2018,
https://www.slov-lex.sk/pravne-predpisy/SK/ZZ/2018/269/20181101
). New accreditation procedures interlinked with assessment of internal quality assurance system by a newly established independent Slovak Accreditation Agency for Higher Education are in the pipeline.

 

 

Responsibility for analysing and forecasting labour market development lies with the central labour office according to the Act on employment services (5/2004). In initial VET, as stipulated by the VET Act (61/2015), chambers and/or employer representatives, empowered as sectoral assignees ([32]Institutions of the world of work selected from chambers and employers’ associations and defined by law (Decree 251/2018) to represent employers’ interests as professional counterparts to education authorities and experts, see more in Cedefop (2016). Vocational education and training in Slovakia: short description. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2801/831200
), should support the central labour office in analysing and forecasting labour market development ([33]Act on VET 61/2018, § 32,
https://www.slov-lex.sk/pravne-predpisy/SK/ZZ/2015/61/20180901.
).

There are two models of macroeconomic forecasting available ([34]Developed by (a) the Institute of Economic Research of the Slovak Academy of Sciences (2014) and (b) Trexima Bratislava and supervised by the labour ministry.). The supervised by the labour ministry model forecasts additional labour market needs by ISCO ([35]International standard classification of occupations.) groups. The forecasting data are transformed into estimation of ceilings for each programme and each school, and used for further negotiation on regulation of the inflow of new entrants into secondary schools and secondary programmes.

Furthermore, analyses of job vacancy data from online job portals ([36]https://www.profesia.sk/ and
https://www.istp.sk/
) and information on regional players can also influence decisions of self-governing regions’ heads on VET entrants and, subsequently, graduate supply.

Forecasts have been used by national authorities to enforce stronger regulation of secondary VET in response to employer criticism of secondary school graduate supply. The central labour office regularly presents information to all VET governance players based on forecasting and analysis of registered unemployed data. Self-governing regions and individual schools are also offered data about graduate unemployment rates and their transition to the labour market between September and May. These indicators should inform families and lower secondary students about their chances on the labour market. However, they are only proxies as administrative data on employment of graduates are lacking.

In February 2019, the labour ministry also launched a new portal ([37]www.trendyprace.sk) to offer detailed data on graduates of respective programmes (average wages, employment and unemployment rates, and estimation of prospects) regionally and nationally. It is expected that these data will inform students, education counsellors and career guidance counsellors about prospects of respective professions and fields of study.

Additionally, new lists of jobs have been developed by the labour ministry to indicate professions lacking labour force in all eight regions in Slovakia ([38]https://www.upsvr.gov.sk/sluzby-zamestnanosti/zamestnavanie-cudzincov/zoznam-zamestnani-s-nedostatkom-pracovnej-sily.html?page_id=806803). This also indicates what kind of graduates from secondary VET and what kind of labour market training for the unemployed is needed.

About 150 jobs were identified in total nationwide. In districts with very low unemployment, short-track procedures for employment of foreign labour force in relevant professions have been introduced.

 

Occupations requirement in main sectors until 2020

NB: ISCO-08 categories; Statistical Classification of Economic Activities in the European Community (NACE Rev.2) sectors in the legend.
Source: Central Office of Labour, Social Affairs and Family, 2015, based on Trexima Ltd. data.

 

The most significant employment growth is forecasted in manufacturing and wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles sectors, and in the education sector.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([39]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European Skills Index ([40]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index).

Three sets of standards are under development and/or further refinement:

  • educational;
  • occupational; and
  • qualification.

Educational standards were developed backed by the 2008 Education Act (245/2008). These educational standards were developed under the lead of the State Institute of Vocational Education and National Institute for Education (both directly managed by the education ministry) and predominantly driven by educators’ experience. Educational standards are composed of so-called content and performance standards, as stipulated by the Education Act (245/2008). Performance standards can be seen as learning outcomes that students are supposed to achieve during their studies and demonstrate when completing them. Assessment standards are considered a tool to help evaluate whether learners have achieved the performance standards. Assessment standards are to be developed by schools and set within school educational programmes (school curricula) specifying criteria and assessment procedures for achieving performance standards corresponding to respective school environment.

Occupational standards were developed by the sectoral (skills) councils ([41]Sectoral (skills) councils are a voluntary independent association of employers' representatives, trade union representatives, education institutions, state administration and self-government authorities regulated by the Act on Employment Services 5/2004.). Their development was initiated by the labour ministry, backed by the Act on Employment Services (5/2004) ([42]https://www.sustavapovolani.sk/vz_domov). Development of occupational standards has been significantly affected by employers’ representatives active in sectoral (skills) councils. Occupational standards have an important information function and contributed also to improved information of job seekers within the information system on the labour market managed by the labour sector ([43]https://www.istp.sk/kartoteka-zamestnani). However, occupational standards have no normative power for recognition of qualifications.

Qualification standards started to be developed under the supervision of the education ministry backed by the Lifelong Learning Act (568/2009) and supported by the ESF project ‘Creation of the national qualifications system’. Within this project an online qualification register ([44]https://www.kvalifikacie.sk/kartoteka-kariet-kvalifikacii#/) and the Slovak Qualifications Framework (SKKR) have been created.

Qualification standards in the register should inform the education sector and in particular schools in updating their school educational programmes.

Curricula development

Since 2008, curricula development has been decentralised. The state is responsible for developing national curricula, officially titled as ‘state educational programme’ (štátny vzdelávací program). These contain educational standards. Subsequently, schools prepare their own school curricula, officially titled as ‘school educational programme’ (školský vzdelávací program) based on a respective ‘state educational programme’. School educational programmes must be discussed with sectoral assignees and representatives of companies offering practical training. In the case of dual VET, companies offering practical training directly participate as co-authors of respective school educational programme.

Currently there are 28 state educational programmes ([45]See the website of State Institute of Vocational Education at
http://siov.sk/vzdelavanie/odborne-vzdelavanie-a-priprava/ containing also performing arts programmes and newly emerging sports school programmes.
). These documents are prepared by the State Institute of Vocational Education in cooperation with expert commissions containing experienced practitioners from the world of education and the world of work ([46]State educational programmes explicitly state names of all authors and institutions they represent.). They are also discussed with sectoral assignees. A draft document is submitted for discussion to the respective tripartite working group of the National VET Council. Thus, state educational programmes are commented by representatives of social partners specified by law ([47]Act on VET 61/2015, § 28 (2).) before submitting for final approval and issuing by the education ministry. These programmes cover all major VET fields under the responsibility of the education ministry and contain specific framework requirements for all relevant ISCED levels and educational standards for individual programmes. The ministries of health and interior are autonomous in programming initial VET under their responsibility.

State educational programmes also reflect all key competences set by the European reference framework ([48]See European Parliament; Council of the European Union (2006). Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning. Official Journal of the European Union, L 394, pp.10-18.
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A32006H0962.
). Originally, they reflected all individual competences separately, from 2013/14, only three overarching key competences are set and subsequently also reflected in school educational programmes:

  • act independently in a social and working life;
  • use interactively knowledge, information communications technology (ICT), communicate in Slovak, mother tongue and foreign language;
  • work in heterogeneous groups.

To cover general education requirements in VET, the National Institute for Education responsible for national curricula for general education also develops educational standards for all relevant general subjects for VET programmes by ISCED levels ([49]See the website of State Institute of Vocational Education at
http://siov.sk/statne-vzdelavacie-programy/ containing educational standards for general subjects.
). In the case of foreign languages, standards are set in compliance with the respective levels (A1 to C1) of Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

Since 2015, developing curricula for dual VET has been in progress based on requirements from chambers and employers’ representatives. From 2019, the same curricula documents apply for school-based and dual VET.

The so far applied national/regional quality assurance approaches are traditional in terms of governance and methodology. The European quality assurance in VET (EQAVET) principles have not yet been implemented.

Regional schooling including VET schools

The State School Inspectorate is a main stakeholder that checks VET quality. It is an independent state administration body headed by the chief school inspector appointed for a five-year period by the education minister; its evaluation work is based on annual plans and resulting in yearly reports presented to the parliament.

According to the Act on State Administration and Self-governance (596/2003), directors are responsible for the quality of their schools’ performance. They can be replaced by a self-governing region upon the chief school inspector’s request based on justified severe failures.

The National Institute for Certified Educational Measurements is responsible for developing national testing instruments and implementing national and international testing. It informs about results and suggests improvements. It is responsible for monitoring and assessing quality of education, as stipulated by the Education Act (245/2008). The institute develops, on an annual basis, tests in mathematics and languages that are used in maturita school leaving exams in grammar schools and ISCED 354 programmes of VET schools.

However, both institutions predominantly focus on general education subjects. Despite envisaged expansion of national testing and quality checking, both institutions would require extra staff to cover respective VET fields. This is why employer representatives are expected to help more to check the quality of VET. They are however not assigned the ultimate responsibility for quality assurance in practical training and achieving qualification standards by individual learners due to lacking personal and financial capacities. Currently, sectoral assignees ([50]Institutions of the world of work selected from chambers and employers’ associations to represent employers’ interests as professional counterparts to education authorities and experts.) focus primarily on input and process, e.g. on certifying company premises established for provision of practical training within dual VET, certifying instructors and head instructors responsible for practical training within dual VET, awarding a title VET centre to outstanding VET schools according to their criteria ([51]VET school complying with quality requirements in terms of learning environment, equipment, staff and school-businesses cooperation is identified based on approval establisher, Regional VET Council and final decision of sectoral assignee.). Sectoral assignees only assist a) the State School Inspectorate in quality checking of practice-oriented training provided by companies within dual VET and b) schools in quality checking within final examinations.

According to the law, schools are still responsible for quality of their graduates in both theory and practice, but with an increasing share of training in companies they have no sufficient control to guarantee it.

It is important to improve financial and personal capacities of sectoral assignees and enhance responsibility of training companies for the results of training.

Continuing VET and adult learning

Detailed accreditation of further education programmes and authorised institutions for examinations are stipulated by the Lifelong Learning Act (568/2009). Despite addressing quality in its recent amendments, this legislation focuses predominantly on ‘input’ assessment. Evaluation processes are still under development. Assessing course provision by graduates’ rating was suggested by the education ministry, however not put in place so far. New legislation is needed to address quality assurance in more detail and in the full range, as the current Lifelong Learning Act applies to programmes provided by the education sector only. Quality assurance in other sectors depends on sectoral authorities and is regulated in various ways.

There is no genuine and appropriately developed national model for validation of non-formal and informal learning. The Lifelong Learning Act (568/2009) created some preconditions for gradual progress but it in fact refers only to certification of the ability to run a business originally restricted to certificate of apprenticeship holders.

The following are data indicating the trend in issuing certificates ‘verifying professional competences’, entitling people without a certificate of apprenticeship (required by the Trade Licensing Act) to start a business.

 

Number of certificates of professional competences in 2013-2017

NB: (*) Except 2 387 certificates issued by the National Lifelong Learning Institute within the ESF project targeting employed job seekers.
Source: Education ministry.

 

Certificates verifying ‘professional competence’ are not equivalent to those from formal education. They substitute a ‘certificate of apprenticeship’ for the purpose of starting a business only. These certificate holders are entitled to start a craft regulated by the Trade Licensing Act (455/1991), but they are not allowed to progress within formal education based on these certificates, as they do not certify the respective education level.

The following incentives for learners are in place:

  • performance-based state-funded motivation scholarships for learners in programmes related to occupations that are in high demand on the labour market. These equal 25%, 45% and 65% of the national subsistence minimum, depending on their school performance;
  • company scholarships amounting up to four times the national subsistence minimum;
  • remuneration for productive work during training which has no ceiling to allow companies to better value quality performance of learners;
  • state scholarships for socially disadvantaged learners who perform well to support completion of secondary VET.

The Government will create Individual learning accounts in amount of EUR 200 annually for adults and fiscal incentives in support of employees’ training. In total, EUR 15 640 000 is to be allocated between 2020 and 2027 in support of adult learning and CVET.

Incentives for unemployed learners (covering travel costs, meals, childcare during participation) can be currently also offered by public employment services. Currently, the most attractive and successful retraining schemes for the unemployed (RE-PAS and KOMPAS) can be considered as a sort of learning vouchers. Requalification Passport (RE-PAS) scheme entitles an unemployed person to attend a retraining course of his/her choice for free. The choice of training can be drawn from a list of accredited or some specific non-accredited courses (e.g. ICT related) offered by public or private providers. The cost of the selected course must be approved by the labour office. The administrative burden lies with training providers who actively attract unemployed and not individual learners. The ‘KOMPAS’ (abbreviation stands for competence passport) scheme focuses on provision of courses aimed at strengthening key competences important for transition into the labour market. Both schemes are supported by the ESF under the responsibility of public employment services and currently operated as RE-PAS+ and KOMPAS+ schemes indicating further improvement of the original schemes.

Since 2015, the new Act on VET (61/2015) has introduced corporate tax reliefs for enterprises involved in dual VET; additional stimuli were introduced by the amendment of this act in 2018:

  • a tax exemption for certified companies that train VET learners reduces training costs by 21%;
  • companies also receive a ‘tax bonus’ of EUR 1 600 or 3 200 for each learner depending on the hours (200 or 400) of training provided per year;
  • the remuneration for learners for productive work is also exempted from levies (up to 100% of a minimum wage);
  • companies that offer 200 to 400 hours of training per year will receive direct per capita payment EUR 300, and those offering more than 400 hours will receive EUR 700. SMEs qualify for EUR 1 000.

Non-financial incentives were also introduced simplifying administrative procedures or expanding the period for entering dual VET.

According to the Education Act (245/2008) guidance and counselling in the education sector is provided by

  • centres of educational and psychological counselling and prevention;
  • centres of special education guidance and counselling;
  • individuals directly employed in schools.

The services are provided by educational counsellors, school psychologists, school special pedagogues, therapeutic pedagogues, social pedagogues and prevention coordinators. They address learners at primary and secondary schools. Educational counsellors are regular teachers with specialisation gained through continuing training. Nevertheless, they can offer just information and some guidance, but not a genuine counselling, as they are not professional psychologists. Positions of educational counsellors and specialised career counsellors were newly stipulated by law ([52]Act on Pedagogical and Professional Staff 138/2019:
https://www.slov-lex.sk/pravne-predpisy/SK/ZZ/2019/138/20190901.
).

In the labour sector, offices of labour, social affairs and family offer career guidance and counselling for job seekers. Currently, there are over 150 labour office counsellors nationwide retrained to work with personal portfolios. Furthermore, external counsellors are involved in the portfolio initiative for the unemployed.

Two institutions capitalise on international networking and guidance experience. Euroguidance Slovakia ([53]http://web.saaic.sk/nrcg_new/_main.cfm?clanok=2&menu=2&open=1&jazyk=sk) focuses on guidance practitioners and policy-makers from both the education and employment sectors. The Association for Career Guidance and Career Development ([54]https://rozvojkariery.sk/) has developed into an important professional body commenting and influencing policies.

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 4

Follow-up

programmes

ISCED 454

Follow-up programmes leading to EQF 4, ISCED 454 (nadstavbové štúdium)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

454

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

14

Usual entry age

18 to 19

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?

It depends on an individual learner. In the case of immediate continuing in this programme after completion of ISCED 353 programme it is sometimes seen as initial VET. Legislation does not address this issue.

Is it continuing VET?

It depends on an individual learner. In the case of a break after completion of ISCED 353 programme it is seen as continuing VET. Legislation does not address this issue.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

In public schools it is for free, but private and church-affiliated schools can collect fees. Church-affiliated schools do not make use of this option.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

N

([73]ECVET credits are only used within the geographical mobility.)

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

These programmes are school-based; they focus on VET theory, as learners already possess the certificate of apprenticeship (výučný list),

Part-time (evening and distance) forms are envisaged and described within state educational programmes (national curricula). It is up to individual schools and learners demand whether these forms are opened. Data about part-time studies are collected, however, data on a distance form are not distinguished.

Main providers

Secondary VET schools (stredná odborná škola)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

These are usually school-based programmes. All these programmes have a prescribed minimum coverage of 2 112 hours, of which a share of general education is 34.85%, VET theory 22.73%, VET practice 12.12% and 30.30% are left on a decision of schools. These ‘free’ hours can be used for general education, VET theory or VET practice.

Thus, the share of VET practice differs depending on school educational programme (school curricula). Internships or provision of some practice in companies can be agreed based on the school decision.

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

As a rule, practical training is offered in school. It is possible to agree some in-company practice depending on the school decision.

Main target groups

These programmes are designed for graduates of ISCED 353 upper secondary VET programmes (učebný odbor) who originally received a certificate of apprenticeship and wanted to deepen their theoretical studies in order to increase their employability and/or to open the option to apply for higher education.

Some programmes are also offered for special education needs learners within a special schools stream (e.g. wood and furniture manufacturing, entrepreneurship in crafts and services). Some might be slightly adjusted to take into account their challenges.

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

Learners should have graduated from ISCED 353 upper secondary VET programmes (učebný odbor) with a similar professional orientation.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a maturita school leaving examination. It is composed of external testing organised by the National Institute for Certified Measurements (in foreign languages; language of instruction and literature; and the Slovak language and Slovak literature in case the language of instruction differs) and internal examination comprising general component (two subjects ([74]In schools with other language of instruction in three subjects.)) and vocational component (theoretical and practical part).

For the practical part up to 15 topics and for the theoretical part and general component subjects 25 topics are prepared, approved by the school director.

Legislation only prescribes to assess relevant knowledge within theoretical part and skills and abilities within practical part. It is left up to the examination commission (and partly also to examination topics) to what extent standards in state and school educational programmes (school and national curricula) are followed and to what detail they are reflected.

The practical part of vocational component lasts for a maximum of 24 hours (33 hours in two specific cases), and, if required by the nature of the exam, it can take up to four weeks.

Theoretical part of vocational component is open to public.

Those who fail in examination can repeat the examination within a time period stated by law.

Diplomas/certificates provided

These programmes lead to a maturita school leaving certificate (vysvedčenie o maturitnej skúške).

These certificates are officially recognised.

Examples of qualifications

Within this segment of VET, qualifications only rarely address one specific profession. They usually certify the ability to perform professional activities related to the respective field of study.

Qualifications indicate areas of performance rather than specific professions: catering, entrepreneurship in crafts and services, electrical engineering – manufacturing and operation of machinery and equipment.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete these programmes can enter the labour market or continue their studies at post-secondary programmes leading to a (second) VET qualification, specialising programmes or higher professional programmes; they can also progress to higher education programmes.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

General subjects represent 34.85% of study time. In addition, there are 30.30% of study time left on a decision of school. Thus, general education can be expanded, if considered relevant.

Key competences

Y

State educational programmes (national curricula) also reflect all key competences set by the European reference framework ([75]See European Parliament; Council of the European Union (2006). Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning. Official Journal of the European Union, L 394, pp.10-18.
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A32006H0962.
) within three groups of key competences:

  • act independently in a social and working life;
  • use interactively knowledge, information communications technology (ICT), communicate in Slovak, mother tongue and foreign language;
  • work in heterogeneous groups.

These are adjusted to this education level and further detailed within individual school educational programmes (school curricula).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

National authorities consider both state educational programmes (national curricula) and school educational programmes (school curricula) as learning outcome based. Educational standards (in particular its component ‘performance standards’) in both national and school curricula are seen as prescribing learning outcomes.

National curricula address key competences, vocational competences and personal competences for the field of study (group of similar programmes) at this level. Educational standards (composed of performance and content standards) universal for the field of study at this level and specific for each programme are set in the national curricula and addressed in school curricula. The State School Inspectorate is responsible for assessing compliance of school curricula with national curricula.

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

Learners of ISCED 454 follow-up programmes account for 5.2% of all secondary and post-secondary VET learners ([76]2017/18. ISCED 2 to 5 full-time and part-time VET learners including performing arts and special education needs learners; except schools of interior ministry and practical schools.).

EQF 4

Programmes leading

to a (2nd)

VET qualification

ISCED 454

Programmes leading to a (second) VET qualification (also called ‘qualifying programmes’) leading to EQF 4, ISCED 454 (pomaturitné kvalifikačné štúdium)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

454

Usual entry grade

14+

Usual completion grade

15+

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?

Legislation does not address this issue.

Is it continuing VET?

Legislation does not address this issue. In practice it is often considered CVET.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

In public schools it is for free, but private and church-affiliated schools can collect fees. Church-affiliated schools do not make use of this option.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

N

([77]ECVET credits are only used within the geographical mobility.)

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

These programmes are as a rule school-based and as a rule of two types: one focusing on theory and one containing also a solid part of practical training that can be offered also in a company.

Part-time (evening and distance) forms are envisaged and described within state educational programmes (national curricula). It is up to individual schools and learners demand whether these forms are opened. Data about part-time studies are collected, however, data on a distance form are not distinguished.

 

Main providers

Secondary VET schools (stredná odborná škola)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Predominantly theory-focused two-year VET programmes have a prescribed minimum coverage of 2 112 hours, of which a share of VET theory 33.33%, VET practice 21.21% and 45.45% are left on a decision of schools. These ‘free’ hours can be used for theory or practice.

Two-year VET programmes with extended practical training, offering also a certificate of apprenticeship, have a prescribed minimum coverage of 2176 hours, of which a share of VET theory 32.35%, VET practice 64.71% and 2.94% are left on a decision of schools.

Thus, the share of VET practice differs depending on school educational programme (school curricula). As a rule, no work-based learning is offered, unless internships or provision of some practice in companies is agreed based on the school decision.

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

A share of work-based learning depends on individual school’s decision. It is as a rule higher in programmes offering both a maturita school leaving certificate and a certificate of apprenticeship. It can be offered in school workshops/labs, but also combined with in-company training.

Main target groups

Programmes are available for graduates of at least upper secondary (general or VET) programmes with the maturita school leaving certificate who want to obtain a VET qualification or other VET qualification than previously studied.

Some programmes are also offered for special education needs learners within a special schools stream (e.g. social legal activities, textile manufacturing, public administration).

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

Maturita school leaving certificate is the only requirement, unless specific health requirements apply. Thus, learners should have graduated from an upper secondary general or vocational education programme, a performing arts programme or a follow up programme.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a final examination that is composed of vocational component (theoretical and practical part) of the maturita school leaving examination.

For the practical part up to 15 topics and for the theoretical part 25 topics are prepared, approved by the school director.

Legislation only prescribes to assess relevant knowledge within theoretical part and skills and abilities within the practical part. It is left up to the examination commission (and partly also to examination topics) to what extent standards in state and school educational programmes (school and national curricula) are followed and to what detail they are reflected.

The practical part of vocational component lasts for a maximum of 24 hours and, if required by the nature of the exam, it can take up to four weeks.

Theoretical part of vocational component is open to public.

Those who fail in examination can repeat the examination within a time period stated by law.

Diplomas/certificates provided

These programmes lead to a school leaving certificate indicating a specific maturita vocational component (vysvedčenie o maturitnej skúške). Some of these programmes also offer a ‘certificate of apprenticeship’ (výučný list), provided they include at least 1 400 hours of practice oriented training.

These certificates are officially recognised.

Examples of qualifications

Some qualifications offered indicate a particular profession, such as dental technician, some indicate the ability to perform professional activities related to the respective field of study, such as economic informatics, social-legal activities or security service – basic police training.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete these programmes can enter the labour market or continue their studies at specialising programmes or higher professional programmes; they can also progress to higher education programmes.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

State educational programmes (national curricula) also reflect all key competences set by the European reference framework ([78]See European Parliament; Council of the European Union (2006). Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning. Official Journal of the European Union, L 394, pp.10-18.
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A32006H0962.
) within three groups of key competences:

  • act independently in a social and working life;
  • use interactively knowledge, information communications technology (ICT), communicate in Slovak, mother tongue and foreign language;
  • work in heterogeneous groups.

These are adjusted to this education level and further detailed within individual school educational programmes (school curricula).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

National authorities consider both state educational programmes (national curricula) and school educational programmes (school curricula) as learning outcome based. Educational standards (in particular its component ‘performance standards’) in both national and school curricula are seen as prescribing learning outcomes.

National curricula address key competences, vocational competences and personal competences for the field of study (group of similar programmes) at this level. Educational standards (composed of performance and content standards) universal for the field of study at this level and specific for each programme are set in the national curricula and addressed in school curricula. The State School Inspectorate is responsible for assessing compliance of school curricula with national curricula.

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

Learners of ISCED 454 programmes leading to a (second) VET qualification account for 3.3% of all secondary and post-secondary VET learners ([79]2017/18. ISCED 2 to 5 full-time and part-time VET learners including performing arts and special education needs learners; except schools of interior ministry and practical schools.).

EQF 5

Higher professional

programmes

ISCED 554

Higher professional programmes leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 554 (vyššie odborné štúdium)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

14+

Usual completion grade

16+

Usual entry age

19+

Usual completion age

22+

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?

Legislation does not address this issue.

Is it continuing VET?

Legislation does not address this issue. In practice it is often considered CVET.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

In public schools it is for free, but private and church-affiliated schools can collect fees. Church-affiliated schools do not make use of this option.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

N

([80]ECVET credits are only used within the geographical mobility.)

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

These programmes can be offered in dual form or as school-based with internships or parts of in-company training.

Part-time (evening and distance) forms are envisaged and described within state educational programmes (national curricula). It is up to individual schools and learners demand whether these forms are opened. Data about part-time studies are collected, however, data on a distance form are not distinguished.

Main providers

Secondary VET schools (stredná odborná škola) ([81]Similarly to conservatories, art education schools (škola umeleckého priemyslu) and sport schools are not subsumed under the term secondary VET schools to indicated their specificity newly backed by legislation.)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

These programmes have a prescribed minimum coverage of 3 168 hours, of which a share of VET theory 26.26%, VET practice 26.26% and 40.40% are left on a decision of schools. These ‘free’ hours can be used for theory or practice.

Thus, the share of VET practice differs depending on school educational programme (school curricula).

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

A share of work-based learning differs across fields of study and individual schools.

In the case of dual, training is offered by company instructors in a specific contracted company, but can be complemented also by training in school workshops or other companies’ premises.

Main target groups

These programmes target secondary graduates with the maturita school leaving certificate who prefer further studies outside higher education offering attractive training required by the labour market.

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

The maturita school leaving certificate is the only requirement, unless specific health requirements apply.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass an exam (absolventská skúška), consisting of defending a written paper and a comprehensive examination corresponding to a respective field; in the case of healthcare programmes corresponding to the respective profession.

Examination is open to public.

Those who fail in examination can repeat the examination within a time period stated by law.

Diplomas/certificates provided

These programmes lead to certificate on passing examination (vysvedčenie o absolventskej skúške), documenting attaining a higher professional education level, and to a non-university diploma (absolventský diplom) certifying the achieved qualification, with the right to use the title Diploma Specialist – DiS. (diplomovaný špecialista).

These certificates are officially recognised.

Examples of qualifications

Some qualifications offered indicate a particular profession, such as diploma optometrist, some indicate the ability to perform professional activities related to the respective field of study, such as computing systems, hotel and travel agency management, international business, rural tourism.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete these programmes can enter the labour market or progress to higher education programmes based on the maturita school-leaving certificate they received after completion of their previous studies.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

State educational programmes (national curricula) also reflect all key competences set by the European reference framework ([82]See European Parliament; Council of the European Union (2006). Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning. Official Journal of the European Union, L 394, pp.10-18.
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A32006H0962.
) within three groups of key competences:

  • act independently in a social and working life;
  • use interactively knowledge, information communications technology (ICT), communicate in Slovak, mother tongue and foreign language;
  • work in heterogeneous groups.

These are adjusted to this education level and further detailed within individual school educational programmes (school curricula).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

National authorities consider both state educational programmes (national curricula) and school educational programmes (school curricula) as learning outcome based. Educational standards (in particular its component ‘performance standards’) in both national and school curricula are seen as prescribing learning outcomes.

National curricula address key competences, vocational competences and personal competences for the field of study (group of similar programmes) at this level. Educational standards (composed of performance and content standards) universal for the field of study at this level and specific for each programme are set in the national curricula and addressed in school curricula. The State School Inspectorate is responsible for assessing compliance of school curricula with national curricula.

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

Learners of ISCED 554 higher professional programmes account for 0.99% of all secondary and post-secondary VET learners ([83]2017/18. ISCED 2 to 5 full-time and part-time VET learners including performing arts and special education needs learners; except schools of interior ministry and practical schools.).

EQF 5

Specialising

programmes

ISCED 554

Specialising programmes leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 554 (pomaturitné špecializačné štúdium)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

14+

Usual completion grade

15+

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?

Legislation does not address this issue.

Is it continuing VET?

Legislation does not address this issue. In practice it is often considered CVET.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

In public schools it is for free, but private and church-affiliated schools can collect fees. Church-affiliated schools do not make use of this option.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

N

([84]ECVET credits are only used within the geographical mobility.)

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

These programmes are currently offered as school-based, with internships or parts of in-company training as set by school educational programmes (school curricula) of individual schools.

Part-time (evening and distance) forms are envisaged and described within state educational programmes (national curricula). It is up to individual schools and learners demand whether these forms are opened. Data about part-time studies are collected, however, data on a distance form are not distinguished.

Main providers

Secondary VET schools (stredná odborná škola) ([85]Similarly to conservatories, art education schools (škola umeleckého priemyslu) and sport schools are not subsumed under the term secondary VET schools to indicated their specificity newly backed by legislation.)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

These programmes have a prescribed minimum coverage of 2 112 hours, of which a share of VET theory 34.85%, VET practice 22.73% and 42.42% are left on a decision of schools. These ‘free’ hours can be used for theory or practice.

Thus, the share of VET practice differs depending on school educational programme (school curricula).

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

The share of work-based learning differs across fields of study and individual schools.

Main target groups

These programmes target secondary graduates with a maturita school leaving certificate in need of further specialisation in the field, for which tertiary education is not needed.

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

The maturita school leaving certificate in the relevant field is the only requirement. Learners can only enter a programme in a field related to their previous studies.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete this programme, learners need to pass an exam (absolventská skúška), consisting of defending a written paper and a comprehensive examination corresponding to the respective field.

Examination is open to public.

Those who fail in examination can repeat the examination within a time period stated by law.

Diplomas/certificates provided

These programmes lead to a certificate of passing examination (vysvedčenie o absolventskej skúške), documenting attaining a higher professional education level, and to a non-university diploma (absolventský diplom) certifying the achieved qualification, with the right to use the title Diploma Specialist – DiS (diplomovaný špecialista).

These certificates are officially recognised.

Examples of qualifications

These qualifications indicate the ability to perform professional activities related to the respective field of study, such as quality management in chemical laboratory, special pedagogy, tax services.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete these programmes can enter the labour market or progress to higher education programmes based on the maturita school-leaving certificate they received after completion of their previous studies.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

State educational programmes (national curricula) also reflect all key competences set by the European reference framework ([86]See European Parliament; Council of the European Union (2006). Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning. Official Journal of the European Union, L 394, pp.10-18.
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A32006H0962.
) within three groups of key competences:

  • act independently in a social and working life;
  • use interactively knowledge, information communications technology (ICT), communicate in Slovak, mother tongue and foreign language;
  • work in heterogeneous groups.

These are adjusted to this education level and further detailed within individual school educational programmes (school curricula).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

National authorities consider both state educational programmes (national curricula) and school educational programmes (school curricula) as learning outcome based. Educational standards (in particular its component ‘performance standards’) in both national and school curricula are seen as prescribing learning outcomes.

National curricula address key competences, vocational competences and personal competences for the field of study (group of similar programmes) at this level. Educational standards (composed of performance and content standards) universal for the field of study at this level and specific for each programme are set in the national curricula and addressed in school curricula. The State School Inspectorate is responsible for assessing compliance of school curricula with national curricula.

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

Learners of ISCED 554 specialising programmes account for 0.23% of all secondary and post-secondary VET learners ([87]2017/18. ISCED 2 to 5 full-time and part-time VET learners including performing arts and special education needs learners; except schools of interior ministry and practical schools.).

EQF 4

Refresher

programmes

ISCED 454

Refresher programmes leading to ISCED 454 (pomaturitné inovačné štúdium, pomaturitné zdokonaľovacie štúdium)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

454

Usual entry grade

14+

Usual completion grade

14+

Usual entry age

19+

Usual completion age

19+

Length of a programme (years)

Depends of the school decision

  
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?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

In public schools it is for free, but private and church-affiliated schools can collect fees. Church-affiliated schools do not make use of this option.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

N

([88]ECVET credits are only used within the geographical mobility.)

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

It fully depends of the school decision, they can be part-time (evening or distance).

Main providers

Secondary VET schools (stredná odborná škola)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

It fully depends on the school decision.

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

It fully depends on the school decision.

Main target groups

Learners interested in innovation within their field of study or in better mastering profession or respective professional skills. Legislation speaks about post-maturita innovative study (pomaturitné inovačné štúdium) and post-maturita improvement study (pomaturitné zdokonaľovacie štúdium),

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

Learners should have a maturita school leaving certificate in the respective field of study, as this study builds on previous education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete these programmes learners have to pass a final examination specified as final post-maturita examination by law.

Diplomas/certificates provided

A certificate on final post-maturita examination (vysvedčenie o pomaturitnej záverečnej skúške)

These certificates are officially recognised.

Examples of qualifications

Certification does not specify a profession. This certification is a certificate on attendance and meeting examination requirements rather than explicit qualification requirements. It indicates which study programme it relates to. The content of the study can be visible from the certificate supplement indicating details of the study.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

These programmes aim to update learners’ knowledge and skills.

Destination of graduates

Data on these programmes are not collected and there are therefore no data on potential graduates.

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

N

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

It depends on schools. There are no requirements stipulated by law concerning the design of these programmes.

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

<1% ([89]Data on these programmes are not collected. This is just an option based on tradition, however, in severe decline, as schools are not motivate this kind of programme and learners prefer alternatives.)

EQF 5

Performing arts

Programmes

ISCED 254, 354, 554

Performing arts programmes covering: eight-year ISCED 554 programme leading to EQF 5 qualification in dance conservatory (tanečné konzervatórium); six-year ISCED 554 programmes leading to EQF 5 qualification in music and drama conservatory (hudobné a dramatické konzervatórium).
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

554 ([90]Spanning 254+354+554 in dance conservatory and 354+554 in music and drama conservatory.)

Usual entry grade

6 (dance conservatory)

10 (music and drama conservatory)

Usual completion grade

13 (dance conservatory)

15 (music and drama conservatory)

Usual entry age

11 to 12 (dance conservatory)

15 to 16 (music and drama conservatory)

Usual completion age

19 (dance conservatory)

21 (music and drama conservatory)

Length of a programme (years)

8 (dance conservatory)

6 (music and drama conservatory)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education starts at the age of six and includes nine years of basic education and at least one year of upper secondary education. Thus, as a rule the fifth year in dance conservatory and the first year in music and drama conservatory (both 16 years of age) belong to compulsory education.

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

In public schools it is for free with no age limit, but private and church-affiliated schools can collect fees. Church-affiliated schools do not make use of this option.

Is it available for adults?

Y

adults with no age limit can enter full-time programmes

ECVET or other credits

N

([91]ECVET credits are only used within the geographical mobility.)

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

No part-time (evening and distance) studies are possible, according to law. An extraordinary form for extremely talented children combining a mainstream education programme with selected parts of a programme in conservatory (in drama or music) is possible ([92]Education Act 245/2008, § 103 (9) and education ministry Decree 65/2015, § 8.).

Main providers

Dance conservatory

Music and drama conservatory

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. Performing arts related training is regulated by individual schools, composed of training in school premises complemented by training through organised performance in school or agreed between schools and other players.

Main target groups

Children and young people talented and interested in performing arts.

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

Passing entrance examination including talent assessment

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete these programmes, learners need to pass an exam (absolventská skúška), consisting ([93]See information of State Institute of Vocational Education on music and drama conservatries at
http://siov.sk/vzdelavanie/konzervatorium/hudobne-a-dramaticke-konzervatorium/ and dance conservatories at
http://siov.sk/vzdelavanie/konzervatorium/tanecne-konzervatorium/.
) of

  • artistic performance corresponding to specialisation at music and drama conservatory or dance conservatory;
  • defending a written paper related to specialisation at music and drama conservatory;
  • comprehensive examination in pedagogy corresponding to specialisation at music and drama conservatory or dance conservatory. ([94]To fulfil qualification requirements for teaching in specific performing arts programmes.)

Examination is open to public.

Those who fail in examination can repeat the examination within a time period stated by law.

In diverse music and drama conservatory programmes, students pass maturita school leaving examination after first four years of a six-year programme.

It is composed of external testing organised by the National Institute for Certified Measurements (in foreign languages; language of instruction and literature; and the Slovak language and Slovak literature in case the language of instruction differs) and internal examination comprising general (two subjects ([95]In schools with other language of instruction in three subjects.)) and vocational component (theoretical and practical part).

For the theoretical part of vocational component and for general component subjects, 25 topics are prepared approved by the school director. Practical part of vocational component contains prescribed artistic performance.

Those who fail in examination can repeat the examination within a time period stated by law.

Similarly, learners in dance conservatory pass maturita school leaving examination in the final year of an eight-year programme. To allow participants of this programme to enter other upper secondary schools, e.g. due to the health problems, a lower secondary education certificate ([96]Although the first phase of this programme is labelled ISCED 254, learners receive the certificate equivalent to ISCED 244, according to Law 245/2008.) is offered after completion of the fourth year to all learners.

Diplomas/certificates provided

These programmes lead to a certificate on passing examination (vysvedčenie o absolventskej skúške), documenting attaining a higher professional education level, and to a non-university diploma (absolventský diplom) certifying the achieved qualification, with the right to use the title Diploma Specialist in Arts - DiS.art (diplomovaný špecialista umenia). They also certify qualifications for teaching in specific performing arts programmes.

In music and drama conservatory, learners receive a maturita school leaving certificate (vysvedčenie o maturitnej skúške) after first four years.

In dance conservatory, learners receive a maturita school leaving certificate (vysvedčenie o maturitnej skúške), also in the final year, and a lower secondary education certificate (vysvedčenie) after the fourth year.

These certificates are officially recognised.

Examples of qualifications

A dance conservatory programme offers three specialisations (classical, modern and folk dance) after four years of the first phase (ISCED 254).

Performing arts studies at music and drama conservatory offer 18 programmes in total in four fields – music and drama, dance, singing, music (e.g., composition, conducting, playing the piano).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can enter higher education, teach in specific performing arts programmes and/or be active in performing arts.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

as specified in respective state educational programmes (national curricula) ([97]See Section A, Part 7, for music and drama conservatory and Section B, Part 7, for dance conservatory at
http://siov.sk/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Statny-vzdelavaci-program-Konzervatoria.pdf
)

Key competences

Y

Key competences are reflected in a specific way in state educational programmes (national curricula) and further in school educational programmes (school curricula) of individual schools, not necessarily corresponding to the European reference framework ([98]See European Parliament; Council of the European Union (2006). Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning. Official Journal of the European Union, L 394, pp.10-18.
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A32006H0962.
), adjusted to respective conservatory programme needs.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Learning outcomes are formulated in state educational programmes (national curricula).

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

Learners of eight-year dance programmes account for 0.15% and learners of six-year performing arts programmes (singing, music, dance, music and drama) account for 1.96% of all secondary and post-secondary learners ([99]2017/18. ISCED 2 to 5 full-time and part-time VET learners including performing arts and special education needs learners; except schools of interior ministry and practical schools.).

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 2-3

Lower secondary

Programmes,

WBL =/> 86.6%

2-3 years

ISCED 253

Lower secondary VET programmes leading to EQF level 2 and 3, ISCED 253 (učebný odbor na získanie nižšieho stredného odborného vzdelania)
EQF level
2-3
ISCED-P 2011 level

253

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

11-12

Usual entry age

15+

Usual completion age

17+ or 18+

Length of a programme (years)

2-3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

but it depends on an individual learner track.

Compulsory education starts at the age of six and as a rule includes nine years of basic education and at least one year of upper secondary education. Thus, a learner can be in his/her 10th year or a higher year (inter alia due to repetition of classes at basic school). In the first case it is a part of compulsory education, in the latter case it is not.

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

No credits applied

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

According to law, these programmes can be offered as:

  • school-based; with practical training in own workshops or facilities;
  • school-based; with contracted segments of practical training in companies; or
  • dual VET.

In practice, it is school-based due to a specific target group, often not attractive for companies.

Part-time (evening) and distance forms are envisaged and described within state educational programmes (national curricula).

Main providers

Secondary VET schools (stredná odborná škola)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=86.6%

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

Currently, practical training is offered predominantly in schools. It can also be offered within a mixed scheme, with school-based learning complemented by training provided by a company based on a school-company contract specifying numbers of trainees and a share of training hours performed in the company.

Main target groups

These programmes target low achievers, who haven’t completed lower secondary education.

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

Some programmes are also offered for special education needs learners within a special schools stream (e.g. technical services in car repair shops, textile manufacturing).

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

Incomplete lower secondary (basic) education due to repeating grades or insufficient performance in the final year of basic school. There are no age limits.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a final examination composed of

  • a written part;
  • a practical part; and
  • an oral part.

Those who fail in examination can repeat the examination within a time period stated by law.

Diplomas/certificates provided

These programmes offer qualifications that allow performing simple tasks.

In individual cases a certificate of apprenticeship (výučný list) is awarded.

These certificates are officially recognised.

Examples of qualifications

Certificates as a rule do not indicate a specific profession. Thus, qualifications relate to performing simple tasks in respective sectors of economy of study fields.

For girls the most popular qualification is garment worker, while for boys the most popular qualification is construction worker.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Learners can also enrol in a one-year bridging programme (ISCED 244) which gives access to upper secondary education that is often also offered simultaneously. They can also enter the labour market without completion of this bridging programme.

Destination of graduates

There are no data about graduates. They are often targeted by public employment services or outreach programmes, as they are classified as early leavers from education and training.

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

General subjects represent 8.33% of study time in two-year programmes and 6.67% in three-year programmes. In addition, there are 8.33% and 6.67% of study time, respectively, left on a decision of school.

Key competences

Y

State educational programmes (national curricula) also reflect all key competences set by the European reference framework ([55]See European Parliament; Council of the European Union (2006). Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning. Official Journal of the European Union, L 394, pp.10-18.
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A32006H0962.
) within three groups of key competences:

  • act independently in a social and working life;
  • use interactively knowledge, information communications technology (ICT), communicate in Slovak, mother tongue and foreign language;
  • work in heterogeneous groups.

These are adjusted to this education level and further detailed within individual school educational programmes (school curricula).

Application of learning outcomes approach

National authorities consider both state educational programmes (national curricula) and school educational programmes (school curricula) as learning outcome based. Educational standards (in particular its component ‘performance standards’) in both national and school curricula are seen as prescribing learning outcomes.

National curricula address key competences, vocational competences and personal competences for the field of study (group of similar programmes) at this level. Educational standards (composed of performance and content standards) universal for the field of study at this level and specific for each programme are set in the national curricula and addressed in school curricula. The State School Inspectorate is responsible for assessing compliance of school curricula with national curricula.

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

ISCED 253 learners account for 3.1% out of all secondary and post-secondary VET learners ([56]2017/18. ISCED 2 to 5 full-time and part-time VET learners including performing arts and special education needs learners; except schools of interior ministry and practical schools.).

EQF 3

School-based

Programmes,

WBL =/> 50.5%

3-4 years

ISCED 353

Three- and four-year upper secondary VET programmes leading to EQF 3, ISCED 353 (učebný odbor na získanie stredného odborného vzdelania)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

353

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12 or 13

Usual entry age

15 to 16

Usual completion age

18 or 19

Length of a programme (years)

3 or 4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education starts at the age of six and includes nine years of basic education and at least one year of upper secondary education. Thus, as a rule the first year of this programme (16 years of age) belongs to compulsory education to facilitate transition from lower secondary to upper secondary education.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

In individual cases it could be considered CVET provided these learners progress in training that is content-related linked to previous training and follows the period of working in a relevant working position. Legislation does not make a strong difference between initial and continuing VET.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

In public schools it is for free, but private and church-affiliated schools can collect fees. Church-affiliated schools do not make use of this option.

Is it available for adults?

Y

Adults usually apply for part-time (evening and distance) forms.

ECVET or other credits

N

([57]ECVET credits are only used within the geographical mobility.)

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

These programmes can be offered as:

  • school-based; with practical training in own workshops or facilities;
  • school-based; with contracted segments of practical training in companies; or
  • dual VET.

Since dual VET was introduced in 2015/16, it has allowed companies to sign individual training contracts with learners for in-company practical training, complemented with an institutional contract between schools and companies. Learners in dual are VET students and not employees. Final responsibility for assessment and certification lies with schools concerning both theory and practice.

Part-time (evening and distance) forms are envisaged and described within state educational programmes (national curricula). Part-time forms are only offered as school-based.

The so-called ‘shortened studies’ were introduced from 2015/16. Based on the mainstream three-year programmes, they focus on occupation-related areas and last either one or two years. The two-year study leads to a certificate of apprenticeship; participants of the one-year study are attendance and exam certified.

Main providers

Secondary VET schools (stredná odborná škola)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>= 50.5%, depending on individual schools, in a dual form it is as a rule over 60%

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

Training in school-based programmes can be offered in school workshops/labs, but also combined with in-company training based on a school-company contract. Training in dual VET is offered by company instructors in specific company training premises, but can also be complemented by training in school workshops or other companies’ facilities.

Main target groups

Programmes are available for learners who have completed lower secondary education and also for adults who want to acquire an attractive qualification in the labour market.

Some programmes are also offered for special education needs learners within a special schools stream (e.g. machinery mechanic). Some might be slightly adjusted to take into account their challenges.

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

Completion of lower secondary (general) education (grade 9 of basic school equal to ISCED 244) and in some cases, specific requirements for skills or a state of health may apply.

Drop-outs from lower secondary (general) education qualify after completion of a one-year bridging programme.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete this programme, learners need to pass a final examination composed of

  • a written part, where the knowledge of a topic drawn from up to 10 topics is assessed;
  • a practical part, where the student's skills and abilities are assessed in a topic drawn from up to 15 topics; and
  • an oral part, within which knowledge of a topic drawn from at least 25 topics is assessed.

Topics for the written part and the oral part of the final exam are elaborated by teachers of vocational subjects in cooperation with trainers.

Topics for the practical part of the final exam are elaborated by trainers in cooperation with the teachers of vocational subjects, all must be approved by the school director. Topics are discussed with sectoral assignees.

The written part of the final exam lasts from 45 minutes to 120 minutes. The practical part lasts for a maximum of 24 hours and, if requires by the nature of the exam, it can take up to four weeks. The oral exam lasts for no more than 15 minutes.

Practical and oral examination is open to public and an officially nominated employer representative can actively assess learners.

Those who fail in examination can repeat the examination within a time period stated by law.

Diplomas/certificates provided

These programmes lead to a VET qualification (nationally referred to as certificate of apprenticeship) and to a school-leaving certificate.

The certificate of apprenticeship (výučný list) attests that graduates are qualified to work in the respective occupation, while the school-leaving certificate (vysvedčenie o záverečnej skúške) is considered as attesting the level of education entitling graduates to progress to subsequent formal education programmes.

These certificates are officially recognised.

Examples of qualifications

Carpenter, cook, gardener, hairdresser, metal worker, motor vehicle repairer – automotive electrician, plumber, shop sales assistant

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete these programmes can enter the labour market or continue their studies at post-secondary follow up programmes (EQF 4, ISCED 454).

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

Validation of non-formal and informal learning procedure does not allow for receiving a certificate of apprenticeship. It however allows for receiving a certificate verifying ‘professional competence’ (osvedčenie o odbornej spôsobilosti) ([58]Act on Lifelong Learning 568/2009.). This certificate is not equivalent to a certificate of apprenticeship, but it is an equivalent substitute for a specific reason: entitling to run a business requiring a certificate of apprenticeship.

General education subjects

Y

General subjects represent 22.22% of study time in three-year programmes and 18.56% in four-year programmes. In addition, there are 11.62% and 9.47% of study time, respectively, left on a decision of school. Thus, general education can be expanded, if considered relevant.

Key competences

Y

State educational programmes (national curricula) also reflect all key competences set by the European reference framework ([59]See European Parliament; Council of the European Union (2006). Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning. Official Journal of the European Union, L 394, pp.10-18.
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A32006H0962.
) within three groups of key competences:

  • act independently in a social and working life;
  • use interactively knowledge, information communications technology (ICT), communicate in Slovak, mother tongue and foreign language;
  • work in heterogeneous groups.

These are adjusted to this education level and further detailed within individual school educational programmes (school curricula).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

National authorities consider both state educational programmes (national curricula) and school educational programmes (school curricula) as learning outcome based. Educational standards (in particular its component ‘performance standards’) in both national and school curricula are seen as prescribing learning outcomes.

National curricula address key competences, vocational competences and personal competences for the field of study (group of similar programmes) at this level. Educational standards (composed of performance and content standards) universal for the field of study at this level and specific for each programme are set in the national curricula and addressed in school curricula. The State School Inspectorate is responsible for assessing compliance of school curricula with national curricula.

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

ISCED 353 learners account for 15.9% of all secondary and post-secondary VET learners ([60]2017/18. ISCED 2 to 5 full-time and part-time VET learners including performing arts and special education needs learners; except schools of interior ministry and practical schools.).

EQF 3 or 4

School-based programmes,

WBL =/> 36.4%

4-5 years

ISCED 354

Practice-oriented four- and five-year upper secondary VET programmes leading to EQF 3 or 4, ISCED 354 (študijný odbor s praktickým vyučovaním formou odborného výcviku)
EQF level
3 or 4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

13 or 14

Usual entry age

15 to 16

Usual completion age

19 or 20

Length of a programme (years)

4 or 5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education starts at the age of six and includes nine years of basic education and at least one year of upper secondary education. Thus, as a rule the first year of this programme (16 years of age) belongs to compulsory education to facilitate transition from lower secondary to upper secondary education.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

In individual cases it could be considered CVET provided these learners progress in training that is content-related linked to previous training and follows the period of working in a relevant working position. Legislation does not make a strong difference between initial and continuing VET.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

In public schools it is for free, but private and church-affiliated schools can collect fees. Church-affiliated schools do not make use of this option.

Is it available for adults?

Y

Adults usually apply for part-time (evening and distance) forms.

ECVET or other credits

N

([61]ECVET credits are only used within the geographical mobility.)

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

These programmes can be offered as:

  • school-based; with practical training in own workshops or facilities;
  • school-based; with contracted segments of practical training in companies; or
  • dual VET.

Since dual VET was introduced in 2015/16, it has allowed companies to sign individual training contracts with learners for in-company practical training, complemented with an institutional contract between school and companies. Learners in dual are VET students and not employees. Final responsibility for assessment and certification lies with schools concerning both theory and practice.

Part-time (evening) and distance forms are envisaged and described within state educational programmes (national curricula). Part-time forms are only offered as school-based.

Main providers

Secondary VET schools (stredná odborná škola)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=36.4%, depending on individual schools, in a dual form it is as a rule over 50%

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

Training in school-based programmes can be offered in school workshops/labs, but also combined with in-company training based on school-company contract. Training in dual VET is offered by company instructors in specific company training premises, but can also be complemented by training in school workshops or other companies’ facilities.

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults who have completed lower secondary education.

Some programmes are also offered for special education needs learners within a special schools stream (e.g. computer network mechanic, digital media graphic designer, beautician). Some might be slightly adjusted to take into account their challenges.

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

Completion of lower secondary (general) education (grade 9 of basic school equal to ISCED 244) and in some cases specific requirements for skills or a state of health may apply.

Drop-outs from lower secondary (general) education qualify after completion of a one-year bridging programme.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a maturita school leaving examination. It is composed of external testing organised by the National Institute for Certified Measurements (in foreign languages; language of instruction and literature; and the Slovak language and Slovak literature in case the language of instruction differs) and internal examination comprising general component (two subjects) ([62]In schools with other language of instruction in three subjects.) and vocational component (theoretical and practical part). For the practical part up to 15 topics and for the theoretical part and general component subjects 25 topics are prepared, approved by the school director.

Legislation only prescribes to assess relevant knowledge within theoretical part and skills and abilities within practical part. It is left up to the examination commission (and partly also to examination topics) to what extent standards in state and school educational programmes (school and national curricula) are followed and to what detail they are reflected.

The topics for theoretical part and practical part of vocational component of the examination are discussed with sectoral assignees. An officially nominated employer representative can actively assess learners.

The practical part of vocational component lasts for a maximum of 24 hours (33 hours in two specific cases), and, if required by the nature of the exam, it can take up to four weeks.

Theoretical part of vocational component is open to public.

Those who fail in examination can repeat the examination within a time period stated by law.

Diplomas/certificates provided

These programmes lead to a VET qualification, certified by a maturita school leaving certificate (vysvedčenie o maturitnej skúške), and to a certificate of apprenticeship (výučný list), provided that they include at least 1 400 hours of practice oriented training (odborný výcvik).

The maturita school leaving certificate is considered as certifying both level of education and qualification. In this case ‘qualification’ refers to the ability to perform professional activities covered by the curriculum; it is often called ‘wider’ qualification. The certificate of apprenticeship offers a more specific qualification related to an occupation in addition to the wider qualification.

These certificates are officially recognised.

Examples of qualifications

Beautician, bookseller, computer network mechanic, operation and economics of transport operator, plant and equipment mechanic, pharmaceutical production operator.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete these programmes can enter the labour market or continue their studies at post-secondary programmes leading to a (second) VET qualification, specialising programmes or higher professional programmes; they can also progress to higher education programmes.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Validation of non-formal and informal learning procedure does not allow for receiving a certificate of apprenticeship. It however allows for receiving a certificate verifying ‘professional competence’ (osvedčenie o odbornej spôsobilosti) ([63]Act on Lifelong Learning 568/2009.). This certificate is not equivalent to a certificate of apprenticeship, but it is an equivalent substitute for a specific reason: entitling to run a business requiring a certificate of apprenticeship.

General education subjects

Y

General subjects represent 34.85% of study time in four-year programmes and 35.15% in five-year programmes. In addition, there are 18.18% and 20% of study time, respectively, left on a decision of school. Thus, general education can be expanded, if considered relevant.

Key competences

Y

State educational programmes (national curricula) also reflect all key competences set by the European reference framework ([64]See European Parliament; Council of the European Union (2006). Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning. Official Journal of the European Union, L 394, pp.10-18.
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A32006H0962.
) within three groups of key competences:

  • act independently in a social and working life;
  • use interactively knowledge, information communications technology (ICT), communicate in Slovak, mother tongue and foreign language;
  • work in heterogeneous groups.

These are adjusted to this education level and further detailed within individual school educational programmes (school curricula).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

National authorities consider both state educational programmes (national curricula) and school educational programmes (school curricula) as learning outcome based. Educational standards (in particular its component ‘performance standards’) in both national and school curricula are seen as prescribing learning outcomes.

National curricula address key competences, vocational competences and personal competences for the field of study (group of similar programmes) at this level. Educational standards (composed of performance and content standards) universal for the field of study at this level and specific for each programme are set in the national curricula and addressed in school curricula. The State School Inspectorate is responsible for assessing compliance of school curricula with national curricula.

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

Learners of ISCED 354 programmes with extended practical training account for 24.0% of all secondary and post-secondary VET learners ([65]2017/18. ISCED 2 to 5 full-time and part-time VET learners including performing arts and special education needs learners; except schools of interior ministry and practical schools.).

EQF 4

School-based

Programmes,

4 (5*) years

ISCED 354

Theory-focused school-based four- and five-year VET programmes leading to EQF 4, ISCED 354. (študijný odbor s praktickým vyučovaním formou odbornej praxe) ( [66]); changes apply for arts programmes and sport education
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

13 or 14

Usual entry age

15 to 16

Usual completion age

19 or 20

Length of a programme (years)

4 or 5 (in case of bilingual programmes); up to five years also in the case of special schools serving special education needs learners

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education starts at the age of six and includes nine years of basic education and at least one year of upper secondary education. Thus, as a rule the first year of this programme (16 years of age) belongs to compulsory education to facilitate transition from lower secondary to upper secondary education.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

In individual cases it could be considered CVET provided these learners progress in training that is content-related linked to previous training and follows the period of working in a relevant working position. Legislation does not make a strong difference between initial and continuing VET.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

In public schools it is for free, but private and church-affiliated schools can collect fees. Church-affiliated schools do not make use of this option.

Is it available for adults?

Y

Adults usually apply for part-time (evening and distance) forms.

ECVET or other credits

N

([67]ECVET credits are only used within the geographical mobility.)

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

These programmes are school-based; they focus on VET theory and have a lower share of work-based learning, for example, in school labs, workshops and short-term internships.

Expanding dual into this segment of VET is envisaged from the 2019/20 school year. ([68]This is in fact about efforts to strengthen work-based learning rather than about genuine dual, as a share of VET practice in these programmes is comparably low.)

Part-time (evening and distance) forms are envisaged and described within state educational programmes (national curricula). It is up to individual schools and learners demand whether these forms are opened. Data about part-time studies are collected, however, data on a distance form are not distinguished.

Main providers

Secondary VET schools (stredná odborná škola) ([69]Similarly to conservatories, art education schools (škola umeleckého priemyslu) and sport schools are not subsumed under the term secondary VET schools to indicated their specificity newly backed by legislation.)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

These (non-bilingual) programmes have a prescribed minimum coverage of 4 224 hours, of which a share of general education is 36.36%, VET theory 22.73%, VET practice 19.70% and 21.21% are left on a decision of school. These ‘free’ hours can be used for general education, VET theory or VET practice.

VET practice is composed of hours of working in labs in schools or companies and internships. Lengths of internship differs across fields of study and the total VET practice depends on individual schools (and the decision of schools about ‘free’ hours).

Thus, the share of work-based learning also differs depending on school educational programme (school curricula).

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

Usually work-based learning takes the form of short-term individual internships in companies. Practical training in groups in companies can be agreed, but practical training in school (in school labs, specialised classrooms and workshops) is more typical and cannot be considered a genuine work-based learning.

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adult graduates of lower secondary education.

Some programmes are also offered for special education needs learners within a special schools stream (e.g. promotional graphics, social-educational worker, commercial academy), or exclusively for these learners (masseur for the visually impaired). Some might be slightly adjusted to take into account their challenges.

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

Completion of lower secondary (general) education (grade 9 of basic school equal to ISCED 244) and in some cases specific requirements for skills or a state of health may apply.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a maturita school leaving examination. It is composed of external testing organised by the National Institute for Certified Measurements (in foreign languages; language of instruction and literature; and the Slovak language and Slovak literature in case the language of instruction differs) and internal examination comprising general component (two subjects ([70]In schools with other language of instruction in three subjects.)) and vocational component (theoretical and practical part).

For the practical part up to 15 topics and for the theoretical part and general component subjects 25 topics are prepared, approved by the school director.

Legislation only prescribes to assess relevant knowledge within theoretical part and skills and abilities within practical part. It is left up to the examination commission (and partly also to examination topics) to what extent standards in state and school educational programmes (school and national curricula) are followed and to what detail they are reflected.

The practical part of vocational component lasts for a maximum of 24 hours (33 hours in two specific cases), and, if required by the nature of the exam, it can take up to four weeks.

Theoretical part of vocational component is open to public.

Those who fail in examination can repeat the examination within a time period stated by law.

Diplomas/certificates provided

These programmes lead to a maturita school leaving certificate (vysvedčenie o maturitnej skúške) confirming level of education and VET qualifications attained.

These certificates are officially recognised.

Examples of qualifications

In these programmes, qualifications only rarely address one specific profession. They as a rule certify the ability to perform professional activities related to the respective studies in fields, such as agriculture, forestry and rural development, food-processing; mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, economics and organisation, retail and services, healthcare, etc.

There are qualifications naming respective professions, such as healthcare assistant, and there are qualifications indicating rather areas of performance, such as mechatronics, tourism services, agribusiness – farming.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete these programmes can enter the labour market or continue their studies at post-secondary programmes leading to a (second) VET qualification, specialising programmes or higher professional programmes; they can also progress to higher education programmes.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

General subjects represent 36.36% of study time in four-year programmes and 54.55% (of which two thirds Slovak and foreign languages) in five-year bilingual programmes. In addition, there are 21.21% and 16.36% of study time, respectively, left on a decision of school.

Key competences

Y

State educational programmes (national curricula) also reflect all key competences set by the European reference framework ([71]See European Parliament; Council of the European Union (2006). Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning. Official Journal of the European Union, L 394, pp.10-18.
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A32006H0962.
) within three groups of key competences:

  • act independently in a social and working life;
  • use interactively knowledge, information communications technology (ICT), communicate in Slovak, mother tongue and foreign language;
  • work in heterogeneous groups.

These are adjusted to this education level and further detailed within individual school educational programmes (school curricula).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

National authorities consider both state educational programmes (national curricula) and school educational programmes (school curricula) as learning outcome based. Educational standards (in particular its component ‘performance standards’) in both national and school curricula are seen as prescribing learning outcomes.

National curricula address key competences, vocational competences and personal competences for the field of study (group of similar programmes) at this level. Educational standards (composed of performance and content standards) universal for the field of study at this level and specific for each programme are set in the national curricula and addressed in school curricula. The State School Inspectorate is responsible for assessing compliance of school curricula with national curricula.

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

Learners of school-based ISCED 354 programmes account for 42.8% of all secondary and post-secondary VET learners ([72]2017/18. ISCED 2 to 5 full-time and part-time VET learners including performing arts and special education needs learners; except schools of interior ministry and practical schools.).

EQF 1-3

VET programmes

For SEN learners

ISCED 352

Lower secondary VET programmes leading to EQF level 1 to 3, ISCED 352 ( [100]) (učebný odbor odborného učilišťa)
EQF level
1-3
ISCED-P 2011 level

352

Usual entry grade

10+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

16+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

These learners are served regardless of their age and years of schooling, thus also after the end of compulsory education (10 years), to achieve a maximum of their potential. This programme can be seen as not belonging to compulsory education, but this has no implications on attendance provided learners and families are interested in participation. Legislation explicitly indicates that learners should be accepted even after completion of compulsory education.

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

In public schools it is for free, but private and church-affiliated schools can collect fees. Church-affiliated schools do not make use of this option.

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

No credits applied

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

School-based with practical training at school or sheltered workshops

Main providers

Vocational school (odborné učilište) for special education needs learners, a component of special schools stream

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Depends of individual learners and individual schools

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

Mentally-challenged children that are expected to at least partly meet standards set for achieving lower secondary vocational education entitling them to perform simple tasks or work under supervision.

Children with other challenges enter regular VET programmes slightly adjusted to their needs. Children and adults with severe mental challenges enter practical school programmes (praktická škola) ([101]There were 1 211 learners in this programme in 2017/18.).

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

Completion of the last of year of basic school in any age.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a final examination. Performance in practical component results in receiving different certificates and qualifications. Three levels of meeting requirements are officially recognised by law (zaškolenie, zaučenie, vyučenie) and specified in school educational programmes (school curricula). All levels indicate qualifications, however, only the highest level leads to a certificate of apprenticeship

Diplomas/certificates provided

There are four certificates and three qualifications an individual can obtain depending on a level of fulfilment of requirements

  • certificate on completing some part of the programme (that is further specified) (osvedčenie o absolvovaní časti vzdelávacieho programu);
  • certificate on acquiring some skills (that are further specified) (osvedčenie o zaškolení);
  • certificate on achieving some vocational level (that is further specified) (osvedčenie o zaučení);
  • certificate of apprenticeship (výučný list).

These certificates are officially recognised.

Examples of qualifications

Auxiliary works in several areas: preparing meals, gardening, bricklaying, painting, pastry

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete this programme with a certificate of apprenticeship can enter the labour market and be employed in the companies informed about their challenges. Others can enter the labour market and be employed in the companies informed about their limits.

Sheltered workshop are usually the best for their long-term employment.

Destination of graduates

There are no individualised data about graduates. These graduates do not progress in education to achieve a higher level of education, but they can participate in diverse trainings.

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

State educational programmes (national curricula) ([102]National curricula for special education needs learners are prepared by the National Institute for Education; see
http://www.statpedu.sk/sk/deti-ziaci-so-svvp/deti-ziaci-so-zdravotnym-znevyhodnenim-vseobecnym-intelektovym-nadanim/vzdelavacie-programy/vzdelavacie-programy-ziakov-so-zdravotnym-znevyhodnenim-vseobecnym-intelektovym-nadanim/stredne-vzdelavanie-nizsie-stredne-odborne-vzd.html.
) also reflect all key competences set by the European reference framework ([103]See European Parliament; Council of the European Union (2006). Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning. Official Journal of the European Union, L 394, pp.10-18.
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A32006H0962.
) within three groups of key competences:

  • act independently in a social and working life;
  • use interactively knowledge, information communications technology (ICT), communicate in Slovak, mother tongue and foreign language;
  • work in heterogeneous groups.

These are adjusted to special needs of mentally challenged learners and reflected within individual school educational programmes (school curricula).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Learning outcomes are embedded into assessment criteria or learner profiles in school educational programmes (school curricula) used for description of three performance levels of learners (zaškolenie, zaučenie, vyučenie).

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

ISCED 352 special education needs learners account for 2.4% of all secondary and post-secondary VET learners ([104]2017/18. ISCED 2 to 5 full-time and part-time VET learners including performing arts and special education needs learners; except schools of interior ministry and practical schools.). Children who are mentally challenged to the extent that they do not qualify for entering this programme can enter practical schools (praktická škola)

There are also learners with special needs in regular VET programmes that are only slightly adjusted to their needs that are therefore subsumed in the shares of respective regular programmes.

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available