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General themes

VET in Sweden comprises the following main features:

  • a highly decentralised system in which education providers are fully responsible for the provision of VET programmes;
  • the high number of recently arrived migrants caused the introduction many new VET study paths, allowing for partial qualifications;
  • participation in lifelong learning was above 30%

in 2017, making it the highest in the European

Union (Eurostat). It is provided in many forms and

learners can also acquire an upper secondary

vocational diploma.

Distinctive features ([1]Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Sweden. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8095_en.pdf
):

Modularised structure of upper secondary education

Modularised programmes allow learners in upper secondary school to transfer one or more courses to another programme, for example when changing study route. Municipal adult education at upper secondary level provides the same courses as secondary school, with a few exceptions, allowing learners to build on their earlier studies and, for example, gain higher education access.

Validation in adult education

Validation is possible in all municipal adult education courses at upper secondary level. A learner who has validation for part of a course does not have to attend classes in that part of the course. Even within higher vocational education, knowledge, skills and competences acquired through training, job experience or otherwise may be validated and recognised for part of a programme. Education providers are responsible for the process.

National programme councils with strong social partner involvement

To strengthen cooperation between education and the world of work, national programme councils include social partners for each of the national vocational programmes in upper secondary schools. The councils are a permanent platform for dialogue on quality, content and organisation of VET between national agencies and stakeholders.

Social partners and representatives from the public employment service are members of the Labour Market Council ([2]The role of the council is defined in the ordinance for HVET:
https://www.riksdagen.se/sv/dokument-lagar/dokument/svensk-forfattningssamling/forordning-20111162-med-instruktion-for_sfs-2011-1162
), an advisory body linked to the Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education.

Sweden must strengthen efforts to ease the transition from education to the labour market

It is important to provide support for those furthest from the labour market. The government has focused on strengthening the link between education and the world of work, within both upper secondary and tertiary VET. An apprenticeship centre has been established to promote and increase provision of apprenticeships. The government has also adopted regulations on a professional introductory period of employment, including vocational training and the possibility of having an apprenticeship contract when in upper secondary school. Education contracts, agreements between young people, the employment services and the home municipality were introduced in 2015; these encourage unemployed young people aged 20 to 24 to start or return to studies to acquire an upper secondary qualification. Studies within the contract can be combined with work or practical work experience.

Investments for quicker introduction of newly arrived immigrants

Many newly arrived immigrants have training and experience in occupations in which there is a shortage of trained and experienced labour in Sweden. To reduce the time from arrival to first job entry, the government has started consultations with the social partners, the Swedish public employment service and other relevant government agencies on measures for creating ‘fast tracks’ into the labour market. The initiatives may include, for example, Swedish language training specific to the vocational field, quicker validation of skills and competences, assessment of foreign qualifications, and supplementary training.

Data from VET in Sweden Spotlight 2016 ([3]Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Sweden. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8095_en.pdf
).

Population in 2018: 10 120 242 ([4]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It increased by 5.9% since 2013 due to high natural growth and migration ([5]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

As in other parts of Europe, Sweden has an increasing proportion of elderly people in the population. The 15-64 age group made up 63.1% of the population in 2015. By 2060 this proportion is anticipated by Eurostat to fall to 57.8%. In 2015 the elderly (65+) already outnumbered those under the age of 14 by 2.3 percentage points This difference is foreseen to increase further until 2060, when the elderly will make up 24.6% and the young 17.6% of the population.

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 31 in 2015 to 43 in 2060 ([6]Old-age-dependency ratio is defined as the ratio between the number of persons aged 65 and more over the number of working-age persons (15-64). 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. Since 2000, the population has increased by more than one million or 13.9% ([7]Statistics Sweden:
https://www.scb.se/hitta-statistik/statistik-efter-amne/befolkning/befolkningens-sammansattning/befolkningsstatistik/pong/tabell-och-diagram/helarsstatistik--riket/befolkningsutveckling-fodda-doda-in--och-utvandring-gifta-skilda/
), due to high nativity rates and immigration (see table below).

The high number of immigrants required introduction of measures to integrate them into society. Some of these measures were an increased offer of the Swedish language introduction programme (Språkintroduktion), as well as introduction of study paths leading to partial VET qualification.

 

Net population change 2000-17

Source: Statistics Sweden.

 

The country is multicultural and has a high number of immigrants asking for an increase in the offer of Swedish language classes and for VET qualification programmes. The importance of recognising prior learning has also increased. The National Agency for Education launched in March 2018 a skills mapping web-based tool ([8]https://kartlaggningsverktyget.skolverket.se/start) for people who have professional work experience from other countries. The tool assists individuals to become aware of their skills, which can shorten their study time and contribute to improved integration through access to the labour market ([9]Information is based on: Skolverket; ReferNet Sweden (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Sweden. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Sweden_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
).

Most companies are small in Sweden. One-person enterprises without any employees dominate with almost one quarter of all enterprises. Only 0.1% of all Swedish enterprises are large, having 250 employees or more ([10]https://www.ekonomifakta.se/fakta/foretagande/naringslivet/naringslivets-struktur/).

Sweden has a long and successful industrial tradition and is an export-dependent country that competes in a global market. Manufacturing industry is dominant, with products like machinery, telecommunications, electronics, vehicles, medications, as well as iron, steel and paper products. Another important part of the Swedish export market is knowledge-intensive services such as research and development, ICT-services and intellectual property like patents or licences.

The labour market is considered flexible and only 41 professions are regulated in 2018, mostly in education and medicine.

Total unemployment ([11]Percentage of active population aged 25 to 74.) (2018): 5.0% (6.0% in EU-28); it has increased by 0.9 percentage points since 2008 ([12]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.
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].

 

The unemployment rate for graduates aged 25-64 with ISCED level 5-8 qualifications, has been below 5% from 2008-18. Graduates with medium-level qualifications (ISCED levels 3 and 4), including most VET graduates, faced a slightly higher risk of unemployment but also had in 2018 only a risk of 3.6% of being unemployed. However, the unemployment rates of graduates at ISCED level 0-2 was much higher, and reached its peak in 2018 at 16.1%.

A characteristic feature of Swedish working life is that many professions are skills-intensive, requiring constant upskilling and lifelong learning. The unemployment rate is higher among persons born outside of Sweden, than among Swedish-born, and the increase among low-skilled adults is partly due to the large migration flows that peaked in late 2015.

The employment rate of VET graduates aged 20 to 34 increased from 88.0% in 2014 to 92.3% in 2018 and was always higher than the EU average (2014: 76.9% and 2018: 80.5%).

 

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 in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates in 2014-18 (+4.3 pp), was higher compared to the increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates (+2.3 pp) in the same period in Sweden ([13]NB: Breaks in time series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

Education traditionally has high value in Sweden. In 2018 the share of the population aged 25 to 64 with higher education (43.1%) was higher than in most EU Member States (32.2%). The share of those with upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education (ISCED 3-4) was 42.2%, lower than the EU average of 45.7%. The same applies also to the percentage of those holding an ISCED 0-2 level qualification (14.3%), which was lower than the EU average (21.8%).

 

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

34.1%

71.4%

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].

 

The vocational programmes which most applicants put as their first choice in 2017 were building and construction, electricity and engineering and vehicle and transport. These programmes are highly male-dominated, which means that VET-programmes as a whole had a larger proportion of male than female applicants, 60 and 40 % respectively (see figure below) ([14]Information is based on: Skolverket, ReferNet Sweden (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Sweden. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Sweden_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
).

 

Number of applicants, and gender distribution of VET programmes in 2017

Source: Skolverket (2017). Sökande och antagna till gymnasieskolan läsåret 2017/18.

 

The percentage of early leavers fell slightly from 2009 to 2018 from 7.0% to 9.3%; this is still above the national target of no more than 7%. However, throughout the years it was always better than the EU average, which decreased from 14.2% in 2009 to 10.6% in 2018.

According to the Education Act ([15]https://www.riksdagen.se/sv/dokument-lagar/dokument/svensk-forfattningssamling/skollag-2010800_sfs-2010-800) the municipalities are responsible for tracking and engaging early school leavers in activities. They mainly target young people under 20 without a completed upper secondary school diploma. Statistical data show that more than 106 000 learners reported by municipalities 2017/18 but that also more than 45 000 learners were deregistered the same year. One third of the deregistered learners had resumed or completed their studies ([16]https://www.skolverket.se/publikationer?id=4005).

 

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].

 

 

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 was already at a high level in 2014, at 29.2%, and came back to this level in 2018 after a slight increase in between. It is the highest participation rate in the European Union; the EU-28 average in 2014-18, was close to 11%.

Lifelong learning is provided in many forms. Municipalities offer formal adult education where learners can also acquire an upper secondary vocational diploma. Individual modularised pathways for adults, set up according to specific needs, are the most common way to gain a qualification in a new field or study the courses required to access higher vocational or higher general education. At a non-formal level, folk high schools and private training providers offer various courses for adults. Several active labour market policy programmes (ALMP) for the unemployed are also vocationally oriented or feature different forms of work placement. Courses and programmes are financed through fees or by companies and organisations, with public grants also provided.

The Swedish Government has been implementing a major education initiative for lifelong learning and higher employment since 2015. The initiative involves state-funded training places in vocational adult education programmes at upper secondary level, higher vocational education, education at folk high schools and at universities and colleges. The objective of the initiative is mainly reskilling and upskilling the unemployed and reaching out to adults lacking upper secondary education, or with secondary vocational education needing completion ([17]Information is based on: Skolverket, ReferNet Sweden (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Sweden. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Sweden_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
).

Learners in municipal adult education study courses which can be combined in various ways. Therefore, the data for adult VET is not comparable to that of upper secondary school and, due to a lag in official data, the latest analytical report on adult learners’ becoming established on the labour market is based on data for courses in 2011-13 ([18]Skolverket (2017). Uppdrag om uppföljning av sysselsättning efter avslutade studier inom kommunal vuxenutbildning [Employment following municipal adult educaiton]. Report 2017:01587.
https://www.skolverket.se/publikationer?id=3872
).

The data available provide information on the number of learners who have studied vocational courses of more than 800 credits, which corresponds to one year in upper secondary education. Of all learners in municipal adult education that completed their studies in 2013, nearly 16% (9 745 individuals), studied more than one year of VET courses, and nearly 10% studied between six months and one year. In comparison, there were almost 106 000 learners enrolled in one of the three years of upper secondary VET education for the youth.

The education and training system comprises:

• preschool education (ISCED level 0);

• primary and lower secondary education (ISCED levels 1 and 2, EQF level 2);

• upper secondary education (ISCED level 3, EQF level 4);

• post-secondary non-tertiary education (ISCED level 4, EQF levels 5-6);

• higher education (ISCED levels 5, 6, 7 and 8, EQF levels 6-8);

• municipal adult education.

From 2018/19, attending pre-school is mandatory for all children from the year they turn six. Compulsory school begins then at age seven and lasts nine years. VET starts after compulsory education before the age of 20. Learners can choose among one of the 12 vocational programmes (yrkesprogram) or six general preparatory programmes for higher education (högskoleförberedande program) in the upper secondary school (gymnasieskola). A diploma from completed upper secondary education is placed at EQF level 4.

Adults aged 20 and older, without upper secondary education who wish to change career paths can enrol in upper secondary VET courses in municipal adult education institutions (kommunal vuxenutbildning). If an upper secondary education diploma is achieved, the qualification is placed at EQF level 4.

At tertiary level, there are higher vocational education programmes (yrkeshögskoleutbildningar) leading to first or second cycle VET qualifications placed at EQF levels 5 and 6. This applies to education for professions requiring specific knowledge or certification to work in the profession. Many of these programmes are in health care and agriculture as well as in the education sectors ([19]Skolverket, ReferNet Sweden (2016). Vocational education and training in Europe - Sweden. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports.
https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/2016_CR_SE.pdf
).

There are several VET learning options:

Initial VET at upper secondary level leading to EQF 4 is available in the formal education system as:

  • school-based learning for the young and adults;
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice) is mandatory in VET for the young, and encouraged through state grants in municipal adult VET;
  • distance learning, which is available in municipal adult VET-education.

Municipal adult education is flexible and based on the individual's needs as part- or full-time studies. Learners aged 20 or older can enter municipal adult education directly after graduating from upper secondary education, e.g. to study for eligibility to access tertiary education. A learner may also resume studies after being employed. For some, municipal adult education may be a CVET path; for others, it may be a continuation of the upper secondary IVET or GE-programme.

Formal VET is offered at EQF level 4 to 5. Apart from formal education, Sweden has a long tradition of liberal adult education (folkbildning), a type of non-formal learning which is typified by being ‘free and voluntary’, offered outside the school system. Liberal adult education covers education in folk high schools (folkhögskolor) and adult education associations (studieförbund) that are not restricted to state-determined curricula or syllabuses. Each folk high school or adult education association decides on the content and organisation of their own educational offerings. The folk high schools provide shorter and longer special courses. One- to three-year VET programmes are special courses for specific professions, e.g. journalist, recreation leader, treatment assistant, cantor or sign language interpreter. Both shorter and longer courses in crafts as well as art, music and drama are also common. Some vocational education is at post-secondary level and has special admission requirements, while some is at upper secondary level. ([20]Skolverket, ReferNet Sweden (2016). Vocational education and training in Europe - Sweden. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports.
https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/2016_CR_SE.pdf
)

Apprenticeship is, next to school based education, a possible pathway to studying a vocational programme at upper secondary school, aiming to prepare learners for the labour market. Upper secondary apprenticeship education can start in the first, second or the third year. From the moment apprenticeship education starts, half of it should consist of work-based learning (WBL). An education contract or learning agreement is obligatory for every apprentice; this should specify the content and scope of the WBL. The apprentice, the education organiser and the workplace should sign the contract and a contact person and/or a trainer/supervisor should be appointed. The school is responsible for the establishment of an education contract or learning agreement. In both pathways, the same syllabuses are applicable and successful completion leads to a vocational diploma.

Swedish upper secondary education is organised in 18 three-year national programmes, of which 12 are vocational programmes covering most vocational fields. The programmes are modular and organised in courses where one course is usually 100 credits. All programmes include foundation subjects, for example Swedish, English and mathematics, and programme- specific subjects, for example retailing and vehicle technology. The schools decide if a vocational programme should be provided as apprenticeship education and when the apprenticeship starts. The learner chooses between the pathways offered.

Apprenticeship education as part of formal IVET was only introduced in 2011. The development of apprenticeship education within the frame of the upper secondary school includes a broad spectrum of initiatives such as changes in upper secondary school regulations, financial incentives and support to schools and workplaces. Regulations steering apprenticeship education were introduced in the Education Act and in the Upper Secondary School Ordinance following the reform in 2011. Steering documents in the form of curricula, diploma goals and syllabuses are drawn up by the Swedish government and by the Swedish National Agency for Education.

In 2014, an apprenticeship centre (Lärlingscentrum)([21]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/news-and-press/news/sweden-apprenticeship-centre-established-2014) was created under the auspices of the Swedish National Agency for Education to promote apprenticeship, provide advice to VET institutions and employers, train supervisors at workplaces, and stimulate cooperation at regional level between schools and businesses ([22]Cedefop (2018). Developments in vocational education and training policy in 2015-17: Sweden. Cedefop monitoring and analysis of VET policies.http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/vetpolicy-developments-sweden-2017 and Skolverket, ReferNet Sweden (2014). Apprenticeship-type schemes and structured work-based learning programmes - Sweden. Cedefop ReferNet network series on apprenticeship and WBL.
https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2015/ReferNet_SE_2014_WBL.pdf
).

Unlike VET as a whole, the number of upper secondary VET learners enrolled in an apprenticeship programme ([23]Eurostat table tps00203 [extracted 25.1.2019].) has grown steadily since its introduction in 2011, with an average annual increase of over 1 000 learners, from 5 600 in 2013/14 to 12 280 in 2018/19 ([24]Source: Apprenticeship centre at Skolverket.). For the school year 2018/19 this meant that 12.5% of all VET learners followed an apprenticeship programme. Despite the positive trend, apprenticeship participation remains below expectations; there are also significant challenges in relatively low completion rates and high drop-out rates. The government ambition is to increase both participation and apprenticeship quality ([25]Cedefop (2018). Flash thematic country review on apprenticeships in Sweden. Luxembourg: Publications Office. Thematic country reviews.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/4169_en_0.pdf
).

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

Governance for upper secondary VET

A distinct feature of the Swedish education system is that primary and secondary education is a goal-steered system with a high degree of local responsibility. The Swedish Parliament, the Government and the National Agency for Education draw up the overall national goals in legislation, but the main responsibility of funding lies with the municipalities, and provision is the responsibility of the municipalities and the organisers of independent schools (see table below for a summary of governance and responsibilities).

In addition to the public municipal bodies, private entities may also be approved as organisers and run independent upper secondary schools after approval from the Swedish Schools Inspectorate. Independent schools are regulated by the same legislation and governing documents as municipal schools and may offer both VET and higher education preparatory programmes. School organisers have a primary responsibility for distributing resources and organising activities so that learners attain the national goals.

 

Summary of governance and distribution of responsibilities in Swedish upper secondary education (including IVET)

Source: Skolverket.

 

Within the framework of national vocational upper secondary programmes, there is scope for flexibility and local adaptation. The core content, which consists of foundation subjects, programme-specific subjects and orientations, is nationally determined by the Government. The foundation subjects are the same for all VET learners, the programme specific subjects are the same for all learners in one of the programmes, and the courses in orientations are the same for learners in an orientation within a programme.

There are also programme specialisations. The National Agency for Education determines which courses and subjects adhere to the diploma goals of the programmes and makes these available for each programme specialisation. Schools can combine these different courses to create programme specialisations that meet the regional and local needs of the labour market and enable learners to focus their studies on a specific vocational outcome. Formally, the local adaptations in programme specialisations are decided by the organiser’s governing board, i.e. the local government for state schools, and by the school organiser for independent schools.

 

General programme structure for vocational programmes in upper secondary school

Source: Skolverket.

 

Governance for higher VET

Employers and industry representatives play a significant role in the planning of a higher VET programme and have an influence on its content. In contrast to upper secondary vocational education, education providers determine the content of the programmes in higher vocational education. The goals and orientation of the education and training programmes are expressed in terms of knowledge, skills and competences which learners are to have attained on completion. Information about the courses included and assessment criteria must also be given. In their applications, education providers also include information about the companies or organisations which have actively participated in developing and planning the programme. The Swedish Agency for Higher Vocational Education independently determines, following an application procedure, the programmes to be included as higher vocational education.

One important element in higher vocational education is learners' involvement in, and their opportunities to influence, the structure and delivery of the education. Each programme must have a plan to ensure that this is achieved. Teaching and teaching materials are determined by the governing group of the education provider, which is also responsible for carrying out systematic quality monitoring. The Agency of Higher VET also supervises the programmes through inspections and quality auditing.

Employers and industry contribute to and influence programme content by participating as lecturers, joining in projects, hosting study visits and offering work placements. Higher vocational education must also contribute to developing learner competences in entrepreneurship. Higher vocational education may also be run in the form of distance courses ([26]Information is based on: Skolverket, ReferNet Sweden (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Sweden. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Sweden_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
).

Funding of upper secondary VET

Municipalities in Sweden are responsible for providing primary and secondary education to their residents, but residents are free to choose an education provider. Municipal and central government tax revenues provide the funding for primary and secondary education; they are equally entirely financed by public funds. The major part of school funding comes from municipal tax revenues, but parts also come from central government state grants to municipalities. Almost SEK 43 billion (EUR 4.2 billion) ([27]EUR 4.2 billion as of 10.4.2019.) was spent on upper secondary education in 2017. Almost 70% of the funding is provided by the municipal tax revenues ([28]https://skl.se/skolakulturfritid/forskolagrundochgymnasieskola/vagledningsvarpavanligafragor/samycketkostarskolan.2785.html#5.9f425ef147b396d4678201f,5.9f425ef147b396d467820f0,5.68e4adfe147afac12a43fbee,5.68e4adfe147afac12a43fc11).

Since access to education should be equal regardless of where in Sweden one lives, several state grants and other equity measures are available to ensure that all residents have access to education of the same quality.

All municipalities are guaranteed equivalent financial conditions in accordance with a special equalisation system. The general central government grant is, therefore, based on a number of different parameters such as population, population structure, social structure and the number of immigrants. Each municipality determines how it will allocate resources as this general central government grant is not earmarked and is supplemented by targeted central government grants for specific initiatives, such as apprenticeship education, adult vocational education and projects to develop the quality of work-based learning.

There are considerable differences in calculated cost between the different programmes, with vocational programmes being both the most diverse and also on the more costly end of the spectrum. The National Agency for Education has developed a system of calculating how much a learner should cost on average for a particular programme (riksprislistan). For some programmes there are differences in cost between orientations. This system is used by municipalities when financing education through the voucher system in independent schools. The most costly VET programme generates a voucher of more than twice as much as the least costly (see figure below).

Regardless of the governing body, both upper secondary school and municipal adult education at upper secondary level are free of charge for the learner. In adult education, however, learners must pay for their teaching materials themselves.

 

Average voucher cost per upper secondary VET programme per year as determined by the National Agency for Education, 2018

Source: National Agency for Education - Average cost per upper secondary VET programme. ( https://www.skolverket.se/skolutveckling/statistik/om-skolverkets-statistik/riksprislistan)
NB: EUR 1 was equivalent to SEK 10.33 on August 7, 2018.

 

Funding and state grants to adult municipal VET education

Municipalities are responsible for adult upper secondary education, but usually outsource to providers, public or private, in the education market. The Swedish Government has a goal to lower unemployment rates and provides a large share of the municipal funding for adult education through state grants. One part of the governmental strategy is to invest in vocational education and apprentice education for adults in order to counter a shortage of skilled labour, while giving people the opportunity to retrain for a new profession. The strategy also aims to reach groups who have not completed upper secondary education or who have vocational upper secondary education that needs to be supplemented.

On January 1, 2017 state grants for regional training of adults came in force ([29]Regeringen (2016a). Regulation 2016:937 on State grants for regional vocational training for adults.
https://www.riksdagen.se/sv/dokument-lagar/dokument/svensk-forfattningssamling/forordning-2016937-om-statsbidrag-for-regional_sfs-2016-937
). Regional vocational adult education (regionalt yrkesvux) aims to strengthen regional cooperation to meet labour market needs better. The regulation contains provisions on government grants for such training at secondary level in municipal adult education, if it is carried out in cooperation between a number of municipalities and employers and can include combined studies in Swedish as a second language and VET. SEK 5.5 billion ([30]EUR 525 million as of 10.4.2019.
https://skl.se/skolakulturfritid/forskolagrundochgymnasieskola/vagledningsvarpavanligafragor/samycketkostarskolan.2785.html#5.9f425ef147b396d4678201f,5.9f425ef147b396d467820f0,5.68e4adfe147afac12a43fbee,5.68e4adfe147afac12a43fc11
) (corresponding to EUR 532 million) was spent by the municipalities on adult education in 2017. The total state grant to municipal adult VET for 2018 is SEK 1.989 billion (corresponding to EUR 192.5 million) for 37 800 full-time learners ([31]The State grants to adult municipal VET awarded for 2018 amounted to SEK 1 579 billion which corresponds to 32 914 full-time learners and SEK 280 million was awarded for apprentices in municipal adult VET which corresponds to 3 154 full-time learners for one year. In addition, SEK 130 million was awarded in state grants to education of professional drivers which corresponds to 1 732 full-time learners for one year. (EUR 1 was equivalent to SEK 10.33 as of 7.8.2018.)).

Funding of higher VET

Higher vocational education programmes may be organised by state higher education institutions, municipalities, county councils and individuals or legal entities. These programmes are partially financed through public funding and are free of charge for the learner, with an exception for minor costs for a particular reason like a study visit and for teaching materials. Learners who attend publicly-funded programmes are eligible for student aid.

The Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education (Myndigheten för yrkeshögskolan) approves and allocates state grants in response to applications from education providers. In 2018, almost SEK 2 billion (corresponding to EUR 194 million) of state grants was used for higher vocational education ([32]https://www.myh.se/Documents/Publikationer/Arsredovisningar/Arsredovisning-2018-MYH.pdf). A programme that has been approved may be offered a limited number of times as determined by the agency. Then a new application must be made to the agency to ensure that the competences provided by the programme meet the needs of the labour market.

Funding of liberal (non-formal) adult education

Today there are approximately 150 folk high schools (folkhögskolor) in Sweden. The majority of these are run by non-governmental organisations, non-commercial organisations, foundations or associations, and trade unions but county councils and regions can also be their governing bodies. The 10 largest adult education associations are also run by non-governmental organisations, associations and other organisations. Study circles and other activities are often provided by local or regional associations.

Liberal adult education is largely financed through support from the state, regions and municipalities. State support makes up around 70% of the grants to adult education associations and to folk high schools. Conditions for state grants to folk high schools and adult education associations are regulated in the State Grants for Adult Education Ordinance ([33]Regeringen (2015a). Ordinance 2015:218 on State grants for adult education Ordinance
https://www.riksdagen.se/sv/dokument-lagar/dokument/svensk-forfattningssamling/forordning-2015218-om-statsbidrag-till_sfs-2015-218
). The Swedish National Council of Adult Education (Folkbildningsrådet), a non-profit association, has been tasked by the Government to distribute grants, and also to follow up and evaluate activities. Tuition in folk high schools is free of charge and, in certain cases, gives the right to student aid. However, participants are required to pay for course literature, study material, lunch and any eventual residential costs. Study circles and other activities run by adult education associations are subject to fees and do not qualify for student aid ([34]Information is based on Skolverket, ReferNet Sweden (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Sweden. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Sweden_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
).

In 2015, there were two categories of teacher and trainer in VET programmes:

  • vocational teachers;
  • general subject teachers.

In addition, there were trainers (practical training instructors at the workplaces supporting and monitoring students’ learning) deemed suitable for the task by the employer but without any formal qualification.

The Education Act of 2010 defines the educational requirements for being a teacher. Teachers of upper secondary education need to have a tertiary teaching degree. Teachers of vocational programmes need to have a vocational qualification at least at SeQF level 5, one SeQF level above the level s/he will teach (upper secondary VET programmes lead to SeQF level 4). The qualification is a vocational basic diploma awarded after 90 ECTS credits, out of which 30 ECTS credits comes from teacher induction.

In autumn 2011, four different programmes in teacher education were set up, one of which was designed specifically for vocational education teachers. Vocational teacher education included a core of education methodology, particularly general teaching knowledge and skills, as well as induction. Teachers of general subjects in VET programmes had to meet the same requirements as teachers in higher education preparatory programmes. According to the Education Act, teachers have to go through a certification process carried out by the National Agency for Education.

Entry requirements for vocational teacher training are graduation from upper secondary school and mastery of the relevant vocation. The Swedish Council for Higher Education (Universitets- och Högskolerådet, UHR) has specified, through an ordinance, entry requirements for each vocational subject for vocational teacher training. The ordinance states that specialised knowledge, obtained by experience and theory in the field, is required.

Due to the lack of qualified teachers, non-qualified, non-certified teachers can be also temporarily employed for a maximum of one year. The duration of their employment is restricted, to allow formally qualified teachers to take over this position. The legislation states that non-certified teachers have to be supervised by a certified teacher to assess and grade learners ([35]Cedefop (2018). Developments in vocational education and training policy in 2015-17: Sweden. Cedefop monitoring and analysis of VET policies.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/sweden_-_vet_policy_developments.pdf
).

The Education Act of 2010 states the educational requirements for being a teacher in the Swedish school system and that continuous professional development (CPD) is the responsibility of the head teacher and school founder. The legislation does not, however, give any specific information on how CPD should be carried out; this is regulated by the agreements of the labour market’s social partners.

CPD for teachers is regulated by agreements between the social partners. A supplement to the general labour standards regulated in an agreement between the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR), the employers’ organisation for municipalities and local governments, and the employee organisations, regulates the conditions that apply to teachers. The supplement defines the time allocation during the academic school year for teachers employed by municipalities. Some independent, private actor governing boards of VET schools use the same agreements as publicly-organised schools; other independent governing boards do not.

The agreement sets teachers’ total worktime, and the regulated time that the employer controls, over one year. CPD is part of the regulated time and, as such, the time that the employer should allocate and plan for. The time allocated for CPD is on average 104 hours, or nearly 6% of the total worktime for teachers in one year. Many adult education teachers are employed according to the same annual framework but with a different time allocation, as adult education does not follow an academic year with school holidays and summer recess. The agreement states that the time spent for teacher CPD should be distributed for teachers to develop good conditions for students’ learning. It is at the discretion of the head teacher to distribute the CPD time and resources to optimise the learning outcomes locally. The allocation of CPD time, resources and focus areas is often negotiated with the employees. The provision for CPD is decentralised, meaning that each founder and school is responsible for CPD within the framework defined by the legislation and the labour agreements. As a consequence of the decentralised system, there is no systematically collected nationwide data on CPD for teachers in general or for vocational teachers in particular ([36]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers).

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers ([37]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers).

 

 

State agencies, like Statistics Sweden (SCB) and the public employment services, PES (Arbetsförmedlingen) monitor the Swedish labour market and publish their analyses regularly. The public employment service also offers Yrkeskompassen ([38]https://www.arbetsformedlingen.se/For-arbetssokande/Valj-yrke/Yrkeskompassen.html#/), a search engine for predicting future employment prospects for various professions and a list ([39]https://www.arbetsformedlingen.se/For-arbetssokande/Hitta-jobb/Inspiration-i-jobbsokandet/Nyheter/Nyheter-for-Arbetssokande/2018-08-29-Har-ar-listan-med-heta-yrken-dar-du-bor.html) of professions in demand in the various regions of Sweden.

However, skill needs and the provision of VET are not interlinked in Sweden. The provision of VET (and other upper secondary) programmes in upper secondary school ([40]In municipal adult education, the governing board of the organiser, i.e. the political body of the municipality, decides which courses the municipality will offer but there is always a right for adults to study courses to become eligible for admission to tertiary education.) is largely determined by the preferences of the learners, who choose their education. Since providers operate in a competitive market they adjust supply according to the learners’ demands. Ideally there would be a balance between the demand for education, the need for competence among the different business sectors on the one hand, and the supply, the provision of educated and skilled workers on the other. There appears to be a gap between demand and supply: there is a shortage of competence in some sectors and too many people educated in upper secondary school in fields in which there is no shortage. Guidance, information and similar incentives are the ‘soft’ means by which learners can be attracted and steered to specific vocational education programmes.

There are also structural challenges in the Swedish VET system when it comes to the municipalities’ potential to offer a broad supply of programmes and specialisations at upper secondary level. Municipalities are sometimes too small entities to be able to offer a wide range of different upper secondary programmes and orientations.

Municipalities can cooperate in confederations to coordinate the supply of upper secondary programmes, but challenges remain in this field, particularly in IVET, due to decreasing interest in VET paired with high costs for organising some VET programmes. Therefore, a commission of enquiry ([41]Regeringen (2018). Planering och dimensionering av gymnasial utbildning [Financing and steering of upper secondary education]. Ministry of Education Committee Directive 2018:17.
https://www.regeringen.se/rattsliga-dokument/kommittedirektiv/2018/03/dir.-201817/
) has been appointed to develop a regionally-based model for financing and steering of education at upper secondary level (including municipal adult education). The commission will present its proposal to the Government in February 2020 ([42]Information is based on Skolverket, ReferNet Sweden (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Sweden. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Sweden_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
).

For further information please see also the national country reports on skills anticipation ([43]Skills Panorama webportal - Skills anticipation in countries, 2017. Analytical highlights series.
https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/analytical-highlights/browse-analytical-highlights?f%5B0%5D=field_collection%3A765
).

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([44]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European Skills Index ([45]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index)

Government design of the IVET structure

Since few professions are regulated in Sweden, most qualifications are determined by stakeholders and social partners. The Parliament, the Government and State agencies are responsible for education and have set up a structure for education provision to meet the needs of the individual, society and the labour market.

Consultation rounds and open consultation through meetings and websites are examples of methods used to collect views and proposals. If a revision is seen as necessary, the National Agency for Education ([46]The National Agency for Education (Skolverket) is the central administrative authority for the public school system, publicly organised pre-schooling, school-age childcare and for adult education. Visit their website at:
https://www.skolverket.se/
) organises an extensive review to inform the relevant parties of the decision on a new subject or course. Focus groups of teachers and learners are consulted; the work in progress is published on the agency’s website for teachers and stakeholders to express their opinions; proposals are written and quality assured in the agency to ensure that the curricula align with the legislation. Before the National Agency decides on a new subject or course, other national agencies, interest groups, social partners and stakeholders (including school organisers) receive a copy of the proposed changes and have a chance to comment. If a large section of the consultees or a single influential group is opposed to the proposal, the National Agency for Education may decide not to proceed or to revise the proposal. The same process is used for core and foundation courses which are decided by the Government. In these instances, the National Agency for Education acts on behalf of the Government and makes proposals to the Government after following the same review process.

When the quality assurance of the design, assessment, certification and review of the process is thorough and transparent, it is more likely that the final proposals will be accepted. If everyone concerned has a chance to express their opinions, the proposed education standards expressed in the documents are more likely to be adjusted to suit the needs of social partners and stakeholders and to be of a higher quality.

So, for example, in 2015 a government commission of enquiry ([47]Regeringen (2016b). En gymnasieutbildning för alla [High school education for all]. State report SOU 2016:77.
https://www.regeringen.se/rattsliga-dokument/statens-offentliga-utredningar/2016/10/sou-201677/
) (Gymnasieutredningen) was launched, which included the aims of studying how VET programmes can provide eligibility for tertiary education and analysing if it would be necessary to adjust the upper secondary programmes and orientations. Proposals from the enquiries are presented to the Government and frequently guide the Government in upcoming objectives for the education agencies aiming to develop curricula, syllabuses or to make amendments to the education structure. The drawing up of governing documents takes place for the most part at the National Agency for Education in close collaboration with different actors and stakeholder groups.

Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes ([48]What a learner is expected to know, be able to do and understand at the end of a learning sequence.) in upper secondary education are expressed in the curricula, diploma goals and subject syllabuses which describe the aim and long-term goals of the subject, the core content, and assessment criteria in the knowledge requirements for each of the courses. Learning outcomes in Swedish upper secondary education are expressed as the learners’ ’ability to’, ’knowledge about’, ’understanding of’ and ’skills in’. Knowledge requirements relate to these outcomes and are expressed using active verbs.

Gap between diplomas and expected qualifications in upper secondary VET

Within the structural framework it is foreseen that all VET programmes should cover 2 500 credits and last three years. Typically, 1 600 credits are allocated to VET-subjects, whereas the remaining credits are allocated to foundation subjects (Swedish, English, maths, physical health, natural science, and social science), diploma project and to individual options. There are, however, some industries that argue that there is too little vocational training in upper secondary education to reach a qualification needed in their sector. For traditional handicrafts like hairdressers, for example, graduates must work as employees for 3 000 hours before being able to take the exam leading to a journeyman certificate. Therefore, the vocational outcome of the hairdresser orientation of the handicrafts programme only leads to the informal title 'aspiring hairdresser.' Final examinations are performed by the hairdressers’ association but the qualification is still placed at the SeQF level 4 (EQF level 4) based on the level of acquired knowledge, skills, and competences ([49]The Swedish ordinance defining SeQF uses the term 'competences' for the EQF category 'responsibility and autonomy.').

Designing education in dialogue with stakeholders in upper secondary VET

In structured consultation, the National Agency for Education meets with schools and stakeholders to ensure that subjects and courses can be used to build qualifications which meet the needs of working life. For each vocational programme there is a national programme council with a broad cross-section of industry representatives and social partners in the vocational area for which the programme provides education and training. Some programme councils include representatives from public authorities like the Swedish public employment service (PES). One of the tasks of each programme council is to advise and support the National Agency for Education in relation to the adaptation, development and modernisation of the supply of education and the content of vocational education. This helps to ensure that the competences required by the labour market are met. The programme councils fulfil a consultative function and can suggest revisions but are not decision-making bodies.

At local level, there must be one or several local programme councils (lokala programråd) for cooperation between school and working life; they cover all vocational programmes in every upper secondary school. How these councils are organised and what their tasks are is not regulated. Possible tasks could be assisting the provider in arranging placements of work-based learning, and participating in organising and assessing diploma projects. A local programme council may also advise the school about skills needed locally and which courses the school could use in programme specialisations to meet the local needs.

Other forms of cooperation with stakeholders

There are many initiatives for cooperation at the regional level between school and working life, unregulated by the State. For example, actors on the labour market have initiated Teknikcollege ([50]The organisation Riksföreningen Teknikcollege Sverige uses the term Teknikcollege in English:
http://www.teknikcollege.se/teknikcollege-i-english/ Since Teknikcollege is used as a brand name, it is not translated in this report.
) (Technical College) and Vård- och omsorgscollege (Health and Medical Care College), a form of cooperation within the framework of upper secondary and tertiary education. Behind the Teknikcollege is the Industrial Council (Industrirådet) and different employer and employee organisations in the technology and industrial sectors. The Teknikcollege wishes to be a long-term competence provider that also works actively to promote quality in VET at upper and post-secondary levels. The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, (SKL) together with a trade union, the Swedish Municipal Workers' Union (Kommunal) and the Association of Private Care Providers (Vårdföretagarna), started a similar initiative in a college for health and medical care, with a focus on ensuring the supply of skilled workers and further training for existing staff, as well as increasing quality in work-based learning for young people and adults.

Partial qualifications in VET

In October 2016 the Government commissioned the National Agency for Education to recommend vocational training 'packages' for adults. These 'packages' are clusters of courses agreed with the industry as entry points into the labour market. They will not only consist of partial qualifications, but will also include building blocks that may be transferred and accumulated towards a full qualification. In April 2017 the objective was amended to include the introduction programmes aimed at young, mostly recently arrived immigrants, who are not eligible for admission to an upper secondary VET programme. Fifty-eight packages covering a wide range of vocational areas had been developed by February 2018 but more are being continuously developed.

Designing qualifications in higher VET

In accordance with legislation and within the restrictions of funding allocations for higher vocational education programmes (yrkeshögskoleutbildningar) the Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education (Myndigheten för yrkeshögskolan) independently determines, following an application procedure, the programmes to be included as higher vocational education. In contrast to upper secondary vocational education, it is the education providers who design the programmes in higher vocational education.

Programmes in higher vocational education must correspond to the needs of the labour market. For this reason, the Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education analyses and collects information about the skills in short supply in different industries and regions. The information is then used, together with the VET provider’s application, as a basis for assessing the programmes that are to be available in higher vocational education. External stakeholders such as employers and industry organisations, as well as central and regional authorities, also play an important contributory role in supplying information to the assessment and decision-making processes. The qualification demands imposed by employers and industries thus determine the programmes to be approved, where in Sweden they are offered, and how many study places are allocated to each programme.

The Labour Market Council (arbetsmarknadsråd) is a special body linked to the Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education. The task of the council is to support the agency with information about the labour market: the vocational areas under development, the new qualifications that may be required, and the qualifications that need to be phased out. The members of the council, which is chaired by the head of the agency, are representatives of the public employment service and the social partners. The council members also function as a channel to their respective organisations in terms of synchronising the analyses.

For education and training programmes that require nationally equivalent content, the Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education issues regulations on what knowledge, skills and competences all learners must have attained on completion.

Designing qualifications outside the formal education system

The Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education (Myndigheten för Yrkeshögskolan) has been appointed by the Swedish Government as the national coordination point for the Swedish national qualifications framework, the SeQF. All government regulated education is referred to the SeQF in an ordinance ([51]Regeringen (2015b). Förordning om referensram för kvalifikationer för livslångt lärande [Regulation on the national qualifications framework]. SFS 2015:545.
https://www.riksdagen.se/sv/dokument-lagar/dokument/svensk-forfattningssamling/forordning-2015545-om-referensram-for_sfs-2015-545
), but qualification awarding bodies outside the formal education system may apply to the agency to refer their qualification to the SeQF. A precondition is that the awarding body conducts systematic quality assurance of the qualification. A group of experts reviews the application and serves as an advisory body to the Director General who determines the SeQF-level of the qualification. These decisions are valid for ten years ([52]Information is based on: Skolverket, ReferNet Sweden (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Sweden. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Sweden_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
).

The extent to which the state governs the goals and contents of formal VET varies between different education forms. The following table shows the various responsibilities of agencies and governing bodies for controlling VET provision and assuring its quality.

 

Responsibility of goals, contents, diplomas and quality assurance in VET

 

 

Quality assurance for upper secondary VET

All school organiser governing bodies in Sweden are required by law to have a systematic quality assurance process in place. Quality assurance arrangements are not regulated in detail but it is common for schools to use indicators such as average grades, participation rates, completion rates and placement rates in their analysis. Most organisers also survey their learners' opinions on the education, facilities and their well-being.

Responsibility for supervision and quality auditing of both upper secondary school and municipal adult education rests with the Swedish Schools Inspectorate (Skolinspektionen). Regular supervision of schools is carried out on the basis of a number of assessment areas and points; quality auditing follows up a specific area. Vocational education, and especially apprenticeship education, is very much in focus within both regular supervision and quality auditing. Structured cooperation between education providers and the workplace has been shown to be an important factor for success in work-based learning.

Even though the education providers are responsible for carrying out systematic quality assessment, the Government supports and stimulates the development of quality in VET via different initiatives and specific funding schemes. This may include specific tasks delegated to the Swedish National Agency, e.g. to develop guidelines for work-based learning. Also, the Government has decided on an extensive funding scheme consisting of grants to schools wishing to develop the quality of work-based learning.

Quality assurance for tertiary VET

Programmes in higher vocational education are supervised by the Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education (Myndigheten för yrkeshögskolan) through inspections and quality auditing. Programmes are checked for compliance with existing legislation and other provisions. The agency performs three different types of inspection: introductory, regular and ad-hoc inspections following up particular issues or problems.

Introductory inspection is carried out for new programmes that start or have just started. The aim of such inspections is to determine whether there are the preconditions in place to deliver new, good quality programmes. Ad hoc inspections are carried out if there are complaints from a learner about the education programme itself or the education provider. The ad hoc inspections only examine the complaint area.

Quality assurance for qualifications outside the formal education system

Bodies outside the formal education system that have their qualifications placed in the national qualifications framework must apply systematic quality assurance processes in their education programmes. Their quality assurance process must be described in their application according to the EQAVET system ([53]Information is based on: Skolverket, ReferNet Sweden (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Sweden. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Sweden_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
).

Validation in municipal adult education at upper secondary level is possible within all courses and must be based on the learner's circumstances and needs. The validation is mainly used to allow customising the content of the studies according to learner’s needs and shorten education duration, or to assess knowledge and skills that are required for eligibility for a particular education. The learner receives a certificate through validation, instead of a grade or diploma.

If the learner wishes to obtain a formal grade, he or she must pass an extended test covering all the content of the particular course. A 16 to 20 year-old learner in upper secondary education may also validate his or her knowledge and skills through an extended test. The purpose of this test, however, is not to individualise the learning to progress more rapidly through the education programme; it lets the learner have a second chance, if he or she has received a failing grade, or cover courses not previously studied if the learner changes programme or orientation. Documented knowledge and skills achieved by studies abroad, or through other means, may be credited to the learner at a pass level without the extended tests ([54]Information is based on: Skolverket, ReferNet Sweden (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Sweden. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Sweden_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
).

Incentives for VET learners

Individuals with different backgrounds and in different life situations are given the possibility to study, thanks to a system of study allowances and student aid. Students have the right to different forms of financial support for both upper secondary and tertiary studies. Also, employees have the right to take leave of absence to attend education.

Swedish study support gives everyone the opportunity to study, irrespective of their financial background. The form and the size of the support vary depending on age and life situation and also on the scope and level of studies. The Swedish Board for Study Support (Centrala Studiestödsnämnden, CSN) is responsible for and administers most of the learner support. The education programmes entitled to support are determined by the Swedish Government through the Study Support Ordinance ([55]Regeringen (2000). Studiestödsförordning [Student support ordinance]. Ordinance 2000:655.https://www.riksdagen.se/sv/dokument-lagar/dokument/svensk-forfattningssamling/studiestodsforordning-2000655_sfs-2000-655). Special investments in higher levels of grant are used as an incentive for further studies. This applies, for instance, to the initiative for higher grants to learners in vocational education, where one aim is to encourage more unemployed people over the age of 25 to apply for vocational education.

The support is part of education policy and aims to increase social justice. It grants equal access to education for both men and women, and levels out differences between individuals and groups in the population. In 2018 more than 475 000 individuals aged 20 and above received financial support. Of these, almost 60% were women and 23% received support for studies at upper secondary level. Of all adults studying at post-secondary level and receiving support, 12% were studying in a HVET programme ([56]CSN (2019). Studiestödet 2018 [Student support 2018]. CSN report 2019/2.
https://www.csn.se/download/18.2020cba016a03060f9726e/1555075355558/Studiest%C3%B6det%202018%20webb.pdf
).

Studiestöd is the umbrella term for all study aid in the Swedish education system which includes grants and loans for different age groups. In 2018, the total support handed out was SEK 34.3 billion (EUR 3.3 billion) and the total debt the Swedish population has to the government is SEK 224.6 billion (EUR 21.74 billion). A total of 1 557 410 persons (almost 15% of the population) have studiestöd which include loans from the State, as reported in the reference above.

Study allowance for learners under the age of 20

Study allowance (studiehjälp) in the form of grants, supplementary allowance and boarding supplement can be paid to learners under the age of 20 who are studying in upper secondary school, municipal adult education or folk high schools. Under certain circumstances the grant can also be awarded for studies abroad. One prerequisite for receiving this grant is that the learner studies full-time and participates in the relevant courses. This means, for example, that a learner who is frequently absent runs the risk of losing the support and may be liable for repayment. The school has an obligation to report to the Swedish Board for Study Support when a learner is absent without a valid reason.

Learners who wish to live and study in a place other than their home municipality may apply for a boarding supplement from the Swedish Board for Study Support or from the municipality. This applies in cases where the specific education is not provided by the home municipality, or where the education programme is open to national admission. The grant makes it possible for learners to participate in specialist vocational education that is provided at only a few places in the country. In 2014 a supplement was introduced for learners attending apprenticeship education (lärlingsutbildning) in upper secondary school. The supplement is designed to cover extra living costs, for example travel to the workplace and lunch.

As of July 2014, learners attending apprenticeship education in upper secondary school may be employed in what is called an upper secondary apprentice position (Gymnasial lärlingsanställning, GLA). As a result, upper secondary apprentices can be offered employment while still in education, in accordance with adapted labour law provisions. An apprentice employed in such a position is remunerated by the employer and not entitled to the supplement.

Student aid for learners aged 20 and above

Student aid (studiemedel) can be granted to learners in post-secondary education, such as higher vocational education, supplementary education, and vocational education in folk high schools. Learners studying at upper secondary level who have reached the age of 20 are also entitled to student aid. They can apply for grants and loans and also for certain supplementary allowances. Parents of minors, for example, can receive a supplementary allowance. To be eligible for further funding learners must demonstrate satisfactory results in previous studies. The contribution for full-time learners is at most SEK 723 (EUR 69.25 as of April 10, 2019) per week and the loan at most SEK 2 720 (EUR 260.50 as of April 10, 2019) per week. The loan has a low interest rate (at 0.16 percent in 2019).

Despite the generous study support system there is still a part of the population refraining from education due to economic reasons. The Government has therefore introduced a new study allowance, the education entry grant ([57]The Swedish Board of Student Finance (CSN) webpage on education entry grants:
https://www.csn.se/bidrag-och-lan/studiestod/studiestartsstod.html
), that the municipalities have been able to distribute since mid-2017. The education entry grant is designed to recruit unemployed people, aged 25-56, with short previous education who need education at the primary or upper-secondary level to strengthen their ability to establish themselves on the labour market.

Current initiatives of State-funded adult education and training

The Swedish Government has been implementing a major education initiative for lifelong learning and higher employment since 2015. The initiative involves state-funded training places in vocational adult education programmes at upper secondary level, higher vocational education, education at folk high schools as well as at universities and colleges. The objective of the initiative is mainly reskilling and upskilling unemployed people; it also reaches out to adults lacking upper secondary education, or having secondary vocational education needing to be completed. Expanding the number of training places also provides adults with a general education increased opportunity to enrol in vocational education and training (VET). A substantial part of the initiative has been targeted towards upper secondary VET and apprenticeships for adults.

VET has traditionally been organised by each municipality. To stimulate development towards a broad supply of education and training corresponding to the needs in the different regions, the Government altered the conditions and introduced a new state grant in 2017, replacing previous state grants targeting vocational training and apprenticeships. The current state grant requires cooperation between at least three municipalities on the planning and supply of education and training at the regional level. The needs of the labour market should be met and planning should therefore be done in consultation with the public employment services and with different actors responsible for regional development.

Since 2009, Sweden's municipalities have had the opportunity to apply for state subsidies for an expanded implementation of VET for adults. In January 2016, the number of available places was expanded for the target group in need of vocational training, combined with studies in Swedish for immigrants or Swedish as a second language.

As of January 2017, constellations of three municipalities or more have been able to apply for state subsidies for adult VET to cover a broader range of potential learners. These subsidies can be combined with courses in Swedish for immigrants or Swedish as a second language at compulsory school level. The aim is to provide newly arrived adults with the opportunity to enrol in vocational education, thereby contributing to improved integration through access to the labour market.

Financial support for migrants in VET

For the past few years, employer and employee organisations in several sectors have signed work introduction agreements (yrkesintroduktionsanställningar). These aim at facilitating young (age 15-24) people’s transition from school to working life and safeguarding the long-term skills supply for companies. Most of these agreements are based on the principle that young people lacking professional experience are offered coaching and training during part of their working time. Normally the young person will hold a full-time position but the salary will amount to 75% of a full-time job, as part of the time will consist of vocational training. The training content has to be clearly defined and have a supervising trainer appointed by the enterprise. Interest in such positions has increased slowly since the introduction of financial incentives at the beginning of 2014. From 1 June 2016 the introduction agreements are also open to the long-term unemployed and newly arrived immigrants who are older than 25 ([58]YA-delegationens (2018) http://www.ya-delegationen.se/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/arsrapport-2018...).

A minimum wage, according to the collective agreement between the social partners of the employment sector, is paid by the employer to the employee ([59]Information is based on Skolverket, ReferNet Sweden (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Sweden. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Sweden_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
).

State grants are predominately given to the governing board of education providers, even though the grants are intended to finance support activities in the enterprises. Some state grants, however, are directed to enterprises; examples are the regional funds available to stakeholder organisations to support quality improvement in WBL, or for measures intended to promote an interest in becoming a VET teacher ([60]Regeringen (2014). Ordinance 2014/375 on State grants and regional fundsfor the development of WBL.https://www.riksdagen.se/sv/dokument-lagar/dokument/svensk-forfattningssamling/forordning-2014375-om-statsbidrag-for_sfs-2014-375).

For employers who are offering work places in the scope of introduction agreements, the public employment services pays employment taxes of 31.42% as well as a compensation of SEK 115 (EUR 11 as of April 10, 2019) per day for the trainer in the workplace ([61]Information is based on: Skolverket, ReferNet Sweden (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Sweden. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Sweden_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
).

Decreasing interest in upper secondary vocational programmes has led to an increased focus on, and investment in, information activities and study and career guidance. Ongoing changes in Swedish VET create the need for information and guidance to provide everyone with an overall view of the available study paths and what they can lead to. Increasing the attractiveness and quality of VET is an important priority for the Swedish Government.

Information and guidance about study and career paths in Sweden is integrated into different activities. The curriculum ([62]Skolverket (2013). Curriculum for the upper secondary school.
https://www.skolverket.se/publikationer?id=2975
) for upper secondary education states that the head teacher is responsible for ensuring that ‘study and guidance counselling is organised in such a way that learners receive information and guidance prior to making study choices in the school, and before choosing their future education paths and professions’; one of the explicit goals of the curriculum is that all learners ‘are familiar with the conditions of working life, especially within their study area, as well as the opportunities for further education, work placement and work in Sweden and other countries.’ The curriculum for compulsory school mirrors the curriculum in upper secondary school regarding study and guidance counselling; new legislation to provide practical vocational orientation (Praktisk yrkesorientering, PRAO) in compulsory school came into effect in 2018 ([63]Sveriges Riksdag (2010). The Education Act (2010: 800) 8a§; Sveriges Riksdag (2018). Act amending the Education Act.). The vocational orientation is compulsory and requires that learners in years 8 and 9 spend a minimum of 10 days in a workplace or, if the school cannot provide sufficient work-placements, in a vocational programme in upper secondary school.

The governing body or education provider has the main responsibility for guiding and recruiting learners for VET. General information on study and career paths, and on the labour market for different professions, is supplied by national authorities and industry organisations. Both the National Agency for Education and the Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education are tasked to inform and disseminate knowledge about their respective areas. The National Agency for Education also functions as a national reference point for information on VET in Sweden and other EU countries, as well as countries in the EEA area.

Many national websites provide information and guidance for young people and adults. The portal Utbildningsinfo.se ([64]http://www.utbildningsinfo.se) includes search tools for education paths and providers. The site contains information about possible vocational outcomes, the situation on the labour market in the field, and funding and information on other important considerations when choosing a study path.

Information provided by the Swedish Public Employment Service focuses on finding jobs in different professions. The portal Yrkeskompassen (The Occupational compass) ([65]http://www.arbetsformedlingen.se/For-arbetssokande/Yrke-och-framtid/Yrkeskompassen.html) shows the labour market situation and future prospects for about 200 professions and contains information about national forecasts for one, five and 10-year periods. One-year forecasts are also available at regional level. The Occupational compass also provides descriptions of different professions and possible education paths.

The Swedish National Council of Adult Education (Folkbildningsrådet) is responsible for the information services of the Swedish folk high schools (Folkhögskolornas informationstjänst), whose tasks include contributing to the recruitment of course participants. The portal Folkhögskola.nu ([66]http://www.folkhogskola.nu) provides general information on vocational education and other courses given by folk high schools.

Vocational boards (yrkesnämnder) and other industry organisations supply information about professions and career paths through different means, and also about formal and non-formal education in their fields ([67]For example, the building industry’s vocational board. See
http://www.byn.se/ and Svensk Handel's career web:
http://www.karriarihandeln.se/
). This may cover websites, participation in industry specific trade fairs or inspiration days.

All these activities and web portals must also function to support study and vocational guidance counsellors in their work. Euroguidance Sweden is a national resource centre for counselling, which supports counsellors in their role of providing information about opportunities for studying and work placement abroad.

The municipalities are responsible for ensuring that young people and adults are offered education at upper secondary level. Before learners choose upper secondary school, many municipalities and regions take part in upper secondary fairs and open houses where schools and programmes are presented. Information meetings and guidance counselling are offered to those who wish to study in municipal adult education at upper secondary level. Education providers frequently market their education and courses via advertisements, web sites and direct marketing.

The Swedish National Agency for Education has developed the following web-based tools as a service to learners, teachers, guidance counsellors and other stakeholders in upper secondary education. The web-based system was launched on March 1, 2018. The Skills mapping tool can be used to assist learners and other stakeholders in planning an upper secondary education diploma within the framework of municipal adult education. The target group is people who have experience in professional work, or equivalent experiences, and need to have their vocational skills and competences validated. The tool is specifically adapted to newly arrived individuals and aims to assist in making more individuals aware of their skills; this, in turn, can shorten their study time and contribute to improved integration through access to the labour market. The Skills mapping tool is useful both in adult education and in upper secondary school, and for young new arrivals with work experience; it can also contribute to improved transitions between upper secondary school and municipal adult education.

Guidance counselling is also an important task of the public employment service (Arbetsförmedlingen) aimed at improving matching between job seekers and working life. In addition to the Occupational compass, job seekers are offered study and vocational guidance through brief telephone coaching sessions, or personal meetings with a counsellor at drop-in sessions. The public employment service is also responsible for what are called preparatory activities (förberedande insatser) aimed at aiding job seekers’ choice of work. The initiatives are tailored to the individuals and may be of a counselling, rehabilitation or orientation nature. They are intended for job seekers who need to prepare themselves for a labour market policy programme or a job.

The Higher Vocational Education Ordinance (Förordningen om yrkeshögskolan) lays down the responsibility of the governing bodies of education providers for ensuring that there is guidance and counselling concerning alternative study paths, admissions and entry, as well as vocational guidance. In their application to deliver education within the framework of higher vocational education, education providers must describe how this counselling will be provided. Student fairs, where information on higher vocational education providers, universities and university colleges is presented, are held regionally and in cooperation with education providers and the social partners. There are also industry-specific trade fairs, where education at both upper secondary and tertiary level is presented.

General information about higher vocational education is available through the web site of the Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education ([68]http://www.myh.se). The agency also provides a web site intended for potential learners ([69]http://www.yrkeshogskolan.se). Besides general information about higher vocational education, this web site contains information about current higher vocational education programmes and links to various education provider web sites. Information about higher education studies is made available through the portal studera.nu ([70]http://www.studera.nu).

Study and career guidance is readily available for learners at all levels of the education system. There is, however, a challenge to reach those individuals who do not actively participate in education. Outreach and guidance measures to youths and young adults who are not in employment, education or training is further discussed in the ReferNet national report on guidance and outreach for the inactive and unemployed ([71]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/events-and-projects/networks/refernet/thematic-perspectives/guidance-outreach)([72]Information is based on: Skolverket, ReferNet Sweden (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Sweden. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Sweden_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
).

Please see also :

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 6

Higher VET

programmes

with WBL,

1-2 years

ISCED 554

Higher VET programmes at EQF level 6, ISCED 554.
EQF level
6
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

14

Usual entry age

19

Usual completion age

20-21

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?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Mostly.

Is it offered free of charge?

It is free of charge with some exceptions.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

The duration is calculated in HVET points; 200 points correspond to one year of full-time studies.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning;
  • work practice;
  • part-time studies (approximately one tenth of the programmes);
  • distance learning.
Main providers

Higher vocational education programmes may be organised by state higher education institutions, municipalities, county councils and individuals or legal entities.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

All programmes of 400 points (two years full-time studies) have a minimum of 25% WBL.

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

In-company training.

Main target groups

Programmes are available to all young people and adults, who have successfully completed the upper secondary school leaving exam or who have the informal or non-formal training that provide prerequisite competence for completing the programme.

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

Entry requirement for leaners is the upper secondary school leaving certificate. The VET provider decides on specific entry requirements and many programmes also impose specific entry requirements including, for example, credit for specific courses in upper secondary school or work experience in the field. The provider may also declare an applicant eligible following what is known as an open assessment of qualifications, despite not fulfilling general and/or specific entry requirements.

Within higher vocational education, validation may be used to provide a basis for decisions regarding admission to programmes. Knowledge, skills and competences acquired through training, job experience or otherwise may also be validated and recognised as part of a programme. The education provider is responsible for the validation process.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The graduate receives an advanced diploma in higher vocational education (kvalificerad yrkeshögskoleexamen) if the learner has received at least the lowest passing grade in all courses included in the programme, has attained knowledge, skills, and competences at a SeQF Level 6, has accumulated at least 400 higher vocational education credits and has completed a diploma project.

A minimum of 25% workplace training must also have been included in the programme ([81]Regeringen (2009). Ordinance on higher vocational education. SFS 2009:130, Paragraph 13-14.
https://www.riksdagen.se/sv/Dokument-Lagar/Lagar/Svenskforfattningssamling/Forordning-2009130-omyrkes
).

The credit system differs from that of academic education and credits cannot automatically be transferred from higher VET to an academic institution. Each university, however, has the right to validate and transfer the credits from higher VET if it is deemed appropriate.

Diplomas/certificates provided

The VET graduate receives an advanced diploma in higher vocational education (kvalificerad yrkeshögskoleexamen) allowing them to enter the labour market. Graduation from this programme, does not offer access to any additional progression pathways.

Examples of qualifications

Information not available.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The credit system of these higher VET programmes differs from that of academic education and credits cannot automatically be transferred from higher VET to an academic institution. Each university, however, has the right to validate and transfer the credits from higher VET if it is deemed appropriate.

Destination of graduates

The programmes are intended to lead to a working position.

Awards through validation of prior learning

The education provider has the option to accept learners without the formal eligibility requirements if it is estimated that the applicant will be able to fulfil the programme. The education provider validates and decides in each individual case.

General education subjects

Y

Approximately 90 % of the programmes in higher vocational education also offer training in Swedish specific to the vocational field as additional support.

Key competences

Y

Approximately 90 % of the programmes in higher vocational education also offer training in Swedish specific to the vocational field as additional support.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The education provider has to define the learning outcomes in the application to the Agency for Higher Vocational Education to have the programme accepted.

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

Information not available.

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

ISCED 454

Higher VET programmes at EQF level 5, ISCED 454.
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

454

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

13-14

Usual entry age

19

Usual completion age

20-21

Length of a programme (years)

1

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Mostly.

Is it offered free of charge?

It is free of charge with some exceptions.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

The duration is calculated in HVET points; 200 points correspond to one year of full-time studies.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning;
  • work practice;
  • part-time studies (approximately one tenth of the programmes);
  • distance learning.
Main providers

Higher vocational education programmes may be organised by state higher education institutions, municipalities, county councils and individuals or legal entities.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

WBL is not mandatory, but encouraged, in the one-year HVET programme.

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

In-company training.

Main target groups

Programmes are available to all young people and adults who have successfully completed the upper secondary school leaving exam or who have the informal or non-formal training that provides prerequisite competence for completing the programme.

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

Entry requirement for leaners is the upper secondary school leaving certificate. The VET provider decides on specific entry requirements and many programmes also impose specific entry requirements including, for example, credit for specific courses in upper secondary school or work experience in the field. The provider may also declare an applicant eligible following what is known as an open assessment of qualifications, despite not fulfilling general and/or specific entry requirements.

Within higher vocational education, validation may be used to provide a basis for decisions regarding admission to programmes. Knowledge, skills and competences acquired through training, job experience or otherwise may also be validated and recognised as part of a programme. The education provider is responsible for the validation process.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The higher VET graduate receives a diploma in higher vocational education (yrkeshögskoleexamen) if the learner has received at least the lowest passing grade in all courses of the programme, knowledge, skills and competences at a SeQF level 5, and has accumulated at least 200 higher vocational education credits.

The credit system differs from that of academic education and credits cannot automatically be transferred from higher VET to an academic institution. Each university, however, has the right to validate and transfer the credits from higher VET if it is deemed appropriate.

Diplomas/certificates provided

The VET graduate receives a diploma in higher vocational education (yrkeshögskoleexamen), which is recognised as part of the formal education system and allows learners to enter the labour market. Graduation from this programme, does not offer learners access to any additional progression pathways.

Examples of qualifications

Information not available.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The credit system of these higher VET programmes differs from that of academic education and credits cannot automatically be transferred from higher VET to an academic institution. Each university, however, has the right to validate and transfer the credits from higher VET if it is deemed appropriate.

Destination of graduates

The programmes are intended to enter the labour market.

Awards through validation of prior learning

The education provider has a possibility to accept learners without the formal eligibility requirements if it is estimated that the applicant will be able to fulfil the programme. The education provider validates and decides in each individual case.

General education subjects

Y

Approximately 90% of the programmes in higher vocational education also offer training in Swedish specific to the vocational field as additional support

Key competences

Y

Approximately 90% of the programmes in higher vocational education also offer training in Swedish specific to the vocational field as additional support

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The education provider has to define the learning outcomes in the application to the Agency for Higher Vocational Education to have the programme accepted.

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

Information not available.

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

Individualised programmes for learners

not eligible for national

upper secondary programmes

ISCED 244, 341, 351

Individualised programmes for learners not eligible for national upper secondary programmes (introduktionsprogram) leading to ISCED 244, 341, 351
EQF level
Not applicable
ISCED-P 2011 level

244, 341, 351

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

10-12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

19

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?

N

Some of the introduction programmes include IVET courses, which lead to a certain number of credits, which can be counted as partial qualification when later following a VET programme.

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Is it available for adults?

N

However the equivalent education (corresponding to a compulsory school qualification) is available in adult municipal education for those adults with lower education levels.

ECVET or other credits

The introduction programmes are intended to make learners eligible to apply for a national programme at upper secondary level or prepared for a vocation. As such the education is not credit-based. Courses from upper secondary education can, however, be included and these courses will generate credits in accordance with upper secondary education.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning;
  • work practice.
Main providers

In addition to the public municipal bodies, private entities may also be approved as VET providers and organise and run independent upper secondary schools after approval from the Swedish Schools Inspectorate. Independent schools are regulated by the same legislation and governing documents as municipal schools.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

WBL is possible, but not mandatory.

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

In-company practice.

Main target groups

Learners who are not eligible for an upper secondary school national programme may, until they turn 20, apply for one of the four ([74]From 2011 until July 2019 there are five introductory programmes. The preparatory education programme (preparandutbildning) and the individual options-oriented programme (programinriktat individuellt val) will be replaced by un updated individual options-oriented programme aimed at having the same structure and goal for learners striving to become eligible for admission to either a VET programme or a higher education preparatory programme.) introductory programmes (introduktionsprogram).

These programmes offer learners an individually-adapted education, which satisfies their varying educational needs and provides clear educational paths. These paths may lead to entrance into the labour market, but also provide a foundation for further education by giving access to upper secondary programmes.

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

The learner is eligible for a national programme in upper secondary education if he or she has passing grades in Swedish, English, maths and five more subjects from compulsory school. The maximum age to begin the programme is 20, if a learner is older, he or she will be referred to municipal adult education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The teacher assesses the learning and grades the learner according to criteria of the knowledge requirements for each course.

Diplomas/certificates provided

After an introductory programme has been completed, the headteacher issues an upper secondary school certificate (Gymnasieintyg) specifying the education the learner has received ([75]Skolverket (2011). Upper secondary school, 2011. Stockholm: Skolverket, p. 31.
https://www.skolverket.se/publikationsserier/styrdokument/2012/upper-secondary-school-2011?id=2801
).

Examples of qualifications

The learner may study upper secondary courses leading to a partial qualification ([76]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/news-and-press/news/sweden-partial-ivet-qualifications-adults).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who successfully complete the individualised programme can access general and vocational upper secondary programmes.

Destination of graduates

In one out of the four introduction programmes that mainly focus on vocational content, 50% of the learners that began the programme in 2013 had completed a full upper secondary VET education in five years. Of these, 34% and 15% respectively, completed all requirements for an upper secondary VET diploma in five years ([77]https://www.skolverket.se/publikationer?id=4094).

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The teacher validates the knowledge. The introduction programme is predominantly aimed to fill in the 'gaps' for a completed compulsory education to make learners eligible for upper secondary education.

General education subjects

Y

Most of the time general education subjects are part of this programme to ensure that graduates will have the necessary qualifications to enter upper secondary programmes. Eligibility criteria for upper secondary education are passing grades in Swedish, English, maths and five more subjects from compulsory education. In theory, a learner may have passed Swedish, English, maths but not the other five required subjects. However, that is quite rare.

Key competences

Y

The curriculum of upper secondary education applies and contains all key competences.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The same course construction as in compulsory school and upper secondary school.

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

Information not available

EQF 2

Programmes

for SEN learners, leading

4 years,

WBL >14%

ISCED 343 and 353

Programmes for SEN learners (Gymnasiesärskolan) leading to EQF 2, ISCED 343 and 353
EQF level
2
ISCED-P 2011 level

343, 353

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Information not available

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Is it available for adults?

Y

There is equivalent education for adults with learning disabilities (Särvux) that, just like municipal adult education, is built on courses instead of programmes.

ECVET or other credits

2500 credits during four years and 3600 hours.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning;
  • work-based learning in companies (minimum of 22 weeks).
Main providers

In addition to the public municipal bodies, private entities may also be approved as VET providers and organise and run independent upper secondary schools after approval from the Swedish Schools Inspectorate. Independent schools are regulated by the same legislation and governing documents as municipal schools.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

> 14%

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

In-company practice.

Main target groups

Programmes are available to young people with special educational needs. An equivalent education is available for adults with special needs, but based on courses instead of programmes.

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

Special needs upper secondary schools offer national and individual programmes to learners with intellectual disability. Learners with special needs are individually assessed and placed in a national programme or individualised programme; the latter targets learners with more special demanding needs.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The teacher assesses the skills and knowledges and grades the learner according to set criteria required for each course. Grades are awarded for each course completed in the national programmes. If a

learner passes, he/she is awarded grade E, D, C, B or A. The highest grade is A and the lowest is E.

If a learner does not achieve the standard required for grade E, he/she receives no grade.

Diplomas/certificates provided

When learners have completed their education in national or individual programmes, they receive a special needs upper secondary school certificate (Gymnasiesärskolebevis) ([78]https://www.skolverket.se/getFile?file=3044). The certificate describes which skills and experiences the learner has acquired from the special needs upper secondary school and contains details of:

• the programme;

• subject areas or courses that the learner has studied;

• grades;

• the learner’s work-based learning or placement;

• the special needs upper secondary school work placement.

Examples of qualifications

Information not available.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Learners can continue in SEN education for adults; this is not considered as progression.

Destination of graduates

Information not available.

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available.

General education subjects

Y

Apart from the same general foundation subjects as in upper secondary education, an aesthetic subject is included. The courses are adjusted to the learner's preconditions and needs.

Key competences

Y

The curriculum of upper secondary education applies and contains all key competences.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The same course construction as in compulsory school and upper secondary school. Grade F, (not passing) is not applicable.

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

Information not available.

Individual

modularised pathways

for adults (20+)

WBL possible,

% varies

ISCED 244, 344, 351, 353

Individual modularised pathways for adults (grundläggande nivå/compulsory level and gymnasial komvux/upper secondary level, including särvux/special needs education for adults with learning disabilities) at ISCED 244, 344, 351, 353.
EQF level
Municipal adult education provides the same education as compulsory and upper secondary education for the young. The difference is that it is course-based and individualised. If a learner fulfils the requirements for an upper secondary education, he or sh
ISCED-P 2011 level

244, 344, 351, 353

Usual entry grade

Minimum age is 20.

Usual completion grade

Not applicable.

Usual entry age

After age 20.

Usual completion age

Not applicable.

Length of a programme (years)

It is individualised.

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

It can be initial VET, or general education.

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

All adults are entitled to free education either to gain eligibility to tertiary education, or to complete an upper secondary degree.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

A learner in municipal adult education must accumulate 2 400 credits to obtain a diploma. 2 250 of these credits must be passed.

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

• school-based learning;

• work practice (practical training at school and work- based learning in company).

Main providers

Municipal adult education is funded by the municipality and state grants to the municipalities. The municipalities either provide education or procure education from different providers.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

WBL is not compulsory, but there are incentives through state grants available for providers if 70% of the education is provided though WBL in IVET for adult apprentices. For adults with learning disabilities following special education, 50% of the education has to be provided as WBL for receiving state grants.

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

In-company practice.

Main target groups

Programmes are available for adults without compulsory education, not having enough knowledge of Swedish, or who are not eligible to access tertiary education.

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

All adults are entitled to free education to complete compulsory education as well as Swedish for immigrants, as well as the upper secondary courses to gain eligibility to tertiary education. But there is a distinction between eligibility and the right to education. In short, there is no right for adults to study a VET programme. An adult with a qualification at EQF 4 is not entitled to adult municipal VET education (but not prevented if the municipality is willing to finance it). However, all adults are entitled to study Swedish or English for eligibility to higher education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The teacher assesses the learning and grades the learner according to criteria of the knowledge requirements for each course.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Municipal adult education at upper secondary level aims at providing adults with knowledge up to the upper secondary leaving certificate, granting them access to tertiary education. Nationally determined programmes do not exist in municipal adult education; instead courses are offered based on the needs and circumstances of the adult learner.

Examples of qualifications

Information not available.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Depending on the chosen programmes, graduates can acquire an upper secondary leaving certificate granting them access to tertiary education. They can also acquire vocational qualifications equivalent to IVET diplomas for the young or partial IVET qualifications ([79]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/news-and-press/news/sweden-partial-ivet-qualifications-adults).

Destination of graduates

Information not available.

Awards through validation of prior learning

All learners should be individually assessed and their previous knowledge validated to provide individualised education. A learner who has validated part of a course does not have to attend classes for that part of the course. If a learner wishes to receive grades in the validated courses, he or she will need to complete an extended test in the course.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

The curriculum of adult municipal education applies and contains all key competences. However, not all key competences are applicable to all individuals since a learner may only study one subject or course.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The same course construction as in compulsory school and upper secondary school.

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

Learners in municipal adult education do not study a programme, but courses which can be combined in various ways. Therefore, the data for adult VET are not comparable to those of upper secondary VET and, due to a lag in official data, the latest analytical report on how fast adult learners found a job on the labour market is based on data for learners courses in 2011-13 ([80]Skolverket (2017). Uppdrag om uppföljning av sysselsättning efter avslutade studier inom kommunal vuxenutbildning [Employment following municipal adult education]. Skolverket report 2017:01587.
https://www.skolverket.se/publikationer?id=3872
). The data available provide information on the number of learners who have studied vocational courses of more than 800 credits, and of those who have studied 400-799 credits, and in which upper secondary programme these courses belong. Two thirds of all learners in adult education for which there are available data studied courses in health and social care.

EQF 4

VET programmes (school-based or apprenticeship)

3 years,

WBL >15% (*)

ISCED 353

VET programmes comprising ‘school-based education’ (skolförlagd utbildning) or ‘apprenticeship education’ (lärlingsutbildning) leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 353
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

353

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

19

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Unless someone returns to complete their education for a diploma after longer leave.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

All upper secondary education for those under the age of 20 is free of charge. After age 20, learners have to pay for their own learning materials (like books).

Is it available for adults?

Y

All courses are available in municipal adult education.

ECVET or other credits

A learner in upper secondary school should accumulate 2 500 upper secondary credits. 2 250 of these credits must be passed to receive an upper secondary qualification and diploma.

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

• school-based learning;

• work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);

• apprenticeships.

Main providers

In addition to the public municipal bodies, private entities may also be approved as VET providers and organise and run independent upper secondary schools after approval from the Swedish Schools Inspectorate. Independent schools are regulated by the same legislation and governing documents as municipal schools.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

<15%

Or a minimum of 15 weeks, 23 hours per week, out of 2 430 hours.

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

Programmes are accessible to young people under the age of 20.

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

Learners need to have completed compulsory school, with passing grades in Swedish, English, maths and five more subjects before they turn 20 years of age.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The teacher assesses the learning and grades the learner according to criteria of the knowledge requirements for each course.

Diplomas/certificates provided

After completing upper secondary education, learners receive ’gymnasieexamen’ (upper secondary diploma). In VET, the diploma is ’Yrkesexamen’ (vocational diploma).

Examples of qualifications

Information not available.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Depending on the chosen individual modularised pathway, learners can progress to programmes at tertiary level.

Destination of graduates

Graduates can directly enter the labour market, or progress to HVET studies or other tertiary education.

Awards through validation of prior learning

A learner may take an extended exam to receive a grade instead of participating in a course. The procedure also applies for learners that have a fail grade or wish to gain a higher grade.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Subjects are modularised in courses and learning outcomes are defined though core content and knowledge requirements for each course.

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

Of all upper secondary learners in national programmes, 28% are taking part in a VET programme in 2018/19. Of all learners in introduction programmes, 30% are in the VET-oriented vocational introduction (yrkesintroduktion) and programme-oriented individual option (programinriktat individuellt val).

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available

General themes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Demographic changes have an impact on VET.

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

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

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

Most companies are micro and small-sized.

Main economic sectors:

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

not applicable

70.9%

not applicable

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

   

Structure of enrolment by sex, in %

Total, number

Men

Women

Fields of education - TOTAL

47 724

58.2

41.8

Education

2 709

10.7

89.3

Humanities and Arts

2 865

37.6

62.4

Social sciences, business and law

5 570

37.5

62.5

Science

3 089

95.6

4.4

Engineering, manufacturing and construction

17 456

90.2

9.8

Agriculture

2 582

48.1

51.9

Health and Welfare

5 861

26.1

73.9

Services

7 592

37.5

62.5

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

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

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

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

 

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

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

 

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

VET learners by age group

 

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

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

 

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

The education and training system comprises:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Formal initial VET

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

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

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

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

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

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

Formal continuing VET

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other possible funding sources for VET include:

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

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

 

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

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

 

In VET, there are:

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

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

There are two types of teachers of vocational modules.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Training of in-company mentors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vocational qualifications

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

Occupational standards

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

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

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

Occupational standards development process

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

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

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

Preparation of VET programmes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Responsibilities/assignments of Quality committee are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scholarships

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

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

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

Co-financing of tuition for raising educational levels

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

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

Co-financing of non-formal education and training

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

Textbooks, commute and school meals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

Higher VET programmes,

WBL 40%

2 years

ISCED 554

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

554

Usual entry grade

14

Usual completion grade

16

Usual entry age

19

Usual completion age

21

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

for full-time learners

N

for part-time learners

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

120

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

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

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

Main providers

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

40%

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

Young people, adults

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

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

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

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

First cycle professional and academic

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

N

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

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

 

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

 

Post-secondary

Programme Types
Not available

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 4

Mainly

School-based

Technical VET,

WBL 15%,

4 years

ISCED 354

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

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

19

Length of a programme (years)

4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

240

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

Programmes are mainly school-based.

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

Main providers

VET schools or school centre

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Approximately 15%

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

Programmes are available for young people and adults.

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

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

Usually the learners are 15 years of age.

Specific programmes may have additional entry requirements.

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

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

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

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

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

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

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

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

General education subjects

Y

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

Key competences

Y

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

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

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

All VET programmes are modularised since 2006.

Several modules together enable the acquisition of a vocational qualification.

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

EQF 4

Mainly

school-based

technical VET,

WBL 10%,

2 years

ISCED 354

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

354

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

14

Usual entry age

18

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

120 credits

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

PTI is a school-based learning programme:

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

Main providers

VET schools or School centre

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

10%

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

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

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

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

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

Examples of qualifications

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

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

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

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

General education subjects

Y

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

Key competences

Y

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

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

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

EQF 4

VET programmes with

School-based (WBL 20%) and

Apprenticeship (WBL 50%) paths,

3 years

ISCED 353

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

353

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

180 credits

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

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

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

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

Main providers

VET schools or school centre

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

40% in school-based path

50-60% in apprenticeship path

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

School based path:

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

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

Apprenticeship path:

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

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

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

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

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

Usually the learners are 15 years of age.

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

Final examination certificate (spričevalo o zaključnem izpitu)

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

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

Examples of qualifications

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

Other:

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

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

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

General education subjects

Y

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

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

Key competences

Y

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

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

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

EQF 3

Short VET

Programmes,

WBL 35%,

2 years

ISCED 353

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

353

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

17

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

120 credits

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

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

Main providers

VET schools or School centres

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

35-40%

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

Final examination certificate (Potrdilo o zaključnem izpitu)

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

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

Examples of qualifications

Woodworker (also adjusted for the hearing impaired)

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

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

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

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

General education subjects

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

Key competences

Y

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

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

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

EQF 4

Vocational

bridging courses,

1 year

ISCED 354

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

354

Usual entry grade

14

Usual completion grade

15

Usual entry age

19

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

1

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

for upper secondary learners,

N

for adults

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

60 credits

Exception: Computer technician 77 credits

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

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

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

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

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

Schools, Adult education providers

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

Young people, adults

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

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

Learners are usually 19 years of age.

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

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

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

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

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

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

Destination of graduates

Official data unavailable

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

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

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

 

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

 

EQF 4

Craftsman/foreman/

shop manager exams

ISCED 354

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

354

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

Not applicable

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

Not applicable

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

N

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

Y

ECVET or other credits

60 credits

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

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

Main providers

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

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

Slovenian Chamber of Commerce conducts shop manager exam.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Not applicable

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

Not applicable

Main target groups

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

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

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

For Master Craftsman and Foreman:

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

For Shop manager:

Vocational education and three years of work experience

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

The examinations consist of four units:

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

Each unit consists of one or several exams.

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

Examples of qualifications

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

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

Shop manager

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Not applicable

Key competences

Not applicable

Application of learning outcomes approach

Not applicable

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

Information not available

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available