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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

General themes

VET in Poland comprises the following main features:

  • high decrease in participation in VET programmes at upper secondary and post-secondary levels (35.6% during 2005-2017 period) mainly due to demographic challenges and reduced interest in VET among young learners. However, during last several years a small increase in the share of students in vocational education can be observed;
  • participation in VET programmes at the upper secondary level remains slightly higher than in general education;
  • the share of the population with an upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary level of education, for both men and women, is much higher than the EU average;
  • early leaving from education and training is significantly below the EU-28 average and has remained stable over the last decade;
  • participation in lifelong learning remains well below the EU-28 average and has been stable in the past decade;
  • the VET system has been under continuous reform over the last few years aiming to improve its quality and effectiveness.

Distinctive features ([1]Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Poland. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8125_en.pdf.
)([1a]Information on the Polish VET system is also partially based on: Chłoń-Domińczak, A. et al. (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe – Poland. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.
):

Over the past three decades, Poland’s education system has undergone several profound changes in its structure, forms of organisation and management, as well as of the core curriculum. As a result of these changes, distinctive VET features were developed:

  • a flexible VET system allows changing pathways at any point;
  • the classification of occupations for vocational education includes a list of occupations for which VET programmes can provide education. Each occupation comprises one to two qualifications that can be acquired in IVET and CVET. A VET qualification diploma can be issued only when all qualifications required for an occupation have been acquired (via State vocational examinations), together with a school leaving certificate;
  • core curricula for all VET occupations included in the classification of occupations. Separate VET qualifications within specific occupations are described in the core curricula as a set of expected learning outcomes: knowledge, occupational skills, and personal and social competences allowing learners to handle their occupational tasks independently. Learning outcomes are linked to detailed assessment criteria;
  • autonomy of VET schools in developing their teaching programmes, based on VET core curricula, and in choosing either subject-centred or modular programmes, which can be easily modified, depending on labour market needs;
  • uniform external vocational examinations, centrally organised;
  • vocational qualification courses allowing adults to acquire qualifications faster than IVET learners;
  • validation of competences acquired in different learning contexts, including professional experience, by taking external examinations.

The main challenges for VET are:

  • raising attractiveness of VET in society;
  • continuous adaptation of core curricula to the challenges and current needs of the labour market;
  • increasing employer engagement in organising practical training, identifying and forecasting skills and qualification needs in the labour market, and in reviewing VET curricula;
  • adjusting VET teachers’ qualifications and competences by easing access to traineeships in enterprises;
  • assuring a suitable number of VET teachers and trainers with adequate competences through the professional development of teachers and attracting young people to the profession;
  • encouraging adult learners to LLL;
  • encouraging sustainable cooperation between VET schools and higher education institutions (HEI) aimed at transferring HEI good practices in teaching, training and developing teachers’ competences;
  • assuring high quality guidance and counselling for all age groups;
  • providing high quality infrastructure for VET schools to ensure teaching and training in line with labour market needs.

Several recent initiatives undertaken by the education ministry address these challenges:

  • new measures in the VET system were introduced by the education ministry in November 2018 ([2]The Act of 22 November 2018 amending the Act on the Education Law, the School Education Act and other acts:
    http://prawo.sejm.gov.pl/isap.nsf/DocDetails.xsp?id=WDU20180002245.
    ) focusing on strengthening the mechanisms of including employers in the development of VET in all its stages and the systematic adaptation of vocational education to the needs of the labour market, in particular:

    •  strengthening cooperation between employers and schools mainly in relation to practical training and teacher professional development in enterprises;
    •  expanding the implementation of work-based learning in VET, introducing a new form of apprenticeship;
    •  introducing an annual forecast of the demand for employees in VET occupations and directing more funds to occupations of special demand on the labour market;
    •  strengthening different quality assurance mechanisms e.g. introducing a requirement for all VET learners to take a State vocational examination or a journeyman's examination, enhancing the accreditation system for institutions providing CVET;
    •  allowing VET schools to organise shorter forms of vocational courses of special importance for adult learners.
  • the Act on the Integrated Qualifications System (2016) has brought together the qualifications framework, register of qualifications that can be attained, quality assurance and validation principles. General and higher education level qualifications are included in the register;
  • non-statutory qualifications linked to CVET have been registered based on the initiative of VET providers or other stakeholders;
  • new regulations strengthening guidance and counselling in schools were developed and are being implemented; 
  • new core curricula for vocational education were developed by the education ministry together with the Centre for Education Development (ORE), employers and other stakeholders;
  • new sectoral skills councils have been established under the umbrella of the Polish Enterprise Development Agency, giving voice to sectoral stakeholders regarding the demand for competences at sectoral level to improve education and labour market matching; 
  • numerous initiatives addressing the above-mentioned challenges in VET were developed with ESF co-funding, including projects supporting: cooperation among VET schools and HEI, development of counselling and guidance in schools, development of programmes for vocational courses for adults, enhancing employers’ involvement in different stages of VET development and in organising practical training.

Based on VET in Poland Spotlight 2017 ([3]Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Poland. Luxembourg: Publication Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8125_en.pdf .
)

Population in 2018: 37 976 687 ([4]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It decreased since 2013 by 0.2% due to negative natural growth ([5]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

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

An old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 22 in 2015 to 65 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 trends have a direct impact on educational enrolment.

Since 2005, the overall number of enrolments in VET programmes at upper secondary and post-secondary levels decreased by 35.6%, which represents over half a million learners. The decrease was highest (40% or more than 350 000) in vocational upper secondary programmes.

 

Population aged 16-21 and number of vocational education students

Source: ReferNet Poland calculations based on data from the Local Data Bank, Statistics Poland: https://bdl.stat.gov.pl/BDL/start and Statistics Poland (2018b) [accessed 20.9.2018].

 

However, this phenomenon is also related to the reduced interest in VET among young people. Over the last three decades, the share of students in VET has decreased from 78% to almost 60%. During the last several years the proportion of learners in general upper secondary vs. vocational upper secondary and vocational post-secondary education has remained at approximately 40:60. Since the mid-2010s, a small increase in the share of students in vocational education is observed.

Poland is rather homogeneous country in terms of nationality and language. According to the 2011 National Population and Housing Census ([7]Statistics Poland (2015). Struktura narodowo-etniczna, językowa i wyznaniowa ludności Polski [The national-ethnic, linguistic and religious structure of the Polish population]. Warsaw: Statistics Poland.
https://stat.gov.pl/files/gfx/portalinformacyjny/pl/defaultaktualnosci/5670/22/1/1/struktura_narodowo-etniczna.pdf .
) 97,09% of people declared Polish nationality and 98,2% declared  that they use the Polish language at home. However, due to the increased migration to Poland in recent years, changes in these percentages in the next census may be expected.

The Act on national and ethnic minorities distinguishes 9 official national minorities and 4 national ethnic minorities in the country. The constitution guarantees these groups the freedom to preserve their own language, customs and traditions, and develop their own culture. There are special forms of support provided to learners from national and ethnic minorities:

  • inclusion of the minority language and the regional language into the educational activities required of the student, the course of one’s own history and culture to additional educational activities for the student (at the request of the student’s parent) ([8]Ministry of the Interior and Administration: Polish legislation and solutions regarding the protection of languages of minorities [Ustawodawstwo i rozwiązania polskie w zakresie ochrony języków mniejszości].
    http://mniejszosci.narodowe.mswia.gov.pl/mne/oswiata/informacje-dotyczace-o/8302,Ustawodawstwo-i-rozwiazania-polskie-w-zakresie-ochrony-jezykow-mniejszosci.html [accessed 30.4.2019].
    );
  • learning of a minority language and a regional language can be conducted in schools in various ways; the number of teaching hours depends on the way it is taught;
  • external examination regulations are adjusted for learners of the language of the national minority, ethnic minority and the regional language.

According to SIO data, 809 learners in 29 VET schools (first stage sectoral schools and vocational upper secondary schools) were learning national/ethnic minority or regional languages in line with above-mentioned regulations in the 2018/2019 school year.

As far as foreign learners in Poland are concerned, the following forms of support are available to foreigners subject to compulsory education:

  • education and care in all types of public schools and kindergartens provided up to the age of 18 or age of graduating from school at the secondary and post-secondary level on the same terms applicable to Polish citizens ([9]Ministry of National Education: information on the education of foreigners in the Polish education system [Informacja o kształceniu cudzoziemców w polskim systemie oświaty]. https://www.gov.pl/web/edukacja/informacja-o-ksztalceniu-cudzoziemcow-w-... [accessed 30.4.2019].);
  • admission to schools on the basis of diplomas which does not have to be formally recognised;
  • free-of-charge Polish language classes, additional compensatory classes in a given subject, preparatory classes (oddziały przygotowawcze) set up at schools,
  • additional classes of the language and culture of the country of origin, organised at school by the diplomatic/consular mission or a cultural/ educational association;
  • assistance to the learner provided by a person who speaks the language of the country of origin, employed as a teacher's assistant;
  • different ways of facilitating external examinations taken by foreign students.

Also, certain groups of foreign adult learners (e.g. EU nationals, persons with different types of permits granted in Poland, selected scholarship holders, etc.) can benefit from education in public schools for adults, public post-secondary schools, public art schools, public colleges of social work and different forms of lifelong learning in the form of vocational courses, under the same conditions as Polish citizens.

In the 2018/2019 school year, there were approximately 44,000 foreigners in Polish schools and pre-schools ([10]Ministry of National Education: education of children coming from abroad in the Polish education system [Nauka dzieci przybywających z zagranicy w polskim systemie edukacji].
https://www.gov.pl/web/edukacja/nauka-dzieci-przybywajacych-z-zagranicy-w-polskim-systemie-edukacji [accessed 30.4.2019].
).

The enterprise sector in Poland is dominated by microenterprises. In Poland, 96.2% of enterprises are microenterprises ([11]PARP (2018). Małe i średnie przedsiębiorstwa w Polsce 2018 [Small and medium enterprises in Poland]. Warsaw: PARP.
https://www.parp.gov.pl/storage/publications/pdf/male%20i%20srednie%20przedsiebiorstwa%20w%20polsce%20w%202018%20r.pdf .
). They produce 31% of GDP and significantly affect the labor market - they generate 40% of the jobs in the enterprise sector. The number of micro-enterprises has increased in recent years.

Small-sized companies account for 2.8% of the Polish enterprise sector, produce 8% GDP and generate 12% of the jobs in the enterprise sector.

Medium-sized companies account for 0.8% of the Polish enterprise sector, produce 11% GDP and generate 17 % of the jobs in the enterprise sector.

Large-sized enterprises in Poland account only for 0.2% of the enterprise sector produce 24% GDP and generate 31% of the jobs in the enterprise sector.

The main economic sectors in Poland are wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and food service activities, industry (except construction) and manufacturing.

Share of economic sectors in gross value added and income in 2017 (%)

Sector

2017

Wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and food service activities

25.7

Industry (except construction)

25.4

Manufacturing

19.3

Public administration, defense, education, human health and social work activities

14.6

Professional, scientific and technical activities; administrative and support service activities

8.5

Construction

7.0

Real estate activities

4.9

Financial and insurance activities

4.4

Information and communication

4.1

Agriculture, forestry and fishing

3.1

Arts, entertainment and recreation; other service activities; activities of household and extra-territorial organisations and bodies

2.2

NB: NACE_R2/TIME.

Source: Eurostat nama_10_a10 [extracted 4.5.2019].

The following sectors have the largest share of Polish exports ([12]SITC nomenclature: sections.):

  • machinery and transport equipment (34.8%);
  • manufactured goods (17.7%); and
  • chemicals and related products (14.5%) ([13]Statistics Poland, Yearbook Trade of Foreign Statistics of Poland 2018; Table 7 and 24.).

The employment structure in Poland has not undergone any significant changes over the last few years. The share of services in total employment increased slightly and in 2017 reached around 58%, which is still far below the EU28 average of around 74%. The employment share in industry is rather stable in Poland at around 30-32% and the share in agriculture decreased from 13.1% in 2010 to 10.2% in 2017.

Employment share by economic sector in Poland (%)

 

2017

Industry

31.7

Females

17.2

Males

43.4

Agriculture

10.2

Females

8.9

Males

11.3

Services

58.1

Females

73.9

Males

45.3

Source: The Local Data Bank of Statistics Poland: https://bdl.stat.gov.pl/BDL/start [accessed 23.12.2018].

Most employed women are in services (73.9%), while the share of employment in services and industry of men is very similar, 45.3% and 43.4% respectively.

The labour market tends to be deregulated in Poland. However, in some cases access to and practice of some occupations/professions are subject to the possession of a specific professional qualification. The EC Regulated professions database ([14]European Commission - Regulated professions database [accessed 4.5.2019]:
https://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/regprof/
) lists 360 regulated professions in Poland.

The rules of access to professions are determined by the ministers responsible for specific fields.

The regulated occupations in Poland are divided into two groups:

  • sectoral system occupations, which are automatically recognised in all EU member states (e.g. attorney, doctor, pharmacist, nurse, architect); and
  • general system occupations – more numerous – in the case of which additional requirements for a given profession in given country must be met (e.g. teacher, sworn translator, tourist guide, customs agent, etc.).

Total unemployment ([15]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) (2018): 3.2% (6.0% in EU28); it decreased by 2.6 percentage points since 2008 ([16]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].

 

Unemployment is distributed unevenly between those with low- and high-level qualifications. The gap has increased during the crisis as unskilled workers are more vulnerable to unemployment. In 2018, the unemployment rate of people with medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4) was lower than in the pre-crisis years. In the past five years, there was an overall decrease of unemployment in all age groups and by all types of education levels.

Employment rate of 20 to 34-year-old recent VET graduates increased from 72.7% in 2014 to 79.1% in 2018 and still remains below the EU-28 level.

 

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 (+6.4 pp) in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates in 2014-18 was higher compared to the increase in employment from 75.2% to 80.0% (+4.8pp) of all 20-34 year-old graduates in the same period ([17]Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

For more information about the external drivers influencing VET developments in Poland please see the case study from Cedefop's changing nature and role of VET in Europe project [17a]Cedefop (2018). The changing nature and role of vocational education and training in Europe. Volume 3: the responsiveness of European VET systems to external change (1995-2015). Case study focusing in Poland. Cedefop research paper; No 67. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/poland_cedefop_changing_nature_of_vet_-_case_study.pdf

Participation in tertiary education in Poland has significantly increased over the last three decades, which is connected to an increase in the perceived value of education and higher educational aspirations. From 2009 to 2018, the share of the population with tertiary education increased from 21.2% to 30.9% but remains slightly below the EU average (32.2%).

For the last several years, the share of the population with an upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary level of education, for both men and women has been slowly decreasing, from 66.8% in 2009 to 61.5% in 2018, but is still much higher than the EU average (45.7%).

Poland has the third lowest share (far below the EU average) of people with no or low education level attained (7.6% in 2018). This indicator has been gradually decreasing in the last few years (12% in 2009).

 

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

51.7%

100%

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

 

Share of initial VET students over all upper-secondary students (ISCED level 3), 2017

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

 

In 2017/2018 school year females constituted 46% of all learners in VET programmes, however the share differs depending on the type of programme - in post-secondary programmes, females are the majority (71,1%), in programmes at the upper secondary level, there are many more males than females, with the lowest share of females in the first stage sectoral programmes (31,5%).

Share of female learners in VET programmes in the 2017/2018 school year (%)

Type of programme

Female learners

Vocational upper secondary programmes

39.6

First stage sectoral programmes

31.5

Post-secondary programmes

71.1

Special job-training programmes

41.6

Total

46.4

Source: Statistics Poland - Education in the 2017/18 school year.

Female learners prefer the following fields of study:

  • in post-secondary programmes: hygiene and work safety, personal services, business and administration, medical study;
  • in first stage sectoral programmes: personal services, business and administration and manufacturing and processing;
  • in vocational upper secondary programmes: personal services, business and administration, social and behavioural science.

The share of early leavers from education and training in 2018 was 4.8%, which is much lower than the EU-28 average of 10.6%. The share is slightly lower than in 2009 (5.3%). Despite high attainment rates, it is still slightly above the national target for 2020 of not more than 4.5%.

 

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, break in time series.
Source: Eurostat, trng_lfse_01 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Participation in lifelong learning in Poland has remained at a very low level (4.0%) till 2017, while in 2018 reached 5.7%. However, it remains 5.4 percentage points below the EU-28 average.

Education level, age and labour market activity are the factors differentiating the rate of participation in training; persons who are unemployed and have a low level of education often do not participate in educational activities. Age is also a strong determinant of participation in education; people in older age groups not only participate in training less often, but also study less on their own (informal learning).

 

Learners in VET schools by age group

NB: Participants of vocational qualification courses not included.
Includes basic vocational/first stage sectoral programmes, upper secondary vocational programmes, special job-training and post-secondary programmes.
Source: own calculations based on data from the School Information System (SIO).

 

Young learners constitute the majority in VET schools – with only post-secondary schools intended for adult learners. This is connected with the establishment of vocational qualifications courses for adult learners which replaced VET schools for adults at the upper secondary level. Vocational qualifications courses were introduced in 2012 as a quicker way of obtaining vocational qualification. Data on the age of participants of vocational qualifications courses is not available and was not included in the chart.

The education and training system comprises:

  • preschool education (ISCED level 0);
  • eight-year primary education (szkoła podstawowa); a programme divided into two four-year parts (basic and lower secondary level) (ISCED levels 1 and 2)
  • upper secondary education (ISCED level 3);
  • post-secondary non-tertiary education (ISCED level 4);
  • tertiary education including colleges of social work (ISCED levels 5 to 8).

The education system in Poland is currently undergoing structural transformation. In December 2016, the education ministry introduced reforms aimed to prolong the time children spend within one educational programme and to develop a vocational education system that is responsive to the needs of a modern economy. Key elements of the reform included:

  • phasing out lower secondary school (gimnazjum);
  • restructuring six-year primary education (szkoła podstawowa) into an eight-year programme divided into two four-year parts (basic and lower secondary level);
  • extending the general upper secondary programme (liceum ogólnokształcące) to four years instead of three, and the vocational upper secondary programme (technika) to five years instead of four;
  • introducing two-stage sectoral programmes (dwustopniowa szkoła branżowa); the first stage sectoral school has replaced the basic vocational school (zasadnicza szkoła zawodowa) as of 2017/18, while the second stage sectoral schools will begin to operate in 2020/21.

Changes in the school structure are accompanied by the gradual development of new core curricula. The school system will be transitioning until 2022/23. During this period, some previous programmes will be functioning alongside the new ones until they are completely phased out.

Education is compulsory up to 18 years of age, while full-time school education is compulsory up to age 15. Full-time compulsory education lasts 9 years (the last year of pre-school education and 8 years of primary school education). Compulsory education for 15-18 year olds can take place as part-time education, both in and out of school, e.g. in the form of short qualifications courses or vocational training for juvenile workers.

Pre-school education is provided in pre-schools (przedszkole) for two-and-a-half to six-year-old learners.

Primary and lower secondary education is provided in primary schools (szkoła policealna) and lasts typically eight years from age 7 to 15. Work preparation classes for SEN learners are available in the last two years of primary school. A three-year special job-training programme for SEN learners is available for primary school graduates.

Upper secondary education can be provided by different types of schools and take the form of a general upper secondary four-year programme (licea ogólnokształcące), a vocational upper secondary five-year programme (technika) or a three-year first stage sectoral programme (branżowa szkoła pierwszego stopnia), which can be followed by a two-year second stage sectoral programme. Upper secondary education is typically available to primary school graduates (usually 15 year-olds), apart from the second stage sectoral programme, which will be available to graduates of the first stage programmes (18 year-olds).

Post-secondary non-tertiary programmes are provided by post-secondary schools (szkoły policealne) and can be attained in one- to two-and-a-half years. They are available to graduates of general and vocational upper secondary programmes, as well as in the future – of second stage sectoral programmes (usually 19-20 year-olds).

A special form of education is provided by colleges of social work (kolegium pracowników służb społecznych), offering programmes at the ISCED 5 level. These colleges provide three-year programmes for the occupation of social worker.

Completing any type of VET programme and obtaining a school leaving certificate is not the same as attaining a vocational qualification. Learners in the formal VET system can be awarded two types of documents confirming attained learning outcomes:

  • vocational certificates (certificate of a vocational qualification in an occupation); and
  • vocational diplomas (vocational qualifications diploma).

Learners can obtain a vocational diploma only by obtaining both all the qualifications distinguished in an occupation (vocational certificate/s) and a school leaving certificate. Vocational qualifications can only be attained by passing an external State vocational examination.

Each qualification includes specific sets of learning outcomes defined in the core curricula for vocational education. Learning outcomes are grouped in units, which typically contain from several to over a dozen learning outcomes and reflect specific professional tasks. The core curriculum for general education determines the learning outcomes related to the general education component and key competences provided by VET programmes ([18]For vocational upper secondary programmes, it also defines the learning outcomes that must be achieved by a person in the process of attaining the qualification of the matura certificate.).

Adults aged 18 and older can be awarded a vocational certificate after passing the State vocational examination extramurally. By taking extramural exams, adults may also acquire certificates of completion of general education schools.

Formal VET leads to four qualification levels (2 to 5) that are the same as in the European qualifications framework (EQF).

The VET system comprises initial and continuing education. It can be offered as:

  • school-based programmes with obligatory work-based learning (WBL differing in scope and form, also including dual training/alternate training);
  • juvenile employment (apprenticeship scheme – with practical training with employer and theoretical training in school or in out-of-school forms, based on a contract between the learner and the employer)([19]An additional new form – the student apprenticeship – will be available for learners of vocational upper secondary programmes and first stage sectoral programmes as of September 2019.);
  • out-of-school forms – different types of courses based on the core curricula.

Apprenticeship schemes on secondary and post-secondary level:

  • juvenile employment for the purpose of vocational training (przygotowanie zawodowe młodocianych pracowników) dedicated to young people (15-18 years old) with a lower secondary education or 8-year primary education. It is based on a work contract between the learner and employer. In case of theoretical education taking place in school, arrangements between the school and employer regarding scope and organisation of training provided by both parties constitute an annex to the contract. Juvenile worker has a status of an employee and in case of theoretical training taking place in school – also of a student. During the training period, a juvenile worker is entitled to a salary (from 4 to 6 percent of the national average salary, depending on the subsequent year of training), social security benefits and holiday leave. Juvenile workers carry out their apprenticeship usually in SMEs, mainly in the craft sector.

Juvenile employment can take the following forms:

  • training for a profession (nauka zawodu) - apprenticeship with the theoretical education taking place at school (first stage sectoral programme) or in an out-of-school form (e.g. courses) and the practical training organised by the employer. Training for a profession lasts up to 36 months and is finalised with a State vocational examination or Journeyman’s examination (egzamin czeladniczy). In the 2017/2018 school year, juvenile workers constituted about half of all the learners in the first stage sectoral schools.
  • training for a specific job (przyuczenie do wykonywania określonej pracy) - a rare form limited to a small group of youth, prepares a learner to perform specific tasks in a profession. It lasts from 3 to 6 months and is finalised with a verifying examination. 

 

  • student apprenticeship (staż uczniowski). New form of apprenticeship which will be available as of September 2019. It will be open to learners in vocational upper secondary programmes and first-stage sectoral programmes, who are not juvenile workers. Student apprenticeship is based on the work contract between the learner and employer, with arrangements between the school and employer in the annex to this contract. Student apprenticeship covers all elements of the teaching programme and chosen elements or elements connected with a given occupation but not included in the programme. Students are entitled to a salary unless the contract says otherwise. 
  • dual training as a form of practical training. Apart from above-mentioned schemes apprenticeship might be arranged by school in cooperation with employers as one of the ways of organisation of practical training. In general, practical training (obligatory for all VET programmes) can be organised in different forms and venues - including also apprenticeship – alternate training/dual training with structured alternation of learning in an education and training setting with learning and working at a workplace. This form of organisation of practical training could be considered an apprenticeship however it is based on the contract between the school and employer not between employer and learner.

Apprenticeships for adult learners are also available. It is a form of support provided by Labour Offices and financed from the Labour Fund dedicated to unemployed and job seekers.

Apprenticeships for adults are carried out on the basis of a contract between a Labour Office, an employer and an institution responsible for conducting exams. Apprenticeships are provided in a form of occupational training and a training aimed at preparation for performing a specific job. In 2017, apprenticeships for adult learners attracted over 140 000 participants.

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

VET has three governance levels: national (ministries), regional (school superintendents, mainly in pedagogical supervision) and county (powiat – managing schools). The education ministry is in charge of VET policies at secondary level, supported by other ministries responsible for particular occupations. The Ministry of Science and Higher Education is responsible for higher VET. Social partners advise policy makers on necessary changes in VET.

The majority of public education institutions in Poland are managed by local government units. Counties (powiaty) are responsible for upper secondary schools, including vocational schools, and schools for children with special needs; the regions (województwa) are responsible for schools of regional and trans-regional significance (e.g. groups of schools or vocational schools important for the regional economy).

Central government units (usually ministries) often manage vocational and fine arts schools. All types of schools can also be established and managed by non-public institutions, such as religious and social associations. Generally, in Poland, the higher the education level, the higher the share of non-public institutions. The chart below presents the structure of vocational schools by type and management institution in 2016.

 

The structure of VET schools by type and managing institution in 2016

Source: ReferNet Poland calculation based on Local Data Bank, Statistics Poland: https://bdl.stat.gov.pl/BDL/start [accessed 24.9.2018].

 

In the 2017/18 school year, there were 6 071 VET schools in Poland. The majority (36%) of them were post-secondary vocational schools, followed by vocational upper secondary schools (31%), 25% constituted the first stage sectoral schools and 8% special job-training schools ([20]Statistics Poland (2018). Concise Statistical Yearbook of Poland 2018. Warsaw: Statistics Poland.).The decision to provide education for a particular occupation listed in the classification of occupations for vocational education is made at local level by the school principal in agreement with local authorities (county level) and after asking the regional labour market councils (advisory bodies) for their opinion concerning compliance with labour market needs. Teaching programmes can be developed individually by schools. The school principal is responsible for incorporating the learning outcomes in the teaching programme and providing the organisational requirements as defined in the core curricula.

The main resources for educational expenditure are:

  • the education part of the State budget’s general subsidy for local government units;
  • central government targeted grants;
  • the local government unit’s own income;
  • foreign funds (mainly EU funds).

The education part of the general subsidy from the State budget is the major source of funding of the education system in Poland. The amount of this part of the general subsidy for local government is defined annually in the Budgetary Act, and then the education ministry prepares an algorithm to distribute the educational funds among the local government units, based on the responsibilities ascribed to the different levels of local government (basically the number of students in each type of school) ([21]Number of adjustment weights are ascribed to different groups of students (e.g. SEN students, ethnic minorities, students in small schools, in rural regions, in sport classes); teacher qualifications are also included in the algorithm.). Since January 2018, the weights for vocational secondary schools have been different for four sets of categories of occupations; the distinction is based on the cost of the vocational part of the education. Additional weights were added for students of post-secondary programmes who obtained a vocational qualifications diploma and for participants of vocational qualification courses who passed the State vocational examination ([22]Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 15 December 2017 on the distribution of the school education part of the general subsidy for local government units in 2018. Journal of Laws 2017, item 2395.).

Further modifications of VET financing (increased state subsidies for learners of special demand occupations in VET schools indicated by the forecast of the demand for employees in vocational education occupations; increased subsidies for employers involved in training juvenile employees in those occupations) will be introduced as of 2020.

Local governments have the power to decide how to use the subsidy; they can decide not only how to allocate the funds to respective schools, but also to use them for other things than educational expenditures. As the chart below illustrates, municipalities and regions spend more on education than they receive as subsidy, but counties, which are mainly responsible for vocational schools, do not use the entire amount on education expenditures. The visible increase in expenditures in 2017 on all local government levels may be due to the structural reforms of the education system.

 

The ratio between educational expenditures and the State general subsidy for education by type of local government in the period of 2006-2017

The higher the ratio the greater the share of local spending. Value over 100 means that local government spends more than it receives from the central government.
Source: ReferNet Poland calculation based on Local Data Bank, Statistics Poland: https://bdl.stat.gov.pl/BDL/start [accessed 20.9.2018].

 

 

The structure of the educational expenditures of counties in 2017 by school type

Source: ReferNet Poland calculation based on Local Data Bank, Statistics Poland: https://bdl.stat.gov.pl/BDL/start [accessed 24.9.2018].

 

In addition to the subsidy, local government units can apply for targeted grants to implement specific public tasks, which usually require co-funding by the unit.

Non-public schools with a public school status are entitled to public funding equal to public schools.

In 2017, public (local and central government) expenditures for the education system reached PLN 71.9 billion (around EUR 16.8 billion), of which 10.4% was spent on vocational schools. Public spending on education as a share of GDP was 3.6%, which is slightly lower than in previous years ([23]Statistics Poland (2018). Oświata i wychowanie w roku szkolnym 2017/2018 [Education in the 2017/18 school year]. Warsaw: Statistics Poland. See also earlier editions.).

In VET there are:

  • general subject teachers;
  • theoretical vocational subject teachers;
  • practical vocational training teachers;
  • teachers/pedagogues providing educational support to learners;
  • teachers/psychologists providing psychological support to learners, teachers and parents;
  • teachers/methodological advisers providing support to teachers;
  • teachers/consultants who develop teaching materials, design and deliver in-service training courses for teachers and education managers, etc.;
  • in-company trainers (nationally referred to as practical vocational training instructors);
  • specialist in-company trainers (various groups of practitioners providing training as their primary or additional activity).

Teachers in public schools and pre-schools comprise 87% of all teachers and are employed on the basis of the Teacher’s Charter ([24]Act of 26 January 1982 - Teacher's Charter. Journal of Laws 1982, No 3, item 19 with further amendments.), which specifies working conditions, duties, rights, professional development requirements, and teachers’ salaries. In non-public schools, teachers are employed only on the basis of labour and civil law regulations.

General subject teachers should have at least a master’s degree.

Theoretical vocational subject teachers are required to have at least a master’s or bachelor’s degree, including pedagogical training.

Practical vocational training teachers are required to:

  • have the same qualifications as required for teachers of vocational theoretical subjects or the title of master in a craft or a pedagogical technical college (currently non-existing) diploma or a matura examination together with a vocational qualifications certificate and two years of work experience;
  • have a pedagogical qualification.

In-company trainers (practical vocational training instructors) can be employers or employees who are not teachers; they are required to have both the defined by the regulation combination of formal qualifications and years of work experience in a given occupation and the adequate pedagogical qualification ([25]Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 22 February 2019 on practical vocational training. Journal of Laws 2019, item 391.).

As regulated by the Teachers’ Charter, teachers have the right to participate in all forms of continuing professional development (CPD) and are obliged to follow CPD in line with the school’s needs. CPD is required from teachers on the path to higher advancement levels.

Teacher CPD is funded by local/regional budgets. School heads are responsible for assessing teacher CPD needs and preparing school professional development plans.

There are different public teacher training institutions at the national, regional and local levels, as well as numerous non-public teacher training institutions. The Centre for Education Development teacher training institution operates at the national level and covers both general and VET teacher CPD. In general, the main tasks of these institutions consist of developing teacher CPD programmes and educational materials, indicating CPD priorities, and implementing CPD programmes. Teacher training is also provided by higher education institutions.

Another form of CPD is offered by teachers/methodological advisers, who provide direct subject-oriented and methods assistance; support teachers in their professional development; organise conferences, seminars and workshops; and identify teachers' needs for counselling and vocational training. CPD is also provided at the school level via internal systems of professional development, including e.g. self-development teachers’ councils meetings, lessons, observations, study visits and others. Other forms of CPD include internships in enterprises for VET teachers. From September 2019 all VET teachers are obliged to participate in professional training in companies relating to the occupation they teach. Numerous educational resources (open bases) and CPD opportunities are available through ESF co-funded initiatives.

The Teacher’s Charter specifies four categories of job positions in the profession of teaching:

  • trainee teacher – first stage in a teacher’s career,
  • contractual teacher – awarded after one year and nine months of internship and passing an examination given by an examination commission;
  • appointed teacher – awarded after two years and nine months of internship and after passing an examination given by an examination commission;
  • chartered teacher – awarded after two years and nine months of internship, after having their professional achievement accepted by a qualification commission, and an interview.

These categories have direct impact on a teacher’s basic salary level. Teachers with outstanding performance may also be awarded the title of honorary school education professor.

In 2017/18, 55% of teachers were chartered teachers. In VET schools on upper secondary level, the share of chartered teachers was higher than 60%, however in post-secondary schools, it was only 23% ([26]Statistics Poland (2018). Oświata i wychowanie w roku szkolnym 2017/2018 [Education in the 2017/18 school year]. Warsaw: Statistics Poland. See also earlier editions.).

Practical training institutions are involved in improving the competence of in-company trainers by offering a broad range of thematic training. The most common training refers to methodology of vocational education and the use of standards for examination requirements.

System of sector skills councils

The system of sector skills councils, launched in 2016, consists of three components:

  • The programme Council on competences (Rada Programowa ds. Kompetencji – RPK) consists of representatives of ministries, training institutions, social partners, universities, non-governmental agencies, as well as labour market stakeholders. The RPK mainly focuses on building cooperation between the education community and entrepreneurs; it also encourages the development of sector councils and implements recommendations in the areas of science and education.
  • The sector skills councils are the central part of the system. Currently, there are seven active councils in the following sectors: health and social care; construction; finances; tourism; motorisation and electromobility; fashion and innovative textiles; ICT. Their main aims are:
    • to collect information from various labour market stakeholders and recommend systemic solutions and changes in the area of education;
    • to stimulate cooperation between education providers and employers;
    • to provide support in identifying and anticipating competency needs in a given sector.
  • The human capital study aims to increase knowledge about current needs in various sectors and enable the demand for competences and qualifications to be anticipated. The information collected in the study provides, among others, deeper insight about the skills gaps in the economy.

Integrated skills strategy

In 2017, the education ministry initiated the development of a national skills strategy. The strategy covers the whole area of education and training, i.e. general education, vocational education, higher education and adult learning. It takes into account both the demand side (demand for specific competences and qualifications) and supply (availability of qualifications and competences in society). The general part of the strategy was developed ([27]Ministry of National Education (2018). Zintegrowana Strategia Umiejętności – część ogólna [Integrated skills strategy: general part].
https://bip.men.gov.pl/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2018/08/zintegrowana-strategia-umiejetnosci-do-uzgodnien-i-konsultacji.pdf.
) and adopted by the government in January 2019. This will be followed by the development of the more detailed part of the strategy and strategy implementation.

Deficit and Surplus Occupation Monitoring

Since 2005, the Deficit and Surplus Occupation Monitoring survey (MZDiN) has been conducted by county and regional labour offices as well as the labour ministry. In 2015, a new methodology was applied – the survey is based mainly on the IT systems’ data of employment offices (on unemployed persons, reported vacancies, providers offering professional activation services), studies of online job offers, information obtained from employers in a questionnaire study, data from the Statistics Poland and the School Information System. Since 2015, the ‘Occupational barometer’, previously implemented in the Małopolska region, also started to be implemented in the whole country, conducted by the regional labour offices. It is a qualitative short-term (annual) forecast providing information on deficit and surplus occupations ([28]Regional Labour Office in Cracow (2017). Occupational barometer 2018: summary survey report for Poland.
https://wupkrakow.praca.gov.pl/documents/67976/5945701/Occupational%20barometer%202018.%20Summary%20Survey%20Report%20for%20Poland/ab63839e-e605-44eb-a904-92af5974d996?t=1531291708000 [accessed 30.4.2019].
).

New forecast of the demand for employees

The forecast of the demand for employees in vocational education occupations was introduced in 2018 as a new tool to help shape the vocational education and training offer. Starting with 2019, this forecast will be developed annually and published in the form of an announcement by the Ministry of National Education. The forecast will be based on analyses conducted by the Educational Research Institute using various data sources. The forecast will impact VET financing.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([29]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast)

The VET programmes available at the national level are developed on the basis of three regulations of the education ministry:

  • the classification of occupations for vocational education ([30]Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 15 February 2019 on the goals and tasks of education in vocational education occupations and classification of occupations for vocational education. Journal of Laws 2019, item 316.);
  • the core curricula for vocational education ([31]Regulation of the Minister of National Education on the core curricula for training in VET occupations and additional vocational skills in chosen VET occupations – regulation signed on 16 May 2019, awaiting for publication in Journal of Laws.);
  • the core curriculum for general education ([32]Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 14 February 2017 on the core curriculum for pre-school education and the core curriculum for general education in primary schools, including pupils with moderate and severe intellectual disabilities, and for general education in stage I sectoral vocational schools, general education in special schools preparing for employment, and general education in post-secondary schools. Journal of Laws 2017, item 356.).

The classification includes the list of occupations for which VET programmes can provide education. Qualifications ([33]The term ‘qualification’ is defined in the School Education Act, as in the European qualifications framework Recommendation 2008.) are distinguished within occupations; each occupation can be made up of either one or two qualifications. Currently, there are 215 vocational education occupations, including so-called ancillary occupations for people with minor intellectual disabilities.

Developing occupations within the classification of occupations

The introduction of new occupations to the classification is regulated by the Education Law. The classification of occupations is determined by the education minister in cooperation with the relevant ministers responsible for a given sector of the economy, who can submit their requests to include particular occupations in the classification. To anticipate labour market needs, representatives of employers and employees are consulted during the development stage of the classification.

Professional associations, organisations of employers, sector skills councils, social partners and other stakeholders’ organisations can submit their proposals to the relevant minister to establish a new occupation; in this way they shape the educational offer of the formal VET system. After the proposal has been approved, the education minister includes the occupation into the classification and appoints a working group to design the core curriculum for vocational education for that occupation.

Designing the core curriculum for vocational education

After the proposal has been approved, the education minister appoints a working group to design the core curriculum for vocational education for that occupation.

The working group contacts the institution which submitted the proposal for the new occupation to determine the learning outcomes, and then undertakes consultations with other experts in the field. At this stage, occupational standards, which are developed by the labour ministry, are considered.

The decision on the occupations offered by a given VET school is made by the school principal in agreement with local authorities (at the county level of government) and after asking the regional labour market councils (advisory bodies) for their opinion concerning compliance with labour market needs. Regional labour market councils shall take into the account the forecast of the demand for employees in vocational education occupations.

Modernising VET curricula

In order to improve the labour market relevance of VET education, the education ministry together with the Education Development Centre, has implemented an ESF co-funded project ‘Partnership for VET’ focusing on developing partnerships in vocational education and training in cooperation with employers and other social partners.

In the first phase of the project, a social partner forum was established - 25 sectoral teams of social partners were set up to better adjust VET to labour market needs, and particularly to recommend changes in the vocational core curricula and classification of occupations. In the following years, stakeholders prepared changes in numerous VET curricula and developed new curricula. Numerous teaching plans and programmes, career development paths together with diplomas and qualification supplements in Polish and English were also designed. By February 2018, 1048 employers actively participated in the project.

All VET schools are included in external and internal quality assurance systems. External quality assurance is provided through pedagogical supervision; it is conducted by the Regional Education Authorities (kurator oświaty) overseen by the education ministry. Pedagogical supervision covers four aspects: evaluation, an audit of legal compliance ([34]Legal compliance auditing aims to check whether the activities of schools comply with legislation.), monitoring and support.

The external evaluation of schools is conducted according to certain uniform procedures and requirements set in the legislation concerning:

  • the organisation of educational processes;
  • acquiring by students' skills and knowledge defined in the national core curriculum;
  • active participation of students;
  • shaping social attitudes, and respect for social norms;
  • support to students' development taking into account their individual circumstances;
  • cooperation with parents;
  • cooperation with local community;
  • including of findings from analyses of external exams’ results as well as external and internal evaluations;
  • school management.

It includes various research techniques (e.g. interviews, surveys, observation, document analysis) and takes into account the opinions of different stakeholders.

Reports from the external evaluations performed in schools are publicly available on a dedicated internet website ([35]System Ewaluacji Oświaty. Nadzór Pedagogiczny [Education evaluation system: pedagogical supervision]:
www.npseo.pl
).

The Head of the Regional Education Authority prepares an annual report on the results of the educational supervision conducted and presents it to the Minister for Education.

School principals are obliged by law to design and implement an internal quality assurance system. They should do this in cooperation with their teachers. School principals are relatively free in how they design and implement these systems, but are obliged to include the four aspects of pedagogical supervision mentioned above. Internal evaluation is conducted annually and needs to include issues important for each particular school. Its results are taken into consideration in the external evaluation. In order to help school principals in developing and implementing internal quality assurance procedures, the National Centre for Supporting Vocational and Continuing Education (KOWEZiU) prepared ‘Quality Standards for VET’ (2013), a document covering ten thematic areas ([36]The ten thematic areas of the quality standards are: (1) teaching programmes; (2) school staff; (3) school material resources; (4) organisation of teaching; (5) students with special needs; (6) cooperation with employers: (7) cooperation with domestic and international partners; (8) assessment and validation of learning outcomes; (9) counselling; (10) strategic management of the school.) related to quality assurance in VET, which are in line with the 2009 EQARF/EQAVET recommendation.

In the case of non-statutory qualifications included in the Integrated Qualifications Register (ZRK), quality assurance is provided by external quality assurance entities (Podmioty Zewnętrznego Zapewniania Jakości – PZZJ). The external quality assurance entity for a qualification is assigned by the relevant minister from the list of institutions selected for a given area of qualifications. There are also internal quality assurance mechanisms for institutions awarding qualifications; they are required to perform internal evaluations.

The system of external examinations

The system of external examinations is a key element for ensuring and improving the quality of education and qualifications attained in schools. The central examination board and eight regional examination boards are responsible for organising external examinations. The external examination system is supervised by the education ministry. In the external examination system, all examinees solve the same tasks and assignments to verify whether they have achieved the learning outcomes defined in the core curriculum. Trained examiners registered at the regional examination boards assess examination results. The central examination board analyses aggregate test and examination results and initiates research in the field of assessment. The results of external examinations are taken into consideration in both external and internal quality assurance as part of pedagogical supervision.

Starting in 2019, all students will be obliged to take a State vocational examination or a journeyman's examination as a condition for school graduation; up till now, this has been optional. This change aims to strengthen the role of the exam as a quality assurance mechanism.

School Information System

The collection and dissemination of information on the formal general and vocational education system by the School Information System (SIO) is an important element in ensuring the quality of qualifications. The system is maintained in electronic form and uses internet to provide information collected. Every school and education institution has to submit data regarding students, teachers, facilities, expenses, etc. Schools submit data through a web application. Information is collected regionally and then exported by regional education authorities to the education ministry. Each user group (ministries, Central Statistical Office, local authorities, etc.) has access to its relevant part of the data base, and some of this information is available to the public. The system was set up in 2004 but has functioned in this way since 2012 and has been continuously modernised. In 2017, a new regulation on the SIO was introduced ([37]The Act of 21 April 2017 r. on changes in the Act on the School Information System and some other acts:
http://prawo.sejm.gov.pl/isap.nsf/DocDetails.xsp?id=WDU20170000949
) relating mainly to changes in the scope of the data gathered within the system.

The VET system allows learners to attain qualifications (vocational certificates) through the validation of non-formal education and informal learning ([38]By taking extramural exams adults might also acquire certificate of completion of the general education schools (primary and secondary).). Persons can take extramural State vocational examinations conducted by regional examination boards if they are over 18 years old, have completed a lower secondary programme or an eight-year primary programme and have at least two years of learning or work in an occupation relating to the targeted qualification ([39]Documents confirming the fulfilment of these requirements are, in particular, school certificates, transcripts, education certificates or employment certificates related to work in a specific occupation, including those obtained abroad.). If they do not have two years of learning or work experience, they can enrol in a vocational qualifications course (KKZ). As of September 2018, the curriculum of the KKZ is based on the new curriculum for VET. Completion of a vocational qualification course entitles students to take the State vocational examination.

After successfully passing the State vocational examination, learners obtain the same vocational certificate as regular VET students. The fee paid by the applicant for the extramural examination is rather low, in 2019 approximately 45 EUR (15 EUR for the written part and 30 EUR for the practical part).

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database ([40]European database on validation of non-formal and informal learning:
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/european-database-on-validation-of-non-formal-and-informal-learning
).

In IVET, incentives include:

  • Scholarships for IVET students

In 2018, school scholarships range from PLN 99.20 to PLN 248 (from EUR 23 to EUR 57) per month depending on the decision of local authorities. The period of receiving a scholarship can range from one to ten months per school year. VET students can receive financial support when studying away from their community or when their family income is below the threshold for receiving social assistance benefits combined with social problems that the family is facing. Scholarships for good grades can also be granted to VET learners. Apart from the country level, there are also regional initiatives aiming to promote participation in VET. Some regional scholarships have been financed within EU-funded projects.

  • Salary for juvenile workers

Students who are juvenile workers are entitled to a salary. The amount of their salary cannot be less than 4% (in the 1st year of training) 5% (in the 2nd year of training) and 6% (in the 3rd year of training) of the average monthly salary (ranging from EUR 42 to EUR 68). Employers also pay mandatory social insurance on the basis of the salary paid to the juvenile worker.

Minimum salaries for juvenile workers in 2019

Period

1st year of training

2nd year of training

3rd year of training

1.06.2019. - 31.08.2019

198,04 PLN

247,55 PLN

297,06 PLN

45,93 EUR

57,41 EUR

68,90 EUR

1.03.2019. - 31.05.2019

194,55 PLN

243,19 PLN

291,82 PLN

45,12 EUR

56,40 EUR

67,68 EUR

1.12.2018. - 28.02.2019.

183,21 PLN

229,01 PLN

274,81 PLN

42,49 EUR

53,11 EUR

63,74 EUR

Source: own calculations based on legal acts in Poland.

  • Vocational training and support by the Voluntary Labour Corps

The Voluntary Labour Corps ([41]Voluntary Labour Corps (OHP),
http://www.ohp.pl.
) (Ochotnicze Hufce Pracy − OHP) is an organisation specialised in supporting youth at risk of social exclusion and unemployed under 25 years old, overseen by the labour ministry. The organisation offers young people over 15 years old without lower secondary education, the possibility to attain vocational qualifications and/or to supplement their education. Currently it has over 214 Corps agencies (2019) providing young people with the opportunity to complete their education and acquire professional qualifications before entering adult life. The Voluntary Labour Corps provide training in 64 professions, both in their own workshops or as on-the-job training with an employer. All students with low/no income receive free meals and accommodation during the education period. Students also receive guidance and pedagogical support. Each year, over 800,000 young people receive various forms of help from Corps agencies including individual psychological support, group workshops for active job-seeking, vocational courses, vocational courses offering certified qualifications, language courses, European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) course, driving course, entrepreneurship course, assistance in finding jobs and organising traineeships, as well as traineeships offered by employers.

In the area of continuing VET (CVET), support is organised mainly through the employment services and financed from the Labour Fund ([42]The Labour Fund (Fundusz Pracy) is a State special purpose fund operating under the Act of 20 April 2004 on the promotion of employment and labour market institutions (Journal of Laws 2004, No 99, item 1001 and later amendments).), as well as from the European Social Fund (ESF). This support includes:

  • vocational training;
  • loans for financing of the cost of training;
  • training vouchers;
  • vocational practice vouchers;
  • scholarships for youth from low income families for the period of education;
  • financial support for examination fees and vocational licence fees;
  • statutory training leave for employees.

The Labour Fund plays an important role in delivering state support for VET. It promotes participation by granting resources for vocational training initiatives. The training is mainly offered to unemployed people, but it can also be provided to other job seekers, such as, for example, people with disabilities. The participants of group training have the right to receive a monthly training grant that amounts to 120% of the unemployment benefit. The number of training hours per month should exceed 150. The cost of individual training cannot exceed 300% of the national average monthly salary. In 2017, more than 49 000 unemployed and other eligible individuals participated in various forms of training. The most popular form of training (more than 12 000 participants) was driver’s licence courses. The number of participants has declined mainly due to lower unemployment rate.

 

Participants in various forms of training support offered by the Labour Fund

Source: Warsaw: Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy (2018). Bezrobocie w Polsce w 2017 r. Raport tabelaryczny [Unemployment in Poland in 2017]. See also earlier editions.

 

Labour Offices support the organisation of vocational training for employees, but only at the initiative of employers (only when the employer has a special training fund). Up to 50% of the costs of the training can be refunded from the Labour Fund, but not more than the amount of the average monthly salary per participant. In the case of people over 45 years of age, the limit of the refund is 80% of the training costs, but not more than 300% of the average salary.

Labour Offices also fund apprenticeships organised in companies. Apprenticeships are nowadays available to all unemployed. In 2017, over 140 000 people participated in an apprenticeship scheme, including 46 000 youth under 25 years of age (33%). The number of participants in apprenticeship schemes, as well as the share of youth in all forms of training declined significantly between 2015 and 2017.

Training leave is provided to an employee. The leave (from six to 21 days) can be used to prepare for and take an examination or defend a thesis. Training leave can be paid (to cover lost income) to an employee if an employer requires or agrees to the need for the training before it starts.

Employers who provide VET training to students of vocational programmes can receive the following support:

  • refund of trainers’ salaries;
  • refund of the extra salary paid to instructors;
  • refund of the cost of work clothes and necessary protective measures;
  • training allowance for work placement supervisors;
  • refund of the bonus for work placement supervisors;
  • subsidy for the salary and social security contribution for the juvenile worker for the period of vocational training from the Labour Fund. The financial limits on the refund are set each year. As of 2020, the employers training juvenile employees in the professions indicated by the forecast of the demand for employees in vocational education occupations will receive increased subsidies.

Employers believe that the financial support offered is not fully adequate to the resources devoted to such training. The period of vocational practice is seen as being too short, which means that students are not providing added value to the company’s performance ([43]Fila J.; Rybińska; A.; Trzciński R. (2014). Współpraca szkół zawodowych z przedsiębiorcami na przykładzie Działania 9.2 PO KL [Cooperation of vocational schools and entrepreneurs based on the Action 9.2 of the Human Capital Operational Programme]. Warsaw: Instytut Badań Edukacyjnych.).

Since 2014, employers have been able to use the National Training Fund (Krajowy Fundusz Szkoleniowy), part of the Labour Fund (Fundusz Pracy), to finance their employees’ training. It mainly finances courses and post-graduate studies attended by employees at the request of the employer; examinations enabling the attainment of vocational qualifications; medical and psychological examinations required for a job position; and personal accident insurance. In the case of microenterprises, the funding can cover 100% of the costs of continuing education, whereas in other types of enterprises, the employer covers 20% of the training cost. The training cost per employee cannot exceed 300% of the average salary in a given year. In 2017, 18 715 employers received support from the National Training Fund, resulting in training or other forms of assistance for 105,300 employees, which is an increase by around one-third compared to 2015.

A regulation concerning occupational/career guidance and counselling was introduced in September 2018 ([44]Regulation of the education ministry on vocational/career guidance in Polish schools entered into force on 1 September 2018.). Previously, occupational/career guidance/counselling had been implemented only on the basis of the provisions of the regulation on the principles of providing and organising psychological and pedagogical assistance.

According to the new regulation, occupational guidance is to be implemented in a planned and systematic way, in all types of schools, including VET schools. The regulation defines the goals as well as the terms and manner of implementing and organising guidance/counselling, including possible forms and detailed programme content, which vary depending on the school level.

The basic goal of guidance is to support students in the process of making independent and responsible decisions concerning their educational and professional life, based on learning about their own resources, the education system and the labour market.

Vocational guidance is to be conducted at all school levels, including:

  • Pre-schools [ISCED 0] - vocational pre-orientation
  • Primary school classes 1-6 [ISCED 1] - vocational orientation
  • 7th and 8th grades of primary school [ISCED 2] and secondary schools [ISCED 3] - vocational guidance activities.

Schools are required to develop their own programme to implement the intra-school guidance system for each new school year. This programme should include:

  • activities to implement occupational guidance (including the content of the activities, methods and forms of implementation, timeframe of implementation, persons responsible for implementation);
  • entities with which the school cooperates in this field.

Please see also:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

College

programmes

ISCED 554

Colleges of social work leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 554 (kolegia pracowników służb społecznych)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

13 or 14

Usual completion grade

15 or 16

Usual entry age

19 or 20

Usual completion age

21 or 22

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

Colleges conduct a day, evening or extramural form of education.

Learning forms:

  • school-based learning;
  • work-based learning – in-company training;
  • self-learning (allocation of hours is not specified).

The form, place and timetable of in-company training is determined by the director of the college in cooperation with the governing body, after consulting the Programme Council and the learners council.

Every college operates under academic and didactic supervision of selected HEIs.

Main providers

Colleges:

  • public colleges operated by regional authorities;
  • non-public colleges – operated by legal persons ([74]Regulation of the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy of 15 September 2016 on colleges of social work. Journal of Laws 2016, item 1543.).
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

around 24%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • general in-practice training in a social welfare centre;
  • general in-practice training in a 24-hour service;
  • specialist and graduate professional in-practice training.
Main target groups

Programmes intended for adults interested in obtaining the qualification of social worker.

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

Matura certificate is required to enroll. A medical certificate stating that the learner is able to practice as a social worker is also needed.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a college programme, learners must pass a final internal exam carried out by the examination board appointed by the head of the college. The diploma confirms that the learner has attained the qualification of social worker.

In selected colleges, operating under given HEIs didactic care, participation in the programme leads also to BA exam and BA degree. However this option is not compulsory.

Diplomas/certificates provided

The learner receives a diploma confirming the completion of a college of social work, certifying the qualification of social worker.

The graduation diploma is issued on the basis of documentation of the course of study conducted by the college.

BA certificate is also offered to programme graduates of selected colleges.

Examples of qualifications

Social worker.

Colleges can also provide specialised training in the field of social welfare, in a field of specialisation in the profession of social worker and social work supervisors.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

College learners can enter the labour market or continue their studies in EQF 6 bachelor programmes.

In some colleges graduates who are interested in continuing their studies in EQF 6 bachelor programmes are offered recognition of the college curriculum.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

In some colleges it is possible to acquire validation of prior learning gained within programmes provided by HEIs.

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

<1% ([75]Own calculations based on Statistics Poland (2018). Oświata i wychowanie w roku szkolnym 2017/2018 [Education in the 2017/18 school year]. Four colleges with 234 students.)

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

Post-secondary

school-based programmes,

WBL ≥44.6%

1-2.5 years

ISCED 453

Post-secondary school-based programmes leading to ISCED 453 (szkoła policealna)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

453

Usual entry grade

13 or 14

Usual completion grade

13+

Usual entry age

19 or 20

Usual completion age

20+

Length of a programme (years)

1 to 2.5

  
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?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

There are public schools offering education free of charge but also numerous non-public schools charging fees for education.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

These programmes are strictly vocational and do not include general education. The vocational parts consist of theoretical and practical aspects. They are mostly school-based. Schools have a relatively high level of independence regarding the organisation of practical training. The school director decides on the share of work-based learning, however it cannot be less than 50% of the hours foreseen for vocational education.

Main providers

Post-secondary schools:

  • public schools operated by local and regional authorities, associations, national companies;
  • non-public schools with public school accreditation operated by different providers (associations, foundations, companies, HEIs);
  • non-public schools without public school accreditation operated by different providers (companies- natural persons, commercial-law companies).
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

≥ 44.6% for programme in a day form

≥ 48.5% for programme in stationary or extramural form ([69]Own calculations of %WBL based on the assumptions provided in the Teaching Plans [Ramowe plany nauczania],
http://prawo.sejm.gov.pl/isap.nsf/download.xsp/WDU20190000639/O/D20190639.pdf .
)

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

The practical part of vocational education can be offered in:

  • school workshops;
  • continuing education centres ([70]Continuing education centres (centrum kształcenia ustawicznego - CKU) - public institutions (usually a school complex) in Polish education, usually with a long tradition, whose task is to provide continuous, free-of charge education for adults and enable them to get a profession. They provide advice to teachers and lecturers employed in adult education. The centres can also employ professional advisers specialised in adult education.) and vocational training centres ([71]Vocational training centres (centrum kształcenia zawodowego – CKZ) - newly set up public institutions created from the transformation of existing centres for practical training (placówka kształcenia praktycznego ) or vocational training and development centres (ośrodek dokształcania i doskonalenia zawodowego) responsible for supporting vocational education of VET learners in schools providing practical or theoretical training of juvenile workers. They will be also providing vocational training in the form of courses (professional skills, qualifying vocational courses or other courses - enabling to obtain and supplement knowledge, skills and professional qualifications).);
  • with an employer (can be organised in different ways, partially or fully at an employers’ premises, including also dual training/alternate training).

On-the-job training, a distinctive form of practical training, is mandatory for learners of post-secondary programmes and lasts from 4 to 12 weeks, depending on the type of occupation.

Main target groups

They are available to graduates of general and vocational upper secondary programmes and (in the future) second stage sectoral programmes.

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

Learners should have a secondary education or secondary sectoral education (graduates of general and vocational upper secondary programmes and second stage sectoral programmes).

Assessment of learning outcomes

The following forms of assessment of learning outcomes are foreseen:

  • school leaving certificate - confirms that a learner completed the programme. It contains a list of subjects covered and the final grades achieved. To obtain school leaving certificate no external exam is required. Final grades are based on internal on-going assessments of learners and certificate consist of annual classification grades determined in the highest-level class and annual classification grades achieved in the completed lower classes;
  • State vocational examination (taking exam is obligatory for school graduation as of September 2019) – confirms obtaining vocational qualification. The examination has two parts: written and practical. The candidate has to pass both in order to receive a vocational certificate/diploma. The exam is centrally organised and based on uniform requirements, the same examination tasks, assessed according to the same criteria and organised in the same way regardless of where the examination is held.
Diplomas/certificates provided

This programme leads to:

  • a school leaving certificate;
  • a vocational qualification (vocational certificate) after passing the State vocational examination;
  • a vocational qualifications diploma (issued when a learner has obtained all qualifications distinguished in an occupation and a school leaving certificate).
Examples of qualifications

Administration technician (technik administracji), cosmetics services technician (technik usług kosmetycznych), optician technician (technik optyk), numerous medical qualifications: e.g. dental hygienist (higienistka stomatologiczna), pharmaceutical technician (technik farmaceutyczny), electrocardiograph technician (technik elektrokardiolog).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Post-secondary programme graduates can enter the labour market. Those who have matura exam are eligible to continue on to tertiary education, however the programme does not provide such direct access.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

A vocational certificate can be awarded after passing the State vocational examination extramurally.

Persons can take extramural State vocational examinations conducted by regional examination boards if they are over 18 years old, have completed a lower secondary programme or an eight-year primary programme and have at least two years of learning or work in an occupation relating to the targeted qualification ([72]Documents confirming the fulfilment of these requirements are, in particular, school certificates, transcripts, education certificates or employment certificates related to work in a specific occupation, including those obtained abroad.). If they do not have two years of learning or work experience, they can enrol in a vocational qualifications course (KKZ).

By taking extramural exams adults can also acquire a certificate of completion of the general education schools.

General education subjects

N

These programmes are strictly vocational and do not include general education.

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

<26% ([73]Own calculations based on Statistics Poland (2018). Oświata i wychowanie w roku szkolnym 2017/2018 [Education in the 2017/2018 school year].)

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 2

Work preparation classes

for SEN learners

Work preparation classes for SEN learners leading to EQF level 2 (oddziały przysposabiające do pracy)
EQF level
2
Usual entry grade

7

Usual completion grade

8

Usual entry age

15 ([47]This is a special programme for students at risk of early school leaving; in current legislation it is for 15-year-olds.)

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Education in Poland is compulsory up to 18 years of age, with full-time school education compulsory up to age 15.

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?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

Classes combine general education and work preparation – both adapted to the individual learner’s needs and capabilities.

Main providers

Primary schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Not specified by the regulations.

The programme is developed and adjusted to the specific needs of a learner by a lead teacher.

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

Different forms of practical training available:

  • practical training in school;
  • practical training in VET schools (school workshops), continuing education centres ([48]Continuing education centres (centrum kształcenia ustawicznego - CKU) - public institutions (usually a school complex) in Polish education, usually with a long tradition, whose task is to provide continuous, free-of charge education for adults and enable them to get a profession. They provide advice to teachers and lecturers employed in adult education. The centres can also employ professional advisers specialised in adult education.) and vocational training centres ([49]Vocational training centres (centrum kształcenia zawodowego – CKZ) - newly set up public institutions created from the transformation of existing centres for practical training (placówka kształcenia praktycznego ) or vocational training and development centres (ośrodek dokształcania i doskonalenia zawodowego) responsible for supporting vocational education of VET learners in schools providing practical or theoretical training of juvenile workers. They will be also providing vocational training in the form of courses (professional skills, qualifying vocational courses or other courses - enabling to obtain and supplement knowledge, skills and professional qualifications).);
  • in-company training.
Main target groups

For learners over 15 years old with special education needs (SEN), at risk of early school leaving.

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

For learners over 15 years old at risk of not completing primary school in the usual mode, who:

  • received promotion to grade VII; or
  • did not receive promotion to grade VIII.

Enrolment requires confirmation from a psycho-social support institution on the need for this form of education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Primary school leaving certificate is issued to those who completed the programme (with a special note with information on completion of work preparation classes).

Diplomas/certificates provided

School leaving certificate

Examples of qualifications

Not applicable

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete work preparation classes for SEN learners can enter the labour market or continue their education at the next EQF level.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

<1% ([50]Work preparation classes are not included in the statistics due to limited number of participants.)

EQF 4

Vocational upper

secondary programmes,

WBL ≥16.4%

5 years

ISCED 354

Vocational upper secondary programme (technikum) leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

16 ([51a]Usually, the starting age of learners is 15, while the age of graduating first grade is 16.
)

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Education in Poland is compulsory up to 18 years of age, with full-time school education compulsory up to age 15.

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?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

The curriculum for upper secondary vocational programmes combines general and vocational education. The vocational parts consist of theoretical and practical aspects. Vocational schools have a relatively high level of independence regarding the organisation of practical training. The school director decides on the share of work-based learning however it cannot be less than 50% of the hours foreseen for vocational education (which combines both practical and theoretical training).

Main providers

Upper secondary vocational schools:

  • public schools (vast majority of schools) operated by local (county) and regional authorities;
  • non-public schools with public school accreditation operated by different providers (associations, companies - commercial law companies, natural persons).
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

≥16.4% ([51]Own calculations of %WBL based on the assumptions provided in the Teaching Plans [Ramowe plany nauczania],
http://prawo.sejm.gov.pl/isap.nsf/download.xsp/WDU20190000639/O/D20190639.pdf
)

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

The practical part of vocational education can be offered in:

  • school workshops;
  • continuing education centres ([52]Continuing education centres (centrum kształcenia ustawicznego - CKU) - public institutions (usually a school complex) in Polish education, usually with a long tradition, whose task is to provide continuous, free-of charge education for adults and enable them to get a profession. They provide advice to teachers and lecturers employed in adult education. The centres can also employ professional advisers specialised in adult education.) and vocational training centres ([53]Vocational training centres (centrum kształcenia zawodowego – CKZ) - newly set up public institutions created from the transformation of existing centres for practical training (placówka kształcenia praktycznego ) or vocational training and development centres (ośrodek dokształcania i doskonalenia zawodowego) responsible for supporting vocational education of VET learners in schools providing practical or theoretical training of juvenile workers. They will be also providing vocational training in the form of courses (professional skills, qualifying vocational courses or other courses – enabling to obtain and supplement knowledge, skills and professional qualifications).);
  • with an employer (can be organised in different ways, partially or fully at an employers’ premises, including also dual training/alternate training).

A distinctive form of practical training - on-the-job training - is mandatory for learners of vocational upper secondary programmes and lasts from 4 to 12 weeks, depending on the type of occupation.

An additional new form of WBL – the student apprenticeship – will be available for learners of this programme as of September 2019.

Main target groups

This programme is available to primary school graduates.

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

Learners should hold a primary school leaving certificate. Primary school graduates are usually 15 years old.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The following forms of assessment of learning outcomes are foreseen for learners:

  • school leaving certificate - confirms that a learner completed the programme. It contains a list of subjects covered and the final grades achieved. To obtain school leaving certificate no external exam is required. Final grades are based on internal on-going assessments of learners and certificate consist of annual classification grades determined in the highest-level class and annual classification grades achieved in the completed lower classes;
  • State vocational examination (taking exam is obligatory for school graduation as of September 2019) – confirms obtaining vocational qualification. The examination has two parts: written and practical. The candidate has to pass both in order to receive a vocational certificate/diploma. The exam is centrally organised and based on uniform requirements, the same examination tasks, assessed according to the same criteria and organised in the same way regardless of where the examination is held;
  • school leaving examination (matura) – a state, uniform secondary school leaving examination based on the core curriculum for general education and providing access to tertiary education. As of September 2019, the vocational diploma in an occupation taught on technician level will allow learners to skip one additional subject in the matura exam. The matura exam consists of two parts: the oral part (internal and assessed at school) and the written part – external, set by the Central Examination Board (Centralna Komisja Egzaminacyjna) and assessed by examiners included in the registers of the Regional Examination Boards (Okręgowa Komisja Egzaminacyjna).
Diplomas/certificates provided

This programme leads to:

  • a school leaving certificate giving learners a secondary education;
  • vocational qualifications (vocational certificates) after passing the State vocational examination;
  • a vocational qualifications diploma for occupations consisting of two qualifications (issued when a learner obtained both qualifications distinguished in an occupation and a school leaving certificate).
Examples of qualifications

Occupations provided by this programme are two-qualification occupations, for example: electrical technician (technik elektryk), automation technician (technik automatyk), multimedia and photography technician (technik fotografii i multimediów), construction technician (technik budownictwa), accountancy technician (technik rachunkowości), salesman technician (technik handlowiec).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates of these programmes, after passing the secondary school leaving examination (matura), are eligible to continue to tertiary education.

Destination of graduates

According to the Labour Force Survey (LFS), in the 1st quarter of 2017 the employment rate of recent vocational upper secondary programme graduates (one year after completing education) was 55.8%.

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

A vocational certificate can be awarded after passing the State vocational examination extramurally. Persons can take extramural State vocational examinations conducted by the regional examination boards if they are over 18 years old, have completed a lower secondary programme or an eight-year primary programme and have at least two years of learning or work in an occupation relating to the targeted qualification ([54]Documents confirming the fulfilment of these requirements are, in particular, school certificates, transcripts, education certificates or employment certificates related to work in a specific occupation, including those obtained abroad.). If they do not have two years of learning or work experience, they can enroll in a vocational qualifications course (KKZ).

By taking extramural exams, adults can also acquire a certificate of completion of the general education schools.

General education subjects

Y

The vocational upper secondary programme combines general and vocational education.

Key competences

Y

The core curriculum for general education determines the learning outcomes related to the general education component and key competences provided by VET programmes.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Each qualification includes specific sets of learning outcomes defined in the core curriculum for vocational education. Learning outcomes are grouped in units, which typically contain from several to over a dozen learning outcomes and reflect specific professional tasks. The core curriculum for general education determines the learning outcomes related to the general education component and key competences provided by VET programmes.

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

56% ([55]Own calculations based on Statistics Poland (2018). Oświata i wychowanie w roku szkolnym 2017/2018 [Education in the 2017/18 school year].)

EQF 3

First stage

sectoral programmes,

WBL ≥31.8%

3 years

ISCED 353

First stage sectoral programme leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 353 (branżowa szkoła I stopnia)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

353

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

11

Usual entry age

16 ([56]Usually, the starting age of learners is 15, while the age of graduating first grade is 16.

 
)

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Education in Poland is compulsory up to 18 years of age; full-time school education is compulsory up to age 15.

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?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

The curriculum for first stage sectoral programme combines general and vocational education. The vocational parts consist of theoretical and practical aspects. Schools have a relatively high level of independence regarding the organisation of practical training. The school director decides on the share of work-based learning, however it cannot be less than 60% of the hours foreseen for vocational education (which combines both theoretical and practical training).

Main providers

First stage sectoral schools:

  • public schools (vast majority of schools) operated by local (county) authorities and associations;
  • non-public schools with public school accreditation operated by different providers (associations, companies - commercial law companies, natural persons).
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

≥ 33.7% for programme for graduates of phasing out lower secondary school gimnazjum

≥ 31.8% for programme for graduates of 8-year primary school ([57]Own calculations of %WBL based on the assumptions provided in the Teaching Plans [Ramowe plany nauczania].
http://prawo.sejm.gov.pl/isap.nsf/download.xsp/WDU20190000639/O/D20190639.pdf
)

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

The practical part of vocational education can be offered in:

  • school workshops;
  • continuing education centres ([58]Continuing education centres (centrum kształcenia ustawicznego - CKU) - public institutions (usually a school complex) in Polish education, usually with a long tradition, whose task is to provide continuous, free-of charge education for adults and enable them to get a profession. They provide advice to teachers and lecturers employed in adult education. The centres can also employ professional advisers specialised in adult education.) and vocational training centres ([59]Vocational training centres (centrum kształcenia zawodowego – CKZ) - newly set up public institutions created from the transformation of existing centres for practical training (placówka kształcenia praktycznego ) or vocational training and development centres (ośrodek dokształcania i doskonalenia zawodowego) responsible for supporting vocational education of VET learners in schools providing practical or theoretical training of juvenile workers. They will be also providing vocational training in the form of courses (professional skills, qualifying vocational courses or other courses - enabling to obtain and supplement knowledge, skills and professional qualifications).);
  • with an employer (can be organised in different ways, partially or fully at an employers’ premises, including also dual training/alternate training);
  • juvenile employment.

A special type of work-based learning is provided through juvenile employment for the purpose of vocational training (przygotowanie zawodowe młodocianych pracowników) for young people (15-18 years old) with a lower secondary education or primary education. In the 2017/2018 school year, juvenile workers constituted about half of all the learners in the first stage sectoral schools. Juvenile employment is based on a contract between the learner and employer. Juvenile employment for the purpose of vocational training most often takes the form of training for a profession (nauka zawodu) – this is an apprenticeship with the theoretical education taking place at a first stage sectoral school (or in out-of-school forms) and the practical training organised by the employer on the basis of a work contract. It lasts a maximum 36 months and is finalised with a State vocational examination. Practical training can also be organised by an employer in the craft trades, on the basis of a work contract. It also lasts a maximum 36 months and is finalised with a journeyman’s examination (egzamin czeladniczy).

An additional new form of WBL – the student apprenticeship – will be available for learners of this programme as of September 2019.

Main target groups

This programme is available to primary school graduates.

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

Learners should hold a primary school leaving certificate; primary school graduates are usually 15 years old.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The following forms of assessment of learning outcomes are foreseen for learners:

  • school leaving certificate - confirms that a learner completed the programme. It contains a list of subjects covered and the final grades achieved. It gives a learner a basic sectoral education. To obtain school leaving certificate no external exam is required. Final grades are based on internal on-going assessments of learners and certificate consist of annual classification grades determined in the highest-level class and annual classification grades achieved in the completed lower classes; 
  • State vocational examination – confirms obtaining vocational qualification. The examination has two parts: written and practical. The candidate has to pass both in order to receive a vocational certificate/diploma. The exam is centrally organised and based on uniform requirements, the same examination tasks, assessed according to the same criteria and organised in the same way regardless of where the examination is held; 
  • journeyman’s examination (egzamin czeladniczy) – exam for learners participating in juvenile employment organised by an employer in the craft trades. It has two parts: practical and theoretical. The practical part consists of tasks individually performed by a candidate. The theoretical part is both written and oral. Tasks are based on common examination requirements and the curriculum of the occupation.

As of September 2019, taking the State vocational examination or journeyman’s examination is obligatory for all learners as a condition for school graduation.

Diplomas/certificates provided

This programme leads to:

  • a school leaving certificate giving learners a basic sectoral education;
  • a vocational qualification (vocational certificate) after passing the State vocational examination;
  • a vocational qualifications diploma for a single-qualification occupation (after passing the State vocational examination and obtaining a school leaving certificate).

Learners participating in juvenile employment organised by an employer in the craft trades obtain a Journeyman’s certificate.

Examples of qualifications

Occupations provided by this programme are single-qualification occupations, for example: electromechanical worker (elektromechanik), locksmith (ślusarz), car tinsmith (blacharz samochodowy), gardener (ogrodnik), tailor (krawiec).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Completion of this programme provides access to further education: at the second year of general upper secondary programmes for adults or in the two-year second stage sectoral programme.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

A vocational certificate can be awarded after passing the State vocational examination extramurally. Persons can take extramural State vocational examinations conducted by regional examination boards if they are over 18 years old, have completed a lower secondary programme or an eight-year primary programme and have at least two years of learning or work in an occupation relating to the targeted qualification ([60]Documents confirming the fulfilment of these requirements are, in particular, school certificates, transcripts, education certificates or employment certificates related to work in a specific occupation, including those obtained abroad.). If they do not have two years of learning or work experience, they can enrol in a vocational qualifications course (KKZ). By taking extramural exams, adults can also acquire a certificate of completion of the general education schools.

General education subjects

Y

The first stage sectoral programme combines general and vocational education.

Key competences

Y

The core curriculum for general education determines the learning outcomes related to the general education component and key competences provided by VET programmes.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Each qualification includes specific sets of learning outcomes defined in the core curriculum for vocational education. Learning outcomes are grouped in units, which typically contain from several to over a dozen learning outcomes and reflect specific professional tasks. The core curriculum for general education determines the learning outcomes related to the general education component and key competences provided by VET programmes.

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

17% ([61]Own calculation based on
Statistics Poland (2018). Oświata i wychowanie w roku szkolnym 2017/2018 [Education in the 2017/18 school year].
)

EQF 4

Second stage

sectoral programmes,

WBL ≥50%

2 years

ISCED 354

to be introduced in 2020/21

Second stage sectoral programme leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (branżowa szkoła II stopnia)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

19 ([62]Usually, the starting age of learners is 18, while the age of graduating first grade is 19.)

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

This programme will begin operating in the 2020/21 school year. The curriculum of the second stage sectoral programme combines general and vocational education. The vocational parts consist of theoretical and practical aspects.

General education in this programme is planned to be limited, with the main focus placed on the vocational training to be conducted in the form of vocational qualification courses. Schools have a relatively high level of independence regarding the organisation of practical training. The school director decides on the share of work-based learning, however it cannot be less than 50% of the hours foreseen for vocational education (which combines both theoretical and practical training).

Main providers

This programme will begin operating in the 2020/21 school year.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50% ([63]Percentage of the hours foreseen for vocational education.)

Calculations of % WBL for second stage sectoral programme vary depending on the following criteria: a) form of teaching, b) type of profession, c) type of learner i.e. phasing out lower secondary school (gimnazjum) graduate or primary school graduate. Number of hours for vocational education (both theoretical and practical) is provided in the Core curriculum for education in the profession of sectoral education (Podstawa programowa kształcenia w zawodzie szkolnictwa branżowego; 215 professions in 32 industries) and according to the Teaching Programme totals not less than 50% of the total number of hours for a given form of teaching.

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

The practical part of vocational education can be offered in:

  • school workshops;
  • continuing education centres ([64]Continuing education centres (centrum kształcenia ustawicznego - CKU) - public institutions (usually a school complex) in Polish education, usually with a long tradition, whose task is to provide continuous, free-of charge education for adults and enable them to get a profession. They provide advice to teachers and lecturers employed in adult education. The centres can also employ professional advisers specialised in adult education.), vocational training centres ([65]Vocational training centres (centrum kształcenia zawodowego – CKZ) - newly set up public institutions created from the transformation of existing centres for practical training (placówka kształcenia praktycznego ) or vocational training and development centres (ośrodek dokształcania i doskonalenia zawodowego) responsible for supporting vocational education of VET learners in schools providing practical or theoretical training of juvenile workers. They will be also providing vocational training in the form of courses (professional skills, qualifying vocational courses or other courses - enabling to obtain and supplement knowledge, skills and professional qualifications).) and with an employer (can be organised in different ways, partially or fully at an employers’ premises, including also dual training/alternate training).

A distinctive form of practical training is on-the-job training, which will be mandatory for learners of second stage sectoral programmes and lasts from 4 to 12 weeks, depending on the type of occupation.

Main target groups

This second stage sectoral programme aims at further developing the vocational qualifications attained in the first stage sectoral programme. The programme will be available to the graduates of the first stage sectoral programmes who obtained a qualification that constitutes part of an occupation taught in the second stage sectoral school. This programme will be open to adult learners who want to expand their qualifications.

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

Learners should have a first stage sectoral school leaving certificate and a vocational certificate of a qualification constituting part of an occupation taught in the second stage sectoral school.

First stage sectoral programme graduates are usually 18 years old.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The following forms of assessment of learning outcomes are foreseen for learners:

  • school leaving certificate - confirms that a learner completed the programme. It contains a list of subjects covered and the final grades achieved. It gives a learner a secondary sectoral education, however, this is not the same as attaining a vocational qualification. To obtain school leaving certificate no external exam is required. Final grades are based on internal on-going assessments of learners and certificate consist of annual classification grades determined in the highest-level class and annual classification grades achieved in the completed lower classes;
  • State vocational examination (taking exam is obligatory for school graduation as of September 2019) – confirms obtaining vocational qualification. The examination has two parts: written and practical. The candidate has to pass both in order to receive a vocational certificate/diploma. The exam is centrally organised and based on uniform requirements, the same examination tasks, assessed according to the same criteria and organised in the same way regardless of where the examination is held;
  • shool leaving examination (matura) – a state, uniformed secondary school leaving examination based on the core curriculum for general education and providing access to tertiary education. As of September 2019, the vocational diploma in an occupation taught on technician level will allow learners to skip one additional subject in the matura exam. The matura exam consists of two parts: the oral part (internal and assessed at school) and the written part – external, set by the Central Examination Board (Centralna Komisja Egzaminacyjna) and assessed by examiners included in the registers of the Regional Examination Boards (Okręgowa Komisja Egzaminacyjna).
Diplomas/certificates provided

This programme leads to:

  • a school leaving certificate giving learners a secondary sectoral education;
  • a vocational qualification (vocational certificate) after passing the State vocational examination;
  • a vocational qualifications diploma for occupations consisting of two qualifications (issued when a learner obtained both qualifications distinguished in an occupation and a school leaving certificate).
Examples of qualifications

Chemical technology technician (technik technologii chemicznej), hospitality technician (technik hotelarstwa), telecomunications technician (technik telekomunikacji).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Second stage sectoral programme graduates will be eligible to continue to tertiary education after passing the secondary school leaving examination (matura).

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

A vocational certificate can be awarded after passing the State vocational examination extramurally.

Persons can take extramural State vocational examinations conducted by regional examination boards if they are over 18 years old, have completed a lower secondary programme or an eight-year primary programme and have at least two years of learning or work in an occupation relating to the targeted qualification ([66]Documents confirming the fulfilment of these requirements are, in particular, school certificates, transcripts, education certificates or employment certificates related to work in a specific occupation, including those obtained abroad.). If they do not have two years of learning or work experience, they can enroll in a vocational qualifications course (KKZ). By taking extramural exams, adults can also acquire a certificate of completion of the general education schools.

General education subjects

Y

The second stage sectoral programme combines general and vocational education.

Key competences

Y

The core curriculum for general education determines the learning outcomes related to the general education component and key competences provided by VET programmes.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Each qualification includes specific sets of learning outcomes defined in the core curriculum for vocational education. Learning outcomes are grouped in units, which typically contain from several to over a dozen learning outcomes and reflect specific professional tasks. The core curriculum for general education determines the learning outcomes related to the general education component and key competences provided by VET programmes.

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

Not applicable ([67]Second stage sectoral programmes will start operating from 1 September 2020.)

Special job-training

programmes,

(SEN learners)

ISCED 243

Special job-training programme leading to ISCED 243 (szkoła specjalna przysposabiająca do pracy)
EQF level
Not applicable
ISCED-P 2011 level

243

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

11

Usual entry age

16 ([68a]Usually, the starting age of learners is 15, while the age of graduating first grade is 16.
)

Usual completion age

18

Learners up to the age of 24 can participate in this programme.

Length of a programme (years)

3 (with the possibility of extending to 4 years)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Education in Poland is compulsory up to 18 years of age, with full-time school education compulsory up to age 15.

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?

N

This is not intended for adults, but learners up to the age of 24 can participate in this programme.

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

It provides educational activities (personal and social functioning classes; communication skills development classes, creativity development classes, physical education and job training classes), revalidation activities, and job training classes.

Main providers

Special job-training schools:

  • public schools (vast majority of schools) operated by local (county) authorities;
  • non-public schools with public school accreditation operated by different providers (associations, foundations).
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Share of work-based learning is not specified by the regulations. Job training classes constitute over half of the hours foreseen for the educational activities. The programme is developed and adjusted to the specific needs of a learner by a lead teacher.

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

Mainly practical training at school, including school workshops.

Main target groups

This programme is intended for young learners with moderate and severe intellectual disabilities or multiple disabilities.

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

Learners should have a primary school leaving certificate; primary school graduates are usually 15 years old. Additional enrolment requires confirmation from a psycho-social support institution on the need for this form of education (certificate recommending special education or rehabilitation-and-education classes).

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners do not pass any external exams.

Descriptive assessment is used on a school-leaving certificate.

This programme leads to a job-readiness certificate (based on the teacher’s assessment) to perform specific tasks and not to a vocational qualification.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Learners receive school leaving certificate and a job-readiness certificate.

Examples of qualifications

Not applicable

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete this programme can perform some tasks in certain labour market occupations.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

It combines vocational and general education.

Key competences

Y

It provides educational activities such as (personal and social functioning classes, communication skills development classes and physical education).

Application of learning outcomes approach

N

The core curriculum for this programme includes the aims of training, school assignments, forms of classes and detailed teaching content.

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

1% ([68]Own calculations based on data from Statistics Poland (2018). Oświata i wychowanie w roku szkolnym 2017/2018 [Education in the 2017/18 school year].)

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available