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General themes

VET in Slovakia comprises the following main features:

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

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

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

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

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

Deterioration in many international indicators calls for action:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 20 in 2015 to 59 in 2060 ([7]Old-age-dependency ratio is defined as the ratio between the number of persons aged 65 and more over the number of working-age persons (15-64). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).).

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

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

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

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

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

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

Main economic sectors:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Total unemployment ([12]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) (2018): 5.9% (6.0% in EU28); it decreased by 2.6 percentage points since 2008 ([13]Eurostat table une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019].).

 

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

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

 

Unemployment is distributed unevenly between those with low- and high-level qualifications. Unemployment of low-qualified has been in decrease since 2015. The crisis influenced medium- and high-qualified young people more than low-qualified.

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Share of learners in VET by level 2013-17

 

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

2013

1.5%

68.1%

100.0%

2017

2.6%

68.9%

100.0%

Change 2013-2017

+1.1 pp

+0.8 pp

-

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

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

 

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

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

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

 

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

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

Age group

2012/13

2013/14

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

%

%

%

%

%

0-19

44.8

31.4

31.2

30.9

30.2

20-24

94.0

95.4

94.6

93.8

94.2

25+

95.3

97.1

96.8

96.4

96.9

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

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

The education and training system comprises:

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

Pre-school education starts at the age of three.

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

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

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

Special programmes cater for learners with special education needs.

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

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

VET can be currently offered as:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Institutions of VET governance

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

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

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

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

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

Regulation of secondary VET

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

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

 

General government expenditure on education in Slovakia and EU28

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

 

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

Initial VET

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

Continuing VET

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

 

Cost of CVET courses (EUR)

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

 

Labour market training

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

 

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

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

 

In VET, there are:

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Occupations requirement in main sectors until 2020

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

 

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

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

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

  • educational;
  • occupational; and
  • qualification.

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

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

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

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

Curricula development

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Regional schooling including VET schools

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continuing VET and adult learning

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

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

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

 

Number of certificates of professional competences in 2013-2017

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

 

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

The following incentives for learners are in place:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Programme Types
Not available

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 4

Follow-up

programmes

ISCED 454

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

454

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

14

Usual entry age

18 to 19

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

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

Is it continuing VET?

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

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

N

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

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

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

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

Main providers

Secondary VET schools (stredná odborná škola)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

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

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

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

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

Main target groups

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

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

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

Theoretical part of vocational component is open to public.

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

These certificates are officially recognised.

Examples of qualifications

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

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

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

Key competences

Y

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

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

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

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

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

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

EQF 4

Programmes leading

to a (2nd)

VET qualification

ISCED 454

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

454

Usual entry grade

14+

Usual completion grade

15+

Usual entry age

19+

Usual completion age

21+

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Legislation does not address this issue.

Is it continuing VET?

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

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

N

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

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

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

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

 

Main providers

Secondary VET schools (stredná odborná škola)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

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

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

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

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

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

Main target groups

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

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

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

Theoretical part of vocational component is open to public.

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

These certificates are officially recognised.

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

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

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

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

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

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

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

EQF 5

Higher professional

programmes

ISCED 554

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

554

Usual entry grade

14+

Usual completion grade

16+

Usual entry age

19+

Usual completion age

22+

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Legislation does not address this issue.

Is it continuing VET?

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

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

N

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

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

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

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

Main providers

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

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

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

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

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

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

Main target groups

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Examination is open to public.

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

These certificates are officially recognised.

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

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

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

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

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

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

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

EQF 5

Specialising

programmes

ISCED 554

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

554

Usual entry grade

14+

Usual completion grade

15+

Usual entry age

19+

Usual completion age

21+

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Legislation does not address this issue.

Is it continuing VET?

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

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

N

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

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

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

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

Main providers

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

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

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

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

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

Main target groups

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Examination is open to public.

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

These certificates are officially recognised.

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

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

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

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

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

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

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

EQF 4

Refresher

programmes

ISCED 454

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

454

Usual entry grade

14+

Usual completion grade

14+

Usual entry age

19+

Usual completion age

19+

Length of a programme (years)

Depends of the school decision

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

N

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

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

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

Main providers

Secondary VET schools (stredná odborná škola)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

It fully depends on the school decision.

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

It fully depends on the school decision.

Main target groups

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

These certificates are officially recognised.

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

These programmes aim to update learners’ knowledge and skills.

Destination of graduates

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

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

N

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

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

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

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

EQF 5

Performing arts

Programmes

ISCED 254, 354, 554

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

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

Usual entry grade

6 (dance conservatory)

10 (music and drama conservatory)

Usual completion grade

13 (dance conservatory)

15 (music and drama conservatory)

Usual entry age

11 to 12 (dance conservatory)

15 to 16 (music and drama conservatory)

Usual completion age

19 (dance conservatory)

21 (music and drama conservatory)

Length of a programme (years)

8 (dance conservatory)

6 (music and drama conservatory)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

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

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

adults with no age limit can enter full-time programmes

ECVET or other credits

N

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

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

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

Main providers

Dance conservatory

Music and drama conservatory

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Not applicable.

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

Not applicable. Performing arts related training is regulated by individual schools, composed of training in school premises complemented by training through organised performance in school or agreed between schools and other players.

Main target groups

Children and young people talented and interested in performing arts.

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

Passing entrance examination including talent assessment

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

Examination is open to public.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

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

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

These certificates are officially recognised.

Examples of qualifications

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

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

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

Key competences

Y

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

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

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

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 2-3

Lower secondary

Programmes,

WBL =/> 86.6%

2-3 years

ISCED 253

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

253

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

11-12

Usual entry age

15+

Usual completion age

17+ or 18+

Length of a programme (years)

2-3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

but it depends on an individual learner track.

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

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

No credits applied

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

According to law, these programmes can be offered as:

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

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

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

Main providers

Secondary VET schools (stredná odborná škola)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=86.6%

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

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

Main target groups

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

These programmes offer qualifications that allow performing simple tasks.

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

These certificates are officially recognised.

Examples of qualifications

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

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

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

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

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

Key competences

Y

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

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

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

Application of learning outcomes approach

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

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

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

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

EQF 3

School-based

Programmes,

WBL =/> 50.5%

3-4 years

ISCED 353

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

353

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12 or 13

Usual entry age

15 to 16

Usual completion age

18 or 19

Length of a programme (years)

3 or 4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

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

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

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

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

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

ECVET or other credits

N

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

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

These programmes can be offered as:

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

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

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

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

Main providers

Secondary VET schools (stredná odborná škola)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

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

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

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

Main target groups

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

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

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

These certificates are officially recognised.

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

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

General education subjects

Y

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

Key competences

Y

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

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

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

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

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

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

EQF 3 or 4

School-based programmes,

WBL =/> 36.4%

4-5 years

ISCED 354

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

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

13 or 14

Usual entry age

15 to 16

Usual completion age

19 or 20

Length of a programme (years)

4 or 5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

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

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

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

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

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

ECVET or other credits

N

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

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

These programmes can be offered as:

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

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

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

Main providers

Secondary VET schools (stredná odborná škola)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

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

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

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

Main target groups

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

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

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

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

Theoretical part of vocational component is open to public.

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

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

These certificates are officially recognised.

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

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

General education subjects

Y

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

Key competences

Y

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

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

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

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

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

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

EQF 4

School-based

Programmes,

4 (5*) years

ISCED 354

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

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

13 or 14

Usual entry age

15 to 16

Usual completion age

19 or 20

Length of a programme (years)

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

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

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

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

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

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

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

ECVET or other credits

N

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

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

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

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

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

Main providers

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

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

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

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

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

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

Main target groups

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

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

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

Theoretical part of vocational component is open to public.

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

These certificates are officially recognised.

Examples of qualifications

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

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

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

Key competences

Y

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

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

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

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

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

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

EQF 1-3

VET programmes

For SEN learners

ISCED 352

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

352

Usual entry grade

10+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

16+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

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

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

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

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

No credits applied

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

School-based with practical training at school or sheltered workshops

Main providers

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Depends of individual learners and individual schools

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

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

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

These certificates are officially recognised.

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

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

Destination of graduates

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

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

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

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

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

Application of learning outcomes approach

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

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

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

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

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available

General themes

VET in Bulgaria comprises the following main features:

  • VET governance is multi-layered (national, regional, local);
  • there are four  VET qualification levels (ranging from EQF [1]European qualifications framework for lifelong learning (EQF). The European qualifications framework for lifelong learning is a common European reference framework whose purpose is to make qualifications more readable and understandable across different countries and systems. Covering qualifications at all levels and in all sub-systems of education and training, it provides a comprehensive overview over qualifications in the 39 European countries currently involved in its implementation. The core of the European qualifications framework. is its eight reference levels defined in terms of learning outcomes, i.e. knowledge, skills and autonomy-responsibility. Learning outcomes express what individuals know, understand and are able to do at the end of a learning process. Countries develop national qualifications frameworks (NQFs) to implement the European qualifications framework. The implementation of the European qualifications framework was based on the Recommendation on the European qualifications framework for lifelong learning adopted by the European Parliament and the Council on 23 April 2008(EC 111/01/2008). A revised and strengthened Recommendation on the European qualifications framework (EC/189/03/2017) was adopted on 22 May 2017 by the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council. The purpose of this revised recommendation is to ensure the continuity as well as a further deepening of the European qualifications framework.
    level 2 to EQF level 5);
  • dual VET (introduced in 2014) remains a major challenge for the country;
  • state educational standards play a major role in shaping qualifications and curricula.

Distinctive features [2]Adapted from Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Bulgaria. Luxembourg: Publications Office. http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8120_en.pdf

VET is provided at secondary and post-secondary (non-tertiary) levels. There are more learners in VET compared with general education: 51.7% of the total secondary education population in 2017 and 54,5 % in 2018. Secondary general education schools may also open VET classes by a special order of the Education Minister. This option is popular in small towns and rural areas.

Since 2016/17, secondary education has been offered in two stages. This improves access to VET, as learners may now choose their education path also after completing grade 10.

In the national context, the term initial VET is only used to refer to programmes leading learners to their first qualification, such as textile worker qualification at EQF levels 2 or its part.

VET programmes are pursued afterwards; for example, textile production operator and textile technician qualifications at EQF level 3 and 4 are considered continuing VET.

According to the pre-school and school education act and the VET act, the acquisition of vocational qualifications is regulated by State educational standards. These standards exist for most VET qualifications. VET qualifications at all levels (EQF 2 to 5) are learning outcomes based.

Following the European credit system for VET (ECVET) [3]https://ec.europa.eu/education/resources-and-tools/the-european-credit-system-for-vocational-education-and-training-ecvet_en
principles, recent qualifications comprise units of learning outcomes, although a credit system is not yet fully established.

The legal basis for validation of non-formal and informal learning in VET has been in place since 2015 and procedures and quality assurance criteria have been developed. Implementation of the Bulgarian qualifications framework will ease putting validation arrangements in place.

 

To make VET more responsive to labour market needs, the pre-school and school education act (2015), which covers VET, increased the responsibility of local and regional authorities.

The reform increased their role in planning VET intake and defining occupations, funding staff salaries, organising vocational training for the unemployed, and equipping VET schools.

Employer organisations are also becoming more actively involved in implementing VET. Since the 2016 amendments to the VET act, they can propose changes to the list of VET qualifications.

Since the introduction in 2015/16, some schools have started offering dual VET programmes. Several pilot projects supporting dual training aim at expanding the training offer in cooperation with business and public authorities from Bulgaria and abroad. Measures, including specialised forums, media campaigns and events, help attract learners and motivate employers to become involved in dual VET that is still mostly project-based.

To address quality concerns, the Ministry of Education and Science is adopting the European quality assurance reference framework (EQAVET). The 2015 quality assurance regulation mandates VET providers for adult training to organise self-assessment based on a set of indicators.

The government is strengthening initial training and continuing professional development opportunities for VET teachers and trainers to motivate more young people to enter the profession. The new system helps them to keep up with technological innovation and modern teaching methods, and allows for faster career advancement linked to performance.

The 2015-17 VET strategy action plan proposes ways to address the challenges: modularisation, more flexible VET provision, and better and more easily accessible career guidance services. Its implementation is also likely to contribute to raising adult participation in learning, which is currently among the lowest in the EU.

There is a high level of skills mismatch. According to the NSI business inquiries in March 2019 37.0% of the industrial enterprises pointed out the labour shortages a factor limiting their activity. In comparison with the same period of previous year (March 2018) the value of the indicator increased by 4 p.p. to 33.3%.

Data from VET in Bulgaria Spotlight 2018 [4]Adapted from Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Bulgaria. Luxembourg: Publications Office. http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8120_en.pdf

Population in 2018: 7 050 034 [5]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 28.1.2019

It decreased by 3.2% since 2013 due to negative natural growth and migration [6]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 30 in 2015 to 63 in 2060.

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted on 24.01.2019]

Demographic changes have an impact on vocational education and training (VET). Participation in secondary education has been decreasing. This has led to optimisation of a school network aiming at better efficiency while safeguarding the quality. Since the academic year 2013/14, the number of VET schools has decreased by 11.9% up to 2018/19. However the number of VET centres has increased by 12.4% for the same period. Adjustments will continue in line with demographic trends.

 

Main economic sectors:

  • manufacturing;
  • wholesale and retail trade;
  • construction;
  • public administration;
  • agriculture, forestry and fishing;
  • transportation and storage.

Export comprises mainly manufactured goods, machinery and transport equipment, miscellaneous manufactured articles, food and live animals, chemical and mineral fuel, beverages and tobacco.

Not many occupations/professions are regulated and the labour market is considered flexible.

Total unemployment [7]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.
(2018): 4.9% (6% in EU-28); it decreased by 0.1 percentage point since 2008 [8]Eurostat, une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019]. 
.

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

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

Unemployment is distributed unevenly between those with low and high-level qualifications. The gap has increased after the crisis as unskilled workers are more vulnerable to unemployment. People with low qualifications are more likely to be unemployed. In 2018, the unemployment rate of people with medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4) is back to the levels of the pre-crisis years.

Employment rate of 20 to 34-year-old VET graduates increased from from 77.6% in 2014 to 84.6% in 2018.

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

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

The increase (+7 pp) in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates is lower compared to the increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates (+7.7 pp) in the same period in Bulgaria [9]NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series. ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education; Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019]. 
.

The share of the population aged up to 64 with higher education (28.2%) places Bulgaria below the EU28 average. The share of those with low or without qualifications places Bulgaria (17.4%) almost in the middle of EU-28 Member States.

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
3.7% 50.7% 100%

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011.

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 females (53.2% for 2018) in VET [10]http://www.nsi.bg/en/content/4921/persons-who-attained-professional-qualification-level-vocational-training
. Females enrol more often in economics and administration programmes (the most popular options), services (tourism, hotels and restaurants) as well as design and clothing industry. Males prefer programmes related to computer systems and coding (the most popular options), transport, agriculture, economy, construction. 

The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased from 14.7% in 2009 to 12.7% in 2018. It is 2.1 pp above the EU-28 average and also above 11.0%, the national country target.

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].

Dropout rate from VET (%)

 

Lifelong learning offers training opportunities for young people and adults.

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

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

Participation in lifelong learning in Bulgaria has slightly increased in the past decade. However, it is well below the EU28 average (with 2.5% participation in lifelong learning in 2018). Increasing participation is one of the biggest challenges that the country faces.

Information not available

The education and training system comprises:

  • primary and lower secondary education (1, 2 and 3);
  • secondary education comprises general (profiled) (ISCED 344 and 341) and VET programmes (ISCED 351 and 354) in two subsequent stages: the first (3-year, grades 8-10) and the second (2-year, grades 11-12). It is compulsory for learners until they reach age 16. At the end of stage two, learners who pass State matriculation examinations (matura) (Bulgarian language in addition to another subject or – for VET learners – State qualification examination) receive a secondary education diploma (EQF level 4) and certificate for VET qualification after successful passing the State qualification examination. Others receive a certificate for the completion of secondary education with access to vocational training for adults but not to higher education. VET programmes provide graduates with general education diploma in addition to a VET qualification certificate;
  • post-secondary non-tertiary VET (ISCED level 4);
  • higher education (ISCED levels 6, 7 and 8);
  • apprenticeships, internships and dual VET (range of VET qualifications ranging from  ISCED 351 to 454).

Primary and lower secondary education (grades 1-7) is compulsory [11]Education is compulsory till the age of 16.  
. Primary education starts at age seven and is provided by State, municipal and private schools. There are no VET programmes at this level. Graduates may continue to general or vocational secondary education. In 2016/17, all general secondary education programmes became ‘profiled’, i.e. they specialise on a selected subject, for example, mathematics, natural sciences or foreign languages.

Secondary education comprises general (profiled) (ISCED 344 and 341) and VET programmes (ISCED 351 and 354) in two subsequent stages: the first (3-year, grades 8-10) and the second (2-year, grades 11-12). It is compulsory for learners until they reach age 16. At the end of stage two, learners who pass State matriculation examinations (matura) (Bulgarian language in addition to another subject or – for VET learners – State qualification examination) receive a secondary education diploma (EQF level 4) and certificate for VET qualification after successfully passing the State qualification examination. Others receive a certificate for the completion of secondary education with access to vocational training for adults but not to higher education. VET programmes provide graduates with a general education diploma in addition to a VET qualification certificate.

Higher education comprises the following programmes:

  • professional bachelor (ISCED 655, EQF level 6; NQF level 6a);
  • bachelor (ISCED 645, EQF level 6; NQF level 6b);
  • master’s (ISCED 766, 767, EQF/ NQF level 7);​
  • PhD (ISCED 864, EQF/ NQF level 8). 

School based VET is provided only at a secondary level. Until August 2016, the lowest level of qualification could also be acquired in lower secondary education programmes. Out-of-school adults (16+) can still acquire the lowest VET qualification level (VET qualification level 1, EQF level 2) before secondary education.

Secondary VET aims at obtaining a vocational qualification but also comprises a general education part that is required to acquire a secondary education diploma.
Vocational education and training complies with the requirements of the State educational standards and consists of theory and (study and production) practice.

Post-secondary, non-tertiary vocational qualifications (ISCED 2011 level 4, EQF level 5) can be acquired only by people with completed secondary education. The acquired qualification at this level provides access to the labour market.

Examples of such qualifications are company manager, hotel manager, restaurant manager as well as sports and military/defence qualifications.

Training in real work environment: apprenticeships, internships, dual VET

There are several types of training in real work environment.

In 1992, so-called apprenticeships for employees were introduced. They often guarantee a job at the end of training, according to the contract with the employer. The duration of this type of apprenticeships is up to six months.

In 2014, internships were introduced for young people (up to 29 years old) who have already acquired a VET qualification (or higher education degree) but have no work experience in the profession. The duration of internships is between six and 12 months.

Since 2014, dual VET has started to evolve. It allows learners to acquire VET qualifications. The practical training in a company alternates with periods of theoretical training in a school or another VET provider. In-company trainers (mentors) are responsible for the practical training.

For adult learners the following options are available in order to acquire a VET qualification:

  • 300 hours for EQF level 2;
  • 660 hours for EQF level 3;
  • 960 hours for EQF level 4;
  • 1 260 hours for EQF level 5.

The legal framework distinguishes six types of initial and continuing VET (IVET and CVET) programmes, defines age and entry requirements, and regulates content and duration.

There are several types of training in real work environment.

In 1992, so-called apprenticeships for employees were introduced. They often guarantee a job at the end of training, according to the contract with the employer. The duration of this type of apprenticeships is up to six months.

In 2014, internships were introduced for young people (up to 29 years old) who have already acquired a VET qualification (or higher education degree) but have no work experience in the profession. The duration of internships is between six and 12 months.

Since 2014, dual VET has started to evolve. It allows learners to acquire VET qualifications. The practical training in a company alternates with periods of theoretical training in a school or another VET provider. In-company trainers (mentors) are responsible for the practical training. They are required to have a VET or higher education qualification and at least three years of professional experience.

More information for Bulgaria is available at: http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/apprenticeship-schemes/country-fiches/bulgaria

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 stakeholders are the following:

  • the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria – implements the legislative activity in the field of VET;
  • the Council of Ministers sets out the government policy in the field of VET;
  • the education ministry manages, coordinates and implements the VET policy;
  • the labour ministry participates in the implementation of the national VET policy;
  • the culture ministry implements the VET policy in art schools;
  • the sports ministry implements the VET policy in sports schools;
  • the health ministry participates in the coordination of the list of professions;
  • the sectoral ministries are involved in the development, coordination and updating of the State educational standards for the acquisition of qualifications; in the development, coordination and updating of the list of professions; in coordinating the admission plan for schools, funded by them;
  • the employers’ representatives participate in the development, coordination and updating of the State educational standards for the acquisition of qualifications, the legislative framework and policy documents, as well as in the updating of the list of professions and in organising and conducting qualification examinations;
  • the Economic and Social Council discusses and makes proposals with regard to issues, related to education, including VET in the context of lifelong learning;
  • the National Council for Tripartite Cooperation discusses and gives opinions on draft legislation regarding employment and vocational qualification and thus participates in the formulation of VET policy. The Council is composed on the tripartite principle. It is a body for consultations and cooperation at a national level for labour, social insurance and living standard issues, consisting of two representatives of the government (of whom one is the Vice Prime Minister), two representatives of trade unions and two representatives of employers’ organisations;
  • the National Council for Vocational Qualifications at the labour ministry coordinates the development of national policies and strategies for training for unemployed and employees, leading to the acquisition of professional qualifications;
  • the National Council for the Promotion of Employment at the labour ministry is also constituted on the tripartite principle. Its functions are to discuss and give opinions regarding the development and implementation of the employment policy and the national action plan for employment.
  • the National Agency for Vocational Education and Training (NAVET) is a specialised body within the Council of Ministers. The Agency develops the State educational standards for the acquisition of VET qualifications; it maintains the list of professions according to the needs of the labour market; it licenses and exercises further control over the activities of VET institutions for people over 16 years of age and over the activities of vocational guidance providers;
  • the Employment Agency implements the State policy on promoting employment and provides career information, counselling and training for employees and unemployed;
  • the Human Resource Development Centre is a national agency, which coordinates the management and administration of the EU Erasmus+ Programme;
  • the National Inspectorate of Education is a new structure (2018). The Inspectorate does not exercise control over the activities of directors and teachers in schools and kindergartens. In fact, the inspection, performed by the inspectorate, is the process of preparing a comprehensive independent assessment of the quality of services provided by kindergarten or school education at some point of their Activities, based on criteria and indicators, grouped into fields.

At regional level:

  • the regional administration participates in the implementation of the government policy for employment and acquisition of VET qualifications;
  • the Regional Employment Service Directorates implement the government policy for training of unemployed and employed adults for acquiring a vocational qualification; they offer training measures and projects; provide coordination and support in the field of vocational training, consultancy of and guidance for the local employment offices;
  • the regional management units of the education ministry (territorial administrative units of the education ministry, situated in the 28 district centres) implement the State policy in the field of VET at a regional level through projects, programmes and strategies for development, functioning and improvement of VET at a district level;
  • the permanent and temporary employment committees to the Regional Councils for regional development identify, organise and control the implementation of the State policy on the promotion of employment and training for acquiring a vocational qualification at a regional level.

At local level:

  • the municipalities participate in the development of a VET policy within their territories regarding: the employment needs for vocational guidance and training of students, unemployed and other groups; the necessary equipment of schools, vocational training providers and centres for information and guidance through funds from the municipal budget;
  • the Labour Offices of the Employment Agency provide career services: career information; advice and guidance for inclusion in the appropriate program/measure for employment and training;
  • the Cooperation Councils at the Labour Office Directorates monitor the implementation of programmes and measures included in the national action plan for employment.

According to the VET Act, sources of financing for State and municipal schools, vocational training centres for information and vocational guidance and training centres for trainers are:

  • the State budget;
  • the municipal budget;
  • donations;
  • own revenue;
  • national and international programmes;
  • other sources.

Funding mechanism for secondary VET schools is based on financial resources delegated to schools per student and varies between EUR 1 000 and 1 500 per year per student depending on the specifics of the VET programmes delivered.

The financing of vocational training offered after secondary education is provided by individuals under the terms and conditions set by the education minister. The training is financed by:

  • learners;
  • employers;
  • the State budget (active labour market policy);
  • EU programmes (mainly ESF).

Secondary VET is mostly State-financed. Private VET schools may also apply for State funding. However, only 11 out of 350 VET schools were private in 2017/18. 

Most (over 90%) adult VET providers are private. They may also receive public financing. In 2016, self-financing of training courses by learners was the most common source (53.49%) followed by employer financing (29.14%) and funding through national or European public resources (16.83%).

In VET there are:

  • general subject teachers;
  • vocational subject teachers;
  • trainers who work in vocational centres;
  • mentors for training that takes place at enterprises.

The qualification requirements are set by the relevant legislation. Strategic documents also contain provisions for teachers and trainers.

The required qualification of teachers in general studies subjects is a Master's, Bachelor's or Specialist /Professional Bachelor (national qualifications framework level 6A, European qualifications framework level 6) higher education degree acquired in:

  • a specialty of a professional field corresponding to the relevant school subject with a professional qualification in teaching;
  • a specialty of another professional field and additional professional qualification in teaching in the relevant school subject.

There is no special training provided to teachers in general studies subjects in respect of their work at vocational schools, since the mandatory general education background for a certain educational level is the same for all types of schools in the country.

Teachers in a vocational training subject must hold a Master, Bachelor or Specialist higher education degree in:

  • specialties of vocational fields corresponding to the professions on the list of professions for vocational education and training taught at the relevant school and an additional professional qualification in teaching;
  • specialties of a professional field corresponding to the professions taught at the relevant school. This is applied in cases where specialists working in companies or prominent experts in the respective field are invited to participate in vocational training at VET institutions, with the aim to provide up to date specialised knowledge and improve the link with practice and increase the attractiveness of VET.

The required qualification of trainers at vocational training centres is laid down in the State educational requirements by professions in the ‘Requirements to trainers’. A trainer is required to be a university graduate with a Master or Bachelor educational degree in a specialty corresponding to the professional field out of the list of professions for vocational education and training wherein the profession to be taught has been classified. There is no requirement for additional pedagogical qualifications for trainers at vocational training centres.

The conditions for professional development of staff within the public education system (in-service training) and also the procedures for acquiring professional qualification levels are set by Regulation No 5 (1996) [12]Ordinance No 12, active as of 1.9.2016: https://www.mon.bg/upload/2333/naredba_12_01.09.2016_prof_razvitie_uchiteli.pdf
.

There are five professional qualification levels (highest being level one) and three types of teachers positions that depend on the experience and qualifications. These are: a teacher, a senior teacher and a head teacher- . The Ordinance No 12 (2016) sets the terms and conditions for acquisition of such position, the conditions for continuing teachers' qualification on the base of credit points. Training is provided by the approved training providers which are registered in the teachers training programmes informational system of the education ministry [13]http://iropk.mon.bg/

VET teacher's profession isn’t attractive in Bulgaria.
The decrease of VET teachers aged up to 34, the fact that the profession was amongst those with high demand (12 420 vacancies), together with the steady increase of the relative share of older VET teachers (aged 60+) poses a risk of staff shortage in the next 20 years.

The 2016 Ordinance No 12 [14]https://www.mon.bg/upload/2333/naredba_12_01.09.2016_prof_razvitie_uchiteli.pdf
 regulates the statute and the professional development of the teachers, school headmasters and pedagogical staff. According to the ordinance, teachers (including VET teachers) are required to improve their competences continuously.

Teachers receive a certificate for continuing training or specialisation credit points. Sixteen training hours (academic) equals to one credit point. At least three credit points in acquired in external programmes are compulsory for each period of appraisal in addition to one credit point per year acquired in the institution they work. The credit system ensures opportunities for accumulation, recognition and transfer of credits (for the forthcoming periods, or in case of change of school, in application for higher qualification level). Teachers, headmasters and other pedagogical staff now have to create and maintain their professional portfolio.

According to the State requirements (Ordinance 162/1997), the basic training of teachers (10 hours) is designed so as to include obligatory practical training, which is carried out through doing teacher observation (60 hours), ongoing teaching practice (60 hours) and an internship (100 hours).

The ongoing teaching practice relates to participation in the organisation of the educational process under the direct supervision of a teacher at the higher education institution. The internship for people who would like to work as teachers is carried out under the supervision of a mentoring secondary education teacher and a teacher at the higher education institution.

European funds have been used for continuing vocational training of teachers.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers [15]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers
.

The demand for qualifications is forecasted based on the macro-economic model (for medium and long-term forecasts) and the annual employer skill needs survey (for short-term forecasts).

The labour ministry is responsible for skills forecasting for medium and long term forecasts and the Employment Agency – for short term forecasts which are based on the employer skill needs survey provided twice in the year in accordance with the Employment Promotion Act.

Medium- and long-term forecasts take into account the demographic trends and changes in the educational attainment of the labour force and in the structure of the economy.

They provide information on labour demand and supply by:

  • level of education (basic, secondary or higher); 
  • economic activity;
  • profession;
  • structural shortage/surplus of labour by education level.

Since 2018, the Employment Committees of the Regional Development Councils biannually collect, process and submit to the Employment Agency information on the employers' demand for the labour force.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast [16]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast
and European Skills Index [17]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index
.

VET qualifications are classified in the list of professions by education field, vocational area, occupation and specialty.

According to the Pre-school and School Education Act [18]https://www.mon.bg/bg/57
 and the VET Act [19]https://www.navet.government.bg/bg/media/ZPOO-2018-1.pdf
, the acquisition of vocational qualifications is regulated by the State educational standards. The national agency for VET designs the standards in coordination with the relevant ministries and departments, and the education minister endorses them. The standards are by occupation (profession).

State educational standards are developed in units of learning outcomes. They include:

  • requirements for the candidates – minimum entry level qualification and education requirements for pupils and adults;
  • option for validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences;
  • opportunities for continuing vocational training;
  • description of profession – with core working activities, responsibilities, job conditions specification, used equipment and tools, special requirements etc.
  • opportunities for professional development according to the national classification of professions and occupations;
  • units of learning outcomes for general, sectoral and specific vocational training– with defined knowledge, skills and expected competences;
  • defined assessment tools for theoretical and practical skills;
  • execution of the examination conditions;
  • assessment criteria;
  • requirements for training facilities;
  • requirements for trainers.

The approach for development of State educational standard in units of learning outcomes implements the principles of the European credit system for vocational education and training (ECVET) recommendation since 2016. The standards are mandatory for VET programmes leading to nationally recognised qualifications, also for adults.

In the beginning of 2019 NAVET’s methodology guidelines for development of State educational standards were revised. In addition of core development process there were included two more options:

  • collecting information for the profession from employers' organisations by online questionnaires
  • consultation with branch employers ( before the final acceptance), according to development or updating the standards

The up-to-date State educational standards are available for free use on the websites of the education ministry and the national agency for VET [20]http://www.mon.bg and http://www.navet.government.bg
.

Each time that the State educational standards are amended, vocational training centres are obliged to update the relevant training programmes and curricula.

The curricula are based on framework programmes [21]Framework programmes include: general provisions, including the regulatory basis, the aim and purpose of the programme; requirements: entry (age, medical, previous education and qualification level), career and education pathways, form(s) of training (day full time, evening, part-time,  individual, distance, dual, self-learning); curriculum; training module content (theoretical and practical); graduation requirements (State examinations for full qualifications and final examinations for partial qualifications).
 and on the State educational standards for VET.

The education ministry develops the compulsory part of the VET curricula for new professions or forms of learning in VET schools.

VET teachers and employers support designing the curricula.

School-specific curricula part is designed by VET providers for each programme in order to reflect the specificities of the local labour market.

Curricula for VET schools comprise a training schedule, subject distribution between general and vocational parts, graduation requirements, explanatory notes, etc. to ensure the achievement of the learning outcomes.

Vocational training centres develop their own training programmes that take account also of prior learning. These programmes are evaluated (licenced) by the national agency for VET.

Since 2018, in the amended VET Act, the requirement to update modules in VET curriculum once every five years was added.

The Pre-school and School Education Act (2015, in force since August 2016) and the VET Act (2014)) establish the process of quality management, including VET. The quality management is a continuous process of organisational development based on its analysis, planning, implementation and evaluation. The evaluation is performed through self-assessment and inspection. It aims at preparing the internal evaluation of the quality of provided education through operations, procedures and criteria set by schools. It is carried out under terms and conditions determined by the State educational standard for quality management in the institutions.

The process follows these steps:

  • establishing a working group;
  • defining activities, procedures, criteria, indicators and tools;
  • contacting learners, teachers and parents;
  • performing self-assessment and analysing the results that may lead to recommendations;
  • preparing and validating the report.

The inspection is a process of preparing an overall independent expert evaluation of the education quality in schools at a given moment and guidelines for improvement. At least one inspection should be carried out in each school every five years.

All VET providers have to introduce an internal system for quality assurance to meet the requirement of the standards.

This system comprises:

  • policy and goals for quality assurance;
  • quality management responsibilities;
  • rules for the system’s implementation;
  • annual schedule for self-assessment;
  • rules and procedures for measuring the quality achieved through self-assessment.

A significant role is given to the improvement of the working environment, learning outcomes, interaction with the local community stakeholders, social partners, employers' organisations and universities, and staff training. The education ministry supports and monitors the implementation of quality assurance in VET schools and the national agency for VET in vocational training centres.

In 2014, the validation of informal and non-formal learning outcomes was introduced by the amendments to the VET Act [22]https://www.mon.bg/bg/57
.

The validation of knowledge, skills and competences acquired in non-formal and informal learning is regulated by Ordinance No 2/2014 (in force since 1.1.2015) [23]https://www.mon.bg/bg/59
, approved by the minister of education and science.

VET providers organise the validation for professions and specialties that are included in the list of professions for VET [24]https://www.mon.bg/bg/100053
.

Introducing a new approach for the development of State educational standards, based on units of learning outcomes in 2015 [25]https://www.mon.bg/bg/100305
, made the validation process more transparent.

Applicants present the evidence for the learning outcomes they possess in order to acquire a full or partial qualification allowing their access to vocational training and/or to the labour market.

The methods for assessing the learning outcomes are essentially identical to those for assessing knowledge, skills and competences applied in formal education and training.

Two types of certificates can be issued as a result of the validation:

  • a certificate validating a full qualification. By means of examination it certifies that all units of learning outcomes defined in the State educational standard have been achieved;
  • a certificate validating a part of vocational qualification (partial qualification). It certifies through an examination that one or several units of learning outcomes included in the State educational standard have been achieved.

Holders of these certificates have the same rights as those who have attained corresponding certificates through the formal education system.

Validation procedures are monitored by the regional education authorities and national agency for VET.

They also consult and guide providers methodologically.

Validation procedures can be funded by beneficiaries (individuals), companies and projects.

Validation fee for individuals cannot exceed the actual expenditure incurred by a provider.

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database [26]https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/2016_validate_BG.pdf
.

VET is attractive because after graduation learners receive both a diploma for secondary education (giving access to higher education) and a certificate for vocational qualification.

Allowances, grants, vouchers and travel subsidy

Secondary VET learners may receive grants:

  • performance scholarships are awarded to learners with high learning achievements;
  • social allowances support access to education and prevent early leaving from VET of disadvantaged learners, e.g. with special education needs or orphans.

The grants are offered on a monthly basis and vary between 5% and 15% from the minimal national salary.

Learners in dual VET receive monthly remuneration from the companies they are trained in based on their contract. In addition, secondary VET learners can participate in ESF projects for work-based learning where they can also receive an additional grant of EUR 150.

A person (employed or unemployed) may have only one training voucher for key competences and one for VET training during the implementation of the programme:

  • at EQF level 2 – EUR 300;
  • at EQF level 3 – EUR 600;
  • at EQF level 4 – EUR 900.

All secondary VET learners are entitled to receive discounts when using public transport, including trains and in-city public transport. The discount can be up to 60% and is decided by each municipality.

According to the VET Act, provision of training is free of value added tax for companies.

Financial support for offering dual VET

Employment Promotion Act foresees financial benefits for employers for creating training places (jobs) for the unemployed. State budget pays remuneration, social security and health insurance for apprentices for up to 36 months. It also covers the costs of the training institution that provides theoretical lessons to an apprentice and mentoring costs.

According to the VET Act the system of vocational education and training includes vocational guidance, vocational education and vocational training.

The institutions, which provide vocational guidance for students are structured on regional principle for 28 regions.

The responsible institution for licensing centres for information and vocational guidance for adults is NAVET.

Up to 31.12. 2018, 48 centres for information and vocational guidance for adults were licensed.

The regional employment service directorates, which are part of the employment agency, provide vocational guidance to the unemployed individuals and for those, who wish to change their current job.

The employment service directorates provide  vocational guidance services in the form of:

  • in person vocational consultation;
  • vocational consultation in groups.

The main goals of these services are to support individuals in making the right choice in terms of entering the labour market or choosing a suitable VET programme, the level of vocational qualification – initial or continuous and the options for acquiring the desired qualification.

Please see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Programme Types
Not available

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

Post-secondary VET,

up to 2 years,

WBL: min. 50%,

FP: D (Г)

 

 ISCED 453

Initial/Continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 453 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА Г за професионално обучение с придобиване на четвърта степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

453

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

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

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • apprenticeships.
Main providers
  • Schools
  • Enterprises
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

<=70%

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

Programmes are available for people who have completed upper secondary education.

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

This type of VET is available only for people who have completed secondary education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners need to pass a vocational qualification examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 4 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 4 СПК).

The learners may also ask to receive a Europass certificate supplement to the certificate.

The document is recognised by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Company manager, hotel manager, restaurant manager as well as sports and military/defence qualifications [43]As described in national context.
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

Information not available

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 2

Mainly school-based VET,

3 years,

WBL: min. 70%,

FP: A (A)

 

ISCED 351

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 2, ISCED 351 (Рамкова програма А за начално професионално обучение с придобиване на първа степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
2
ISCED-P 2011 level

351

Usual entry grade

8

Usual completion grade

10

Usual entry age

13

Usual completion age

16

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

In Bulgaria education is mandatory till the age of 16.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

This framework programme is only for initial VET.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • daily
  • evening
  • extramural
  • distance learning
  • work based training
  • individual
  • self-learning

The most common learning form is daily form.

Main providers
  • schools
  • schools in partnership with enterprises.
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=70%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school – when the school uses its own base for practical training
  • in-company practice - when learners go to external companies for practical training
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

This VET programme is appropriate for those learners who wish an early entry to the labour market.

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

The requirements for enrolment in VET programmes are minimum age, health condition, previous education and qualification level.

The minimum required age is :

  • 13 (in the year of application) for vocational gymnasiums and schools;
  • 16 for vocational training centres.

The health condition of the applicant is certified by a medical certificate proving the fitness for the selected occupation.

Minimum entry requirements for VET learners:

  • for current learners - grade 6;
  • for newly enrolled learners (after 2016) -basic education, secondary education, stage 1, grade 7 for learners with special educational needs.

Minimum entry requirements for individuals above the age of 16:

  • for current learners: primary education or literacy course,  grade 7 for learners with special educational needs;
  • for newly enrolled learners (after 2016): primary education or literacy course, grade 7 for learners with special educational needs.
Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete this type of VET programme learners need to pass a State qualification examination: (for theory and practice of the occupation.

The education ministry develops and approves national examination programmes for the State qualification examinations. They include guidelines for content of the exam, task assignments and assessment criteria.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • certificate for completed first stage of secondary education (Удостоверение за завършен първи гимназиален етап на средно образование);
  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 2 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 1 СПК). The learners  may also ask to receive a  Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) – if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Welder, turner, worker in the food industry [30]As described in national context
.

These three qualifications are included in the list of specialties from professions with expected shortage of specialists on the labour market, approved by the Council of Ministers in 2018.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may continue their studies to the second stage of secondary education and VET qualification at EQF level 3 or 4, or can enter the labour market. However progression in either VET or general education is subject to different prerequisites, rather than completion of this VET programme.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

This type of VET programme includes modules for:

  • entrepreneurship;
  • foreign language and communication;​
  • ICT (digital competences).
Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

<=5% [31]2018/19. Share of learners compared to the total number of secondary VET learners.

EQF 3

Mainly school-based VET,

4 years, 

WBL: min. 60%,

FP: B (Б)

 

ISCED 351

Initial/Continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 351 (Рамкова програма Б за начално и продължаващо професионално обучение с придобиване на втора степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

351

Usual entry grade

8

Usual completion grade

11

Usual entry age

13 - Minimum age of the candidate in the year of application

Usual completion age

17

Length of a programme (years)

4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

In Bulgaria education till the age of 16 is mandatory.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

This framework programme is applicable for both IVET and CVET.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

Y

It is available for adult learners who cover minimum entry requirements.

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • daily 
  • evening
  • extramural
  • distance learning
  • work based training
  • individual
  • self-learning

The most common learning form is daily form.

  • Apprenticeship is available after the age of 16 (grades 11-12).
Main providers
  • schools;
  • schools in partnership with enterprises.
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=60%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school – when the school uses its premises for practical training
  • in-company practice – when learners go to external companies for practical training
Main target groups

This VET programme is appropriate for learners who wish to enter the labour market holding a recognised professional qualification and also for those who wish to continue their studies at EQF level 4.

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

The requirements for enrolment in VET programmes are minimum age, health condition, previous education and qualification level.

The minimum required age is 13 (in the year of application) for vocational gymnasiums and schools.

The health condition of the applicant is certified by a medical certificate proving the fitness for the selected occupation.

There is no limitation for maximum age.

Completed basic education is also a prerequisite for this type of programme for current learners.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Vocational education finishes with State qualification examinations: for theory and practice of the occupation.

The education ministry develops and approves national examination programmes for the State qualification examinations. They include guidelines for content of the exams, task assignments and assessment criteria.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 3 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 2 СПК). The learners may also ask to receive a Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) – if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Waiter, cook, hair dresser [32]As described in national context.
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may continue their studies at second stage of secondary education and VET qualification at EQF level 4, or can enter the labour market. However progression in either VET or general education is subject to different prerequisites, rather than completion of this VET programme.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

There are subjects for:

  • entrepreneurship;
  • foreign language and communication;​
  • ICT (digital competences).
Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

Information not available

EQF 3

Mainly school-based VET,

1 year,

WBL: min. 60%,

FP:B (Б)

 

ISCED 351

Initial/Continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 351 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА Б за начално и продължаващо професионално обучение с придобиване на втора степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

351

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

17

Length of a programme (years)

1

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

In Bulgaria education is mandatory till the age of 16.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

It is part of formal education and training system.

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

This framework programme is applicable for both IVET and CVET.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • daily
  • evening
  • extramural
  • distance learning
  • work based training
  • individual
  • self-learning

The most common learning form is daily form.

  • Apprenticeship is available after the age of 16 (grades 11-12).
Main providers
  • schools
  • schools in partnership with enterprises
  • vocational training centres
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=60% - Min 60% - The share of practical training for these qualifications that require the performance of a complex set of activities (NQF/ EQF level 3) is no less than 60%.

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice – when learners go to external companies for practical training
  • practical training at school – when the school uses its own premises for practical training
Main target groups

Programmes are available for individuals above the age 16.

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

The requirements for enrolment in VET programmes are minimum age, health condition, previous education and qualification level.

The minimum required age is 13 (in the year of application) for vocational gymnasiums and schools.

The health condition of the applicant is certified by a medical certificate proving the fitness for the selected occupation.

Previous education requirements are at least a completed grade or stage from the basic or secondary education, completed initial stage of the lower secondary education or a successfully completed literacy course under the Employment Promotion Act.

For the particular programme stage 1 of secondary education and VET qualification level 2 is a prerequisite for admission – for newly enrolled learners (after 2016).

Assessment of learning outcomes

Vocational education finishes with State qualification examination: The examination is both theoretical and practical and is relevant to the occupation.

The education ministry develops and approves national examination programmes for the State qualification examination. They include guidelines for content of the exams, task assignments and assessment criteria.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 3 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 2 СПК). The learners may also ask to receive a  Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) - if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Assistant trainer in sports, system programmer, tourist guide [33]As described in national context.
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may continue their studies to the second stage of secondary education and VET qualification at EQF level 4, or can enter the labour market. However progression in either VET or general education is subject to different prerequisites rather than the completion of this VET programme. 

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

There are modules for:

  • entrepreneurship;
  • foreign language and communication;​
  • ICT (digital competences).
Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

Information not available

EQF 3

Mainly school-based VET,

5 years,

WBL: min. 60%,

FP: C (B)

 

ISCED 354

Initial/Continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 354 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА В за професионално образование с придобиване на втора степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

8

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

14

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

In Bulgaria education is mandatory till the age of 16.

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

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • apprenticeships after the age of 16 (grades 11-12).
Main providers

Schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=60%

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

Programmes are available for young people.

Based on the type and school curriculum for students with sensory disabilities, special curricula are developed. Typical curricula for framework programmes C apply depending on the student's specific abilities to reach the learning outcomes that are included in the State Educational Standard for acquiring a qualification in the respective profession. For imprisoned learners vocational education is organised for the acquisition of the second degree of professional qualification (EQF 3) in the first and second stage of secondary education.

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

Learners must be at least 13 years old in order to apply.

Basic education is a prerequisite for admission at this VET programme.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme learners need to pass a State matriculation examination in ‘Bulgarian language and literature’ and a State qualification examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • diploma for secondary education (Диплома за средно образование);
  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 3 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 2 СПК). The learners may also ask to receive a  Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) - if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Electric fitter, cook, wood processing operator [34]As described in national context.
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may:

  • continue their studies at tertiary education;
  • continue their VET qualification at EQF Level 5;
  • enter the labour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

=20% [35]2018/19. Share of learners compared with the total number of secondary VET learners.

EQF 4

Mainly school-based VET,

2 years,

WBL: min. 50%,

FP: C (B)

 

ISCED 354

Initial/Continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА В за професионално образование с придобиване на трета степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

In Bulgaria education is mandatory till the age of 16.

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

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • apprenticeships after the age of 16 (grades 11-12)
Main providers

Schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50%

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

Programmes are available for young people.

Based on the type and school curriculum for students with sensory disabilities, special curricula are developed. Typical curricula for framework programmes C apply depend on the learner's specific abilities to acquire the learning outcomes that are included in the State educational standard for acquiring a qualification in the respective profession. For imprisoned learners, vocational education is organised for the acquisition of the second degree of professional qualification (EQF 3) in the first and second stage of secondary education.

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

Learners must be at least 13 years old to apply.

Basic education is a prerequisite for admission to this VET programme.

For the particular VET programme completion of secondary education stage 1 and VET qualification level 2 are prerequisites for admission.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete this type of VET programme learners need to pass a State matriculation examination in ‘Bulgarian language and literature’ and a State qualification examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • diploma for secondary education (Диплома за средно образование);
  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 4 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 3 СПК). The learners may also ask to receive a  Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) – if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Electro-technician, restaurant keeper, wood-procession technician-technologist [36]As described in national context 
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may:

- continue their studies at tertiary education;

- continue their VET qualification at EQF Level 5;

- enter the labour market.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

Information not available

EQF 4

Mainly school-based VET,

5 years,

WBL: min. 50%,

FP: C (B)

 

ISCED 354

Initial/Continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА В за професионално образование с придобиване на трета степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

8

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

14

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

In Bulgaria education is mandatory till the age of 16.

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

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • apprenticeships after the age of 16 (grades 11-12)
Main providers

Schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50%

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

Programmes are available for young people.

Based on the type and school curriculum for learners with sensory disabilities, special curricula are developed. Typical curricula for framework programmes C apply depending on the student's specific abilities to acquire the learning outcomes that are included in the State educational standard for acquiring a qualification in the respective profession. For imprisoned learners vocational education is organised for the acquisition of the third degree of professional qualification (EQF 4) in the first and second stage of secondary education.

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

Learners must be at least 13 years old (when they apply) to enrol.

For this type of VET programme the completion of basic education is a prerequisite for admission.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The secondary VET is completed with State matriculation examinations in ‘Bulgarian language and literature’ and a State qualification examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • diploma for secondary education (Диплома за средно образование);
  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 4 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 3 СПК). The learners  may also ask to receive a  Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) – if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Electro-technician, restaurant keeper, wood-procession technician-technologist [37]As described in national context 
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may:

  • continue their studies at tertiary education;
  • continue their VET qualification at EQF Level 5;
  • enter the labour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

>=75% [38]2018/19. Share of learners compared to the total number of secondary VET learners.

EQF 4

Mainly school-based VET,

1 year,

WBL: min. 50%,

FP: C (B)

 

ISCED 354

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА В за професионално образование с придобиване на трета степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

1

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Information not available

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Information not available

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • apprenticeships after the age of 16 (grades 11-12).
Main providers
  • schools
  • enterprises 
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

<=70%

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

The requirements for enrolment in VET programmes are minimum age, health condition, previous education and qualification level.

The minimum required age is 13 (in the year of application) for vocational gymnasiums and schools and 16 for vocational training centres (initial and continuous VET providers for employees and unemployed, without acquisition of an education level). The health condition of the applicant is certified by a medical certificate proving the fitness for the selected occupation. Previous education requirements are at least a completed grade or stage from the basic or secondary education, completed initial stage of the lower secondary education or a successfully completed literacy course under the Employment Promotion Act.

For the particular VET programme completion of grade 11 and VET qualification level 2 or 3 are prerequisites for admission.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete the program learners need to pass a matriculation exam and a State qualification examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • diploma for secondary education (Диплома за средно образование);
  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 4 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 3 СПК). The learners may also ask to receive a Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) - if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Builder, electro technician, electronic equipment technician, cook, waiter, assistant trainer in sports and system programmer [39]As described in national context 
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may:

  • continue their studies at tertiary education;
  • continue their VET qualification at EQF Level 5;
  • enter the labour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

Information not available

EQF 2

Mainly school-based VET,

1 year,

WBL: min. 70%,

FP: A (A)

 

ISCED 351

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 2, ISCED 351 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА А за начално професионално обучение с придобиване на първа степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
2
ISCED-P 2011 level

351

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

11

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

17

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 State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • apprenticeships after the age of 16 (grades 11-12).
Main providers
  • schools
  • enterprises 
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=70%

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

The requirements for enrolment in VET programmes are minimum age, health condition, previous education and qualification level.

The minimum required age is 13 (in the year of application) for vocational gymnasiums and schools and 16 for vocational training centres (initial and continuous VET providers for employees and unemployed, without acquisition of an education level). The health condition of the applicant is certified by a medical certificate proving the fitness for the selected occupation. Previous education requirements are at least a completed grade or stage from the basic or secondary education, completed initial stage of the lower secondary education or a successfully completed literacy course under the Employment Promotion Act.

For this type of programme the completion of secondary education, stage 1 is a prerequisite for admission.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 2 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 1 СПК). The students may also ask for receiving Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) – if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Builder, electro technician, electronic equipment technician, cook, waiter, assistant trainer in sports and system programmer [40]As described in national context 
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market or continue their studies at EQF level 3 (VET) or in general education stage 2. However, progression in either VET or general education is subject to different prerequisites rather than the completion of this VET programme.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

Information not available

EQF 3

Mainly school-based VET,

1 year,

WBL: min. 60%,

FP: C (B)

 

ISCED 354

Initial/Continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 354 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА В за професионално образование с придобиване на втора степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

11

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

18

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?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • apprenticeships after the age of 16 (grades 11-12).
Main providers
  • schools
  • enterprises
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=60%

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

The requirements for enrolment in VET programmes are minimum age, health condition, previous education and qualification level.

The minimum required age is 13 (in the year of application) for vocational gymnasiums and schools and 16 for vocational training centres (initial and continuous VET providers for employees and unemployed, without acquisition of an education level). The health condition of the applicant is certified by a medical certificate proving the fitness for the selected occupation. Previous education requirements are at least a completed grade or stage from the basic or secondary education, completed initial stage of the lower secondary education or a successfully completed literacy course under the Employment Promotion Act.

For this type of VET programme completion of upper secondary stage 1 and VET qualification level 2 are prerequisites for admission.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete this type of VET programme learners need to pass a State matriculation examination and a State qualification examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • diploma for secondary education (Диплома за средно образование);
  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 3 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 2 СПК). The learners may also ask to receive a Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) - if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Builder, electro technician, electronic equipment technician, cook, waiter, assistant trainer in sports and system programme [41]As described in national context.
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may:

  • continue their studies at tertiary education;
  • continue their VET qualification at EQF Level 5;
  • enter the labour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

Information not available

EQF 3

Mainly school-based VET,

2 years,

WBL: min. 60%,

FP: C (B)

 

ISCED 354

Initial/continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 354 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА В за професионално образование с придобиване на втора степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

18

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

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • apprenticeships  for ages after 16 (grades 11-12).
Main providers
  • schools
  • enterprises
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

<=70%

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

The requirements for enrolment in VET programmes are minimum age, health condition, previous education and qualification level.

The minimum required age is 13 (in the year of application) for vocational gymnasiums and schools and 16 for vocational training centres (initial and continuous VET providers for employees and unemployed, without acquisition of an education level). The health condition of the applicant is certified by a medical certificate proving the fitness for the selected occupation. Previous education requirements are at least a completed grade or stage from the basic or secondary education, completed initial stage of the lower secondary education or a successfully completed literacy course under the Employment Promotion Act.

For this type of VET programme completion of grade 11 and VET qualification level 2 or 3 are prerequisites for admission.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete this type of VET programme learners need to pass a matriculation examination and a State qualification examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • diploma for secondary education (Диплома за средно образование);
  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 3 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 2 СПК). The learners may also ask to receive a  Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) – if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system (for continuation of the education) and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Builder, electro technician, electronic equipment technician, cook, waiter, assistant trainer in sports and system programmer [42]As described in national context.
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may:

  • continue their studies at tertiary education;
  • continue their VET qualification at EQF Level 5;
  • enter the labour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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