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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 Finland comprises the following main features:

  • competence-based approach;
  • personal competence development plan for each learner charting and recognising previously acquired skills;
  • VET teacher profession is attractive;
  • early leaving from education and training is low and decreasing; leaving VET early is still more common than in general education;
  • participation in lifelong learning is high, also due to VET participation.

Distinctive features ([1]Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Finland. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8100_en.pdf
):

National qualification requirements have been based on a competence-based approach since the early 1990s. Flexibility of vocational qualifications has increased, for example by diversifying opportunities to include modules from other vocational qualifications (including further and specialist vocational qualifications) or university of applied sciences degrees. More flexibility will allow students to create individual learning paths and increase their motivation for completing their studies. It is also meant to give education providers an opportunity to meet regional and local labour market demands more effectively. Studies in upper secondary VET are based on individual study plans, comprising both compulsory and optional study modules. Modularisation allows for a degree of individualisation of qualifications:

  • a clearer range of qualifications that better meets the needs of working life;
  • a single competence-based method of completing qualifications;
  • competence-based and individual study paths for all.

The Finnish National Agency for Education reformed all 43 initial, 65 further and 56 specialist vocational qualifications in 2017-18. The fundamental goal of this reform was to reduce the number of qualification titles from 360 to 164 and offer broader programmes, strengthen the competence-based approach of vocational qualification requirements and the modular structure of qualifications. This supports building flexible and individual learning paths and promotes validation of prior learning.

A career as a VET teacher is generally considered attractive, reflected in the high number of applications to enrol in vocational teacher training programmes that invariably exceed intake. While up to a third of the applicants are admitted annually, there are major variations between different fields.

There is growing concern over the risk of social exclusion of young people. In 2018, among 20 to 24 year-olds, 11.8% were neither in employment nor in education and training. Youth unemployment is on the increase; the rate for 15 to 24 year-olds was 20% in 2014, 21.4% in 2016 and 20.4% in 2019. Both rates have improved in recent years ([2]Source: Statistics Finland.).

The government introduced the youth guarantee programme from the beginning of 2013. This offers everyone under 25, as well as recent graduates under 30, a job, on-the-job training, a study place or rehabilitation within three months of becoming unemployed.

Dropout from vocational education and training is far more common than from general upper secondary education, although it is not high in European terms (7.4% in the 2016/17 school year). Prevention of both dropout from education and exclusion from society is a policy priority: every individual who drops out of education and the labour market is seen as being both a personal tragedy and a significant cost to society. A programme was set up in 2012 to develop anticipatory and individualised procedures in guidance and counselling and create pedagogical solutions and practices supporting completion of studies, as well as work-centred learning environments and opportunities. There is also emphasis on creating practices to recognise prior learning more effectively. An additional EUR 4 million has been allocated to this programme. The results of these projects will be seen in 2020 at the earliest.

A new Act on VET was adopted in June 2017 and entered into force on 1 January 2018. Its objective has been to renew VET legislation, the financing system and create a more competence-based and customer-oriented system.

Data from VET in Finland Spotlight 2016 ([3]Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Finland. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8100_en.pdf
), updated in May 2019.

 

 

Population in 2018: 5 513 130 ([4]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It increased by 1.6% since 2013 mainly due to immigration ([5]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

As in many other EU countries, the population is ageing, but the share of young people remains slightly above the EU-28 due to immigration. Since 2000, annual immigration to the country has more than doubled, reaching 249 500 or 4.5% of the population in 2017. This is also due to the increased number of asylum seekers in 2015-16 ([6]Statistics Finland:
www.tilastokeskus.fi/tup/maahanmuutto/maahanmuuttajat-vaestossa/ulkomaan-kansalaiset_en.html#tab1483972171375_1
).

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 31 in 2015 to 50 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 years). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).). This will also force the retirement age to increase, reaching 62.4 years in 2025 ([8]In 2017 it was 61.2 years. Source: Finnish Centre for Pensions:
www.etk.fi/en/statistics-2/statistics/effective-retirement-age/
).

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

According to population forecasts, the proportion of those aged over 65 is increasing faster than the EU average. This is mostly due to the ‘baby-boomer’ generations, born after World War II, reaching pensionable age.

Demographic challenges will impact the availability of the labour force, growth of the economy and, thus, provision of welfare services. The changing population structure will also require improving attainment, preventing early leaving from education and training, facilitating young people’s transition to further education and making flexible learning paths for completing qualifications.

Because of the demographic challenges, e.g. ageing population, the demand for labour in social and welfare services will grow in the future. According to the National Agency for Education ([9]https://www.oph.fi/julkaisut/2011/koulutus_ja_tyovoiman_kysynta_2025), demand for new employees in health care and social services will be nearly 120 000 in the period from 2008 to 2025. This has an impact on VET as, for example, practical nurses and dental assistants receive VET qualifications.

The country has two official languages, Finnish and Swedish.

Education and training institutions teach in Finnish and Swedish, but bilingual providers also exist, providing education in some foreign languages, mostly in English. In the Sámi language regions VET is also provided in a Sámi language.

The language of instruction for initial and continuing VET is decided in the licence for VET provision, granted by the education ministry.

Most companies are small- and medium-sized.

The highest share of the labour force is in human health and social work, manufacturing and in wholesale and retail trade.

 

Employees (age 15 to 74) by economic sector in 2018

Source: Statistics Finland. https://www.tilastokeskus.fi/tup/suoluk/suoluk_tyoelama_en.html

 

The main export sectors are ([10]Source:
https://atlas.media.mit.edu/en/profile/country/fin/ [accessed 2.4.2019].
):

  • machines (23%) ([11]E.g. broadcasting equipment, electrical transformers.);
  • paper goods (16%) ([12]E.g. coated paper, wood pulp.);
  • metals (14%) ([13]E.g. stainless steel, raw zinc.);
  • transportation goods (11%) ([14]E.g. cars, ships.).

Relatively few professions require a specific type of education. Education requirements mainly exist in health care, teaching, rescue and security jobs. Also the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church requires its employees to have education in the field. Such professions usually require a higher education degree.

A few regulated professions require a vocational qualification. Examples are nurses, prison and security guards, construction divers and chimney sweeps.

The labour market is, therefore, considered flexible.

Total unemployment ([15]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) (2018): 6.1% (6.0% in EU-28); it increased by 1.2 percentage points since 2008 ([16]Eurostat table une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019].).

 

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

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series; 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. In Finland, the financial crisis had less impact on unemployment than in other European countries.

During the crisis there was only a slight increase in unemployment, and the difference between the unemployment rates of the three categories above remained quite stable.

Young people (15-24) with low qualifications (ISCED 0-2) are much more exposed to unemployment than older people who have more working experience. Higher level qualifications also mean less unemployment for young people.

The employment rate of VET graduates (age 20-34, ISCED levels 3 and 4) has increased since 2014 by 2.2 percentage points and reached 79.8% 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].

 

This increase was slower compared with the increase in employment for the same age group graduates of all education types (+2.5pp) in the same period ([17]NB: Breaks in time series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

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

Completion of both upper secondary and tertiary studies is one of the objectives of national education policy. Finland has one of the highest shares of 25-64 year old people with higher education qualifications (43.7%) and one of the lowest shares with low qualifications (11.7%) in the EU.

 

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].

 

Attainment of Finns aged 25 to 64 has increased significantly since 2000 and slightly more rapidly than in the EU-28 on average ([18]https://findikaattori.fi/en/). Since the 1990s the expansion of adult education and training, as well as the creation of the competence-based qualifications system, offered many ‘baby-boomers’ born after World War II an opportunity to complete a VET qualification.

For more information about VET in higher education in Finland please see the case study from Cedefop's changing nature and role of VET in Europe projectt [18a]Cedefop (2019). The changing nature and role of vocational education and training in Europe. Volume 6: vocationally oriented education and training at higher education level. Expansion and diversification in European countries. Case study focusing on Finland. Cedefop research paper; No 70. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/finland_cedefop_changing_nature_of_vet_-_case_study_0.pdf

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower- secondary

upper -secondary

post-secondary

not applicable

71.6%

100%

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

 

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

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

 

The male/female share in vocational upper secondary programmes is equal. In further qualification programmes, there are more females.

In 2017, 43% of all male VET students studied in one particular field, i.e. engineering, manufacturing and construction. Business and administration and services both accounted for 17% of all male VET students. Around one-third (31%) of women were enrolled in health and welfare, 20% in services and 25% in business, administration and law.

The share of early leavers from education and training was 8.3% in 2018. The share has decreased since 2009 by 1.6 percentage points (-3.6 percentage points in the EU) and it is very close to the national 2020 target of not more than 8%.

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

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

 

The overall duration of education and training is influenced by delays at transition points ([19]For example, young graduates from upper secondary education at age of 19 cannot always enter higher education due to limited places available; they often apply several years in a row in order to enrol.) and the overall time spent in each programme. The latter is now being addressed by the new financing mechanism that gives more weight to the effectiveness of studies and is pushing towards timely acquisition of qualifications.

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

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

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

 

Participation in lifelong learning is traditionally high in Finland. It has increased by 3.4 percentage points since 2014, reaching 28.5% in 2018. It is almost three times higher than the EU-28 average (11.1% in 2018).

VET is an important form of adult education. In 2016 almost 70% of those completing vocational upper secondary qualifications in Finland were under 25. Almost half of those taking further vocational qualifications completed their studies under the age of 35, and over half of those taking specialist vocational qualifications were over 40.

 

VET learners by age group in 2010-17

Source: Statistics Finland (Vipunen). https://vipunen.fi/

 

The share of adults (aged 25 and above) in initial and continuing VET has been increasing both in absolute numbers and proportionally. In the programme aiming for upper secondary vocational qualification the share of adults has been increasing and was 36% in 2017. In further qualification the share has varied between 81-86% and in specialist qualification it has remained roughly the same at 95%.

The education and training system comprises:

  • early childhood education and care (ISCED level 0);
  • pre-primary education (ISCED level 0);
  • primary education and lower secondary education; (ISCED levels 1 and 2), also called basic education;
  • optional additional year (ISCED level 2) (age 16);
  • Upper secondary education (ISCED level 3 and 4);
  • Tertiary education (ISCED levels 6, 7, and 8).

Early childhood education and care (varhaiskasvatus, småbarnsfostran) is not compulsory and participation requires the payment of a small fee. It is provided to children up to age six.

Pre-primary education (esiopetus, förskoleundervisning) is compulsory and it is provided to learners aged 6 years old.

Basic education (perusopetus, grundläggande utbildning) is compulsory. It is divided into primary education, provided in grades 1 to 6, to learners aged 7 to 12, and into lower secondary education, provided in grades 7 to 9, to students aged 13 to 16 years old.

The optional additional year is provided to students at age 16. Its purpose is to improve grades and to prepare for vocational education or familiarisation with the working life.

After basic education students can complete training preparing them for VET (ammatilliseen koulutukseen valmentava koulutus, utbildning som handleder för yrkesutbildning). This preparatory education and training provides students with capabilities for applying to VET, leading to qualifications, and fosters their preconditions for

completing qualifications. Preparatory education and

training for work and independent living (työhön ja itsenäiseen elämään valmentava koulutus, utbildning som handleder för arbete och ett självständigt liv) is available for those who need special support due to illness or injury. It provides students with instruction and guidance according to their personal goals and capabilities.

Upper secondary education (toisen asteen koulutus, utbildning på andra stadiet) is provided in grades 10 to 12, to students aged 17 to 19 years old. It is divided into general (lukiokoulutus, gymnasieutbildning), and vocational (ammatillinen koulutus, yrkesutbildning).

Tertiary education (korkeakoulutus, högskola) is provided by universities (yliopisto, universitet) and by universities of applied sciences (ammattikorkeakoulu, yrkeshögskola).

Promoting employment and self-employment are key elements of VET. Guided and goal-oriented studying at the

workplace is an essential part of VET. Studying at the workplace is either based on apprenticeship or on training agreement. Both can be flexibly combined. Learning at the workplace can be used to acquire competence in all vocational qualifications as well as promoting further training or supplementing vocational skills. Studying at the workplace can cover an entire degree, a module or a smaller part of the studies.

Initial VET (for young people) and continuing VET (for adults) are organised under the same legislation and principles ([20]https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/alkup/2017/20170531).

Initial VET (vocational upper secondary programmes) provides learners with vocational skills they need for entry- level jobs. It also supports learners’ growth into good and balanced individuals and members of society, and it provides them with the knowledge and skills needed for further studies and for the development of their personalities. A holder of a vocational upper secondary qualification has broad-based, basic vocational skills to work in different tasks in the chosen field, as well as more specialised competence and the vocational skills required for work in at least one section of the chosen field.

Continuing VET (further and specialist programmes) provides more comprehensive and specialised competences and requires labour market experience. They are mainly acquired by adults in employment with an IVET qualification; however, this is not a precondition for the taking of the qualification. A holder of a further vocational qualification has the vocational skills that meet work needs and that are more advanced or more specialised than what is required in the vocational upper secondary qualification. A holder of a specialist vocational qualification has vocational skills that meet work needs and that are highly advanced or multidisciplinary.

All programmes are competence-based. This means that completing a qualification does not depend on where and how competences have been acquired. All learners who have completed basic education may enrol in VET, but each provider decides the selection criteria. In some regions there is a competition for potential learners between general upper secondary and VET schools. VET often attracts more applicants than there are places available, especially in programmes in social services, health and sports, vehicle and transport technology, business and administration, electrical and automation engineering, and beauty care.

Study units (also known as modules)

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational units:

• compulsory;

• optional.

In addition to the above, all initial vocational qualification programmes include units that consist of common, rather than specific, vocational competence:

• communication and interaction competence;

• mathematics and science competence;

• citizenship and working life competence.

The common units may be included in further and specialist qualifications but only if this is seen as necessary when making the personal competence development plan.

Key competences

Key competences help students to keep up with the changes in society and working life. In the wake of the 2018 VET reform (Vocational Education and Training Act 531, adopted in 2017 and in force since 2018), key competences are no longer addressed as a separate part of vocational competences. They have been modified so that key competences are included in all vocational skills requirements and assessment criteria. The key competences for lifelong learning are: digital and technological competence; mathematics and science competence; competence development; communication and interaction competence; competence for sustainable development; cultural competence; social and citizenship competence; and entrepreneurial competence.

Personal competence development plan

At the beginning of VET studies objectives for competence development are recorded in a personal competence development plan for each learner. A teacher draws up the plan together with a learner. An employer or another representative of a workplace or other cooperation partner may also participate in the preparation of the personal competence development plan, when required. The plan includes information on, for example, identification and recognition of prior learning, acquisition of missing skills, demonstrations of competence and of other skills, and the guidance and support needed. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The learner can also include units from general upper secondary curriculum, other vocational qualifications (incl. further vocational qualifications and specialist vocational qualifications) or degrees of universities of applied sciences in his personal competence development plan. The plan can be up-dated during the studies whenever necessary.

Work-based learning

Work-based learning (WBL) is provided mainly in real work environments (companies). If this is not possible, it can also be organised in school facilities.

The 2018 reform aimed to increase the share of work-based learning in VET by offering more flexibility in its organisation. All learners take part in WBL and any form of WBL (training agreement or apprenticeship training) may be taken by learners in any qualification programme. WBL may be provided during the whole programme duration and cover the whole qualification, a module/unit, or a smaller part of the programme. The most suitable method for a learner is agreed in the personal competence development plan.

The legislation does not stipulate a maximum or minimum amount of work-based learning but it strongly recommends that VET providers organise at least part of the learning at the workplace. The form of WBL may vary during the studies. A learner may transfer flexibly from a training agreement to apprenticeship training when the prerequisites for concluding an apprenticeship agreement are met (see Section 2.5.2). Work-based learning is guided and goal-oriented training at a workplace, allowing learners to acquire parts of the practical vocational skills included in the desired qualification.

Training agreement

This type of WBL can be offered in all initial and continuing VET programmes. At the very beginning of the training, the personal competence development plan shall be designed by the teacher/guidance counsellor, working life representative and the learner. The WBL periods are defined in this plan.

Learners are not in an employment relationship with the training company. They do not receive salary and employers do not receive any training compensation. But companies gladly recruit people with work experience. Within this system, the learners acquire some experience during their studies and the learner and the company get to know each other. It is possible to change from a training agreement to an apprenticeship training contract, if prerequisites for concluding an apprenticeship agreement are met.

A training agreement period can also be conducted abroad, as an exchange period, e.g. within the Erasmus+ programme or through other programmes or individual arrangements.

Apprenticeship training contract

Any qualification can be acquired through apprenticeship training – a work-based form of VET that is based on a written fixed-term employment contract (apprenticeship contract) between an employer and an apprentice, who must be at least 15 years old. Working hours are at least 25 hours per week. Apprenticeships have been used mainly in further and specialist vocational education. Since the 2018 reform, there is no indication in the legislation where the theoretical part should be acquired. In fact, the word ‘theory’ is no longer in use. Instead, ‘learning in the working place’ and ‘learning in other environments’ terminology applies. If the company is able to cover all the training needs, there is no need for the learner to attend a school venue at all. Learners themselves find work places for the training. The employer has no obligation to keep the apprentice employed after the training period is completed.

VET providers are responsible for initiating the contract. The demand and supply of contracts/work places are not always in balance. There are regional and field-specific differences but usually there are not enough apprenticeship places in companies.

Apprenticeship training is based on the requirements of the relevant qualification, according to which the learner’s personal competence development plan is drawn up. It considers the needs and requirements of the workplace and the learner. Approximately 70-80% of the time used for learning takes place in the workplace where the apprenticeship contract is concluded. Periods of theory and in-company training alternate but a common pattern does not exist; it is agreed in the personal competence development plan.

The employer pays the apprentice’s wages according to the relevant collective agreement for the period of workplace training. For the period of theoretical studies, learners receive social benefits, such as a daily allowance and allowances for accommodation and travel expenses. The education provider pays compensation to cover the costs of training provided in the workplace. The employer and VET institution agree on the amount of compensation before the training takes place; a separate contract is prepared for each learner.

At national level, the general goals for VET and the qualifications structure ([21]Qualification structure is a system of qualifications. It defines how many there are initial, further and specialist VET qualifications: their share, titles and competence points (total and for common units; their division within the qualification is decided by the Finnish National Agency for Education).) are determined by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The ministry also grants the licences for education provision. The Finnish National Agency for Education decides the national requirements of qualifications, detailing the goals and core content of each vocational qualification.

 

Main VET stakeholders

Source: Finnish National Agency for Education.

 

Vocational qualification requirements are developed in broad-based cooperation with stakeholders. The national qualification requirements have been based on a learning-outcomes approach since the early 1990s. Consequently, close cooperation with the world of work has been essential.

Cooperation with the world of work and other key stakeholders is carried out in order to ensure that qualifications support is flexible and promotes efficient transition to the labour market, as well as occupational development and career change. In addition to the needs of the world of work, development of VET and qualifications takes into account consolidation of lifelong learning skills, as well as the individuals’ needs and opportunities to complete qualifications flexibly to suit their own circumstances.

The Ministry of Education and Culture grants authorisations to VET providers, determining the fields of education in which they are allowed to provide education and training and their total learner numbers. VET providers determine which vocational qualifications and which study programmes within the specified fields of education will be organised at their vocational institutions.

To enhance the service capacity of VET providers, they have been encouraged to merge into regional or other strong entities. Across Finland, education providers cover all VET services and development activities. Thus, vocational institutions offer initial and continuing training both for young people and adult learners. Vocational institutions work in close cooperation with the labour market. Their role is to develop their own provision in cooperation with the labour market on the one hand, and to support competence development within small and medium-sized enterprises on the other. This strategy for vocational institutions has been a necessary means of ensuring and increasing the flexibility of education and training. Consequently, larger vocational institutions can offer enough vocational modules to ensure that learners can customise their programmes and choose studies that match changing needs for competences.

Vocational institutions can organise their activities freely, according to the requirements of their fields or their regions, and decide on their institutional networks and other services.

VET providers

Around 70% of VET providers are privately owned and 24% are owned by joint municipal authorities (Figure 10). There are 145 VET providers in total (Figure 10); this is considerably fewer than in 2006 as they have been strongly encouraged to merge. This cost-efficiency trend in education has been apparent since the mid-1990s. The ministry encourages VET providers towards voluntary mergers to ensure that all education providers have sufficient professional and financial resources to provide education.

 

VET providers by ownership

NB: Data as of 30 April 2019. In addition, there were 16 private VET providers who did not receive the licence, but can continue providing VET for a transitional period.
Source: Education Statistics Finland (Vipunen): https://vipunen.fi/

 

The most common types of VET provider are vocational institutions (owned by municipalities, industry and the service sector) ([22]Some VET providers are foundations or limited companies; they are categorised as ‘private’ but municipalities usually have shares in such companies/foundations.). They provide education and training to more than 75% of initial VET learners. Specialised (usually owned by one private company or association, e.g. car manufacturers) and special needs (usually owned by municipalities and associations, e.g. Organisation for Respiratory Health) vocational institutions, fire, police and security service institutions (national) and folk high schools, sports institutions, music schools and colleges (local) account for less than 10% of learners in initial VET. Vocational adult education centres (public and regional) mostly provide further and specialist VET.

Private vocational institutions operating under the 2018 VET Act are supervised by the Ministry of Education and Culture. Similar to public VET providers, they receive government subsidies and have the right to award official qualification certificates.

Out of 145 VET providers in total, there are 26 specialised vocational institutions, which are generally maintained by manufacturing and service sector enterprises. They are national private institutions, also referred to as ‘government dependent private institutions’, which provide training for their own needs outside the national qualifications structure described above, and which mainly focus on continuing training for their own staff. The specialised vocational institutions (also national private institutions) have been authorised by the Ministry of Education and Culture to provide education and training. Although these institutions receive state funding, most of the costs are covered by the owners of these enterprises (or by the enterprises responsible for them).

Current financing system

Education is publicly funded through public tax revenue at all levels. This has been perceived in Finland as being a means of guaranteeing equal education opportunities for the entire population irrespective of social or ethnic background, gender and place of residence. Funding criteria for receiving state funding are uniform for public and private VET providers.

Private funding only accounts for 2.6% of all education expenditure. Its share is slightly higher in upper secondary VET and higher education, but still remains below 5%.

Public funding is mainly provided by the State (30%) and local authorities (municipalities) (70%). VET providers decide on the use of all funds granted. In upper secondary VET, operating costs per learner vary between EUR 6 488 for all apprenticeships (companies cover most of the costs) to EUR 27 956 in special needs VET ([23]The most recent available data of 2017.).

In VET (excluding apprenticeships and special needs), funding varies by study field. Total VET funding is 1.5% from government spending and 13% from the spending of the Ministry of Education and Culture (2019).

 

Operating costs per learner in upper secondary VET by study field in 2012, 2014, 2017 (euros)

Source: Education Statistics Finland (Vipunen): https://vipunen.fi/

 

At the beginning of 2018, the unit price of apprenticeship training was increased to the same level as that of institution-based training. This is expected to encourage education providers to increase their offer of apprenticeship training. In addition, if the apprentice is a long-term unemployed jobseeker, lacks professional skills, or is disabled, the employer may also receive a state-funded pay subsidy.

The 2022 financing system for better performance

With the amendment to the Act on the Financing of the Provision of Education and Culture (532/2017) that entered into force at the beginning of 2018, a single coherent funding system was established for all VET programmes. The Act includes one uniform funding system for the provision of VET covering vocational upper secondary education and training, vocational further education and training, apprenticeship training and labour market training leading to a qualification (see Section 2.9.3). Funding criteria are uniform irrespective of the type of education provider.

The new system of funding is moving away from the current model of core funding and a very small element of performance funding (5%), towards one based on funding divided into core, performance and effectiveness and strategy.

 

Share of VET funding elements from 2022

Source: Ministry of Education and Culture; Finnish National Agency for Education (2018). Finnish VET in a nutshell. ISBN: 978-952-263-592-1.

 

  • 50% core funding is based on the number of students; it is important for forward planning and ensuring future provision of VET in all fields and for all students;
  • 35% performance funding is based on the number of completed qualifications and qualification units; it is meant to steer education providers to target education and qualifications in accordance with competence needs and to intensify study processes;
  • 15% effectiveness funding is based on students’ access to employment, pursuit of further education and feedback from both students and the labour market ([24]VET providers must collect these data. The system is not fully operational yet as the new financing system will be ready in 2022.); it aims to encourage education providers to redirect education to fields where labour is needed to ensure that education corresponds to the needs of the working life and that it is of high quality and provides the students with the competence to study further;
  • in addition, a relatively small amount of strategy funding (decided by parliament) will be made available; it is meant to support development and actions that are important from the education policy standpoint. It could be used, for example, for VET national development projects, skills competitions and developing education provider networks (e.g. mergers).

The new funding system will gradually be introduced and will be fully operational in 2022.

 

VET funding elements 2018-22 (%)

Source: Ministry of Education and Culture.

 

In VET, there are:

  • teachers of vocational units, teachers of common units, special needs teachers;
  • trainers.

Teaching is a popular profession in Finland. The popularity of vocational teacher education has been consistent over many years, largely because of the flexible arrangements for completing studies. While up to a third of the applicants are admitted annually, there are major variations between different fields.

Those who apply for a place in vocational teacher education are, on average, older than applicants of other forms of teacher education. This is because applicants are required to have prior work experience in their own field. The average age of applicants and those admitted as learners is approximately 40 years.

The proportion of women among applicants and teacher training learners has increased noticeably in recent years. Unlike in other teacher education programmes, it is more difficult for women than for men to gain a place in vocational teacher education. Regarding salaries and terms and conditions of employment, there are no remarkable differences between teachers in general education and VET.

Although there are no official data for trainers ([25]In-company trainers (nationally referred to as workplace instructors) are responsible for supervising learners during their on-the-job learning periods or apprenticeship training in enterprises.) on the attractiveness of their profession, the general impression is that trainers are generally satisfied with their training tasks. In many cases, they perceive more responsibilities and autonomy as recognition of their professionalism; time spent with young learners away from normal routine is also considered to be a reward. Trainers participate in the competence demonstrations involving trainers in learner assessment at the workplace. This assessment plays a significant role on learners’ final qualification certificates.

 

Teacher and trainer qualifications

Source: https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/ajantasa/1998/19980986#L5

 

First, teachers of vocational units must have an appropriate higher education degree in their own vocational sector. If such a degree does not exist, it can also be supplemented by the highest possible other qualification in the sector. One specific challenge has been to find qualified teachers in some fields. Another challenge is the sometimes limited shop floor experience of teachers with a university degree. In some fields, therefore now possible to acquire teaching qualifications by completing a specialist vocational qualification (ISCED 4) or some other qualification or training that provides solid competence in the field concerned.

Second, they have a pedagogical teacher training qualification with 60 ECTS credit points, and third, they need relevant work experience in their own field. Teachers of vocational units take teacher’s pedagogical studies at five vocational teacher education institutions (universities of applied sciences) while teachers of common units (such as languages and mathematics) generally complete them at universities.

The content of teacher training is updated continuously by vocational teacher education colleges. Teacher education institutions enjoy wide autonomy in deciding on their curricula and training arrangements. Legislation sets the qualification requirements, but only at a very general level.

Requirements for trainers

Trainers are generally experienced foremen and skilled workers. They frequently have a vocational or professional qualification but hold no pedagogical qualifications.

There are no formal qualifications requirements for trainers in Finland. Their participation in continuing professional development is also left completely up to them and their employers.

There are, however, training programmes available for trainers that follow national guidelines (as recommended by the Finnish National Agency for Education). According to the guidelines, training for trainers comprises three modules, providing participants with the capabilities required in order to: plan training at the workplace; provide vocational competence demonstrations; instruct VET learners and assess their learning; and impart vocational skills. The Finnish National Agency for Education recommends that, where possible, people acting as workplace trainers should participate in the training of trainers. VET education providers are responsible for providing the training.

There is also plenty of autonomy for continuing professional development (CPD) for VET teachers. The CPD obligation of teaching staff is defined partly in legislation and partly in the collective agreement negotiated between the Trade Union of Education in Finland and the employers’ organisation.

Most continuing training is provided free of charge and teachers enjoy full salary benefits during their participation. Funding responsibility rests with teachers’ employers, mainly local authorities. Training content is decided by individual employers and the teachers themselves.

The Parasta osaamista project set up a network for improving VET teacher’s CPD. It started in 2016 and is coordinated by Jyväskylä university. The aim of the project is to support education staff during the implementation of the 2017-2018 VET reform. Emphasis is put on developing coherent practices; unifying quality criteria; promoting competence-based and customer-oriented VET in cooperation with the world of work; mapping the competence needs of VET staff; developing tools and operational models for workplace learning; and the induction of workplace instructors.

The 2016 teacher education development programme (Opettajankoulutuksen kehittämisohjelma) also aims to adopt a systematic and coherent structure for teachers’ competence development during their careers. It is recommended that education institutions prepare competence development plans, which will be underpinned by strategic plans and evaluations of competence by education providers. Particular attention is being paid to building up the vocational skills of young teachers and their opportunities for receiving support. CPD, promoting the integration of Finnish language learning into the vocational studies, language awareness focused teaching and collaborative instruction, is being organised.

VET schools offer short courses/events to upskill workplace instructors in relation to various themes, such as how to guide special needs learners at the workplace. The Parasta osaamista project also offers support for workplace instructors.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers ([26]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers).

 

 

Skills anticipation activities are well established and linked to policy-making. For more than a decade, socio-economic factors such as the effects of the economic recession, the gradually decreasing labour force, and the ageing population have increased the need to improve the match between supply and demand skills. As a result, significant investment in skills anticipation has been undertaken by the government and its partners. The aim is to steer the education system – both VET and higher education – to meet the needs of the labour market.

At national level, the Finnish National Agency for Education, which operates under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and Culture, produces long-term (10+ years) national forecasts ([27]https://beta.oph.fi/fi/tilastot-ja-julkaisut/julkaisut/osaaminen-2035) on the demand for labour and education needs in support of decision-making. It is supported by the skills anticipation forum, established in early 2017. The Ministry of Education and Culture decides on study places by field of education (around 10). At regional level, councils anticipate skills needs in the municipalities in the region. The forecasting data is also used for guidance and employment counselling to provide information regarding future employment opportunities. The Finnish National Agency for Education also supports regional forecasting efforts, which are carried out under the supervision of regional councils. The goal is to steer the number of learner places in education and training provision to ensure that it matches developments in the demand for labour as closely as possible.

In general, there is a high degree of stakeholder involvement in skills anticipation activities. Major trade unions, employers, regional councils, and representatives of education institutions are involved in anticipation exercises. The responsibility of education providers for anticipating and responding to labour market changes has increased, as operational targeting and steering powers ([28]It means among other things that VET providers can decide within the limits of the licence received from Ministry of Education and Culture what qualifications and training programmes to offer.) have been devolved to universities, universities of applied sciences, and VET providers. Providers are required to play an active role in addressing the national/regional labour market skills needs.

In addition, a wide range of national and regional EU-funded anticipation and forecast projects are carried out by organisations such as research institutions, labour market and industry organisations, VET providers, universities and universities of applied sciences. In particular, regional anticipation activities have developed rapidly in the past decade. Key players in these activities include regional councils, the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres), VET providers, and higher education institutions.

Governance and funding of the relevant exercises are the remit of three ministries (Education and Culture, Finance, Economic Affairs and Employment). These ministries engage in a variety of skills anticipation exercises, taking advantage of the long-term baseline forecasts of economic development produced by the Institute for Economic Research (Valtion Taloudellinen Tutkimuskeskus), a specialised state institution under the Ministry of Finance. The first regional anticipation projects were launched at the beginning of the 2000s. The ministries mostly finance development prognoses of branches, which also include the demand for labour.

Skills anticipation influences government policies on VET, higher education and adult education. Forecasts of future skills demand have an impact on decisions about education supply. Skills anticipation also has an impact on curriculum planning in VET and higher education institutions.

Dissemination of the data generated by skills anticipation exercises is an important element of the anticipation activity. The aim is to make the output from anticipation exercises accessible to a wide audience (policy-makers, employers, jobseekers and young people, etc.) through a range of channels including reports, workshops and online publications. Despite the focus on dissemination of skills anticipation data, there is a need to improve the user friendliness of the existing database to improve information for learners, job seekers and employers ([29]This section is based on Cedefop’s Skills Panorama (2017). Skills anticipation in Finland. Analytical highlights series.
http://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/analytical_highlights/skills-anticipation-finland
).

Quantitative anticipation

The Finnish National Agency for Education is responsible for quantitative anticipation. It has developed the Mitenna model for anticipating long-term demand for labour and educational needs. The model provides long-term data on changes in the demand for labour, natural wastage of labour ([30]A reduction in the number of employees, which is achieved by not replacing those who leave.), demand for skilled labour and educational needs. Quantitative anticipation is used to provide information on quantitative needs for vocationally and professionally oriented education and training in upper secondary vocational education and training, university of applied sciences education and university education. The focus is on anticipating the demand for labour over a period of circa 15 years ([31]Growth in competencies for Finland: proposed objectives for degrees and qualifications for the 2020s (Suomi osaamisen kasvu-uralle. Ehdotus tutkintotavoitteista 2020-luvulle).
http://julkaisut.valtioneuvosto.fi/handle/10024/75163
).

Qualitative anticipation

The Finnish National Agency for Education coordinated a project on future competences and skills, known as the VOSE project, between 2008 and 2012. The aim of this project was to create a process model for anticipating vocational competence and skills needs for the future (looking 10 to 15 years ahead).

The knowledge produced through the model serves different levels of education, including vocational, university of applied sciences and university education. Anticipatory knowledge may be utilised, for example, in the national core curriculum, in curriculum planning and the development of the content of education.

The development of the anticipation model has involved social partners representing the piloted sectors (the real estate and building sectors, the social, welfare and health care sectors and the tourism and catering sectors), representatives of research institutions and of various fields of education, as well as other experts in the sectors in question.

The anticipation model created in the VOSE project is now used in the qualitative anticipation of education and training. The model is used to anticipate the skills needs in 2 to 3 fields every year ([32]https://www.oph.fi/english/education_development/anticipation).

National forum for skills anticipation

The National Forum for Skills Anticipation (Osaamisen ennakointifoorumi) serves as a joint expert body in educational anticipation for the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish National Agency for Education. The system consists of a steering group, anticipation groups and a network of experts. The task is to analyse changing competence and skills needs; their impact on the development of education on the basis of the anticipation data; and to promote the interaction of education and training with working life in cooperation with the Ministry and Finnish National Agency for Education. Anticipation groups consist of representatives of employers, employees, education providers, educational administrators, teaching staff and researchers in each field. Anticipation groups are involved in both qualitative and quantitative anticipation work. There are nine anticipation groups representing the following fields:

• natural resources, food production and the environment;

• business and administration;

• education, culture and communications;

• transport and logistics;

• hospitality services;

• built environment;

• social, health and welfare services;

• technology industry and services;

• process industry and production.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([33]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European Skills Index ([34]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index)

The VET curriculum system consists of the:

  • national qualification requirements;
  • education provider´s competence assessment plan;
  • learner`s personal competence development plan.

 

Designing VET qualifications

Source: Finnish National Agency for Education.

 

National qualification requirements

Before the 2018 reform, the national qualification requirements for different qualifications were often updated every five to 10 years on average or whenever necessary, either partially or completely. Since 2018, updating the qualifications became a continuous process based on the changing needs in the world of work and the results of anticipation of skill needs.

The starting point for updating a qualification may be changes in the skills needs in the labour market. These changes can lead to a change of the qualification requirements, or even the qualification structure, of initial, further and specialist vocational qualifications. Changes to the qualification structure also require qualification requirements to be renewed. The process of preparing a qualification requirements document usually takes one to two years.

Within the national qualifications framework (NQF), the Finnish National Agency for Education has placed upper secondary vocational qualifications and further vocational qualifications at level 4 (referenced to level 4 of the EQF) and specialist vocational qualifications at level 5. The ECVET system ([35]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/events-and-projects/projects/european-credit-system-vocational-education-and-training-ecvet) was put into practice in Finland in 2014 and from the beginning of August 2018, in accordance with ECVET recommendations, vocational upper secondary qualifications have covered 180 credit points; further vocational qualifications 120, 150 or 180 credit points; and specialist vocational qualifications 160, 180 or 210 credit points. One year of full-time study corresponds to 60 credit points.

The qualification requirements are drawn up under the leadership of the Finnish National Agency for Education in tripartite cooperation with employers, employees and the education sector. Self-employed people are also represented in the preparation of qualification requirements in fields where self-employment is prevalent. The qualification requirements determine: the units included in the qualification; any possible specialisations made up of different units; selection of optional units in addition to compulsory ones; the vocational skills required for each qualification unit; the guidelines for assessment (targets and criteria of assessment); and the ways of demonstrating vocational skills.

The qualification requirements and the vocational competences form the basis for identifying the types of occupational work processes in which vocational skills for a specific qualification can be demonstrated and assessed.

When an update is initiated, the Finnish National Agency for Education sets up a qualification project, inviting experts representing employees, employers and teachers in the field to participate. In the course of its work, the expert group must also consult other experts in the world of work. Once the expert group has completed a draft version of the new qualification requirements, the document will be sent to representatives of unions, organisations, the world of work and VET providers for a broad consultation process. Following this process, the Finnish National Agency for Education adopts the qualification requirements as a nationally binding regulation.

The Finnish National Agency for Education determines the working life committee under which the specific qualification will fall, or establishes a new working life committee for the new qualification. Working life committees are tripartite bodies consisting of employers and employees’ representatives, teachers and self-employed people. They play a key role in the quality assurance of VET. They ensure the quality of the implementation of competence demonstrations and competence assessment and develop the VET qualifications structure and qualification requirements.

Vocational qualifications are structured in a modular way. These modules comprise units of work or activities found in the world of work. Each vocational qualification unit is a specific occupational area, which can be separated into an independent and assessable component. The vocational skills requirements determined for each qualification unit focus on the core functions of the occupation, mastery of operating processes and the occupational practices of the field in question. These also include skills generally required in working life, such as social skills and key competences for lifelong learning. All qualification requirements share a common structure.

The targets of assessment defined in the qualification requirements indicate those areas of competence on which special attention is focused during assessment. The criteria for assessment have been derived from the vocational skills requirements. The assessment criteria determine the grades awarded for units in upper secondary vocational qualifications and the standard of an acceptable performance in further and specialist qualifications. The section entitled ‘Ways of demonstrating vocational skills’ describes how candidates are to demonstrate their vocational skills in vocational demonstrations.

The qualifications requirements adopted by the Finnish National Agency for Education are published in electronic form on the Finnish National Agency for Education website.

Competence assessment plans

Competence assessment plans are prepared by the respective education provider for each training programme or qualification. The plan details the guidelines and procedures adopted by the education provider regarding the implementation of competence assessment. The plan includes how the following aspects are to be carried out (who does what, how, where it is registered and how the student, staff and stakeholders ([36]Teachers, guidance and counselling staff and assessors of competence.) are informed): recognition of prior learning; demonstration of competence; skills assurance before the demonstration of competence; assessment; certification; preparatory programme planning; and monitoring the implementation of the plan itself.

The competence assessment plan is used by teachers, guidance personnel and assessors of competence. The feasibility of the plan is self-monitored and self-assessed by VET providers as part of their quality assurance system. The plan is attached to the application for a licence to provide VET.

Learner personal competence development plan

At the beginning of VET studies objectives for competence development are recorded in a personal competence development plan for each learner. A teacher draws up the plan together with a learner. An employer or another representative of a workplace or other cooperation partner may also participate in the preparation of the personal competence development plan, when required. The plan includes information on, for example, identification and recognition of prior learning, acquisition of missing skills, competence demonstrations and other demonstration of skills, and the guidance and support needed. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The learner can also include units from general upper secondary curriculum, other vocational qualifications (incl. further vocational qualifications and specialist vocational qualifications) or degrees of universities of applied sciences in their personal competence development plan. The plan can be up-dated during the studies whenever necessary.

Involvement of the world of work in developing qualification requirements and quality in VET

The representatives of the world of work participate in the anticipation of skills and education needs both nationally and regionally, for example through anticipation groups, advisory committees and through consultation processes. They participate in drawing up the qualification requirements at national level and they are represented in working life committees.

At regional level the representatives from enterprises participate in the organisation and planning of training and skills demonstrations, regional committees as well as assessment of skills demonstrations. This allows continuous feedback from the world of work.

In 2017, the former 30 national education and training committees were replaced by nine anticipating groups representing different vocational fields (see Section 3.1.3). Members of these groups are representatives of employers, employees and self-employed entrepreneurs, as well as VET providers, higher education institutions, teaching staff, researchers and educational administration. The anticipating groups are appointed until 2020. Their tasks include:

• analysing changing and new competence and skills needs of working life and their implications for different levels of education;

• offering recommendations for the development of VET programmes;

• strengthening cooperation between upper secondary VET and higher education;

  • providing public authorities with recommendations on new development needs and cooperation between the world of work and education.

Continuous improvement of VET quality is a key priority in Finland. The following activities are essential when assuring that vocational education and training meets the requirements of the world of work.

 

Stakeholder roles in assuring VET quality

Source: Finnish National Agency for Education.

 

The quality assurance of VET consists of VET provider´s own quality management, national VET steering and external evaluation.

VET legislation sets the frame for VET providers’ operations. The law requires that the VET provider is responsible for the quality of qualifications and programmes offered and for their constant improvement. VET providers have to have a functional quality assurance system in place. According to the law, they must evaluate the quality, effectiveness (employability, pursuit of further education and feedback from learners and working life) and ‘profitability’ (i.e. how well the operations have met the needs of the learner and the world of work, and have the resources been used in an optimal way) of the qualifications, programmes and other operations. The purpose of VET provider self-evaluation is to recognise strengths and targets to be developed. The ministry offers non-compulsory criteria for self-evaluation to support the process.

The national VET steering includes legislation and regulations related to financing and qualification requirements. It also includes quality strategy, quality award competition, government subsidies for quality improvement, supporting materials produced by the ministry and the agency and criteria for self- and peer evaluation.

According to the VET legislation, VET providers also have to participate regularly in external evaluations of their operations and quality management systems and publish the main results of those evaluations. External evaluation includes the quality assurance of competence demonstrations and competence assessment made by the working life committees and evaluations made by the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre.

Supervision of qualifications

Working life committees are responsible for the supervision of qualifications. Their aim is to ensure the quality and working life orientation of VET. They are statutory bodies of elected officials, appointed by the Finnish National Agency for Education to manage a public duty.

The committees’ duties are:

• ensuring the quality of the implementation of competence demonstrations and assessment;

• participating in the development of qualification structure and vocational qualifications;

• processing learners’ rectification requests concerning competence assessments.

Working life committee members handle these tasks for three years, in addition to their regular duties. A maximum of nine members may be appointed to each working life committee. They must represent employers, employees, teachers and, if self-employment is common within the sector in question, self-employed professionals. There are 39 working life committees. Each working life committee is responsible for one or more qualifications. Working life committees participate in developing the qualification structure and in designing the qualification requirements. They also participate in quality assurance of skills demonstrations and assessment through national feedback, follow-up and evaluation data, and may also visit the skills demonstrations events, when necessary. Finally, they handle the requests related to the rectification of assessment.

Quality assurance of VET providers

The legislation on VET gives education providers a great deal of freedom in deciding on the measures concerning their education provision, use of public funding and quality management. The legislation obliges the providers to evaluate their training provision and its effectiveness as well as to participate in external evaluations. This means that the education providers need to have their own operating system that contains relevant and functional quality management measures (selected by VET providers).

Self-evaluation and external evaluation supports VET providers’ continuous improvement and results-oriented performance. Through evaluation, providers obtain information about major strengths and development needs. VET providers monitor, assess and analyse results achieved systematically through means such as surveys, quantitative indicators and self-evaluation. In VET, data and information are most often collected through queries ([37]VET provider collects feedback from learners twice: at the beginning of studies and at the end.) and assessments of learning outcomes. The VET provider collects the feedback from learners and saves the learners´ answers in the online system that has been developed for this purpose. The Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish National Agency for Education have access to the results.

External evaluation of training is frequently ([38]The term used in the legislation.) carried out, for example, by the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre. Internal audits, benchmarking and peer reviews are other methods employed in evaluation.

Learner feedback

Starting from 2020, one sixth of effectiveness-based funding will be granted to VET providers based on the feedback from learners. The feedback is collected via a centrally designed questionnaire which learners answer twice: at the beginning of the studies and at the end, once the learner has demonstrated all the skills and competences needed for the qualification. Learner feedback and its collection are regulated in the legislation.

In the questionnaire, the learners respond to statements rating them on a five-point scale from one (strongly disagree) to five (strongly agree). At the beginning of their studies learners are required to rate statements relating to the following themes: flexibility of starting time of studies and content of the individual programme; accreditation of prior learning; and support and guidance needed. At the end of their studies, learners give feedback concerning the following themes: flexibility in studies; the ways in which teaching facilities and the learning environment supported studies; receiving support and guidance during studies; equity between learners and workers at the workplace; opportunities to study and learn in the workplace; gaining of entrepreneurial competence; and assessment of their individual competence and readiness for the working life and further studies.

New quality assurance guidelines

The new quality assurance guidelines are currently being discussed by stakeholders to be published by the end of 2019. Since 2011, VET quality strategy has been in place, drawn up by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The 2018 reformed system has increased the significance of the quality management, together with the providers’ role in managing VET. The new strategy is supposed to cover all parts of the national quality assurance system:

• VET providers’ quality management;

• national steering of VET;

• external evaluation of VET;

except the method that VET providers may select themselves.

Validation of non-formal and informal learning has relatively long and established roots in Finland and the legislation and policies are well developed and detailed. However, there is no one single law for this; laws and regulations for each field of education define validation separately. These fields include general upper secondary education, vocational education and training (including continuing VET), and higher education. The core message of the legislation is that validation of non-formal and informal learning is a subjective right of the individual and the competences of an individual should be validated regardless of when and where they have been acquired. Validation is based either on:

• documentation presented; or

• competence demonstration.

The Vocational Upper Secondary Education and Training Decree (673/2017) defines the principles for recognising prior learning. Each student´s personal competence development plan must include recognition of prior learning. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The recognition of prior learning must be done in all VET qualifications: in vocational, further and specialist qualifications.

Equal opportunities are a long-standing fundamental principle of the Finnish education policy. The background of learners, including their financial circumstances, should not be a barrier to participation in education. Most education provision is publicly funded and free for learners from pre- primary to higher education levels. In addition, financial support for learners of all ages is available.

Financial support for full-time learners

Financial support is available for full-time VET learners. The main forms of support are study grants, housing supplements with transport subsidy and government guarantees for student loans. The first two of these are government-financed monthly benefits, while student loans are granted by banks.

Study grants

A study grant is available as soon as eligibility for child benefit finishes at the age of 17. The monthly amount before tax ([39]Learners pay taxes from their allowances if they receive income from other source(s).) is between EUR 38.50 and 249.01 depending on the age, marital status and type of accommodation.

Housing supplement and transport subsidy

The housing supplement covers 80% of the rent, but may not exceed EUR 201.60 per month. In addition, school transport subsidy is available when the distance between home and school exceeds 10 km and the monthly cost of travel is at least 54 euro.

Government guarantees for student loans

The government guarantees that student loans (with some exceptions) are available to learners who are receiving a study grant. A loan guarantee can, however, also be granted to learners, who are not receiving a study grant, if they live with their parent and they are 18–19 years of age and attend a secondary level education institution, or if they are under 17 and live alone.

Student loans are available from banks operating in Finland. The lending bank will check the loan guarantee details with the social insurance institution of Finland (Kansaneläkelaitos or Kela) when granting a loan. Interest, repayment and other terms and conditions applying to the loan are agreed between the bank and the learner. The amount of the loan is EUR 300 per month (in secondary education for learners under age 18) or EUR 650 per month (in secondary education for learners of age 18 or older )

Learning material supplement

Although upper secondary education is free of charge, learners are required to buy their own learning materials (for instance, books, toolsets and any other materials). A learning material supplement of EUR 46.80 per month (equal to approximately EUR 1 400 for three semesters) is to be granted from August 2019 onwards for VET learners if they are:

  • between age 17 and 19 and living with their parents/guardians;
  • 17 years old and living on their own; or
  • under age 17 and their parents’ annual income is less than EUR 41 100.

Study leave for employees

All employees in a contractual and public service employment relationship are entitled to study leave when the full-time employment relationship with the same employer has lasted for at least one year ([40]In one or multiple periods.). The maximum length of study leave with the same employer is two years over a period of five years. If the employment has lasted for less than a year, but for at least three months, the maximum length of study leave is five days.

The studies must be subject to public supervision. The study leave is unpaid unless otherwise agreed with the employer.

Employment Fund support for adult learners

The Employment Fund administered by social partners of the Finnish labour market supports employees’ professional development leading to a qualification. In 2015, the Employment Fund granted EUR 157 million in adult education allowances and scholarships for qualified employees.

Adult education allowance

An adult education allowance is available to employees and self-employed people who wish to go on a study leave for at least two months. The allowance is a legal right and can be granted to an applicant who has a working history of at least eight years (or at least five years by 31 July 2010), and who has been working for the same employer for at least one year. To qualify for the allowance, the applicant must participate in studies leading to a qualification or in further vocational training organised by a Finnish education institution under public supervision. The duration of the allowance is determined on the basis of the applicant’s working history and ranges from 2 to 15 months. Since 1 August 2010, the amount of the allowance has been equal to the amount of the earnings-related unemployment allowance. For example, in 2019, on the basis of a monthly salary of EUR 2 000, a learner will receive a gross education allowance of EUR 1 185.34 ([41]https://www.tyollisyysrahasto.fi/en/benefits-for-adult-students/full-adult-education-allowance/).

Scholarships for qualified employees

A scholarship is available for those who have completed a vocational, further or specialist qualification. The amount of the one-time scholarship is EUR 390 and it is tax-free. The scholarship must be applied for within a year after completing the qualification.

Depending on the agreement between employer and employee, an employer who takes on an apprentice may receive training compensation to cover the costs of training provided at the workplace. The amount of compensation to be paid to the employer is agreed separately with employer and VET provider as part of each apprenticeship contract. Average training compensation varies between EUR 100-200 per month for initial VET qualification and EUR 10-100 per month for continuing VET. It is funded by the municipal funds and is paid either by the local apprenticeship centre or the education institution providing apprenticeship training.

Guidance and counselling start at the beginning of basic education and continue through all education levels. The guidance and counselling provided within the education system are complemented by guidance services offered by public employment offices.

In upper secondary VET, guidance counsellors play a key role in coordinating, planning and implementing guidance and counselling. VET learners have a right to receive guidance and every VET provider has a guidance counsellor available (providers can share this service).

Teachers also play a big role in giving guidance for learners. But guidance is also an integral part of the work of all teachers. A teacher’s task is to guide and motivate the learners to complete their qualifications, support them in the planning of their further studies, help them to find their strengths and develop their learning skills. Guidance and counselling should enable all pupils to reach the best results possible for them. In the workplace, guidance is coordinated by a qualified trainer.

Teachers working as guidance counsellors in Finnish schools must have a teacher training qualification at Master’s level, supplemented by studies in guidance and counselling.

The topics covered by guidance and counselling include different education and training options and the development of learners’ capabilities to make choices and solutions concerning education, training and future career. Educational support and guidance also covers areas such as support for learning according to the individual capacity of the learners, school attendance and learner welfare.

There have been few major changes in guidance and counselling in recent years but, within the 2018 VET reform, the role of guidance and counselling has been emphasised. VET was made more individual and flexible for learners.

Learners’ individual needs and existing competences are taken into account in all vocational studies. A personal competence development plan is prepared for each learner. The plan is drawn up by the teacher or guidance counsellor together with the learner and, when applicable, a representative from the world of work. The plan identifies and recognises the skills previously acquired by the learner and outlines what kind of competences the learner needs and how they will be acquired in different learning environments.

In addition to guidance and counselling related to learning methods and practices, the personal competence development plan includes information on necessary supportive measures. The support received by a learner may include special teaching and study arrangements due to learning difficulties, injury or illness, or studies supporting learning abilities.

Please also see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Programme Types
Not available

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

Specialist VET,

WBL varies

ISCED 454

Work-based specialist VET, tailored individually, leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 454 (Erikoisammattitutkinto)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

454

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

19+

Usual completion age

19+

Length of a programme (years)

The duration depends on a person´s prior learning; usually it is less than 2 years ([59]Duration depends on the prior learning of the student, especially in the case of further and specialist vocational programmes, and is defined in the personal competence development plan of each learner.)

  
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?

It is possible to collect moderate student fees; on average 15% of the costs of the training.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • training agreement;
  • apprenticeship;
  • programmes that comprise work-based learning but are not apprenticeships or fall under a training agreement category.
Main providers

The most common type of VET providers is vocational institutions (owned by municipalities, industry and service sector) ([61]Some VET providers are foundations or limited companies; they are categorised as ‘private’ but municipalities usually have shares in such companies/foundations.). They provide education and training to more than 75% of initial VET learners. Specialised (usually owned by one private company or association, e.g. a car manufacturer) and special needs (usually owned by municipalities and associations, e.g. Organisation for Respiratory Health) vocational institutions, fire, police and security service institutions (national) and folk high schools, sports institutions, music schools and colleges (local) account for less than 10% of learners in initial VET. Vocational adult education centres (public and regional) mostly provide further and specialist VET.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

The share of work-based learning (WBL) is individually planned for each learner in the personal competence development plan.

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • training agreement;
  • apprenticeship training contract.
Main target groups

Specialist vocational qualifications (continuing VET) are for adults who usually have work experience or other prior learning.

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

Admission to further vocational qualifications is decided on a case-by-case basis, taking work experience into consideration. However, work experience or prior qualifications are not a precondition for enrolling.

Assessment of learning outcomes

No final examinations exist in VET. Once learners successfully complete all the studies included in their personal competence development plans, the VET provider grants a certificate for the entire qualification or for one or more units of the qualification. All VET programmes ensure eligibility for higher education studies.

Diplomas/certificates provided

The national qualification requirements define the required vocational competence, principles of assessment and how the competence is demonstrated. They are drawn up by the Finnish National Agency for Education in cooperation with working life partners ([62]Representatives of the employees/self-employed and employers (altogether called ‘working life’ in Finland).).

Each qualification has a number of competence points:

  • 180 for initial/upper secondary vocational qualifications;
  • 120/150/180 for further vocational qualifications;
  • 160/180/210 specialist vocational qualifications.
Examples of qualifications

Specialist vocational qualification in horse care and management ([63]The specialist vocational qualification in horse care and management comprises four competence areas and qualification titles (in parentheses):
- managing horse stables operations (head groom);
- working as a specialist in farriery (farrier (SQ));
- equestrian sports management (equestrian sports manager);
- riding instruction (riding instructor (SQ)).
)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • enter the labour market
    • employed full time
    • employed and in education;
  • continue with further education.
Destination of graduates

NB: 2016 data (most recent).
Source: Education Statistics Finland (Vipunen): https://vipunen.fi/

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The Vocational Upper Secondary Education and Training Decree (673/2017([64]https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/alkup/2017/20170673)) defines the principles for recognising prior learning. Each student´s personal competence development plan must include recognition of prior learning. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The recognition of prior learning must be done in all VET qualifications: in vocational, further and specialist qualifications.

General education subjects

N

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational study units:

  • basic and field-specific study unit(s) (compulsory);
  • specialised study units (compulsory and optional);
  • communication and interaction competence;
  • mathematics and science competence;
  • citizenship and working life competence.

The common units may be included in further and specialist qualifications but only if this is seen as necessary when making the personal competence development plan.

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 4

Initial VET programmes

WBL varies

ISCED 354

Mainly school-based VET programmes (also available as apprenticeship) leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (Ammatillinen perustutkinto)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

19

Length of a programme (years)

3 ([44]Duration depends on the prior learning of the student, especially in the case of further and specialist vocational programmes, and is defined in the personal competence development plan of each learner.)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • training agreement;
  • apprenticeship;
  • programmes that comprise work-based learning but are not apprenticeships or fall under training agreement category.
Main providers

The most common type of VET provider is vocational institutions (owned by municipalities, industry and service sector) ([46]Some VET providers are foundations or limited companies; they are categorised as ‘private’ but municipalities usually have shares in such companies/foundations.). They provide education and training to more than 75% of initial VET learners. Specialised (usually owned by one private company or association, e.g. a car manufacturer) and special needs (usually owned by municipalities and associations, e.g. Organisation for Respiratory Health) vocational institutions, fire, police and security service institutions (national) and folk high schools, sports institutions, music schools and colleges (local) account for less than 10% of learners in initial VET. Vocational adult education centres (public and regional) mostly provide further and specialist VET.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

=70-80% ([47]The share of work-based learning (WBL) is individually planned for each learner in the personal competence development plan.)

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • training agreement;
  • apprenticeship training contract.
Main target groups

A vocational upper secondary qualification (initial VET) is designed for young people who may not have any work experience and for adults who, for example, don´t have any formal qualification or who want to change their profession.

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

Admission to initial VET programmes requires a basic education graduation certificate.

Assessment of learning outcomes

No final examinations exist in VET. Once learners successfully complete all the studies included in their personal competence development plans, the VET provider grants a certificate for the entire qualification or for one or more units of the qualification. All VET programmes ensure eligibility for higher education studies.

Diplomas/certificates provided

The national qualification requirements define the required vocational competence, principles of assessment and how the competence is demonstrated. They are drawn up by the Finnish National Agency for Education in cooperation with working life ([48]Representatives of the employees/self-employed and employers (altogether called ‘working life’ in Finland).).

Each qualification has a number of competence points:

  • 180 for initial/upper secondary vocational qualifications;
  • 120/150/180 for further vocational qualifications;
  • 160/180/210 for specialist vocational qualifications.
Examples of qualifications

Initial vocational qualification in horse care and management ([49]Qualification holders manage daily stable maintenance and horse care tasks and are able to carry out the essential maintenance tasks associated with horse care, such as care of hooves and tack. In addition to basic competence in the field, qualification holders have specialist skills to work either as a groom or a riding instructor in various sectors of the horse industry.The qualification titles produced by the vocational qualification in horse care and management are groom and riding instructor.)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • enter the labour market
    • employed full-time
    • employed and in education;
  • continue with further education.
Destination of graduates

NB: 2016 data (most recent).
Source: Education Statistics Finland (Vipunen): https://vipunen.fi/

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The Vocational Upper Secondary Education and Training Decree (673/2017([50]https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/alkup/2017/20170673)) defines the principles for recognising prior learning. Each student´s personal competence development plan must include recognition of prior learning. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The recognition of prior learning must be done in all VET qualifications: in vocational, further and specialist qualifications.

General education subjects

Y

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational study units:

  • basic and field-specific study unit(s) (compulsory);
  • specialised study units (compulsory and optional).

In addition to the above, all initial vocational qualification programmes include study units that consist of common rather than specific vocational competence:

  • communication and interaction competence;
  • mathematics and science competence;
  • citizenship and working life competence.

The common units may be included in further and specialist qualifications but only if this is seen as necessary when making the personal competence development plan.

Key competences

Y

Key competences help students to keep up with the changes in society and working life. In the wake of the 2018 VET reform, key competences are no longer addressed as a separate part of vocational competence. They have been modified so that key competences are included in all vocational skills requirements and assessment criteria.

The key competences for lifelong learning are: digital and technological competence; mathematics and science competence; competence development; communication and interaction competence; competence for sustainable development; cultural competence; social and citizenship competence; and entrepreneurial competence.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

The share of vocational upper secondary (IVET) learners in 2017 was 73% of all VET learners ([51]https://vipunen.fi/en-gb/_layouts/15/xlviewer.aspx?id=/en-gb/Reports/Ammatillinen%20koulutus%20-%20opiskelijat%20-%20aikasarja_EN.xlsb).

EQF 4

Further VET,

WBL varies

ISCED 354

Work-based further VET, tailored individually, leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (ammattitutkinto)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

19+

Usual completion age

19+

Length of a programme (years)

The duration depends on a person´s prior learning; usually it is less than 2 years ([52]Duration depends on the prior learning of the student, especially in the case of further and specialist vocational programmes, and is defined in the personal competence development plan of each learner.)

  
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?

It is possible to collect moderate student fees; on average 15% of the costs of the training.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • training agreement;
  • apprenticeship;
  • programmes that comprise work-based learning but are not apprenticeships or fall under a training agreement category.
Main providers

The most common type of VET providers is vocational institutions (owned by municipalities, industry and service sector) ([54]Some VET providers are foundations or limited companies; they are categorised as ‘private’ but municipalities usually have shares in such companies/foundations.). They provide education and training to more than 75% of initial VET learners. Specialised (usually owned by one private company or association, e.g. a car manufacturer) and special needs (usually owned by municipalities and associations, e.g. Organisation for Respiratory Health) vocational institutions, fire, police and security service institutions (national) and folk high schools, sports institutions, music schools and colleges (local) account for less than 10% of learners in initial VET. Vocational adult education centres (public and regional) mostly provide further and specialist VET.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

The share of work-based learning (WBL) is individually planned for each learner in the personal competence development plan.

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • training agreement;
  • apprenticeship training contract.
Main target groups

Further vocational qualifications (continuing VET) are for adults who usually have work experience or other prior learning.

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

Admission to further vocational qualifications is decided on a case-by-case basis, taking work experience into consideration. However, work experience or prior qualifications are not a precondition for enrolling.

Assessment of learning outcomes

No final examinations exist in VET. Once learners successfully complete all the studies included in their personal competence development plans, the VET provider grants a certificate for the entire qualification or for one or more units of the qualification. All VET programmes ensure eligibility for higher education studies.

Diplomas/certificates provided

The national qualification requirements define the required vocational competence, principles of assessment and how the competence is demonstrated. They are drawn up by the Finnish National Agency for Education in cooperation with working life ([55]Representatives of the employees/self-employed and employers (altogether called ‘working life’ in Finland)).

Each qualification has a number of competence points:

  • 180 for initial/upper secondary vocational qualifications;
  • 120/150/180 for further vocational qualifications;
  • 160/ 180/210 specialist vocational qualifications.
Examples of qualifications

Further vocational qualification in horse care and management ([56]The further vocational qualification in horse care and management comprises eight competence areas and seven qualification titles (in parentheses): provision of equine-assisted services (provider of equine services); provision of horse breeding service (same as previous); provision of equine massage services (horse massage therapist); farriery (farrier); tack-making (tack-maker); riding instruction (riding instructor (FQ) ); training and coaching riding horses (trainer of young riding horses); provision of training services in harness racing (trainer of trotters).)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • enter the labour market
    • employed full time
    • employed and in education;
  • continue with further education.
Destination of graduates

NB: 2016 data (most recent).
Source: Education Statistics Finland (Vipunen): https://vipunen.fi/

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The Vocational Upper Secondary Education and Training Decree (673/2017([57]https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/alkup/2017/20170673)) defines the principles for recognising prior learning. Each student´s personal competence development plan must include recognition of prior learning. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The recognition of prior learning must be done in all VET qualifications: in vocational, further and specialist qualifications.

General education subjects

N

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational study units:

  • basic and field-specific study unit(s) (compulsory);
  • specialised study units (compulsory and optional);
  • communication and interaction competence;
  • mathematics and science competence;
  • citizenship and working life competence.

The common units may be included in further and specialist qualifications but only if this is seen as necessary when making the personal competence development plan.

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available