The young Republic of Slovenia, which has only been independent for 20 years, set up a modern, democratic education system when it shifted from a planned economy to a market economy.
With its entry into the European Union in 2004, it developed the system further in order to raise new challenges in terms of employment, employability and competitiveness. It adopted new laws on vocational and technical education and post-secondary vocational education.
The aim of this new legislation is to improve the quality of learning in the school environment and the work environment and enhance the system for validating skills. It fosters horizontal mobility between vocational and technical education and mainstream secondary education and has set up a national qualifications framework. It further plans to set up apprenticeship partnerships with enterprises and Chambers of Commerce and improve teacher training.
The Slovenian education system – 2014
The vocational pathway in Slovenia
At the age of 15, at the end of their compulsory education cycle, young Slovenians can continue their studies in a mainstream or vocational secondary school (Gimnazija).
After leaving compulsory schooling, pupils who wish to continue their studies in a vocational school can choose between 5 streams of various durations:
- short-term vocational education (programmes lasting 2 ½ years),
- vocational secondary education (3-year programmes),
- technical education (4-year programmes),
- technical vocational education (2 years after completing secondary vocational studies)
- non-higher post-secondary vocational education (Poklicni tečaji lasting one year).
Vertical and horizontal mobility between the programmes in the various vocational streams is now possible. Indeed, these programmes are based on modules and skills and pupils gain course units which can be capitalised. Moving from technical education to higher mainstream education is also accessible through the Maturitetni tečaj (Matura course).
Pursuant to the Act of 2007, vocational qualifications can be acquired in stages within the frame of the formal education system or through validating an informal apprenticeship.
Social partners participate in defining the content of the teaching programmes in vocational schools at every level.
Vocational diplomas (Diploma) are awarded by public or private Višja strokovna šola after studies lasting for 2 years.
Dual training is available to study for the vocational certificate of secondary education (Matura, examinations taken at the end of secondary school education).
- Over the last few years, more than 98% of pupils who have completed their compulsory schooling pursued studies in upper secondary education. (Slovenia – 2013)
- The proportion of pupils enrolled in short-term vocational education and vocational secondary education has fallen over the last few years, whereas a considerable increase in enrolments in mainstream secondary education has been observed. (Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia – 2013)
- In 2012, only 4.4% of young people aged between 18 and 24 had left the education and training system at an early age. The figure stood at 12.7% for the European Union as a whole. (Eurostat – 2013)