Ljubljana (Picture froma Wikimedia)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.

Occupational standards serve as the basis for government-regulated VET leading to formal vocational qualifications. The design of the occupational standards, programmesand qualifications is funded by the ministries and prepared in cooperation with social partners (see Chapter 3). Verified vocational qualifications comprise VET provided by schools and National Vocational Qualifications.

The Slovenian education system – 2014


Slovenian system (© Onisep / Elise Veteau)




The vocational pathway in Slovenia


Secondary education

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.


Higher education

Vocational diplomas (Diploma) are awarded by public or private Višja strokovna šola after studies lasting for 2 years.

40% of which (20 weeks) takes place as in-company training, for which a learning contract must be signed between the student, the school and the company. However, this is not an employment contract.Higher vocational programmes are provided by higher vocational schools, which are sometimes an organisational part of the school centre. In 2016/17, it was possible to enrol in 28 public and 20 private higher vocational schools.


Dual training is available to study for the vocational certificate of secondary education (Matura, examinations taken at the end of secondary school education).

One of the active employment policy measures is education and training activities (programmes), prepared by the Employment Service of Slovenia  in cooperation with employers to respond to labour market needs. In order to form this programme, the ESS first identifies the needs of employers, on the basis of which a workplace description of the skills and competencies required is developed in the form of a training programme proposal.

Key figures

  •  Youth Unemployment Rate in Slovenia averaged 16.08 percent from 1996 until 2017, reaching an all time high of 25 percent in April of 2013 and a record low of 9 percent in April of 2007. (tradingeconomics – 2018)
  • When asked what the companies are willing to contribute to have students in PTW (Table 6), 82.2% of them replied thatthey are willing to conclude a contract with a student. (CEDEFOP – 2017)
Last update : 19/06/2018

The slovenian Education system on Eurypedia

EURES (European Job Mobility Portal) : Living and working in Slovenia

National Institute of vocational education and training (Center RS za poklicno izobraževanje)

The website of the Ministry for Education, Culture and Sport

CMEPIUS – Centre of the Republic of Slovenia for mobility and European education and training programmes, useful links… (Center Republike Slovenije za mobilnost in evropske programe izobraževanja in usposabljanja; Leonardo da Vinci programme)

Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Slovenia
(Gospodarka zbornica Slovenije)

Chamber of Trades and Crafts in Slovenia (Obrtna zbornica Slovenije)

Employers Association in Slovenia (Združenje delodajalcev Slovenije g.i.z.)