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Adult education and training funding


3.Funding in education

3.3Adult education and training funding

Last update: 9 June 2022


The new Act on Vocational Education and Training distinguishes between vocational education and vocational training. Vocational education can be provided in full-time programmes or as adult education. Vocational training can be provided by an adult learning provider with prior approval for this activity. Thus, adult learning can take place in the framework of adult education and adult training. The notion of vocational training is not defined in legislation, therefore, it is more flexible that is able to promptly respond to labour market needs. Vocational training may only be aimed at preparing for a vocational qualification for an occupation that is not listed in the Register of Vocational Occupations (formerly National Qualifications Register (HuQR)). These training programmes include partial-qualifications, upgrade of previous vocational qualification (included in the HuQR), specialisation trainings, special trainings, job-related trainings, company trainings, etc. These two systems build on each other and complement each other, thus providing diverse opportunities for lifelong learning.

The funding of school-based adult learning fits into the system of school funding, that is, in public education and vocational training, it is funded through the state maintainer, and in higher education sector it is integrated into the financing of higher education.

In the current system, the training of various occupations run in parallel in several forms of training, this allows students to choose between free, school-based (IVET plus) adult education or self-financed but faster adult training. From 1st September 2020, 73 partial-professions can be acquired in school-based vocational training programmes (workshop school program) or in adult education programmes in vocational schools. The partial-qualifications are not listed in the Register of Vocational Occupations, they are equivalent to the former partial-professional qualifications.

In accordance with the government decree implementing the Act on Vocational Education and Training, adult training providers could launch HuQR courses until 31st December, 2020, provided that the examinations (including retake exams) are completed by 31st December, 2022 at the latest.

Training outside the school system is regulated by the Act on Adult Education and its implementing regulation. The scope of adult learning activities is now wider; all organised training aimed at the development of competencies is covered by this Act. Training programmes include training for the unemployed and jobseekers (young people or adults starting their careers) for employment purposes; the training of those wishing to acquire a qualification or already having a qualification; and the vocational training of those in employment. In accordance with the Act on Vocational Education and Training, vocational training as well as vocational education aimed at obtaining a partial-qualification are subject to licensing in accordance with the Adult Education Act, vocational education (for full qualification) shall only be provided by VET institutions.

The so-called Dobbantó programme is now also available for adult learning. Not only school-aged children are welcome in the Dobbantó programme and the school workshop programme, but also adults who are seeking employment without a qualification. Students enrolled in the school workshop programme or adult training are entitled to half of the scholarship given to vocational school pupils in sectoral basic education.

Adult learning is normally self-financed, that is participants must pay for the course fee and any other costs.

However, there are some cases where this may change.

There are three forms of funding for adult learning courses:

  • individual funding, self-financed course, that is the participant pays the training fee himself/herself
  • state-funded training (including training supported by the employment centre and EU calls for applications)
  • the financing of the course is taken over by the employer; companies support the learning of their own employees.

Sections 24-25 of the Act on Adult Education provide for the use of support sources for adult learning, and Section 29/A of Government Decree 1/2012 (I. 20) on the student loan system:

Use of adult learning funding sources

24. § * (1) The state may provide support:

a)  to obtain the permit necessary to carry out adult learning activity,

b) *  for training organised as part of an adult learning activity,

c) * to develop the technical conditions for adult learning providers and

d) * to organise training of major importance for the national economy.

25. § * The person participating in the training may apply for

a) a student loan, or

b) scholarship

on the basis of the adult education contract concluded by him/her, as specified in the Government Decree.

Pursuant to the Act on Vocational Training Contribution, certain trainings in out-of-school training are also financed by the state from the training fund of the National Employment Fund (from 2021, the Economic Protection Employment Fund), as well as from European Union funds.  The Minister responsible for Vocational Education and Adult learning exercises the right to manage the training fund. Some adult education institutions and some business organisations (creating jobs for at least 50 people) can benefit from it.

Training provided to and enterprise’s own employees can be credited to the vocational training contribution obligation of the given enterprise under certain conditions and to some extent.

Fees paid by learners

School-based adult education is free. Previously, tuition fee was paid for studying a second profession, but now only for the third profession. There is a fee for the higher education admission procedure, and studies in HEIs for adults are usually (but not always) self-financed.

There are both free and self-financed training programmes in adult learning outside the school system, depending on whether the training provider or the individual receives any support.

According to statistics, about one third of the total cost of the training is paid by the participants. Mixed funding is rare, i.e. the training is normally paid for fully either by a donor (workplace, employment centre, state, etc.) or by the participant. In the case of state-subsidised training for employment purposes (e.g. training for the unemployed or jobseekers), the training fee is partly or entirely covered by the employment centre.

Adult education providers are required to set the training fee in a lump sum in the adult training contract, no additional fees or costs may be imposed on the participants in addition to the fee specified in the adult training contract.

Financial support for adult learners

Adults, similarly to full-time students, are entitled to receive a state-regulated, low-interest student loan to cover the costs of participating in higher education, which will be repaid after completion of their studies. (Section 29/A of Government Decree 1/2012 (I. 20.) on the student loan system).

In order to promote equal access to education, the cost of training offered or approved for adult jobseekers and registered unemployed is reimbursed, in whole or in part, by the employment centres organising the training. In addition, adults participating in supported training may be reimbursed for their costs (meals, travel, accommodation).

The amount of the adult education fee, including the examination fee, is included in the adult education contract concluded between the adult education institution and the participant.

In addition to the student legal status, an adult learner status has also been introduced in line with the restructured education and training system, which distinguishes between minors and adults as well as participation in vocational education and vocational training. Thus, depending on the type of the education or the age of the participants, vocational training participants may have either a student status or an adult learner status.

The student, or participant in a training with an adult learner status may enrol in specialised education at a dual training provider with a vocational training employment contract.

The student or the person participating in the training may have only one VET employment contract. The provisions of the Labour Code apply to a vocational training employment contract in matters not regulated in the Act on Vocational Education and Training. The student or the person participating in the training is entitled to a monthly salary for the work performed on the basis of the VET employment contract.

Persons over the age of twenty-five may participate in vocational education preparing for an occupation in a VET institution only with an adult learner status. The VET institution must take into account the previous studies with the same content for the fulfilment of the requirements defined for the given occupation, as specified in its vocational program, as well as specialised practical training carried out in an employment relationship prior to the start of vocational training. Within the framework of the adult education legal relationship, the duration of vocational education may be reduced to a maximum of a quarter, and the number of hours may be reduced to a maximum of forty percent of the number of hours required in full-time vocational education. Consequently, participants can complete a VET course in a significantly shorter time than the period specified in the Register of VocationalOccupations, for example in 1 year instead of 2 years.

The new VET system specifically aims to take into account the needs of the economy when determining support for training, thereby creating demand for such training. Therefore, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry is also involved in the operation of the new system (as a public body, thus it can be given powers).

Subsidies for private providers

Private institutions are entitled to school-based adult education under the same conditions as in youth education. Out-of-school training can be provided by public schools, various legal entities, and sole proprietorships. In principle, the system is sector-neutral, but, for example, educational institutions play a prominent role in state-run training programmes initiated and supported for public sector employees.

The vocational education and adult learning sector has been made more flexible, thus, it is now able to prioritise economic demand over training supply, thus strengthening the labour market opportunities of young people learning an occupation and adults changing careers. Therefore, together with vocational training, the system of adult learning satisfies the labour needs of the economy and companies.

The range of activities that qualify as adult education activities has been expanded to all education and training aimed at competence development and implemented in an organised manner. Adult learning activities can be carried out on the basis of a notification or a permit. A permit is required for any adult learning activity in connection with which an examination may be taken, or if it is financed, in whole or in part, from state support or EU funding. Permitted adult learning provision must comply with strict operational requirements. In contrast, only a few easy-to-fulfil rules apply to adult learning that only require notification.

Sole proprietors or enterprises are subject to the Act on Adult Education if their activities include adult learning. Those providing adult learning (even as an organiser and implementer of internal trainings only) can choose between two options. If they do not provide vocational training and do not organise training financed from the national budget or EU funds, their adult learning activities are subject to a notification obligation only. If they provide vocational training or also organise subsidised training, it is necessary to receive a permit for their adult learning provision.

The notification or the application to grant of a permit can be submitted to the competent state administrative body for adult learning. The adult education provider must pay a public administrative service fee when submitting the notification or the application for a permit. Both notification and application for permit can be submitted at the Adult Education State Administration, via