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Lifelong learning strategy


2.Organisation and governance

2.2Lifelong learning strategy

Last update: 21 February 2024

Systematic development of lifelong learning and guidance in Slovakia started at the turn of millennia in response to the Memorandum on Lifelong Learning created by the European Commission in 2000 to create an integrated strategy of lifelong learning in Europe. The Concept of Lifelong Learning in the Slovak Republic in 2004 defined the strategic goals of lifelong learning development in Slovakia. Later, the Concept was followed by the Strategy of Lifelong Learning and Lifelong Guidance in 2007 and 2011. 

The support of lifelong learning has been one of the Slovak education system's development priorities.  In its programme statement for 2023-2027 (Programové vyhlásenie vlády Slovenskej republiky 2023-2027), the Government of the Slovak Republic committed to passing laws that will create conditions for a modern, practical, and efficient system of lifelong learning. 

The current Strategy of Lifelong Learning and Lifelong Guidance for 2021-2030 (Stratégiu celoživotného vzdelávania a poradenstva na roky 2021-2030) (hereinafter referred to as the Strategy) was approved by the Government of the Slovak Republic on 24 November 2021. The creation and implementation of the strategy is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education, Research, Development, and Youth of the Slovak Republic in cooperation with the State Institute of Vocational Education and other public administration sectors and social partners.  The creation of the new strategy was based on the goals set in the National Reform Programmes from 2020 (Národný program reforiem z roku 2020).

The creation of the new strategy was based on the findings presented in the 2020 OECD Skills Strategy Slovak Republic. The strategy responds to the need for lifelong learning and guidance where individual citizens struggle or where systemic skill deficiency has been identified in the population or specific groups. The goal of the new strategy is to implement measures responding to the dynamically changing labour market and systemic changes in education for everyone.

The strategic document on promoting participation in lifelong learning in Slovakia was drafted by a working group whose work was based on the direct connection of its members with practice and activities in the area in recent years. To promote higher and more balanced participation in lifelong learning, the strategy focuses on dealing with priority issues in adult education. The Strategy of Lifelong Learning and Lifelong Guidance emphasises improvement of inclusiveness of education (including people in special education) in such a way that the education does not produce a new generation of adults who complete compulsory school attendance with a negative attitude to learning and often with insufficient basic skills. 

The basic principles of the Strategy of Lifelong Learning and Lifelong Guidance 2021-2030 include:

  • providing all citizens with lifelong access to possibilities for augmenting and maintaining skills,
  • increasing flexibility of formal education, creating a flexible and open system of paths to education and an efficient system of adult education,
  • increasing accessibility of educational possibilities and individualised support of learners, 
  • increasing intersectoral cooperation and coordination of participative and innovative solutions and their implementation with subjects working in lifelong learning, and
  • informed decision-making and management of the system of skills based on evidence obtained through data collection and research with a focus on lifelong learning (tracking of graduates, collecting data on adult education participants, analysis of barriers).

The central goal of the strategy of lifelong learning and lifelong guidance is to ensure that all citizens have lifelong access to possibilities to learn and develop their skills and competencies throughout their whole lives with respect to their individual needs and situations so that everyone can develop their potential in personal, work and civic life

To achieve the accessibility of lifelong learning, two main areas were identified for the next period:

  • Building an efficient system of adult education in the context of the lifelong learning culture in the Slovak Republic with emphasis on the support of non-formal education and individualised approach. Three intervention approaches were identified to support adult education:
    • Support of selected target groups: specifically people with low qualifications,
    • Support of selected areas of skills: basic, transferrable, digital, civic,
    • Support of participation and support of the removal of barriers to participation: individual learning accounts, barriers in formal education, basic and digital skills.
  • Increasing the flexibility of formal education systems. 

New needs in the area of education and the development of skills and lifelong learning principles require that the components of the education system, including formal education, be transformed. The strategy therefore includes elements of the transformation of the traditional and fragmented „school system“ and the transition towards an open and transparent education system, vocational training, and qualification acquirement.

Individual goals of the Strategy of Lifelong Learning and Lifelong Guidance and the respective measures will be elaborated in action plans. The first Action Plan for the Strategy of Lifelong Learning and Lifelong Guidance for 2022 – 2024 (Akčný plán k Stratégii CŽVaP na roky 2022-2024) was approved by the Government of the Slovak Republic on 7 April 2022.

Action Plan for the Strategy of Lifelong Learning and Lifelong Guidance for 2022 – 2024 contains a plan of activities for the period of 2022 – 2024, which is based on the defined thematic areas. Each measure contains a set of proposed activities leading to achieving its goals, as well as the overall goals of the Strategy, output indicators, institutions involved in its implementation, and indication of possible financial sources. Funding of the activities is to a great extent planned from the EU funds from the programme period of 2021 – 2027 through Programme Slovakia (Program Slovensko): More Social and Inclusive Europe. 


The Ministry of Education started the implementation of the Action Plan for the Strategy of Lifelong Learning and Lifelong Guidance in 2022 through two calls:

Through establishing centres of excellence for vocational education and training, the national project aims to the support quality, flexibility, and adaptability of vocational education and training. First of all, it will connect relevant partners so that they can agree on which elements of excellence Slovakia needs to achieve in vocational education and training, as well as in adult education. The national project will enable the development of the so-called „skills ecosystems“, which will contribute to the regional, economic, and social development, innovations, and strategy of intelligent specialisation. The centres of excellence should also create space for experiments in the implementation of new teaching methods, training of pedagogical and professional employees, or lifelong learning in compliance with European quality standards.

Its goal is to change the approach to quality assurance in education and the creation of the necessary tools – e.g. introduction of self-assessments in schools or the creation of action plans that build on the schools’ findings and lead to improvement. In adult education, the project will introduce criteria for institutions providing education subsidised from public resources in order to guarantee the expected level of education quality. 

An amendment to Act no. 5/2004 Coll. on employment services (Zákon č. 5/2004 Z. z. o službách zamestnanosti) became effective on 1 January 2023. The amendment presented the emergence and the defined competencies of the Alliance of Sectoral Boards as the basis for harmonisation of the system of lifelong learning with the labour market needs. More details on the Alliance of Sectoral Boards are available in Chapter 2.5 National Qualification Framework.

The planned measures of the Action Plan for the Strategy of Lifelong Learning and Lifelong Guidance in 2022 – 2024 also include encouraging adults to participate in education through the introduction of so-called individual learning accounts. The implementation of the Board’s recommendations concerning individual learning accounts will reduce financial barriers, improve awareness of the course offer, and signal the state’s interest in strengthening individual responsibility for the individual’s skill level. Increased interest in non-formal education courses is expected followed by an increase in the offer and diversification of its forms by the providers.  

The action plan also plans to extend the further education information system (informačného systému ďalšieho vzdelávania)  by the list of certified adult education institutions. The information system will also serve as an electronic platform for the system of individual learning accounts. Further education information system (Informačný systém ďalšieho vzdelávania) is a tool that provides free access to education for citizens, employers, public administration and institutions. It contains a database of educational institutions, teachers, and accredited educational programmes. The further education information system is administered by the Ministry of Education.

The further education information system is comprised of Informačný systém ďalšieho vzdelávania tvorí:

  • Register of educational institutions that provide accredited educational programmes,
  • Register of accredited educational programmes,
  • Register of further education participants,
  • Information on examinations verifying vocational competencies,
  • List of qualifications.

Institutions that provide further education are legally obliged to submit statistical data to the Ministry of Education by 15 February of the following year.