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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Main types of provision


8.Adult Education and Training

8.4Main types of provision

Last update: 12 April 2024

Slovak system of lifelong learning distinguishes four kinds of continuous education, namely: 

  • Further vocational education in the accredited programme. It leads to supplementing, updating, extending or improving the qualifications needed for the pursuit of professional activity. 
  • Re-qualification accredited education in an accredited education programme leads to the acquisition of partial or full qualification of professional competence for one or more working activities. This concerns the acquisition of qualification in a profession that is different from the person‘s original qualification acquired in school education.
  • Continuous education enables the participants to supplement, extend, improve or update their qualifications as a condition for the pursuit of professional activities in agreement with special provisions. 
  • The special-interest education, civic education, senior education and other kinds of education whereby the lifelong learning participants satisfy their interests, get integrated into the civil society and develop their abilities. 


Provision to raise achievement in basic skills

A low level of basic skills is often a consequence of early termination of school attendance. However, the Slovak Republic has a historically strong tradition of formal school education and the proportion of the population who leave the system of initial education is therefore considerably low, however, these numbers have been growing recently. The early school leaving rate in Slovakia has significantly increased in the last ten years when in 2010, Eurostat data showed a rate of 4.7% whereas in 2022 the rate reached 9.6% (Education and Training Monitor 2023: Slovensko). The rate is high mainly in regions with a higher proportion of marginalised Roma communities. 

Currently, there are two separate compensation tools for people without primary education: second-chance education courses and lower-secondary vocational education fields (two-year study fields, hereinafter referred to as F-fields).

Second-chance education can be provided by primary and secondary schools. Education is completed by a committee examination in all subjects, except for subjects with an educational focus. The courses can have a full-time or part-time form and their duration is up to one school year.; a certificate with a supplement on the achieved level of education is awarded. This education is equivalent to ISCED 2 level and the courses thus open a path to further education at higher levels.

People who did not manage to complete primary school education can obtain/achieve lower secondary education at secondary vocational schools.  These schools provide F-fields of education. Most pupils study in F-fields for 2 – 3 years and complete their studies without a Certificate of Apprenticeship. They receive a certificate with a supplement, which states that the pupils achieved ISCED 2C level of education. These programmes help pupils who complete them to find employment in low-qualification professions. 

Lower-secondary education can also be obtained through external testing for obtaining lower-secondary education (externé testovanie na účel získania nižšieho stredného vzdelania). It is designed for people (applicants) who achieved primary education (ISCED 1) and completed compulsory school attendance. Testing is done upon request which must be submitted by the applicants to the respective regional office of school administration by 30 November. The content, date and passing criteria of the external testing for the respective year are defined and published by the Ministry of Education on its website. Lower secondary education is achieved by passing external testing. Successful applicants receive a certificate of the achieved education and qualification issued by the primary school where external testing was held. 

At the local level, so-called second chance projects designed for participants from socially disadvantaged environments in particular are considerably successful. These projects also allow the successful completion of primary education. Their curriculum is adjusted in such a way that the participants manage to cover the educational content of the seventh, eighth and ninth grades in one academic year. However, these are individual initiatives rather than global solutions.

Graduates from this type of education can just continue with their studies at secondary schools and keep extending their qualifications. Thus, they increase their chances to obtain appropriate jobs and social status and integrate into a fulfilling life.

Second-chance education is also included in the Strategy of Lifelong Learning for 2021-2030. Direct interventions aimed at improving the indicator of achieved secondary education in the population can be found in the area of Increasing Flexibility in Acquiring Qualifications.


Provision to achieve a recognised qualification during adulthood


Adults can obtain recognized professional qualifications mainly through accredited further education programmes. Various further education institutions provide different accredited educational programmes to supplement, update or extend the qualification required for pursuing professional activities.

The Ministry of Education, Research, Development, and Youth of the Slovak Republic gives accreditation to educational programmes of further education based on the approval of the Accreditation Commission for Further Education (Akreditačná komisia pre ďalšie vzdelávanie). All educational programmes with valid accreditation are registered in the Further Education Information System (Informačný systém ďalšieho vzdelávania).

Education in an educational programme is completed by a final examination, which aims to verify further education participant’s knowledge and skills. The examination also verifies the ability to pursue professional activities the educational programme relates to independently and responsibly. Upon successful completion of the final exam, the competent educational institution will award the graduate of an accredited further education programme a certificate of full or partial qualification of nationwide validity.

Recognition of professional qualification is provided by the verification and evaluation of professional competence according to the qualification and evaluation standard of a given qualification. It has the form of an examination at an authorised institution. The required knowledge and skills can be acquired either in an accredited educational programme or in practice. Upon successful completion of the final examination, the applicant will obtain a certificate of partial qualification or a certificate of full qualification.

Although the certificate is an authentic instrument with nationwide validity it does not lead to a higher level of education. Its acceptance in practice may vary from employer to employer. For some qualifications, it serves as a document that entitles a person to apply for a trade licence in a particular field.

Funding of accredited educational programmes is usually covered by the participants themselves. As regards registered job-seekers, there are tools (for example REPAS+ projekt) for co-funding further professional education from public sources via Offices of Labour, Social Affairs and Family.

Experts of particular qualifications can obtain a certificate of professional competence as a part of lifelong learning. Such a certificate serves as proof of the achieved professional competence for the pursuit of various activities and it is governed by the applicable legal regulations. For example, the certificate of professional competence complies with the act on protection, support and development of public health (Zákon no. 355/2007 o ochrane, podpore a rozvoji verejného zdravia), certificate of professional competence complies with the act on mountain rescue service, etc.

Provision targeting the transition to the labour market

The provision of education and training for adults looking for work is within the competence of the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak Republic and it belongs to the active measures on the labour market.

In order to be provided counselling services and allowance for education and training for the labour market up to 100% of eligible costs, the applicants must be registered as job seekers. Education and training for the labour market are subsequently provided by the competent Office of Labour, Social Affairs and Family.

Education and training for the labour market take place in accredited educational programmes or educational programmes focused on the development of communication, computer, management, social, entrepreneurial and language competencies. It can take place through national and pilot projects. Job-seekers may arrange their education and training for the labour market themselves.  In this case, they are entitled to an allowance of up to 100% of eligible costs, providing the published price limits are adhered to. 

Office of Labour, Social Affairs, and Family can also provide an allowance to employers for employees’ education and training for the labour market provided that the employer commits to:

  • Employ such employees for at least 12 months after they complete the education and training for the labour market,
  • Implement education and training for the labour market as a part of measures that prevent collective redundancies or limit collective.

In 2024, several measures were launched through calls and national projects to support acquiring or changing skills required to actively participate, remain, or improve job applicants/seekers’ positions in the labour market. For example, the national project Skills for Labour Market (Národný projekt Zručnosti pre trh práce) implements measures promoting requalification of job applicants, education of job seekers, and support of acquisition and change of skills of NEET young job applicants. The system of state aid for the support of education and for employing disadvantaged and disabled employees (Schéma štátnej pomoci na podporu vzdelávania a pomoci na prijímanie do zamestnania a zamestnávanie znevýhodnených zamestnancov a zamestnancov so zdravotným postihnutímsupports education of employees at employers’ place to increase their level of education, work potential, and adaptability.

Interest-based adult education

Interest-based education of adults includes a wide range of educational activities (cultural, artistic, charity, recreational, sports, etc.), whose content focus is based on the interests of the adult population. In general, these are cultural-educational activities which focus on different target groups in the population and their leisure time. Interested-based education can take place in schools and school institutions, private providers, interest or civil associations, artistic and cultural institutions, sports clubs, etc. 

Universities of the third age


Universities of the third age, which have since 1990 spread from Comenius University in Bratislava to other higher education institutions and universities, are important providers of special-interest education. 

Educational programmes are prepared mainly for pensioners, however, due to popular public demand the age limit for admission of students was lowered to 50, 45 and in some cases even 40 years. University of the third age teachers are mainly university teachers who give lectures at a symbolic price. The focus of study programmes usually corresponds with the universities' profiles and the offer is based on the possibilities and conditions of the rectorate, faculties and programme co-organisers. In addition to the long-term popular study programmes such as History of Arts or Man and Health, universities of the third age fulfil their socially responsible function and offer programmes in the area of financial literacy and legal awareness.

Funding comes from several sources, most commonly: the parent higher education institution, gifts, sponsors, and students themselves in the form of enrolment fees. Some universities of the third age actively engage in fundraising by participating in various calls and grant schemes. 

Since 1994, Slovak universities of the third age have been members of the  Association of the Universities of the Third Age in Slovakia (Asociácia univerzít tretieho veku). It now associates the vast majority of the universities of the third age in Slovakia. International contacts are secured through membership in the Association of the Universities of the Third Age and some universities’ membership in international associations (AIUTA, EFOS).


Cultural-educational activity

Cultural-educational institutions such as National enlightenment centre (Národné osvetové centrum), Slovak National Museum (Slovenské národné múzeum) or Slovak National Gallery (Slovenská národná galéria) also participate in adult education. In addition to their other activities, these institutions also organise lectures, debates and seminars that contribute to the development of cultural awareness of the Slovak society. The third sector and the business sector are becoming stronger and stronger subjects of special interest adult education. Thus, they create healthy competition for the state-supported institutions in this segment.


Language education

Language education is provided by various institutions which offer a wide range of language courses and programmes. The majority of adult citizens attend foreign language courses in private or non-state institutions and finance these activities themselves. Foreign language education is often provided by employers, particularly in medium-sized and large enterprises with foreign shareholders, as well as in state and public service where education and performance improvement are obligatory.


Other types of publicly subsidised provision for adult learners

All other forms of education and training of adults available in Slovakia were to a great extent given in the previous subchapters.