Slovak system of lifelong learning distinguishes four kinds of the continuing education, namely:
- The further vocational education in the accredited programme which leads to supplementing, updating, extending or improving the qualification needed for pursuit of professional activity.
- The re-qualification accredited education in the accredited education programme, which leads to acquisition of partial or full qualification of professional competence for one or more working activities.This concerns acquisition of qualification in a profession that is different from the person‘s original qualification acquired in school education
- The continuing education which enable the participant of continuing education to supplement, extend, improve or update his/her qualification as a condition for pursuit of professional activities in agreement with special provisions.
- The special-interest education, civic education, senior education and other kinds of education whereby the participant of the continuing education satisfies his/her interests, gets integrated into the civil society and develops his/her personal abilities.
Provision to raise achievement in basic skills
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 population who leave the system of initial education is therefore considerably low. However, these numbers have been growing recently.
Courses for those interested in achieving/completion of lower secondary education are organised by primary schools. Education is completed by a committee examination in all subjects, except for subjects with educational focus; certificate with a clause on the achieved level of education is awarded. This education is equivalent to ISCED 2 level.
At the local level, so called second chance projects designed for participants from socially disadvantaged environment in particular are considerably successful. These projects also allow successful completion of primary education. Their curriculum is adjusted in such was that the participants manage to cover educational content of the seventh, eighth and ninth grade 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 qualification. Thus, they increase their chance to obtain appropriate job and social status, and to integrate into a fulfilling life.
The issue of basic skill development is currently dealt with by an international project BLUESS – Blueprint for Basic Skills Development (BLUESS - Plán rozvoja základných zručností na Slovensku) in Slovakia housed by the State Institute for Vocational Education. The project aims to support coordinated approach and strategy of evaluation and development of basic skills in the Slovak Republic.
Provision to achieve a recognised qualification during adulthood
Adults can obtain recognized professional qualification mainly through accredited further education programmes. Various further education institutions provide different accredited educational programmes with the goal of supplementing, updating or extending the qualification required for pursuing professional activities.
The Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport 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, goal of which is 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 the professional competence according to the qualification and evaluation standard of a given qualification. It has a 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 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.
Financing of accredited educational programmes is usually covered by the participants themselves. In the case of registered job-seeker, there are tools (for example REPAS+ projekt) for co-financing of further professional education from public sources via Offices of Labour, Social Affairs and Family.
Experts of particular qualification can obtain a certificate of professional competence as a part of continuing learning. Such 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 is in compliance with the act on public health, certificate of professional competence is in compliance with the act on mountain rescue service, etc.
Provision targeting the transition to the labour market
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 preparation for the labour market up to 100% of eligible costs, the applicants must be registered as a job-seeker. The education and preparation for the labour market is subsequently provided by the competent Office of Labour, Social Affairs and Family.
Education and preparation for the labour market takes place in accredited educational programmes or in educational programmes focused on the development of communication, computer, management, social, entrepreneurial and language competencies.
Job-seekers may arrange their education and preparation for the labour market themselves. In this case, they are entitled to an allowance up to 100% of eligible costs, providing the published price limits are adhered to. In REPAS+ project (SK), job-seekers will choose the type of occupational activity which they want to qualify for. At the same time, they will choose the requalification provider of education and training for the labour market.
Similarly, this applies to the competence courses organised within KOMPAS+ project (SK).
Provision to liberal (popular) adult education
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. Currently, the universities of the third age can be found at 17 universities and higher education institutions in 13 Slovak cities.
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 year. 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.
Financing comes from several sources, most commonly: the parent higher education institution, gifts, sponsors, and students themselves in the form of enrolment fee. Some universities of the third age actively engage in fundraising by means of 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 the membership in the Association of the Universities of the Third Age and some universities’ membership in international associations (AIUTA, EFOS).
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 and business sector are becoming stronger and stronger subjects of special interest adult education. Thus, they create healthy competition to the state supported institutions in this segment.
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 is 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.
National Council of the Slovak Republic, 2007. Act No. 355/2007 on protection and development of public health and on the change and supplement to some acts as amended by subsequent provision (Zákon č. 355/2007 Z.z. o ochrane, podpore a rozvoji verejného zdravia a o zmene a doplnení niektorých zákonov znení neskorších predpisov) (last accessed 25/10/2022).
National Council of the Slovak Republic, 2004. Act No. 5/2004 on employment service as amended by subsequent provision (Zákon č. 5/2004 Z.z. o službách zamestnanosti o zmene a doplnení niektorých zákonov v znení neskorších predpisov) (last accessed 25/10/2022).
National Council of the Slovak Republic, 2002. Act No. 544/2002 Coll. on. Mountain Rescue Service as amended (Zákon č. 544/2002 Z.z. o Horskej záchrannej službe v znení neskorších predpisov) (last accessed 25/10/2022).
National Council of the Slovak Republic, 2009. Act No. 568/2009 on lifelong learning and on the change and supplement to some acts as amended by subsequent provision (Zákon č. 568/2009 Z.z. o celoživotnom vzdelávaní a o zmene a doplnení niektorých zákonov v znení neskorších predpisov) (last accessed 25/10/2022).