Main funding principles
The principle of lifelong learning underpins the funding of adult education and training in Slovenia. The state provides public funds to create a window of learning opportunities for the adult population.
The rules and laws that specify the funding mechanisms in adult education and training are:
- Adult education Act
- Organisation and Financing of Education Act
- Public Finance Act
- Current Implementation of the Republic of Slovenia Budget for 2022 and 2023 Act, and
- Rules on norms and standards for funding and provision of public service in adult education.
The provisional outline of funds for a current period is defined by the National Programme of Adult Education in the Republic of Slovenia which the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia adopts in the form of a resolution document by recommendation of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia, as a rule for ten years.
The national programme determines public interest in the education of adults. It includes objectives and indicators, priority areas, actions for the provision, the provisional scope of public assets, ministries responsible for individual actions, and the method of coordination in realising goals and monitoring the implementation of the national programme. It lists programmes and activities as public services provided by relevant ministries.
- Target groups of the national programme:
- Adult citizens who have completed the basic school obligation or who are 15 years old or older, in line with lifelong learning, who never stop learning no matter how old or how educated they are.
- Target group for officially recognised programmes for adults and non-formal education programmes are adults of all ages and statuses.
- Target group for officially recognised education are adults in programmes of basic school, vocational, upper secondary technical and general education and short-cycle higher vocational education.
- Target groups of the resolution on the national programme for adult education:
- Adults with low basic skills no matter their employment status, age or other characteristics
- Adults who need to improve their basic education for personal reasons and solving of community issues
- Adults who need to continue vocational or technical education or training to meet the requirement of the labour market
- Younger adults who leave education and training early or dropouts
- Adults over 65 years of age, and
- Adults with limited possibilities to access social, cultural, economic and educational assets.
- Priority areas:
- Basic non-formal adult education
- Qualification education
- Technical training and continuous education to meet the requirement of the labour market
- Research and development
- Activities in the field of adult education.
The adult education annual program provides for the provision of the national programme as developed by the relevant ministries within 30 days after the adoption of the annual budget. It is then sent to the ministry responsible for education to develop a joint document. The ministry then seeks consent to the draft joint document by the Council of experts of the Republic of Slovenia for education. Finally, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia adopts it.
The annual programme determines goals and indicators of the national programme, priority areas, actions for providing adult education, the provisional scope of public funds, and ministries responsible for individual actions, and monitoring of provision. The annual programme determines the scope of funding for activities and public service in adult education.
- The state, either from the integral budget or different structural funds
- Self-governing local community budget
- Other sources, such as funds for adult education, employer's funds, endowments, donations and gifts, and school fees.
According to the standards and norms defined by the minister responsible for education and the scope of education and/or activities, the state can fund:
- Investment in the public institute for adult education set up by the state
- Routine and major maintenance, repair and renovation of real estate and equipment in the public institute for adult education set up by the state
- Laying on a public service according to the Adult Education Act to cover the cost of labour and expenditure on goods and services
- Cost of material for operations related to the provision of the basic school programme for adults laid on the public institute set up by the state
- Provision of officially recognised education programmes for adults and non-formal education programmes for adults, to cover the cost of labour and expenditure on goods and services
- Pursuing other non-public service activities to cover the cost of labour and expenditure on goods and material
- Provision of other education programmes leading to a qualification, and reskilling and upskilling programmes to cover the cost of labour and expenditure on goods and services
- Other aims as specified by the annual programme of adult education and training.
The scope of public funds laid on public service, and the provision of adult education programmes and activities can cover only indicated costs and must not enable profits.
Local communities can allocate funds to public organisations for adult education for:
- Rooms and equipment for the provision of adult education programmes and activities in the public interest of the self-governing local community
- Investment and major maintenance
- Implementation of the annual programme of adult education and training as adopted by the local community, and
- Cost of material for operations related to the provision of the basic school programme for adults.
Public funding has to be transparent and by the relevant rules. The traceability of public spending is key, and it is the responsibility of the Court of Audit of the Republic of Slovenia to oversee it.
The basic mechanism of allocating funds is the public call for application. It is the state that provides funds for adult education and training of public interest in greater part, namely from the integral budget or various other structure funds. The providers of education can be owned privately or publicly. To compete for public funds, providers have to have the education activity registered. To offer the officially recognised programmes, the providers have to enter the relevant register at the ministry responsible for education. This is to guarantee the providers have competent staff, proper rooms, equipment, and issue officially recognised certificates.
The allocation of state budget funds to public service providers of education is subject to the scope of activities and the standards and norms specified by the minister. They receive funds by the decision of the minister for each fiscal year separately.
Programmes or activities for which the state provides full funding are free of charge for participants and the providers cannot ask for any additional funds to cover the cost of provision. This applies to the officially recognised basic school programme for adults (limited to two free-of-charge enrolments) and counselling services in adult education. The scope of funding is determined according to the Rules on norms and standards for funding and provision of public service in adult education.
Negotiated allocations are used for the annual programmes of the public institutes set up by the state by the Organization and Financing of Education Act. They receive funds for development, research and consultation in adult education and learning. The Slovenian Institute for Adult Education is responsible for adult education., assisted by the National Examinations Centre, the National Education Institute of the Republic of Slovenia and the Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Vocational Education and Training. The assignments assigned by the ministry responsible for education are evaluated according to the employee salary brackets and prices of services, which have been confirmed by the supervisory board of the relevant public institute. The scope of work and funds are subject to negotiations between the contracting authority and the institute.
Funds for pursuing and coordinating the nationally significant activities in adult education and training, development and promotion of adult education and training, international activities, publication activities and others can be allocated following a public call for application to communities of public organisations, associations of legal persons governed by private law, relevant organisations in the public interest, and/or associations of these if their main function is to pursue the professional activity in adult education and training at the national level.
Fees paid by learners
The state-funded programmes and activities are free, so adult learners do not pay fees. By law, participation in the basic school programme for adults and programmes included in the annual programme is free-of-charge. So, participation is free in Life performance training programmes, Project learning for young adults (PUM-o), and non-formal education and training programmes for job seekers.
Full fees for formal and non-formal adult education must pay the participants without any public funding. The fees are set by the providers of the programme and paid directly to programme providers by the participant or their employer. The state does not influence pricing. By several types of part funding the programmes or activities, the state tries to attract them into the system, help them pay fees and facilitate their way to qualification.
Financial support for adult learners
By law, the adult learners in the officially recognised programmes of basic, vocational, upper secondary in short-cycle higher vocational education programmes have the right to health insurance under the standard agreement health care. They also have the right to other benefits and rights according to specific rules if adult learners are not in employment, registered as unemployed or if they are not in the education programmes for unemployed persons as defined by relevant rules. This all applies to adults under the age of 26 years.
So, adult learners can apply for scholarships:
- State (need-based) scholarships
- Zois (merit-based) scholarships
- Scholarships for in-demand occupations
- Scholarships for Slovenians abroad, or
- Ad futura scholarships for international mobility
Adult participants in short-cycle higher vocational and in higher education having the student status enjoy by law the right to subsidised student meals.
Adult learners in upper secondary vocational, technical and general education programmes, and short-cycle higher vocational education can until they turn 26 years of age apply for subsidised tickets in public transportation, but only if they are not in education programmes according to the labour market rules.
There is no special tax relief for adults in education.
Subsidies for private providers
Providers of adult education programmes are private institutions, too. Funding for their operations comes from school fees, donations and/or other sources. Private institutions are autonomous in framing their business policies, charging school fees and allocating funds, and they are accountable for it. The role of the state is primarily to manage and oversee the implementation of the officially recognised education programmes that lead to officially recognised educational qualifications. The ministry responsible for education is responsible to give consent to the scope of the invitation to enrol in part-time upper secondary education every year. The Inspectorate of the Republic of Slovenia for Education and Sport has the responsibility to monitor if their operations are in line with the relevant rules and laws.