The network of adult education providers comprises specialized adult education institutions as well as various organizations that offer adult education as a supplementary activity.
Enrolment in publicly funded programmes that are publicly recognised and aimed at obtaining formal qualifications is only possible on the basis of public calls for applications which have to be regularly issued by the respective providers. The Adult Education Master Plan(sl) and the annual plan(sl) determine which adult education programmes are in public interest. The funding of such programmes is subject to the rule of thirds: one-third of the total cost should be covered by the participants' fees; one-third by the public budgets of the respective municipalities; and one-third from the national budget. There are also programmes which are fully publicly funded, such as basic school education and certain targeted programmes. Providers cannot charge any participation fees for such programmes.
Publicly subsidized adult education organisations must be registered in the Adult Education Programmes Registry(sl) at the Ministry responsible for education. In addition, they must comply with formal requirements regarding staffing, premises and equipment. As of March 2023 the registry contained 214 providers.
Units for adult education in basic schools, upper secondary schools and in higher education institutions offer adult education programmes aimed at completing formal levels of education (such as obtaining qualifications for specific vocations or completing the matura exam), as well as courses aimed at strengthening language skills and computer literacy, among others.
In addition, there are 27 (as of March 2023) publicly subsidized adult education centres called folk high schools(sl) (ljudske univerze) that would roughly translate to popular or people's universities) spread across the country. They have a long tradition that predates the country's independence. Their offerings range from basic skills and formal basic and upper secondary education to foreign languages and non-formal education courses.
In mid-1980s, another relevant type of organizations came into existence, namely third age universities. They target retirees, older workers and workers in pre-retirement period. Nowadays more than 40 of them operate across the country. They are either organized as independent associations or they operate within institutions such as folk high schools, general libraries, retiree associations, educational and cultural institutions, educational development centres and private educational organisations. Their aim is to encourage people to remain active in their old age, including through continued learning. Therefore they offer non-formal educational programmes for different groups of people in later life, and they also aim to educate teachers, mentors and facilitators in the field.
In December 2021, the catalogue for the 2021/2022 school year contained information about 244 providers and 3,437 educational programmes. The providers include mainly upper secondary schools (adult education units), private institutions and schools, as well as adult education centers.
Other adult education and training providers include:
- educational centres in business companies and other organisations whose main activity is not education
- privately owned adult education institutions and private not-for-profit institutes
- associations, libraries, museums, galleries
- chambers (of commerce and industry, of craft and small business, etc.), and
- driving schools (which are under the domain of the Ministry of the Interior).
The distribution of provision of adult education across different groups of providers in 2014/2015 is presented in the table below. Please note that this data also includes provision that is not publicly subsidized.
Continuous education 2014/2015
Officially non-recognised programmes
Officially recognised programmes
Folk high schools
Specialised adult education institutions
Units of schools
Units of enterprises, etc.
Educational centres at the relevant Chamber
Source: The Education System in the Republic of Slovenia, 2017
Adult education is not evenly spread across Slovene regions and municipalities. The greatest number of providers is located in the central Slovenian region and the capital of Ljubljana. In order to facilitate a better spread of adult education offering, fourteen new regional centres for lifelong learning have been established. However, in regions characterized by poorer economic and social development the demand for adult education is generally lower. The lack of time and money are the most frequently quoted obstacles to higher participation rates. In areas with slower economic development and fewer employment opportunities, there is also less motivation for pursuing further education.
The government supports the unemployed through the implementation of the Active Employment Policy which includes partial funding for their education and training. Other disadvantaged groups also have access to subsidised education. Their motivation, however, is quite low, and this was another reason for introducing a network of centres for independent learning and centres for life-long learning. These centres provide space and learning assistance to those adults who do not have such support in their home environment.