The public interest in adult education is determined by the relevant national programme which aims to open opportunities for learning to as many as possible adult citizens and encourage them to participate in educational and support activities. The one principle by law is the principle of lifelong education and learning for all.
Education programmes and activities modified to the rhythm of life of adults:
- Officially recognised basic school programme for adults
- Officially recognised programmes of upper secondary education
- Education programmes for adults
- Activities in adult education (counselling …).
Provision to raise achievement in basic skills
Non-formal officially recognised education programmes for adults
The programmes do not lead to the officially recognised educational qualifications:
- Life performance training – Reading and writing together (since 2002); 372 enrollees in 2021*
- Life performance training – Bridge to education (since 2005); 10 enrollees in 2021*
- Life performance training – Challenges of the countryside (since 2005); 12 enrollees in 2021*
- Life performance training – My step (since 2005); 26 enrollees in 2021*
- Life performance training – Me and my job (since 2022)*
- Life performance training – Liven up with learning (since 2011)*
- Digital literacy for adults (since 2018); 462 enrolles in 2021*
* Source: Database of adult education funded by the competent ministry and maintained by the Slovenian Institute for Adult Education.
The “Life performance training” is a framework programme developed at the national level, which is aimed at boosting literacy among adults, improving social skills and promoting active citizenship.
The knowledge and skills are assessed with:
- Self-evaluation by participants
- Formative assessment of the progress throughout the programme, and
- Summative assessment of the progress after the individual segment has been completed and at the end of the programme.
Teachers help participants use new knowledge and skills in different situations. In doing so they follow didactical principles of:
- Participant-centred learning process
- Complementarity of learning content with the life of participants
- Teachers empathising with the life and culture of participants
- Complementarity of learning content, methods and material
- Individualisation of learning and continuous assessment of progress
The providers are legal entities registered by law with the ministry responsible for education.
The programmes aim to:
- Teach and boost literacy and basic skills, and
- Improve general education of adults.
After completion, the participants receive a certificate of training, which is an official document attached with a supplement listing knowledge and skills, and, if appropriate, also a list of completed learning projects.
The supporting documents on knowledge and skills attained are kept in the participant’s composite folder. Participants progress as determined by their personal plan of education and training. To receive the certificate, participants must cooperate in planning and undertaking the programmes, follow the programme, and attendance of 80% in the organised activities.
Provision to achieve a recognised qualification during adulthood
In the formal system of education, adults can pursue basic, upper secondary and short-cycle higher vocational education, and higher education, of course, if they fulfil specific requirements.
The basic school programme for adults was 2003 approved by both relevant councils of experts. It considers two age groups: younger adults and older adults. It provides the same educational standard as the mainstream basic school programme for children and can be provided in various forms, such as regular school lessons, courses by subjects, mentoring, combination of all, or other. From grade 6, it includes electives which are usually undertaken as projects.
The programme is open to candidates who failed to complete basic school education and are over 15 years of age. To determine in which grade they can enrol, the public organisations for adult education also consider the knowledge adults acquired outside the regular system of education. If adults have proper proof of previously acquired knowledge, the relevant subject or part of the subject is recognised as passed. If they do not have official proof, they take prior tests.
The duration of the programme depends on when the participant had left the school. The total duration of the programme (all nine grades) is 2,241 hours as follows.
The number of hours is slightly higher in programmes offered in the nationally mixed areas (i.e., Italian and Hungarian national communities).
Adults complete the programme if they fulfil all required obligations, pass all subjects of grade 9, and pass the final knowledge assessment. The passing students receive a certificate with which they can enrol in the upper secondary school.
In the school year 2022/2023, there were 1,021 enrollees in the basic school programme for adults.
Upper secondary education
Any adult can enrol in mainstream upper secondary education programmes with special organisational modifications for adults. These programmes are primarily provided by upper secondary schools with adult education units, whereas specialized adult education organisations account for less than half of all enrolments (educational organisations for adults, private provider).
Adults can enrol in upper secondary education programmes if they fulfil the requirements or eventual special criteria for enrolment (such as specific talents or physical capabilities, if they are needed for a specific occupation or craft):
- short upper secondary vocational education
- upper secondary vocational education
- upper secondary technical education, and
- upper secondary vocational-technical education,
- programmes of vocational courses (completed with vocational matura)
- upper secondary general education (gimnazija)
- programme of matura course (completed with the right to take general matura)
Except for two vocational programmes (professional driver or police officer), these education programmes are not specifically designed for adults. However, schools and adult education organizations must follow the instructions on the adjustment of part-time upper secondary vocational and technical education adopted in 2008 by the minister responsible for education. The instructions determined the modifications which include organisation, time scheduling and document keeping.
In the school year 2021/2022, there were:
- 91 adult enrollees in short upper secondary vocational education
- 4,931 adult enrollees in upper secondary vocational education
- 6,505 adult enrollees in upper secondary technical education
- 1,485 adult enrollees in upper secondary vocational-technical education
- 678 enrollees in vocational courses
- 404 adult enrollees in upper secondary general education, and
- 140 adult enrollees in the matura course.
Adults can enrol in short-cycle higher vocational, first cycle professional, first cycle academic and second cycle study programmes.
The short-cycle higher vocational study programmes are highlighted in the national because of the continuous need for these qualifications. So, the opportunities to co-fund these programmes have also increased.
Short-cycle higher vocational programmes differ from other tertiary education programmes in their strong practical orientation – as much as 40% (800 hours) of every programme is undertaken in the form of on-the-job training. The two-year programmes are based on vocational standards developed by business chambers or relevant ministries and confirmed by the minister responsible for Labour. These standards determined typical activities in individual vocations and their level of difficulty. The accreditation of short-cycle higher vocational programmes is the responsibility of the Council of Experts for Vocational and Technical Education.
Adults can also enrol in all other tertiary education programmes as part-time students, provided they fulfil the enrolment requirements as defined by individual educational institutions.
Master craftsman (mojster), retail manager and foreman exams
Adults who have completed upper secondary vocational education and have at least three years of work experience can take master craftsman, retail manager or foreman exams. They can take these exams independently or upon completion of preparatory courses offered by different providers.
The exam is made of four parts: practical part, technical-theoretical part, managerial part and pedagogical-andragogical part. By successfully passing the master craftsman, the retail manager or the foreman exam, the candidate acquires upper secondary technical education and can proceed upon completion of bridging exams to tertiary education. Alternatively, the candidates can continue their paths in the chosen occupation. The pedagogical-andragogical part of the exam provides the candidate with skills to teach apprentices.
Master craftsman, retail manager and foreman exams are taken with the relevant chamber.
National vocational qualifications
The certificate system of recognising skills and knowledge. The certificates list results of learning outcomes throughout life as officially recognised non-formal and non-certified knowledge. Candidates must prove what they had learned and what they know how to do. Hidden knowledge is extremely important for companies, individuals and society, too.
Candidates apply for assessment and recognition of vocational qualifications with the relevant provider registered with the National examination centre.
Counsellors for national vocational qualifications help candidates to create their personal composite folders.
By law, the assessment and recognition commission is responsible for the relevant procedure. It is made up of a president and members. They all must have a licence issued by the National examination centres. The licence must be renewed every four years.
In 2022, there were 3,713 certificates on national vocational qualifications awarded.
Provision targeting the transition to the labour market
Employment Service of Slovenia
Education and training of adults for the labour market is the responsibility of the Employment Service of Slovenia. The office focuses on registered jobseekers
Education and training of adults for the labour market are pursued with a broader Active employment policy within the realm of the ministry responsible for labour. This framework is a list of actions on the labour market for increasing employment and decreasing unemployment, improving employability, and increasing competitiveness and agility of employers.
The programmes in the catalogue of the Active Employment policy focus on unemployed and employed persons and aims at setting up an environment for adapting to rapid changes and needs of the labour market.
Current programmes for:
- Unemployed persons are listed at the Employment Service of Slovenia, and for
- Employed persons are listed at Public Scholarship, Development, Disability and Maintenance Fund of the Republic of Slovenia.
In 2021, a total of 27,880 persons participated in the active employment policy's actions of education and training, of which 12,607 were unemployed and 15,273 were employed persons.
The Employment Service of Slovenia within the 12 regional services has been continuously providing organising non-formal education and training through selected providers registered with the service.
The Employment Service of Slovenia develops non-formal programmes part-funded by the European structural fund based on the analyses of needs and in cooperation with employers.
Target groups in 2021:
- Unemployed persons 50 years and older
- Unemployed person 30 years and older who have been registered as jobseekers for at least 12 months (long-term unemployment)
- Unemployed person 30 years and older with basic school educational qualification (ISCED 2)
- Unemployed persons 30 years of age who are recipients of the financial social aid
- Persons who will lose their job soon, and
- Person 30 years and older who lost their job for redundancy, liquidation or compulsory composition because of the COVID-19 pandemic and who registered with the service from 13 March 2020 to 31 December 2021.
According to the Employment Service of Slovenia, 1,932 agreements for participation in various non-formal education and training programmes were signed.*
The unemployed persons can apply to attend the following formal education programmes:
- Basic school for adults
- Final years or final obligations of upper secondary vocational or technical education for shortage occupations
- All final years of upper secondary education
- Preparation and taking the final examination (vocational or general matura)
- Short cycle upper secondary vocational education or upper secondary vocational and technical education for shortage occupations (education translates into requalification at the same or higher level and can take two years at most).
According to the Employment Service of Slovenia, 356 persons enrolled in 2021 in formal education programmes. The majority, 233 enrolled in the basic school programme for adults.
*Source: Annual report on actions by the state undertaken on the labour market 2021.
Provision of liberal (popular) adult education
Non-formal and informal learning
Project learning of younger adults (PUM-O)
The programme for a vulnerable group of younger adults (15–26) who leave education early or fail to attain the proper educational qualification for them to be able to find a job and are therefore, at risk of long-term unemployment. The participants set up goals with an individual career plan. The programme focuses on acquiring knowledge and competences for sustainable employability. It usually runs continuously throughout the year. Participants enter the programme for ten months with the possibility of extension or shortening. It depends on their individual needs as determined by their individual career plan and other circumstances that influence the pursuit of goals.
After they complete the programme, participants receive a certificate for goals achieved. They can submit the certificate into the procedure of assessment and recognition of non-formal competences if they choose to continue formal education or want their vocational skills to be recognised officially.
In the school year 2021/2022, 308 persons joined the programme (source: database on adult education funded by the ministry responsible for education and maintained by the Slovenian Institute for Adult Education).
Officially recognized language programmes for adults
The programmes adopted by the minister responsible for education have been taking place since 1999.
Programmes are offered for learning:
- Italian, and
- Hungarian language.
The programmes can be organised as comprehensive courses, seminars, modules, individually led learning experiences with mentoring or distance learning. Each language programme takes 500 to 550 hours (300 basic level, 200 to 250 advanced level).
Learners in officially recognised foreign language programmes can have their knowledge in foreign languages assessed. Passing candidates receive official documents. The examinations are developed as recommended by the Council of Europe (National examination centre).
In the school year 2021/2022, 1,079 adults enrolled in language programmes for adults (source: CEUVIZ).
Reading for knowledge and reading for fun
This non-formal life performance training programme for parents and/or grandparents of preschool children (4 to 6 years of age) who want to acquire knowledge and skills for promoting literacy and reading culture with children, discover different forms of active leisure time, proper children literature, hang out with children, and together learn the values of reading.
The programme in the form of meetings by parents, grandparents and children takes 20 to 24 hours or 10 to 12 meetings, one every two weeks. Activities include project learning, workshops, working with literature and independent activities, discussions, and so forth.
Books are for me
The programme is for all adults who are motivated and want to read and discuss various literary works in an equal, accepting and respectful atmosphere. The programme aims at adults who rarely or never read literary texts and because of their social and societal situation have no access to educational and cultural goods.
The programme in the form of meetings takes min. 20 and max. 25 hours, once a week 2 to three school hours or for three months.
Slovenian language for foreigners
The courses started in 2000. They are open to all who want to learn Slovenian for various reasons and those who want to learn for the examination in Slovenian at the Centre for Slovene as a second and foreign language. The courses of 500 hours (250 hours for the basic level, 125 for the intermediate level and 125 for the advanced level) are state maintained from national and European sources.
According to recent data, 3,327 learners enrolled in 2021, namely 749 at the Centre for Slovene as a second and foreign language, 111 in the scope of public invitation to apply to programmes for basic and vocational competences from 2016 to 2022, and 2,467 in the scope of Active employment policy. (Sources: Letno poročilo Centra za slovenščino kot tuji in drugi jezik, Letno poročilo o izvajanju ukrepov države na trgu dela za leto 2021)
Early integration of immigrants
The programme started in 2011. Target group are immigrants or foreigners with temporary or permanent residence permits or with those permits pending, and their family members. Over the course of 180 hours (two modules – lasting 60 and 120 hours) the programme provides participants with basic communication skills in the Slovenian language and with basic information about the history, culture and legal framework of the Republic of Slovenia. The programme focuses on practical knowledge for the workplace, information on social and health security, education, economics, public life in Slovenia, media, social life, environment, and so forth.
The programme is state, and EU maintained from the Asylum, migration and integration fund and Government of the Republic of Slovenia Office for the Support and Integration of Migrants Early integration of immigrants respectively.
Starting module of 60 hours is open to adult immigrants 16 years and older who are literate in Latin alphabet.
Advanced module of 120 hours is open to adult immigrants 16 years and older who have already completed the starting module and other adult immigrants who are able to communicate in Slovenian at a sufficient level.
Participants complete a module if they actively participate in developing an individual educational plan, in pursuing the programme and creating a personal composite folder, if they progress by the individual educational plan, and if they are present in 80% of organised activities.
When they complete the programme, they receive an officially recognised certificate of participation. The supplement includes information about the actual content and the composite folder listing all the knowledge in skills acquired.
In the school year 2021/2022, 1,454 adult immigrants participated in the programme (source: CEUVIZ).
Small groups of 5 to 12 participants and specially trained mentors who focus on independent informal learning. They meet at least five times, for at least 25 hours. However, usually more than ten meetings take place per circle and on average over 35 hours.
These groups are wonderful opportunity for learning in a small group, participating in the community and local development, promoting critical thinking, learning by doing and public speaking. As it is all in public interest, the attendance if frere of charge. Trained mentors lead the circles.
The aims and focuses of circles have changed with time. Today the upgraded goals focus on accessibility of learning to less educated persons and persons at risk of social exclusion and promoting participation.
Study circles take place every year in 120 localities. Participants meet five times for a total of 25 hours. Experience show, that they usually meet ten times and for a total of over 35 hours. Mentors support the organisation, provide rough study plans and motivate. Members make final decisions about the contents and programme organisation.
The activities are rounded up by a lecture, exhibition, literary evening, show, brochure or other publication. It all depends on the subject and object of the study circle.
In 2022, the ministry responsible for education part-funded 231 study circles or 2,279 participants who put in 7,397 learning hours.*
Centres for independent learning
Complementary settings of non-formal learning in a free-of-charge space, with available learning materials and equipment for participants to be able to gain and advance their knowledge in different fields. They target adults that cannot access traditional forms of education or find them unsuitable for their needs. Two commonly studied subject matters are computer skills and foreign languages.
Adults learn on their own under the guidance and support of professional staff and with the help of various textbooks, handbooks, dictionaries, multimedia and other learning materials adapted for independent learning.
Centres for independent learning were developed by the Slovenian Institute for Adult Education following the British “open learning” example, and they started operating in 1995. They are set up across the country and located within adult education organisations, libraries, and non-profit institutes.
In 2022, the ministry responsible for education funded the counselling service to 35 providers. All providers are part of the public network in adult education. In 2022, there were 35 centres for independent learning and 4,599 adults visited them to learn independently and/or sought counselling for independent learning.*
*Source: Slovenian Institute for Adult Education.
Other types of publicly subsidised provision for adult learners
All types of publicly subsidised provision of adult education and training are described under other sub-headings.