Mobility of basic school and upper secondary students
In the programmes of the European Union, the mobility of basic school and upper secondary students is merged covered with the Erasmus+ programme in education and sports for 2014 to 2020. Its implementation is the responsibility of the Centre of the Republic of Slovenia for Mobility and European Educational and Training Programmes (CMEPIUS).
The Erasmus+ supports both the mobility of individuals and strategic partnerships among different organisations, namely aimed to modernise and improve the quality in education, as well as strengthen the linkage between education and labour market. Students participate in various parts of the programme, in particular in projects of the Key Action 1: Learning Mobility of Individuals and Key Action 2: Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices. Project leaders are organsiations not individuals.
Projects of learning mobility of individuals
In the projects of learning mobility of individuals in vocational education and training (VET), the applicant organisations may apply for a grant for the implementation of learning mobility of students, namely to support practical training of students abroad (both based in a company or other proper organisation or at VET school). It can last no less than 2 weeks and no more than 12 months (time for travel excluded). This activity welcomes students who had recently completed a VET programme or training in organisations that provide VET for students; however, students have to undertake and complete the activity in one year after the schooling had ended. These projects aim, in particular, is to improve the employability of young people and facilitate their transition to the labour market, develop partnerships between education and employment, as well as match the VET policies to local, regional and national economic development strategies.
Mobility in the scope of strategic partnerships
The Strategic partnerships in the field of school education may provide 3 types of student mobility:
- mixed mobility (short-term real mobility of 5 days to 2 months, time for travel excluded, and virtual mobility); it is available also in the scope of Strategic partnerships for VET
- short-term exchange of student groups (of 5 days to 2 months, time for travel excluded), and
- long-term learning mobility (of 2 to 12 months, time for travel excluded).
At large, the strategic partnerships aim to promote or develop innovation in the realm for which the need has been expressed in all participating countries, or to exchange best practices among organisations that wish to better own work by participating in the project. The types of mobility mentioned are thus eligible if they in fact add value to the realisation of the goals of the individual project.
Virtual mobility and international cooperation in virtual projects
Slovenian kindergartens and schools participate and team up in the action e-Twinning, that is the action of the Erasmus+ programme aimed at supporting and promoting international cooperation within the system of education and training, namely by using modern ICT. CMEPIUS provides the national counselling service for participants in eTwinning, and helps Slovenian kindergartens and schools develop and implement the virtual partner projects and further cooperation between pre-school and school teachers, as well as children and students from various countries.
Mobility of young people for non-formal learning
The Erasmus+: Youth in action Programme addresses the youth sector and promotes the organisation of learning mobility of all young people aged 13 to 30 years. The programme creates opportunities for non-formal learning and informal learning in the context of youth work. At the same time, it promotes the development of competence of the youth workers and managers of the activities of non-formal learning in youth work, as well as participation of young people in the dialogue with the creators of youth policies at local, national, European or international level. The youth chapter of the Erasmus+ programme in Slovenia is the responsibility of the MOVIT, Institute for the development of youth mobility.
In the scope of the Erasmus+ Key actions 1 and 2, special measures aim at the realisation of programme objectives in youth, and they include among other projects of youth mobility. The youth exchanges (of up to 21 days, time of travel excluded) are the opportunity for groups of young people from different countries to meet and discuss various topics and issues they share, within the wider European context). There is also the European volunteer service offering young people the possibility of extended dwelling and working in the host organisation in another country of up to 12 months. The work of a volunteer benefits the host organisation or local community and at the same time, the practical exercise provides learning opportunity for the volunteer. Alongside projects of youth mobility, one has implemented Strategic partnerships in the field of youth, as well. They have been a contributing factor of improving competence of actors in youth sector to further improve the quality of youth work, participation of youth and active citizenship or promotion of (social) entrepreneurship of young people.
National programmes for student mobility
The administrator of the programmes for mobility of upper secondary students is the Public Scholarship, Development, Disability and Maintenance Fund of the Republic of Slovenia (fund).
In the fund’s programme of scholarships for study visits abroad, upper secondary students may apply for scholarships for mobility to the institution abroad for no less than 2 weeks. It may involve an educational institution, company or other organisation. It is only necessary that the school in which the upper secondary student applicant has been enrolled in Slovenia, assesses and recognises the obligations fulfilled abroad as part of the education programme.
Furthermore, the fund offers scholarships for one student to participate in a the Benjamin Franklin Summer Institute, that is 3 to 4-week summer school for young people interested in international transatlantic relations; it connects American and European young people and aims to improve awareness of mutual values and cultural relations.
Students who strive to measure and exchange own knowledge internationally may apply for funds to part-cover costs of participation at contests in knowledge or research abroad.
Additionally, the fund promotes the internationalisation of the Slovenian upper secondary realm, namely with the Programme of scholarships for upper secondary education of students from Western Balkan statesat upper secondary technical, vocational and professional schools in Slovenia,
The Ministry of education has been by law on organisation and financing of education (ZOFVI, Article 81) (en .pdf) funding international cooperation.
By national law and intergovernmental bilateral agreements and documents one has pursued several activities for schooling of national minorities and cross-border Slovenian minorities, namely multiday professional learning excursions for students, invitations to cross-border Slovenian schools to participate at school competitions and in other activities in Slovenia. In Slovenia, one has been organising 14-day summer schools for children and young people from abroad to learn Slovenian language. State funds have been allocated to special scholarships for Slovenian upper secondary students, representatives of the Slovenian minorities in neighbouring countries (Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia).
Alongside the international matura programme in Slovenia, the Ministry of education cooperates with the international network of upper secondary schools called United World Colleges (UWC). The UWC central office is located in London. Every years, Slovenia gets one place appointed in UWC Devine, and on occasion, one place in one of the UWC across the world. After two-year education and training, students take the international matura examinations.
Assessment and recognition of education
The assessment and recognition of education for different purposes may not be avoided when discussing the possibilities of mobility. In the procedure of assessment, the ENIC-NARIC centre issues an opinion on various elements of completed education. The assessment procedure is specified by the law on assessment and recognition of education (en .pdf). The assessment of education for the purpose of continuing education in the Republic of Slovenia is an administrative procedure that has to be initiated at the educational institution on which the holder of the document wishes to continue education. Basic schools are exception, because the recognition of foreign education for the purpose of continuing education in Slovenian basic schools is no longer required.
In short-term mobility in European programmes, the agreement among the student, sending school and receiving school is the background reference for the recognition of obligations realised abroad. Educational institutions agree in advance on the content of education or training. At all upper secondary vocational schools students receive school certificate supplements, that is a document of the Europass folder.
In national programmes that allow for so-called study visits by students, the candidates for mobility have to submit to the prime school information about activities and content that will be pursued abroad, and then the prime school issues a confirmation of assessment of obligations realised abroad – it may be recognition of credit points or interest activities, partial mark in the subject, and so forth.
Mobility of staff in school education and VET
Mobility of teachers and professional staff in the programmes EU
The mobility of pre-school teachers, school teachers and other education staff in school education and VET at the level of EU has been pursued primarely in the Erasmus+. Its realms of education have been coordinated and implemented by CMEPIUS. The same as students, preschool teachers, school teachers and other education staff participate in various parts of the programme, in particular in projects (leaders of which are organisations and individuals) of the Key action 1 – Learning mobility of individuals and Key action 2 – Strategic partnerships.
Furthermore, they may partake continuous professional development abroad (both education and training, as well as contact seminars) supported by the eTwinning funds.
Mobility of teachers and education staff in projects of learning mobility of individuals
Projects of learning mobility of individuals in school education (basic, vocational and professional education and training from preschool to upper secondary level) may include one or several types of staff mobility (of 2 days to 2 months, time for travel excluded):
- teaching at partner school abroad
- structured courses or training abroad, and
- workplace study visits.
Projects aim, in particular, to enable the professional and personal development of staff as this impacts greatly the improvement of quality of teaching and innovation and creativity in education.
Projects of learning mobility of individuals in VET support alongside student mobility further two types of staff mobility (of 2 days to 2 months, time for travel excluded): programmes of teaching/training at a partner VET school/organisation abroad, and education and training of staff in the form of work practice or workplace study visits abroad in a company or any other VET organisation. These projects aim to improve the employability of young people and facilitate their transition to labour market, develop partnership between education and employment, as well as match the VET policies to the local, regional and national economic development strategies. At the same time, the activities represent an opportunity for VET staff to acquire competence to teach and interact with learners with disadvantaged background.
Mobility of teachers and professional staff in the scope of strategic partnerships
International activities of learning, teaching and training for individuals may be implemented in the scope of Strategic partnerships in the field of education, but only if the activities add value to the realisation of aims of the individual project. Here, the student mobility is complemented with:
- long-term staff mobility aimed at teaching and training (of 2 days to 12 months), and
- short-term group staff training (of 3 days to 2 months, time for travel excluded).
Both types of staff mobility may be implemented in Strategic partnerships in the field of VET, too. As the main purpose of all strategic partnerships is to support the development, exchange and/or implementation of innovative practices, as well as common initiatives to promote cooperation, peer learning and exchange of experience at the European level.
Under the auspice of the Council of Europe, one organises seminars for teachers and other actors in education, namely within the Pestalozzi Programme. In this programme, the staff may take part in international workshops and European seminars in the Council of Europe member states. The focus of the programmes is on the promotion of the European dimension in education; workshops and seminars address the priority areas of the Council of Europe, such as: education for democratic citizenship, history, languages, and so forth.
The Slovenian education system aims to promote the development of multilingual competence of individuals and plurilingual competence in the education realm. In previous years, several projects had been developed at the national level in which public and private educational institutions, as well as universities participated. Certain projects have completed already, others continue, some started anew. Based on national laws and interstate bilateral agreements and documents, one has been implementing a spectrum of activities for schooling of national minorities and cross-border Slovenian national minorities. Furthermore, the Ministry of education administers the network of teachers of Slovenian language for Slovenians across the world, and provides funds to compensate their service.