Mobility in short-cycle vocational higher education and higher education
Mobility of tertiary students
The Slovenian Srategy of higher education internationalisation (en .pdf) has several basic goals and to improve mobility of tertiary students is one of them. Supported by initiatives of international and national programmes both the share of students who exercised mobility abroad and the share of foreign students who had joined the Slovenian higher education to complete certain study obligations in the so-called credit mobility has been increasing slowly but surely since 2008/2009. In the study year 2017/2018, the share of students who went on the short-term credit mobility abroad t. y. was at 3 % of the entire student population. In the student population, there were 4 % foreign students on exchange in Slovenia. The study mobility abroad of Slovenian students in 2014 to 2017 took five and a half months on average, the mobility for placement three and a half months. The most popular mobility destinations of Slovenian students are Germany, Spain, Austria, and Portugal. The opportunity for mobility was taken by 14,500 Slovenian students from 2007 to 2018.
Mobility promoting programmes
The Erasmus+, the leading European programme in education and training, aims largely at supporting projects of mobility in short-cycle higher and higher education. The study mobility to and from Slovenia is exercised mainly through the Erasmus+ programme.
The Erasmus+ programme provides students with an opportunity to complete study obligations in part (study mobility) or practical training (mobility for placement) in the programmes of Erasmus+ countries and partner countries. Students may go on a study mobility abroad for no less than 3 and no more than 12 months, for practical training for no less than 2 and no more than 12 months. Since 2014, the mobility for placement has been open to the so-called young graduates, namely the candidate may take on the opportunity within 1 year after the completion of the undergraduate and/or postgraduate studies.
The majority of programmes of student mobility in Slovenia is under the auspice of the Centre of the Republic of Slovenia for mobility and European programmes of education and training (CMEPIUS) in cooperation with the Ministry of education, science and sport (MIZŠ). The Public Scholarship, Development, Disability and Maintenance Fund of the Republic of Slovenia (Fund) allocates every year additional funds for students in the Erasmus+ programme. Thus, students receive extra funds to their monthly Erasmus+. All to widen access to international mobility.
The Ministry of education, science and sport (MIZŠ) puts into practice a complementary scheme for mobility Erasmus+ students with socially weaker background and allocating funds of the European social funds for that purpose. The scheme is aimed at extra co-financing the Erasmus+ grant for those Slovenian students that come from socially weaker circumstances, and allow equal access to the activities of the Erasmus+ mobility to students with disadvantages background, improve the quality and impact of mobility, as well as promote the acquisition of new competences for better employability. In the scope of the scheme, Erasmus+ students from socially weaker circumstances receive extra funds, namely in the amount of €270 per month. The MIZŠ has planned spending of €3.5 million for this purpose and the period of 2016 to 2019.
Since 2014 the Erasmus Mundus has been a component part of the Erasmus+ programme, under the name Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree. In the Erasmus Mundus programme, students from any country in the world, Slovenia too, may apply for the Erasmus Mundus grant to study in one of the eminent international shared study programmes developed and implemented by the consortium of European or even non-European universities. Such programmes have the advantage in allowing students to exchange 2 to 3 universities or educational institutions during the postgraduate study programme (from 2 to 4 semesters). This kind of implementation of the study programme allows students to improve the quality of studies, deepen the specific knowledge, as well as familiarise with various cultural environments and societies. The mobility in these programmes is compulsory. The part of the Erasmus Mundus programme giving students the option to enrol in shared doctoral study programme that ended in 2013, had been assigned to the (EU) programme for research and innovation Horizon 2020 (activity Marie Skłodowska-Curie).
Erasmus+ programme loans
The Erasmus+ Master Degree Loans are new to the Erasmus+ programme. The loans for Master degree study programmes guaranteed by EU and with more favourable repayment terms are available to Master degree students, namely to cover the whole run of the programme. In 2017, candidates had the opportunity to receive the loan Erasmus+ for the Master degree study programme at 5 institutions. One anticipates to add new institutions to the number every year and so increase the possibilities for students and extend the choice of target countries and universities.
Slovenia is one of the founding members (1994) of the Central European Exchange Programme for University Studies (CEEPUS). Currently, the CEEPUS III has been in operation and it will end in April 2025. Basic principles of the programme implementation and its content are similar to those of the European community’s programme. The programme promotes equal partnership among members and in inter-university networks, and supports with scholarships the realisation of the EU goal to improve mobility. Its added value is in its regional coverage as it enables equal partnership, cooperation and exchange with countries that are not (yet) members of the European Union. Inter-university networks provide opportunities for 3 to 10-month mobility of students and short-term mobility of higher education staff under the condition that the study exchange had been validated and recognised at the home institution. Since the implementation of the first agreement in 1994, over 50,000 students and staff exchanged within the programme.
The CEEPUS member states are:
Albany, Austria, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Montenegro, Croatia, Hungary, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Serbia, and Kosovo with special status.
The priority goals of the third programme term focus on common study programmes at a doctoral level and cooperation in the scope of the Strategy EU for the Danube region. The activities of the National CEEPUS office are pursued at CMEPIUS.
Slovenian has entered into bilateral agreements on funding study exchange in the academic year 2018/2019 with: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Greece, Kosovo, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, India, Italy, Mexico, Poland, People’s Republic of China, Russia, Slovak Republic, Switzerland, Serbia, and Turkey.
The bilateral agreements give Slovenian students the possibility to apply for study exchange as well as scholarship in calls for application of foreign institutions.
The public fund promotes short-term mobility by co-financing the participation at international contents of knowledge or research abroad, implementing the Fulbright Scholar Program for visits of doctoral students and post-doctoral researchers to USA, as well as by co-financing doctoral or post-doctoral studies or research at the European University Institute (EUI).
Students study visits outside international programmes and bilateral schemes
The Public Scholarship, Development, Disability and Maintenance Fund of the Republic of Slovenia (Fund) provides scholarships for short-term mobility not included in the existing scholarship programmes in the scope of the Scholarships for study visits abroad of upper secondary students and staff. Candidates for this kind of scholarships are students on a study visit at a foreign institution that the student’s home educational institution in Slovenia had validated and recognised as part of the relevant study programme obligation. Public fund has been promoting with this programme the own initiative of students to search and set up new opportunities for mobility outside conventional scopes and programmes and tailored to the student’s study interest.
The public fund makes a call for application in the scope of development agreements each year for candidates to receive scholarships for postgraduate Eastern Balkans students (target regions in the scope of the internationalisation strategy). In the cooperation with the Foreign Affairs Ministry, there are scholarships available to study in Slovenia for citizens of different countries recipients of the development support. The citizenship, realm and field of study are specified with each public call separately.
The Ministry of Culture (MK) awards every year scholarships for education and training abroad in arts and culture. The call for application usually comes out in April and it is published online on the webpage of the Ministry.
Full support for studying abroad
The public fund supports the students who decide to go abroad to acquire the full educational in the programme of Ad futura scholarship for study abroad. Scholarships are available to post-graduate candidates in natural science, technics and health, and postgraduate candidates in all fields except arts and cultures. Scholarships should cover the fees and living expenses.
Assessment and recognition of knowledge
The competent authority to assess and recognise the level of educational qualification acquired abroad for continuing education in Slovenian is the educational institution on which the candidate wishes to continue education. The competent authority to assess the educational qualification for employment in Slovenia is the Ministry of education, science and sport, the seat of the ENIC-NARIC centre.
Procedures are specified by the law on assessment and recognition of education and training, and relevant to international and national regulations and international agreements on recognition of education and training ratified by the Republic of Slovenia. The Assessment and recognition of education Act (en) that replaced the recognition procedures in Slovenia came into effect in 2004.
Because of numerous amendments to the school systems and implementation of the Bologna system, the law had to be amended, in particular the provisions on recognition of education and training for employment purposes. The amended act was adopted in 2011.
In the scope of Erasmus+ and CEEPUS programmes, the background for recognition of learning outcomes and obligations realised during mobility the study agreement between the home institution, hosting institution and a student. The agreement signed before the departure specify content the student shall study abroad, obligations the student will have to complete, and the number of credit points awarded. The description of the scope and type of practical training is included in the agreement on training signed by all interested parties: home institution and hosting institution at which the student shall do the practical training abroad. The European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System or comparable system facilitate the transfer of credit points and recognition of obligations realised abroad.
Mobility of short-cycle tertiary and higher education teachers
To improve the mobility abroad of Slovenian higher education teachers and education staff has been one of the strategic aims specified with the Strategy for the internationalisation of Slovenian higher education (sl). The indicator in the action plan of the strategy 2016 to 2018 (en .pdf) was targeted at 8% mobile higher education staff until 2020. The planned actions for the realisation of the target include promotional events, financial incentives for mobility, elimination of administrative barriers, and inciting Slovenian citizens on staff at foreign institutions or after completing their doctoral studies abroad to return to Slovenia.
The share of mobile higher education staff was at 7.3 % in 2016/2017 compared to 3 % in 2008/2009; it has been approaching the target goal of the internationalisation strategy.
The aspiration of higher education staff mobility is supported by the Minimal standards for election for appointment of higher education teachers, research staff and higher education staff at higher education institutions. They specify that candidates should submit alongside applicable bibliography, provable citations in scientific literature, and positive evaluation by reporters for election to a title, evidence on successful participation in the international realm, as well. To be elected to a title assistant professor or research fellow, candidates have to be active in international realm. Under special conditions for election to a title associate professor or senior research fellow and professor or research counsellor, the criteria state that candidates shall purse after completed doctoral studies no less than 3 months continuously research or pedagogical activities at a quality foreign university or research institutions.
The exchange of higher education staff is pursued in international programmes, such as Erasmus+ and CEEPUS, bi- or multilateral agreements, programmes or schemes that are coordinated by educational institutions alone or their international offices.
The realisation of the action plan is financially backed by funds of the Erasmus+ European programme that promotes the higher education staff mobility, and by national calls for application in cohesion policy projects under the responsibility of the MIZŠ.
National initiatives for higher education staff mobility
The first and foremost aim of the scheme for mobility of Slovenian higher education teachers (sl) is to better the international profile of the Slovenian higher education and partnership linkage with foreign higher education institutions; at the same time, it allows for the exchange of lecturers from Slovenia at foreign higher education institutions.
In June 2018, the Ministry of education, science and sport published yet second public call for application in the scope of the scheme, namely the public call for Higher education staff mobility 2018–2021 (sl) estimated at €2.1 million that are financed in part by the development funds of the European structural funds. The call for application is planned for the realisation of mobility of at least 150 Slovenian higher education teachers of 3 to 6 months. During mobility, the Slovenian higher education teacher who is at least part-time staff at the higher education institution in Slovenia has to participate in the organised study process at the foreign institution.
The Ministry of education, science and sport published via the Fund a call for application in 2016 (€1.46 million) and in 2018 (€0.95 million) to fund project visiting at Slovenian higher education institutions with the aim to promote visiting of Slovenian doctors of science that pursue their activities abroad at Slovenian higher education institutions. In total, there were or are planned to be financed 70 visiting activities of 3 to 12 months. In 2019, one plans to make another call for application estimated at €1.25 million.
The goals of the higher education internationalisation strategy include also the promotion of the foreign higher education teacher mobility to Slovenia. Slovenia has been promoting through various programmes and actions the increase in number of visiting foreign professionals and higher education teachers at Slovenian higher education institutions. Further to the European programme Erasmus+, bilateral agreements and exchange in the networks of the CEEPUS programme, the Ministry of education, science and sport published a call for application to fund Shorter and longer visits of foreign professionals and higher education teachers at Slovenian higher education institutions 2016 to 2018 estimated at €3 million, namely in the scope of the cohesion policy actions. The call planned for over 350 activities of visiting professionals.
International programmes for promotion of short-cycle tertiary and higher education teachers
The Erasmus+ programme is the manifested and leading programme for mobility of teachers and education staff in short-cycle tertiary and higher education. The teachers have got the opportunity to perform 8 hours of lectures at a higher education institution in one of the programme or partner countries, namely as part of the short-term staff mobility of 2 days (5 days from and into partner countries) to 2 months. The education staff and teachers improve their competence in the scope of various trainings (participation at an international week abroad, job shadowing, attending a workshop, study visit) of 2 days to 2 months at any institution abroad that has the capacity to impart the knowledge and share experience the staff needs to improve the quality of own work, as well as for professional and personal development. In the Erasmus+ programme and its predecessor from 2007 to 2016, this kind of teaching and training was pursued by over 4,100 higher education teachers and other education staff.
The CEEPUS is a regional programme for the exchange activities of higher education teachers (weekly to monthly) through the implementation of visiting lectures at a higher education institution in member countries that include a 6-hour pedagogical obligation in all 5 days of mobility. The programme operates based on networks. Individual universities, faculties and their departments set up a network of similar or complementary study content.