European, global and intercultural dimension in curriculum development
Currently, there has been modernisation of the education system and development of the national education programme 2023–2033 ongoing. To support the process, one developed the key basic premises, among others:
- Introduction of learning two foreign languages in the compulsory programme
- In providing a safe and supportive learning environment, proposed measures to justify and set up implementation models for learning foreign languages that would enable all students at the level of the system to attain the highest possible level of proficiency (CEFR) and provide equal opportunities in learning foreign languages.
To position education in the international arena is one of the guiding principles of the Slovenian education system. Educational institutions in Slovenia can introduce mobility directly into the school programme and annual work plan.
The Organisation and Financing of Education Act specified under basic goals of education and training:
- Facilitating integration into the European integration processes
- Education and training for sustainable development and active inclusion in a democratic society, including in-depth knowledge and a responsible attitude towards oneself, own health, other people, own and other cultures, the natural and social environment, and future generations.
The White Paper on Education 2011 as a strategic document for the development of education sets out under the general principles of education and training human rights, autonomy, fairness and quality. The principle of the provision of quality education, in line with the interpretation of the White Paper, includes consideration of the need for quality education to provide a level of knowledge internationally comparable to that of other countries, while respecting and ensuing from the cultural and historical traditions on which Slovenia is based, and considering its positioning in the European social, cultural and political environment.
Children start learning multiculturalism already in kindergarten and it is an integral part of lifelong learning in Slovenia.
Early education and care of preschool children
In the Kindergarten Curriculum, the global goals include among others:
- Becoming aware of own and other language, as well as own and other cultures
- Experiencing the status of Slovenian language as the state language.
Kindergartens can offer early language learning and carry out many projects, including those with an international dimension.
Compulsory basic education
The most basic school subject curricula include the European dimension, a cross-curricular content and connections. The European dimension, which sometimes includes explicit European Union content, is most often seen in basic school curricula (ISCED 1 and 2) in subjects such as learning about the environment, society, history, geography, and citizenship, national culture and ethics. Various intercultural aspects are also included in the teaching of compulsory and optional subjects of foreign languages.
Basic schools can organise for immigrant students, children with an immigrant background or members of other national communities in Slovenia the supplementary lessons of their respective first language and culture, of which the main goal is to foster and promote the learning of the first language.
Upper secondary education
There are relevant documents that list the basic goals of the upper secondary education programmes, among others:
- Transfer knowledge, at an internationally comparable level, required to continue to higher education or transfer knowledge and vocational skills required to pursue the chosen vocation or profession and/or to continue education
- Develop and foster own cultural tradition, as well as educate about other cultures and civilisations
- Educate about popular culture and civilisation values passed down by the European tradition
- Enable the integration into the European division of labour.
In gimnazija programmes (general, professional), the intercultural dimensions are covered with the learning standards of subjects such as history, geography, sociology, philosophy, Slovenian and foreign languages, as well as the compulsory optional content of education for peace.
In upper secondary vocational and technical education (ISCED 3), in subjects of history, geography and sociology, Slovenian and foreign languages.
It is compulsory to learn at least one foreign language in upper-secondary technical education, and two in gimnazija programmes. In the open curriculum, schools can offer more foreign languages, in line with the interests of students and the economy. An additional module on intercultural competences has been developed for upper secondary students to prepare for international mobility and improve their foreign language proficiency and learn about the culture of the country in which they plan to study.
In vocational education, the Copenhagen Process has been an important aspect of European cooperation. The subject curricula are flexible, modular and competence based. One of the objectives is to strengthen the European dimension to prepare students to work in an international environment. The credit system makes it possible to combine learning pathways (this includes studying abroad).
The International Baccalaureate Programme has been provided at certain Slovenian gimanzije, namely for students in the last two years. The programme takes 2 years to complete. After they pass the examination, they can apply to any domestic and numerous universities around the world.
Partnerships and networks
The National Agency for European Community Programmes and International Mobility Programmes (CMEPIUS) supports, assists and promotes the international cooperation of education institutions and learners within the European area, in special cases, also beyond Europe.
Cooperation in the form of partnerships and networks takes place primarily in the context of the European Erasmus+ programme, Key Action 2: Partnerships for cooperation (Cooperation Partnerships and Small-scale Partnerships), whereby it involves working towards, developing and testing tangible solutions and ideas to cater to actual issues in local, national or European education space.
Slovenian schools are active in the e-Twinning action, as well. The action is the support activity of the Erasmus+ programme in school education (general and vocational) designed to support and promote the use of modern ICT in education and training systems.
Slovenia is a member country in the European Schoolnet which supports cooperation between European ministries of education and links school networks at the national level. Its primary objective is to promote innovation and the effective use of modern ICT in learning and teaching.
The National Education Institute Slovenia, the main developer of subject curricula for general education, participates in various international educational projects and networks. One of them is the Consortium of Institutions for Development and Research in Europe (CIDREE), a network of educational bodies which play a key role in the development of national education programmes or education research.
Slovenia is also involved with the Centre Européen pour le Développement de la Formation Professionnelle (Cedefop). The European educational foundation has entrusted the National Observatory of Slovenia at the Institute of the Republic of Slovenian for vocational education and training (CPI) with the role of the national coordinator.
The staff at CPI participate in various development groups and international networks. The institute hosts several national coordination points, among them the National Centre Europass of which the main aim is to raise awareness of the Europass system and bring together the shareholders at the national and European levels in the light of providing efficient and user-friendly solutions.
The Centre also host the National Coordination Point for Slovenian Qualifications Framework (SQF) and European Qualifications Framework (EQF) as the link between the European Commission and the member state. It provides relevant information to the EC and domestic stakeholders, prepares reference documents, coordinates the promotion of both frameworks, and so forth.
By law on vocational education, students are issued after they complete the short upper secondary vocational education and upper secondary vocational education programme, a certificate of the final examination or vocational matura, as well as the certificate supplement that must be produced in one of the other EU official languages. It is free of charge.
In 2016, the CPI signed an agreement with the Montenegrin Center za stručno obrazovanje (vocational education centre) on the support and development of vocational education and training.
In 2019, the Institute signed the memorandum of understanding on cooperating in the project among key actors of Hungary, Croatia, Czechia, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Serbia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, and Slovenia. The name of the Project is Learning by Doing: “Targeted capacity building of VET partnerships in the Danube Region for the effective modersniation of VET systems. The aim is to raise awareness and promote partners' goals in cooperation of mutual concern”. The main goal of the Learning By Doing project is to participate in and promote work-based training and vocational education and provide professional assistance to the continuous development and improvement of vocational education systems.