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Schools in Slovenia have less favourable disciplinary climates in science lessons compared to other OECD countries, according to students’ reports in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2015, with an index of disciplinary climate of -0.07 (the OECD average index value was 0.00). Student truancy was lower than the OECD average, however: 12.4% of 15-year-olds reported skipping at least one day of school in the two weeks before the PISA 2015 test, compared to the average of 19.7% (OECD, 2016[1]).

The PISA 2015 index of instructional educational leadership (measuring the frequency with which principals report doing leadership activities specifically related to instruction) was among the highest in the OECD at 0.62 (the OECD average was 0.01) (OECD, 2016[1]). The proportion of lower secondary teachers in 2016 aged 50 or over was 36.3%, which was higher than the OECD average of 35.4%. In 2017, teachers in Slovenia had fewer net teaching hours for general programmes than the OECD average. Teachers annually taught 627 hours at both primary and lower secondary levels, compared to OECD averages of 784 and 696 hours, respectively (OECD, 2018[2]). According to school principals’ self-reports in PISA 2015, schools in Slovenia have lower levels of autonomy over curriculum than on average across OECD countries: 63.8% of principals reported that the school has primary autonomy over curriculum, compared to the average of 73.4%.

Lower secondary teachers in Slovenia earned 89% of the average salary of a full-time, full-year worker with tertiary education in 2016, which is similar to the OECD average ratio of 91% (OECD, 2016[1]). According to the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) 2018, 77.9% of teachers in Slovenia said that if they could choose again, they would still become a teacher; this was slightly higher than the OECD average of 75.6% (OECD, 2019[3]).

According to school leaders’ reports in PISA 2015, school leaders in Slovenia are more likely than average to conduct self-evaluations of their schools (98.2% of students were in schools whose principal reported this, compared to the OECD average of 93.2%) but are much less likely than average to undergo external evaluations of their schools (46.7% of students were in schools whose principal reported this, compared to the OECD average of 74.6%). The share of students enrolled in secondary schools whose principal reported in PISA 2015 that standardised tests are used to make decisions on students’ promotion or retention was 21%, which was less than the OECD average of 31% (OECD, 2016[1]).

In 2017, school autonomy levels over resource management (allocation and use of resources for teaching staff and principals) were higher than the OECD average: 50% of decisions in Slovenia were taken at the school level, compared to the OECD average of 29%.

Slovenia’s annual expenditure per student at primary level in 2015 was USD 8 542, which was close to the OECD average of USD 8 631. At secondary level, Slovenia spent USD 8 290 per student, compared to the OECD average of USD 10 010, while at tertiary level (including spending on research and development) Slovenia spent USD 10 208 per student, compared to the OECD average of USD 15 656. In 2015, expenditure on primary to tertiary education as a proportion of gross domestic product (GDP) was 4.3% in Slovenia, which was lower than the OECD average of 5%. The proportion coming from private sources (including household expenditure, expenditure from other private entities and international sources) was lower than the OECD average (10.5% compared to 16.1%). Between 2010 and 2015, the relative proportion of public expenditure on primary to tertiary education in Slovenia decreased by 1.3 percentage points, which equalled the average level of decrease seen across OECD countries. During the same period, private expenditure increased by 2.1 percentage points in Slovenia, compared to an OECD average increase of 10.6 percentage points (OECD, 2018[2]).

Evolution of key education policy priorities

Slovenia’s key education policy priorities have evolved in the following ways over the last decade (Table 8.25).

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Table 8.25. Evolution of key education policy priorities, Slovenia (2008-19)

Identified by

Selected OECD country-based work, 2008-191

Evolution of responses collected by the Education Policy Outlook, 2013-192

School improvement

The OECD identified the need to retrain vocational education and training (VET) teachers so as to contribute to improving vocational students’ general skills. [2017]

Slovenia had reported that it prioritises the efficiency of school leadership and governance by introducing, for instance, more flexibility in the organisation of pedagogical work and in the implementation of curricula. This priority prevails. Recently, Slovenia reported prioritising teachers’ professional development and emerging teacher competencies in an increasingly complex and global society that go beyond subject knowledge and their related pedagogical abilities. [2013; 2016-17]

Evaluation and assessment


Achieving a comprehensive framework for evaluation and assessment to improve student outcomes is an ongoing priority reported by Slovenia. [2013]


The OECD has previously recommended that Slovenia reform its universities by enhancing their autonomy, leadership and accountability as well as promoting international co-operation. The OECD also recognises that Slovenia has taken measures to respond to these recommendations since the 2015 Economic Surveys. The OECD further recommended removing the restriction that tertiary-level courses taught in a foreign language must also be taught in Slovenian. This was also recommended to expand the pool of academics that Slovenia could tap, raising the quality of faculties, fostering new research and academic development, and equipping students with knowledge that can help move production closer to the global frontier. [2013; 2015; 2017]

Slovenia reported an ongoing priority of ensuring an effective system of quality assurance in education and further improving evidence-based policies and implementation processes. More recently, Slovenia reported taking measures to ensure greater openness to an international environment, flexibility of study programmes and autonomy of higher education institutions. [2013; 2016-17]


The OECD advised that increasing the share of funding dependent on graduates’ labour market performance would help to better align the supply and quality of education with the needs of society. Given the data indicating that fewer children with lower-skilled parents move to tertiary education than the OECD average, the OECD also identified the need for the Slovenian government to address the issue through an appropriate funding system. The OECD also advised Slovenia to improve co-operation on funding adult learning effectively and efficiently by developing a high-level, cross-sectoral funding agreement, and better targeting the funding of each sector. [2017; 2018]

Slovenia reported taking measures to address the stability of financing and adopting a funding formula for higher education. [2016-17]


1. See Annex A (OECD publications consulted).

2. See Reader’s Guide (years and methods of collection).


Selected education policy responses

Evaluation and assessment

  • In Slovenia, the Central Register of Participants in Education Institutions (Centralna evidenca udeležencev vzgoje in izobraževanja, CEUVIZ, 2011) stores individual, school and education outcome data on students in pre-primary, primary and secondary education, and short-cycle higher vocational education. It is connected to other databases, including the Ministry’s Register of Institutions and Programmes, the Central Population Register, the Register of Social Rights and the Register of Spatial Units. CEUVIZ is used to follow up on key education goals and objectives, make decisions regarding the allocation of public funding, and provide evidence for scientific research and statistical work.

    The Records and Analytical Information System for Higher Education in the Republic of Slovenia (Evidenčni in analitski informacijski system visokega šolstva v Sloveniji, eVŠ, 2012) is an analytical tool linked to the CEUVIZ. It includes data on higher education institutions, publicly verified study programmes, students and graduates. The eVŠ facilitates regular monitoring of the system’s operations and the development and streamlining of higher education policies. In addition, the eVŠ helps verify students’ rights to public subsidies and different forms of financial aid instruments by serving as a main data source on student status (OECD, 2016[507]). It also includes an online application system for enrolment in study programmes and subsidised student accommodation (European Commission, 2015[486]).

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Progress or impact: In 2014, the Records and Analytical Information System for Higher Education (eVŠ ) registered almost 1.5 million views of the student data (OECD, 2016[507]). In 2014, 48 595 online applications were completed, as part of the online application system for enrolment into study programmes and subsidised student accommodation places (European Commission, 2015[486]). It was found that the data collection helped reduce fictitious enrolments in tertiary education, in some cases, by deterring ineligible students from enrolling (European Commission, 2018[508]).

In addition, as of 2016, the Modernising the Organisation of Management and Governance of Data in Innovative Learning Environments project (2016-20), co-financed by the European Social Fund (ESF), aims to support the process of upgrading and interlinking the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport’s existing education records and data collection (from ECEC to upper secondary). The focus is mainly on the Central Register of Participants in Education Institutions (CEUVIZ) and KPIS (a data collection system on school staff and salaries).

According to national information reported to the OECD, at the beginning of 2019, the eVŠ was updated with new administrative data to help monitor tertiary graduates’ employability in Slovenia. This will contribute to evidence-based policy development at the national (ministerial) level and provide higher education institutions with quality data on graduates’ labour market status. This should then support the design and update of study programme curricula, improve the acquisition of relevant skills and strengthen career guidance for students and graduates.

  • The amendment to the Basic School Act (2012) made national student assessments at the end of Grade 6 compulsory for all students. National assessments in Grade 9 continued to be mandatory. A mandatory external assessment, carried out by the National Examinations Centre, includes assessment in the student’s mother tongue, mathematics and a foreign language (European Commission, 2015[486]). Students receive their individual results, and school principals and teachers can access anonymised aggregated results. The main goal of the assessments is to inform school self-evaluation and improvement. As such, results can only be compared with national averages, and not between individual schools (European Commission, 2015[486]). Furthermore, the results of examinations in Grades 6 and 9 have no impact on the overall marks or the further educational progression of students (Eurydice, 2018[509]). In addition, numerical grades were introduced, replacing descriptive grades for students, starting in Grade 3 from 2013 (National information reported to the OECD).

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Progress or impact: As of the academic year 2018/19, the foreign language component of the Grade 9 assessments has been replaced by a rotation of subjects determined annually by the Minister of Education, Science and Sports (MIZS, 2019[510]). According to Art. 64 of the Basic School Act, the minister decides upon the specific subject to be tested at the individual schools each year in September (PIS, 2019[511]). The selection is based on up to four compulsory subjects that are studied in Grades 8 and 9 (PIS, 2019[511]).

Additional education policies of potential interest to other countries

School improvement

  • In addition to the mandatory Headship Licence Programme (1996), Slovenia introduced a new non-mandatory Headship Certificate Programme (HCP, 2012). It aims to enhance and promote professional development for school leaders and improve their leadership practices. The National School for Leadership in Education (NSLE) is in charge of the implementation of the HCP. The HCP was temporarily suspended in 2016 as NSLE gained EU funding for a three-year project, Managing and Leading Innovative Learning Environments (2016-19) (NSLE, 2019[512]). The overall goal of the project is to design a comprehensive model to support head teachers’ instructional leadership and management while providing the conditions for creating innovative learning environments. Findings from this project will also inform the improvement of the HCP (NSLE, 2019[512]). The development of the model includes the areas of consultancy, distributed leadership and career development competences (NSLE, 2019[512]). According to further national information reported to the OECD, while evaluations and reviews by different stakeholders have shown that the proposed model supports the developmental needs of the system, schools and school leaders, a broader consensus will be required if system-wide implementation is to be considered.

  • A one-year Middle Leadership Programme intended for middle leaders (especially subject heads) was developed in 2014 by the NSLE. The programme has received significant attention, mostly because it brings together middle leaders from different types of schools and kindergartens, enables sharing of good practices, is based on compulsory and partly structured schools/kindergarten visits with reflections, and on a variety of experiential methods and techniques that are carried out (e.g. roleplaying, coaching techniques). Yearly evaluations and reviews rate the programme highly, and school principals and schools report on changes that have been successfully implemented. However, one of the biggest challenges reported by participants during evaluations and reviews of the programme is the need to develop incentive mechanisms to reward participation and performance in these teams (leadership and/or development teams) (NSLE, 2019[513]).


Selected education policy responses


  • Slovenia’s National Higher Education Programme (NHEP, 2011-20), based on the NHEP resolution (MIZS, 2011[514]), is one of the country’s targeted strategies designed to achieve the Vision of Slovenia 2050: the creation of a society that provides a high quality of life for inhabitants who trust one another, are innovative, and embrace their local identity and culture. According to recent OECD research on Slovenia, the NHEP seeks to bridge the shortcomings of Slovenia’s higher education system and the projected needs of a knowledge-intensive economy and society (OECD, 2017[515]). The programme defines key goals for the future of higher education, such as quality and excellence, diversity and accessibility, internationalisation, diversification of study structures, and financing of higher education (OECD, 2016[507]). Internationalisation and improved collaboration between higher education institutions are among the top components. For example, the NHEP seeks to increase: the number of foreign-language study programmes offered in all higher education institutions by 2020, with priority given to postgraduate study programmes; the proportion of foreign students to at least 10% of the overall student population; and the proportion of foreign teachers, staff and researchers in higher education to 10% (OECD, 2017[515]).

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Progress or impact: An international review of innovation in Slovenia concluded in 2012 that the NHEP would help to ensure that Slovenia has the human resources required to become a high-performing, knowledge-intensive society. Review recommendations included specifying the means and ends and how various goals might be achieved in practice, as well as addressing the missing elements of formal or informal “bridges” between universities and industry (OECD, 2017[515]). According to national information reported to the OECD, in 2018/19, the share of foreign students was 8.4%. The number of foreign language study programmes was 32 in the first cycle, 79 in the second cycle and 70 in the third cycle.


  • The Act on Occasional Student Work (2014) was incorporated into the Public Finance Balance Act to make student work less attractive to employers. As of 2015, the act required students to make a 15.15% contribution to the pension system, while employers paid 8.85% in pension contributions and 6.36% in healthcare insurance contributions (OECD, 2015[516]). Student workers began receiving a fixed minimum wage of EUR 4.50 per hour, which was 10% below the regular minimum wage at the time (OECD, 2015[516]). According to the European Commission, Slovenia planned to invest additional funding from the increased cost of student labour for employers into scholarships for students in need, with the aim of better fulfilling the original purpose of student work as a social corrective (European Commission, 2015[517]).

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Progress or impact: In 2016, data collected by the European Commission revealed that the number of student jobs had increased while overall earnings of all students remained constant, possibly indicating that students had reduced their hours. As of 2016, temporary contracts for student workers remained the cheapest and most flexible form of employment in Slovenia (European Commission, 2016[518]). At the time of writing of this report, the Slovenian Student Union (SSU) worked for the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities on the development of records on student work with the anticipation to have data available as of 2020 (National information reported to the OECD and (SSU, 2019[519])).

Additional education policies of potential interest to other countries


  • The Opening up Slovenia Initiative (2014) aims to complement existing education practices with innovative, dynamic and open learning approaches. The aim is to make changes to education in seven key areas: 1) transform existing educational methods into innovative, dynamic and open learning tools; 2) restore an environment of co-operation between public, private and voluntary sectors of research; 3) develop and introduce a more open education; 4) build legal mechanisms in support of implementing open education; 5) construct an open platform of information technologies, contents, services, pedagogical concepts and approaches; 6) restore mechanisms for securing a high level of quality and evaluation of services; 7) develop digital competencies within the entire educational system, and carry out concrete, cross-dimensional open education projects (OUSlovenia, 2018[520]). To implement the initiative, the government developed an action programme to set up a blueprint on how a country should go about “opening up education” (OUSlovenia, 2018[520]). Five key areas on education were defined (OUSlovenia, 2018[521]). As of 2018, the work on the different exemplars covering the key areas was still in the first stage of work. For each exemplar, information on key achievements, challenges and focus can be accessed on the website ( (OUSlovenia, 2018[521]).

  • The Slovenian Qualification Framework (SQF, 2016) was developed in reference to the European Qualification Framework (EQF) with the support of the European Union. It is based on learning outcomes, covering all types and levels of qualifications (OECD, 2016[507]). The amendments to the Higher Education Act in 2016 abolished the procedure of programme re-accreditation, thus providing higher education institutions necessary flexibility for quick changes and constant updating of study programmes. Since the amendment, several universities have strengthened internal evaluation processes (National information reported to the OECD).

  • In 2017, to work towards further strategic orientations in the digitalisation of the education sector, Slovenia implemented the “Strategic Guidelines for Further Implementation of ICT in Slovenian Education until 2020”, based on the National Strategy for the Development of Information Society until 2020. This document defines the common vision, goals and principles for further information and communication technology (ICT) implementation in Slovenian educational institutions until 2020. The goals refer to didactics and e-material, platforms and co-operation, e-competencies, informatisation of institutions, e-education (higher education, adult education) and system evaluation (MIZS, 2016[522]).


  • Through the Childminding of Preschool Children Programme (2008, amended in 2012), Slovenian families unable to get a spot in public kindergartens for their children are eligible for grants. The grant amounts to 20% of the cost of the programme in the kindergarten where children would have attended and is paid by the municipality where the child lives, the family or at least one of the parents (OECD, 2015[523]).

  • As of 2008, the Kindergarten Act and the Exercise of Rights to Public Funds Act facilitate payment to parents with two or more children enrolled in pre-primary education, so as to improve access. Evidence collected suggests that the Kindergarten Act has allowed ECEC to be more affordable and has helped increase enrolment rates (OECD, 2018[421]). To further increase ECEC participation, 2017 amendments to the Kindergarten Act aim to enhance flexibility and transparency in public ECEC provision. As of 2018, a new type of short, state-funded programme (240 hours), organised by kindergartens for children not enrolled in pre-school education one year before entering primary school, aims to improve the transition to primary school (National information reported to the OECD).

  • The 2016 Higher Education Act in Slovenia aims to ensure sustainability in financing, greater openness to the international environment, flexibility of study programmes and institutional autonomy. The funding formula was changed with at least 75% of basic funding as a fixed amount per institution. The variable part of basic funding is related to student enrolment and output indicators, such as scientific publications, employment prospects of graduates and industry collaboration. Development funding amounts up to a maximum 3% of all funding. According to the new legislation, funds take into account the macroeconomic environment until they reach 1% of GDP (Ministry of Education, 2017[524]). They include a safety net for maintaining the nominal growth of the previous year’s funds. This measure aims to provide stability for at least the duration of the contract, which is four years. Since its implementation in 2016, the funds have risen on average 5% per year until 2019. The new development pillar has provided for intensive oral and written exchanges between the ministry and institutions. This pillar is also the instrument of additional profiling of institutions in relation to their - and Slovenia’s - strategic goals. The variable part was set to maintain activities considered as valuable and conducive to institutional improvement (Ministry of Education, 2017[524]). While the reform is still very recent, the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport considers that the variable part of the budget encourages universities to set not only short- and long-term goals, but also development goals, in their work plans (National information reported to the OECD).

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