Chapter 2. Strengthening the overall conditions for co-operation in adult learning

Slovenia can strengthen the “enabling conditions” for co-operation in adult learning, by taking action in three areas. These are: developing a comprehensive adult-learning master plan; strengthening cross-sectoral oversight; and improving information for adult learning. These actions can support co-operation between ministries, municipalities and stakeholders alike. The chapter presents each of these areas for action in turn with 1) an overview of current arrangements; 2) a discussion of the opportunities for improvement; 3) examples of good practice from Slovenia and abroad; and 4) recommended actions for strengthening co-operation in order to boost adults’ learning and skills.

    

Develop a comprehensive adult-learning master plan

Strategies and action plans are essential for setting goals and clarifying roles to co-ordinate the efforts of government and stakeholders in adult-learning systems. They can articulate the challenges requiring co-operation; clarify concepts in adult learning; establish goals, priority groups and targets; allocate responsibility; and establish accountability arrangements. A comprehensive strategy can help governments to improve adult-learning opportunities, increase the efficiency and quality of adult-learning provision, and ensure greater coherence in the delivery of learning (OECD, 2003[1]).

Current arrangements for strategic planning of adult learning

Several pieces of legislation, strategies and plans contribute to the strategic directions for adult learning in Slovenia.

The Slovenian Development Strategy (Strategija razvoja Slovenije 2030) (SRS 2030) notes the importance of ensuring that lifelong learning is of high quality, accessible and reaches the largest proportion of the population as possible, especially disadvantaged groups. It adopts a target to increase the participation of 25-64 year-olds in learning from 11.6% in 2016 to 19% by 2030 (based on the European Union Labour Force Survey). The SRS 2030 also adopts a target to increase the employment rate of 20-64 year-olds from 70.1% in 2016 to 75% by 2030 (Šooš et al., 2017[2]).

The 2018 Adult Education Act (Zakon o izobraževanju odraslih) (ZIO-1 Act) is the central piece of legislation for adult learning in Slovenia, defining the “public interest” and priorities for public funding. The ZIO-1 Act regulates non-formal education and training and “second-chance” basic school education (ISCED levels 1 and 2, i.e. primary and lower secondary) for adults. It establishes key principles, goals and public services for Slovenia’s adult-learning system, as well as defining adult education institutions, implementation of educational programmes, adult learners’ rights, financing and quality assurance arrangements (see Annex Table 2.A.1 for more details).

The ZIO-1 Act (2018) replaced the ZIO Act (1996), with the main additions being:

  • the definition of second-chance elementary schools and guidance services as a “public service”, which ensures increased and more stable financing from the national budget

  • the definition of public network of public providers, which ensures stable and equal distribution of adult education services throughout Slovenia

  • the requirement for Slovenia’s municipalities to develop annual plans for adult education

  • more details on the required content of a national long-term master plan for adult education, including methods of co-ordination and monitoring implementation, and defining the “competent ministries” jointly responsible for implementing it (see Annex Table 2.A.2 for more details).

The ZIO-1 Act stipulates that adult education services in the public interest (and eligible for public funding) be determined and delivered based on a national long-term master plan. Slovenia’s current Adult Education Master Plan (Resolucija o nacionalnem programu izobraževanja odraslih v Republiki Sloveniji za obdobje 2013-2020) (ReNPIO), established under the ZIO Act: 1) defines the goals of adult learning; 2) identifies priority areas for public funding, focusing on vulnerable groups; 3) defines the activities necessary for the implementation of adult learning; and 4) determines the total amount of public funds for adult learning.

Table 2.1. Slovenia’s Adult Education Master Plan (2013-20)

Content

Purpose

To define adult-learning activities in the public interest (and eligible for public funding), stating goals, priority areas, activities and volume of public funds necessary for the implementation of adult education.

Scope

Education, training and learning of adults who have completed primary education. Includes adult participation in all levels of formal education with the exception of higher education (which is covered by a separate Resolution on National Programme of Higher Education).

Process for development

The ReNPIO was created by a working group appointed by the Minister of Education, comprising representatives of: six ministries – the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport (Ministrstvo za izobraževanje, znanost in šport) (MIZŠ), Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities (Ministrstvo za delo, družino, socialne zadeve in enake možnosti) (MDDSZ), Ministry of Health (Ministrstvo za zdravje) (MZ), Ministry of Agriculture and Environment (Ministrstvo za kmetijstvo in okolje), Ministry of Culture (Ministrstvo za kulturo) (MK), and Ministry of the Interior (Ministrstvo za notranje zadeve) (MNZ); the Slovenian Institute for Adult Education (Andragoški center Republike Slovenije) (ACS); representatives of the Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Vocational Education and Training (Center Republike Slovenije za poklicno izobraževanje) (CPI); and representatives of the SSIO. After obtaining the opinion of the SSIO, the government proposed ReNPIO for adoption to the National Assembly.

Identified adult-learning challenges

• low levels of education and skills among older adults compared to the OECD average

• non-participation of vulnerable groups in adult learning

• inappropriate system environment, including unstable financing and lack of inter-ministerial co-operation.

Target groups

• the unemployed over 50 years old without a vocational or professional background, and lower basic or vocational skills

• employees over 45 years old with low levels of education and/or skills, or who face psycho-physical barriers to work

• young people who have dropped out of school

• the less educated and other vulnerable groups, such as early school leavers, socially deprived, immigrants, Roma, older adults, people with disabilities and criminals

• other groups with limited access to social, cultural and economic goods, such as farmers and rural population.

Priority areas

1. non-formal general education (including basic skills)

2. formal “second-chance” primary or secondary education, and formal part-time higher vocational studies

3. formal and non-formal education to meet labour market needs (such as formal vocational qualifications).

Goals and targets

Four adult-learning goals, with indicators for measuring their attainment:

1. raise the attainment level and the level of basic skills of Slovenian population

2. increase the employability of active population

3. improve opportunities for learning and participation in education

4. improve general levels of education.

Planned activities

The involved ministries will implement eight clusters of activity to realise the four goals: 1) research and development; 2) professional development of adult-learning staff; 3) quality assessment and development in adult learning; 4) information activity; 5) education and training programmes; 6) counselling activities; 7) identification and recognition of knowledge; and 8) promotion of lifelong learning.

Roles and responsibilities

The MIZŠ and MDDSZ have lead responsibility. The implementation of the ReNPIO 2013-20 is the responsibility of all line ministries funding adult education.

Implementation and accountability

Ministries’ activities and expenditure in adult learning are:

• documented in the forward-looking LPIOs, adopted by the government

• reported in annual reports, co-ordinated in the Adult Education Co-ordination Body (Koordinacija izobraževanja odraslih) (AE Body) by the MIZŠ, commented on by the SSIO, and submitted to government

• reported in biennial reports, submitted by government to parliament.

Source: Dovžak et°al. (2014[3]), Adult Education Master Plan 2013-2020, http://arhiv.acs.si/dokumenti/ReNPIO_2013%E2%80%932020.pdf.

The ReNPIO was developed collaboratively by six ministries, two research institutes and the Council of Experts of the Republic of Slovenia for Adult Education (Strokovni svet Republike Slovenije za izobraževanje odraslih) (SSIO), before being adopted by the government and the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia (parliament) (Table 2.1). Development of the next national, long-term master plan for adult education for 2021 onwards is now starting, and will be based on the new ZIO-1 Act.

Regular planning and reporting is in place to help monitor and facilitate the implementation of the ReNPIO. The MIZŠ, in co-operation with other responsible ministries, develops forward-looking annual plans (Letni programi izobraževanja odraslih v Republiki Sloveniji) (LPIOs). The MIZŠ also submits annual reports (Poročilo o realizaciji Letnega programa izobraževanja odraslih Republike Slovenije) to the government on progress implementing the LPIOs. Nine ministries submitted information about their adult-learning programmes and expenditures to the MIZŠ for inclusion in the most recent LPIO and annual report. The SSIO comments on each LPIO and annual report before it is adopted by the government. Based on the LPIO and annual reports, the government submits biennial reports to parliament on progress implementing the ReNPIO (Dovžak et al., 2014[3]).

The ZIO-1 Act does not regulate education and training in “second-chance” upper secondary school (ISCED 3), tertiary education (ISCED 5-8), or specific economic sectors. Instead, these are regulated by separate acts. Therefore, the ReNPIO does not set Slovenia’s strategic directions for these areas of adult education and training, which are instead articulated in various sectoral strategies (Table 2.2). For example, tertiary education for adults forms a small part of the Resolution on National Programme of Higher Education 2011-20 (Resolucija o nacionalnem programu visokega šolstva 2011-2020) (ReNPVŠ). Established under the Higher Education Act 1993 with amendments (Zakon o visokem šolstvu), the ReNPVŠ considers adult education and training in the framework of “lifelong learning” and envisages equal opportunities for students of all ages to study at the tertiary level. It has two high-level goals related to adult participation in higher education: part-time options for study programmes; and non-formal (flexible) adult learning to enable adults to acquire skills and qualifications for professional development (see Annex Table 2.A.3 for more details).

Table 2.2. Adult learning in sectoral strategies

Name of strategy

Lead ministry

Adult learning-related content

Resolution on National Programme of Higher Education (2011-20) (Resolucija o nacionalnem programu visokega šolstva 2011-2020) (ReNPVŠ)

MIZŠ

Considers adult education and training in the context of “lifelong learning”, and envisages equal opportunities for students of all ages to study at tertiary level. It states that tertiary education should be tuition free for all individuals who have not already attained a tertiary education and who complete the study in a prescribed time. It states all study programmes should be offered on a part-time basis to cater to (employed) adults. It also highlights the importance of tertiary institutions offering different kinds of non-formal and flexible adult learning, enabling individuals to acquire competences and qualifications necessary for their professional development.

Active Employment Policy Guidelines 2016-20

MDDSZ

Adult education is one of the three guiding principles of these guidelines. The guidelines state that training and education measures for the active population (unemployed, employees and other jobseekers) should be strengthened and their competences, knowledge and skills improved in accordance with the needs of the labour market.

Slovenian Smart Specialization Strategy (Slovenska Strategija pametne specializacije) (S4)

SVRK

The S4 Strategy has a strong focus on human resource development. Strategic Research and Innovation Partnerships work closely with Competence Centres for Human Resources Development (Kompetenčni centri za razvoj kadrov 2.0) (KOC) focusing on identifying the competences required in specific S4 priority areas, and the design and implementation of the training programmes.

Digital Slovenia 2020 (Digitalna Slovenija 2020) (DSI 2020)

MJU

DSI 2020 supposes that learning process based on greater use of the opportunities offered by ICT for education will contribute to greater motivation and participation in adult education.

Framework Programme for the Transition to a Green Economy

(Okvirni program za prehod v zeleno gospodarstvo)

MOP

One of ten key areas in the framework programme states that young people and adults need to be provided with the conditions for acquiring the knowledge, skills and competences necessary for the transition to a green economy. This knowledge must be built into the concept of lifelong learning.

Public Administration Development Strategy 2015-2020 (Strategija razvoja javne uprave 2015-2020) (SJU 2020)

MJU

The expected results of the SJU 2020 target for enhancing the competence of civil servants include strengthened internal training and upgraded knowledge among civil servants.

Active Ageing Strategy (Strategija dolgožive družbe 2017)

MIZŠ

One of the four pillars of this strategy is “labour market (employment) and education”. Under access to education and training it provides eight guidelines for adapting the educational system and programmes, which will lead to improved adult participation in lifelong learning, the labour market and society

Sources: Government of the Republic of Slovenia (2015[4]), Slovenian Smart Specialization Strategy, www.svrk.gov.si/en/areas_of_work/slovenian_smart_specialisation_strategy_s4/; Government of the Republic of Slovenia (2016[5]), Digital Slovenia 2020 – A Strategy for the Development of Information Society by 2020, www.mju.gov.si/fileadmin/mju.gov.si/pageuploads/DID/Informacijska_druzba/DSI_2020.pdf; Bednaš and Kajzer (2017[6]), Active Ageing Strategy, www.vlada.si/teme_in_projekti/strategija_dolgozive_druzbe/; MOP (2015[7]), Framework Programme for the Transition to a Green Economy, www.vlada.si/fileadmin/dokumenti/si/projekti/2016/zeleno/opzg_akcijski_nacrt_in_nacrt_aktivnosti.pdf; Jelenc (2007[8]), Lifelong Learning Strategy in Slovenia, www.mss.gov.si/fileadmin/mss.gov.si/pageuploads/podrocje/razvoj_solstva/IU2010/Strategija_VZU.pdf; MJU (2015[9]), Public administration 2020. Public Administration Development Strategy 2015-2020, http://www.mju.gov.si/en/areas_of_work/public_administration_2020/.

Opportunities to improve strategic planning of adult learning

The strategic framework for adult learning in Slovenia is quite comprehensive, and provides a reasonable basis for effective co-operation between ministries, municipalities and stakeholders. Slovenia’s long-term development strategy (SRS 2030) includes goals for adult-learning participation. The ZIO-1 Act establishes the ReNPIO to determine public funding priorities for a large part of the adult-learning system. The ReNPIO is supported by regular planning and reporting to government and parliament (LPIOs, etc.). Several sectoral strategies and policies acknowledge the importance of adult skills and learning.

However, the success of Slovenia’s strategies and action plans to facilitate co-operation and partnerships between ministries, municipalities and stakeholders in adult learning has been limited by several factors, and could be strengthened.

Despite being Slovenia’s national, long-term plan for adult education, the ReNPIO does not cover all forms and levels of adult education and training. Consistent with the scope of the ZIO Act, the ReNPIO has a strong focus on publicly funded general non-formal adult education and training, and second-chance basic education (ISCED 1-2) for adults. The ReNPIO does not cover adult education and training which is:

  • entirely privately funded by employers or individuals, which represents the majority of adult-learning participation in Slovenia

  • established under sectoral legislation, such as for agriculture, public health or the public administration

  • in higher education (ISCED 6-8).

Where the ReNPIO does reference adult-learning policy and activity beyond the scope of the ZIO Act, its impact appears to be limited. The ReNPIO includes priorities, goals and targets related to “second-chance” upper secondary school (ISCED 3), short-cycle higher vocational studies (ISCED 5), and education and training for the registered unemployed. However, as adult education in these areas is established in separate legislation for schools, higher education and active labour market policy, the ReNPIO has limited jurisdiction and impact in these areas. The ZIO-1 Act does not reference the sectoral acts covering areas of adult learning, nor do they reference the ZIO-1 Act.

Slovenia’s adult-learning related priorities and goals remain dispersed across multiple policies and strategies (Table 2.2). In some respects this is positive, highlighting the priority that different ministries put on adult learning. However, these goals and priorities are quite diverse, and the potential interactions between them is not well-understood or monitored.

Furthermore, the current ReNPIO is not well connected to other levels of education or sectors relevant to adult learning. For example, there remains a lack of strategic connection between the “first-chance” education system for youth and “second-chance” education system for adults. The ReNPIO does not articulate the role of the school system in improving skills over time or preparing young people as lifelong learners. Nor does the ReNPIO articulate how:

  • its goals will contribute to the achievement of Slovenia’s national development strategy

  • it will complement (contribute to and/or benefit from) related labour market, welfare, economic development or other policies and strategies

  • municipal- and regional- level policies will contribute to the achievement of ReNPIO’s goals and targets.

Previous studies have similarly noted this dispersion and disconnect, and the need for greater integration and coherence between adult learning and related policies and systems (Jelenc, 2007[8]; Ivančič, Špolar and Radovan, 2010[10]).

Representatives of several ministries participating in this project stated that this dispersion and disconnect limits the ability of ministries to agree on priorities for adult skills and learning, or ensure coherence between adult learning and related policies. Furthermore, several local actors involved in implementing adult-learning programmes (including representatives of adult education centres and municipalities) were confused by ministries’ diverse goals, target groups and programmes for adult-learning. This poses a particular challenge for attempts to align national, regional and local efforts in adult learning (see Action 5).

Furthermore, several groups of adult-learning stakeholders were not involved in creating the ReNPIO. The ReNPIO was developed by a working group comprising representatives from ministries, public institutes and the SSIO, before being adopted by the government and parliament (see Table 2.1). However, the Economic and Social Council (Ekonomsko-socialni svet) (ESS) and representatives of municipalities, regional development agencies and adult learners were not involved. According to several participants in this project, as a result of this (and the limited scope of ReNPIO), the ReNPIO is viewed largely as a MIZŠ document, and lacks sufficient ownership and buy-in from all ministries and stakeholders.

The ReNPIO does not sufficiently clarify common concepts and definitions for adult learning. As in other countries, Slovenia’s adult-learning system is characterised by a diverse range of forms of adult learning, providers, learning contexts and targeted skills. Several participants in this project stated that different ministries and stakeholders currently lack a shared understanding of what constitutes adult learning, which undermines their ability to co-ordinate. This challenge has been identified in previous studies (Jelenc, 2007[8]).

Strategy must be followed by implementation. The participants in this project stated that although Slovenia has developed a rich set of strategies with targets/goals for adult skills and learning, it has been relatively weak at successfully implementing policies to achieve these objectives. One study concluded that Slovenia has been through a “period of designing documents rather than a period of implementation” in adult learning (Ivančič, 2011[11]) in (Markowitsch, Käpplinger and Hefler, 2013[12]).

The ReNPIO does not articulate the roles of different actors in achieving its goals, or the role of co-operation between them. The ReNPIO states that its implementation is the responsibility of line ministries, but does not detail the ministries’ roles, or the roles of municipalities, employers, social partners, service deliverers and other stakeholders. It envisions better co-ordination of stakeholders and of recognition of prior learning, but provides no further details. Finally, the ReNPIO does not articulate how individual ministries, municipalities or social partners will be held accountable for achieving its goals.

One aim of the annual LPIOs has been to build shared responsibility, co-ordination and accountability among ministries for realising the ReNPIO’s objectives. However, representatives of the ministries participating in this project agreed that in practice the LPIOs are only a compendium of ministries’ existing adult-learning programmes. They do not affect the policies or programmes of the ministries. Furthermore, the LPIOs are not comprehensive. Ministries have not been obliged to submit details of their adult-learning programmes for the LPIO, although the ZIO-1 Act seeks to increase ministries’ participation. For example, the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology (Ministrstvo za gospodarski razvoj in tehnologijo) (MGRT) is not included in the 2018 LPIO, despite funding several programmes that involve elements of adult learning. Finally, because ministries do not share a standard definition of what constitutes adult learning, some participants in this project raised concerns that some relevant adult-learning programmes may be omitted, while some of the programmes included could arguably be omitted.

The participants in this project cautioned against creating “just another strategy” but there was general consensus about the need for a more comprehensive plan for adult (or lifelong) learning, that facilitates co-ordinated and effective action by ministries, municipalities and stakeholders.

The ZIO-1 Act and the new ReNPIO (2021 onwards) represent an opportunity for Slovenia to develop a truly comprehensive master plan for adult learning. The ZIO-1 Act requires Slovenia’s next national long-term plan for adult education to better articulate the methods of co-ordination and monitoring, and to define “competent ministries” jointly responsible for implementing the plan (see Annex Table 2.A.2 for more details). It is critical that the next ReNPIO meets not only these requirements, but addresses the limitations described above in order to facilitate co-ordination between ministries, municipalities, employers, social partners and other stakeholders for adult learning.

In the longer term, Slovenia should assess whether its dispersed legislative framework for adult learning is a barrier to developing and implementing coherent and effective adult learning policies. It should also consider whether it needs a broader, lifelong learning strategy (such as the 2007 Lifelong Learning Strategy; see Box 2.2) to facilitate coherence between first-chance education and adult education and training.

Previous studies have made recommendations related to strategic planning in adult learning in Slovenia (Box 2.1).

Box 2.1. Previous recommendations: A comprehensive master plan for adult learning

White Paper on Education in the Republic of Slovenia (2011)

Despite not being formally adopted by government, the white paper provided a systematic review of the structure and functioning of Slovenia’s education system, and proposed reforms aimed at ensuring the provision of quality education in the future. It recommended that the ReNPIO remain a document that determines the public interest in adult education, and that its implementation be ensured through annual adult education programmes.

Access of Adults to Formal and Non‐Formal Education – Policies and Priorities – The Case of Slovenia (2010)

This study focused on the contribution of Slovenia’s education system to the process of making lifelong learning a reality, and its role as a potential agency of social integration. It recommended that adult education should be adequately positioned within national strategies as a public good generating social, cultural and human capital.

Lifelong Learning Strategy of Slovenia (2007)

The Lifelong Learning Strategy (Strategija vse življenjskosti učenja v Sloveniji) (LLL Strategy) was predicated on the need for a comprehensive policy that integrated all areas of education into a coherent system, and linked economic, social and cultural objectives. The LLL Strategy recommended, among other things:

  • preparing a special law to promote lifelong learning, and adapting legislation for education, regional development and local self-government, employment and tax legislation to realise the LLL Strategy

  • developing consistent terminology in the field of lifelong learning

  • linking the LLL Strategy with relevant programmes and strategies in the areas of literacy, higher education, labour market development and employment and active ageing, among others

  • establishing administrative and representative bodies to be responsible for implementing the strategy and programmes

  • determining the obligations and role of state authorities in promoting and developing lifelong learning at the national, regional and local levels.

Lifelong Learning: Patterns of Policy in Thirteen European Countries (2007)

This review of lifelong learning policy and practices in 13 countries including Slovenia recommended better and more integrated involvement of social partners and stakeholders, and an effectively articulated lifelong learning strategy, to play a role in overcoming problems of co-ordination.

Sources: Krek and Metljak (2011[13]), Education White Paper of the Republic of Slovenia, http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/1195/; Jelenc (2007[8]), Lifelong Learning Strategy in Slovenia, www.mss.gov.si/fileadmin/mss.gov.si/pageuploads/podrocje/razvoj_solstva/IU2010/Strategija_VZU.pdf; Ivančič, Špolar and Radovan (2010[10]), Access of Adults to Formal and Non-Formal Education – Policies and Priorities: The Case of Slovenia, www.dcu.ie/sites/default/files/edc/pdf/sloveniasp5.pdf; Holford et al. (2007[14]), Lifelong Learning: Patterns of Policy in Thirteen European Countries. A Review of Lifelong Learning Policy & Practices in Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, England, Estonia, Flanders, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, Norway, Russia, Scotland, Slovenia. Sub-project 1, http://porocila.acs.si/datoteke/LLL2010%20SP1%20Comparative%20Report%20Final%20July%202007.pdf.

Examples of good practice for strategic planning in adult learning

Slovenia’s ambitious LLL Strategy (2007), while not formally adopted by the government, was an example of a comprehensive strategy covering adult-learning and related policies (Box 2.2).

Box 2.2. Good practice in Slovenia: The 2007 Lifelong Learning Strategy of Slovenia

The LLL Strategy was finalised in 2007 by a working group of experts appointed by the Minister of Education and Sport, as required for the EU programme Education and Training 2010. It was approved by three councils of experts: for general education, vocational and technical education, and adult education, and ultimately adopted and approved by the then Minister of Education and Sport. However, neither the LLL Strategy nor its operational plan were formally adopted by the government.

The LLL Strategy sought to introduce lifelong learning as the guiding principle of all education and learning, and as the fundamental means of social development in Slovenia. It included:

  • an overview of the process and sources for creating the strategy

  • 14 key objectives for lifelong learning, such as “make all people aware that they are entitled to learning and education” and “integrate all areas of education in a coherent system”

  • an overview of the rationale and basis for the strategy

  • definitions of key terms in lifelong learning, such as “learning” versus “education”

  • 10 “strategic cores” for implementing and promoting lifelong learning, such as “integrated systemic regulation and interaction of all learning” and “network of all opportunities and the purposes of learning”

  • an explanation of the relevance of lifelong learning at each stage of life and level of education, from childhood to higher education and adult learning

  • 15 measures for implementing the strategy, such as “updating educational programmes, curricula and catalogues of knowledge standards according to lifelong learning elements”

  • a stand-alone operational plan of 28 pages, defining:

    • activities for implementing the strategy (content), categorised in three groups - joint tasks that concern all areas of the strategy, tasks in initial education, and tasks in continuing education

    • institutions and instruments for carrying out activities

    • resources and funding

    • deadlines for implementing the activities.

Source: Jelenc (2007[8]), Lifelong Learning Strategy in Slovenia, www.mss.gov.si/fileadmin/mss.gov.si/pageuploads/podrocje/razvoj_solstva/IU2010/Strategija_VZU.pdf.

The DSI 2020 is an example of a highly inter-ministerial and cross-sectoral strategy in Slovenia (Box 2.3).

Box 2.3. Good practice in Slovenia: Digital Slovenia 2020 as a comprehensive, cross-sectoral strategy

The DSI 2020 is Slovenia’s umbrella strategy for developing an “information society”. It establishes strategic orientations and forms a framework for incorporating related strategies (Plan for the Development of Next Generation Networks to 2020 and the Cyber Security Strategy).

Recognising the strong horizontal nature of ICT and the information society, an inter-ministerial working group involving 13 ministries and the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy (Služba Vlade Republike Slovenije za razvoj in evropsko kohezijsko politiko) (SVRK) was established to prepare the DSI 2020. Drafts were discussed in public consultations, conferences and direct meetings with wide range of stakeholders – non-governmental organisations (NGOs), business representative associations of the ICT sector and the general public – before being formally adopted by the government in 2016.

Both a top-down and bottom-up approach to implementing the DSI 2020 are in place.

From the top, the Slovenian Digital Coalition Management Board, consisting of nine members (three representatives of businesses, two representatives from the public administration, two researchers, one representative from an NGO and a technology expert) lead, manage and co-ordinate the implementation of the strategy. Each year the board prepares a plan of key projects for the following year. The Ministry of Public Administration prepares and submits annual reports on the implementation of the strategy in the previous year to the government. The ESS is informed about progress in implementing the strategy.

From the bottom, the Slovenian Digital Coalition comprises stakeholders representing businesses, the sciences, education, public administration, the public sector, municipalities and civil society.

The coalition’s main activities are to: 1) identify the needs of firms and NGOs; 2) develop specific projects; 3) propose changes in the legal and regulatory framework; 4) prepare proposals for education programmes and models; and 5) arrange awareness-raising activities to enhance the visibility and user-friendliness of digitalisation. The various work streams of the coalition gather and discuss their activities in an annual forum.

Sources: Government of the Republic of Slovenia (2016[5]), Digital Slovenia 2020 – A Strategy for the Development of Information Society by 2020, www.mju.gov.si/fileadmin/mju.gov.si/pageuploads/DID/Informacijska_druzba/DSI_2020.pdf; Klitou et al. (2017[15]), Slovenia: Slovenian Digital Coalition, https://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/dem/monitor/content/slovenia-slovenian-digital-coalition; information provided by the MJU (10 August 2018).

Several OECD countries have developed comprehensive and cross-sectoral strategies that help co-ordinate the efforts of different actors and set the direction for adult learning and skills.

In Estonia, the Estonian Lifelong Learning Strategy 2020 is the guiding instrument for education policy and funding in the country. It covers the formal education system (early childhood education, primary, lower secondary, upper secondary, vocational schools, higher education institutions and other education institutions), as well as non-formal education (including on-the-job education and retraining) and informal learning of all kinds. The development of the strategy involved a diverse group of stakeholders including the Ministry of Education and Research, The Estonian Co-operation Assembly, The Estonian Education Forum, civil society organisations, and the Central Government of Estonia (Estonian Ministry of Education and Research, 2014[16]; UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning,(n.d.)[17]; EPALE, 2018[18]; OECD/ELS, 2018[19]).

In Ireland, the Further Education and Training Strategy 2014-2019 sets the direction of adult education and training for individuals, employees and employers. The strategy establishes a comprehensive set of education and training programmes according to the needs of different adult populations. Its implementation is co-ordinated by the Irish Further Education and Skills Service, and involves close collaboration between the Department of Education and Skills, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, employers, education providers and other stakeholders (Government of Ireland, 2014[20]; OECD/ELS, 2018[19]).

In Norway, the Norwegian Strategy for Skills Policy 2017-2021 incorporates a whole-of-government approach and strong stakeholder involvement (Box 2.4).

Box 2.4. International good practice: The Norwegian Strategy for Skills Policy

In 2017, Norway adopted the Norwegian Strategy for Skills Policy 2017-2021, following up on the recommendations of the 2012-14 OECD Skills Strategy Project. This advised Norway to develop a skills strategy incorporating a whole-of-government approach and strong stakeholder involvement.

The Norwegian strategy is a binding agreement among the Strategy Partners, namely the government, employer associations, trade unions, the voluntary sector and the Sami Parliament. This strategy delineates the roles and responsibilities of each partner. For example, the government (ministries), in co-operation with social partners, is responsible for the development and implementation of the skills policy, and for ensuring co-ordination across policy sectors and levels of government. Municipalities, including local and regional authorities, are the school owners and provide numerous services to the end user. Employers provide training at the workplace, often in collaboration with other partners. The Sami Parliament ensures that the authorities enable the Sami people to have the necessary linguistic and cultural expertise to develop Sami society and businesses. The voluntary sector contributes to skills development both within and outside the labour market.

In addition, the strategy notes the importance of partners working together to develop and implement measures. For example, the Norwegian county municipalities are responsible for the development, with other skills policy partners, of regional skills policy. Vocational and professional institutions and employers should co-operate to allow work placements during the period of study.

The Norwegian strategy is overseen by the Skills Policy Council and includes a Future Skills Needs Committee. The council consists of representatives of all the Strategy Partners and is in charge of the follow up of the strategy. They meet regularly during the strategy period and discuss feedback from the Future Skills Needs Committee, as well as other relevant issues. The council is responsible for assessing the strategy in the second year, and will decide whether it should be renewed. The committee is in charge of compiling and analysing information about Norway’s skills needs, both national and regional, and consists of researchers, analysts and representatives of all the Strategy Partners.

Sources: OECD/ELS (2018[19]), “Policy questionnaire: Readiness of Adult Learning Systems to Address Changing Skills Needs”; Government of Norway (2017[21]), Norwegian Strategy for Skills Policy 2017-2021, www.regjeringen.no/contentassets/3c84148f2f394539a3eefdfa27f7524d/strategi-kompetanse-eng.pdf.

Recommended Action 1: Improving strategic planning in adult learning

In light of these current arrangements, challenges and good practices, Slovenia can improve its strategic framework to better facilitate co-ordination between ministries, municipalities and stakeholders in adult learning, by taking the following actions.

Action 1

The government and adult-learning stakeholders should develop a comprehensive adult-learning master plan for 2021 onwards. The master plan should set priorities and targets for all forms and levels of adult education and training (publicly and privately funded); clarify the main roles and responsibilities of each sector in adult learning (and the role of partnerships between them); establish performance indicators and, where public funding is involved, accountability for implementation; complement other major sectoral strategies; and contribute to the achievement of the SRS 2030 goals for adult learning.

The master plan should be supported by an effective oversight body for adult-learning policy making (Action 2), high-quality information (Action 3), capacity building in the public administration (Action 4), the efforts of local and regional actors (Action 5), effective stakeholder engagement (Action 6), more effective awareness raising (Action 7) and improved funding arrangements (Action 8).

More specifically:

  1. 1. In creating the master plan, Slovenia should ensure:

    1. a. Whole-of-government and cross-sectoral oversight and accountability. Specifically, an improved AE Body should be made formally responsible and held accountable for overseeing the drafting and implementation of the master plan, with expert input from the SSIO (Action 2).

    2. b. Widespread engagement with adult-learning stakeholders. Ministries, municipalities, employers, social partners, providers of adult-learning services, representatives of learners and other stakeholders from the national, regional and local levels should be actively engaged in creating the master plan.

    3. c. Coherence with existing high-level and sectoral strategies. The master plan should set the course for achieving the adult-learning related goals and targets in SRS 2030, and reference and complement sectoral strategies in related policy areas (labour, welfare, economic development, public administration, environment, agriculture, culture etc.).

    4. d. Utilisation of existing processes where appropriate. Using the process for developing Slovenia’s Adult Education Master Plan (Resolucija o Nacionalnem programu izobraževanja odraslih) for 2021 onwards, including its annual plans and annual reports.

  2. 2. The master plan should clearly identify:

    1. a. Challenges and opportunities: why is a master plan needed, given the skills challenges and opportunities individuals, different economic sectors and sections of society are facing in Slovenia?

    2. b. Concepts and definitions: what constitutes adult learning in the Slovenian context, including types of formal and non-formal education and training and informal learning for adults, the diverse range of public, private and non-profit providers of adult learning, and the learning contexts in which adults can develop different skills?

    3. c. Goals, priority groups and targets: what are Slovenia’s goals for the adult-learning system, and which groups of adults will Slovenia target with adult-learning services as a priority in the short, medium and long term? What are Slovenia’s measurable targets and timelines for these goals and priority groups? Also, how do these goals and targets connect to Slovenia’s broader development goals?

    4. d. Governance, roles and responsibilities: how will ministries, municipalities, social partners, service deliverers and other stakeholders share responsibility, co-ordinate and form partnerships to achieve the goals of the master plan (including financing adult learning – see Action 8).

    5. e. Accountability and evaluation: how will each sector be held accountable for fulfilling its responsibilities? How will performance in achieving the master plan be measured, monitored and publicly reported over time, to foster transparency and trust in the adult-learning system? What is the role of the whole-of-government, cross-sectoral body for adult learning (Action 2) in implementing the master plan?

  3. 3. The master plan should be accompanied by regular action/implementation plans that document the joint and individual adult-learning activities and expenditures of all relevant ministries, municipalities, social partners, service deliverers and stakeholders, and report on the contribution of these activities to achieving the goals of the master plan.

Strengthen cross-sectoral oversight and accountability in adult learning

A holistic approach to adult learning requires effective co-ordination structures encompassing formal and non-formal education and training and informal learning, for different skills and purposes. Many OECD countries have institutions to co-ordinate adult and lifelong learning policies. Co-ordination institutions can establish priorities, define appropriate financial incentives to increase participation, contribute to defining information and guidance, and improve the quality of provision through collaboration among the different partners involved (OECD, 2005[22]). The level of responsibility given to these institutions can range from “advisory” to “policy making” (Table 2.3).

Table 2.3. Institutions for adult learning with varying degrees of policy responsibility

Description

Advisory institutions

These focus on including partners and providing advice to the central authorities in charge of adult learning or to the relevant ministries. They traditionally include the social partners, private or public suppliers of learning, and local development agents.

Co-ordination institutions

These focus on developing mechanisms for joint planning or delivery where appropriate. They seek to improve information or to set up better evaluation efforts, rather than simply offering a forum for providers to share information about their activities.

Policy-making institutions

These focus on improving provision of services, research, information and guidance – in short, they function as a central authority for adult learning. Their role is to establish national priorities to balance education and labour market programmes, vocational and non-vocational programmes, and the relative roles of national and local governments. They also set training priorities for specific groups such as women and immigrants, and for potential new programmes and services.

Source: Adapted from OECD (2005[22]), Promoting Adult Learning, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264010932-en.

In Slovenia, ten ministries of the central government currently have legislated responsibilities related to adult learning (Table 2.4). Municipalities, providers, employers and their chambers, trade unions and other stakeholders support and/or implement adult-learning programmes.

Table 2.4. Ministries’ adult learning-related responsibilities

Ministry

Formal responsibilities

Law

MIZŠ

Main responsibility for adult education and training. It implements the ReNPIO, prepares the LPIOs, oversees officially recognised programmes, co-funds programmes, and is responsible for formal basic, secondary and tertiary education for adults.

Adult Education Act (1996, 2018)

Elementary School Act (2006)

Higher Education Act (1993) with amendments

MDDSZ

Oversees the Active Labour Market Policy (including education and training) and administers the national vocational qualification system (including recognition of adults’ prior learning).

Labour Market Regulation Act (2010)

MKGP

Education, training and counselling and awareness raising in agriculture, forestry, food and nutrition.

Agriculture Act (2008)

MZ

Health prevention education.

Health Services Act (2005)

MK

Non-formal adult education in the field of culture, literacy and the Slovenian language.

Exercising of the Public Interest in Culture Act (2002)

Cultural Heritage Protection Act (2008)

Librarianship Act (2001)

MJU

Oversees education and training in the entire public administration.

Public Employees Act (2007)

MNZ

Driver education.

Drivers Act (2016)

MP

Education in correctional facilities.

Enforcement of Criminal Sanctions Act (2000)

MOP

Awareness raising on environmental issues (sustainable development, nature conservation, environment protection, transition to a green economy).

Nature Conservation Act (1999)

Environmental Protection Act (2004)

MGRT

Entrepreneurship education.

Supportive Environment for Entrepreneurship Act (2007)

Source: Eurydice (2018[23]), Adult Education and Training: Slovenia - Distribution of Responsibilities, https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/national-policies/eurydice/content/adult-education-and-training-77_en.

There is some strength in this diversity. The ministry closest to the targeted end user of adult-learning services is often the one developing programmes. For example, the Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for agricultural training while Ministry of Health is responsible for health prevention education. However, this diversity makes it both challenging and imperative to collaborate and co-ordinate to achieve policy coherence.

Current arrangements for effective oversight of adult learning

Slovenia has several bodies to help facilitate a co-ordinated approach to developing and implementing adult-learning policy. These are the AE Body (Box 2.5), the SSIO (Box 2.6), the Council of Experts for Vocational Education and Training (Strokovni svet za poklicno in strokovno izobraževanje) (SSPSI) and the ESS.

Box 2.5. Current arrangements in Slovenia: Adult Education Co-ordination Body (AE Body)

In 2015, the Minister for Education, Science and Sports established the AE Body to:

  1. 1. identify priority tasks for adult learning

  2. 2. co-ordinate the responsibilities and tasks of different actors related to setting up a public adult education network, changes to the Adult Education Act, LPIOs, and formulating proposals to different institutions responsible for performing tasks in the field of adult learning

  3. 3. develop social partnerships in adult learning.

The body has 24 members, representing the nine ministries included in the LPIO, public institutes (the ACS and CPI), expert councils, associations of adult-learning providers, the AE Association, business chambers and trade unions, and one municipal association. It is chaired by the Minister of Education, with ministerial representatives ranging from state secretaries to the mid-management level.

The AE Body meets irregularly as issues arise. Originally, it met approximately once a month in 2015-16, but now meets approximately twice a year. At a recent meeting (October 2017) the AE Body discussed the report for parliament on the implementation of ReNPIO in the period 2014-16, as well as progress in implementing the European Agenda for Adult Learning in Slovenia.

The AE Body has not been delegated any authority or policy decision-making capacity, either by legislation or ministerial decree. Furthermore, the decree is silent on the AE Body’s accountability, resourcing and role with regards to its relationship to other bodies such as the SSIO.

Sources: MIZŠ (2015[24]), Decision on the appointment of the AE Body, www.andragosko-drustvo.si/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Sklep-Koordinacija-IO2.2.2015.pdf; MIZŠ (2017[25]), Invitation to the AE Body meeting, http://tvu.acs.si/datoteke/EPUO2017/WP1_5_Invitation_October%202017.pdf.

The SSIO acts in an advisory role to the MIZŠ to support the ministry’s decisions on adult-learning policy (Box 2.6). Recognising the importance of receiving cross-sectoral input on adult learning-related policy, in 2008 and 2015 the ACS proposed expanding the membership of the SSIO to include all relevant ministries, as well as adult education providers. However, these recommendations were not implemented.

Box 2.6. Current arrangements in Slovenia: Council of Experts for Adult Education (SSIO)

The SSIO was established in 1996 under the Organization and Financing of Education Act (Zakon o organizaciji in financiranju vzgoje in izobraževanja) (ZOFVI Act) to support MIZŠ’ decision making on adult-learning policy. It has a government mandate of six years.

The SSIO monitors and evaluates development needs and opportunities, quality and international comparability in adult education and training. It performs tasks such as officially recognising adult-learning programmes for public funding, and approving textbooks and teaching materials for these programmes. It also deals with other expert issues related to the development and operation of the adult education system, such as discussing the proposed new Adult Education Act.

The SSIO comprises a president and 14 experts on adult education, appointed on the recommendation of 4 ministries (4 members), employer associations (3 members), trade unions (3 members), association of public institutions for adult education (2 members), other adult education organisations and respective associations (2 members).

The SSIO has three committees, on strategic issues, curricula and textbooks. The Strategic Issues committee (Komisija za obravnavo strateških vprašanj) can discuss any issues within the remit of the SSIO, and express opinions and make proposals to the SSIO, including on LPIOs and annual reports for the ReNPIO (see Action 1).

The ZOFVI Act does not grant the SSIO any decision-making capacity of its own in adult-learning policy. Nor does the act define accountability arrangements for the SSIO or specify the SSIO’s role with regards to other bodies such as the AE Body, other expert councils, the ESS or other ministries.

The Rules of Procedure for the SSIO stipulate that funding for its operations are provided from the budget of the MIZŠ. These funds are dedicated to reimbursing expenses incurred by members of the council and attendance fees.

Sources: National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia (1996[26]), Organization and Financing of Education Act, http://pisrs.si/Pis.web/pregledPredpisa?id=ZAKO445; ACS (2008[27]), Expert Bases for the Preparation of the Draft Adult Education Act, Proposal, http://arhiv.acs.si/porocila/Strokovne_podlage_za_pripravo_osnutka_zakona_o_izobrazevanju_odraslih.pdf; SSIO (2013[28]), Rules of Procedure on the work of the SSIO, www.mizs.gov.si/fileadmin/mizs.gov.si/pageuploads/podrocje/strokovni_sveti/vladni/SSIO/Poslovnik_SSIO_20131219.pdf; Beltram et al. (2015[29]), Expert Bases for the Renewal of the Adult Education Act, http://arhiv.acs.si/ZIO/ZIO_strokovne_podlage_24122015.pdf.

The SSPSI has similar functions to the SSIO, but with a focus on vocational education and training (VET), including upper secondary VET (important for second-chance education for adults) and short-cycle higher vocational programmes (important for upskilling or reskilling for adults). It comprises a president and 14 members with expertise in vocational and/or technical education.

The ESS, Slovenia’s foremost tripartite body of government, employer associations and trade unions, sometimes discusses issues related to adult learning. Membership of the ESS includes seven representatives each from employer associations, trade unions and the government (six ministers and the director of the Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development [UMAR]). In areas of relevance to all partners, the ESS monitors and discusses issues, participates in drafting documents, and formulates opinions, positions and proposals. The ESS has discussed various national strategies, called on the government to establish a public network of adult education providers (February 2015), and discussed the Proposal of Apprenticeship Act (November 2016). The ESS’s Expert Committee on State and Public Affairs considers education and training issues, among other policy issues.

Opportunities to improve oversight of adult learning

The AE Body, SSIO, SSPSI and ESS all play a role in facilitating co-ordination and co-operation between ministries, municipalities and stakeholders on adult-learning policy. These bodies are formally established either by legislation or decrees, and some have their own rules of procedure. Overall, they have a broad membership from different ministries and stakeholders.

However, representatives of the ministries and stakeholders involved in this project agreed that the existing bodies do little more than facilitate discussion and information sharing. They are not driving the policy coherence or cross-sectoral partnerships between different actors foreseen in their founding documents, and needed to improve adult learning in Slovenia. On the spectrum shown in Table 2.3, the SSIO and AE Body provide the lowest level of co-ordination as “advisory” institutions.

Indeed, the Professional Bases for Amending Adult Education Act (2008[27]; 2015[29]) concluded that the SSIO cannot establish co-ordination between sectors, only co-ordination between the MIZŠ and the MDDSZ. Furthermore, some ministries involved in the AE Body have introduced similar adult-learning programmes that might have been more cost-efficient and/or effective if jointly designed and funded. For example, the MIZŠ and MDDSZ both fund programmes targeting low-skilled adults aged 45 or above,1 as well as guidance and counselling services for adults.2

Several factors have limited the existing bodies’ effectiveness in driving policy coherence and partnerships.

Neither the AE Body nor the SSIO have decision-making authority in adult-learning policy making or implementation. The AE Body is not established in legislation, and its ministerial decree does not grant it decision-making capacity for adult-learning policy. This reflects the fact that legislative responsibility for different areas of adult education and training is divided across several sectoral acts and delegated to several ministries (Table 2.4). The ZOFVI Act only establishes the SSIO as an advisory body. While the SSIO “publicly recognises” non-formal adult education programmes which become eligible for public funding, it does not develop or approve policy related to adult learning. With the exception of the public recognition of programmes, the MIZŠ is not obliged to follow the SSIO’s advice. The SSIO does not advise the other ministries involved in adult learning.

Not all relevant ministries and stakeholders are members of the AE Body or SSIO. The SSIO does not include representatives of five of the nine ministries included in the LPIO 2018; adult learners, despite being the end users of publicly funded adult-learning services; Regional Development Agencies (Regionalne razvojne agencije) (RRAs), despite all 12 RRAs having adult-learning related targets in their Regional Development Plans (Regionalni razvojni programi); or municipalities, despite their important and growing role in implementing and financing adult-learning services. The AE Body does not include representatives of adult learners or RRAs, but includes one municipal association.

While the ReNPIO envisaged that a group within the SSIO involving all competent ministries would monitor its implementation, this was not realised. The Professional Bases for Amending Adult Education Act (2008[27]; 2015[29]) recommended expanding the membership of the SSIO.

For the AE Body, seniority, continuity of attendance and resources appear to be limiting factors. Representatives of the ministries involved in this project stated that the seniority and decision-making authority of the individuals attending the AE Body differed significantly, ranging from state secretaries to mid-management level. As a result, many participants lack decision-making power, and could not, for example, decide to partner with another ministry to design and fund adult-learning services. Furthermore, the individuals attending can change between meetings, reducing familiarity with other members and the issues at hand. While the AE Body was initially intended to meet monthly, it currently meets every six months. Unlike the SSIO, it does not pay attendance fees to non-government participants and does not have sub-committees to support its activities. Finally, the AE Body does not have a secretariat to provide research, analytical or administrative support.

The relationships between and reporting lines for Slovenia’s existing bodies for adult-learning policy could be strengthened. The SSIO invites the chairs of the SSPSI and Council of Experts on General Education to its meetings. The AE Body includes an SSIO representative, and sends the LPIOs and ReNPIO annual reports to the SSIO for comment before submitting them to the government. However, when and how the SSIO and AE Body should interact with each other, other expert bodies or the ESS is not defined in legislation, decree or rules of procedure. Both the SSIO and AE Body report to the Minister for Education, Science and Sport, but do not report to other ministers overseeing aspects of adult learning. Nor do they interact with the ESS, despite it being Slovenia’s foremost tripartite body for policy negotiations.

A previous study (Drofenik, 2013[30]) which conducted inter-ministerial and cross-sectoral focus groups identified the following conditions for an effective inter-ministerial co-ordination body for adult learning in Slovenia: 1) clearly defined decision-making powers; 2) appointment by the government, rather than an individual ministry; and 3) professional (expert) and financial support for action and decision making. The Professional Bases for Amending Adult Education Act (2008[27]; 2015[29]) recommended strengthening the SSIO’s influence and competences for co-ordination with other ministries and expert councils. The SSIO’s director has proposed several changes to increase its effectiveness, including increasing the number of experts in andragogy and expanding its role to provide opinions on adult-learning laws and regulations, the ReNPIO and related documents, and monitoring and evaluation.

Finally, adult education and training policy does not have a high profile in the ESS. The ESS has a strong focus on labour market and health policy, and frequently discusses issues related to wages, pensions, health and safety, and social insurance. Despite the role of adult learning in improving adults’ skills, employability, earnings and active citizenship, between January 2014 and April 2018, the ESS discussed adult-learning policy only once (February 2015) out of 65 meetings (ESS, 2018[31]). Government, employer associations and unions will need to attach a higher priority to adult learning, particularly given its role in developing firms’ and workers’ adaptability to globalisation, technological progress and demographic change.

Representatives of the ministries and stakeholders involved in this project indicated that they do not want more bureaucracy, but they do want more effective bureaucracy. This requires ongoing monitoring and improvements to ensure that the benefits generated by oversight bodies exceed the costs (participants’ time, funding) of running them.

Slovenia requires an oversight body for adult learning that better facilitates policy coherence and partnerships to improve cost-effectiveness, quality and outcomes in adult learning. This will require a body with broad membership, and clearly and formally established objectives, relationships to other bodies, accountability and reporting lines. It is likely that strengthening the decision-making capacity of one or more of its bodies will be necessary to facilitate policy coherence and partnerships in adult learning.

The planned establishment of a cross-sectoral and inter-ministerial committee and council to oversee realisation of the SRS 2030 goals presents another opportunity for strengthening co-operation in adult learning. Slovenia’s oversight body(ies) for adult learning should eventually report to this committee and/or council.

In the longer term, Slovenia should monitor and evaluate the outcomes achieved from implementing the actions recommended in this report. In light of these results, it should consider, as several other OECD countries have done, whether to give the decision-making authority for adult-learning policy to an inter-ministerial and cross-sectoral commission, or to centralise it in one ministry.

Previous policies and studies have made recommendations related to inter-ministerial and cross-sectoral oversight of adult-learning policy in Slovenia (Box 2.7).

Box 2.7. Previous recommendations: Effective oversight of adult-learning policy

White Paper on Education in the Republic of Slovenia (2011)

The white paper recommended, among other things:

  • enhancing the strategic function, increasing the role of respected experts and including representatives of civil society in the SSIO

  • establishing a cross-sectoral body for the professional co-ordination of the work of individual ministries in the field of adult education

  • reorganising the Department for Adult Education at the MIZŠ into the Directorate for Adult Education, while other ministries should organise adult education into special units (since 2011 the MKGP has established a unit for education).

Lifelong Learning Strategy of Slovenia (2007)

The LLL Strategy recommended, among other things, the establishment of a strategic council for lifelong learning. Implementation of the strategy would require harmonised decision making, which may be ensured only by a special, inter-ministerial and professionally competent body, such as a strategic council. The council would require a suitable formal basis, i.e. institutionalisation. It should link and co-ordinate all ministries around a central objective, that is to promote learning and education in all areas of life and work. In addition to developing and implementing the LLL Strategy in national policy, the council would also be responsible for its broader implementation.

Slovenia: Towards a Strategic and Efficient State (OECD 2012)

Commissioned by the MJU and the Government Office for Development and European Affairs (Služba Vlade Republike Slovenije za razvoj in evropske zadeve), this review identified key issues to address to develop a stronger and more effective central public administration in Slovenia. While not focused on adult learning, the review identified the need for a more coherent Centre of Government in Slovenia to facilitate co-operation, collaboration and co-ordination across the whole public administration. It recommended, among other things, establishing a core Central Office to provide direct support and advice to the head of government and the Council of Ministers, with sufficient capacity and authority, responsible for monitoring and reporting to government on the achievement of the Development Strategy and coalition agreement.

Sources: Krek and Metljak (2011[13]), Education White Paper of the Republic of Slovenia, http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/1195/; Jelenc (2007[8]), Lifelong Learning Strategy in Slovenia, www.mss.gov.si/fileadmin/mss.gov.si/pageuploads/podrocje/razvoj_solstva/IU2010/Strategija_VZU.pdf; OECD (2012[32]), Slovenia: Towards a Strategic and Efficient State, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264173262-en.

Examples of good practice oversight bodies for adult learning

Slovenia’s Strategic Research and Innovation Partnerships (Strateška razvojno-inovacijska partnerstva) (SRIPs) for the S4 are a good example of cross-sectoral policy oversight in Slovenia that could inform oversight arrangements for adult learning (Box 2.8).

Box 2.8. Good practice in Slovenia: Cross-sectoral oversight for the Slovenian Smart Specialization Strategy (S4)

The S4 aims to concentrate development investment in nine areas where Slovenia has both innovation potential and a critical mass of knowledge, capacities and competences. These include smart cities, communities and buildings; sustainable food production; and factories of the futures.

The S4 was developed with input from around 500 stakeholders, including ministries, public agencies, public research institutions, business representative associations and NGOs. These sectors agreed that Slovenia’s development goals can only be achieved through an integrated and holistic approach to addressing area-specific opportunities and challenges.

To realise the priority goals of the S4, the following governance system was created:

  1. 1. SRIPs are stakeholder-initiated partnerships of firms, research institutes, education and training providers and others, responsible for implementing the S4. There is one SRIP for each of the S4 areas, in total involving more than 400 companies and 100 knowledge institutions. SRIPs seek to co-ordinate R&D activities, share capacities and human resource development, exchange knowledge and experience, and collectively represent Slovenia’s interests in the area abroad.

    Each SRIP prepares a roadmap or action plan comprising goals; roadmaps for joint development activities, internationalisation, human resources development, and entrepreneurship and joint services promotion; and a list of changes needed to the regulatory framework.

  2. 2. The National Innovation Platform (NIP) is still being established. It will bring together development-related stakeholders according to the quadruple helix principle (government, research, business and civil society). It is expected to be a consultative body with expertise in national horizontal innovation-related issues, which will monitor S4 implementation within each area and offer its opinion and give recommendations to the national level.

  3. 3. The Governmental Working Group brings together the state secretaries of all 13 ministries directly participating in implementing the S4. It supports and monitors its delivery at the strategic level. The Governmental Working Group is responsible for assessing and approving the SRIPs’ action plans, and overall inter-ministerial co-ordination of S4-related development policy. Since its establishment in September 2016 it has held eight meetings.

Sources: Government of the Republic of Slovakia (2015[4]), Slovenian Smart Specialization Strategy, www.svrk.gov.si/delovna_podrocja/strategija_pametne_specializacije/; information provided by the SVRK, 24 August 2018.

Latvia established an inter-ministerial and cross-sectoral Adult Education Governance Council with decision-making capacity in order to overcome fragmentation and strengthen coherence and co-ordination for adult learning (Box 2.9).

Box 2.9. International good practice: Latvia’s Adult Education Governance Council

In 2016, Latvia’s Cabinet of Ministers approved the Plan on Adult Education Governance Model 2016-20 with the overall objective of increasing participation in adult education and training to 15% by 2020. The plan has the following priorities: 1) developing a unified and sustainable adult education system; 2) ensuring the sharing of specific policies and responsibilities at the sectoral level; and 3) ensuring access to and high-quality adult education for the population regardless of their background.

The implementation and monitoring of the plan required the creation in early 2017 of the Adult Education Governance Council (AEGC). It was created to avoid the historical fragmentation of responsibility in adult education, and to establish a clear division of functions, information exchange and regular communications among the stakeholders involved. The AEGC is an inter-institutional body with representatives from sectoral ministries, municipalities, private companies, educational institutions, adult education centres and NGOs, under the supervision of the Ministry of Education and Science. The State Education Development Agency provides the secretariat and the analytical unit functions of the AEGC.

The main functions of the AEGC are to 1) review and approve priorities for adult education, taking into account labour market information and sectoral expert councils, labour force forecasts, and demand and supply disparities in the labour market; 2) to determine the priority adult education target groups and sectors; 3) to confirm the content of the training to be implemented, including the complementarity of the training between the different target groups; 4) to decide on the principles for allocating funding; and 5) to conduct a regular evaluation of the results of the implementation of adult education.

Prior to the new governance model, adult education in Latvia was provided in a fragmented way by several ministries, within the framework of their competences. The new model is oriented towards effective resource management (including financial resources), based on a transparent and coherent operation system taking into account regional needs and medium and long-term labour market forecasts, to offer adults high-quality education through the development of a coherent regulatory framework.

Sources: OECD/ELS (2018[19]), “Policy questionnaire: Readiness of Adult Learning Systems to Address Changing Skills Needs”; Eurydice (2018[33]), Latvia: Adult Education and Training, https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/national-policies/eurydice/content/adult-education-and-training-40_en; Cedefop ReferNet Latvia (2016[34]), Plan approved by the government for adult education 2016-2020, www.refernet.lv/?p=2241&lang=en; Latvian Cabinet of Ministers (2016[35]), Action Plan for 2016-2020 Development of Adult Education Provision and its governance model, https://likumi.lv/ta/id/281992.

Recommended Action 2: Effective oversight of adult learning

In light of these current arrangements, challenges and good practices, Slovenia has an opportunity to improve the central oversight of adult-learning policy to better facilitate coherence and partnerships between ministries, municipalities and stakeholders. It can do this by taking the following actions.

Action 2

The government should strengthen the capacity and accountability of existing oversight bodies for adult learning to facilitate coherence and partnerships between ministries, municipalities and stakeholders.

To improve inter-ministerial and cross-sectoral co-ordination and partnerships in adult learning, the government should expand the remit and membership of the AE Body, and give it some decision-making capacity over adult-learning policy and expenditure. To improve expert advice for adult learning, the government should expand the remit of the SSIO to advise the AE Body and all ministries involved in adult learning at key stages of policy making (design, implementation and evaluation). It should also increase the number of adult-learning experts in the SSIO.

The government should clearly establish in legislation each body’s objectives and role, relationship to other bodies and accountability (the SURS 2030 body, ESS and parliament), as well as its decision-making and spending capacity. The government should monitor the effectiveness of the renewed AE Body and SSIO over time, and make further improvements as required.

More specifically:

  1. 1. To facilitate coherence and partnerships in adult-learning policy, the government should strengthen the role and impact of the AE Body. It should do this by:

    1. a. Expanding the AE Body’s objectives and responsibilities. This should include:

      1. i. improving participation, learner outcomes and cost-effectiveness in adult learning

      2. ii. overseeing drafting of Slovenia’s adult education master plans, annual plans and reports

      3. iii. facilitating partnerships in adult learning (co-design, co-funding and/or co-delivery) between different actors (inter-ministerial, social and public-private partnerships)

      4. iv. ensuring each ministry’s adult-learning and related policies are coherent

      5. v. making adult-learning policy proposals to the government.

    2. b. Strengthening the AE Body’s accountability. This should be done by:

      1. i. Setting measurable targets such as the number and types of partnerships to be formed, policies to be discussed, and policies to be proposed to government.

      2. ii. Establishing clear reporting lines: the AE Body should inform and support the ESS on adult-learning policy deliberations, report to the ESS and the body overseeing implementation of the SRS 2030 on progress meeting national targets for adult learning, and ultimately be accountable to government and parliament for implementing Actions 1, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 8 in this report.

    3. c. Expanding the AE Body’s membership. The AE Body should include all the ministries that fund adult-learning services, as well as representatives of municipalities and regional development agencies. Efforts should also be made to include representatives of adult learners, especially the low-skilled, unemployed and older workers.

    4. d. Supporting the AE Body with sufficient resources. The government should consider how and to what extent it should be supported by staff (e.g. via a secretariat) and funding (e.g. via its own budget line, or a share of the current total adult education budget line) in order to achieve its objectives.

    5. e. Establishing the AE Body in legislation, rather than by ministerial decree.

    6. f. Monitoring the effectiveness of the AE Body over time. The government should monitor its performance in achieving its objectives over time, and make ongoing improvements to its design as needed.

  2. 2. As its first major task, the AE Body should be responsible for overseeing the creation of an inter-ministerial, cross-sectoral and comprehensive Adult-Learning Master Plan for Slovenia (Action 1), with expert input from an improved SSIO.

  3. 3. To improve the role of experts in adult-learning policy making, the government should:

    1. a. Expand the remit of the SSIO in relevant legislation to provide advice, opinion and proposals:

      1. i. on Slovenia’s adult education master plans, annual plans and reports

      2. ii. on adult-learning policies, as well as policies that interact with adult learning such as labour, development and welfare policies

      3. iii. at key stages of policy making: design, implementation and evaluation

      4. iv. to the AE Body, as it seeks to better co-ordinate and facilitate beneficial partnerships in adult learning, and to individual ministries making adult-learning policies in addition to the MIZŠ.

    2. b. Increase the number of adult-learning experts in the SSIO. These could be nominated by universities, and the increase offset by a reduction in the number of members appointed by social partners (social partners would contribute to adult-learning policy via the AE Body and the ESS).

    3. c. Monitor the effectiveness of the SSIO over time. The government should monitor its performance in achieving its objectives over time, and make ongoing improvements to its design as needed.

Enrich decision making and co-ordination with high-quality information

The Council of the European Union’s Resolution on a Renewed European Agenda for Adult Learning (2011[36]) highlighted the difficulty of adequately monitoring the adult-learning sector, due to a lack of statistical data and evaluation of policy measures. It stated that “evidence-based policy-making in the field of adult-learning calls for comprehensive and comparable data on all key aspects of adult learning, for effective monitoring systems and co-operation between the different agencies, as well as for high-quality research activities”.

Ministries, municipalities and stakeholders require high-quality and comprehensive information and data on adult learning and skills. This can help them form a shared understanding of challenges, opportunities and priorities in adult learning, and can provide a foundation for effective negotiations, co-ordination and partnerships. This includes:

  • Information on adult-learning activities, expenditure and outcomes: this means comprehensive and accessible information on activity and expenditure for all forms and levels of adult-learning. It requires comprehensive and integrated data collection from service providers. It also includes reliable information on the outcomes achieved by different programmes and providers of adult learning, which requires robust approaches to evaluating the personal, economic and social outcomes of adult learning.

  • Information on learning opportunities: this means accessible information about what learning opportunities are available and their potential benefits. It requires high-quality, centralised online information and effective guidance services. Information on learning opportunities can also help policy makers monitor and identify patterns and potential gaps in adult-learning supply.

  • Information on skills needs: this includes reliable information on what skills, knowledge and abilities the economy needs now and in the future. It requires a sufficiently comprehensive and detailed approach to assessing and anticipating skills needs.

Finally, the ministries, municipalities and stakeholder groups involved in steering Slovenia’s adult-learning system need the skills and accountability to make effective use of this information.

Current arrangements for harnessing information about adult learning

Information on adult-learning activities, expenditure and outcomes

Data on adult education and training activity in Slovenia are collected in various official and administrative records, registers and databases by different agencies, as well as through statistical surveys (see Annex Table 2.A.5 for more details). The ZIO-1 Act stipulates that the minister determines how data on formal programmes, publicly recognised programmes and counselling services are kept and processed.

Formal education and training activity by adults

For formal education and training, the MIZŠ administers the Central Register of Participants in Education database (Centralna evidenca udeležencev vzgoje in izobraževanja) (CEUVIZ) and the Records and Analytical Information System for Higher Education (Evidenčni in analitski informacijski sistem visokega šolstva v Sloveniji) (eVŠ).

CEUVIZ covers preschool up to vocational short-cycle tertiary education (ISCED levels 0-5). It collects individual, institution and education data on students, including adult learners. It is used to follow up on key education goals and objectives, to make decisions about rights to public funding and to provide evidence for scientific research and statistical work. Access to the CEUVIZ data is restricted to kindergartens, schools and the MIZŠ. CEUVIZ is linked to other databases such as the MIZŠ Register of Institutions and Programmes, the Central Population Register, the Register of Social Rights and the Register of Spatial Units (OECD, 2016[37]). In addition, the National Examination Centre (Republiški izpitni center) (RIC) collects data on enrolments and success rates of (adult) participants in the matriculation exam (matura), which allows entry to higher education.

The eVŠ holds data on higher education institutions, publicly recognised study programmes, students and graduates (including adult and part-time participants). The eVŠ is an analytical tool that facilitates regular monitoring of the system’s operations and the development and streamlining of higher education policies (OECD, 2016[37]). Researchers typically identify “adult learners” (who previously left education and have since returned) in the data by combining their age (25+) and study load (part-time).

In addition, the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia (Statistični urad Republike Slovenije) (SURS) undertakes two surveys related to adult learning. The annual survey on vocational graduates (ŠOL-DIPL-TERC) goes to individuals completing study programmes in short-cycle higher vocational colleges (ISCED 5). The quarterly Labour Force Survey provides details on adults’ participation in formal and non-formal education and training in the four weeks prior to the interview.

Non-formal education and training activity by adults

The MIZŠ/ACS collect administrative data from providers of publicly recognised programmes in the CEUVIZ database, summary data for publicly funded non-formal education programmes, and administrative data for all programmes funded by the European Social Fund in the eMA database. The Employment Service of Slovenia (Zavod Republike Slovenije za zaposlovanje) (ZRSZ) holds detailed unit-record level data on participants and participation in education and training active labour market policies (ALMPs), as part of its APZ.net database. Data on the education and training of civil servants is decentralised – held by the personnel office of each ministry or government office.

In addition, the SURS undertakes an annual Continuing Education Survey (ŠOL-NAD). The survey is sent to all identified providers of non-formal adult education and training (excluding the public administration), such as adult education centres, school-based units, company-based units, NGOs and others. Based on records held by MIZŠ, ACS and the Business Register of Slovenia, SURS identified approximately 800 providers to receive the survey in 2016. Responses are not mandatory, and 517 providers returned the survey. The data collected include: participants in continuing education by region, type of programme (recognised and non-recognised, field of education) and gender; programmes by region, type and length; and providers by region, municipality, number of employees and their education. Because data on continuing education are not monitored at the individual level, the SURS cannot show the exact number of participants, since some attend several educational activities and are counted several times (Savarin, 2016[38]).

Expenditure on adult education and training

Slovenia has several sources of data on adult-learning expenditure. Ministries and municipalities include expenditure on adult education and training in their annual budgets, and the data are consolidated by the Ministry of Finance. Several surveys estimate employers’ expenditure. The SURS undertakes the Labour Cost Survey every four years, which asks about companies’ vocational training expenditure. Two international surveys – the EC’s 5-yearly Continuing Vocational Training Survey (CVTS) and the European Investment Bank’s annual Investment Survey – also provide data on employers’ expenditure on adult learning. No data on individual or household expenditure on adult learning in Slovenia are currently collected.

Evaluating the outcomes of adult education and training

Practices for evaluating adult-learning programmes differ across ministries and programmes. For example, under the Labour Market Regulation Act (Zakon o urejanju trga dela), the MDDSZ is required to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of active employment policy measures before, during and after their implementation, with evaluations conducted by external contractors. The ex post evaluations determine the effectiveness and efficiency of measures, their impact according to the objectives set for the period (typically employment rates), and the causes of any deviations from the set objectives. The evaluations also include recommendations for more effective implementation of the measures. In contrast, the ZIO-1 Act does not stipulate evaluation requirements for adult education, nor the outcomes to be measured by evaluations.

As a result, different ministries, agencies and public institutions use different methods to evaluate different forms of adult learning (Table 2.5).

Table 2.5. Evaluation of adult learning in Slovenia

Form of adult education and training

Programmes

Responsible authority

Methodologies

Performance measures / Requirements

Formal

Primary

MIZŠ

Registration procedure

Fulfilling professional staff and material requirements.

ACS

Self-evaluation

Attaining the organisation’s self-evaluation goals.

Inspectorate

Regular and extra reviews

Implementation of adult education services according to the law.

Secondary

MIZŠ

Registration procedure

Fulfilling professional staff and material requirements.

ACS

Self-evaluation

Attaining the organisation’s self-evaluation goals.

Inspectorate

Regular and extra reviews

Implementation of adult education services according to the law.

RIC

Matura exam

Success rate (of participants attaining different programmes and providers).

Tertiary

Slovenian Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (NAKVIS)

Accreditation (NAKVIS)

Fulfilling accreditation requirements (for providers: functioning of a higher education institution, staff, material conditions; for programmes: composition and content, the design of the implementation).

External evaluation (NAKVIS)

Fulfilling evaluation criteria (internal provision and improvement of the quality of the study programme, changing and updating the study programme, implementation of the study programme).

eVŠ

Analysing eVŠ data

Completion rates. Students’ employability included by 2020.

Non-formal (publicly recognised)

MIZŠ

Registration procedure

Fulfilling professional staff and material requirements.

ACS

Self-evaluation

Attaining the organisation’s self-evaluation goals.

User-satisfaction survey

User satisfaction.

Occasional external evaluations (ACS)

Appropriateness of the programme according to different criteria.

Non-formal (non-publicly recognised)

Basic skills

ACS

Self-evaluation

Attaining the organisation’s self-evaluation goals.

User-satisfaction survey

User satisfaction.

Analyses of participation rates of specific target groups

Reaching target groups.

Raising employability and job related (active employment policy measures)

ZRSZ

User-satisfaction survey

User satisfaction.

External evaluations (ACS, academics) including interviews and focus groups with providers and participants and statistical analyses.

Employment rates of participants; efficiency of the programmes.

Other ministries’ programmes

providers

User-satisfaction survey

User satisfaction.

Providers of formal education and training are subject to the same evaluation for adult learners as they are for regular students. For example, for upper secondary education the RIC collects data on students’ performance in the matura exam, analyses this by subject, municipality and school, and shares the data with the MIZŠ and schools. The RIC publicly reports the share of enrolled adults who successfully pass the matura exam each year. In tertiary education, providers report administrative data to the NAKVIS and eVŠ systems. Students’ post-graduation employment outcomes will be included in eVŠ by 2020 (Table 2.5).

Slovenia has no systematic quality monitoring or evaluation models for non-formal adult education and training in place (Klemenčič and Možina, 2011[39]).

Providers of non-formal education and training programmes may choose to undertake self-evaluation using the ACS’ framework Offering Quality Education to Adults (Ponudimo odraslim kakovostno izobraževanje) (POKI) (Box 2.10). This measures the achievement of curriculum goals, forms and methods of work, learner satisfaction, educators’ motivation and professional development, co-financing adult education, and organisational culture. The ACS monitors and evaluates new or novel programmes, and reports its findings to the SSIO and MIZŠ. The ACS also undertakes ad hoc evaluation studies (typically of ALMPs), and national and international research projects, including Slovenia’s Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC) results. Other development institutes, the CPI and National Education Institute (Zavod Republike Slovenije za šolstvo) monitor and evaluate new or novel programmes in their fields (vocational and general upper secondary education respectively) and report their findings to their expert councils and the MIZŠ.

The acts defining other ministries’ adult learning-related activities (Table 2.5) do not define any monitoring and evaluation of these activities. Evaluations are limited to irregular user-satisfaction surveys and activity reporting.

Non-formal education and training programmes that are neither publicly funded nor recognised are not evaluated by public bodies or subject to requirements for self-evaluation.

Box 2.10. Current arrangements in Slovenia: Offering Quality Education to Adults (POKI)

The ACS developed the POKI model of self-evaluation in 2001. Adult education and training providers can voluntarily use the model and may receive the POKI quality logo for doing so. Currently, 35 adult education providers have the POKI logo (3 secondary schools, 2 school secondary school centres, 25 adult education centres and 5 private adult education providers).

Providers choose which parts of the educational process to self-evaluate at the institution, programme, department, class and/or staff level under POKI. Self-evaluation consists of the following steps:

  • formation of a quality group inside the organisation

  • self-evaluation planning (setting the vision and values for the organisation)

  • developing a methodology to acquire and evaluate data on current quality levels

  • implementation of self-evaluation

  • evaluation of the acquired data

  • planning and evaluation of measures for improvement.

Providers do not systematically report the results of the POKI self-evaluations to the ACS.

The ACS has set up a network of adult education quality advisors who, among other tasks, offer support and guidance to providers implementing the POKI model. Currently, the network includes 28 quality advisors, qualified people with knowledge about the conceptualisation, systems and processes of quality development in adult education.

The ACS seeks to regularly upgrade the POKI model based on monitoring and evaluation of providers’ satisfaction, implementation and, occasionally, consultation with experts in quality assurance from Slovenian universities.

Sources: ACS (2018[40]), Offering Quality Education to Adults, https://kakovost.acs.si/poki/; information provided by the ACS (27 August 2018).

Information on learning opportunities

Adults in Slovenia can access information on education and training opportunities available to adults from five different online portals provided by four different organisations (Table 2.6).

Table 2.6. Online portals with information on adult-learning opportunities in Slovenia

Platform

Responsible organisation

Forms of learning included

Providers listed

Programmes listed

Formal

Non-formal

Informal

Where to Obtain Knowledge

(Kam po znanje)

ACS

X (up to upper secondary level)

X

X

253

3804

Where and How

(Kam in kako)

ZRSZ

X (all levels)

500 professions with links to formal education providers and programmes involved in MIZŠ register.

e-Advisor

(e-Svetovalec)

ZRSZ

X (all levels)

500 professions with links to formal education providers and programmes involved in MIZŠ register.

My Choice

(Moja izbira)

CPI

X (up to upper secondary level)

500 professions with links to formal education providers and programmes involved in MIZŠ register.

eVŠ

(Visoko šolstvo v Sloveniji)

MIZŠ

X (tertiary level)

105

1010

Sources: ACS (2018[41]), Where to Obtain Knowledge, https://pregled.acs.si/; ZRSZ (2010[42]) Where and How, www.ess.gov.si/ncips/kam-in-kako; ZRSZ (2018[43]), e-Advisor, https://esvetovanje.ess.gov.si/; CPI (2014[44]), My Choice, www.mojaizbira.si/; MIZŠ (2017[45]), Higher Education in Slovenia, http://portal.evs.gov.si/.

The portals differ in their coverage of the different forms and levels of education and training, providers and programmes, and the information and services they provide. All five include formal education and training opportunities to some level. However, as the portal most directly targeted to adult learners, only Where to Obtain Knowledge includes opportunities for non-formal education and training and informal learning. The number of providers and programmes covered also differs for each portal. E-Advisor can display employment data for some professions at the national and regional level. Where and How, and e-Advisor use questionnaires to help users identify relevant opportunities.

In addition to online portals, adults can get information on learning opportunities from guidance and counselling services. Adults considering learning can visit one of the MIZŠ’ 17 regional guidance centres (Svetovalna središča) located in adult education centres, or one of MDDSZ’s 12 regional career centres (Karierna središča) (see Annex Table 2.A.4 for more details).

Information on skills needs

There have been no major changes to Slovenia’s skills assessment and anticipation (SAA) activities since the OECD Skills Strategy Diagnostic Report: Slovenia (OECD, 2017[46]).

Under the Labour Market Regulation Act (2010), public sector and state-owned employers must notify the ZRSZ about job vacancies. Private employers are under no such obligation. The ZRSZ also conducts a representative survey of employers every six months. Employers are asked to report expected changes to employee numbers by occupation, potential recruitment difficulties, and skills lacking among employees. This information is used to prepare a short online report, Employment Forecast (Napovednik zaposlovanja), identifying 20 high-demand occupations and 10 common skills gaps (OECD, 2017[46]).

Otherwise, requirements and responsibilities for SAA are not established in legislation, and various agencies undertake SAA-related exercises, typically on a project basis (Table 2.7). Some municipalities also undertake SAA-related exercises. For example, the Municipality of Ajdovščina commissioned and financed a study on future skills needs to inform the future development of its education policies.

Table 2.7. Skills assessment and anticipation-related exercises in Slovenia

Name

Responsible organisation

Coverage

Timeframe

Methodology

Project

Employment Forecast

ZRSZ

Expected changes to employee numbers by occupation, potential recruitment difficulties, and skills lacking among employees.

Coming year.

Questionnaire to employers.

Ongoing, currently within the ESF project “Increasing effective co-ordination of supply and demand in the labour market” (2016-22)

Occupational Barometer

ZRSZ

Forecasts the demand for workers in specific occupations.

The expected result is a list of professions classified into three groups: shortage of employees, surplus of employees, balanced supply and demand.

Coming year.

Discussions with experts at the regional panels.

Pilot within the ESF project “Increasing effective co-ordination of supply and demand in the labour market” (2016-22)

Scholarship for deficient occupations

MDDSZ, with ZRSZ and the Public Scholarship Development, Disability and Maintenance Fund of the Republic of Slovenia (JŠRIP)

Vocational occupations that have shortages.

Not defined.

Data on educational activity, ZRSZ registrations and labour market data, as well as on the perspectives of social partners and youth.

Ongoing within the framework of different public tenders.

KOC

JŠRIP

Detailed skills needs profiles for specific economic sectors.

The next 5-7 years.

Decided by individual Competence Centres.

Ongoing within the framework of different public tenders.

SPOT Global

Public Agency for Entrepreneurship, Internationalization, Foreign Investments and Technology (SPIRIT)

Not defined yet.

Not defined yet.

Not defined yet.

Establishment and functioning of the National Slovenian Business Point (2018-22).

Forecast of Economic Trends

Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development (UMAR)

Forecast of employment trends.

Coming two years.

Statistical data (SURS, ZRSZ, EUROSTAT).

Ongoing

Sources: JŠRIP ((n.d.)[47]), Public Scholarship Development, Disability and Maintenance Fund of the Republic of Slovenia, www.sklad-kadri.si/; data provided by the JŠRIP (24 August 2018); UMAR (2018[48]), Forecast of Economic Trends, www.umar.gov.si/publikacije/napoved-gospodarskih-gibanj/?no_cache=1; ZRSZ (2010[49]), Increasing effective coordination of supply and demand in the labour market, www.ess.gov.si/o_zrsz/projekti_zavoda/projekt/ucinkovitejse-usklajevanje-ponudbe-in-povprasevanja-na-trgu; information provided by the ZRSZ (9 August 2018).

Opportunities to improve information for adult learning

In Slovenia, various ministries and agencies are involved in collecting and analysing data on adult learning and generating information on skills needs. A wide range of adult-learning providers and employers contribute data and information to these collections, voluntarily or by obligation.

However, representatives of the ministries and stakeholders participating in this project agreed that Slovenia lacks comprehensive and integrated information on adult-learning activities, expenditure, outcomes and opportunities, as well as skills needs. This makes it harder to reach a shared understanding of the challenges, opportunities and priorities for adult-learning policy and funding. In turn, the current information structure is not helping to facilitate effective negotiations, co-ordination and partnerships between the ministries and sectors involved in adult learning.

Information on adult-learning activities, expenditure and outcomes

The government holds relatively comprehensive data on adult enrolment, completion and graduation rates in formal education and training within its CEUVIZ and eVŠ databases. However, there are several gaps in the government’s data collections on non-formal education and training, and expenditure on adult learning.

Public agencies hold activity data for only part of the non-formal education and training system. For example, only 517 of the estimated 800 providers of non-formal adult learning currently submit data to the SURS. All providers of non-formal education and training programmes that receive public funding and/or are publicly recognised by the MIZŠ are obliged to submit activity data to the MIZŠ. However, providers of non-publicly recognised or financed programmes are not obliged to, and do not submit data. This is a concern given that 91% of adult participation in non-formal education and training in Slovenia is in non-publicly recognised programmes (Taštanoska, 2017[50]).

The indicators and details collected by government do not give a comprehensive picture of learning activity. Providers generally submit annual enrolment data but not data on completions, except for formal and publicly recognised education and training. As a result, policy makers have only a partial picture of how many adults successfully complete (or drop out of) publicly funded non-formal programmes. Nor does the MIZŠ or ACS collect individual-level data on adult-learning participants in non-formal programmes. These data predominately come from sample surveys and are at a summary, aggregated level.

Nor are the owners of these databases sharing or linking them. The government and researchers currently have no way of following individuals’ participation across different types of adult-learning services because existing adult-learning databases are not linked for monitoring or research purposes. While it would be feasible to link data from the CEUVIZ and eVŠ databases on adults’ participation in formal education and training, linking data on participation in the non-formal sector would not be possible without an administrative dataset holding individual-level data on participants. It might also be necessary to assign a (existing or new) unique identifier to adult learners to build a complete picture of their use of adult-learning services.

There are also gaps in the government’s current data collections on adult-learning expenditure. This may limit the capacity of government, social partners and individuals to monitor and appropriately share the costs of developing adults’ skills (see Action 8, improving co-operation on funding adult learning).

The ministries funding adult-learning related services do not have a common definition of adult-learning expenditure. As a result, some ministries participating in this project raised concerns that some ministries report expenditure that should not be classified as adult-learning related, while others do not report expenditure that should. While the Ministry of Finance receives and consolidates budget data on municipal funding of adult learning, it does not publicly release the data. And none of the participants consulted during this project knew the data existed. This limits the government’s ability to monitor total public expenditure on adult learning, and may result in under- or over-funding certain activities at the national and local level.

Data on individual, household and employer expenditure on adult learning are very limited. No information on individuals’ expenditure on adult learning is currently collected. Employers’ expenditure on vocational training is available in the national Labour Costs Survey, but this is only run every four years. Providing better information on firms’ investment in training and its impact on business performance and firm value could be a way of successfully promoting adult learning among enterprises. The OECD has encouraged the transparency of human capital investments in firms and the inclusion of training investments in company accounting procedures (OECD, 2005[22]).

Finally, evaluation of and information about the personal, employment and/or social outcomes being achieved by adult-learning providers and programmes is almost non-existent in Slovenia.

In formal education and training, the CEUVIZ, RIC and eVŠ databases include information on adults’ completion and graduation rates, while the eVŠ is being expanded to include graduates’ employment outcomes (although this may be less relevant to adult students, who typically already hold jobs and enrol part time). Evaluation of the ZRZS’s ALMP programmes for the unemployed assess adults’ employment outcomes (Box 2.12). Providers of non-formal adult education and training can voluntarily use the ACS’ self-evaluation tool POKI.

Apart from this, evaluation of adult learning in Slovenia is not focused on outcomes. Evaluation is predominately done ex ante, through accreditation and registration of providers, looking at their processes and inputs. The vast majority of providers have not opted in to POKI self-evaluation. Overall, ministries and service providers appear to face only limited requirements to undertake robust evaluation before and after designing and implementing adult-learning programmes. Several studies have cited the need for better outcomes evaluation in Slovenia’s adult-learning system (Krek and Metljak, 2011[13]), (Jelenc, 2007[8]).

Information on learning opportunities

There are gaps and overlaps in the information provided about learning opportunities for adults on existing online portals. The online platform Where to Obtain Knowledge? Slovenia’s main portal for information for prospective adult learners, covers only 253 of Slovenia’s 500+ (possibly 800) adult education providers. It does not include learning opportunities in tertiary education. In addition, participants stated that the platform is mainly used by guidance counsellors, with relatively little use by prospective adult learners. With the exception of the ZRSZ’s website, the various portals also do not link to each other.

Information on learning opportunities is not well integrated with activity and employment data. The ZRSZ’s e-Advisor portal starts by seeking to understand the user’s professional and career interests. It can then suggest job and learning opportunities, and provides some data on employment numbers by occupation. Apart from this, none of the other portals integrate the demand and supply side of adult learning and skills by combining information on learning and public funding opportunities with employment and earnings prospects.

In Slovenia in 2016, a relatively high share of adults (37.3%) had searched for information about learning opportunities, compared with the EU average of 21.9%). According to the latest available data from 2011, most adults use the Internet for their search (68%), yet this is well below the rate in several countries (over 85% in Lithuania, Finland and Sweden). This highlights the potential for expanding comprehensive and user-friendly online information (Eurostat, 2018[51]).

Merging these portals (or the information within them) into one portal for adult learning could simplify the search process for adults. Expanding their coverage of learning opportunities, and eventually adding skills needs and information about outcomes, could also help more adults find and participate in relevant learning (see Action 7, raising awareness about adult learning).

Information on skills needs

Some ministries are implementing new programmes focused on generating better information on skills in Slovenia. However, Slovenia still lacks a comprehensive SAA approach and widely accepted information on short- and long-term skills needs. Some ministries and stakeholders participating in this project agreed that this limits the ability of different actors to agree on what skills should be prioritised in adult learning, and for ministries to agree on priorities for inter-ministerial co-operation and funding. It may also limit the capacity of adults to make informed learning decisions, guidance services to advise adults and providers to respond to skills needs.

There is a lack of clarity about who is responsible for assessing and anticipating skills needs in Slovenia. The ZRSZ, MDDSZ, JŠRIP, MGRT and UMAR are each undertaking activities related to SAA. To date, the ministries, agencies and stakeholders who would benefit from an effective SAA approach in Slovenia have not collaborated to design a potential solution.

Slovenia’s current SAA system is not comprehensive. Unlike most OECD countries, Slovenia relies almost exclusively on employer surveys to assess current skills needs. While useful, employer surveys are prone to several biases. Successful systems make use of a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods (Cedefop, 2008[52]; OECD, 2016[53]). Slovenia also lacks sectoral or regional information on skills needs. Finally, Slovenia has no comprehensive or co-ordinated system to anticipate future skills needs (Skills Panorama, 2017[54]; Andersen et al., 2010[55]).

Until the data and information gaps on adult-learning activities, expenditure and outcomes, and skills needs are filled, the main actors in Slovenia’s adult-learning system will lack comprehensive information to inform their decisions.

Previous recommendations

Previous policies and studies have made recommendations related to improving information on adult-learning activity and outcomes in Slovenia (Box 2.11).

Box 2.11. Previous recommendations: Integrated information for adult learning

White Paper on Education in the Republic of Slovenia (2011)

The white paper recommended, among other things:

  • Developing and systematically implementing national indicators of the effectiveness and quality of the adult education system. These should be quantitative and qualitative, and based on Slovenia’s broader social development goals.

  • More comprehensive and reliable data on adult learning, and expanded research using these data to monitor the achievements of adult learning. This means expanding monitoring and analysis from participation in adult learning to the effects of investing in education and learning; the quality of adults’ skills; the importance of participation for adults’ active involvement in society, their personal development, community development and solidarity; and the needs of the workplace.

  • Giving the SSIO authority to propose research and evaluation studies not currently covered in the national adult education programme.

  • Developing the quality assessment and assurance system for adult education using internal and external approaches for evaluation. The system should provide timely information on the quality of processes, its results and effects both at the system level and at the level of individual providers.

  • Institutional and programme accreditations with minimum quality standards for operators, and which require periodic evaluation to ensure that standards are met, including external monitoring.

Lifelong Learning Strategy of Slovenia (2007)

The LLL Strategy recommended, among other things, introducing ways of assessing and developing the quality of education at all levels of formal and non-formal education. The LLL Strategy identified measures including supporting different methods of quality assessment, introducing incentives for higher quality work, financing public programmes according to the achieved quality, and carrying out external evaluations at various levels of the system (national, regional, level of providers and programmes).

Slovenia: Towards a Strategic and Efficient State (OECD 2012)

While not specific to adult-learning policy, the review recommended, among other things:

  • Strengthening capacity to prioritise, monitor and evaluate policies, including by improving the quality of data required to prioritise policies and monitor and evaluate policy outcomes.

  • Using targeted programme reviews and evaluation to support budgetary decision making, including through targeted programme reviews, performance audits and capacity building to undertake more complex reviews.

Sources: Jelenc (2007[8]), Lifelong Learning Strategy in Slovenia, www.mss.gov.si/fileadmin/mss.gov.si/pageuploads/podrocje/razvoj_solstva/IU2010/Strategija_VZU.pdf; Krek and Metljak (2011[13]), Education White Paper of the Republic of Slovenia, http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/1195/; OECD (2012[32]), Slovenia: Towards a Strategic and Efficient State, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264173262-en.

Examples of good practices in harnessing information about adult learning

The ZRSZ’s ongoing evaluation of its training ALMPs represents a leading example of outcomes evaluation in adult learning, which could potentially be replicated (Box 2.12).

Box 2.12. Good practice in Slovenia: Evaluation of training active labour market policies

The ZRSZ maintains a detailed register of participants in training ALMPs (APZ.net) that includes personal data on participants; the type, duration and provider of services; financial resources spent; and the completion of programmes. APZ.net is connected with other national databases to enable the monitoring of employment outcomes. The ZRSZ also regularly conducts surveys asking adults to self-assess the knowledge and skills they acquired in the programme, and express their satisfaction with the programmes. The ZRSZ reports these results in its annual reports.

The effectiveness of education and training measures is assessed by various external evaluations and academic studies. These have used methods ranging from surveys and interviews to sophisticated quantitative methods such as propensity score matching, cost-effectiveness estimates and parametric estimation methods. The main outcomes measured are the probability of post-programme employment, the programmes’ impact on the quality of post-programme jobs and cumulative employment and earnings, and the cost-effectiveness of the programmes.

The MDDSZ and ZRSZ have used the results of the studies to improve education and training ALMPs.

The ZRSZ has a clear and detailed legislative basis for monitoring and evaluating outcomes. The Labour Market Regulation (Zakon o urejanju trga dela) includes general provisions on records, monitoring and evaluation of ALMPs. The ALMP Guidelines (Smernice aktivne politike zaposlovanja) outline the indicators for monitoring and assessing the effectiveness of ALMPs, while the ALMP Plan (Načrt za izvajanje ukrepov aktivne politike zaposlovanja) defines the purpose and objectives of ALMP measure implementation in the budgetary period and the method of observing and assessing the ALMP measures.

Sources: Kavkler et al. (2012[56]), Results of the Targeted Research Project No. V5-1045 “Evaluation of the largest ALMPs, including measures undertaken in response to the economic and financial crisis”, www.dlib.si/details/URN:NBN:SI:DOC-KC8H569T/; Beltram et al. (2015[57]), Evaluation of the ALMPs: Institutional Training and Programmes Preparing for the Certification for National Professional Qualification and Basic Professional Qualification, http://arhiv.acs.si/publikacije/Evalvacija_UIP.pdf; Beltram (2016[58]), Evaluation of the ALMP: Involvement of unemployed persons in support and development programmes: Training programmes for the unemployed conducted by the MICs in 2014 and 2015, http://arhiv.acs.si/porocila/Evalvacija_programa_APZ.pdf; Burger et al. (2017[59]), Impact evaluation of key employment programmes in Slovenia. Final report under the component 1, www.mddsz.gov.si/si/medijsko_sredisce/raziskave/; MDDSZ (2018[60]), The Labour Market Regulation, www.mddsz.gov.si/si/delovna_podrocja/trg_dela_in_zaposlovanje/zaposlovanje/zutd/; data obtained by ZRSZ (9 August 2018).

The eVŠ, Slovenia’s system for monitoring enrolments and completions in higher education, is being linked to other national datasets to capture data on graduates’ employment outcomes (Box 2.13).

Box 2.13. Good practice in Slovenia: eVŠ – Monitoring graduate employment outcomes

The eVŠ platform is Slovenia’s system for collecting and analysing data about higher education students, graduates, institutes and staff.

The eVŠ platform is being upgraded to include a module on graduate employability. It will do this by integrating data on graduates’ outcomes from other national records, including the register of insured persons kept by the Institute for Pension and Disability Insurance of Slovenia, the register of unemployed persons kept by the ZRSZ, the register of scholarship holders led by the MDDSZ, and the central register of employees in the education sector led by the MIZŠ. Data on the labour market status of graduates will be available to higher education institutions.

The goal is to support higher education institutions’ quality improvement, including:

  • improving study programmes, to ensure they provide graduates with appropriate skills for the labour market

  • improving professional and career counselling services for students, prospective students and graduates

  • developing more effective support systems for students.

The modernised eVŠ platform is also intended to support policy makers (ministries) to develop a strategic cross-sectoral dialogue on the sectors’ development goals, and to provide incentives for higher education institutions.

Source: MIZŠ (2018[61]), eVŠ Analysis, www.mizs.gov.si/si/delovna_podrocja/direktorat_za_visoko_solstvo/evs/evs_analize/.

In Ireland, the national agency dedicated to workforce learning, Skillnet, is subject to annual, in-depth evaluation by an independent body (Box 2.14).

Box 2.14. International good practice: Ireland’s Skillnet programme evaluation

Skillnet is Ireland’s national publicly funded agency dedicated to workforce learning. It seeks to increase companies’ participation in enterprise training, by operating enterprise-led learning networks in different economic sectors and regions, and offering various other services.

Skillnet programmes are subject to an annual evaluation conducted by an independent agency. The objective of the evaluation is to assess the alignment of activities and outcomes of the Skillnet programmes with the requirements of the National Training Fund, ensuring the best use of public funds. The evaluation process requires extensive primary research involving numerous direct consultations and surveys, complemented with detailed data from internal databases and external sources such as the Central Statistics Office. The evaluation takes place at programme, training activity and network level to examine inputs, activities, outcomes and impacts of all the Skillnet components.

Some highlights of the 2016 evaluation of Skillnet were that member companies and adult learners reported high levels of satisfaction with the relevance of training, quality, contribution to learning and personal development, as well as value for money. Previous evaluations have also shown for example, that 99% of companies surveyed would recommend becoming part of a Skillnet network to other companies.

Sources: OECD/ELS (2018[19]), “Policy questionnaire: Readiness of Adult Learning Systems to Address Changing Skills Needs”; Skillnet Ireland (2018[62]), www.skillnetireland.ie/about/; Indecon (2017[63]), Evaluation of Skillnets TNP, Finuas and Management Works in 2016, www.skillnetireland.ie/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/evaluation_skillnets_programmes_2016.pdf.

Denmark has a comprehensive national portal, UddannelsesGuiden, with sections for adult learners, jobs and careers, and counselling and guidance services, among others (Box 2.15).

Box 2.15. International good practice: Denmark’s comprehensive portal for learning and careers

Denmark’s Education Guide (UddannelsesGuiden, www.ug.dk) is the national information and guidance portal for adults and young learners.

The sub-portal on adult continuing education and training provides information on educational choices for adults from different education backgrounds. It offers detailed information on:

  • education requirements and programmes for different trades and occupations

  • individual education institutions

  • estimated duration of education and training, costs and financial support available

  • how to get knowledge and work experience assessed and recognised, including the preparation process for the Real Competence Assessment (RKV), places, costs and other practical information

  • guidance and counselling services available.

The sub-portal on jobs and careers provides information on the Danish labour market, trades, industries and sectors. This section includes information on current employment opportunities, the work environment, labour legislation, local job centres, education opportunities and other relevant information on the labour market.

The Ask a Counsellor (eVejledning) sub-portal offers a number of ways to get in contact with someone who will provide customised guidance on education and jobs. The service is available every day, including weekends. Users can choose the communication channel that best suits them, either via email, or in real-time via chat or telephone.

Sources: Danish Ministry of Education ((n.d.)[64]), About UddannelsesGuiden, www.ug.dk/programmes/aboutugdk; European Commission (2018[65]), UddannelsesGuiden, https://ec.europa.eu/ploteus/en/content/uddannelsesguiden.

In Latvia, several ministries and sectoral councils have collaborated to develop a comprehensive SAA system (Box 2.16).

Box 2.16. International good practice: Latvia’s skills assessment and anticipation system

Latvia’s SAA system is the shared responsibility of the Ministry of Economics, the Ministry of Welfare, the Ministry of Education and Science and sectoral experts councils. The objective of the system is to develop a co-ordinated approach to forecasting skills demand and supply to inform public policy decisions on employment, education, and social affairs. The responsibilities are shared as follows:

  • Sectoral experts councils assess current skills needs. The councils consist of representatives from employers’ organisations and associations, sectoral trade unions, the Ministry of Education and Science, and the relevant sectoral ministries.

  • The State Employment Agency provides short-term forecasts of employment by occupation and education level.

  • The Ministry of Economics provides medium- and long-term forecasts of employment by occupation and education level.

Both forecasting methods use Labour Force Survey data complemented by data from national accounts and educational and employer surveys. The Central Statistical Bureau provides most of the data required for the forecasting.

The results of the SAA exercises are communicated through the official websites of the ministries and agencies involved in the forecasting as well as through various consultative boards, committees and working groups.

Source: Skills Panorama (2017[66]), Skills anticipation in Latvia, Analytical highlights series, http://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/analytical_highlights/skills-anticipation-latvia.

Recommended Action 3: Harnessing information on adult learning and skills

In light of these current arrangements, challenges and good practices, Slovenia has an opportunity to better generate, integrate and use information on adult learning and skills needs. This could help the diverse actors in adult learning form a shared understanding of challenges, opportunities and priorities for adult learning, providing a foundation for effective negotiations, co-ordination and partnerships. Slovenia can do this by taking the following actions.

Action 3

Ministries, municipalities, social partners and other stakeholders should improve, integrate and better use information to enrich decision making and co-ordination in adult learning.

This should include improved information on: skills needs and mismatches (appropriately disaggregated to meet users’ needs), adult education and training activity and opportunities (including all formal and non-formal adult education and training), and the outcomes achieved by adult-learning programmes and providers (underpinned by the introduction of outcome-based evaluation of all publicly funded and recognised adult education and training in Slovenia).

The strengthened AE Body (Action 2) should oversee the improvement of adult-learning and skills information, ensuring this information supports the achievement of the next adult-learning master plan (Action 1); the oversight body’s activities (Action 2); inter-ministerial co-ordination (Action 4); the decision making of local and regional actors (Action 5); adult-learning services more tailored to learners’ needs (Action 6); efforts to promote the benefits of adult learning (Action 7); decisions about allocating funding (Action 8); and the adult-learning investments of individuals and firms.

More specifically:

  1. 1. In the immediate term, ministries, municipalities and stakeholders should discuss and agree on the main design features of this information structure, including:

    1. a. Information needs: what information do different users need (individual adults, guidance services, adult education and training providers, employers, unions, ministries, quality assurance agencies, municipalities, researchers, etc.)? This could include:

      1. i. participation in, and learning and labour market outcomes achieved by different types of formal and non-formal adult-learning programmes and providers

      2. ii. learning opportunities available to develop different skills, knowledge and abilities

      3. iii. the different types of skills, knowledge and abilities individuals will need in the future to actively participate in the labour market and society, and to realise the SRS 2030, S4 and other sectoral strategies.

    2. b. Information uses: how will each group use this information? For example the way ministries allocate funding, providers design programmes, employers search for training for their staff.

    3. c. Time horizon: does Slovenia need information about both current and future skills needs?

    4. d. Geographic granularity: does Slovenia need information on skills needs and learning opportunities disaggregated at the regional level?

    5. e. Methods and tools: what mix of quantitative and qualitative methods and tools are needed to generate the required information? For example legislated data collections for providers, or quantitative methods, surveys, foresight, focus groups/round tables on skills needs.

    6. f. Information dissemination: how will the information be disseminated to different users and in what formats? For example online portals, interactive interfaces, dashboards and published reports.

    7. g. Roles and responsibilities: who will be responsible for collecting, interpreting and disseminating the information? For example the statistical office, public employment service, research institutes or auditors.

    8. h. Governance: how will the different groups reach consensus when interpreting the data and information? For example in the forum of an inter-ministerial and cross-sectoral body for adult learning (Action 2).

  2. 2. Following this design phase, ministries, municipalities and stakeholders should then develop a comprehensive information structure for adult learning:

    1. a. The ministries, agencies and institutes involved in adult learning, in conjunction with the statistical office (Statistični urad) and municipalities, should commence a data improvement project, to build a more comprehensive picture of adult learning activity. This should involve:

      1. i. Filling gaps in current data collection on adult-learning activity and expenditure. For example, mandating that all providers of adult education and training who receive public funding and/or deliver publicly recognised programmes submit activity data to government, and potentially collecting data on the adult-learning related expenditure of firms and households.

      2. ii. Sharing access to, and eventually linking existing adult-learning related administrative datasets held by the MIZŠ, ACS, ZRSZ, SURS and other agencies. This could include assigning a unique identifier to adult learners, to better understand adults’ learning patterns and pathways, and improve adult learning policy and services over time.

    2. b. The ACS, with input from the CPI, ZRSZ, MIZŠ and representatives of education and training providers, should improve its online portal of non-formal adult learning courses (Where to Obtain Knowledge?) by:

      1. i. Expanding its coverage to all providers of adult education and training who receive public funding and/or deliver publicly recognised programmes (formal and non-formal). This should also integrate information on formal training opportunities from the website of the ZRSZ. The ACS could also begin negotiations with non-publicly funded providers to include their programmes.

      2. ii. Redesigning it to better cater to individual adults, in addition to guidance counsellors. For example, user testing with different target groups of adults could help better understand and meet their information needs.

      3. iii. Considering whether any of the other online portals (Where and How?, e-Advisor, My Choice, or eVŠ) could be merged with Where to Obtain Knowledge?

    3. c. The government should move from a voluntary, input-focused, self-reporting-based model of evaluation in adult learning, to an outcomes-focused model of evaluation for all providers of adult education and training who receive public funding and/or deliver publicly recognised programmes.

      1. i. In the first instance, the ACS should lead development of a comprehensive framework for evaluating the outcomes of publicly funded and recognised adult-learning services and providers, with input from the CPI and ZRSZ. This framework should specify the most appropriate approaches for evaluating outcomes, and how this could differ for:

        1. a) different types of outcomes/benefits: e.g. personal, economic (employment and earnings) and social, including continuation into further/higher learning

        2. b) each major type of adult-learning service (guidance, basic skills programmes, on-the-job-learning, etc.)

        3. c) each form of adult learning (formal, both publicly recognised and not publicly recognised non-formal learning, etc.) in Slovenia

        4. d) individual providers of adult learning (adult-learning centres, specialised adult education institutions, school-based units, company-based units, educational centres at business chambers and NGOs)

        5. e) services with different target groups (unemployed, low-skilled, different age groups, workers at risk of unemployment, etc.)

        6. f) services with different targeted skills/competences (literacy and numeracy skills, digital skills, socio-emotional skills, job-specific skills, etc.).

    4. d. The MGRT, in collaboration with the MDDSZ, ZSRZ and UMAR, should lead the development of a comprehensive system for assessing and anticipating skills needs and mismatches in Slovenia’s economy. The MGRT should seek input from end users, relevant expert councils and institutes, and should report to the AE Body and the ESS on its progress.

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Annex 2.A. Chapter 2 detailed tables
Annex Table 2.A.1. Slovenia’s Adult Education Act 2018

Details

Purpose

To improve adult participation in lifelong learning and the quality of life in local communities, by ensuring increased and more stable financing from the national budget for adult education, by defining various providers and services as “public services”.

Scope

Second-chance basic school programmes (ISCED 1 & 2)

All non-formal education and training programmes

Other activities in adult education (counselling, research and development, other such as exchange of knowledge, promotion, international co-operation)

Key principles

1. Lifelong education and learning,

2. Equity and equality and equal opportunities in accessing, addressing and achieving outcomes in learning and education,

3. Freedom and autonomy in the choice of paths, content, forms, means and methods of education,

4. Quality of education,

5. Proportionate distribution of resources for education and learning according to needs in individual life periods,

6. The systemic connection of formal and non-formal education and informal learning,

7. A balance between the field of general and vocational education,

8. Creativity and flexibility, taking into account specific cultural, social and educational characteristics,

9. Achieving nationally defined and internationally comparable educational standards and

10. The secularity of adult education, which is performed as a public service.

Process for development

The Minister of Education appointed a working group consisting of seven members (one representative of the SSIO, four representatives of MIZŠ and two representatives of the ACS). The working group held co-ordination meetings with Centre for Vocational Education and Training (CPI), the local self-government unit at MJU, municipalities in Dolenjska region, the Association of Adult Education Centres (Zveza ljudskih univerz), the Association of educational and counselling centres of Slovenia (Združenje izobraževalnih in svetovalnih središč Slovenije), and representatives of secondary schools conducting adult education. The draft legislation was discussed by SSIO and Adult Education Co-ordination Body.

Inputs to development

Professional Bases for Amending Adult Education Act (2008) policy paper

White Paper on Education (2011)

Professional Bases for Amending Adult Education Act (2015) policy paper

Defined ‘public services’

Second-chance basic school programmes (ISCED 1 & 2)

Counselling

Priorities, goals and targets

To be defined on the basis of a national long-term master plan adopted by the National Assembly (parliament).

Source: National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia (2018[67]), Adult Education Act (ZIO-1), http://pisrs.si/Pis.web/pregledPredpisa?id=ZAKO7641.

Annex Table 2.A.2. Legislative requirements for a national master plan for adult education

ZIO Act 1996

ZIO-1 Act 2018

Master plan (development process)

Before determining the proposal of the national program, the Government shall obtain the opinion of the SSIO.

(1) The national program shall be adopted by the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia upon a proposal of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia, usually for ten years.

(2) The proposal of the national program shall be prepared by the ministry in co-operation with other competent ministries.

(3) The ministry shall obtain the opinion of the SSIO on the proposal of the national program.

Master plan (content)

- define the goals of adult education,

- identify priority areas for adult education,

- define the activities necessary for the implementation of adult education and

- determine the global volume of public funds.

- define the objectives and indicators of the national program,

- identify priority areas for adult education,

- define measures for the provision and implementation of adult education,

- determine the approximate scope of public funds for the field of adult education,

- designate the ministries responsible for individual measures (hereinafter referred to as "competent ministries") and the method of co-ordination in achieving the objectives and

- define how to monitor the implementation of the national program.

The national program shall also specify the programs and activities of the competent ministries carried out as a public service.

Master plan (implementation)

Annual Programme

Annual Programme

Master plan (monitoring)

/

- On the basis of joint reports on the implementation of annual programs, the ACS shall prepare a report on the implementation of the national program, to which the SSIO shall give its opinion.

- The report shall be prepared after half the duration of the national program and the expiry of the national program.

- The Government of the Republic of Slovenia shall acquaint itself with the report and submit it to the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia.

Annual Programme (development)

The implementation of the national program is determined by the annual program adopted by the Government of the Republic of Slovenia.

Prior to the adoption of the annual program referred to in the preceding paragraph of this Article, the Government shall obtain the opinion of the SSIO.

The implementation of the national program shall be determined by the annual program of adult education adopted by the Government of the Republic of Slovenia.

- The annual program shall be prepared by the responsible ministries within 30 days after the adoption of the state budget and sent to the MIZŠ in the preparation of a common document.

(4) The MIZŠ shall obtain the opinion of SSIO on the proposal of the annual program.

(5) The Government may accept the adult education program for several years, in accordance with the dynamics of the adoption of the state budget.

Annual Programme (content)

The annual program defines educational programs financed by public funds, the scope and type of activities necessary for its implementation, the amount of funds to be provided in the state budget and the ministries responsible for the implementation of the program.

The annual program shall specify:

- targets and indicators on an annual basis,

- actions by priority areas,

- the amount of funds to be provided in the national budget for the implementation of the annual program,

- Responsible ministries for the implementation of the annual program

- the way of monitoring the implementation of the annual program.

Annual Programme (implementation)

The implementation of the annual program is facilitated by responsible ministries or funds. For this purpose ministries:

- decide on the deployment of programs,

- publish public tenders for the implementation of annual programs and conclude contracts,

- monitor the implementation of the annual program and take the measures necessary for its implementation,

- allocate funds to finance education programs and infrastructure activities, and

- perform other tasks determined by the annual program.

(1) The annual program is carried out by the competent ministries through public tenders, calls, within the framework of a public service or in any other way on the basis of a law.

(2) The public tender or invitation shall specify the conditions to be met by the provider of adult education programs and activities.

(3) When selecting providers of adult education programs and activities on the basis of a public tender or invitation, the following criteria shall apply:

- quality of content and performance,

- human, material and financial feasibility,

- co-operation with the environment,

- local proximity and accessibility, and

- expected results.

Annual Programme (monitoring)

/

- The responsible ministries shall prepare reports on the implementation of the annual program and submit them to the MIZŠ by the end of April for the previous year.

- On the basis of reports, the ACS shall prepare a joint report on the implementation of the annual program.

- The SSIO shall deliver its opinion on the joint report on the implementation of the annual program referred to in the preceding paragraph.

Local communities annual programme

Annual programs can also be accepted by municipalities.

- Municipalities shall adopt an annual program in which they shall at least define the content specified of national adult education programmes.

The annual program may also be adopted by several municipalities together.

Sources: National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia (1996[68]) Adult Education Act (ZIO), http://pisrs.si/Pis.web/pregledPredpisa?id=ZAKO449; National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia (2018[67]), Adult Education Act (ZIO-1), http://pisrs.si/Pis.web/pregledPredpisa?id=ZAKO7641.

Annex Table 2.A.3. The Resolution on National Programme of Higher Education (2011-2020)

Details

Purpose

(specific to adult learners/ mature-aged students)

None

Scope (forms of adult education and training, other services)

Higher vocational college (ISCED 5) and higher education (ISCED 6–8)

Other forms of education for lifelong learning, which may also be included in the national qualifications framework, but not necessarily provide a formal degree.

Identified adult learning challenges

None

Identified target groups of adult learners

None

Goals and targets

Goals and targets are organised under 7 pillars:

1. Higher education system (9 goals, 4 targets, 7 measures)

2. Structure of studies and higher education qualifications (2 goals, 3 targets, 4 measures)

  • One goal relates to adult education. The implementation of the study programmes should be adapted to (employed) adults, meaning that part-time study is offered for each programme each year (30-45 instead of 60-90 ECTS per year).

3. Financing (3 goals, 3 targets, 4 measures)

4. Diversity (1 goal, 1 target, 1 measure)

  • One goal relates to adult education. It notes the importance that tertiary institutions offers different kinds of non-formal (flexible) adult learning and therefore enable individuals to acquire competences and qualifications necessary for their professional development.

5. Quality and responsibility (2 targets, 10 measures)

6. Internationalisation (3 goals, 5 targets, 11 measures)

7. Social dimension (4 goals, 3 targets, 8 measures)

Planned activities

46 measures organised under 7 pillars.

Roles and responsibilities

Dependent on each measure: Higher education institutions, Government, Slovenian Research Agency (Agencija za raziskovalno dejavnost Republike Slovenije), Slovenian Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (Nacionalna agencija Republike Slovenije za kakovost v visokem šolstvu), Financial Administration of the Republic of Slovenia (Finančna uprava Republike Slovenije), Public Agency for Technological Development of the Republic of Slovenia (Javna agencija za tehnološki razvoj RS), Public Scholarship, Development, Disability and Maintenance Fund of the RS, The Centre of the Republic of Slovenia for Mobility and European Educational and Training Programmes.

Oversight

The implementation of the measures and achievement of the objectives of the ReNPVS11-20 is monitored by an independent group of experts, which annually submit report to the Council of the Republic of Slovenia for Higher Education and the Council for Science and Technology of the Republic of Slovenia. Every two years progress report is considered also by the parliament.

Source: National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia (2011[69]), Resolution on National programme of higher education, http://pisrs.si/Pis.web/pregledPredpisa?id=RESO71.

Annex Table 2.A.4. Guidance and counselling services for prospective adult learners

Guidance Centres (MIZŠ)

Career Centres (MDDSZ)

Number

17

12

Provider

Independent units in Adult Education Centres

Employment Service of Slovenia

Target groups

- Low-skilled unemployed,

- Low-skilled employees,

- Older adults 50+,

- Migrants,

- Roma,

- Prisoners.

- The unemployed, looking for information or career counselling,

- Employees, who are at risk of being made redundant

- Young drop outs, with no other possibility for getting information and career counselling.

Activities/Information provided

Guidance before, during and after participating in adult education and training, in order to:

- help adults identify their needs for education and training,

- find relevant education and learning programmes and providers,

- connect learning and career development,

- help develop adults’ learning skills

- encourage and motivate adults to learn, and help them overcome obstacles,

- represent adults in other institutions,

- help adults find financial support for learning,

- help adults get their prior non-formal and informal learning formally validated.

Providing information and guidance to help adults plan their further learning and/or careers. This includes:

- descriptions and video clips of vocations,

- information on educational institutions,

- information on possibilities for vocational training and study abroad,

- information on available financial aid for education and training,

- job postings,

- directions and tools for more effective job searching,

- computer programmes for independent planning of learning or career paths.

Number of participants (2017)

13 399 adults in individual sessions

4 200 adult in 357 group sessions

47 531 individual visits

21 481 taking part in group workshops

Evaluation

ACS monitoring and annual report

Customer satisfaction survey is implemented annually by external provider

Source: ACS (2018[70]), Guidance Centres, http://isio.acs.si/sredisca/; ZRSZ (2018[71]), Career Centres, www.ess.gov.si/ncips/cips.

Annex Table 2.A.5. Adult education and training participation databases in Slovenia

Name of database/system

Responsible authority

Requirement to submit data

Formal education and training

Non-formal education and training (publically recognised)

Non-formal education and training (publically non-recognised)

Supporting activities (counselling and information)

Central evidence of participants in education and training (CEUVIZ)

MIZŠ

Compulsory

(Organization and Financing of Education Act)

X

Matura evidence

National Examination Centre (Republiški izpitni center) (RIC)

Compulsory

(Matura Examination Act)

X

Application for monitoring ReNPIO

ACS

Compulsory for public-funded providers

(Adult Education Act, ReNPIO)

X

X

ISIO, eŠK and SSU web applications

ACS

Compulsory for public-funded providers

(Adult Education Act, ReNPIO)

X

ALMP Evidence

ZRSZ

Compulsory

(Labour Market Regulation Act)

X

X

X

Education systems (UOE)

SURS

Compulsory

(National Statistic Act)

X

Adult Education Survey

SURS

Not compulsory

(National Statistic Act)

X

X

X

Continuing Vocational Training Survey (CVTS)

SURS

Not compulsory

(National Statistic Act)

X

Labour Force Survey (LFS)

SURS

Not compulsory

(National Statistic Act)

X

X

X

Application for Monitoring OP (ESF funds)

SVRK

Compulsory

(Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 480/2014)

X

X

X

X

Note: Information obtained during OECD mission in Slovenia (2-5 July 2018).

X denotes that the database includes data on the form of education.

Notes

← 1. The MIZS’ Acquiring Basic and Professional Competences (Pridobivanje temeljnih in poklicnih kompetenc), including “Guidance for low skills employees” programme and the MDDSZ’s Comprehensive Support to Enterprises for Active Aging of Labour Force (Celovita podpora podjetjem za aktivno staranje delovne sile).

← 2. The MIZS’ Information and Guidance in Adult Learning programme and the MDDSZ’s Lifelong Career Guidance programme (see Annex Table 2.A.4 for a comparison of these services).

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