Week of Lifelong Learning

Participation of adults in education is up; there are still differences between various groups

In terms of the share of adults in education and even more the upward trend of this share in the past five years, Slovenia is above the EU average. However, imbalances regarding gender, age, education, employment status and occupational groups, which have been detected for years, still exist.

  • 11 May 2018 at 10:30
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Technological progress and changes in modern societies in general demand greater flexibility and constant upgrading of knowledge and skills of adults after the completion of formal education.  
Promotion of the importance of education and learning in all periods of life, i.e. “from the cradle to the grave”, is the goal of the Lifelong Learning Week. This year’s 23rd Lifelong Learning Week will be held between 11 and 20 May 2018 and in its expanded form until the end of June 2018.

As regards young people in formal education, Slovenia is close to the top of OECD and EU countries
In the decades since Slovenia became independent, the shares of young people in formal education and of those who finished their education have increased significantly. Due to the increasing education level of young people, in recent years the education level of the total population has significantly improved; the share of people with basic education or less has declined, while the share of people with tertiary education has increased. The share of people aged 30–34 with tertiary education increased from 25% in 2005 to 46% in 2017 and greatly exceeded the EU average of 40%. 


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Providing high-quality and inclusive formal education requires appropriate financial investment. In recent years trends in this area have been less encouraging. In 2016 total expenditure for formal education in educational institutions in Slovenia – the largest part (86%) of which is budget expenditure – amounted to EUR 2,158 million or 5.3% of GDP. Compared to 2007, expenditure for educational institutions declined at all levels of education, except in pre-school education. In the 2010-2014 period of all OECD countries Slovenia recorded the largest drop in the share of budgetary funds for education (excluding pre-school education) from 10.1% in 2010 to 8.7% in 2014 and to 8.5% in 2015.

Adult participation in education went up, but there are differences between various groups
According to the 2016 Adult Education Survey, in the 12 months before the survey 46.1% of people aged 25–64 were included in formal and/or non-formal education, which is almost 10 percentage points more than in 2011. On average they spent 180 hours on education and training. As regards the participation rate and even more its increase in the past five years, Slovenia is above the EU average. However, imbalances in the participation rate are preserved as regards sex, age, education, employment status and occupational groups. Compared to 2011, the already high share of younger, tertiary educated and employed people participating in education increased and was higher than the EU average. On the other hand, the share among people with basic education or less, inactive and unemployed increased much less or even declined and was lower than the EU average. 


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Adult education largely related to job requirements
According to the mentioned survey, most adults participating in education were included in various forms of non-formal education that does not lead to a higher level of education. In Slovenia 43.6% of people aged 25–64 participated in such forms of education, which is just above the EU average of 42.6%. 79% of people participated in this education due to job-related reasons. For most participants (67%) education was financed or co-financed by their employers. Most education providers in Slovenia were specialised institutions providing non-formal education and training; they conducted 37% of education. At the EU level most education providers were employers (34%); in Slovenia employers conducted 15% of non-formal education and training.

Employers’ awareness of the importance of training their employees is strengthening
According to the 2015 Continuing Vocational Training Survey, 86% of enterprises in Slovenia provided and co-financed participation of their employees in programs and other forms of education and training. In 2010 the share was 72%. The share of employees included in education and training programs was 63% in all enterprises (in 2010 48%). Compared to 2010, in 2015 the costs of enterprises for training programs per participant increased to EUR 501, while the number of paid working hours per participant decreased from 42 to 32. A comparison with the EU average[1] shows that Slovenia is above the EU average in terms of the share of enterprises providing programs and other forms of education and training, the share of employees participating in education and training programs, and the number of working hours spent for such education and training.

The objective of education and learning is to obtain knowledge and skills
The most important international survey measuring knowledge and skills of adults (16–65-year-olds) is PIAAC.  
According to the Slovenian Institute for Adult Education, PIAAC results showed that compared to the International Adult Literacy Survey (ALS) conducted 20 years ago achievements of adults in Slovenia in literacy improved the most compared to other OECD countries that participated in the survey. However, in 2015 achievements of adults in Slovenia in literacy as well as in other skills lagged behind the OECD average. As in other countries, in Slovenia, too, the higher level of literacy and numeracy is related to active labour market inclusion, higher earnings and non-economic factors (trust in others, voluntary work, perceived health status). However, there are large differences in skills related to age, education and social background.

Slovenia took the challenges regarding adults’ skills indicated by PIAAC results very seriously. It joined the Skills Strategy project, which has three phases (problem diagnostics, action plan, and implementation). The purpose of this project is to strengthen the development, maintenance and use of skills in the country to boost employment and economic growth and to promote social inclusion and participation.


[1] Data do not include enterprises from NACE activities Q, P and O. To preserve the continuity, they were included only at the national level.



When making use of the data and information of the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia, always add: "Source: SURS". More: Copyright.