Study Visit Day 1:
- Presentations from the director of CPI Elido Bandelj and Helena Žnidarič on the Slovenian vocational education and training system and from School Cente Kranj on the Slovenian school system
- A visit to the Secondary Technical School of Economics and Civil Construction with a presentation from headmistress Nada Smid
- A presentation of WBL and pedagogical education for the mentors delivered by Milos Frelih
Students are typically 15 t0 19 years of age during the Upper Secondary phase of their education.
80% of the curriculum is designed at national level with 20% designed at local level, by the school. This 20% allows the school structure the curriculum to support the growth of the local businesses and trades. This 20% encourages and stimulates dialogue between local enterprise and education. A committee of stakeholders meets once or twice a year to discuss and construct same. Employers and industry are not just involved with the design of curriculum but also the assessment.
Within the Slovenian VET system students embark on 2 year, 3 year or 4 year programmes.
- 4 year courses include general education subjects (2415 lessons) , professional education modules (1462) lessons, extracurricular activities (352 hours) and on-the-job training (152 hours/4 weeks). The work placement component is made up of 2 weeks in the second year and 2 weeks in the third year. The final accreditation is a vocational Matura.
- 3 year courses include general education subjects (1051 lessons) , professional education modules (1047) lessons, extracurricular activities (160 hours) and on-the-job training (912 hours /24 weeks). The work placement component is made up of 3 weeks in the first year, 3 weeks in the second year and 18 weeks in the third year. After taking the final examination at the school students can continue their studies with an additional 2 years to achieve a vocational Matura.
- 2 year short courses include general education subjects (695 lessons) , professional education modules (980) lessons, extracurricular activities (152 hours) and on-the-job training (152 hours /4 weeks). The work placement component is made up of 3 weeks in the first year and 1 week in the second year.
CPI is the institute of the Republic of Slovenia for VET. CPI was established in 1995 acting as a conduit between business and education to develop the necessary infrastructure and social partnership as a basis for quality vocational education and training. CPI works with various ministries, employers, chambers, schools, associations and other main organisations.
Most notably CPI is responsible for :
-Developing the Slovenian Qualifications Framework
-Educator training and advisory service for VET providers, especially of the open curricula component
-Development of occupational standards in order to link the labour market and education. These standards act as a basis for the development of national curricula. The standards are systematically reviewed in order to update current qualifications and develop qualifications for new fields. ‘Key competences are indispensable, not only in career terms, but also in terms of personal growth, social inclusion and lifelong learning.’
-Providing the opportunity for recognition and certification for non-formally and informally acquired knowledge, skills and competences obtained outside the scope of formal education
-participating in different national and international projects
-managing National Reference Point (NRP) and providing information on VET system in Slovenia
-cooperating with EU organisations and standing as a reference point for VET in networks: Refer Net, EUROPASS, SIQA-VET, NCP EQF for Slovenia, ECVET,…
-National representative for EUROSKILLS
School Centre Kranj has a total of approx. 2400 students and 200 teaching employees. They have agreements with more than 800 companies and actively engage with over 350 companies and employers.
The group continued on to visit a branch of School Centre Kranj; the school of Economics, Services and Civil Construction. After a presentation was given partners toured the school and were given the opportunity to speak with both teachers and students in practical classes. A number of practical lessons were partly observed in specialised classrooms. Courses offered at this campus included hairdressing (3 year course) , economic technician ( 4 year course) , shop assistant ( 3 year course ) , civil engineering ( 4 year course ), ceramics, bricklaying and painter (all 3 year courses), and assistant construction worker ( 2 year course).
The ceramics teacher explained he strives for his students to take pride in their occupation and the work they do. In this area demand and pay has decreased over the last number of years. Despite this he ensures his students are aware customers still expect quality and high standards. He exuded pride in his work and encouraged the same from his students.
Part 3: The role of the WBL coordinator, mentors and structure of WBL itself
Milos Frelih is the WBL coordinator for School Centre Kranj. As an organiser he deals with both students and employers in all preparatory, supervision and visits during the placement and follow up activities of the WBL. He also ensures all necessary paper work has been completed by employers and students.
The role is a post of responsibility with approx. 12 hours per week allocated to the co-ordinator.
The coordinator’s role is pivotal to the successful links between the school and employers.
It is also important for the coordinator to work with employers towards achieving a status of ‘verified learning placement’ so as to provide students with an appropriate place to gain work experience. Ultimately the Chambers (Commerce, Crafts) or Ministry is responsible for verification of learning placements.
No grade is given for the WBL element of the course it is either passes or failed.
Each student must complete a medical in the first and last year or their course to ensure fitness for work.
Students complete a task focused learning record from their placement rather than a dairy. The number of tasks they must record is equivalent to the number of weeks of their placement.
Students are encouraged to source their own work placement. They can revert to a school list of companies and employers if necessary. Ultimately it is the school’s responsibility to provide a learning place for the student.
A contract exists for each student’s placement. These for the most part are collective learning contracts between the school and the employer. In some cases where the student and employer are willing to extend the placement beyond the WBL hours allocation specified on a programme an individual contract can be put in place. Employers are provided with is a list of the types of discipline related tasks students should gain practise in. This does not mean students should gain exposure or experience to all elements mentioned. However in the case of the individual contract the employer does have a responsibility for completing a number of the specified tasks.
Individual contracts can be extended up to 53 weeks. The employer then takes responsibility for providing the opportunity for students to achieve the learning outcomes they would otherwise achieve at the school.
Employers must provide transportation and lunch for students on placement or the cost of same. Subventions are available for employers in the final year of the student’s course. These are not guaranteed indefinitely but are secure for the next two years.
At each company there must be a mentor. This is part of the government’s commitment to encouraging and progressing WBL in Slovenia in the area vocational education and thus they contribute to the cost of mentor training. The mentor is responsible for reviewing the students work diary/learning record.