Harmonising Approaches to Professional Higher Education in Europe

Slovenia

Stakeholder Survey Overview

As part of our research we carried out a survey of Education & Training stakeholders. Find the results of this survey below or download it..

Legislation & Policy Overview

The following section gives an overview of the national PHE environment within Slovenia. The profile was completed by  Skupnost Višjih Strokovnih Šol.

Section A: General Profile of PHE

1. How is PHE defined in your country?

Professional study programs enable students to obtain professional knowledge and skills in the application of scientific methods to solve difficult technical and labor problems, to develop the ability to communicate within and among professions, professional criticism and responsibility, initiative and independence in decision making and management. Obligatory part of the curriculum is practical training in the work environment. Nevertheless, the terms tertiary and higher education have a specific/different meaning in Slovene: Tertiary education covers EQF levels 5 – 8 Higher education covers EQF levels 6 – 8.  In the Resolution on the National Programme on Higher Education 2011 – 2020 the harmonization of national HE is an objective. There are 2 registers of institutions in tertiary education:  – Institutions that provide EQF level 5 – Register of Higher Vocational Colleges – Institutions that provide EQF level/levels 6 – 8 (universities, colleges, art academies and professional colleges) – Register of Higher Education Institutions.

1.1 What is your nationally recognised definition of a PHE Institution?

Higher Education Act Article 2 (types of higher education institutions) Higher education institutions are universities, colleges, art academies and professional colleges. Article 3 (universities) The University ensures the development of science and the arts, and professionalism through their faculties, art academies and professional colleges in the educational process to the findings of several scientific and artistic fields and disciplines. The University may directly organize the implementation of scientific research and interdisciplinary study programs. Article 4 (faculties and art academies) Faculty performs mainly scientific-research and educational activities in the fields of one or more related or interrelated scientific disciplines and ensures their development. Art Academy performs mainly artistic and educational activities in the fields of one or more related or interconnected artistic disciplines and ensures their development. Article 5 (professional colleges) Professional college carries out educational activities in the field of one or more related or interrelated disciplines and ensures their development. Professional college may also perform research or artistic work, if so specified the founding act.  Higher Vocational Colleges Act Article 2 (objectives) (1) Higher Vocational College, (hereinafter referred to as the College) performs the following tasks: – On an internationally comparable level provides knowledge and skills needed for work and further education; – Develops an awareness of the rights and responsibilities of man and citizen (hereinafter referred to as a citizen); – Develops and promotes awareness of national belonging and national identity and the integrity of the individual or individuals (hereinafter referred to as an individual), and develop and maintain cultural traditions; – Develops a sense of belonging to the European culture and history, thereby enabling international networking; – Promotes lifelong learning; – Develops and achieves the highest possible level of creativity; – Develops independent critical judgment and responsible behavior; – Develops the ability to perform the tasks of management, planning and control of work processes; – Provides for the acquisition of professional competence in accordance with professional standards. (2) The College performs developmental tasks in their area of expertise.

Commentary: The Slovenian higher education the system is currently defined binar Programme (PHE and University programme) on the first cycle of the study without institutional binarity, which is at least in an international comparison, rare, or even an exception. All higher education stakeholders agree that in practice such an arrangement is unconstructive, causing inhibitory interplay between different types of programs or contents. (from the Resolution on the National Programme on Higher Education 2011 – 2020) This is the reason many experts claim that there is no diversification in the HE system apart from Higher Vocational Colleges that are clearly professionally oriented. 

1.2 Are there any specific requirements towards PHE Curriculum/Course?

For Professional Colleges the curricula demand 10 % practical experience.  For Higher Vocational Colleges the study program is implemented in college and at employers. The academic year comprises in the first and second year 34 weeks of educational work, of which 24 weeks of lectures, seminars and laboratory work in colleges and 10 weeks of practical training at their employers* or inter-company training centers.

Commentary: *The employer has to ensure a certified mentor for the student with pedagogical and andragogical knowledge and skills.  The Slovenian higher education the system is currently defined binar Programme (PHE and University programme) on the first cycle of the study without institutional binarity, which is at least in an international comparison, rare, or even an exception. All higher education stakeholders agree that in practice such an arrangement is unconstructive, causing inhibitory interplay between different types of programs or contents. (from the Resolution on the National Programme on Higher Education 2011 – 2020) This is the reason many experts claim that there is no diversification in the HE system apart from Higher Vocational Colleges that are clearly professionally oriented.

2. Which EQF Levels does PHE cover?

EQF Level 5 – Yes (SQF 6)
EQF Level 6 – Yes (SQF 7)
EQF Level 7 – Yes* (SQF 8)
EQF Level 8 – Yes* (SQF 10)

Commentary: *at EQF 7 and 8 the graduates acquire the same qualification/degree that is offered by both PHEI and/or Universities. Slovenian qualifications framework – The Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Vocational Education and Training (CPI) was appointed the National Coordination Point (NCP) for the European Qualifications Framework in Slovenia. Its activities are meaningfully combined with the Slovenian Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (NAKVIS). The task of the National Coordination Point is to provide access to relevant information, to elaborate materials and to coordinate the work of all the stakeholders with the view to place national qualifications within the system of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF).

Qualifications obtained within the formal
education system Qualifications obtained outside the formal education system 
LEVEL 6 SQF 5 EQF
Higher vocational diploma (Higher vocational education) Since 1996. 
Post-secondary diploma (Post-secondary education) Before 1993. National vocational qualification certificate 
(National vocational qualification, level 6) 
LEVEL 7 SQF 6 EQF
First-cycle diploma (first-cycle professional education) Since 2004, first Bologna cycle. 
First-cycle diploma (first-cycle academic education) Since 2004, first Bologna cycle. 
Professional diploma (professional higher education) After 1993 and before 2004. 
Diploma o specializaciji (Specialisation following post-secondary education) Before 1993. 
LEVEL 8 SQF 7 EQF
Diploma o strokovnem magisteriju (Master’s degree) Since 2004, second Bologna cycle. 
Diploma o specializaciji (Specialisation after professional degree) After 1993 and before 2004. 
Diploma o univerzitetnem izobraževanju (academic degree) After 1993 and before 2004. 
Diploma o visoki izobrazbi (Higher education qualification) Before 1993. 
LEVEL 9 SQF 8 EQF
Diploma o magisteriju znanosti (MSc/MA) Before 2004. 
Diploma o specializaciji (Specialisation following academic degree) After 1993 and before 2004. 
Diploma o specializaciji (Specialisation following higher education) Before 1993. 
LEVEL 1O 8 EQF
Diploma o doktoratu znanosti (Doctorate) Since 2004, third Bologna cycle. 
Diploma o doktoratu znanosti (Doctorate) Before 2004.

3. Which governmental bodies are responsible for governance of the PHE sector? Do these differ from the governance of AHE? Is there any engagement of any other public authorities and which, if so?

The same governmental bodies are responsible for Professional Colleges and Universities and research institutions (sector at the ministry, accreditation and external evaluation by the national Quality Assurance Agency – NAKVIS).  A different sector of the ministry is responsible for the EQF level 5 (Higher Vocational Colleges) – the sector for Secondary, Higher Vocational and, Adult Education. The institutional and programme accreditation as well as habilitation of lecturers are performed by the Professional Council for Vocational and Professional Education. The external evaluation is being provided by the national Quality Assurance Agency – NAKVIS every 5 years, the duties of inspection over the implementation of laws, rules and regulations governing the organization and operation by the Inspectorate of the Republic of Slovenia for Education and Sport (as well as for kindergartens, primary and secondary schools), other bodies that have to be consulted are the Institute of RS for Vocational Education and Training and the Chamber of Commerce.

 

4. Quality assurance: Please provide information on quality-related legislation (national QA/accreditation system, regulations concerning QA at institutional level etc.). Are there any specific QA criteria for PHE? If so, which (if necessary, refer to specific EQF levels or institutions)?

The same national Quality Assurance Agency – NAKVIS is responsible for, accreditation and external evaluation of Professional Colleges and Universities and research institutions.  For the EQF level 5 (Higher Vocational Colleges) the Professional Council for Vocational and Professional Education is responsible for the institutional and programme accreditation as well as habilitation of lecturers. There is an Expert Commission for Accreditation  and an Expert Commission for Habilitation of Lecturers in Higher Vocational Colleges to assist the Professional Council for Vocational and Professional Education. The external evaluation is being provided by the national Quality Assurance Agency – NAKVIS every 5 years, the duties of inspection over the implementation of laws, rules and regulations governing the organization and operation by the Inspectorate of the Republic of Slovenia for Education and Sport (as well as for kindergartens, primary and secondary schools), other bodies that have to be consulted are the Institute of RS for Vocational Education and Training and the Chamber of Commerce.

5. Are there any specific funding mechanisms/principles/criteria for PHE, different from general HE principles?

Professional Colleges and Universities have the same funding mechanism/principles/criteria according to the Higher Education Act and Regulation of public funding of higher education institutions and other institutions. Universities research work is funded extra. Professional Colleges are in more than 90 % private institutions offering in most cases Social Studies without any public funding. Public funded professional programmes are offered at universities.  For the EQF level 5 (Higher Vocational Colleges) funding mechanism/principles/criteria differ and are calculated according to the Higher Vocational Colleges Act, the Regulation on Standards for Funding of Higher Vocational Colleges and the Organization and Financing of Education Act. There is no funding of research activities as they are not in the description of Higher Vocational Colleges.  In both cases the funding differs depending on the field of study.

Commentary: Many Higher Vocational Colleges offer very good opportunities for applied research in cooperation with relevant enterprises and SMEs although they do not receive any funding for it.

6. Are there any formal requirements for stakeholders, in particular from the part of the professional sphere/employers’ representatives concerning their engagement in PHE steering and provisions? If so, in which areas (governance, quality assurance, curriculum development, students’ placement etc.)?

Students are a relevant stakeholder and included in all representative bodies. The only difference between Higher Education Institutions and Higher Vocational Colleges is that Colleges are not obliged to establish a College Student Council as almost 50% of students are adult students and the study period of 2 years could aggravate the procedures. Nevertheless, in most Colleges Student Councils operate very well and students play an active role in the College’s progress.  Representatives from the field of work are also a relevant stakeholder and included in all representative bodies, usually the national Chamber of Commerce.  Foreign experts are included in the accreditation and external evaluation procedure provided by the national Quality Assurance Agency – NAKVIS.

Commentary: The involvement of the stakeholders from the field of work from the very beginning is crutial for all PHE programmes and institutions..

7. Are there any other legislative differences between PHE and other HE institutions (e.g. partnership with enterprises, regional involvement etc.)?

The universities and university programmes are present only in the 4 university cities, while the Professional Colleges with their professionally oriented programmes and Higher Vocational Colleges are present in regions in Slovenia. While Professional Colleges (most of them are private) and private Higher Vocational Colleges offer in majority socially oriented studies, public Higher Vocational Colleges offer in majority technical studies relevant to the regional demands.  Higher Vocational Colleges both private and public have a very solid bound to the field of work as each college has its own network of enterprises and/or SMEs with certified mentors for their students practical education. Lecturers come in most cases from the companies.

8. Is PHE limited to some specific branches and/or fields of study? If yes: Which ones?

Medicine (apart from nursing/health care, physiotherapy and dental assist programmes, which are offered as professional programmes.), Languages, Social Sciences (apart from economic and social studies, which are offered as professional programmes.), Pedagogical, Law studies are almost exclusively university programmes.

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Section B: Teaching & Staffing

1. Are there any formally set requirements for academic staff teaching at different levels in PHE (e.g their qualification, expertise, selection & appointment)? Are they different from AHE?

The specific requirements for staff are different for Higher Education Institutions (Professional Colleges and Universities) where the lowest acquired education should be level 7 or 8 EQF, professional and research references; for Higher Vocational Colleges’ Staff the lowest required education is 6 EQF and additionally at least 2 years’ experience in the area of work and a 30 ECTS pedagogical-andragogical education.

2. Are there any specific requirements for PHE staff work (teaching/research) arrangements and workload? If so, which? How do they differ from AHE?

Weekly workload:  16 hours for a lecturer at Higher Vocational Colleges; 5 – 7 hours for an assistant, associate and full professor at Professional College or University; 9 hours for a senior lecturer, lecturer and lector at Professional College or University; 10 hours for an assistant at Professional College or University; 5 – 7 hours for assistant, associate and full professor at Professional College or University.

3. Are there requirements to include non-academia (professionals) to teach in PHE institutions? What qualifications must they have if any?

It is desired and recommended in Higher Vocational Colleges.

Section C: Curriculum

1. Are there any specific requirements as regards contents/structure (e.g. percentage of practically oriented modules) as regards PHE? If so, which? What are the differences with respect to AHE?

It is desired and recommended in Higher Vocational Colleges.

2. Are there any specific requirements as regards practical elements of PHE study programmes (e.g. work experience/Practical placements/Internships)? If so, which? What are the differences with respect to AHE?

University programmes do not demand any practical training in the work environment.  Professional study programmes have an obligatory practical training in the work environment (10 %).  Higher Vocational Colleges have an obligatory practical training in the work environment (40 %).

3. Are there any other legal requirements specific for PHE programs?

No answer provided.

Section D: Research & Technology Transfer

1. What is the involvement of PHE in R&D&I&TT activities? Are there any formal differences at different levels/institutions of PHE?

Higher Education Act Article 3 (universities) The University ensures the development of science and the arts, and professionalism through their faculties, art academies and professional colleges in the educational process to the findings of several scientific and artistic fields and disciplines. The University may directly organize the implementation of scientific research and interdisciplinary study programs. Article 4 (faculties and art academies) Faculty performs mainly scientific-research and educational activities in the fields of one or more related or interrelated scientific disciplines and ensures their development.  Art Academy performs mainly artistic and educational activities in the fields of one or more related or interconnected artistic disciplines and ensures their development.  Article 5 (professional colleges) Professional college carries out educational activities in the field of one or more related or interrelated disciplines and ensures their development. Professional college may also perform research or artistic work, if so specified the founding act.  Higher Vocational Colleges Act Article 2 (objectives) (2) The College performs developmental tasks in their area of expertise.

Commentary: Many Higher Vocational Colleges offer very good opportunities for applied research in cooperation with relevant enterprises and SMEs although they do not receive any funding for it.

2. Are public research programs restricted to some types of HEIs (e.g. academic sector)? If so, what are the criteria?

Higher Vocational Colleges perform developmental tasks in their area of expertise no research.

Commentary: Many Higher Vocational Colleges offer very good opportunities for applied research in cooperation with relevant enterprises and SMEs although they do not receive any funding for it.

Section E: Recognition & Credit Transfer

1. Are there formal differences in the enrolment process into PHE and AHE?

University programmes can only be entered by anyone who has passed the general matura under the mandatory program for secondary education specified by the study program. Into professional higher education programme study can be entered by anyone who has passed the vocational matura or the final examination under the mandatory program for secondary vocational education specified by the study program. Into higher vocational education programme study can be entered by anyone who has passed the vocational matura or the final examination under the mandatory program for secondary vocational education specified by the study program.

Commentary: University higher education can be entered only with general matura. Professional higher education and higher vocational education can be entered with any kind of matura or final exam at EQF level 4.

2. Are there formal paths for transfer from PHE into other HE programmes (for graduates, during the study)? Are there automatic transfers for students between PHE and AHE? Do students need bridging programmes or other means of transition?

Regulation on the recognition of prior learning in the higher vocational education – The study programmes are in accordance with the criteria established by the national Quality Assurance Agency, the conditions for a transition between study programs of the same level and the conditions for the transition from higher vocational study programmes to the first cycle programmes.  Criteria for transfers between study programs – This act sets out the criteria for transitions between higher vocational study programmes and higher education programmes.

Commentary: There are no automatic transfers between higher vocational study programmes and higher education programmes. There are no bridging programmes. Graduates and students experience difficulties when attempting transfer.

3. Are there any specific regulations concerning employment of PHE graduates? Do you need to justify delivery of certain PHE studies? e.g provide evidence of labour market needs or collect data on employability of graduates).

University higher education has no such requirements (it is though recommended).  Professional higher education needs to provide explanation or evidence while higher vocational education in order to accredit a programme is required to present a detailed expert report on labor market needs and employability.

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