2.9 Skills recognition
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There are two main legally acceptable ways for recognition of non-formal learning in Slovenia: the first is through recognition of non-formal knowledge, skills and competence within the formal education system – through continuing interrupted education, continuing on higher levels of education, changing direction/sector in education etc. – when educational institutions recognise the acquired knowledge on the basis of relevant legislation and credit system (e.g. University of Ljubljana’s rules and procedures related to recognition of non-formally acquired knowledge and skills ‘Pravilnik o postopku in merilih za priznavanje neformalno pridobljenega znanja in spretnosti’) and the second is through the National Vocational Qualifications System (Sistem nacionalne poklicne kvalifikacije) when non-formally acquired knowledge and skills is recognised by the labour market under the facilitation of the Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Vocational Education and Training (Center Republike Slovenije za poklicno izobraževanje).
In the procedure of recognition of non-formal learning and by assessment of knowledge, the comparability of a candidate’s non-formally obtained knowledge, skills and competences with standards of knowledge is proven. For the labour market needs, Slovenia established a formalized system of national vocational qualifications. Here the standards established at national level in the forms of Occupational Standards and Catalogues of Standards for Technical Knowledge and Skills are compared with candidates’ acquired knowledge and experience.
For further inclusion of candidates in the formal education system, educational standards are used (catalogues of knowledge, modules and current curriculum), based on education system which allows candidates to obtain recognition of learning acquired through different learning paths.
A recent educational reform has also given voluntary work an important place in the educational system. Voluntary work is now part of the compulsory curricula in general secondary level schools and certain types of high schools (with international baccalaureate). Pupils need to do voluntary work for a certain number of hours per year and they receive a certificate for it. These certificates however do not facilitate their entrance to further education courses.
The Volunteering Act imposes an obligation on organisations to keep a register of the performed voluntary work and acquired knowledge and skills for every volunteer. On a volunteer's request, a volunteer organisation must issue a certificate on acquired knowledge and skills upon the completion of the volunteering period (see Article 24 of the Act).
It is very important for young people that the non-formal knowledge and skills gained through youth work (volunteering or student work), are adequately recorded. A recording system for volunteering was introduced through the Volunteering Act. Appropriate recording of non-formal and informal learning has a multi-value in society today. It exceeds the dissemination of knowledge, skills and attitudes, being also an important tool for greater integration of the individual in community life. There are a series of examples of good practice, such as Nefiks – System of recording non-formally acquired knowledge (Nefiks – Sistem za beleženje neformalno pridobljenega znanja), My experiences – a tool for validation and recognition of working experience, gained by student work, Learning badges – Utilization of open digital badges to value and recognize learning during non-formal learning activities and others. These tools are being developed in different contexts (international learning mobility, increasing employability, etc.) and different channels (youth work, volunteer, student work, full-time employment ...).
In promoting the recognition of the non-formal education of young people, Nefiks, a partner project of the Institute Nefiks (Zavod Nefiks) and the Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Youth is widely used. At its essence, Nefiks is based on the idea that the non-formal education of young people, carried out at different levels and organised by various institutions, needs to be given more recognition. The main aim is to establish a uniform system of validating knowledge and experience acquired in a non-formal manner by Slovenian young people working in Slovenia and abroad. For this reason, a record book of non-formal learning was introduced to collect the acquired knowledge and experience. It is designed for various users (secondary school and university students, unemployed and any other persons of 14 years of age and above) and it serves for recording knowledge from six different fields:
- knowledge acquired through engagement as active citizens and serious work on projects;
- knowledge acquired through work (through student employment brokerage services);
- knowledge acquired through organised forms of education (courses and seminars);
- knowledge acquired in camps;
- knowledge acquired through voluntary work;
- other ways of acquiring knowledge.