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EACEA National Policies Platform


6. Education and Training

6.1 General context

Last update: 28 November 2023

Main trends in young people's participation in education and training

The share of young people included in the education system has been growing quickly in Slovenia compared to the EU-27 average, and the share of dropouts from secondary school in Slovenia is the lowest among EU-27 countries (in 2015 it was 5.4% in the age group 18–24 years, while in EU-27 it was 11%), according to the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia (Statistični urad Republike Slovenije). Moreover, the share of higher education students aged 20 to 24 was in 2016/2017 by far the highest in EU-27. The proportion of youth between 15 and 24 years of age, who are enrolled in education, was increasing up until 2008. In that time, it was considerably higher than the EU-27 average.


However, there was an observable trend of declining enrolment in tertiary education by the academic year 2016/2017 when 79 547 students were enrolled, which is about 1 000 less than the year before and 36 000 fewer than ten years prior (2006/07). The enrolment in the academic year 2016/2017 was lower than any year since 1998/99. In the last two academic years (2019/20 and 2020/21), the number of students is on the rise again, according to the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia. In 2020/21, almost 82 700 students were enrolled in tertiary education, an increase of 8% compared to the 2019/20 academic year. According to the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia, Slovenia still ranks among the leading countries in the European Union regarding the number of students per total inhabitants. The reduction in enrolment in the previous academic years can be attributed to smaller generations of young people. The enrolment rate among 15-19 year-olds is 94%, one of the highest among OECD members. In 2016, particularly high percentage of young people were enrolled in tertiary education at the age of 19 and 20: 54% and 57% respectively, compared to 34% and 39% on average among OECD countries (OECD, 2019).


In Slovenia, the higher education system underwent Bologna reform in 2004 and updated study programmes were introduced gradually. In September 2016, the so-called pre-Bologna study programmes expired, meaning that students were allowed to graduate under the parameters of the old study programmes by the end of September 2016. About 15 000 students successfully finished their studies before the end of the pre-Bologna programmes. Considering this circumstance, the statistical picture of graduates of higher education was influenced strongly. In 2015, 13 847 students successfully completed higher education studies. In 2016, this number more than doubled to 29 135, with half of graduates coming from pre-Bologna programmes.


High enrolment in tertiary education and extended schooling of young people (aged 15-24) is related to a high percentage of young people enrolled in upper secondary education programmes and programmes for continuing education at the tertiary level. There is a favourable ratio between the number of applicants and the overall number of slots available in higher vocational programmes and higher education programmes available due to the absence of tuition fees for full-time level 1 and 2 studies and the benefits of student status.


Data from the Eurostudent international project show that in Slovenia, students with parents from lower levels of educational attainment are underrepresented in higher education, which reflects unequal access to education. On the other hand, students coming from families with higher educational attainment (university education) are over-represented. OECD research (2016) supports this statement, as it finds that upward educational mobility remains a challenge. Only 9% of adults whose parents have not attained upper secondary education attain tertiary education, compared to 59% among those with at least one tertiary-educated parent. In addition, data show that uneven access to higher education in Slovenia also appears connected to the financial capacity of parents. Slovenian students who report financial difficulties, in 42.2 % of cases, think their parents' situation is not good. It should be noted that some public student support is dependent on the financial situation of their families.


There is no research or survey focusing exclusively on the involvement of young people in non-formal learning. However, some statistical data can be harvested from the Adult Education Survey (Anketa o izobraževanju odraslih) that is conducted by the Slovene Statistical Office every 5 years. The data from the survey done in 2016 show that 43 606 young people (aged 18-24), or 30.4% of all young people in that age cohort, participated in non-formal learning in 2016. The data is comparable with the findings of the national research report on vulnerable groups in the labour market (Ranljive skupine na trgu dela v Sloveniji). Another research study from 2016 (Accessibility of Services: Dostopnost do storitev) presents data on inclusion in non-formal education, but there is no special data on percentage of youth in non-formal education.

Among all students in the academic year 2020/2021, there were 7 600 or 9% mobile students (see the Statistical Office), which is 5% more mobile students than in the academic year 2016/17.



Organisation of the education and training system

The White Paper on Education in the Republic of Slovenia (Bela knjiga o vzgoji in izobraževanju v Republiki Sloveniji 2011) represents fundamental, systematic, professional reflection on the structure and operation of the Slovene education system, and proposes solutions assuring quality practice on the field of pre-school, compulsory basic, upper secondary, adult and music education. A brief overview of the structure of the national education system in Slovenia can be found on the Eurydice website.

The majority of study programmes are publicly funded; therefore, students are not required to pay any tuition fees. Public higher education institutions and private higher education institutions that hold a concession cannot charge fees to citizens of the Republic of Slovenia or citizens of other EU Member States for studies in accredited full-time undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. In the academic year 2016/2017, the government Decree on the co-funding of doctoral studies (Uredba o sofinanciranju doktorskega študija) came into effect. However, the Decree was altered for the upcoming academic year, granting co-funding of doctoral studies only for public higher education institutions. Applicants can apply for co-funding up to 4 000 euros per academic year.

In Slovenia, basic school education is compulsory. Basic school is comprised of primary (level 1 by the International Standard Classification of Education - ISCED) and lower (level 2 by the ISCED) secondary education. In line with the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia’s Article 57, basic school education is both compulsory and funded by the public revenues. Children must enrol in first grade at the age of six. Schools implement the single-structure curriculum over the course of nine years, so pupils typically conclude basic school education at the age of 15. Enrollment in the secondary school (level 3 by the ISCED) is typically made at the age of 15 where education takes 2-5 years, depending on the programme (vocational, professional or general). For students that conclude secondary education, enrolment in the tertiary education (level 5-7 by the ISCED) is typically made at the age of 19.


The main organisations of formal education are listed below:


The list of higher education institutions and study programmes (including all accredited institutions and programmes as of 4 December 2020) is available on the website of the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport.



Adult education takes place in folk high schools. The list of adult education and training institutions is available at the portal of the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport. The list of folk high schools is available at the website of the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport.



Main concepts

In Slovenia, system of school libraries is inherent part of public education system. The system has reached following levels:

  • all primary and secondary schools have a library;
  • 479 elementary schools (more than 400 FTEs (full-time equivalent)) and 111 public secondary schools, including 15 independent student hostels, more than 120 FTEs librarians have been systemised;
  • 175 full-time libraries have been included in the COBISS.SI system (library information system established in Slovenia), of which 88 elementary libraries, 77 secondary and high school libraries and 10 other school libraries. (COBISS statistics);
  • according to the latest available data from 2012, all school libraries have approximately 8.5 million books and an annual purchase of about 440 000 units, and this includes labour costs and material costs of approximately 20 million Euros.


Music and dance education at the basic level is regulated with Music Schools Act (Zakon o glasbenih šolah) and is partly integrated in the primary education. The goals and tasks of education at the music school are:

  • Discovering and developing musical and dance talents;
  • Attaining appropriate knowledge and gaining experience to start engaging in amateur ensembles, orchestras, choirs and dance groups;
  • Acquiring knowledge for further music and dance education, enabling artistic experience and expression;
  • Facilitating the personal development of pupils in accordance with their abilities and development laws;
  • Training for the common cultural and civilizational values that originate from the European tradition;
  • Training for mutual tolerance, respect for difference and cooperation with others;
  • Care for the transfer of national and multi-cultural heritage and the development of national consciousness and education for a multicultural society, while developing and preserving one's own cultural and natural heritage.


Pre-school children, elementary school pupils, secondary school students and adults, can enrol in all subjects under conditions (age of pupil, physical disposition, talent ...) determined by educational music and dance programmes. Enrolment in the first grade of the instrument, singing, ballet and contemporary dance is done on the basis of the received acceptance test, enrolment in the pre-school music school, and the music and dance internship is performed without acceptance test.


Performers of the programmes of the basic music and dance programme are public and private music schools, which are submitted in the record of performers at Ministry of Education, Science and Sport. In the school year 2015/16, 54 public music schools with 17 subsidiaries and 82 dislocated units and 13 private music schools operated in the Republic of Slovenia. In the regular part of the program, which is publicly funded, a total of 25,448 pupils were enrolled. After the completion of music school, talented musicians and dancers can continue their education at the secondary level – art gymnasium, direction music or dance.