6.6 Social inclusion through education and training
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In Slovenia, social inclusion is provided through the entire educational and training vertical – from kindergarten to higher education.
Concerning the inclusion of young people we should note that new educational programmes are adopted every year. The adoption of publicly valid educational programmes is defined in Articles 15 and 17 of the Organization and Financing of Education Act (Zakon o organizaciji in financiranju vzgoje in izobraževanja).
Other relevant guidelines include:
- Instruction for the educational programmes with tailored implementation and additional professional aid for gymnasium programmes (Navodila za izobraževalni program s prilagojenim izvajanjem in dodatno strokovno pomočjo za gimnazijski program),
- Instruction for the implementation of vocational programmes and upper secondary education with tailored implementation and additional professional aid (Navodila za izvajanje izobraževalnih programov poklicnega in strokovnega izobraževanja s prilagojenim izvajanjem in dodatno strokovno pomočjo), and
- Programme guidelines for programmes of high school education: counselling service in secondary schools (Programske smernice. Svetovalna služba v gimnazijah, nižjih in srednjih poklicnih šolah ter strokovnih šolah in v dijaških domovih).
Additional support (see Eurydice report in Slovene) can be delivered in the form of extra hours of assistance to overcome deficiencies, barriers and/or disorders, or in the form of learning assistance to facilitate learning for a specific subject. A permanent or temporary assistant can be assigned to pupils or students with severe physical impairments to assist them during lessons or with other activities during school time. Target groups are adapted with regard to the level of education. Additionally, if necessary, appropriate measures are introduced based on the needs of specific target group. In the high school education (upper secondary schools, vocational schools, gymnasiums) there are the following target groups (hyperlinks provide further information on specific measurement and policies in the context of formal education):
- 2.1 Members of the Italian and Hungarian national communities: right to education in their mother tongue and provision of education in ethnically mixed areas.
- 2.2 Members of the Roma community: specified as a special group with special rights defined by the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia. The exercise of special rights is specified by the Roma Community Act (Zakon o romski skupnosti v RS).
- 2.3 Migrants (foreign nationals): strategies, adjustments and methods of cooperation and integration of migrant children and their parents in view of assisting kindergartens and schools in planning education work with alien children (Smernice za izobraževanje otrok tujcev v vrtcih in šolah).
- 2.4 Talented pupils or students: the provision of instruction to talented children or pupils may be adapted to their needs.
- 2.5 Pupils or students with learning problems: the right to have adapted methodology.
- 2.6 Children in hospital care: specific for pre-school and basic school education.
- 2.7 Children from less favourable social and economic environments: may receive support and assistance.
The target groups (vrste statusov) in Higher Education are:
- students with special needs,
- top athletes,
- students preparing for international competitions in a particular subject,
- students who become parents,
- renowned artist.
Higher vocational colleges and higher education institutions are autonomous in their approach to students with special needs. They may adapt individual activities to the needs of SEN students and, thereby, provide equal opportunities. In the selection procedure for enrolment in undergraduate studies, candidates may receive special needs status. Institutions may customize study obligations also for top student athletes, students in training for international contests of knowledge, as well as gifted students. Student mothers who give birth during their studies are entitled to and extension of their student status by one year for each live born child.
Regarding social inclusion in Life-Long Learning programmes, dropouts and early leavers from education and training are also included as eligible applicants in the Adult Education Plan for 2020 (Letni program izobraževanja odraslih RS za leto 2020).
There are no specific programmes or initiatives aiming at helping young people overcome obstacles in participation in non-formal and informal education. However, the national agency of Erasmus+: Youth in Action programme recognized the importance of participation in projects of non-formal learning. Participants improve their competencies, self-esteem and opportunities for employment. Furthermore, it is important factor in finding motivation for further development or becoming active in other ways, therefore reaching the aim of inclusion in society. This is important for vulnerable groups of young people, to whom the programme pays special attention. The National agency has therefore set social inclusion as one of the four priorities until 2020. To this end, the series of events were held under the slogan “Key to inclusion” (Ključ do vključenosti), aimed at increasing the inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities.
Social cohesion and equal opportunities
Slovenia implements several different measurements and approaches, depending on the needs and difficulties of respective group. However, according to the Gender Differences in Educational Outcomes: Study on the Measures Taken and the Current Situation in Europe (2010), addressing gender issues is not an explicit aim of the curriculum in Slovenia. Policy measures target both the improvement of the position of women in science and work-life balance. While addressing of gender issues is not the aim of curriculum, the opposite applies to the topic of discrimination. Further detailed information can be found in Citizenship Education in Europe; Eurydice Report (2012). Slovenia has also joined the Paris Declaration, called the “Declaration on promoting citizenship and the common values of freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination through education”. According to follow-up report (Promoting citizenship and the common values of freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination through education: Overview of education policy developments in Europe following the Paris Declaration of 17 March 2015), Slovenia has not adopted any new education policy. Additionally, “policies contributing to the objectives of the Paris Declaration to various degrees are in place in all countries; and some countries have introduced important measures in the years just before the adoption of the Declaration”.
A partnership agreement between Slovenia and the European Commission on implementation of cohesion policy was adopted in October 2014 for the 2014-2020 period. Among other, general horizontal principles are defined, such as partnership, promotion of gender equality, fight against discrimination and accessibility, and sustainable development. To this end, Priority axis 9: Promotion of Social Inclusion and fight against poverty and any kind of discrimination(Prednostna os 9: Spodbujanje socialnega vključevanja ter boj proti revščini in kakršnikoli diskriminaciji) have been put into action. The total assets amount to approximately 6.5 million euros.
To tackle violence, guidelines for analysis, prevention and dealing with/handling of violence in educational space (Smernice za analizo, preprečevanje in obravnavo/obvladovanje nasilja v šolskem prostoru, 2004) were introduced in 2004. The guidelines cover practical cases, international comparison, suggested measures and principles of dealing with and handling of violence.
In years 2009, 2010 and 2011, the project School of Equal Opportunities (Šola enakih možnosti) was prepared, designed and implemented. The aim of the project was successful integration of children and youth with special needs into the education system. The purpose was to develop the implementation curricula, forms and modes of education that will be adapted for children with special needs, not only at the primary level but also in secondary schools. The project started on September 1, 2009 and ended on March 31, 2013.
There is also a framework document "Guidelines for the inclusion of immigrant children in kindergartens and schools” (Smernice za vključevanje otrok priseljencev v vrtce in šole), adopted in 2012, with the purpose of helping with the general orientations for work and successful integration of immigrant pupils in the planning of educational work.