Lifelong learning at the heart of education reform in the Slovak Republic

17 February 2017

The Slovak Republic is reforming its education system to give a more central role to lifelong learning. The Lifelong Learning Department of the Slovak Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport is an important member of the reform and planning working group, which is drawing on successful experiences from other countries in Europe and around the world to enrich its strategy for education.

To support these efforts, a Slovak delegation visited the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), to share its plans and consult with our experts on different areas of lifelong learning. The delegation comprised H.E. Ms Klara Novotna, Ambassador of the Permanent Delegation of the Slovak Republic to UNESCO, and Ms Monika Korkošová, Director of the Lifelong Learning Department in the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic.

They informed UIL about the planned reforms that will give particular attention to the recognition, validation and accreditation (RVA) of informal and non-formal qualifications. Integrating RVA will help establish a qualifications system that can address the challenges of long-term unemployment, low-skills and engaging older people in learning. Such a system will also support the integration of disadvantaged groups by not only recognizing their prior learning, but also providing them with literacy and other skills that allow them to learn, work in various professions and earn a living.

Lifelong learning entails that learning is not only inclusive, but also sustainable. Through its programme of reform, the Slovak Ministry of Education aims to bring together all stakeholders involved in education in the country to establish sustainable financing options. In this way, education and learning opportunities can reach the least-developed districts of the country. To encourage the involvement of people from various districts, the ministry will co-organize a week-long celebration of lifelong learning at which UIL will present its work on the Global Network of Learning Cities, with the aim of encouraging participation from all cities, including the least-developed. Promoting the principle of learning cities in Slovakia could be a way of creating more lifelong learning opportunities and addressing the challenges faced by the least-developed districts in the country.

‘It is imperative that we learn from the good work that UNESCO is doing around the world, to learn from each other and get the best of practices to enrich our various educational systems,’ said H.E. Ms Klara Novotna. Her words were echoed by UIL’s Director, Arne Carlsen, who added that, ‘the integration of lifelong learning into the educational system of the country, will, once implemented, be a good and sustainable return on investment and will see more people accessing educational and learning opportunities.’