Development of CPI
Development of CPI
CPI was established on 25 May 1995, by a special decision of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia as the founder (the Ministry of Education Science and Sport and the Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affairs) and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia and the Chamber of Craft and Small Business of Slovenia as co-founders. This decision meant that the idea had matured in the Republic of Slovenia that Vocational Education and Training (VET) has to be based on social partnership, therefore it needs a separate institution that would monitor and facilitate the development of VET in Slovenia. The tasks of the CPI were development of modern education programs (short, vocational and technical upper secondary education), connecting schools and employers regarding work-based learning of students, development and maintenance of the certification system and maintenance of the VET programs records.
Samo Hribar Milič from the Chamber of Commerce became the first acting director starting with nine employees transferred from the National Education Institute (nowadays the main institute for pre-school, primary school and general upper secondary education). Within months Milič was replaced by Vladimir Tkalec, a renowed expert for the field of European VET, who managed CPI for the next 10 years.
1996 – 1998
The development of the CPI in the early years coincided with the first Phare project (1995-1998), which represented European aid for the assistance and renewal of VET. As the central research, development and advisory body for VET, CPI was responsible for developing the contents of the whole project. CPI also coordinated the activities and thus contributed to the reform and modernisation of VET in Slovenia.
The Phare project provided material and professional support and also enabled contacts with similar institutions and experts in other EU countries. The results achieved influenced the system for the next ten years. The first Guidelines for the preparation of education programs were developed influencing the curriculum reform. The Guidelines also re-introduced the dual system, master craftsman, foreman and shop manager exam, higher VET schools and vocational courses.
The VET Act and the White book on Education and Training was also adopted in 1996, which along with the guidelines served as the basis for the preparation of new upper secondary VET programmes, the first ones were implemented in the 1997/8 school year.
1998 – 2000
In this period, CPI was a partner in the Phare MOCCA, which provided a framework for the evaluation and deliberation on the VET system reform of the 1990’s
The completion of this project brought a Memorandum on the further development of vocational and technical education. During this period, the National Observatory and the National Coordination Unit of the Leonardo da Vinci program were set up at the CPI, nowadays a separate institution named CMEPIUS. This period also saw the beginning of the intensive international cooperation for CPI.
2000 – 2004
The year 2000 was a very important turning point as the Vocational Qualifications Act was adopted. Evaluations indicated some deficiencies of the previous reform, so in 2001 new Guidelines for the preparation of the upper secondary VET programmes were published. The Guidelines implemented vocational standards as the mandatory basis of VET programmes, replacing nomenclatures. A standard has a dual role, as it also became the basis for National Vocational Qualifications, gained through the certification system. Due to the transition from the nomenclature of professions to vocational standards, CPI created a new department for the preparation of vocational standards and catalogues of professional skills.
The Guidelines brought on other changes like abolishing dual system, which distributed the responsibility for practical training between the schools and employers and transferred the responsibility for practical training back to schools.
The Guidelines marked a second wave of VET reform in Slovenia and preparation of the new education programmes coordinated by CPI in cooperation with social partners.
With the accession to the European Union and the use of European Social Fund, finances strengthened and expanded the international project participation of CPI. Therefore, a new project unit was created at the CPI, which supervised and managed projects throughout the following period. During this period, school consortiums appeared, influencing the development and implementation of new educational programs.
The new wave was in full swing by 2004, as an intensive reform of the education programmes took place lasting until 2010, involving CPI, school consortiums and employers. Systematic teacher training was required, with thorough monitoring of the implementation of the new programs. This was followed by projects to identify the needs of employers and the preparation of new professional standards, the production of teaching materials, a project to identify and ensure a quality system, a project of information and counselling, a project to prevent early school leaving, innovation projects, etc.
Higher Vocational Education Act regulating the field of higher VET
2005 – 2013
The new VET reform reached its peak in 2006 with adoption of a new Vocational Education and Training Act. This period also brought two changes in the top CPI management as Metka Zevnik took over as directress in 2005, followed by Elido Bandelj in 2009.
The education programmes were then based on 2001 Guidelines and 2006 VET Act. From then on Slovenia has been introducing competence based modularly structured programmes with credit points and a bigger share of elective contents. In this way, we have responded to the call for increased flexibility and responsiveness of VET. The modular approach gradually reinforced the links between general, professional and practical knowledge. Practical training at an employer became a compulsory part of educational programs and also open curriculum was introduced leaving the schools free to adapt 20 % of the curriculum to the local needs. We were no longer only partners in international projects, but also coordinators of development system projects (in Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro). The CPI became a national contact point for various networks, hosting European Qualifications Framework EQF, EUROPASS, Cedefop’s REFERNET network, ECVET, EQAVET and EUROSKILLS, thus further linking our operations across the European Union.
CPI, appointed for a national coordination point (NCP) for European Qualifications Framework (EQF), coordinated the preparation of Slovenian Qualification Framework (SQF) encompassing all types of qualifications that can be obtained in the Republic of Slovenia through formal or non-formal learning: education, vocational qualification and supplementary qualification. This required a lot of coordination between different stakeholders (ministries, chambers and trade unions, student unions, and other key national institutions. In 2013, the Slovenian Qualifications Framework was referenced to the European Qualifications Framework.
In 2015 The Slovenian Qualifications Framework Act (SQF Act) was adopted. The new SQF act formally established the Slovenian qualifications framework and defined the procedures and competences relating to the referencing of qualifications obtained with education, vocational and supplementary qualifications to the SQF and determined the main tasks of NCP SQF-EQF and the NCP SQF-EQF Expert panel.
New Guidelines for the preparation of upper secondary VET programmes were prepared implementing apprenticeship. CPI participated in the preparation.
With the Adoption of the Apprenticeship Act Slovenia reintroduced apprenticeship into the Slovene VET system as a 3-year pilot.
According to the new Act, there are 2 pathways for 3-year Vocational upper secondary programmes: the school path and the apprenticeship path. Both paths are equivalent in educational standards and vocation achieved, which enables transition from one to another at any point. The major difference between them is duration of the in-company training: school-based path has 24 weeks (20%), while apprenticeship path has at least 55 weeks (at least 50% and no more than 60% of the education programme).
The Apprenticeship Act entrusted CPI with a developmental and counselling role, as it:
(a) develops professional system solutions for the development of apprenticeship;
(b) coordinates the preparation of catalogues for practical work-related training;
(c) coordinates the preparation of examination catalogues for interim tests and final examinations;
(d) participates in the preparation of training programs for mentors;
(e) connects chambers, schools and other providers of apprenticeship forms of education;
(f) encourages the development of professional and teaching materials;
(g) monitors and evaluates the effectiveness of system solutions and the quality of the implementation of the apprenticeship form of education
Janez Damjan, MSc became a new director of the CPI.