March 15, 2018
The OECD’s Skills Strategy Diagnostic Report for Slovenia (2017) outlines the positive steps the country has made in ensuring that its citizens have the skills needed to prosper, both economically and socially. The full report, which runs to almost 170 pages, can be read here, but what follows are some highlights from the executive summary:
First the good:
Slovenia is a relatively prosperous country with a good quality of life. It not only has one of the highest standards of living in Central Europe, but one of the highest levels of income equality in the OECD, behind only Denmark, Norway and Iceland. In addition, Slovenians enjoy comparatively high levels of personal security, a relatively unspoiled natural environment and high educational attainment…
Then the bad:
…Its export-oriented economy was hard hit by the global financial crisis, experiencing declines both in output and in the employment rate that were among the highest in the OECD. … Slovenia’s recovery is well under way, but incomplete. In addition, its population is ageing, and the size of the prime working-age population is shrinking more rapidly than in most other OECD countries. This leaves a smaller pool of workers to meet skills needs, and fewer wage earners to finance growing age-related public costs, such as pensions and health care.
With the following nine challenges for Slovenia identified by the OECD:
- Equipping young people with skills for work and life
- Improving the skills of low-skilled adults
- Boosting employment for all age groups
- Retaining and attracting talent from Slovenia and abroad
- Making the most of people’s skills in workplaces
- Using skills for entrepreneurship and innovation
- Inclusive and effective governance of the skills system
- Enabling better decisions through improved skills information
- Financing and taxing skills equitably and efficiently
On the government’s plans, the OECD concludes:
Slovenia has adopted an ambitious vision for the future, Vision of Slovenia 2050, to promote a society where people learn for and through life, are innovative, trust one another, enjoy a high quality of life and embrace their unique identity and culture. ...Slovenia’s success in achieving its vision will depend to a great extent on how well it develops, activates and uses people’s skills. Higher levels of skills are associated with higher productivity, employment and earnings.
And the OECD has identified three priority areas for action.
- Empowering active citizens with the right skills for the future: … success is likely to require that people develop a portfolio of cognitive, socio-emotional and discipline-specific skills that equip them to learn throughout life, interact effectively with others, and solve complex problems. In building a responsive and resilient skills system, Slovenia needs to do a better job of ensuring that all actors play their part in creating, sharing and using high-quality information on skills demand and supply. Individuals, educators and employers also need the capacity and incentives to proactively respond to this information.
- Building a culture of lifelong learning: Society’s attitudes towards lifelong learning will only evolve when the benefits are made tangible for more people and the barriers to entry are lowered.
- Working together to strengthen skills: The experience of the National Skills Strategy project in Slovenia has not only confirmed the value of co-operation between different ministries and stakeholders but the importance of making this co-operation more systematic. Some of the benefits of greater policy coherence and co-ordination include: aligning skills with emerging economic and social needs, ensuring that all Slovenians develop a strong skills portfolio; and the multiplier effects that come with better alignment of skills policies.
The full report, in PDF form, can be found here.