The Slovenian Adult Education Act-1 (2018) has finally introduced the educational space with a public service in ALE that includes two activities: guidance in ALE and the Primary school programme for adults.
At the end of 2020, the Rules on Standards and Norms in Adult Education (in Slovenian) was published in the Official Gazette. The public service was officially established on January 1, 2021. The document is the basis for financing the public service, the appointment of counsellors in the public network of ALE and the distribution of the primary schools for adults. Based on the criteria for the appointment of public service professionals, each public organisation for ALE received funding for a certain number of professionals.
Placement in the public service brought longer-term systemic regulation of guidance in adult education
What essential mechanisms need to be emphasised in guidance in adult education?
The main purpose and goals of guidance in ALE are:
- greater accessibility to ALE;
- greater enrolment in ALE;
- greater effectiveness and efficiency of ALE.
Guidance in ALE is free of charge and is intended for all adults (potential participants and those who are already involved) in their local or regional environment. Special care is given to vulnerable adults — those whose access to education and learning is hampered due to various barriers, forms of deprivation and deficits and who participate in ALE only rarely or not at all.
In the professional starting points, the importance of continuous analysis of the needs of adults, local or regional environment and the involvement of the organisation in the local or regional environment is also emphasised.
Guidance in ALE is implemented in the following three areas:
- guidance on enrolment in education and continuation of education;
- guidance on identification and documentation and
- guidance on self-directed learning.
According to the new law, guidance encompasses three areas. In addition to guidance on enrolment in education and continuation of education, guidance on identification and documentation is now provided as a separate area. Up until now, it has been included in the guidance for education (part of the guidance activities of ISIO Centres and guidance for employees). Guidance on self-directed learning, which was provided in Self-Directed Learning Centres, is according to new regulation also part of the public service guidance activities.
Each organisation that is part of the public network implements all three areas of guidance. The ratio between the individual areas of guidance is decided on by each organisation individually. In organising the activities, they take into account the experience gained up until now in the development and implementation of guidance activities in ISIO Centres, Self-Directed Learning Centres and projects for developing approaches to identify and document knowledge and skills of adults.
Guidance in ALE is implemented in different ways, individually and in groups: in person, by phone, e-mail and regular mail, online. It is implemented in different ways, depending on the place and space: at the offices of the provider or outside the offices, with different forms of fieldwork.
Partnership with organisations in the local or regional environment remains an important area, namely in the form of a strategic partnership (they form a Strategic Council). It is recommended that it is organised regionally. It will include at least the following organisations:
- providers of other guidance activities for adults;
- educational organisations that also provide education for adults;
- municipalities or founders of public ALE organisations;
- regional units of the Employment Service;
- social work centres;
- development agencies;
- non-governmental organisations providing services for adults;
- organisations of other social partners (employers, trade unions, associations, and chambers).
An important part of the activity will also be the monitoring of guidance. It will be implemented in accordance with the provisions of the Adult Education Act and the Guidelines. For this purpose, we have already updated two applications for this year at the SIAE, and we are preparing to create a new one. Thus, from next year onwards, it will be possible to monitor all three areas of guidance in one place.
What about professional development?
Continuing professional development will continue to be required from counsellors working in guidance. At the SIAE, we are preparing a new modularly designed professional training programme for carrying out guidance in ALE. It will include joint modules for counsellors in all three areas of guidance as well as optional modules focused on each area. The counsellors will also attend various other additional training both at the SIAE and in other educational organisations. The Guidelines also define supervision as part of the professional training of ALE counsellors. It is recommended that the ALE public service provider prepares an induction programme for ALE counsellors who are beginners.
The SIAE will continue to provide professional and development support to guidance and public service organisations. Implementation protocols will be added to some of the content of the Guidelines (e.g. monitoring the tasks of counsellors, strategic partnership, the use of tools, teaching materials). In any case, this year will be full of professional and organisational challenges for organisations in the public network as well as for us. We are confident that together we will overcome them successfully.
Andreja Dobrovoljc, MSc (email@example.com), SIAE