I attended the international conference at the 10th anniversary of the SQF in the first half of September. After the welcome and introductory speeches, experts from home and abroad presented the results of the monitoring and evaluation of the national qualifications frameworks.
The first extensive monitoring of the Slovenian Qualifications Framework in Slovenia showed that the tool contributes to a better understanding of qualifications in the country. Two fundamental aims of the SQF were highlighted: transparency and comparability of qualifications at the national level. At the same time, the monitoring revealed that a majority of the expert community (80%) that come into contact with the Framework in their work know it well, but they are not familiar with the purposes for which the SQF is used. Various counsellors at the operational level and direct users are poorly familiar with the Framework. The monitoring drew attention to these future challenges:
- Inclusion of non-formal qualifications into national qualification frameworks;
- Strengthening collaboration between various stakeholders;
- Increasing visibility and added-value for end users.
It was particularly interesting to hear the experts’ views on the qualifications of adults on the one hand and the labour market requirements on the other. Zoran Stančič from the Representation of the EC in Slovenia noted that digital skills are becoming increasingly important, as 90% of jobs require mastery of digital skills. The current health situation has further underlined the need for digital skills. It is a cause for concern that 60% of employees do not have the knowledge required by the labour market, whereby 25% of them are aware of their shortcoming. Skills are the main driver of competitiveness and success on the labour market, which is why resilience, social fairness and sustainable competitiveness need to be strengthened going forward. In addition to the above, attention should also be paid to combining the strengths of education and work, developing work skills, guidance and validation as tools for a successful transition to the labour market. Nowadays, learning is becoming more individualised, new tools are being introduced (portfolio) and instead of long and complex education programmes, participants often opt for so-called micro-credentials, which is why it is necessary to strengthen awareness about the importance of lifelong learning. This is the answer to the constantly changing skills and requirements of the labour market.
Vera Mlinar (firstname.lastname@example.org), SIAE