Katja Dovžak, MSc, Head of the Higher Vocational and Adult Education Division at MESS, speaking to participants on behalf of MESS, used her opening address to draw attention to the complex task the Ministry wants to complete by the end of the year. She was referring to the preparation of the new AEMP for 2021–2030, which is why conversations with the social partners and stakeholders are essential if the long-term objectives, measures and indicators for this period are to be harmonised.
In his introductory speech, Andrej Sotošek, MSc, director of the SIAE, presented the aim and the substantive focus of the event, and emphasised that with this event, our institution wants to further facilitate the collaboration and networking of all the key stakeholders and partners.
Dare Stojan drew attention to the need for new methods of education and learning arising from rapid social change and the increasing amount of knowledge in society. This has also been pointed out at the level of the EU and the OECD, especially when it comes to employee competence development.
Andrej Zorko presented what the third package of measures introduced by the Act Determining the Intervention Measures to Mitigate and Remedy the Consequences of the COVID-19 epidemic brings for employers and employees. He said that the Act includes a proposal for extending material support to employees who join education and training programmes during part-time work. He also listed some of the obstacles related to how this type of work is organised in practice which call for a more flexible implementation of education and training.
In her presentation of the networks of providers for the acquisition of employee competences, Estera Možina, MSc, SIAE, mentioned a variety of current measures in employee education and training as well as the challenges in the working environment faced by educators. Among them, she listed the unfavourable situation as well as the waning skills and competences of employees, their low motivation for education and training and employers’ poor awareness about the importance of investing in employee development.
The importance of e-learning came up several times at the event, which is why our colleague Margerita Zagmajster, MSc, later presented the new monograph E-Learning for a Digital Society (in Slovenian), which offers a comprehensive overview of the field.
In the second part of the event, best practice examples were shown and a paradigm shift in education driven by digital media was indicated. Dr Janez Bešter, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, presented the Digital University project and the concrete approaches and steps for its establishment as well as the features of this digital environment. He noted that much had already been done in the digitalisation of education and that the key to the breakthrough of e-learning was collaboration, to which he invited all participants.
Dr Mitja Jermol, Jožef Stefan Institute, who is active in the development of artificial intelligence for various purposes, including education, built his presentation around the ultimate goal of an open educational space. He focused on its possibilities and on the use of AI as a form of assistance in understanding and guidance through every available piece of educational content in order to personalise learning.
Franc Dolenc from Mediainteractive, the company that set up the Digital Hub for Adult Education (in Slovenian) for the purposes of the event, presented concrete experience and findings in creating digital collaborative environments. He said that this was a product of local knowledge and a contribution to the Slovenian digital space. The concept of the digital education hub has given us insight into what education will be like in the future.
The event concluded with a brief discussion, while the networking and collaboration of the social partners and stakeholders continues at the Digital Hub for Adult Education (in Slovenian) through initiatives launched after the follow-up event and through our own work.
- the importance of strengthening collaboration between social partners and other stakeholders for developing employee competences;
- increasing motivation for and openness to education and training among employees and employers;
- in order for AE to keep up with modern trends and benefit from modern media in education to the greatest extent possible, we need to ensure systematic and sustainable HR development;
- in addition to ESF funding, which forms the majority of the funding for competence development and acquisition, national funding should also increase;
- we must also keep each other updated on any existing free options for competence development and support for competence development;
- the digitalisation of education and the development of digital competences of adults and digital communities must be accelerated. More such events should be organised, because we will be more efficient and effective if everyone participates and if these activities are coordinated;
- in the light of Slovenia’s cybersecurity and digital sovereignty in vital social areas, it is essential to choose secure digital tools or environments and to support local expertise and development.