Slovenia participated in Round 2 of the PIAAC Survey of adult skills. Data were collected from April 2014 to March 2015 from a sample of around 5,100 respondents. Results were released on 28 June 2016 at a press conference of the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport (MESS). In parallel, ten thematic studies were carried out by researchers from the Slovenian Institute for Adult Education (SIAE), leading partner of the ESF-funded project, and three faculties of the University of Ljubljana – Faculty of Art, Faculty of Economics and Faculty of Social Sciences. Multidisciplinary studies are based on PIAAC data and cover various aspects of adult skills and their use in life and at work.
The 20th Adult Education Colloquium (AEC), a traditional professional gathering within the framework of the Slovenian Lifelong Learning Week, served as the setting for the first thorough presentation of Slovenian PIAAC results and recommendations stemming from the above mentioned thematic studies.
Around 120 participants – researchers, adult education professionals and practitioners, policy makers from the education and labour sector as well as from other ministries – took part in the one-day meeting on 29 September 2016 in Ljubljana. The event was hosted by the MESS and organized by the SIAE. Introductory speeches of representatives of both institutions emphasized the importance of research-based evidence for high quality policy-making and outlined the 25-year role of the SIAE, respectively.
The Colloquium saw two rounds of presentations of thematic studies which were preceded by the overview of PIAAC with special focus on Slovenian results by William Thorn, senior analyst at OECD and coordinator of the PIAAC survey. Among other things, he pointed out some major themes that were identified on the basis of PIAAC data analysis for Slovenia, namely adult learning, ageing, adults with low skills, economic returns to education and skills, health, ICT skills, immigration, inequality, methodology, participation in education and skills match/mismatch. Most of the themes were already identified by Slovenian researchers also.
The first five thematic presentations illustrated findings related to specific target groups, such as the low-skilled and adults over 50, and particular skills, such as digital literacy and problem solving. The next five presentations addressed the issue of skills-mismatch and other aspects of skills for work, the importance of non-formal education and personal career development with regard to skills.
Following the second round of presentations, Dr Bryan Maddox of the University of East Anglia shared his reflections on the PIAAC survey and its data collection from the point of view of the ethnographic research that he had implemented in Slovenia during PIAAC main survey data collection.
In order to involve participants, polling was carried out, addressing some aspects of thematic studies as well as the relationship between researchers and policy makers. This electronic voting enlivened the course of high-level research presentations and led to some interesting outcomes. Videos, Power Point presentations and other materials are available on the event’s website http://pro.acs.si/ak2016/vsebine (in Slovenian language).
After the event, we filmed an interview with William Thorn, addressing the influence of socio-demographic background and some other factors on the level of skills, the possibilities to raise the skills level of the population 50+, the role of employers and their incentives for bettering skills of their low educated/skilled workers as well as possible features of the next cycle of the PIAAC research (2021/22). We are grateful to Mr Thorn for this opportunity and for the valuable support we have received from him during our engagement with PIAAC.
Zvonka Pangerc Pahernik, MSc, (firstname.lastname@example.org), Slovenian Institute for Adult Education (SIAE)
Zvonka Pangerc Pahernik, MSc, is the head of promotion and information services at SIAE. She is national coordinator for the implementation of the European Agenda on Adult Learning and head of the Slovenian Lifelong Learning Week. As member of the EU Standing Group on Indicators and Benchmarks she is involved in systemic adult education topics at SIAE.