Non Formal Education in Slovakia by Patricia Mattova

 

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An article about the non-formal education in Slovakia and the process towards its recognition.This contribution was also consulted with the IUVENTA-Slovak Youth Institute.Patricia Mattova was EVS for the EU Project "yBBregions-Youth and Brussels based"

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In all EU member states, the current situation is extremely difficult. European institutions, national governments and citizens, we all have to face the economic recession and we have to deal with the extremely high unemployment rate, especially among the youth. And our little country, Slovakia, is one of these, which have been hit by the crisis extremely deep. The situation in Slovakia The population of Slovakia is almost 5.5 million inhabitants and its unemployment rate is 12.44% (September 2014). For our country, one of the most important challenges is to defeat the youth unemployment rate, which is above 33% what is one of the highest within all EU member states. Graduates leaving university without any guarantee that they will find a job, lack of practical experiences, young people forced to go abroad in order to find a job; these are the main problems we have to solve. Where is the problem? Everybody in our country feels that we need to change something in order to start up the job market. There are two sides: on the one hand, there are employers demanding practical experiences and on the second hand, there are students overloaded with theory. But none of these two subjects is wrong. It is completely understandable that employers want to hire skilled people, and that students in order to pass exams have to study so much. How to effectively connect these two opposite sides? Non-formal education as a solution The issue of non-formal education has emerged in our country during the last few years. Through different projects, launched mostly by the EU, Slovakia has also discovered “the power of that kind of education”. In Slovakia, a key role plays the IUVENTA - Slovak Youth Institute, which has decided to widespread the message of the non-formal education for young people: getting practical experiences and key competencies for a successful future. The Institute has started to raise public awareness through organising a series of workshops at schools, launching different projects and activities for young people, supporting volunteering, study exchanges, etc. One of the most important projects currently run by the IUVENTA is called KomPrax (Competencies for practice), which is intended for pupils older than 15 years. It is a series of

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2-3 weekend meetings of young people with the aim of interactive gaining of new skills, experiences and information by an unusual and non-formal manner. What can young people learn through KomPrax?       How to create a good project How to communicate in different situations How to assign tasks within the whole team and how to meet the deadlines How to effectively plan activities and use money Ho to present own ideas and plans How to encourage people to take part in a useful activity... And what’s more, a young person participating in KomPrax is also offered by the possibility to gain 200 € in order to run his/her own project. Recognition of non-formal education In 2013 the IUVENTA – Slovak Youth Institute prepared a national declaration on the recognition of the contribution of non-formal education in the youthwork in Slovakia. This declaration found many supporters, among which is the Ministry of Education, Science, Research, and Sport of the Slovak Republic, universities, NGOs, companies. The progressed made in the recognition is well presented in the document “Step by Step towards the recognition...or behind the scenes of recognition of non-formal education in the youthwork in Slovakia.” https://www.iuventa.sk/files/documents/4%20iuventa/publikacie/ilf_krok_za_krokom/___step _by_step_web.pdf In conclusion, we can state that Slovakia is currently in the middle of the way in order to “empower” the non-formal education. Some changes have already happened, but there is still a plenty of work to be done. The most important thing is to find the best way how to effectively combine formal and non-formal education, i.e. theory and practice. Ms. Patrícia Mattová EVS in the Prešov Region Brussels Office 1 September - 30 November 2014

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