Work-related continuing education training and retraining provided as courses were generally not free for learners until 2007. The state funded the training of unemployed persons and certain specific groups (e.g. teachers, officials). The Ministry of Education and Research, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, and the Ministry of Social Affairs have developed a three-pillar division of spheres of responsibilities in state financing of professional training of adults.
Division of spheres of responsibilities in financing the professional training of adults
In 2007, an inter-ministry working group developed the model of financing the professional training of adults, according to which three ministries will share the primary responsibility for funding the work-related training of adults: the Ministry of Education and Research (MER), the Ministry of Social Affairs (MSA), and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communication (MEAC).
According to the agreement, the the MEACs target group consists of employed adults whose professional training is financed through companies. The MERs target group consists of employed adults whose training is financed through education and training institutions. The MSAs target group consists primarily of the unemployed and persons seeking work who belong to the risk groups of the labour market and whose training is financed through the Unemployment Insurance Fund. The model is addressed to the adult population in general and does not deal with or exclude specific target groups based on occupation (e.g. teachers, officials, etc.). The ministries are trilaterally responsible for creating work-related training opportunities for the adult population with the help of financial support from the European Social Fund (ESF). The division of spheres of responsibilities in financing professional training does not preclude financing or co-financing adult training from other sources such as private individuals, employers or funds.
The MER applies the model through state-commissioned work-related training. The Vocational Educational Institutions Act and the legislation based thereon were supplemented in 2007, and a legal basis was created for the state financing of professional training of adults in institutions of vocational education and institutions of professional higher education that provide vocational training. This means that the Ministry of Education and Research has to use state budget funds to commission vocational training courses that are available to adult learners free of charge.
In 2007–2009 the Ministry carried out a pilot project of adult vocational education and used funding from the ESF and the state budget to commission the training of more than 25,000 people at 37 institutions of vocational education and institutions of professional higher education that provide vocational education in all counties.
The Government of the Republic approved division of spheres of responsibilities in financing the professional training of adults as an amendment to the lifelong learning strategy on 10 January 2008.