Slovakia’s education ministry is under pressure to boost its dual education system that was officially launched two years ago. The aim was to train employees.

So far some 2,800 have been enrolled. But this is way below targets. The programme, which was launched in November 2016, expected as many as 12,000 students to be educated within the system by 2020.

As reported by The Slovak Spectator, if the targets are not met, Slovakia may have to return the European Union funding that was allocated.

Meanwhile, the Slovak Automotive Industry Association (ZAP) considers the situation critical and is calling for improving the operation of the national project.

“If Slovakia fails to meet this goal, it will have to return the money to the EU,” said Juraj Sinay, president of ZAP.

Another problem, according to ZAP, is insufficient support for employers and schools to join the dual education system. Though the state has money for this purpose, if it is not used, the interest in participating in the system will decline, Sinay warned.

As for the education ministry, it says it is working to attract new students. “We are mainly using direct communication with employers and school headmasters through personal interviews, conferences, communication with career advisors and students at events focused on promoting secondary vocational schools in the regions,” the ministry’s press department told The Slovak Spectator.

The ministry is also working to amend current legislation on vocational education to support dual education, to increase the motivation of employers and schools to join, and introduce other benefits for employers. It also plans to address career consulting in primary schools.

Meanwhile, ZAP warns that if Slovakia does not solve the problem with a qualified labour force, the multinational companies whose subsidiaries are established in Slovakia may decide in the future not to invest into modern technologies here.