Slovakia: a snapshot of digital skills
In the 2022 edition of the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) in terms of human capital, Slovakia ranks nineteenth out of the 27 EU member states, with score 44.1, placing it below the EU average (45.7). 55% of Slovaks possess basic digital skills, which is slightly higher than the EU average of 54%. Nevertheless, only 21% of Slovakian people have advanced digital skills, below the EU average of 26%. Compared to the EU average of 20%, only 16% of businesses provide ICT training for their employees. The percentage of ICT specialists in the labour force is 4.3%, which is marginally lower than the EU average of 4.5%. Women comprise 15% of ICT specialists, compared to the EU average of 19%.
In 2022 the IT Fitness Test 27,757 people in Slovakia completed, the first, certification phase, taking the more difficult version of the test for those over 15 years of age with an average success rate of 52.55%. Compared to 2021, the overall success rate is higher by approximately 12%. Students from 567 schools participated in the testing for respondents older than 15 years. The high school version of the test was solved by 2,549 respondents who stated that they were teachers. The average success rate of teachers in the test for secondary schools was 57.39%, and compared to last year, teachers improved by 5%. A total of 14,193 respondents aged 7-16 completed the easier version of the test for primary schools in the first phase of testing. The average success rate in this age category reached 55.03%, and compared to 2021, elementary school students improved by 15%.
The National Coalition for Digital Skills and Jobs of the Slovak Republic (Digitalna Koalicia) is established in 2017 based on the initiative of the European Commission, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic for Investments and Informatisation and IT Association of Slovakia. Digitalna Koalicia in 2023 associates 93 members - key stakeholders in the field of education and ICT in Slovakia, it connects relevant ministries, universities, associations, tech companies and the main initiatives that aim to increase people’s digital competences.
Overview of state strategies and national initiatives
The 2030 Strategy for Digital Transformation of Slovakia is a cross-sectoral government strategy - a framework that defines Slovakia's policy priorities in the context of the ongoing digital transformation of the economy and society under the influence of innovative technologies and global megatrends of the digital age. By 2030, the Slovakia aims to modernise the economy with innovative and environmentally friendly industrial solutions facilitated by a knowledge-based data economy. This includes enhancing the capacity of citizens to live active digital lives and reap the full advantages of the technology, as well as enhancing the efficacy of public administration services.
National digital skills strategy of the Slovak republic and action plan for the years 2023 – 2026 was published in 2022, based upon several national and EU strategies, reaffirming the intention to implement digital transformation as the highest priority. Slovakian digital strategy is divided into six priority areas: Institutional background ("Governance" model); ICT specialists; Digital skills of young people and educators in the educational process; Digital skills of active participants in the labour market; Share of girls and women in ICT; Digital divide and digital exclusion.
Action plan for the digital transformation of Slovakia for the years 2023-2026 determines the state's goals in the field of digitization. The emphasis is on supporting the digitization of businesses and the wider economy, the development and deployment of top digital technologies and building a resilient society . It defines the basic framework for the promotion of productivity, knowledge economy, focuses on segments with higher added value, more competitive economy, sustainable development. It also supports successful development of companies in the digital age, but also build up resilience to the negative effects of digital technologies.
The areas of the Action Plan are based on a combination of the vision of the Slovak Republic defined in the Digital Transformation Strategy for Slovakia 2030 and strategic documents at the level of the European Union, including the European social partners' framework agreement on digitalization. The areas are building a digital ecosystem, digital transformation of the wider economy; development of digital infrastructure; promotion of the potential of artificial intelligence and digital society.
Digital transformation is one of the main components of the Slovakia’s Recovery and Resilience Plan. Measures in the plan contributing to the digital transition account for 21% (EUR 1.33 billion) exceeding the 20% target. Digitálne Slovensko (state in the mobile, cybersecurity, fast internet for everyone, digital economy’) is the main contributor to achieving the digital target, followed by digital investments in education, research & innovation, and sustainable transport.
It includes reforms in eGovernment, connectivity, digital transformation of the economy and society, improvements in education and ensuring capabilities in the field of IT cyber and information security in public administration, and strategic approach to digital skills education in collaboration with key stakeholders. The plan will support participation in cross-border European projects leading to the building of the digital economy, projects aimed at the development and application of top digital technologies and hackathons. Focusing also on improving the digital skills of seniors and distributing digital devices to seniors. More information are available on the main RRF Slovakia website Plan obnovy.
IT Fitness Test is the largest and most comprehensive free ICT skills test in Slovakia. In the past 10 years, more than 300,000 people have participated in it. The primary target group is pupils and students of primary, secondary and university schools, as one of the main objectives of the test is to prepare them for further study and practical use of IT skills in working life. In 2022 IT Fitness Test was for the first time organize in 4 countries and 5 languages exceeding 100,000 respondents. In addition to Slovak, the test was also available in Czech, Hungarian and Polish, with the English version as a bonus. The youngest test participants are 7 years old, the oldest participant from Bratislava is 82 years old. The most successful participants in the test for respondents over 15 years of age with a hundred percent success rate were 20 teachers, 110 students (75 boys, 35 girls) and 13 employees from extracurricular activities. More information are available in Final reports for 2022, 2021, and 2020 year.
The Digitalna koalicia signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Unity of pensioners in Slovakia supporting implementation of the National Project of the Ministry of Investments, Regional Development and Informatization of the Slovak Republic (MIRRI) "Improving the digital skills of seniors and disadvantaged groups in public administration". Project main goal is to create an educational platform which will help seniors not only master basic digital skills and actively use them in everyday life, but also navigate the complex digital world and defend against its pitfalls.
Funding opportunities for upskilling and reskilling to support the digital competences of individuals and organizations are available in form of loans, grants and financial instruments. For the period 2021 – 2026 most of the activities in digital transformation are financed through Recovery and Resilience facility but also as activities in Horizon, Erasmus+, ESIF and EEA grant schemes. You may find more on the page of the Slovakian National Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition and in the article on the Digital Skills and Jobs Platform.