Fewer children are being born, and people are living longer. The population is aging. Many people are single or live in informal partnerships. Almost half of children are being born out of wedlock. Fewer and fewer people will take root only in one place, and adhere only to one group. Values and lifestyles are changing. Society is more diverse; it faces the threat of the atomization and deepening economic disparities between various social groups.
How will the ever longer lifetimes affect the relationships between different generations? How will we harmonize individual, family, community and societal interests, needs and priorities? How will education and other public services adapt to the changes in populations?
Today, almost half of people consider themselves to be ambitious, trying to make an impact on others by their excellence and skills. A third of people think that it will be important to succeed and stand out above the rest in the future; however, half expect that people will have to learn to adapt more to changes in society.
More than half of the people in Slovakia (51%) consider it important to have strong ties to a narrow circle of friends and acquaintances. More than half (55%) believe that being surrounded by close ones who you can always turn to and rely on will still be an important value even in 25 years.
Almost everyone (up to 90%) considers education to be the path to success in the labor market and close to 60% believe that education should make it possible for a person to succeed when competing with others. Education should also lead children to better communicate with others, to create good relationships with them (70%) and allow for easier cooperation (73%).
The age structure of the Slovakian population is characterized by two fundamental features of unequal distribution and aging. The unequal distribution is primarily caused by fluctuations in birth rates over the past 100 years, while aging is caused by a gradual decrease of birth rates and an increase in life expectancy.1
„The family is going to break up, family members will be flexibly coming and going. It will be strange.“ - a workshop participant in Šamorín
Forecasters predict that the number of households with only one person who lives and manages finances alone is going to rise in the future. By the year 2030, the share of such households in all types of Slovak households is to increase from the present value of 29.5% to 31.7%.2 Single-person households are formed, for example, after the death of a spouse, a divorce, and increasingly also by unmarried individuals, with a predominance of men under the age of 35 years.
„People will help each other more and the older will give more help to the younger. We will go back to cross-generational families. A family will be considered to be everything that provides a refuge“ - a workshop participant in the city of Žilina
The European Values Study shows that family has been the most important value for the citizens of Slovakia since Slovakia joined the survey in 1991. Its importance is recognized by close to 99% of the population. According to the study, friends and acquaintances are the third most important pillar of happiness in people’s lives, just after family and work. Their importance is valued in Slovakia by up to 85% of people.
The willingness of people to create social networks and associations and express solidarity with others has not changed significantly in the course of the past 20 years. People most often get organized in culture, music, and sports associations. They get to organize the least in public-benefit organizations or associations where the rates of membership have steadily declined. In 1991, 55% of the population of Slovakia was members of at least one such organization, while in 2009 it was only 26%.3
GOOD TO KNOW
British forecasters presented the shifts that will shape education over the next 10 years. The near future will bring about fundamental changes in the approach to curricula, educators, and students. Education will increasingly go beyond the boundaries of the school and learning will be increasingly less tied to the classroom and to the student/teacher relationship. Students’ motivation will become more significant because the gap will widen between those who want and have knowledge and those who do not want or fail to learn. There will be a shift from giving grades to providing continuous feedback, a shift from exerting pressure on performance, to giving support, expert assistance, and mentoring.4
„Cohesion of communities will be based on the sharing of some of the varied palettes of cultures and subcultures, each preferring their specific paths to spirituality, their models of earning a living, their family models and the like. Naturally, in between the communities there will also be specialized “small islands”, such as those for science and research, or special production. Nor will closed sectarian congregations be an exception. There may not be fewer psychopaths and sociopaths, but what is a more effective prevention than a transparent community with its norms?“ - Fedor Gál sociologist
„Podobu spoločnosti budú určovať ľudia, ktorí budú vpredu a ostatní ich budú len dobiehať.“ účastník workshopu Rožňava
A current phenomenon is the shared economy. It shows that people have, in fact, much more capital and opportunities for work than they think. It turns out that people own many things and can provide many services that they themselves don't use that someone else may be interested in. The Internet offers a space for supply and demand to meet in a wide variety of market segments. Benefits from the shared economy are of particular interest to the middle class, but low-income households also use it as a chance to make some extra money.5
„Today, graduates are entering a demanding world – the digital revolution has an increasing impact on our economy and we need to ensure that education provides the necessary skills from an early age. Education is not just about the job market. Education plays a key role in the creation of a cohesive and sustainable society and in preparing citizens for the unknown future. It serves to ensure that the cultural and civic values that we identify with will be passed on to future generations.“ Mārīte Seile Latvian Minister for education and
„The society will fall apart to extremes, some children will have everything in terms of material wealth and they will lack something else. And vice versa. “ a workshop participant in the town of Nováky
 Úrad verejného zdravotníctva SR (2015) Správa o zdravotnom stave obyvateľstva SR za roky 2012 – 2014. Dostupné vo formáte pdf.
 Prognostický ústav SAV, Infostat – Výskumné demografické centrum (2014) Prognóza vývoja rodín a domácností na Slovensku do roku 2030. Dostupné vo formáte pdf.
 Kusá, Z., Tížik, M. (eds.) (2009) Výskum európskych hodnôt 1991-1998-2008 slovenská a česká spoločnosť. Bratislava: Sociologický ústav SAV.
 Institute for the Future (2013) From Educational institutions to Learning Flows. Dostupné vo formáte pdf.
 Biel, M., Pavúk, J. (2014) Podeliť sa a zarobiť. In Trend, 16.01.2014. Dostupné vo formáte pdf.