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Slovakia:National Reforms in School Education

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Overview Slovakia

Contents

Slovakia:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Slovakia:Historical Development

Slovakia:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Slovakia:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Slovakia:Political and Economic Situation

Slovakia:Organisation and Governance

Slovakia:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Slovakia:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Slovakia:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Slovakia:Organisation of Private Education

Slovakia:National Qualifications Framework

Slovakia:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Slovakia:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Slovakia:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Slovakia:Funding in Education

Slovakia:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Slovakia:Higher Education Funding

Slovakia:Adult Education and Training Funding

Slovakia:Early Childhood Education and Care

Slovakia:Organisation of Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Slovakia:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Slovakia:Assessment in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Slovakia:Organisation of Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Slovakia:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Slovakia:Assessment in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Slovakia:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Slovakia:Single Structure Education (Integrated Primary and Lower Secondary Education)

Slovakia:Organisation of Single Structure Education

Slovakia:Teaching and Learning in Single Structure Education

Slovakia:Assessment in Single Structure Education

Slovakia:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Single Structure Education

Slovakia:Upper Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Slovakia:Organisation of Upper Secondary Education

Slovakia:Teaching and Learning in Upper Secondary Education

Slovakia:Assessment in Upper Secondary Education

Slovakia:Organisation of Vocational and Technical Upper Secondary Education

Slovakia:Teaching and Learning in Vocational and Technical Upper Secondary Education

Slovakia:Assessment in Vocational and Technical Upper Secondary Education

Slovakia:Organisation of Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Slovakia:Teaching and Learning in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Slovakia:Assessment in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Slovakia:Higher Education

Slovakia:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Slovakia:First Cycle Programmes

Slovakia:Bachelor

Slovakia:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Slovakia:Second Cycle Programmes

Slovakia:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Slovakia:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Slovakia:Adult Education and Training

Slovakia:Distribution of Responsibilities

Slovakia:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Slovakia:Main Providers

Slovakia:Main Types of Provision

Slovakia:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Slovakia:Teachers and Education Staff

Slovakia:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Slovakia:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Slovakia:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Slovakia:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Slovakia:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Slovakia:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Slovakia:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Slovakia:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Slovakia:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Slovakia:Management and Other Education Staff

Slovakia:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Slovakia:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Slovakia:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Slovakia:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Slovakia:Management Staff for Higher Education

Slovakia:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Slovakia:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Slovakia:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Slovakia:Quality Assurance

Slovakia:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Slovakia:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Slovakia:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Slovakia:Educational Support and Guidance

Slovakia:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Slovakia:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Slovakia:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Slovakia:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Slovakia:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Slovakia:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Slovakia:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Slovakia:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Slovakia:Mobility and Internationalisation

Slovakia:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Slovakia:Mobility in Higher Education

Slovakia:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Slovakia:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Slovakia:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Slovakia:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Slovakia:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Slovakia:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Slovakia:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Slovakia:National Reforms in School Education

Slovakia:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Slovakia:National Reforms in Higher Education

Slovakia:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Slovakia:European Perspective

Slovakia:Legislation

Slovakia:Institutions

Slovakia:Glossary

2017


Motivational scholarship for selected study fields

The Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic wants to motivate pupils to apply for study field graduates of which are sought after on the labour market.

The Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak Republic prepared a List of study fields that fail to produce enough graduates for labour market needs in cooperation with trade organisations and unions.

Primary school pupils who decide to study such study fields will be provided motivational scholarship from the state budget. The amount will depend on pupils’ study results. In addition, schools will also be allocated normative funds increased by 10% for each such pupil.  

The department of education also created a List of study fields that exceed labour market needs. Normative funds for pupils of such study field will be lowered by 10%. Drafts of the lists were discussed by the Government board for vocational education.


2016


Consultation process regarding the outline of the National programme of education development in the regional education 

Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic published the outline of the National programme of education development (hereinafter only National programme) in October 2016.  

Government’s policy statement for 2016 – 2020 defines the task of preparing a proposal of the National programme of education development covering the long-term intentions and goals of the Slovak Republic in the area of education for the next 10 years. 

The ministry has decided to make the material available in the process of its creation in order to present the basic framework of planned changes in education to the professional public, start an expert discussion and obtain feedback in the form of specific ideas.

The public could comment on the material at round tables during the consultation process in the second half of October 2016. Further expert discussions will follow. After their completion, a team of experts will prepare a draft version of the national programme, which will be presented by the education department to the wider public for discussion.

The national programme is supposed to be presented to the Government and then to the National Council of the Slovak Republic in the first quarter of the following year.


National project „School for Everyone“

The Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic made a call for a national project ‘School for everyone’ in October 2016.

The goal of the national project is to provide the same access to quality education for everyone and improve results and competences of children and pupils at kindergartens and primary schools. The project will operate under Methodology and Pedagogy Centre.

The project will also support the inclusive education model. Pedagogical assistants, as well as trained teachers and professionals in psychology, special pedagogy or social pedagogy are expected to be involved and create expert teams supporting children and pupils. Involvement of parents is expected as well. The national project plans to support more than 500 new jobs for pedagogical assistants and professional staff in kindergartens and primary schools. Non-formal education and all-day education will foster competences necessary to increase children’s and pupils’ educational success.

The project follows upon the results and success of previous projects: 

  1. MRK I – Education of pedagogical employees toward inclusion of marginalised Roma communities, 
  2. MRK II – Inclusive model of education on pre-primary stage of school system 
  3. PRINED – Project of inclusive education.

The national project will be co-funded from European social fund sources as a part of the priority axis Education from Human resources operational programme.


Increasing of pedagogical and professional staff salaries

Salary tariffs of pedagogical and professional employees will increase as of September 2016 and then annually by 6% on average from January 2018. Faster growth of starting teacher salaries will be supported in order to increase the attractiveness of teacher job for the most talented young people.


The Ministry allocated subsidy for construction and equipment of new school sports halls

The Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic allocated funds from the Chapter of Education for 2016 budget for a development project, which focuses on the development of pupils‘ education in the area of physical and sport education in the form of completing, reconstructing, construction and equipment of new school sports halls in 2016.
The Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic allocated 10 million euro – of which 9 millions are allocated for the reconstruction, completion or construction of new school sports halls and 1 million for their equipment. It aims to improve the equipment of school sports halls and increase the number of teaching premises in the area of physical and sport education in the form of 

  • school sports halls’ completion,
  • school sports halls’ reconstruction or
  • construction of new school sports halls.


2015

112 new classes in primary schools

The government of the Slovak Republic allocated three million euro to Bratislava, Prešov and Košice regions for the construction and extension of schools. Thus, from 2013 to 2015, the government supported the extension of primary school capacities with the amount of approximately seven million euro thanks to which a total of 253 new classes for approximately 6325 pupils were created.



Education Act Amendment

The Ministry of Education approved a legislative proposal for the second reading, which introduces a set of amendments to the Act on education and training, the Act on state administration in education and school self-government, and the Act on pedagogical employees and professional employees. The proposal amends the process of the creation of school educational programmes, introduces a central registry of schools and school facilities, makes school attendance fulfilment easier for children who live abroad with their parents and attend foreign schools, changes the date of enrolment to primary schools, and strengthens founder’s competencies in the selection of head teachers.



Testing of 5th grade primary school pupils

Testing of 5th grade primary school pupils (Testovanie 5-2015) will take place in all primary schools in the Slovak Republic for the first time on the 25th May 2015. Pupils will be tested in the Slovak language and literature, Hungarian language and literature, and mathematics. Testovanie 5-2015 will represent an entry evaluation of pupils’ knowledge and skills at the beginning of ISCED 2 level of education and it will be used as the input for teachers at ISCED 2 level to improve education of pupils and the quality of teaching.  At the same time, it will serve to monitor the state of pupils’ knowledge and skills at the completion of ISCED 1 level nationwide.

The National Institute for Certified Educational Measurements is responsible for the preparation and methodical management of the testing. The organisational provision of the testing is the head teachers’ responsibility. Objectivity of the testing will be examined by the State school inspection employees and the education departments of the district authorities in the seat of a region. Pedagogical employees from other schools without approbation for the tested subject will be charged by head teachers with performing the external supervision so that the objectivity of testing be increased.

Pilot validation of testing tools for Testovanie 5 will take place in selected primary schools in the course of May and October 2015.



New State Educational Programmes for Primary Schools

The Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport approved a new state educational programmes for primary schools, which will enter into force as of the 1st September 2015 consecutively from the 1st to 5th  grade of primary school (ISCED 1-2). These programmes put emphasis on natural sciences and technical education of pupils. The language learning emphasises the language of instruction while the second foreign language has become a core curriculum option. Schools will be obliged to offer to pupils a second foreign language - German, Russian, French, Italian and Spanish - within optional lessons, according to the schools' possibilities. The English language will remain a compulsory first foreign language starting in the 3rd grade of primary school. In order to reach the optimal level of primary school pupils’ functional literacy, the general curriculum strengthens the core subjects (the Slovak language and mathematics).  It also distributes subjects into grades.


Admission exams to secondary schools will have a form of a nationwide test

The Ministry of Education is currently preparing an amendment to the School law according to which the admission exams should take place on the basis of the nationwide testing. Such test will be based on Monitor 9. Nationwide tests in teaching languages and mathematics will be taken by pupils at the secondary school which they will apply to. The tests will be prepared by the National Institute for Certified Educational Measurements (NÚCEM).

This aims to increase objectivity in selection of pupils for secondary schools and increase the quality of gymnasium and secondary vocational school pupils.
In school year 2014/2015, National Institute for Certified Educational Measurements will offer to selected schools tests in subjects in which admission exams are taken. Currently, schools compile admission tests themselves.  The selected schools will also have the possibility to use a bank of tasks and tests created by National Institute for Certified Educational Measurements as a part of E-testing project.

The ministry also wants to move the date of nationwide testing to a later date, so that the pupils would be motivated to prepare for school as long as possible.



2014

Concept of Informatization and Digitalization of the Department of Education

On 24th September 2014, the Government of the Slovak Republic adopted a new Concept of Informatization and Digitalization of the Department of Education with Outlook to 2020.

The document is based on the Policy statement of the Government of the SR and builds on Digipedia 2020 from year 2013. The creation of the new concept took into account the newest trends in the use of digital technology in education, which should first serve as pupils' learning tool and only then as teachers' teaching tool.
The concept focuses on increasing education quality and attractivity as well as on increasing pupils' motivation and trust in formal education by means of the integration of digital technology into the educational process, continuing education of pedagogical and professional employees and the introduction of motivational tools for these employees.

The material defines five priority strategic areas of development which are
  • Infrastructure and the related equipment for informatization and digitalization of the department of education,
  • Electronic services of the department of education on central and regional levels,
  • digital educational content
  • digital skills and competencies,
  • intersectoral, interdepartmental and international cooperation.    


Electronic Testing System in Trial Operation

In May 2014, the national project Improvement of Educational Quality at Primary and Secondary Schools Using Electronic Testing (E-test) entered the stage in which schools take part in launching the system of electronic testing in the trial operation. The first group of schools participated in trials of the system at the beginning of May so that the process of organizational arrangement of trouble free testing in the new electronic environment could be set up. The second group of schools, already in the electronic system environment, tested pupils in mathematics, Slovak language, sciences and other types of literacy in the second half of June. Certified measurements at primary schools – Testing 9 online – and at secondary schools – Maturita online – are to take place next year. The new electronic testing system can clearly identify, test and evaluate results of pupils in tests and serves as a tool for creating assignments and tests themselves.

The second stage pupils of primary schools and secondary school pupils can practice working with the new electronic system e-Test from November to January 2015 during the validation of new tests and testbooks in several subjects. In the course of November, pupils of 5th grades of selected primary schools entered the computer testing and they will use tests from Testing 5 (so called. E - Testing 5) to test their knowledge of languages of instruction and mathematics acquired at the primary stage of the primary school. 


Education Act Amendment

In December 2013, the members of the National Council of the SR passed the Act No. 464/2013 of Law Code amending the Education Act and several other related legal regulations. The amendment came into force on the 1st January 2014.

The amendment increased the limit on the number of pupils in primary and secondary school classes. It also introduced the possibility to increase the number of pupils in a class above the maximum limit in case some pupils fulfil their compulsory school attendance abroad. In such cases, the headteacher can increase the maximum number of pupils in the class by the number of pupils fulfilling their compulsory school attendance outside of the Slovak Republic. In addition to the maximum number of pupils, the amendment also sets the minimum number of pupils in primary and secondary school classes.

A secondary school class can be now divided into groups according to the character of the educational programme. It is possible to found a common class for several related fields of study in secondary vocational schools. A common class for several related fields of study can be also founded in conservatories.
As of the 1st March 2014, the school-leaving examination in a foreign language cannot be automatically passed by the holders of language certificates at B1/B2 level of the Common European Reference Framework.

In order to lower the administrative load on schools and school facilities, pedagogical documentation was reduced as of the 1st March 2014. Keeping of curricula, educational standards, children’s class-register pages, pupils’ personal records, plans of educational-training activities, and plans of school’s or school facility’s work was dropped. However, there is a new obligation to keep documentation  a form called daily record of vocational training, which serves the needs of keeping pupils’ records on vocational training.

In addition to the Education Act, the amendment also amends the Act No. 596/2003 of Law Code on State Administration in Education and School Self-Governing Bodies, according to which the school founder approves not only the number of admitted pupils but also the number of classes. The Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic governs the district, regional, national and international rounds of contests of children and pupils of schools and school facilities and district, regional, national and international rounds of subject Olympics of pupils. The amendment also allowed the Ministry to award pupils prizes for extraordinary results achieved in education and training, which can be connected with financial or material gifts.
As of the 1st September 2015, the overall education of pupils with mental handicap will not be assessed by grades but by words "passed” or "failed” accompanied by the description of obtained knowledge and skills. However, this will not apply to the pupils of apprentice centres, who will be assessed by the current form of assessment.


Examinations of Pupils of Grade 5 of Primary School

Preparation of examinations of pupils of Grade 5 of primary school started. In November 2013, the selected primary schools organized pilot verification of testing tools and organization provision of Testing 5. General examination of testing the pupils of Grade 5 of primary school (with exception of those with mental handicaps) under the title GS Testing 5 - 2014 will take place in November 2014 in primary schools in subjects of Slovak Language and Literature, Hungarian Language and Literature, and Mathematics Testing 5-2015 will take place in November 2015.


2013

National project: Improvement of Educational Quality at Primary and Secondary Schools Using Electronic Testing

The Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the SR in cooperation with the National Institute of Certified Measurements in Education (NÚCEM) launched a project entitled Improvement of Educational Quality at Primary and Secondary Schools Using Electronic Testing in March 2013. The budget of the project, which is 28,220,242.60 euro, is co-funded from the European Social Fund (85%) and the state budget (15%). The key objective of the project, which is implemented as a part of the operational programme Education, is to create conditions for gradual engagement of all primary and secondary schools in the electronic testing.
As a part of the project, teachers will participate in the creation of assignments and tests for the new electronic database National Institute for Certified Educational Measurements. These tests and assignments will be designed for teachers, schools and national measurements, i.e. Testing 9 and Maturita. The implementation of the electronic testing will serve to monitor the level of knowledge, skills and key competencies of pupils, as well as trends and the quality of schools.

The project aims to:

  • Increase the quality of education by means of electronic testing
  • Engage teachers in the creation of tests and assignments under the auspices of National Institute for Certified Educational Measurements
  • Create databases of tests and assignments – approximately 30,000 assignments in general education subjects and approximately 130 tests in educational areas and key competencies
  • Process and evaluate tests and assignments in a modern and software-safe way
  • Make comparison of achieved results more efficient and faster in the subjects for the teacher, schools,  National Institute for Certified Educational Measurements, ministry of education.

The planned duration of the project is until November 2015.


The National project: The Support of Professional Orientation of Primary School Pupils at Vocational Education and Training Through Development of Polytechnical Education Targeted at Working Skills Development and Work with Talents, 2013-2015

The ministry of education in cooperation with the State Institute of Vocational Education has launched in school year 2013/2014 the national project Support of professional orientation of pupils of primary school at vocational education and training by means of development of polytechnical education aimed at development of working skills and work with talents. In the national project co-financed from EU funding sources the innovative forms and methods of teaching will be used on preparation of pupils of primary school in choosing their future study or career.  The project will concentrate on highly topical needs of knowledge-based society, such as the preparation of pupils for execution of qualified work in economy in the branches demanded by the labour market where a pupil will find his employment.
Specific aims of the project include innovation of content and method, improvement of education outputs for the needs of labour market in knowledge-based society.
The project is also oriented at further education and training of educational employees to achieve and develop competences needed for transformation of traditional school to a modern one.

The plans include retraining of about 1000 teachers of Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Technology as well as 500 educational counsellors to help the primary schools to guide the pupils to continue in education, according to their talent and skills.

It is expected that the national project will promote development of work with talents in primary schools, which is inevitable for increasing the pupils’ interest in vocational education and training.  Within the framework of work with talents the so-called professional competitions of combined teams of primary and secondary schools are planned for pupils to be acquainted with the secondary school environment. The connection of theory to practice will thus be promoted as early as the primary school.


Digipedia

The Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sports of the SR has launched the programme of regional education digitization in the Slovak Republic DIGIPEDIA in agreement with the obligations of the Slovak Republic ensuing from the Strategy Europe 2020. This Concept of informatization of the education sector with a view up to 2020 brings along the basic image of the further development of education, science, research and sports from the view of world-wide trends of digitization and developmental needs of Slovakia.

Its aim is to define the technological needs in the following years, so that the Slovak schools and research workplaces could further improve their quality. The concept thus represents the further development of digitization as one of the most efficient tools for Slovak teachers and researchers for achieving better results in education and research.

The Concept sets up short-term (by 2016) and medium-term (by 2020) objectives and priorities in individual areas. It involves the needs in five strategic areas of infrastructure development, optimization of electronic services, digitization of subject-matter, development of digital skills and cooperation with employers.


Legislation References

Act No. 245/2008 on education and training (Education Act) and on the change and supplement to some acts as amended by subsequent provisions (Act of the National Council of the SR).
Act No. 317/2009 on Professional and Pedagogical Employees and Professional Employees and on the change and supplement to some acts (Act of the National Council of the SR).
Act No. 596/2003 on state administration in education and school self-government and on change and supplements of some acts as amended by subsequent provisions (Act of the National Council of the SR).