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Slovakia:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and 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

Definition of the Target Groups

Individual special education and training of children and pupils with health disability takes place in:

  • Special schools
  • Special classes, usually set up for children with the same type of health disability.

According to the Education Act, a child or pupil with special education needs is a child or pupil who has been diagnosed with special education needs by a special-pedagogical counselling and prevention centre, with the exception of children placed into the special educational facilities on the basis of legal decision.

Education and training of children and pupils with health disability takes place in these schools:

  • Kindergartens
  • Primary schools
  • Secondary schools
  • Vocational schools
  • Practical schools

The Education Act provides  children  who are not able to attend  school due to their health condition with such  form of education that enables them to achieve the same level of education as  with mainstream school attendance. A pupil that was exempted from schooling in some subject and his health conditions enable him to participate in education and training at school, participates in schooling of the subject and engages in the tasks given  to him/her by appropriate member of pedagogical staff. In case that the subject is scheduled as the first or the last lesson, the pupil does not have to attend this subject on the basis of informed consent of pupil’s legal representative. Pupil can be educated under the instructions of special school pedagogue on the basis of special-pedagogical counselling centre’s recommendation. If pupil is allowed to have individual education according to § 24 of the Education Act,  his/her legal representative creates him/her suitable conditions for educational activity in the home setting with pedagogical staff, which secures individual schooling.

The Act also enables individual home schooling of pupil of the first grade of primary school. This type of education must be secured by his legal quardian with providing pedagogical staff who fulfils professional and pedagogical competence of a teacher at the first grade of the primary school. The quardian’s obligation is also the provision of financial resources for pedagogical staff.  Books and teaching aids are provided by the school for free. Pupil can be completely or partially exempted from schooling of particular subject for the whole school year or just part of it. Pupil is exempted by the head teacher on the basis of recommendation of his/her teacher and specialist doctor.  In case of blind, hard of hearing and physically disabled pupils or pupil with language dificulty, the head teacher exempts the pupil after recommendation of special pedagogue psychologist and specialist doctor.

Schools provides individual schooling in the extent of at least two lessons a week for pupils who were exempted from compulsory school attendance and are in home care.


Admission Requirements and Choice of School

The child who reached the age of 6 years is enrolled in the first grade of primary school. If, upon reaching the age of 6 years, the child has not become ready for school and it comes from a socially disadvantaged environment, the headteacher will decide on postponing the beginning of school attendance of the child or on its placement into the zero grade of primary school.

In 2013, a letter from MESRS SR provided the directors of pedagogical-psychological counselling and prevention centres with guidelines on assessment of school abilities of children from socially disadvantaged environment and on assigning them to primary schools. The letter also recommended taking into account the language and cultural particularities of the assessed children. In general, it is not recommended that children from socially disadvantaged environment postpone the compulsory school attendance.

The parent of the child with health disability is recommended to visit the special-educational counselling centre which mediates examinations and prepares documentation. According to the above examination, the headteacher decides on enrolment of the child in the primary school (school integration or in special class), or in special school.

An incentive for integration of the child into the system of special education may come either from the child’s parent or guardian, physician, headteacher of the special school or facility, head of the counselling centre or social institution.

The decision on admission of the child to the system of special education is within the competence of headteacher of the school or school facility, always with the informed consent of the child’s guardian.

The content and scope of education come from curricula designed for pupils with mental handicap or and individual educational plan compiled in dependency to the degree of the disorder.

Following the Declaration of Human Rights and the Act No. 245/2008 on Education and Training (Education Act) and on the change and supplement to some acts, the parent has the right to express his opinion on the proposal for integration of his child in the education system. He gives his consent or disapproval to proposed solutions and recommendations by his signature.


Age Levels and Grouping of Pupils

The levels of education of children and pupils with special education needs are analogous to levels of education of common population. Differences ensue from the kind and relevance of the handicap.

Special schools up to upper secondary education level, i.e. kindergartens, primary schools, gymnasium, secondary vocational schools are established for children and pupils with sensory impairments and physical disabilities.

Children are enrolled into special kindergarten usually from three to six years of their age. Pupils with health disadvantages enter the primary school usually at the age of six years. These primary schools have 9 grades or 10 grades and also they can have a preparatory grade. Preparatory and 1. – 4 grades create 1st stage of primary school and 5.- 9. grades create a 2nd stage of primary school (ISCED 2).

Secondary schools for physically disabled with sensory impairments and organize postsecondary study for applicants who received upper secondary education and follow-up study for applicants who received secondary vocational education. The pupils are integrated into individual schools according to their defects, in case of multidefects according to dominant defect. They are grouped in classes according to their age.

Kindergartens and primary schools, which may have a zero grade, are established for children with impaired communication ability and children and pupils with autism and other pervasive developmental disorders.

The children and pupils with mental handicap are offered

  • special kindergartens,
  • special primary schools,
  • vocational schools,
  • practical schools.

The special primary schools for mentally handicapped do not provide equal education.

The schools for mentally handicapped admit pupils according to their age and degree of defect they suffer from. For those pupils with mental handicap and with multidefects who cannot educate in other way, are provided classes with individual educational programme in special primary schools.

Primary schools for mentally handicapped pupils with educational variant A have the zero grade and 9 grades; special primary schools for mentally handicapped pupils with educational variants B and C have the zero grade and 10 grades divided into 4 levels– lower and upper levels are three year programmes, upper and vocational levels are 2 year programmes. Zero grade and 1. - 4.grades with educational variant A comprises the first level, and 5. - 9. grades comprise the second level of primary school education.

The pupils are educated in classes with lower number of pupils than at mainstream school.  The minimum number of pupils in a class of special school is 4; maximum numbers are set up according to individual kinds and types of schools from 8-12, except of classes with individual educational programme in which the highest number of pupils is four (pupils with autism and deaf blind) and maximum is 5-6  pupils in classes of the variant C.

The school-leavers of primary schools for physically disabled and pupils with sensory impairments after completing the entrance interviews secondary vocational school may continue their schooling in mainstream secondary schools. It lasts from 1 to 3 years. Education acquired in the same type of mainstream and special secondary school is equal.

For school-leavers of primary school for mentally handicapped who have prerequisites to master the training are offered a vocational school. The education in vocational school it lasts  from one to three years, before that a preparatory grade can be provided. A maximum number of pupils per class is 14. The school-leavers are ready for work in simple worker’s professions and crafts.

Mentally handicapped pupils who after completing compulsory school attendance have no prerequisites to complete vocational school, have the possibility to be educated in practical school. Practical school is a type of school which provides educational programmes that prepare pupils for performing simple occupational activities. The educational programme prepares pupils for life in family, self-service, simple practical jobs and for performing simple, mostly supervised occupational activities. Training in practical schools takes up to three years. A maximum number in classes of practical school is 10. Practical schools provide lower secondary vocational education without certificate of apprenticeship.

At the health centres, the kindergartens, primary schools and special primary schools are established. In these schools the pupils are educated during treatment of their illness or health weakening for which they have been temporarily placed in the health centre. They are grouped in classes according to age with maximum number 6 - 10 (according to type of illness).


Curriculum, Subjects

In accordance with Section 94 of the Act No. 245/2008 of the Law Code on education and training (Education Act) the education and training of children and pupils with special education needs are based on the following programmes designed for:

  • children and pupils with mental disorder,
  • children and pupils with hearing disorder,
  • children and pupils with sight disorder,
  • children and pupils with physical impairment,
  • children and pupils with impaired communication ability,
  • children and pupils with autism and other pervasive developmental disorders,
  • children and pupils ill and weakened,
  • children and pupils deaf and blind,
  • children and pupils with multiple defects,
  • children and pupils with behavioural disorders,
  • pupils with developmental learning impairments,
  • pupils with impairment of attention and activity,

which are a part of the state educational programmes.

In schools for mentally handicapped pupils the teaching is carried out according to internal differentiation of the school in three variants:

  1. A (pupils with minor degree of mental handicap),
  2. B (with mid degree of handicap),
  3. C (heavy and deep degree of mental handicap)

according to particular of curriculum resp. in so called reform grades with  approved content of education with reduced amount of subject matter, while the content of education in individual cases is adapted to mental level of pupils. Education plans at the schools for mentally handicapped pupils contain almost all subjects as those at mainstream schools, however, the subject of work education has more taught time are supplemented by individual logopaedic care.

In special classes at primary schools and in special classes at secondary schools the educational program is followed for pupils with health disability or for gifted pupils and also pedagogical documentation and instructions for the schools with these pupils is used. The right for education and training in sign language is also secured for deaf children.   

The subjects contained on education plans of special schools are divided into compulsory and optional. Compulsory subjects include: Slovak language and literature, natural science, history, geography, civics, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, work education, art and crafts, music education, physical education, in schools for pupils without mental handicap there is also foreign language. In primary schools religious education is taught in alternation with ethics, at schools for mentally handicapped pupils religious education is an optional subject and ethics is a part of the subject of civics.

The  school can  exercise the different  ways of organisation of teaching  taking into account specificities of  pupils with health disadvantages, mainly  by dividing teaching hours into shorter time segments, by introducing breaks, block teaching and other organisational forms (§ 2, section 14 of the Decree No. 322/2008 on Special Schools).

In case of education and training of pupils, for which, out of different reasons (e.g. unbalanced abilities structure, multifunctional defect, health defect in combination with development learning defects, combination of health and social handicap, with talent, etc.) procedure of following curriculum of  particular school or particular educational program is not optimal, it is appropriate to follow individual educational program. This education is necessary supplemented to certificate.

If the education takes place in premises of the home of social services, the spatial provision in terms of operation is provided by the respective home, textbooks, teaching aids and personnel is provided by the Ministry of education. If the children are educated outside the home of social service, the spatial, material and personnel provision falls under the competence of the education sector. Education of children and pupils in home of social service is regulated by the valid legislation.


Teaching Methods and Materials

In kindergartens and kindergartens for children with special education needs, children with incorrect pronunciation are provided with speech care via speech therapists and teachers, who exercise the correct pronunciation with children. All children are instructed by teachers towards the development of communication competences in the course of the whole day, even during the individual activities with children. Special pedagogic and other professional care for the children with diagnosed special education needs and their parents is provided by the centres of special pedagogic counselling. Professional pedagogic and psychological activity for children of pre-primary age and their parents is provided by centres of special pedagogic and psychological counselling and prevention.  In the process of developing some of children personality areas, individual support programs are used, like e.g. programs for speech developments, graphomotoric skills.

Support of special methods carries out the education of pupils with special education needs. These methods are aimed at overcoming, mitigation or prevention of the handicap. Special-educational methods used in special schools may be summed up as follows:

  • method of re-education - special-educational procedures which are aimed at the affected function,
  • method of compensation - special-educational procedures aimed at development of compensatory unaffected functions,
  • method of rehabilitation - special-educational procedures aimed at socialisation - integration of the handicapped individual in the community.

Within the framework of the above methods, the methods and forms of special education of such a kind are used which are characteristic of individual procedure. Further, they are the methods using various compensatory aids, such as computers, hearing aids, various optic aids, etc. Bibliotherapy as a part of therapeutic-educational intervention, a method of communicative nature proved to be effective too. These compensatory aids are used individually or collectively - special classrooms such as video studios, logopaedic workplaces, etc.


Progressions of Pupils

The children with health disadvantages integrated in the system of special needs education and training in special primary and secondary schools and mainstream schools based on professional recommendations fulfils his compulsory school attendance and subsequently applies for study in secondary vocational schools and practical schools in agreement with the Act No. 245/2008 of the Law Code on education and training (Education Act).

Progression from lower to higher grade is conditioned by fulfilling school duties and by evaluation and marking of pupils’ achievements. The pupils with health disability pass to a higher grade of primary school  in case that his/her achievements are marked "he/she passed", in agreement with the Methodical Guides for Assessment and Marking Pupils in force; in case of integrated pupils in primary school in line with principles of assessment of pupils with health disadvantages assessment who are integrated in primary school . These principles are in the annex No. 4 of the Guide No. 7/2009-R from 28 April 2009 on the Assessment of Pupils of Primary School.

After successfully completing the compulsory school attendance in primary schools for pupils with particular types of disabilities or in school integration pupils are admitted to study at mainstream secondary school, at special secondary schools or vocational school and practical schools. The possibilities of admission of the school-leavers with health disability from mainstream and special primary schools depend on the level of achievements at primary school that the pupil had attended.

For secondary studies the applicant or pupil’s guardian may submit two application forms (form is approved by the ministry of education), to two secondary schools or to two study branches in the same secondary school. The applicant or his/her guardian submits the application to headteacher of the school that the pupil attends. The application contains medical statement and confirmation about the nature of his defect in case that the pupil completed the compulsory school attendance at a mainstream primary school and applies for a special secondary school. The character of his/her defect must correspond to the type of the special secondary school that the pupil has applied for. In case that the pupil applies for a mainstream secondary school the application must contain the decision of the appropriate medical expert commission of social insurance on ability to pursue the field of selected study. The application form of the pupil with health disability also contains pedagogical documentation that is made up of psychological and special educational examinations.

The vocational school admits the pupils who successfully completed special primary school (for mentally handicapped) and have prerequisites to complete preparation in this school. The practical school admits the pupils who are not capable to complete preparation for a job in vocational school. The guardian of the pupil submits the application; it contains statement by professional physician for adolescents on health fitness of the pupil along with educational documentation. The headteacher of special primary school send application to the vocational school or practical school.

After successfully completing study at secondary school the pupil with health disability may further apply for higher education study only through integrated form of education. At all higher education institutions are coordinators for students with health disability.

Gifted pupils have the opportunity to continue at 8-year study at gymnasium or at 8-year conservatory after completion of 5th or 6th grade of primary school. Exceptionally gifted pupil can progress to higher grade on the basis of headteacher decision, without passing the previous grade, on the basis of commission examination results, doctors and pedagogical and psychological centre statement. Pupil can progress to higher grade only with the approval of his guardian.


Certification

Certification of education of pupils with health disability (integrated in mainstream primary and secondary schools in separate classes or schools) corresponds to certification of other pupils according to the relevant level of education. Upon successfully completing the appropriate educational programme the child or pupil may obtain some of the following levels of education:

  • pre-primary education  by completing the last year of educational programme of the kindergarten branch;
  • primary education by completing the last year of comprehensive part of educational programme of the branch for the first stage of primary school (pupil with mental disorder by completing the last year of primary school);
  • lower secondary education by successful completing of the last year of comprehensive part of educational programme of the study branch for the second stage of the primary school or by completing  the third year of educational programme of practical school;
  • lower secondary specialised education (lower secondary) by successful completing of the last year of two-year educational programme of the study branch in secondary specialised school or successful completing of the last year of educational programme of the study branch in the secondary vocational school that is to be completed by a final examination;
  • secondary specialised education (secondary), by successful completing of the last year of at least three-year or at most four-year educational programme of the study branch in secondary specialised school to be completed by a final examination;
  • general secondary  education  (upper secondary) by successful completing of the last year of at least four-year and at most eight-year educational programme of the study branch in gymnasia to be completed by secondary school-leaving examination;
  • specialised secondary  education  (upper secondary) by successful completing of the last year of at least four-year and at most five-year educational programme of the study branch in secondary vocational school to be completed by secondary school-leaving examination;
  • higher vocational education (postsecondary or tertiary) by successful completing at least two-year and at most three-year educational programme of the study branch at secondary vocational school which is completed by graduate examination or by last year of six-year educational programme of the study branch at Conservatoire which is completed by graduate examination.

Mentally handicapped pupils are an exception (more in chapter Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education).

Legislative References

Act No. 245/2008 on education and training (Education Law) and on the change and supplement to some acts as amended by subsequent provisions (Act of the National Council of the SR).
Decree No. 322/2008 on special schools (Decree of the Ministry of Education of the SR).