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The Slovakia K-12 Education System

The Ministry of Education of the Slovak Republic is responsible for K-12 education, that includes different levels levels namely, pre-school, primary and secondary. The Ministry frames and implement educational policies, strategies and legislation. 

Types of Schools

In Slovakia, there are public, private and church schools
Public primary and secondary schools are set up by self-governing independent bodies. Education is free at these schools.

Some of the private and church schools charge fee.

Special schools: These educational institutions are for children with physical and mental disabilities, and are established by the state or regional authorities.

Slovakia K-12 Education System

Pre-school Education

Pre-school education in Slovakia is provided by nursery schools and kindergartens.
  • Children under the age of 3 may go for nursery schools. Nursery schools are managed by Municipalities.
  • Kindergarten is for children aged 3 to 6. Kindergartens in Slovakia are split up into classes organized by the age of children- 3 to 4, 4 to 5, 5 to 6, and 3 to 6.
The pre-school education in Slovakia is optional and prepares children for primary education. The pre-schools work towards the personality development of children. It also helps them to adapt to the environment, and encourage the children to learn and explore through play.

Primary Education

Primary education in Slovakia lasts for 9 years and is mandatory to attend. 
  • Ages: 6 to 15
Primary education is split up into two stages:

Stage 1 is for children aged 6 to 10. 
  • Grades: 1 to 4
  • Curriculum: Slovak language and literature, art and craft, Slovak history and geography; first foreign language, mathematics, music, natural sciences, physical education, homeland study, religious or ethics, and sports. 

Stage 2 is for children aged 10 to15
  • Grades: 5 to 9
  • Curriculum: Slovak language and literature, history, first foreign language, mathematics, second foreign language, geography, natural sciences,  civics, technical education, physics,  arts, ethics or religious education, chemistry, music, physical education, and sports. 
Exam: After completion of grade 9, students must sit for a national external test in language and mathematics. This test is prepared and conducted by the National Institute for Certified Educational Measurements. 

Certificate: Upon successful completion of primary education, a primary education completion certificate is given.

Secondary Education

Secondary education in Slovakia is not compulsory and is for children aged 15 to 19.Secondary education in Slovakia is provided by different types of schools: 
  • Grammar school / gymnasium: These schools provide general secondary education and prepare students for higher education.
  • Specialized Secondary School: These schools prepare pupils for vocational education and for higher education. 
  • Vocational Secondary School:  These schools prepare pupils for a vocation that needs higher level vocational education and a school leaving certificate. Also, pupils are eligible for higher education.
  • Apprentice Training Centres: These centres are for school-leavers. It prepares them for professional work.
  • Conservatories: These secondary schools provide study programmes in artistic fields- music, dramatic arts, singing and dancing. 

General Secondary Education- Grammar School/ Gymnazium 

The gymnasium prepares students for higher education institutions in Slovakia. Also, prepare them for creative and professional work. These schools provide scientific, artistic, ecological and health education.
  • Duration: 4 years
  • Ages: 15- 19
Curriculum: Slovak language and literature, first and second foreign language, mathematics, physics, information science, art and culture, biology, ethics and religion, chemistry, physical education, history, sports, geography, psychosocial training, and civics. 

Exam: Upon successful completion of general secondary education, students must sit for a school leaving examination-Maturita, and if passed a school leaving certificate is awarded through which the students are eligible to apply for higher education institutions in Slovakia.

Certificate awarded: Secondary school leaving certificate (vysvedčenie o maturitnej skuske) 

Specialized Secondary Education

The specialised secondary schools prepare pupils for vocational profession, as well as for higher education. In Slovakia, there are technical, agricultural, economic, arts, and health care specialized schools. These schools provide theoretical and practical teaching and training. 
  • Duration: 4 years
  • Ages: 15 to 19
  • Certificate awarded: Secondary school leaving certificate (vysvedčenie o maturitnej skuske) 

Vocational Secondary Education

The secondary vocational schools prepare pupils for a particular trade and professional work. These schools provide general as well as vocation training. The training is provided in a wide range of study fields. 
  • Duration: 4 years 
  • Ages: 15 to 19 
  • Certificate awarded: Secondary school leaving certificate (vysvedčenie o maturitnej skuske), Certificate of Apprenticeship

Apprenticeship 

In Slovakia, apprenticeship is provided by the Apprentice training centres. These centres prepare pupils for a specific trade and vocational occupation.  
  • Duration: 3 years 
  • Ages: 14 to 17 
  • Certificate awarded: Certificate of Apprenticeship (učňovsky list) 

Conservatories

These secondary schools provide study programmes in artistic fields- music, dramatic arts, singing and dancing.

Conservatory (Dance)

  • Duration: 8 years 
  • Ages: 15 to 23 
  • Certificate awarded: absolutorium 

Conservatoire

  • Duration: 6 years 
  • Ages: 15 to 21 
  • Certificate awarded: absolutorium

Special Schools

In Slovakia, there are special schools at primary, secondary and vocational levels for children with physical, mental or any other disability.  These special schools prepare children for work and social life.

Grading and Reports

Grades from 1 to 5 are given to pupils at primary and secondary schools. Grade 1 indicates best and 5 indicates worst.

Students also get school reports at the end of each school term.

Medium of Instruction

In most of the Slovak schools, Slovak is the medium of instruction. But, there are some schools where the instructions are given in Hungarian language, or German, Ukrainian, English and Bulgarian.

In Slovakia, there are bilingual schools, wherein some subjects are taught in Slovak and others in a specific foreign language-Italian, English, Russian, German, Spanish or French language. 

School Year

Begins on 1 September and ends on 30 June, with summer holidays in July and August. 

School timings: Schools run from Monday to Friday. They generally start at 8:00 am and a standard lesson lasts for about 45 minutes. Each day 4 to 8 lessons are carried out. 
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