Country information for Slovakia - Assessment within inclusive education systems
The highest guarantee of special education is the Constitution of the Slovak Republic, which in Article 42 secures the general right to education for each Slovak citizen and in Article 38, Section 2, guarantees persons with disabilities special assistance in preparation for their profession.
Act No. 245/2008 of the Law Code on Education and Training (the Education Act) and certain amending acts define children/pupils with special educational needs (SEN), including those with:
- cognitive impairment;
- hearing impairment;
- visual impairment;
- physical impairment;
- impaired ability in communication;
- multiple impairment;
- specific learning difficulties, specific behavioural difficulties, illness and physical weakness;
- behavioural disorders;
- social disadvantages;
- particular gifts and talents.
The Act guarantees that children/pupils with SEN are provided with education reflecting their individual abilities, with special forms and methods. For people with hearing and visual impairment, it secures the right to education in their language with the use of sign language/Braille. Act No. 245/2008 of the Law Code on Education and Training (the Education Act) enables the admission of pupils with SEN to mainstream primary and secondary schools (inclusive education).
The Concept of Education of Children with Disabilities, approved by the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport, intensified many activities, which are aimed at new trends in the educational process of children and pupils with SEN. The specific modification of educational conditions enables a large part of the population of these pupils to complete primary and secondary education within the mainstream education system. It not only contributes to better quality educational results, but also positively supports the process of continual social participation and overall personal development so that more persons with disabilities are ready to move into higher education and then apply their skills in social and working life.
The proposal to admit children/pupils with SEN into the system of special education in special schools and special classes or education within mainstream schools (inclusive education) is commented on by experts from the sectors of health and education. In some cases, the social affairs and family sector is also involved.
In the case of a child with a disability, the starting point should be the medical diagnosis. Within the framework of a screening examination – to be undertaken before the child reaches the age of 36 months – the physician identifies a potential disability in various areas of the child’s health, and sets an indicative diagnosis with a recommendation for further professional medical examinations.
After stating the medical diagnosis, the physician can recommend to the parents further examination of their child in counselling establishments within the educational sector. The medical diagnosis is supplemented by psychological and special education examination and diagnosis. Subsequently, in these establishments the psychological and special educational interventions are also defined.
From the point of view of time, the counselling centres provide professional support to children with disabilities and to their parents, from 0 to 3 years of age – so-called early intervention. The early intervention programme has been developed in agreement with the intentions of special education. It is structured into several areas, such as:
- solving problems through early intervention at the level of individual sectors and inter-sector co-operation;
- uniform registration of children with disabilities at an early age;
- provision of information and interventions into the problems through early intervention for children with SEN with the intention of providing the family with as much information as possible and securing their active participation in the process of complex care for their child;
- networking of establishments of special educational counselling, supply of staff in relation to priority activities and professional interventions of special educational counselling services and child integration centres;
- the further education of professional employees in issues of early intervention;
- adjustment of regulations.
Upon reaching the age of three years, the child is recommended for one of the forms of pre-school institutional education either in a special or mainstream kindergarten. Special kindergartens admit children according to their type of disability. In mainstream kindergartens, children with disabilities may be educated in special classes or in mainstream classes.
There is a network of educational counselling and prevention centres (special educational centres and centres of educational-psychological counselling and prevention), where the team of experts comprises physicians, psychologists, special pedagogues, rehabilitation workers, social workers and technicians, and other specialists. These professionals carry out a complex evaluation of the child/pupil with disabilities, learning difficulties (specific learning difficulties, specific behavioural difficulties) or disadvantages. Finally, a special pedagogue determines the final special educational diagnosis, after an assessment of all examinations and special educational interventions. At the same time, special educational needs are defined by stating the educational prognosis. The complex evaluation given like this is part of the proposal for admission of the child/pupil with special educational needs to the special school, special kindergarten, primary school and to secondary school.
It is recommended that children with disabilities/difficulties/disadvantages with a special educational diagnosis be integrated into special educational care in the system of counselling and into the educational process as soon as possible – before starting to attend school.
Parents have the right to enrol their child in mainstream education. If they wish for their child to attend a special school or a special class, they must receive all information on this type of education and give their ‘informed consent’ in writing.
Last updated 05/02/2020