Country information for Slovakia - Legislation and policy
The Constitution of the Slovak Republic secures the general right to education for each Slovak citizen (Article 42) and guarantees persons with disabilities special assistance in preparation for their profession (Article 38, Section 2) (Source: CPRA – Slovak Republic Country Report).
The public administration in education is guaranteed by both the state administration and territorial self-governance, which is executed by municipalities and higher territorial units. The central body of state administration in education is the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic. It develops educational aims, curriculum and methods for education. Local administration is the responsibility of municipalities, which provide most pre-primary, primary and lower-secondary education in Slovakia. Public schools provide education free of charge.
The first stage of the education system is pre-primary education, attended by children from three to six years and provided by kindergartens. There is a high pre-school attendance rate in Slovakia (around 90%). Despite the wide network of kindergartens, higher demand for places is being recorded due to population growth (Source: IECE – Slovak Republic Country Survey Questionnaire, p. 2).
Primary and lower-secondary education is organised as a single structure system, beginning at the age of six and lasting for nine years. Education is provided by basic (primary and lower-secondary) schools, where a child starts to fulfil compulsory school attendance.
Compulsory schooling lasts ten years and pupils complete it by finishing the first year of upper-secondary education.
Higher education is provided at three levels – bachelor’s, master’s and PhD study programmes – in autonomous universities and higher education institutions.
Adult education includes further professional education, special interest education and civic education.
The Ministry of Education co-operates with central bodies of state administration and other bodies and organisations. The State School Inspection is the body of the state administration in education that exercises state control over the level of pedagogical management and the level of education. Evaluation of the quality of education, research, development, artistic and other creative activity of higher education institutions is under the remit of the Accreditation Commission.
Structure of the national education system
Figure 1. Structure of the Slovak Republic’s national education system 2012/2013
Until 1990, the administration of education was centrally executed. Act No. 542/1990 of the Law Code on State Administration in Education and School Self-Government replaced the previous Act and created a branch system of administration as amended by the subsequent provisions, conditions for pluralistic development of the education system, and conditions for strengthening schools’ autonomy.
The Amendment to Act No. 542/1990 of the Law Code on State Administration in Education and School Self-Government set the new competencies of decision-making which operate within the system – municipalities, self-governance regions, school self-government bodies, state bodies which ensure the professional and methodological management, head teachers and heads of school establishments.
The Act sets out two forms of competencies of territorial self-government (municipalities and self-governance regions):
- Transferred execution of the state administration
- Execution of territorial self-governance (the so-called self-governing competencies).
The reform of public administration (state government and territorial self-government) and the organisation of the education system in the field of management, establishment and dissolution of schools and school facilities, and self-governance of schools has continued. The changes are anchored in the legislation through the Act on State Administration in Education and School Self-Government Act No. 596-2003 of the Law Code. In 2008, the new Education Act, which created legislative space for the implementation of content reform of regional education, was approved (Act No. 245/2008 of the Law Code).
The Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport is the central body of the state administration of the Slovak Republic for primary, secondary and higher education, educational facilities, lifelong learning, science and for the state’s support for sports and young people.
The Ministry manages schools and school facilities within the Slovak Republic through generally binding rules. By providing vocational guidance to all founders, it administers the network of schools and school facilities in the Slovak Republic.
At local level, school state administration is realised through municipalities and higher territorial units, which secure activities laid down in their founder competencies.
Higher education institutions are legal entities and their organisation and activities are decided by the bodies of academic self-government in compliance with the Act on Higher Education Institutions.
Commitments to inclusive education
Slovakia committed to several international conventions with the challenge of directing the education system towards inclusive education, such as the Salamanca Statement, the Lisbon Strategy, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the UNESCO Policy Guidelines on Inclusion in Education. Slovakia is obliged to address the issue of inclusive education and of inclusive society.
The Education Act does not use the term ‘inclusive education’ as such. However, it sets out ‘equality of access to education, taking into account the educational needs of an individual’ and emphasises the ‘prohibition of all forms of discrimination, particularly segregation’. (Source: IECE – Slovak Republic Country Survey Questionnaire, pp. 6–7)
In 2016, the Government of the Slovak Republic approved the Government Programme for 2016–2020, in which a significant part is dedicated to education – particularly:
- to support pre-primary education, with a special focus on learners from a socially disadvantaged background;
- to create conditions for inclusive education;
- to improve service of professional psychological and special educational counselling and diagnosis;
- to promote vocational training in the system of so-called dual education (Source: Raising the Achievement of All Learners in Inclusive Education – Slovak Republic Country Report).
Last updated 05/02/2020