Country information for Slovenia - Legislation and policy
The majority (99%) of basic and upper-secondary school pupils attend public schools, which are set up and funded entirely by the state and municipalities.
In the school year 2011/2012, there were 450 mainstream compulsory schools, 27 special schools with adopted and special programmes and 16 special institutions for all eight recognised groups of learners with special educational needs (SEN).
There has been an increasing trend of including learners with SEN in mainstream basic schools – from 3.33% in 2005/2006 to 6.51% in 2012/2013. The total population of learners with SEN has increased over the years, mostly due to an increasing number of official decisions. The percentage of learners with SEN included in specialised forms of education has remained stable, at 1% of the total population of learners in basic school (Source: FPIES – Slovenia Country Report, p. 26).
Private schools, which are set up by private entities and provide education according to state-approved programmes, are subsidised by the state (the grant rate is approximately 85%). Less than 1% of learners were enrolled in six private schools in 2015/2016.
Upper-secondary education is not compulsory and is provided by public upper-secondary schools. Learners can choose between two education programmes: general education and vocational-technical education (Source: FPIES – Slovenia Country Report, pp. 5–6).
Administration responsibilities are distributed among the national authorities, local authorities and schools (mainstream schools and special schools with adopted and special programmes). The special institutions for learners with SEN are under the responsibility of the Government (Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport).
At the beginning of 2012, the former Ministry of Education and Sport was merged with the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology and with the Ministry of Culture. The new ministry was named the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport. It is responsible for the development of pre-higher education policies, inspection procedures, the allocation of funds, the implementation of laws and administrative decisions relating to pre-primary, compulsory and upper-secondary education institutions.
Local authorities are responsible for setting up pre-primary institutions and basic schools; they take part in their administration and co-finance their operation and the salaries of employees. School councils (sveti šol), composed of representatives of the founder, employees and parents, are the central governing bodies, with considerable responsibilities regarding management, finances and the teaching process.
Pre-primary education is part of the education system. Pre-primary provision includes unitary centre-based childcare and education which is mainly public. Pre-primary institutions (kindergartens) are set up by municipalities. Attendance is optional. Children can attend pre-primary institutions from the age of 11 months until they enter compulsory education at the age of 6 (that is, from 5 years and 8 months to 6 years and 8 months). The percentage of children with SEN in the population of all children enrolled in public pre-primary schools has increased in recent years, from 1.2–1.3% between 2006 and 2011, up to 1.7% in 2015/2016. The inclusive trend is evident (Source: FPIES – Slovenia Country Report, p. 23).
The fundamental objectives and principles in the education of children with SEN in the acts listed are underpinned by the following principles and objectives contained in the Guidance of Children with Special Needs Act:
- The principle of equal opportunities while taking into account the diversity of children
- Maintaining a balance between different aspects of the child’s physical and mental development
- Integration of parents in the education process
- Providing for appropriate conditions for the optimum development of each individual child
- Guidance to the most suitable education programme at the right time
- Organisation of education at a location close to the child’s home
- Consistency and complexity of education
- Individualised approach
- Continuation of education programmes
- Inter-disciplinary approach.
The education of learners with special needs is regulated by the Placement of Children with Special Needs Act (2000, 2006, 2007). The Act defines procedures for the placement of learners with special needs in all types of education, from pre-primary to upper-secondary education.
In addition to this Act, the education of learners with special needs is also regulated by the:
- Organisation and Financing of Education Act;
- Pre-Primary Institutions Act;
- Primary School Act;
- Vocational and Technical Education Act;
- Gimnazije Act;
- Order on Norms and Standards for Education of Children with Special Needs.
The 1996 Pre-Primary Institutions Act, Primary School Act, Vocational and Technical Education Act and Gimnazije Act partially regulate the education of those learners with special needs who are integrated into mainstream forms of education. The basic act, which determines the placement of learners with special needs in appropriate forms of education, was adopted in the year 2000, with amendments in 2007.
New legislation was implemented in September 2013.
The Placement of Children with Special Needs Act regulates procedures for the placement of learners with special needs into the appropriate educational programmes. Depending on the learners’ psychological and physical status, the Act enables their inclusion in education at all levels, from pre-primary to secondary education, based on the assumption that additional help from experts and adaptation of the implementation of programmes will help learners to achieve a comparable standard of knowledge. Learners with severe disorders can still attend special forms of education in schools for learners with special needs and institutions for the education and training of learners with severe developmental difficulties.
Along with the primary legislative acts, the secondary regulations that govern the field of education at the operative level and are issued by the Minister of Education are also significant. The most important are as follows:
- Regulations for the organisation and work of the commissions – these regulations lay down the criteria for the assessment of professional disabilities, barriers and/or disorders, as well as the Children with SEN Guidance Commissions’ operation
- Regulations on additional professional and physical assistance for children and young people with SEN – these regulations lay down the scope, form and requirements for the provision of additional professional assistance.
Both documents apply to the population of learners and pre-primary children with special needs.
The following are also important:
- Regulations on basic school education for pupils with SEN provided at home, laying down the requirements for education at home and the criteria for funding
- Regulations on the norms and standards for the provision of education programmes for learners with special needs
- Regulations on the implementation of the Matura examinations for candidates with SEN.
Last updated 13/04/2018