The Slovak Education System
We present an overview of the education system in the Slovak Republic. For better understanding, a clear graphic representation of the system is added at the end.
Nursery school in Slovakia starts at the age of 3, and is not compulsory. Children learn to draw, recite, sing, name the colors and numbers, and basic information about nature and society. At the age of 5, the last year of kindergarten, they study geometrical shapes, months of the year, days of the week, etc. The last year of preschool education is considered compulsory.
Children can be placed in a state or private kindergarten under the condition that the family has a registered residence in the given municipality.
Primary school in Slovakia is divided into 2 levels:
First level from 1st – 4th grade
Second level from 5th – 9th grade
A school year at primary and secondary school consists of two terms. The first term starts on 1st September and ends at the end of January, the second term starts on 1st February and lasts until 30th June.
Pupils at primary schools receive grades from 1- 5 where 1 is the best, 5 is the worst.
After school activities
At the end of classes, children can attend after school activities. The first level’s pupils can spend their free time after classes in special school establishments, so-called “družina”. Their activities aim to develop pupils’ talents, prepare for lessons the next day, and organize sports activities in general.
In general, pupils can attend after school clubs within their school, devoted to various fields of interest, e.g. science, ecology, drama classes, music, sport, photography, etc. Registration days for a particular activity is usually held in September.
Enrollment requirements for secondary education
In the last year of primary school, pupils decide which secondary school they want to continue their education. Schools accept the students based on study results. Some schools have an entrance test.
Types of secondary schools in Slovakia
The gymnasiums prepare the students for higher education, especially universities. They provide general education but many offer specialized classed e.g. foreign languages, programming or mathematics.
This type of secondary school offers specialized education and usually prepares students for further study at higher education institutions.
Secondary vocational school programs consist of general education and vocational training and students regularly attend practical classes, training centers, and real working places to learn practical skills in given profession.
Above mentioned secondary schools are completed with school leaving examination and students obtain „maturita“ certificate. School leaving examination consists of two parts, written and oral exam. After obtaining the “maturita“ certificate, students can apply for higher education including University study.
Conservatories (Konzervatória), are a specific type of schools providing lower and upper secondary education as well as tertiary professional education in the art fields, such as Music, Singing, Dancing, and Dramatic Arts.
Higher education in Slovakia is carried out according to the standards of the European, Bologna system. It is run under the ECTS – European Credit Transfer System allowing student mobility and unified recognition of obtained qualifications within the EU and the world.
Enrollment requirements for tertiary education
After secondary school graduation, students can apply for studies at university. The admission requirements at a specific study program may vary between universities as well as between faculties. Students are accepted based on the secondary study results and/or entrance exam results.
The academic year starts on 1st September and ends on 31st August of the following calendar year. It is divided into two or rarely in three semesters.
There are 20 public universities, 10 private universities, and three state universities and colleges in Slovakia.