People who decide to emigrate to another country have many fears associated with moving. And in people with children, most fears are associated with children. They ask themselves questions: how to enroll a child in kindergarten, how a child adapts at school, how to enter an institute in Slovakia? In this article and video, Tatyana Tkhorovskaya will talk about the education system in Slovakia, what are the differences between the post-Soviet and Slovak education systems.
First level: kindergarten (in Slovak – Škôlka or Materská škola). It is customary to give a child to a kindergarten for about 3 years. Fortunately, in Slovakia there are a lot of state kindergartens. In Bratislava, in one district there can be 3-6 gardens, depending on the size of the district. According to the law, you need to contact the nearest kindergarten at the place of registration, fill out a special application, and if there are places in groups, the child will be accepted into the kindergarten. Applications are usually filed in the spring around March for an appointment from the fall of that year. You can download the application from the kindergarten website. A list of all kindergartens in the area is always on the site of the area. In this regard, everything is clear in Slovakia, you can always find any information on the Internet. If there are no places in the nearest kindergarten (maximum 22 children), then you need to safely go to the next one, even if it already belongs to another area. But there is one peculiarity: if a child must go in the last year in front of the school (in Slovak Predškolák), then by law they are obliged to take such a child to kindergarten, moving those who do not go to school next year.
In the state kindergarten, you need to pay 30 euros per month (data for 2020) for the maintenance of the kindergarten and for food, depending on the number of days the child visited, about 15 euros per month. Predškolák do not pay maintenance fees, only for meals.
When the child is 6 years old, and it is assumed that he will go to school next year, a special meeting with a psychologist is held in the kindergarten, which gives a recommendation whether the child is ready for school. It often happens that the psychologist advises to stay in the kindergarten for another year, and Slovaks calmly relate to this and leave their child for another year in the kindergarten. This is quite normal, the main thing is the psychological health of the child.
Second level: high school (in Slovak Základná Škola). When the psychologist recommended going to school, in the same way you can choose a school in your area, apply on the website or by mail. In Slovakia, children go to school from first to eighth or ninth grade. You can get detailed information on how to enroll a child in a Slovak school in our special article.
Education takes place in a very attractive form for children. Organize a lot of excursions, exits to the countryside. At every school there is a huge number of circles from painting to hockey. There are both free and paid clubs, such as hockey, which involves taking children to the winter stadium and renting an ice rink. In general, studying in high school is very interesting. Children from Ukraine or Russia, who have something to compare with, really enjoy studying in Slovak schools.
If a family emigrates to Slovakia, and there are schoolchildren in the family, then it is usually advised to go to a class lower than necessary according to the plan in order to tighten up the Slovak language for this year. This is the choice of parents. But, as a rule, children cope and adapt very quickly, learn the language in 3-4 months. In the first year, children of immigrants are not officially evaluated, only for parents to understand the level of knowledge of the child.
Third level: gymnasium or technical school (in Slovak Stredná odborná škola). In graduation classes, namely in 8m or 9m, depending on the school, the question arises for the graduate, which gymnasium or technical school to go on to. Secondary education is considered completed only after the third stage. In graduation classes, you need to decide on several average single-school schools, pass exams in each, and then choose where you most want to go to study. On our website you can find a list of gymnasiums, where you can enter without exams and knowledge of the Slovak language.
Gymnasiums or technical schools already have a certain direction, for example, foreign languages, mathematics or chemistry. Along with ordinary subjects in every single school, emphasis is placed on one’s own direction. At the end of high school, the graduate already has a certain specialty.
According to statistics, 60% of Slovak children do not go further to universities, but go straight to work, having a specialty, for example, a cook, translator, or auto mechanic. Only after graduating from a technical school or gymnasium does the child receive the so-called maturita (in Slovak maturita), which gives the right to enter a university.
Fourth step: University (in Slovak Univerzita). If, however, a teenager decided to enter a university, then he can choose any of the 33x state universities in Slovakia. Higher education in Slovak universities is completely FREE.
A list of the main universities in Slovakia can be found on our website in the article Universities of Slovakia. But free education is only available in the Slovak language. There are faculties where teaching is conducted in English, but it is paid. Training lasts 4-5 years.
While studying at universities, children often travel throughout Europe to practice, make friends with students from other countries and have excellent practice in English, German and other languages.
Next, I would like to highlight a number of differences between the Slovak education system and ours:
- In Slovakia, a 5-point rating system, rather than a 12-point system, as, for example, in Ukraine.
- Grading is the opposite: Grade 1 is the highest score, respectively 5 is the worst grade.
- Summer holidays last only 2 months: June and August.
- Students in Slovakia go on vacation 6 times, not 4. But some of these holidays can only last one day.
- Very often, training takes place in the “school in nature” format, in which the class travels to nature, to campsites, or even to neighboring countries Austria, Hungary or other countries.
- The period of secondary education is 13 years, and not 11, as in our countries.
- In the elementary grades, children gain knowledge “voluminously”, without delving into theory.
- Lessons in Slovak schools begin earlier at 7-50. In this case, sometimes there are “zero” lessons, which begin at 7-00.
- With mobile phones in Slovak schools, everything is strict: the phone must be turned off, or left in the locker at primary school. If necessary, the student calls his parents from the phone of the class teacher.
- Fees parents have money. This usually happens at the first parent meeting of the year. They collect 20-30 euros. This money goes to the transfer when the children go, for example, to the cinema, pool or other place. It happens that the entire amount for the year is not used and it is carried forward to the next year. Nobody collects any “curtains”. All repairs and maintenance of classes is financed only from the local budget.
- In Slovakia, it is not customary to give gifts to teachers. Parents do not create a vibe group to discuss how much money they need to collect for the next gift to teachers. Pupils very rarely give flowers to teachers even on September 1. Of course, giving the teacher flowers is always a pleasure, and the teacher will be very happy, but this is not mandatory and does not turn into a competition, who has a bigger and more expensive bouquet.
- Slovak students can always express their point of view, and this is encouraged in Slovakia. Here, each child is specially brought up individuality.
- In Slovak schools, the school uniform is completely absent. Everyone dresses as they please.
- The school year begins on September 2nd, and not on the 1st.
- The schools lack the usual rulers at the beginning of the school year and at the end. Children go to school the first day, like on a regular school day.
- No need to remember the names of all teachers. At school, it is customary to turn to teachers simply pan učitel or pani učitelka.
- Children exchange gifts only for Christmas. DIY gifts are welcome.
- The volume of homework is much less than in our schools. They try to get the bulk of the material at school in the lessons.
- The school year is not divided into quarters, but into semesters.
- The school provides a choice of studying Ethics or Theology. At the beginning of the year, you need to fill out a special form where parents indicate which of the subjects the child will study.
- Graduation evening in graduation classes is carried out half a year before graduation, namely in November. For half a year, graduates solemnly wear a special graduate ribbon.
- Lesson schedule, grades, any changes in the educational process, visits, lateness, information for parents – all this is tracked in a special EduPage application. Each parent and student must install this application. A username and password are assigned to each student and issued upon admission to school.
We hope this information was useful to you and will help you to properly prepare for the educational process after moving to Slovakia.
We wish your children success in their studies!
Video about the education system in Slovakia