Education in Slovakia is noted for its high quality. That’s why education in Slovakia is one of the most popular reasons of getting residence permit by foreign citizens. It is hardly surprising, taking into account similarity of the Slovak, Ukrainian and Russian languages, similar traditions and loyal attitude of Slovaks to the students from the CIS countries.
The educational system in Slovakia suggests detailed specialization, many educational programmes and approaches to learning. Defining of a child’s future profession starts in the 9th grade at school. So before choosing what educational institution to enter or send your child to, you should get acquainted with the nuances of the education in Slovakia for foreigners.
The first stage of the education of Slovak children is preschool educational institutions:
- two types of institutions – nursery and kindergarten;
- nurseries are represented only by private organizations, their attendance is, therefore, fee-paying;
- kindergartens are of 4 types: state, private, church and specialized;
- kindergarten attendance – daily on weekdays, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. (time of attendance can differ depending on a particular institution).
Preschool education in Slovakia
Preschool education in Slovakia is the foundation of all future education. The nurseries in Slovakia are exclusively private. The cost of their attendance, therefore, ranges from 20 EUR per month. The price depends on the city, where the nursery is located, number of children in groups, duration of child’s staying in the nursery, as well as specialization of the institution itself. The attendance of nursery is not obligatory in Slovakia. So the parents can decide themselves whether to send their child there.
The situation with kindergartens is different. They are divided into 4 types, among which there are also almost free institutions (attendance fee is 10 EUR per month). The attendance of kindergartens is obligatory. The institution accepts children at the age of 3-6 years old. Some kindergartens allow laying foundation of specialization of education for a child already at this stage. For better understanding of the peculiarities of each type of institutions, let’s take a closer look at them:
- State. Their main advantage is the price. The cost, 10 EUR per month, is symbolic, even taking into account the additional payment for meals, hobby groups, fees for buying toys and gifts for children (total expenditure is about plus 50 EUR per six months). The most popular groups are sport, language and art ones. The institutions of church type also refer to the state kindergartens. They’ll be especially useful if you want to raise your child according to your religious beliefs. In Slovakia there are kindergartens functioning not only at the Roman Catholic churches, but less popular churches as well. For example, Evangelical church. So you will definitely find the institution you need without any troubles.
The state kindergartens can provide an advanced study of foreign languages or study only in English, French or German. The only drawback of these institutions is that it’s hard to get there. An active baby boom of recent years has caused long queues to kindergartens. So in order to speed up the registration process, it is important to know, what factors the admission commissions pay attention to when admitting children.
- Private. This is more expensive preschool education, which provides better care for children and possibility of specialized education. The cost of such kindergarten attendance is 300-1000 EUR per month. The institutions differ not only by the cost of education, but also depending on the approaches to children and specialization. The private kindergartens can offer study of foreign languages, learning process in English, German or French, as well as special programmes, adapted to peculiarities of children with vision and hearing problems. This also includes daily walks with children, entertainment programme, various excursions, physical exercises, etc.
Second stage of education – primary schools (secondary education)
Algorithm of study:
- primary schools of I level (children at the age of 6-10);
- primary schools of II level or receiving secondary education at gymnasiums (children at the age of10-15).
Like other levels of education, primary schools have its peculiarities of study. The knowledge of these peculiarities allows simplifying the understanding of how the system works and helps choosing a suitable institution for your child.
- Free education in Slovakia at a primary school, only private institutions are the exception here.
- Having graduated from the primary schools of I level, children can go to the primary schools of II level or gymnasiums (long-term).
- At this stage of study there is also a possibility of specialized education in a relative educational institution. It can provide an advanced study of foreign languages, instruction in German, French or English, as well as focus on sport or art disciplines.
The main distinction of the primary school from ours is lower load. The intensity of study, at that, increases significantly. Being an applicant, a student has a significant bundle of profession-oriented knowledge. Having graduated from this educational institution, students can enter higher education institutions.
Study in Slovakia: peculiarities of study at gymnasiums in Slovakia
They represent a complex and impressive educational stage, located between primary schools and higher education institutions. For Slovaks this is a great way to advance the specialization of education of children and, thus, prepare them for receiving higher education.
However, as far as foreigners are concerned, gymnasiums are of particular importance. When entering an educational institution after finishing the 9th grade, a child will have several years to adapt to the Slovak educational system, as well as drastically improve the level of Slovak language proficiency. Firstly, this practically guarantees a successful entry to a Slovak higher education institution. Secondly, study at a gymnasium allows a child mastering the Slovak language, making it unnecessary to go to preparation courses.
- Duration – 4 years.
- Grounds for entry – entrance exams or grade point average indicated in the certificate of completion of education at a primary school.
- Ends with final examinations
- Students of the CIS countries enter a gymnasium having completed the 9th grade.
A key goal of gymnasium is to prepare students to master a profession in a higher education institution. Depending on what institution a student plans to enter, the list of subjects is formed. After the completion of study the students pass the final examinations.
You can enter Slovak higher education institutions only if you have a certificate of secondary education. Every foreign applicant must undergo the procedure of recognition of foreign diplomas and degrees for entry.
Students, who plan to enter a higher education institution, as a rule, choose profession-oriented gymnasiums.
Peculiarities of Slovak secondary vocational schools
These educational institutions are the alternative to the study at gymnasiums. They allow moving children closer to the specialization, which will be chosen for them in a higher education institution. The study at vocational schools allows foreign students improving their Slovak language proficiency, thanks to which children can enter higher education institutions without problems.
- 4-year programme.
- Obligatory passing the final examinations.
- Obtainment of the certificate of secondary vocational education.
- Possibility to enter any Slovak higher education institution after the completion of education.
Secondary specialized colleges
These institutions are one of the options of completing the education. A successful completion of education provides the graduates with trade and possibility of employment. Sometimes for the Slovak young people a higher education is not essential. That’s why the graduation from such college is enough.
- Programme duration: 2 or 3 years.
- Obligatory passing the of final examinations.
- Obtainment of confirmation of secondary vocational education.
It should be noted that the graduation from the college after the completion of a 2-3 year programme does not qualify students to enter the higher education institutions. In order to enter them, students must continue their study according to one of the two programmes (duration 2/4 years) and successfully pass the final examinations.
Higher education in Slovakia
In order to get into a higher education institution, foreign applicants must provide documents certifying successful high school graduation. A package of documents is accepted in February. When considering the candidates, a grade point average, indicated in the certificate of secondary education, is taken into account. But for the foreigners sometimes the entrance examinations are held, in order to check their Slovak language proficiency. The private educational institutions can conduct examinations in English, if the instruction is provided in this language.
For the students, who don’t know the Slovak language very well, the specialized preparation as well intensive courses are proposed.
Complete higher education in Slovakia – Bachelor’s programme
Duration – 3 years. The completion of study in Slovakia grants higher education (complete) of the first level and the Bachelor’s degree. To get this, one has to pass exams, including the state ones, plus thesis defence.
Master’s programme in Slovakia
Duration – 2 years. A successful completion of the Master’s programme grants the graduates complete higher education, Engineer’s or Master’s degree as well as the possibility to conduct professional activities.
The statistics show that holders of Master’s degree hold senior management positions. The most popular areas of study according to the Master’s degree programme are humanitarian and technical ones (Engineer’s programme). The Master’s degree programme allows changing a higher education institution, faculty or specialization. To do so, one just needs to successfully pass exams, which include major subjects.
The educational system in Slovakia allows entering the Master’s programme even by foreign students, if they are proficient enough in Slovak. The practice, however, has shown that for this purpose you have to complete the study at the faculty of education.
The young people from the CIS countries choose mainly the Bachelor’s programme and, having successfully completed it, continue study at master courses.
Admission to the doctoral programme in Slovakia
Duration – 3 years. This provides for a mandatory pass of the state examination as well as thesis defence. A successful completion of education grants the Doctor’s degree that allows carrying out research.
What do you need to know to get into a higher education institution?
The procedure for submitting documents and entering school, college or higher education institution in Slovakia for foreigners consists of 5 key stages:
- First of all, you need to choose an educational institution you like and register the entrance application. The registration costs about 50 EUR. After having chosen an appropriate higher education institution, you can familiarize yourself with the time frames for filing the entrance application. Depending on the educational institution or specialization, the terms can slightly differ. For example, in order to enter the Master’s programme, you must file the application before May, while the Bachelor’s programme requires filing it till the end of February. So having decided on the higher educational institution, visit its website. The Slovak educational institutions always indicate the terms of application on their websites.
- The apostille on the diploma/certificate of secondary education is placed at the Ministry of Education of your native country. It certifies the validity of the document in the territory of other countries.
- Then the documents must be translated into Slovak; it is required to undergo the procedure of recognition of foreign diplomas and degrees. Only official translation is accepted. The confirmation of the compliance of documents with the requirements to them can be performed only by the Slovak Ministry of Education.
- After the completion of all abovementioned processes, you can proceed with submitting documents and passing entrance exams. The faculties define the terms under which they select students themselves. This can be a procedure of simplified admission (that requires obligatory completion of preparation courses) or full pass of exams. To be sure that an applicant gets into an educational institution, the documents can be submitted simultaneously to several faculties, one of which doesn’t require passing exams.
- When entering a Slovak higher education institution, a sufficient proficiency in the state language is important. This is a key demand that is put forward to the foreign applicants. That’s why some higher educational institutions obligatorily request the documents certifying the successful completion of the preparation Slovak language courses.