How is education system in Slovenia organised?
The education system in Slovenia consists of:
- KINDERGARTENS OR PRESCHOOL INSTITUTIONS – not mandatory, from the age of 11 months up to the elementary school. It is important to register your child soon, as it may be difficult to get a place in a kindergarten.
- PRIMARY INSTITUTIONS
9-year elementary education (osnovna šola) is mandatory, free for all children between the ages of 6 and 15. For students with disabilities it lasts longer but not later than the age of 21.
- SECONDARY INSTITUTIONS
After completing elementary school, children have the opportunity to continue their education in secondary schools (srednja šola) that are not obligatory. Secondary education institutions are called high schools and are divided into gymnasiums and vocational schools. Secondary school, depending on the type, can last three or four years. You can choose which secondary school you want to go to, but enrolment depends on the grades you got in elementary school. Graduation exam called matura is a set of exams that verify and evaluate students’ knowledge, skills and abilities obtained during the elementary and secondary school education.
- TERTIARY INSITUTIONS
If you want to continue with higher education, you have to pass matura. Note that some universities require good graduation results (a high number of points in matura) or good results in special examinations. Higher education consists of higher vocational education (2-year programmes) and higher education (3 or 4 years of bachelor, 1 or 2 years of master and 3 years of doctoral programme – PhD). Higher education studies are organised by both public (University of Ljubljana, University of Maribor, University of Primorska) and private universities (University of Nova Gorica), and other higher education institutions, namely by faculties, art academies, and higher vocational colleges.
Boys and girls go to school together. Children’s rights must be respected, corporal punishment is prohibited. Kindergartens and schools arrange meetings with parents to discuss important daily issues. It is important to attend these meetings, as parents have to be involved in their children’s education; these meetings also present a good opportunity to connect with other parents.
School starts in September (tertiary education classes start in October) and finishes in June. Summer school holidays last for two months. At the end of each school year, pupils receive a report in which the pupil’s efforts are graded.
How is the education system for children and youth organised?
If you are a granted subsidiary protection, your children have the right to enrol in programmes of preschool institutions. You have to pay for kindergarten.
Kindergartens are open for enrolment throughout the school year, so you can enrol your child if they have any vacancies. You have to pay for kindergarten.
Asylum seekers do not have the right to kindergarten, but there is basic childcare provided in the asylum centre.
Elementary school is obligatory for everyone, regardless of their status (for you and your children too). If you do not speak Slovene, schools are obliged to organise preparatory language classes for refugee children and children with insufficient knowledge of the language, as well as additional Slovene classes. The child must be able to attend some part of the regular education programme at the same time.
After completing elementary school, children have the opportunity to continue their education in secondary schools (srednja šola) that are not obligatory (see more info above).
Elementary and secondary school are free of charge, but you will have some expenses. Meals are organised by the school, but you will have to pay for them. A local or regional self-government unit (it varies from city to city) can organize transportation to school or you will need to take your children to school by yourself. You also have to pay for school trips and materials. You can get different subsidies for expenses pertaining to education.
How is the education system for adults organised?
Adult education system consists of different forms of formal and non-formal adult education. Some of them are free, for some you have to pay. There are a few of schools for adults who have not completed elementary or secondary school in a regular way (Cene Štupar https://www.cene-stupar.si/default.asp?mid=en&pid=naslovnica_sl_en etc.).
The goal of such programmes is to improve literacy and life skills in all areas of education. Adult education also includes special programmes for acquiring secondary school or vocational qualifications, lower qualifications, retraining and training programs. Employment service offers free adult education programmes for registered unemployed persons. The vocational skills they offer are the ones that are in demand on the labour market.
If you are an adult granted international protection, you have the same rights as Slovene citizens regarding education.
Can I go to school as an asylum seeker?
If you are asylum seeker, you have the right to go to school at all levels (from primary to tertiary). However, children with asylum seeker status do not have the right to kindergarten.
What is recognition of foreign qualification/degree equivalency procedure?
If you have a certificate, diploma or other proof that you attended or completed some educational program or school in other countries, you can submit a request to recognise your qualifications. All the documents proving your education or qualifications must be translated into Slovene.
Government Office for the Support and Integration of Migrants pays for these translations for people with international protection, but asylum seekers and other foreigners have to pay for the translation themselves.
There are some challenges with access to secondary school and university if you do not have all the documents needed. You have the right to go to secondary school and university but in practice, some problems can occur.
If you have been granted international protection and you do not have the papers proving your education, you can still enrol in high school by passing the test at Institute for Education of Slovenia (https://www.zrss.si/en/). If you want to enrol in higher education, you have to pass the exam at National Examinations Centre (RIC – https://www.ric.si/ric_eng/general_information/).
What to do if I want to enrol to school?
As there are many options for education in Slovenia, it is recommended to check all the possibilities. If you have been granted international protection and you want to go to school, but you do not know where to start, ask your integration counsellor for help.
Further information & links
- Educational system in Slovenia: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLpXqOJBPuT-nY6S7KpbvfWTU0iwHZzITm
- Study in Slovenia: http://studyinslovenia.si/
- National Vocational qualifications: http://www.npk.si/index.php?lang=en
- Javni zavod Cene Štupar (educational programmes): https://www.cene-stupar.si/sl/domov
- CDI Univerzum (educational programmes): https://www.cdi-univerzum.si/
Are there schools for people with disabilities?
There are special schools for mentally or physically handicapped children.
What are the expenses of education?
Primary and secondary education are free of charge, but you do have certain expenses (more information above). Private schools are demand fees, while public are free, but usually some fees and conditions apply. You can get different subsidies for expenses connected with education.
Do TCNs have right to scholarships?
Foreign citizens studying in Slovenia do not have the right to state scholarships. Some schools allow refugees and persons under subsidiary protection to enrol free of charge.