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The Slovak System of Education

School attendance in the Slovak Republic is compulsory from the age from 6 to 15. Most children attend state schools, but there are also newly established private and church schools. Education at state schools up to 18 is free of charge but students at secondary schools must pay for their textbooks. Private and church schools charge school fees. All schools are coeducational. Children in our school system do not wear uniforms. Handicapped children are educated separately, but in most of schools they are integrated.

The school year start on 1st September and ends on 30th June of the following year. The school year is divided into two terms (September вЂ" January, February вЂ" June). A school day is different at different types of schools. The average number of lessons at a secondary school is around thirty a week, primary schools have fewer lessons, while specialized schools often have more. Classes begin between 8 and 8.15 and there are from 4 to 6 lessons in a row, followed by a lunch break, usually 45-minutes long, which is one period, and then afternoon classes. Afternoon classes end between 4 and 5 at the latest. Breaks between the lessons last from 5 to 15 minutes.

Pupils and students are evaluated by marks from 1 to 5, 1 is the best, 5 is the worst. Each term students get their school report with marks from both compulsory and elective subjects.

Education in our country includes these stages: pre-school, primary, secondary and tertiary (=higher education).

Pre-school education is provided by crÐ"Ёches for children up to 3 years of age and nursery schools for children aged 3 to 6. Not many children attend crÐ"Ёches but quite a lot of them attend kindergartens. At 6 children start to go to primary schools and they stay there until 15. At the age of 15 the pupils transfer form primary to secondary school. Some pupils, whose parents wish themto, can transfer to grammar schools at the age of 11 after they have passed an entrance examination.

At the age of 15 pupils can choose among a variety of secondary schools:

a) grammar schools with general and rather academic education which prepare students for university study

b) special schools which include technical colleges, specialized in building, chemistry, engineering, etc., business academies, agricultural schools, nursing schools, music and art schools which offer professional education and

c) vocational schools training would-be workers for practical jobs.

Secondary education usually lasts for 4 years and at grammar and specialized schools it is finished with a school-leaving examination called maturity which is required by all universities and colleges. This examination is taken in four subjects at grammar schools (Slovak, a foreign language and two optional subjects chosen from foreign languages, science subjects or humanities) and in five or more subjects at specialized schools. The examination is held in May and is mostly oral except Slovak in which an essay is written about a month before. The oral part of the exam takes about two hours, half an hour for each subject. A student chooses one of 25 to 30 topics by drawing a number and after 15 minutes` preparation he/she speaks on the topic and solves given tasks. After the graduates have passed their school-leaving exam they receive the School-Leaving Certificate and they can apply for study at universities and colleges.

Universities and colleges provide tertiary education which lasts from 4 to 6 years. Each secondary school graduate can apply for as many universities and colleges as he/she likes but before he/she is accepted they have to pass an entrance examination in the subjects in which the university specializes. The examination consists of a written test and an interview.

Every large regional town in our country is a seat of a university or college now, but the oldest ones are the most renowned. Our oldest university is Comenius University in Bratislava, founded in 1919. It was the best way how to get the highest level of knowledge in mother’s tongue. Other notable universities are Trnava University in Trnava, the University of Economics in Bratislava, the University of St. Cyril and Methodius in Trnava, the University of Pavol Jozef Safarik in Kosice, the University of Presov in Presov etc. In Bratislava are founded many known universities and variously faculties, for example the Faculty of Law, The Slovak Technical University, the Academy of Performing and Arts, the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, the Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics and so on.

Undergraduates can study a variety of subjects such as economics, foreign trade, architecture, law, journalism, the humanities, foreign languages, medicine, science, music, art, drama, engineering or computer science at various schools.

The university or college students can enroll at three-year courses for a Bachelor’s Degree or four and five-year courses for a Master’s Degree. Medicine usually takes 6 years. The university or college study is finished with a state examination and every undergraduate also has to write a thesis in order to receive a diploma in a certain field of study. The diploma is handed over at a graduation ceremony. Doctoral Degrees are awarded after another few years of study, which may be also individual,



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