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Snapshot of Slovenia Education System

The education system from pre-school to upper secondary education is under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport. The Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology is responsible for higher education in Slovenia. The education in Slovenia starts with pre-school, followed by basic education that encompasses primary and lower secondary education, then comes the upper secondary education and tertiary education.

Snapshot of Slovenia Education

Pre-school Education

Preschool education in Slovenia is not compulsory to attend. Children aged 1 to 6 can attend pre-school education.
The pre-school is divided into 2 cycles-
  • Cycle 1 is for children aged 1 to 3
  • Cycle 2 for children aged 3 to 6
Curriculum: Language, mathematics, movement, art, society and nature. 

Basic Education

Basic education in Slovenia is provided by elementary schools and is for students aged 6 to 15. Basic education in Slovenia is mandatory to attend. This educational level lasts for 9 years and is free of charge. The basic education is split up into three 3-year cycles:
  • Cycle 1: Consists of grade 1 to 3. In this cycle, majority of the subjects are taught by the class teacher. 
  • Cycle 2: Consists of grade 4 to 6. In this cycle, teaching is done by the class teacher as well as specialist teachers. 
  • Cycle 3: Consists of grade 7 to 9. In this cycle, classes are taken only by specialist teachers. 
Cycle 1 and 2, i.e. grade 1 to 6 are referred as primary education, while the last 3 years, i.e. grades 7 to 9 are referred to as lower secondary education. 

The elementary schools in Slovenia offers compulsory and optional curriculum. The compulsory curriculum is studied by all students and is based on national curriculum document that is developed by the National Curricular Council. Also, there are extracurricular activities conducted at the elementary schools. These activities include additional lessons, before and after school classes, artistic or cultural activities, other interest activities and sports. 

Optional subjects: Humanity, social sciences, religious education, natural sciences, a second foreign language and technical subjects. Students are required to choose at least 2 optional subjects.

Upon successful completion of the basic education, students are awarded a basic education certificate, and they are eligible for secondary education. Students who finish at least 7 classes at basic education level can go for short-term vocational programme. 

Upper Secondary Education 

Upper secondary education in Slovenia encompasses general secondary programmes known as gimnazija, and vocational and technical programmes.  

The general secondary education prepares pupils for further education, while the vocational and technical secondary education prepares pupils for employment.   

General Secondary Education

General secondary programmes known as gimnazija prepare pupils for further studies and are split up into 2 categories:
  • General which comprises of classical gimnazija
  • Professionally oriented programme that comprises of art, technical and economical gimnazija
The general secondary education lasts for 4 years and concludes with an external exam known as “Matura examination”. 
Upon successful completion of the general secondary educational level, students can go for further studies. Students who do not want to go for further studies can enter the job market by attending a vocational study programme and obtain a vocational qualification at a level corresponding to secondary vocational and technical education.

Upper Secondary Vocational and Technical Education

The Upper secondary vocational and technical education comprises of short-term vocational programmes, and vocational and technical programmes.

Short-term Vocational Programmes

There are short-term vocational programmes that last for 1.5 to 2.5 years depending upon whether the pupil holds a basic education certificate or not. These programmes conclude with a final examination and those who pass obtain a final examination certificate. With this certificate, pupils can go for upper secondary vocational education or for employment. 

Vocational-Technical Programmes

 These programmes last for 4 years and develop knowledge and skills in a particular profession. This educational level prepares apprentices and pupils for a particular trade or profession. At the end of the programme, students must sit for a poklicna matura examination and those who pass can go for higher vocational education or for employment.

Higher Education

Higher education in Slovenia is imparted by both public and private higher education institutions- Universities, art academies, professional colleges, faculties and independent higher education institutions.

Higher education in Slovenia comprises of academic higher education that lasts for 4 to 6 years, and professionally oriented higher education that lasts for 3 to 4 years. It also comprises of post-secondary vocational education that lasts for 2 years. Additionally, there are post-graduate studies at the master’s and doctoral level. These are advanced programmes that last for 1 to 2 years for master’s courses, and 3-4 years for doctoral studies.

Higher Education Institutions

Higher education institutions in Slovenia consist of universities, art academies, professional colleges and faculties. Public faculties, art academies and professional colleges are established as members of public universities. 

Private institutions of higher learning are founded as universities or single art academies, professional colleges and faculties.
 
The universities in Slovenia offer a wide range of programmes at all degree levels. Art academies and faculties provide academic as well as professional study programmes; and professional colleges provide only professional courses.

All programmes offered by the higher education institutions are measured in credit points as per the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). One credit point is equal to 25-30 student working hours.

Admission Requirements

The general admission requirement for higher education in Slovenia is that students must hold a general Matura certificate or a vocational Matura certificate. For master’s studies, students must have a bachelor’s degree, and for doctoral studies a master’s degree is required. Some of the study programmes have additional tests and exams to test their talent and skills. Students must appear for these tests. 
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