Free education is a constitutional right. Education is funded mainly from the state budget, which provides funding for the educational process, operating costs, emergency repairs, renovation, and modernisation of school facilities and their equipment. The state budget subsidises the development as well as the construction and extension of school buildings.
The sources of funding for public schools, state kindergartens, and state school facilities are
- the state budget, in particular, the budget of the Ministry of Education, Research, Development, and Youth of the Slovak Republic,
- budgets of municipalities and the budgets of self-governing regions,
- other physical and legal persons renting space and school equipment or school facilities,
- profit from business activities,
- contributions from pupils/parents for partial payment of costs of education at kindergartens, school children clubs, and leisure time centres,
- contributions from pupils/parents for partial payment of the costs associated with education, stay, accommodation and boarding at school dormitories, special educational facilities, and facilities of school catering,
- contributions from employers and employer associations
- contributions and gifts,
- other sources.
State budget resources for expenses associated with the operation of schools and school facilities are allocated to each founder by the Ministry of Education and they can be used only for the following purposes set out by the Act no. 597/2003 Coll. on funding of primary and secondary schools and school facilities (Zákonom č. 597/2003 Z.z. o financovaní základných škôl, stredných škôl a školských zariadení):
- provision of the educational process and school’s operating costs,
- transportation allowance,
- allowance for physical exercise in nature,
- allowance for school in nature,
- allowance for interest-based education,
- funding of emergency situations,
- emergency repairs,
- development projects,
- allowance for support measures in education,
- funding of costs of pupils from socially disadvantaged environments,
- allowance for preschool education in kindergartens,
- capital expenditures
- severance pay,
- flu vaccines and hepatitis A and B vaccines for teaching and professional staff,
- concertation procedure,
- creating and publishing educational publications and methodological aids
- provision of district rounds, regional rounds, and national rounds of competitions and subject Olympiads of children and pupils from schools and school facilities.
The amount allocated to a founder for a calendar year will be defined as the number of pupils in schools in the founder competence multiplied by the amount corresponding to costs per pupil. The amount per pupil is determined by the Ministry of Education and published on the website of the Ministry every year.
The breakdown of finances from the Ministry’s chapter for public schools founders for a calendar year is based on the normative volume of financial resources for each school in the founder’s competence. The normative contribution is determined by the number of pupils and the normative volume of financial resources per 1 pupil for the current calendar year. The normative is taken to mean the sum of the wages normative and the operations normative.
The wages normative reflects the employer’s standardised annual costs of wages and salaries, insurance, and mandatory contributions for employees (personal costs) ensuring the education process and the operations of the school per pupil. It is determined based on the type of school, pedagogical employees’ salary grades, professional experience, personnel intensity of the study field, the form of study, and the language of instruction. When determining the normative for primary schools, the size of schools is taken into account. The operations normative reflects the standardised annual costs of the education process and the operations of the school, not including personnal costs per pupil. The operations normative is determined based on the type of school, financial demands of the study field, the form of the study, the language of instruction, and the temperature conditions in the school’s location. When determining the normative for primary schools, the size of schools is taken into account.
Funding of early childhood education and care
Facilities providing care for children up to 3 years of age (nurseries) are not a part of the school system and are not funded by the state budget.
These are mostly private facilities, whose main source of income consists of the fees for the provided child care services. In addition to the fees, the facilities founded by a municipality receive funding from the municipality’s budget in compliance with. Act No. 564/2004 on budget determination of tax revenue from incomes of the territorial administration (Zákonom č. 564/2004 Z.z. o rozpočtovom určení výnosu dane z príjmov územnej samospráve).
A municipality receives funding for kindergartens in its founder competence from the share on the income tax of physical persons. Shares on taxes constitute municipality’s own income and the municipality can decide how to use it.
Funding of single structure education
Funding of primary schools (ISCED 1 and 2) comes from multiple sources. Primary schools are funded from the state budget and school facilities (school children clubs, school canteens, youth boarding houses, basic schools of art, leisure time centres) are funded from self-governments’ own revenue. The substantial part of a self-government’s own revenue consists of the share on income tax of physical persons distributed to municipalities and higher territorial units through tax authorities.
The overall amount of funding earmarked for financing the needs of primary education from public budgets is determined by a strictly normative method.
Funding of upper secondary education
The core of upper secondary school funding (ISCED 3) is constituted of the state budget, and higher territorial units’ budgets (self-governing regions), from which operating costs are covered.
In addition, upper secondary schools’ income is constituted of additional sources (e.g. school’s own business activity, resources from businesses (e.g. gifts) etc.), which, coupled with the possibilities of regions, can provide a higher standard of education.
Secondary vocational schools are funded according to their category. Study fields are assigned to each secondary vocational school category according to the personnel intensity and operational demands of the study field, which is reflected in the state educational programme and the material, technical, and spatial normative requirements. The list of secondary vocational school study fields sorted into respective categories of secondary vocational schools is published and updated annually by the Ministry on its website in the course of the calendar year.
Financial autonomy and control
Founders will provide funding from public resources for the operation of public schools or school facilities in their founder competence. These funds are earmarked and school and school facility headteachers can decide on their use only within the budget set out by the founder.
A founder of a school or school facility performs financial control of the management of public resources allocated from the state budget, management of material assets and property under the founder’s administration, and monitors their efficient and purposeful use.
Schools and school facilities which are legal entities create a management report for the previous calendar year and submit it to the founder. District offices in the seat of the county will submit a cumulative report on management for founders in the territorial scope of the appropriate district office in the seat of the county. The ministry will publish the content and form of the cumulative management report for the previous calendar year on its website by 31st January.
Fees within public education
Child’s legal guardian contributes towards a partial payment of kindergarten’s expenses. The kindergarten fee per child in kindergartens founded by the municipality will be determined by the founder in a generally binding regulation.
The fee is not paid for children that
- attend compulsory pre-primary education at kindergarten,
- are from a household a member of which receives the benefit in material need.
In addition to the kindergarten fees, child’s legal guardians pay the expenses for food, group activities, trips, swimming course or other activities the child participates in.
Education in primary and secondary schools is free of charge. In other than public schools education may be provided for a charge. Pupils’ guardian share in partial defrayal of costs associated with material catering (canteen meals, accommodation in student dormitories, or other school services delivered upon parental request).
Financial support for learners' families
The amount and the conditions for being awarded the tax bonus and subsidies to support the education to meet the school responsibilities are governed by Act no. 544/2010 Coll. on subsidies (Zákon č. 544/2010 Z. z. o dotáciách).
The child allowance is a state social benefit by which the state contributes to a parent or other qualifying person to the upbringing and support of a dependent child. Only one person can receive the allowance for each child, even if there are more persons entitled to it.
A parent may claim child allowances from the state until the child completes compulsory school attendance, but not longer than until the child turns 25 years old. The condition for older children is that:
- they are studying full-time at upper secondary school or higher education institution,
- they are not able to study full-time or work due to illness or injury.
- they are exempted from the obligation to attend school,
- they are attending a primary school for disabled children
- due to the long-term unfavourable health state, they are not able to continuously prepare for a profession or pursue gainful employment, as evidenced by a medical certificate. , however, only until they reach the age of majority.
The amount of the child allowance is set by Act no. 600/2003 Coll. on child allowance (Zákon č. 600/2003 Z.z. o prídavku na dieťa) and the monthly amount per child in 2023 is €60.
There will be a one-off additional increase of €110 for the month in which a dependent child first starts attending the first grade of primary school.
Additional benefit to child allowance
The additional benefit to child allowance is a special social benefit paid by the state in addition to the child allowance for the care of a dependent child for which a tax bonus can be claimed.
The additional benefit to child allowance is paid monthly with the child allowance.
It is provided to pension recipients (old-age pension, early old-age pension, disability pension, service pension) who do not pursue economic activities and who were not awarded the tax bonus. More detailed information on the conditions for being awarded the additional benefit to child care allowance is published on the website of the Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affairs of the Slovak Republic.
The amount of the additional benefit to child allowance is €30.
Parents can claim tax bonus for each dependent child sharing a household with him or her. Tax bonus can be claimed from the child’s birth until the month in which the child reaches the age of 25 (provided the child is training for a profession studying full-time at upper secondary school or higher education institution).
The monthly amount of the tax bonus in 2023 depends on the age of the dependent child. If the child is:
- below 18 years of age – the monthly tax bonus is maximum€140,
- 18 years of age and above – the monthly tax bonus is maximum€50.
At the same time,
- the entitlement to a tax bonus for a child ceases if meal subsidy is provided for the child,
- the amount of the tax bonus is based on income.
This subsidy can be granted to provide lunch and other meals to children in kindergarten or in school. It aims to promote the education of children towards healthy diet and to relieve children’s parents from school meal fees.
Meal subsidy can be granted if the child:
- is attending a kindergarten or a primary school, in which 50% of children come from a household that receives the benefit in material need.
- lives in a household that receives the benefit in material need or whose income is below the minimum subsistence level
- is attending the last year of kindergarten or primary school and lives in a household in which none of its members has claimed the tax bonus (for children between 6 -15 years of age) for this child,
The subsidy can be granted only if the child has registered for meals in a school facility.
In May 2023, meal subsidy is provided in the amount of
- €1.40 for each day the child attended a kindergarten and received a meal,
- €2.10 for each day the child attended the first level of primary school or
- €2.30 for each day the child attended the second level of primary school.
A parent of a child that has been granted a meal subsidy submits a declaration of honour to the founder, which certifies that the tax bonus for the dependent children will not be claimed.
Subsidy for school supplies
The subvention to encourage education towards the fulfillment of school obligations of a child can be provided:
- to all children attending the last year of a kindergarten or a primary school where at least 50 % of children are in material need;
- individually, to a child in material need attending the last year of kindergarten or a primary school.
School supplies include, for example, notebooks, writing utensils, textbooks, and necessary individual aids that are directly related to the child’s education at primary school and the educational process in the preschool class.
In 2023, the subvention to encourage education towards the fulfillment of school obligations is provided in the amount of €33.20 per child.
The meal subsidy and the subsidy for school supplies are provided indirectly. It is the school founder who applies for the subsidy and subsequently provides meals and school supplies.
Financial support for families of pupils with special education needs
Financial support for families with children with special education needs is provided indirectly in the Slovak Republic.
The founder of a primary or secondary school for pupils with special education needs can be allocated an allowance from the state budget for improvement of the education conditions of socially disadvantaged pupils.
Upon the founder’s approval, primary schools can set up specialised classes for pupils in need of compensation or development programme and for pupils previously educated at a school with an educational programme for pupils with disabilities. Schools provide individual education programmes to pupils who have been exempted from attending school and who are cared for at home.
Financial support for learners
Children’s legal guardians who prove that they are in receipt of the benefit in material hardship can have the contribution towards a part of costs in the following facilities reduced or remitted:
- school children club,
- leisure time centre,
- school dormitory,
Secondary school pupils can receive the following types of scholarships::
- need-based scholarship designed for pupils from socially disadvantaged environments,
- motivational scholarship as a reward for training for the pursuit of a profession in which there is a shortage of personnel on the market;
- corporate scholarship for students who acquire skills during their traineeship in companies;
- pregnancy scholarship and
- special scholarship awarded for good results.
Details on the application requirements, criteria for being awarded a scholarship, types of scholarships, their amounts, and the criteria for non-financial payment are defined by the following generally binding legal regulations
- Decree no. 224/2022 on secondary school (Vyhláška č. 224/2022 o strednej škole) defines need-based and special scholarships
- Act No. 61/2015 on vocational education and training (Zákon č. 61/2015 Z.z. o odbornom vzdelávaní a príprave) defines the motivational and corporate scholarship and
- Act No. 245/2008 Coll. on education and training (Zákon č. 245/2008 Z.z. o výchove a vzdelávaní) defines the pregnancy scholarship.
Full-time secondary school pupils are entitled to a need-based scholarship if:
- they live in a family that receives benefits in material need or
- one-twelfth of the total income of their family in the previous calendar year did not exceed the minimum subsistence level.
The scholarship is provided from the beginning of the school year for the respective school year throughout the period of school instruction and upon a written application.
The amount of the scholarship depends on the pupil’s average overall mark in the previous half-year. In the school year 2023/2024, it is:
- €61.38 for the average overall mark of 2.0 or less,
- €42.96 for the average overall mark between 2.0 and 2.5, inclusive,
- €30.69 for the average overall mark worse than 2.5.
Headmasters cannot grant scholarships to pupils who have been conditionally expelled and pupils who are repeating a grade due to poor performance.
Motivational scholarships can be awarded to pupils who are training for a profession for which there is an increased demand in the labour market. List of Study Fields and Training Fields with an Insufficient Number of Graduates for the Needs of the Labour Market and a List of Study Fields and Training Fields Which are in Excess of the Needs of the Labour Market is published by Ministry of Education.
The motivational scholarship is provided each month of school instruction. In the school year 2023/2024, the amount is:
- €79.80, if the pupil’s average overall mark is 1.80 or less,
- €55.25, if the pupil’s average overall mark is between 1.81 and 2.40, inclusive,
- €30.69 , if the pupil’s average overall mark is between 2.41 and 3.00, inclusive.
The scholarship serves to cover the increased expenses related to the pregnant student’s health state, her special material needs, and the preparation for the birth of her child. If the requirements for granting the scholarship are met, the student is entitled to it. A pregnancy scholarship is granted to students who have reached the age of majority and have been permanent residents of the Slovak Republic from the 13th week of their pregnancy.
A pregnancy scholarship in 2023 is granted in a monthly amount of €200.
Corporate scholarships can be provided by employers from their own resources to pupils who attend practical training at the employers’ workplace or to pupils who are training in the system of dual education. It is provided monthly throughout the school year up to four times the amount of minimum subsistence (€1075.53 in 2023). The amount is determined based on the pupils’ results and regular attendance of practical training.
Secondary schools can award an special scholarship if:
- the pupil’s overall evaluation for the previous half-year is “passed”,
- the pupil’s average overall mark for the previous half-year is not worse than 1.50, and
- other criteria set by the respective secondary school are met.
The scholarship is awarded upon the class teacher’s proposal and upon the discussion in the school’s pedagogical board. It is paid out from donations to the school, but not across the board. It is paid in the period of school instruction, in the school year 2023/2024:
- monthly in the amount of €122.77 for the average overall mark of 1.20, inclusive, achieved in the previous half-year or
- annually in the amount of €368.31 for the average overall mark of 1.50, inclusive, achieved in the previous half-year.
Non-state (private and church) schools and school facilities are also a part of the network of schools and school facilities.
The sources of church and private schools’ funding:
- funding from the state budget in the chapter of the Ministry of Education
- proceeds from renting out school premises and facilities to other natural and legal persons at the time when the educational process is not taking place,
- profits from business activities,
- contributions from founders,
- contributions from pupils/parents to cover the costs of education and training,
- contributions from employers and employer associations,
- contributions and donations,
- other sources
In order to be allocated funding from public resources, church and private schools are required to produce a report on the school’s management. The founder is obliged to use the allocated funds for personnel and operations costs.
In addition to funding from the state budget, private and church schools and school facilities are also funded from the profit from business activities, contributions from founders, contributions, and gifts as well as other sources.
Non-state kindergartens, language schools, and basic school of art, and school facilities founded by a church recognised by the state, religious society, or other legal or physical person are funded from the proceeds of the income tax of physical persons which municipalities and higher territorial units receive.
The municipality and higher territorial units are obliged to provide private and church schools and school facilities with at least 88% of the amount allocated for salaries and operation of facilities in their founder competence.
Private and church schools can be allocated funds from the state budget for capital expenditure only for the purpose of acquiring movable property. Funding is not allocated for renovation of school premises and modernisation of school equipment. On the other hand, private and church schools, basis schools of art and school facilities can be given state’s movable and immovable property based on a lease contract pursuant to a special regulation.