Fundamental principles of education policy in Slovakia
Among the fundamental principles of educational policy in Slovakia the following principles rank:
- democratisation - characterises citizens’ access to education laid down in the Constitution of the Slovak Republic and Education of the Law Code on education and training;
- decentralization – transfers decision-making competences on establishment, dissolution and profiling the schools and school facilities to lower levels of public administration bodies (that means, the local and regional authorities);
- humanism - expresses a teacher - pupil relationship manifested in respect for the pupil’s personality and based on mutual confidence;
- alternativeness - expresses a possibility of the rise and development of alternative schools from the founder’s point of view, a possibility of experimental verification of alternative educational programmes;
- autonomy - is manifested at two levels, that means, school’s autonomy and teacher’s autonomy. Since 2001, the status of legal entity is related to all primary and secondary schools and according to the decision of founder (municipality) to kindergartens, too;
- transferability - is applied in relation to the pupil and enables him/her vertical and horizontal transferability in both primary school and secondary schools while fulfilling certain requirements;
- comparability - enables to compare our education system with education systems of the developed countries of the world. All legislative rules are subject to approximation with the aim to bring them nearer to the legislative rules of the European states, in particular;
- flexibility - is expressed mainly in the curricula, with the aim to adjust to the continually changing requirements of the labour market. This fact is emphasised in the application of the State educational programme into school educational programmes in which are reflected specificities of regional, local character, needs of pupils, parents and school as such.
The basic principle of educational policy considered by the SR government is equality of opportunities for all young people regardless of their social situation, region or ethnicity, and orientation at the needs of children, pupils and youth. It also enforces international dimensions at all levels in such a way so that the educational and research institutes may communicate and compete not only within the area of Slovakia but also internationally.
Rights and responsibilities in the field of education
The rights and responsibilities in education are laid down in the Constitution of the Slovak Republic (SK), Chapter 42, and Section 1 "Everybody has the right to education. School attendance is compulsory"; Section 2 "Citizens have the right to free education at primary and secondary schools, and according to citizen’s abilities and society’s possibilities also at higher education institutions". The Constitution guarantees national or ethnic minorities the right to overall development in Chapter 34, "especially the right to develop their own culture along with other members of the minority, the right to disseminate and receive information in their mother tongue, to join nationality associations, the right to establish and maintain educational and cultural institutions"; Section 2 "Citizens who are part of national or ethnic minorities have under the conditions determined by the law along with the right to master the official language also the right:
- to education in their own language,
- to use their own language in official communication,
- to take part in the solution of matters concerning national and ethnic minorities.
The Education Act sets out: ”Nobody may be relieved from fulfilment of the compulsory school attendance”. The children and pupils of the citizens belonging to national minorities and ethnic groups are provided, in addition to the right of adopting the State language, also the right to education and training in their own language under the conditions set by this Act.
Education in primary and secondary schools
Education and training in primary schools, secondary schools and school facilities in agreement with the Education Act. The Education Act sets out:
- principles, aims, conditions, scope, content, forms and organization of education and training in schools and school facilities, assessment and assignment of marks in education and training, grades, admission, completing of education and training, provision of professional educational-counselling and therapeutic-educational care, education of pupils with special education needs,
- duration and completion of compulsory schooling,
- educational programmes at the state level and educational programmes at the school level,
- system of schools and school facilities,
- rights and responsibilities of schools and school facilities,
- rights and responsibilities of children and pupils,
- rights and responsibilities of parents and guardians.
Education in higher education institutions
Following the Higher education act higher education institutions are supreme educational, research and artistic institutions.
The higher education institution mission is to develop harmonious personality, knowledge, wisdom and creativity in a man and to contribute to the development of education, science, culture and health for the whole society prosperity.
The higher education institutions are public higher education institutions, state higher education institutions and private higher education institutions. Military and police higher education institutions are the state budgetary organisations, medical higher education institutions are state contribution organisation. The private higher education institutions are legal entities.
The main aim of higher education institutions is to provide higher education in the frame of the accredited study programs and creative science research or creative artistic activity. The study programs are realised at three stages (the Bachelor’s, Master’s, Engineer’s or doctoral study programmes). Higher education institutions have the exclusive right to provide higher education and right to award the academic degrees and science-pedagogical titles. The higher education institutions are the legal entities executing research and development in the territory of the Slovak Republic. The main aim of the higher education institutions in the area of science and technology is to realise mainly the basic research, to use the most recent knowledge in the area of science and technology in the process of students’ education and to involve them in creative scientific activity. Higher education institutions are divided according to the character and extent of their activities into university higher education institutions and non-university higher education institutions.
The Act on lifelong learning regulates further education in which further education provided by institutions of further education follows the level of education achieved in school education. The subject of the adjustments are:
- accreditation of educational programmes of further education, rules and procedures of verification and recognition of further education outputs focused on receiving partial or full qualification,
- national system of qualifications,
- system of monitoring and prognosis of educational needs,
- control of conditions of the accreditation and reflection of conditions for awarding certification for performance of the examination to verification of professional competence.
The mission of the further education is to give everybody the chance to complete, deepen and extend his/her education, or to undergo retraining by completing another field of education. Hence the further education is such a training that leads either directly or indirectly to improving the ability of individual to compete, to improvement of his/her labour market position.
The details on the further education of teaching employees are regulated by the Act on pedagogical employees and professional employees.
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