The reform of the counselling system
The reform of the counselling system has been gradually introduced into practice since 1st January 2023. It aims to provide services according to the needs of children, pupils, and families and not based on diagnosis only. Inclusive teams will receive methodical support and will be able to consult their practicing colleagues. They will also cooperate with professionals from the labour or healthcare sector.
The reform introduces a counselling system which will work on five interconnected levels:
- class teacher, school support team, career advisor (preventive educational activities)
- professional staff, school social pedagogue (professional activities for children/pupils with increased need for support)
- professional staff in counselling and prevention centres, or in the school environment, if needed (diagnostics, re-education, rehabilitation, prevention programmes)
- professional staff in counselling and prevention centres (specialised professional activities)
- professional staff in specialised counselling and prevention centres.
Two types of centres are to be set up:
1. Counselling and prevention centre that will perform most professional activities except for the highly specialised ones. The centre will take over the professional activities to date performed by the pedagogical-psychological counselling and prevention centre and the special pedagogical counselling centre. It will perform diagnostics, re-education, rehabilitation and prevention programmes. What is new, is coordinated, multi-disciplinary care, which will be provided to children both with and without disabilities. Children or pupils can access the counselling and prevention centre as before – upon the request of the legal guardian, paediatrician, headmaster, specialist doctors and health-care professionals, or upon their own request, if they are of majority age.
2. Specialised counselling and prevention centre that will replace the present special pedagogical counselling centre. This centre will work with disabled children. It will perform several highly specialised professional activities. Children can access the specialised centres upon the recommendation of the counselling and prevention centre, paediatrician or specialist doctor.
Both types of newly set up counselling facilities will also provide closer support to school support teams, which provide support to children and youth directly in school.
Action plan for solving bullying in schools and school facilities for 2022 and 2023
The action plan for tackling bullying in schools and school facilities for the years 2022 and 2023 (Akčný plan riešenia šikanovania v školách a školských zariadeniach) was developed by the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic on the basis of the Programme Statement of the Government of the Slovak Republic for the years 2020-2024 (Programového vyhlásenia vlády Slovenskej republiky na roky 2020 – 2024). The action plan was approved by the Government of the Slovak Republic on January 12, 2022 at its meeting.
The document focuses on three main objectives, namely
- education of pedagogical and professional staff working in education in the approach to bullying,
- strengthening cooperation with state administration bodies for the purpose of mutual information and efficiency of cooperation a
- creation of measures to eliminate future risks, including the setting of concrete steps in the field of crisis management for school principals.
The Department of Education is also preparing a new directive on bullying for schools and school facilities.
Support of primary and secondary education in the form of a call for proposal
The Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport to support primary and secondary education as part of the Recovery and Resilience Plan of the Slovak Republic in 2022 has published calls for applications for programmes:
Call for "Increasing the capacities of primary schools" (Výzva na zvyšovanie kapacít základných škôl)
The purpose of the call is to increase the capacity of primary schools where the number of pupils exceeds their capacity. Likewise, support for ensuring equal access to education for all pupils and removing obstacles to access to education.
The amount of funds designated for the call is EUR 33,847,4401.
A call to "Eliminate the two-shift operation of elementary schools" (Výzva na odstránenie dvojzmennej prevádzky základných škôl)
The intention of the call is to expand the capacities of primary schools through new buildings, additions, superstructures and renovations of existing buildings. By the end of 2026, double-shift operation should be eliminated in at least 49 elementary schools in this way. The amount of funds designated for the call is EUR 34,610,868.
A call for "Debarrierisation of larger secondary schools" (Výzva na debarierizáciu väčších stredných škôl)
The purpose of the challenge is to simplify access to education at secondary schools for students with disabilities.
The amount of funds designated for the call is EUR 32,607,212.
Call for proposal "Nursery, primary and secondary school health worker" (Výzva „Zdravotnícky pracovník v materskej, v základnej a v strednej škole“)
The aim of the call is to support kindergartens, primary and secondary schools through the employment of a health worker as a non-pedagogical employee for the
- provision of health and nursing care,
- implementation of screening with the aim of early identification of health problems in children and pupils,
- preventive and advisory activities in the area of healthy lifestyle support and disease prevention and other activities.
This is a pilot verification of this position in schools. The funds will be provided for the personal expenses of the healthcare worker in the period from 1 September 2022 to 31 August 2024.
The first round of the call for proposal for the creation of Regional Teacher Support Centres (Prvé kolo výzvy na vytvorenie Regionálnych centier podpory učiteľov)
The goal of the challenge is to create Regional Teacher Support Centres, where teachers and school principals can find help and support in implementing changes within the framework of the Education for the 21st Century reform. Teachers will have the opportunity to find their mentors. Their task will be to provide colleagues - teachers with individual advice and help with the transition to a new curriculum and a new teaching system.
The amount of total funds allocated for the call is EUR 10,099,800.
Call for proposal "Smarter Together 3" and "More Successful Together 2" (Výzva „Spolu múdrejší 3“ a "Spolu úspešnejší 2")
The goal of the call is support for those primary and secondary schools that, through high-quality and affordable tutoring for their pupils, will create conditions for improving their knowledge and skills in lessons outside of class to a specified extent.
The amount of total financial resources intended for the published call is €6,475,600.
Call for proposal "Compensation of the fee in the children's school club for pupils from a socially disadvantaged environment and in material need 2"( Výzva „Kompenzácia poplatku v školskom klube detí za žiakov zo sociálne znevýhodneného prostredia a v hmotnej núdzi 2“)
The aim of the challenge is to support the participation of socially disadvantaged pupils in the activities of the school children's club. By compensating the fee for children's school club, the main obstacle to the participation of pupils from a socially disadvantaged environment, or from families in material need to the activity of children's school club, will be removed.
The amount of total funds allocated for the call is EUR 2,335,425.
Amendment of the Education Act
In 2021, an amendment to the Education Act was adopted, which brings several changes:
- Definition of the term "inclusive education",
- Legislative anchoring of distance education,
- Changes in student assessment,
- Transformation of the system of counseling facilities,
- Simplification of the requirements of state and school educational programmes,
- Introduction of a "state upbringing/educational programme",
- Simplification of the admission process for secondary schools.
Amendment of the Act on State Administration in Education and School Self-Government
One of the most significant changes to the Act on State Administration in Education and School Self-Government is the establishment of regional school administration offices, which arose from the education departments of district offices in the region's headquarters, thus creating a specialized state education administration and simplifying and clarifying the flow of funds to regional education.
Amendment of the Act on State Administration in Education and School Self-Government
The Act on Pedagogical and Professional Employees also underwent a change in 2021. In addition to technical simplifications to help schools and staff better and more effectively manage their professional development, it has brought about more fundamental changes:
- Creation of a new category of teaching staff, namely the school digital coordinator,
- Extension of competencies of the school special pedagogue and school coordinator in education,
- Change in the provision of the introduction of a beginning pedagogical employee or a beginning professional employee,
- Establishment of new career positions the school digital coordinator and the school support team coordinator and the conditions for the establishment, composition and activity of the school support team,
- Extension of the range of attestation organizations,
- Specification of the award of personal allowance for work performed beyond work duties and for overtime work,
- Provision of the possibility to be educated in a language other than Slovak (CPD).
Impact of COVID-19 pandemics on education
In order to maintain a safe environment in schools and school facilities, the Ministry of Education has compiled a manual "SCHOOL SEMAFOR", which sets out the basic operating conditions of schools and school facilities, including the specifics of compliance with anti-epidemic measures and recommendations during the COVID-19 pandemic. In connection with the pandemic situation, it has prepared a number of recommendations and guidelines for schools and school facilities. In this context, several pieces of legislation have been amended. The intention was to create conditions for distance education of students, within which several methodological and didactic manuals for pedagogical staff and students were created.
Supporting school education through calls
To support education with the improvement of material and technical conditions, the Ministry of Education announced several calls, on the basis of which schools or founders could draw funds within the framework of development projects or grants.