A higher education institution (HEI) accredited by the Slovenian quality assurance agency for higher education (SQAA) carries out the initial training programmes for pre-school and school teachers. All programmes have to meet the requirements and criteria set out in the Criteria for the accreditation and external evaluation of HEIs and study programmes. The evaluation of study programmes covers the composition and content, as well as the concept of the study programme implementation).
The Higher Education Act applies equally to all HEIs and study fields. The HEIs may plan and develop their activities without restrictions. In theory, all HEIs can offer pedagogical study programmes. They must develop these programmes and accredit them with the SQAA. The Criteria for the accreditation and external evaluation of higher education institutions and study programmes apply. The criteria define the scope of pedagogical training within the study programme. The scope of the training must equal at least 60 ECTS. The pedagogical study programmes must include pedagogical-psychological knowledge (psychology, pedagogics, didactics, andragogy, methodology of pedagogical research), knowledge of humanities and social sciences (philosophy, sociology, anthropology, etc.), and subject or special didactics related to the study of the primary discipline, as well as at least 15 credits of pedagogical practise.
The Ministry responsible for education gives its opinion on the accreditation of pedagogical study programmes. The HEI with accredited pedagogical study programmes may award the professional titles of preschool teacher and teacher to their graduates, namely as provided with the Professional Titles and Academic Science and Art Titles Act.
School laws set out the requirements for preschool teachers and schoolteachers who pursue teaching and other educational activities in public kindergartens and schools. Education staff must have a perfect command of the standard Slovenian language and possess the proper educational qualifications as required by law and other instruments, as well as pass the professional examination. The law specifies the level of education; the secondary instruments specify the branches of educational qualification (if provided for in the law, also the level). The Minister responsible for education first seeks the opinion of the relevant council of experts and then sets the level based on the education programmes that specify the knowledge and skills of the providers.
The law also specifies further the pedagogical or pedagogical-andragogical training required to pursue educational activities. Teachers at upper-secondary vocational and technical schools must also have relevant work experience. General educational and pedagogical-andragogical professional requirements apply to teachers in adult education and to teachers of children with special educational needs. The latter must have the relevant special pedagogy qualification. The law only provides for the common requirement: teachers and preschool teachers must have relevant professional knowledge. The law does not define the content. The HEIs are autonomous in determining the content.
HEIs, especially faculties of education, are primarily responsible for the employability of their graduates. The study programmes of the faculties of education contain professional content that is important for preschool and schoolteacher candidates. In programmes of certain multidisciplinary faculties students can take the pedagogical-andragogical module (branch) of 60 credits. There are also programmes of further pedagogical-andragogical training aimed at postgraduates who do not yet have the knowledge relevant to the teaching profession, yet.
Pre-school teachers and schoolteachers in primary basic education (grades 1 to 6) receive their educational qualifications at faculties of education. Subject-teachers at basic and upper secondary schools receive their educational qualification at faculties of education or multidisciplinary HEIs. They must all have a degree with a pedagogical title or a degree in their subject field and complete the pedagogical-andragogical supplementary study programme under the consecutive system. Teachers of SEN children have a qualification in special education or an educational qualification in the relevant fields and have completed a study programme of professional training in special education.
Institutions, levels and models of training
The initial education of preschool, basic school and upper secondary school teachers is provided by universities or their members, as well as by single HEIs. Typically, the study programmes are conducted in two cycles. All second-cycle study programmes give access to third-cycle study programmes at the same or another HEI.
The faculties of education mainly train preschool teachers and generalist teachers. The Faculty of Education University of Ljubljana also carries out study programmes for specialist teachers of two subjects: math, computer science, technics, chemistry, physics, biology, and home economics. In addition to the single-subject study programmes for preschool teachers and generalist teachers, the faculty carries out programmes for pedagogues of visual arts, social pedagogues, as well as specialist teachers for SEN children: rehabilitation therapists, speech and hearing-impaired therapists, vision rehabilitation therapists and therapists for children with learning disabilities. In addition to preschool teachers and generalist teachers, the Faculty of Education University of Maribor trains visual art and music teachers, as well. In addition to preschool teachers and generalist teachers, the Faculty of Education University of Primorska trains other education staff to support students.
Teachers of the Slovenian language, foreign languages, geography, history and other social studies and humanities receive their educational qualification at the faculty of arts. Teachers of maths and physics may complete the study programmes of the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics. Sports teachers receive their educational qualification at the Faculty of Sport University of Ljubljana, and music teachers at one of the faculties of education or at the academy of music. Teachers of art often come from academies of art and receive their pedagogical-andragogical qualifications at faculties of arts or education. Teachers of technical and practical subjects in vocational and technical upper secondary schools receive their initial subject-relevant educational qualification at universities, as well as at other higher education instructions.
The Faculty of Education University of Ljubljana implements first cycle study programmes for specialist teachers of math, computer science and natural science together with the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Faculty of Natural Science and Engineering, Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, as well as the Biotechnical faculty.
Models of training
The study programmes at the faculties of education are integrated (vocational, general and subject content are intermingled) or semi-integrated. The study programmes at multidisciplinary faculties, which also offer the teacher training qualification, can be concurrent (subject and pedagogical content in separate modules that run concurrently) or consecutive.
All first cycle pedagogical study programmes give access to second and third cycle study programmes. Traditionally, the initial preschool teacher education is a 3-year professional study programme, all other pedagogical study programmes are 3 to 4-year university study programmes. The second cycle study programmes take 1 to 2 years to complete. The study at both cycles takes 5 years. The study programmes for math and physics teachers at the faculty of mathematics are integrated and take 5 years, as well.
Study programmes for preschool teachers and teachers at ISCED 1 of basic school are both integrated: professional, general and subject components are inseparably intermingling. Study programmes for basic school ISCED 2 teachers and teachers of general subjects at upper secondary schools are concurrent: they can be semi-integrated (hybrid) in the first cycle and modular in the second cycle. In the modular structure of the second cycle study programme, students can study concurrently or consecutively. The standard pedagogical module consists of 20 to 40 per cent of vocational practical and theoretical content.
The study is set up to train basic school and upper secondary school teachers for teaching two subjects. Teachers of mathematics, physics, biology and chemistry in gimnazija must complete a single-subject study programme.
The education and training of teachers of technical and practical subjects in vocational education typically follow the consecutive model. Experts with work experience in a specific field and a first-cycle or second-cycle degree with relevant subject knowledge must complete a supplementary pedagogical-andragogical study programme.
Study programmes for prospective teachers
First cycle study programmes for preschool teachers at faculties of education last 3 years (180 credits); 2 years in the second cycle (120 credits). Completion of the first cycle already qualifies preschool teachers for employment. The programme is integrated: theoretical professional and special subject syllabi are inseparable; the professional subject syllabi outweigh the rest (at least 85%). Practical training in kindergartens is compulsory (12 credits). The main aim of the programmes is to prepare students for future work with preschool children and children in the first grade of basic school, as well as to cooperate with parents, colleagues and other experts. During their studies, prospective preschool teachers learn new concepts of childhood and education and acquire basic theoretical and practical knowledge in specific preschool activities provided by the Kindergarten curriculum.
The second cycle programme for prospective preschool teachers aims to train professionals to develop the preschool education system, quality, policy and professional and ethical standards. It also includes research in the field of pedagogy and scientific research methodology.
Study programmes for prospective teachers at basic school ISCED 1 at faculties of education last 5 years (300 credits): four years for the completion of the first cycle and one year for the completion of the second cycle degree. Students may study abroad in part. Completion of the first cycle does not fully qualify graduates to assume teaching positions in basic schools. To take on educational work in the first and second educational period of basic school prospective teachers need to have the second cycle degree.
The first cycle study programmes are integrated: theoretical, professional and subject syllabi are inseparable. Subject components and didactics relate to the education programme of basic school. The study includes pedagogical and psychological theories, philosophy and sociology of education, inclusive education, subject-specific didactics, a foreign language, ICT, a selection of elective subjects and compulsory practical training at basic schools (15 credits).
In the second cycle study programmes, students acquire knowledge and skills for independent teaching in all subjects or subject fields at ISCED 1 of the basic school, as well as for research in pedagogical practice. The study includes learning scientific research methods, open to direct research into practice in basic schools (12 credits).
Subject specialist teachers, path 1
Study programmes for subject specialists and other teachers are also two-subject programmes conducted at faculties of education in combination with 3 + 2 and 4 + 1. Together they last 5 years and are worth 300 credits. Part of a course can be taken abroad. Completion of the first cycle does not prepare students to start teaching the subject or subject fields, they need to complete the second cycle.
Education study programmes train two-subject specialist teachers of mathematics, physics, computer science, technical education, biology, chemistry and home economics and single-subject specialist teachers of visual arts and music. The first cycle study programmes consist of 25% specialist components (didactics, general subjects, and 6 credits of practical training). Pedagogical subjects are also included in the second cycle study programme where they intertwine with teaching practice research and theory. Generally, 25 to 40% of all subjects are dedicated to the professional training of subject teachers.
Subject specialist teachers, path 2
Second cycle studies for specialist teachers in multidisciplinary faculties are two-year single- or two-discipline study programmes. They are worth 120 credits of which 60 to 90 credits are for profession-specific education including practical training in school (3 weeks or 6 credits).
Supplementary professional study programmes
Supplementary study programmes mostly last one year (up to 60 credits) and are not degree courses but professional qualifications. They are intended for graduates who need a qualification in education.
A general pedagogical course is aimed at basic and upper secondary school teacher candidates whose initial education did not include any pedagogical content. The special pedagogy course is aimed at those preschool teachers and schoolteachers who wish to work with special educational needs children. The supplementary programme for librarianship allows basic and upper secondary school teachers to find employment as school librarians. General teachers can take supplementary courses in early foreign language education. All teachers can attend a supplementary course to teach an additional (third) subject or to work in preschool education.
The admission procedure is the same for all students regardless of the higher education institution or study programme they enrol in (see chapter First cycle programmes).
The common admission criteria are provided by the Higher Education Act. The following admission criteria apply to prospective students at the Faculty of Education, preschool education professional programme: final examination (before 1995) general matura or vocational matura examination. The first cycle of pedagogical study programmes welcome candidates who had passed the general matura or vocational matura examination and an additional subject from one of the general matura subjects.
If there is a cap on enrolment in first cycle pedagogical study programmes, priority will be given to candidates with better overall outcome in the (vocational) matura, average marks in years 3 and 4 and in certain relevant subjects, and better results in aptitude tests (if relevant).
Special conditions (learning outcomes in a specific subject, special aptitude, psychophysiological abilities) and criteria for applicant selection in case of a cape are specified in the study programme. The HEIs already specify the admission requirements for the purpose of accreditation. A special aptitude test is required for admission to the study programmes of preschool education, generalist teachers, visual arts, music, and physical education, as well as teachers of SEN children. The special aptitude test is worth 60 to 80 credits. Aptitude in music and visual arts, communication skills and physical abilities can be assessed.
Admission requirements to for second cycle study programmes are set with the study programme.
Anyone who has completed the first cycle study programme in education, arts, humanities or social sciences is eligible to enrol in the master's degree preschool education programme. Candidates who do not have a degree in preschool education must complete bridging study obligations of 10 to 60 credits. Selection criteria include the average grade of the first cycle study programme, in the field of preschool education (published professional and scientific articles, awards, participation in projects, management of kindergartens) and a competitive examination where the candidate must demonstrate they have broad knowledge in their field of study.
Those who have completed a first cycle programme in an appropriate professional area with a total of 240 credits and have demonstrated proficiency in English are eligible to enrol in the second cycle teacher programme. Candidates who have completed the first cycle study programme in other fields must complete bridging study obligations or an additional year (60 credits). If the number of places is limited, candidates are selected according to their success rate in the previous study programme, their diploma grade and their competitive examination.
Curriculum, level of specialisation and learning outcomes
By the Higher Education Act, the compulsory components of study programmes include a tentative curriculum. The curricula and syllabi of the study programme fall under the autonomy of HEIs. By law, all study programmes must be based on the knowledge and competences of graduates. All study programmes must be accredited by the National Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (SQAA). They must meet the established criteria for accreditation of HEIs and study programmes:
- Formal and substantive conformity with the law
- Professional coherence
- Inclusion of all relevant data
- General objectives and learning outcomes are consistent with the level of the study programme
- International comparability provided
- Programme for regulated professions complies with the relevant EU laws
- Curriculum is in line with the objectives of the programme
- Student workload is translated well into ECTS
- Study units, the proper ratio of classes, seminars, practical classes and other forms of work, the share of practical training, learning plans, and so forth
- Admission requirements and criteria of selection if cap on enrolment
- Appropriate assessment of learning outcomes
- Requirements for progression as specified by the programme
- Provisions for transfer between programmes
- Methods and forms of study correspond to the content-related field of the study programme, and
- Professional title and its abbreviation correspond to the law that establishes professional and academic titles.
While the curricula of the pedagogical study programmes within a faculty of education have a common structure, they differ in syllabi and structure between the different institutions. The curricula of pedagogical study programmes at the largest faculty of education, which is a member of the University of Ljubljana, are divided into four basic groups:
- Compulsory general or basic pedagogical subjects
- Compulsory professional subjects from the following areas:
- Activities of kindergartens
- Primary education
- One or two general schoolsubjects
- Group of optional subjects (general and professional)
- Intensive practical training at first cycle/master's thesis in the second cycle.
General or core pedagogical subjects include:
- Didactics with practical training
- Developmental psychology with practical training
- Foreign language with pedagogical terminology
- ICT in education
- Theory of education
- Pedagogical methodology
- Pedagogical psychology with practical training
- Inclusive education
- Philosophy of education, and
- Sociology of education.
Prospective preschool and generalist teachers take compulsory subjects together with didactic methodology and complete 10-week intensive practical training in a kindergarten or school. Subject specialists take subject content and didactic methodology separately. They have less didactics and also less practical training (6 weeks).
The curriculum of the one-year second cycle programme Teaching at the Faculty of Education of the University of Ljubljana includes general modules (compulsory and elective), professional modules, elective modules and a master's thesis. The compulsory part includes research methodology and applied research in teaching practice.
Intercultural education, the methodology of teaching mixed-level classes and teaching students with learning difficulties are some of the core pedagogical subjects and didactics at the faculties of education. Many subjects with such syllabi are electives.
Management, self-evaluation and quality assurance is an elective module of the second cycle degree study programme. Skills required for management and administrative work in kindergartens or schools can be acquired at the National School of Leadership in Education. School legislation is also part of the teaching certification examination, which candidates for employment must take.
Students at multidisciplinary faculties opt for a pedagogical or non-pedagogical branch of study or module. The second cycle degrees at multidisciplinary faculties take two years to complete (120 credits). The pedagogical branch of study includes pedagogical subjects (60 credits) which are studied in parallel with one or two subjects. Pedagogical subjects include pedagogy and andragogy, pedagogical and developmental psychology, general didactics and subject-specific didactics, and also practical training.
Pedagogical supplementary study programmes
The pedagogical supplementary study programme is aimed at graduates of non-pedagogical areas and can be taken after completion of a first or second cycle study programme. The programme includes pedagogy, theory of education and andragogy, general didactics, practical training, elective subjects (including teaching students with learning difficulties, learning process research and similar) and an applied master's thesis containing a theoretical and practical part.
Academic staff who teach and train prospective preschool teachers and schoolteachers must have the educational qualification to qualify for promotion to a particular title. This is usually a third cycle degree. Lecturers and senior lecturers in first cycle professional study programmes may only hold a second cycle degree in the relevant field. By law, all higher education teachers must have demonstrable pedagogical competences. Special pedagogical qualifications or practical knowledge of the profession are not explicitly required.
Qualifications, evaluation and certificates
Assessment of knowledge, methods and criteria are the basic components of the study programme. Assessment in the first cycle of the pedagogical study programme covers all levels of knowledge. The focus is on the understanding and application of knowledge, didactic aspects and reflection. Traditional assessment and grading methods, mid-year tests, oral and written examinations and seminar papers are used. They are used in addition to project and research work, journals, portfolios, practical assignments and products. Assessment and marking include problem-solving, open-book examinations and presentations. Methods vary and include formative and summative methods.
The marking scale is the same for all HEIs: 1 to 10. Marks 1 to 5 are failing marks and marks 6 to 10 are passing. Marks reflect the level of achievement. The marking criteria are set out in the subject curriculum.
Students can progress to the next year if they earn at least 54 out of 60 credits (CTs). Students can repeat a year or change the study programme once during their studies. To repeat a year they must earn at least 30 credits in that year. To complete their studies, they must earn all credits in the compulsory and elective parts of the study programme. CTs earned at other national or foreign HEIs or recognised credits earned informally are taken into account. The recognition of non-formal education is subject to the relevant rules as specified by the senate of the respective faculty.
The diploma thesis is the final written work in which a student deals with a professional topic approved by the department and mentor. Students apply appropriate methods to prove that they are able to do individual work and problem-solving in their field of study. The diploma thesis can also be a work of art, didactic material or something else related to the branch of study. Students defend their diploma thesis before a panel of judges. The final grade is made up of the mark for the diploma thesis as assessed by the mentor and the oral defence. The criteria for assessing diploma theses are defined by the Senate of the faculty.
Advanced knowledge is expected in second cycle study programmes. There are different forms of assessment: oral and written examinations and seminar papers. Students must fulfil all the requirements of the programme and write a master's seminar paper outlining their master's thesis. A master's thesis represents theoretical and/or empirical research. Students then present and defend their master's thesis before a panel of judges. The final mark is composed of the mentor's mark on the master's thesis and the mark in the oral examination. The Senate of the faculty determines the criteria for the assessment of the master’s theses.
Degrees and professional titles
The Higher Education Act lays down the general conditions for awarding degrees. The Professional Titles and Academic Science and Art Titles Act lays down the general provisions for the composition of professional titles. The study programmes list the documents students receive upon completion of their studies and their professional titles. The HEIs are responsible for developing and approving the programmes, and the SQAA is responsible for accrediting the study programmes. There are no differences between the regions in the requirements and conditions for the recognition of the degrees.
Upon completion of the first cycle of the Preschool Education study programme, graduates receive a degree with the professional title diplomirani vzgojitelj/diplomirana vzgojiteljica (VS).
Upon completion of the first cycle of the Generalist Teacher study programme, graduates receive a degree with the professional title profesor/profesorica (UNI).
Upon completion of the first cycle of the Two-subject Specialist Teacher study programme, graduates receive a degree with the professional title profesor/profesorica (UNI). Graduates of the one-subject study programme Visual Arts Pedagogy are awarded a degree with the professional title profesor/profesorica (UNI).
Upon completion of the second cycle Preschool Educaiton study programme, graduates receive a degree with the professional title magister/magistrica.
Upon completion the second cycle Generalist Teachers study programme, graduates receive a degree with the professional title magister profesor/magistrica profesorica.
Upon completion of the second cycle Subject Specialist Teacher, graduates receive a degree with a professional title magister profesor/magistrica profesorica (one or two subjects).
Upon completion of a pedagogical, pedagogical-andragogical or special education supplementary programme, graduates receive a certificate only.
By law, professional and academic titles and titles of the professional qualification shall not be translated.
Entry into the profession (subject-specific and pedagogical knowledge)
The required educational qualifications are laid down by law:
- Preschool teachers must have at least a first cycle professional qualification in preschool education or a professional magisterij from another field, supplemented by appropriate preschool teacher training
- Teachers of general subjects must have a professional magisterij
- Teachers of technical theoretical subjects must have at least a first cycle educational qualification and a professional magisterij, if they teach in gimnazija
- Teachers of practical subjects and skills must have at least an upper secondary technical qualification
- Mojstri (master craftsmen) who train apprentices in the workplace must have a master of craftsman qualification that includes pedagogical knowledge.
All teachers must have appropriate pedagogical training and have successfully completed the teaching certification examination. The same qualifications are required for teachers of adults. The same level of education and subject knowledge is required for teachers of children with special needs, but they must have relevant knowledge in special education and have successfully completed the teaching certification examination.
Alternative training pathways
In Slovenia, there are no other pathways to obtain the teaching profession than through an appropriate higher education study programme. The law allows exceptions in the following cases:
- If it is not possible to achieve the required level of education in a particular field, other professionals may teach, but they must have relevant accomplishments in their profession (e.g. a teacher of photography, a ballet teacher);
- Foreign guest teachers with lower qualifications may teach or assist in teaching if they meet the requirements for working as a teacher in their country of origin.
If kindergartens or schools cannot find a preschool teacher or teacher with suitable qualifications, they can employ a person who does not meet the qualification requirements, but for a maximum of one year. More often, it is important candidates have relevant subject knowledge, while professional knowledge is acquired during the first year of employment.