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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Initial education for teachers working in early childhood and school education


9.Teachers and education staff

9.1Initial education for teachers working in early childhood and school education

Last update: 13 June 2022

The higher education institution (HEI) accredited by the Slovenian quality assurance agency for higher education (NAKVIS) implement the initial training programmes for pre-school and school teachers. All programmes have to meet the requirements and cirtiera as specifidby the Criteria for the accreditation and external evaluation of HEIs and study programmes (en). The evaluation of study programmes coverst the composition and content, as well as the concept of the study programme implementation).

The Higher education Act (en) applies the same to all HEIs and fields of studies. The HEIs may plan and develop their activity without any limitation. In theory, all HEIs may provide pedagogical study programmes. They have to develop those programmes and accredit them with the Slovenian quality assurance agency for higher education (NAKVIS). The Criteria for the accreditation and external evaluation of higher education institutions and study programmes (en) apply. The criteria specify the scope of pedagogical training within the study programme. The training has to equal at least 60 ECTS. The pedagogical study programmes have to include pedagogical-psychological knowledges (psychology, pedagogics, didactics, andragogics, methodology of pedagogical research), knowledge in humanities and social sciences (philosophy, sociology, anthropology, etc.), as well as subject or special didactics related to the study of the primary discipline, as well as at least 15 credits of pedagogical practice.

The Ministry of education gives its opinion on the accreditation of pedagogical study programmes. The HEI with accredited pedagogical study programmes may award its graduates the professional titles of pre-school teacher and teacher, namely as specified by teh Professional and academic titles Act (sl).

School laws specify educational qualification required for pre-school teachers and teachers who pursue teachig and other educational work at public kindergartens and schools. Education staff have to have a perfect command of the standard Slovenian language, proper educational qualification as specified by law and other instruments, and they have to pass the professional examination. The law specifies the level of education; the secondary instruments specify the branches of educational qualification (if so specified by law, the level, as well). The minister responsible for education first seeks the opinion of the relevant council of experts and than defines the level based on the education programmes that specify knowledge and skills of providers.

The law specifies further the pedagogical or pedagogic-anagogical training required to pursue the educational work. Teachers at vocational and technical schools have to have the relevant work experience, as well. General educational and pedagogical-andragogic professional requirements apply to teachers in adult education, as well as teachers of children with special needs. The latter have to have the relevant special pedagogical educational qualification. The law specifies the common requirement only: teachers and pre-school teachers have to have the relevant professional knowledge. The law does not specify the content. The HEIs are autonomous to define the content.

HEIs, in particular faculties of education, are primarily responsible for the employability of their graduates. The study programmes of faculties of education include professional content important for pre-school teacher and teacher candidates. In programmes of certain multi-disciplinary faculties students may choose to take the pedagogical-andragogic module (branch) of 60 credits. There are also programmes of pedagogical-andragogic continuous development targeted at post-graduates who have not acquired the relevant knowledge for the teaching profession, yet.

Pre-school teachers and teachers at the primary level of basic school (grades 1 to 6) receive their educational qualification at faculties of education. Subject teachers at basic and upper secondary schools receive their educational qualification at faculties of education or multi-disciplinary HEIs. They all have to have a degree with pedagogical title or a degree in their subject field, and they have to complete the pedagogical-andragogic supplementary study programme within the consecutive system. Teachers of SEN children have a qualification in special needs education or educational qualification in the relevant fields and completed study programme of professional training in special needs education.

Institutions, levels and models of training

The initial education of pre-school, basic school and upper secondary school teachers is carried out by universities or their members, as well as single HEIs. Typically, the study programmes are implemented at two cycles. All second cycle study programmes give access to third cycle study programmes at the same or another HEI.

Models of training

The study programmes at faculties of education are integrated (vocational, general and subject contents are intermingled) or semi-integrated. The study programmes at multi-disciplinary faculties that offers teacher training qualification as well is concurrent (subject and pedagogical contents in separate modules that run concurrently) or consecutive.

All first cycle pedagogical study programmes give access to the second and third cycle study programmes. Traditionally, initial pre-school 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 programme for math and physics teachers at the faculty of mathematics are integrated and take 5 years, as well.

Study programmes for pre-school teachers and teachers at ISCED 1 of basic school are both integrated: professional, general and subject components are inseparably intermingling. Study programmes for teachers at ISCED 2 of basic school and teachers of general subjects at upper secondary schools are concurrent: they can be semi-integrated at the first cycle (hybrid) and modular at the second cycle. In the modular structure of the second cycle study programme, students can study concurrently or consecutively. The standard pedagogical module is comprised of 20 to 40 percent of practical-vocational and theoretical content.

The study is set up to train the basic school and upper secondary school teachers for teaching of two subjects, in particular. Teachers of mathematics, physics, biology and chemistry in gimnazije have to complete a single-subject study programme.

The education and training of teachers of technical and practical subjects in vocational education typically follows the consecutive model. Experts with work experience in a particular field and a first cycle or second cycle degree with relevant subject knowledge have to complete a supplementary pedagogical-andragogic study programme.


Faculties of education primarily train pre-school teachers and generalist teachers. The Faculty of education University of Ljubljana also implements study programmes for specialist teachers of two subjects: math, computer science, technics, chemistry, physics, biology, as well as home economics. Alongside the single-subject study programmes for pre-school teachers and generalist teachers, the faculty implements programmes for fine arts pedagogues, 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 pre-school teachers and generalist teachers, the Faculty of Education University of Maribor trains fine art and music teachers, as well. In addition to pre-school 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, music teachers at one of the faculties of education or at the academy of music. Teachers of art often come from arts academies and receive their pedagogical-andragogic qualification 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.

Study programmes

Candidate pre-school teachers, at faculties of education

The first cycle study programmes for pre-school teachers take 3 years (180 credits); 2 years at the second cycle (120 credits). The first cycle degree already qualifies pre-school teachers for employment. The programme is integrated: theoretical professional and special subject syllabi are inseparable; the professional subject-syllabi outweighs 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 pre-school children and children in the first grade of the basic school, as well as for cooperation with parents, colleagues and other experts. During studies, candidate pre-school teachers learn about new concepts of childhood and education, as well as gain basic theoretical and practical knowledge in particular pre-school activities as specified by the Kindergarten curriculum.

The second cycle programme for candidate pre-school teachers aims at training professionals to develop the pre-school education system, quality, policies and professional and ethical standards. It also involves research in the field of pedagogy and scientific research methodology.

Candidate generalist teachers, at faculties of education

Study programmes for candidate teachers at basic school ISCED 1 take 5 years (300 credits): four years for the first cycle degree and one year for the second cycle degree. Students may study abroad in part. A completed first cycle study programme does not fully qualify graduates to start teaching at basic schools. To take on educational work in the first and second period of basic school candidate 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, wide selection of elective subjects, as well as a compulsory practical training at basic schools (15 credits).

In the second cycle study programmes, students gain knowledge and skills for autonomous teaching of all subjects or subject fields at ISCED 1 of the basic school, as well as for research in pedagogical practice. The study includes: learning about scientific methods of research, open to direct research of practices at basic schools (12 credits).

Candidate subject specialist teachers, at faculties of education

Study programmes for subject specialist and other teachers are also two-subject programmes carried out in combination 3 + 2 and 4 + 1. Together they take 5 years and are worth 300 credits. A part of a course can be taken abroad. A completed first cycle study programme does not prepare students to start teaching the relevant subject or subject fields, for that they need the second cycle degree.

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 fine arts and music. First cycle degree study programmes consist of 25% specialist components (didactics, general subjects, 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 devoted to professional training of subject teachers.

Candidate subject specialist teachers, at multi-disciplinary faculties

The second cycle studies for specialist teachers at multi-disciplinary faculties are two-year one or two-disciplines study programmes. They are worth 120 credits of which 60 to 90 credits for profession specific education including practical training at schools (3 weeks or 6 credits).

Supplementary professional study programmes for pre-school teachers and teachers

Supplementary study programmes mostly last one year (up to 60 credits) and are not degree courses but a professional qualification. They are intended for graduates who need a qualification in education.

A general pedagogical course is intended for basic and upper secondary school teacher candidates whose initial education did not include any pedagogical content. The special needs pedagogical course is intended for those pre-school teachers and teachers who wish to work with special needs children. The supplementary programme in librarianship allows basic and upper secondary school teachers to find employment as school librarians. General teachers can attend supplementary courses for early foreign language education. All teachers can take a supplementary course to teach an additional (third) subject or to work in pre-school education.

Admission requirements

The admission procedure is the same for all students in whatever higher education institution or study programme they enrol (see chapter First cycle programmes).

The common admission criteria are specified by the Higher education Act (en). The following admission criteria apply to candidate students at the Faculty of Education, pre-school education professional programme: final examination (before 1995) general matura or vocational matura examination. The first cycle pedagogical study programmes welcome candidates who had completed 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, candidates with better overall outcome of the (vocational) matura, average marks in years 3 and 4 and in specific relevant subjects, as well as better results of aptitude tests (if relevant) have priority.

Special conditions (learning outcomes in a specific subject, special aptitude, psycho-physiological ability) and criteria for candidate selection in case of a cape are specified in the study programme. The HEIs define the admission requirements already for the purpose of accreditation. A special aptitude test is needed for admission in the study programmes of pre-school education, generalist teachers, fine arts, music, physical education, as well as teachers of SEN children. The special aptitude test is generally worth 60 to 80 credits. The aptitude in music and fine arts, communication skills and physical abilities can be tested.

Admission requirements to second cycle study programmes are specified with the study programme.

Anyone who has completed the first cycle study programme in education, art, humanities or social sciences is eligible to enrol in the master's degree pre-school education programme. Candidates who do not have a degree in pre-school education are required to complete bridging study obligations totalling 10 to 60 credits. Selection criteria include the average grade of the first cycle study programme, in the field of pre-school education (published professional and scientific articles, awards, participating in projects, management of kindergartens ) and a competitive examination where the candidate must prove they have broad knowledge in their field of study.

Anyone who has completed a first cycle programme in an appropriate professional area with 240 credits in total and has proven their knowledge of English is eligible to enroll 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 extra year (60 credits). When enrolment is limited, candidates are selected according to their success rate in the previous study programme, diploma grade and competitive examination.

Curriculum, level of specialisation and learning outcomes

As by Higher education Act (en), the compulsory components of study programmes including a tentative curriculum. Curricula and syllabi of the study programme are under the autonomy of HEIs. In accordance with the law all study programmes must be based on knowledge and competencies of the graduates. All study programmes must be accredited by the National Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (NAKVIS). They have to meet the specified criteria for accreditation of HEIs and study programmes (en):

  • formal and substantive compliance with the law
  • professional consistency
  • all relevant data included
  • general goals and learning outcomes comply with the level of study programme
  • international comparability provided
  • programme for regulated professions complies with the relevant EU laws
  • curriculum corresponds to the goals of the programme
  • student workload is translated well into ECTS
  • defined: study units, proper ratio of classes, seminars, practical classes and other forms of work, share of practical training, learning plans, and so forth
  • defined: admission requirements and criteria of selection if cap on enrolment
  • proper assessment of learning outcomes
  • defined: conditions of progression as specified by the programme
  • defined: provisions for transferring among programmes
  • methods and forms of study meet the content related field of the study programme, and
  • professional title and its abbreviation confirm to law that specifies professional and academic titles.

Study programmes at faculties of education

While the curricula of pedagogical study programmes within one HEI have a common structure, they differ in syllabi and structure between 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 level of basic school
    • one or two general school subjects
  • a group of elective subjects (general and professional)
  • intensive practical training at first cycle/master's thesis at cycle two

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.

Candidate pre-school and generalist teachers take compulsory subjects together with didactic methodology and have 10 weeks of intensive practical training in a kindergarten or school. Subject specialists take subject contents and didactic methodology separately. They have less didactics, as well as 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 comprises: general modules (compulsory and elective), professional modules, elective modules and master's thesis. The compulsory part includes research methodology and applied research of the teaching practice.

Intercultural education, methodology of teaching mixed level classes and teaching students with learning difficulties are some of the core pedagogical subjects and didactics at faculties of education. Many subjects with such syllabi are elective.

Managing, self-evaluation and quality assurance is an elective module of the second cycle degree study programme. Skills needed for managerial and administrative work at kindergartens or schools can be obtained at the National School of Leadership in Education. A part of the teaching certification examination, which candidates for employment must take, is also school legislation.

Pedagogical module at multi-disciplinary faculties

Students who study at multi-disciplinary faculties select a pedagogical or non-pedagogical branch of study or module. Second cycle degrees at multi-disciplinary faculties take two years to complete (120 credits). The pedagogical branch of study includes pedagogical subjects (60 credits) concurrent with studying one or two subjects. Pedagogical subjects include pedagogics and andragogics, pedagogical and developmental psychology, general didactics and subject-specific didactics, and also practical training.

Pedagogical supplementary study programmes

The pedagogical supplementary study programme is intended for graduates of non-pedagogical areas and can be taken after completing a first or second cycle degree. The programme comprises: pedagogics, theory of education and andragogics, 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.

Teacher trainers and educators

Academic staff who teach and train candidate pre-school teachers and teachers have to have the educational qualification one needs to qualify for the promotion to a specific title. Commonly, it is a third cycle degree. Lecturers and senior lecturers at first cycle professional study programmes may have only a second cycle degree in the relevant field. As specified by law, all higher education teachers have to have verifiable pedagogical competences. Special pedagogical qualifications or practical knowledge of the profession is not explicitly required.

Qualifications, evaluation and certificates

Evaluation of knowledge, assessment methods and criteria are the basic components of the study programme. Assessment in the first cycle degree pedagogical study programme incorporates all levels of knowledge. Emphasis 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 tasks and products. Assessment and grading includes problem solving, open book exams and presentations. Methods are different and include formative and summative methods.

The marking scale is common for all HEIs: 1 to 10. Marks 1 to 5 are failing marks and 6 to 10 passing. Marks reflect the level of achievement. The marking criteria apply as defined by the subject curriculum.

Students can advance to the next year if they earn at least 54 out of 60 credits. Students can repeat a year or change to another study programme once during their studies. To repeat a year they need to ear at least 30 credits in that year. To complete their studies they need to collect all credits in compulsory and elective parts of the study programme. CTs earned at other national or foreign HEIs or recognised points earned informally are considered. The recognition of nonformal education is the subject of the relevant rules as specified by the senate of the respective faculty.

The diploma thesis is the final piece of writing in which a student deals with a professional topic approved by the department and mentor. A student uses appropriate methods proving that they are capable of doing individual work and problem solving in their field of study. The diploma thesis can also be an artwork, didactic material or something else connected to the branch of study. A student defends their diploma thesis before a panel of judges. The final grade is composed of the grade of the diploma thesis as assessed by the mentor and the oral defence. The criteria for assessing diploma theses are determined by the Senate of the faculty.

Advanced knowledge is expected in second cycle study programmes. There are various forms of assessment: oral and written exams and seminar papers. Students must complete all the requirements of the programme and write a master's seminar paper in which they outline their master's thesis. A master's thesis presents a conducted theoretical and/or empirical research. After that a student presents and defends their master's thesis before a panel of judges. The final grade is composed from the mentor's grade of the master's thesis and the oral exam. The Senate of the faculty specifies the criteria for the assessment of the master’s theses.

Degrees and professional titles

The Higher Education Act lays down the general conditions pertaining to awarding degrees. The Professional and Academic Titles Act stipulate the general regulations for the composition of professional titles. The study programmes list the documents that students receive after they finish their studies and their professional titles. It is the domain of the HEIs to develop and approve the programmes; it is the domain of the national agency quality assurance (NAKVIS) to accredit the study programmes. There are no differences in requirements and condition for recognising the degrees among the regions.

Upon completion of the first cycle study programme Pre-school Education, graduates are awarded a degree with the professional title diplomirani vzgojitelj/diplomirana vzgojiteljica (VS).

Upon completion of the first cycle study programme Generalist teacher, graduates are awarded a degree with the professional title profesor/profesorica (UNI).

Upon completion of the first cycle two-subject study programme Specialist teacher of two subjects, graduates are awarded a degree with the professional title profesor/profesorica (UNI). Graduates of the one-subject study programme Fine Art Pedagogy are awarded a degree with the professional title profesor/profesorica (UNI).

Upon completion of the second cycle study programme Pre-school Education, graduates are awarded a degree with the professional title magister/magistrica.

Upon completion the second cycle study programme Generalist teacher, graduates are awarded the professional title magister profesor/magistrica profesorica.

Upon completion of the second cycle study programme Subject specialist teacher, graduates are awarded a degree with a professional title magister profesor/magistrica profesorica (one or two subjects).

Upon completion of a pedagogical, pedagogic-andragogic or special teaching supplementary programme, graduates only receive a certificate.

By law, we do not translate the professional and academic titles, as well as titles of the professional qualification.

Entering the profession (subject specific and pedagogical knowledge)

By law, the qualifications of teachers and pre-school teachers:

  • pre-school teachers must have at least a first cycle professional qualification in pre-school education or a professional magisterij from a different field, supplemented with appropriate pre-school teacher training
  • teachers of general subjects must have a professional magisterij
  • teachers of technical theoretical subjects must have at least a first cycle 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 who train apprentices on the job must have a master of craftsman qualification, which 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 needs education and have successfully completed the teaching certification examination.

Alternative training pathways

In Slovenia there are no other pathways to obtain a teaching profession as offered by an appropriate higher education study programme. The law permits exception in the following cases:

  • if it is not possible to obtain the required level of education in a certain field other experts can teach, however, they must have relevant accomplishments in their profession (e.g. teacher of photography, ballet teacher), and
  • foreign guest teachers with lower qualifications can teach or assist in classes if they meet the requirements to work as teachers in their country of origin.

If kindergartens or schools cannot find a pre-school teacher or teacher with appropriate qualifications they can employ an individual who does not meet the qualification requirements, but for one year at the most. More often it is of more importance for candidates to have relevant subject knowledge, while professional knowledge is obtained in the first year of employment.