Other policy developments
In July, the minister responsible for education adopted the Rules amending the Rules on norms of pursuing the activity of preschool education. The rules provide a lower requirement for a counsellor in a kindergarten, and education staff who provide early treatment by additional professional help, communicating in the Slovenian sign language, or pursuing activities with deaf-blind children. The rules also determine in detail the requirements of professional educational qualifications for a diet cook, as well as a lower norm of a class in a modified education programme including children with autistic spectrum disorder (max. four children).
In June, the minister responsible for education adopted the Rules amending the Rules on norms and minimal technical requirements for kindergarten rooms and equipment. The Rules provide, among others, a time extension until 1 September 2028 for deviating from the required norm of play area size of min 3 m2 per child. The minimum norm of the inner play area size during the transitional period is 2 m2 per child and applies to all age groups. The Rules also provide for a building of a kindergarten to have rooms on several floors (before it provided only for one floor about the ground floor), whereby the rooms for children can be on the ground floor or first floor up at most, and the other rooms can be on higher floors. The Rules also provide for the denomination of the central space to multipurpose space, whereby the multipurpose space can be located anywhere within the building of a kindergarten and the kindergarten setting in a building not built exclusively for a kindergarten.
In June, the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption issued an invitation to submit proposals for developing an educational aid for teaching children integrity in kindergartens. The tool should be developed in particular for children of the second age group, for instilling children the integrity and behaving with integrity, helping children identify with such behaviours, and make them aware of the importance such behaviours have for an individual and the whole community.
In June, the Act amending the Organisation and Financing of Education Act was published in the official gazette Uradni list Republike Slovenije. See chapter 14.3.
In April 2023, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia adopted the Child Guarantee Action Plan of the Republic of Slovenia. See chapter 14.2.
In March, the ministry responsible for education advertised traineeship posts in kindergartens for the 2023/2024 year. The advertisement was for 50 traineeship posts for pursuing the educational activities of a preschool teacher assistant, and 30 traineeship posts for pursuing the educational activities of a preschool teacher or counsellor in a kindergarten, school, or institute for education of SEN children and youth. It involved an employment relationship agreement for a traineeship job.
In March, the ministry responsible for education developed a draft rules on early treatment in educational institutes and other providers of education programmes for SEN preschool children. The rules determined in depth the implementation of provisions under the third chapter of the relevant Act. Among others, it provided for the option of helping children with different factors and children with special needs, the paths of cooperation between educational institutions and other providers of the education programmes for SEN preschool children with the early treatment centre, criteria for granting separate types of help, and relevant forms.
In March, the ministry responsible for education made a call for application for co-funding professional training for the 2023/2024 school year. See chapter 14.2.
In February, the minister responsible for education adopted the:
- Rules amending the Rules on the teaching certification examination
- Rules amending the Rules on the selection and co-funding of continuing education and training programmes for education staff, and
another three rules in the field of education in ethnically mixed areas. For all see chapter 14.2.
In January, the Annex to the Collective Agreement for the Education Sector in the Republic of Slovenia was published in the official gazette of the Republic of Slovenia. It introduced an increase in salary for teachers of preschool children – assistants by four salary grades. It also determined the classification of the Senior Councillor and Assistant posts and higher categories of classification for the Assistant VII/”2 in Young Researcher VII/2 posts, as it has been undertaken previously.
Modernisation of preschool education
In December 2022, the minister responsible for education issued a decision to appoint a working group to develop the National programme of education 2023–2033. See chapter 14.2.
In June, the minister responsible for education signed a decision to approve the Analytical hub project. The project runs on the recovery and resilience plan. The purpose of the project is to improve the system of assessing and assuring quality, cultivate the culture of data-driven operations and develop data literacy. The goal of the project is to set up an analytical hub that will connect the network of institutions in their endeavour to assess and assure quality and support data-driven education policymaking. There is €0.6 million in the recovery and resilience plan planned for implementation in the period 2022 to 2026. The project contractor is the ministry responsible for education.
In April, the minister responsible for education signed the decision to approve the Modernisation of education programmes by modernising the key programme documents (kindergarten curriculum, subject curricula, and knowledge catalogues). The project runs on the recovery and resilience plan. The purpose of the project is the modernisation of kindergarten curriculum, basic school and gimnazija subject-curricula, and knowledge catalogues for general subjects in upper-secondary vocational and technical education programmes to include reasonably the digital competences and basic contents of computer science and informatics, and sustainable development competences and financial literacy. In April, the curricular council was appointed to monitor and steer the modernisation. It met for the first time in August. There is a total of roughly €4 m planned for the implementation in the scope of the recovery and resilience plan and the period of 2022 to 2025. The project operator is the National Education Institute Slovenia.
In February, the Council of experts of the Republic of Slovenia for general education adopted the background documents for the modernisation of the kindergarten curriculum. To support the production of the background documents, the ministry responsible for education developed 2020 the “Insight into the challenges of Slovenian education” (“Pogled na izzive slovenske vzgoje in izobraževanja”). It identified key challenges of the education system based on the analysis made by the ministry in the scope of the internal diagnostics and consideration of certain recommendations by the public institutes and school inspectorate. To support the process, the ministry carried out 2021 a cycle of seven technical consultations on future challenges of education, namely on the premise of the document mentioned.
Other policy developments
In December, the minister responsible for education issued a decision to appoint a working group to develop the National programme of education 2023–2033. See chapter 14.2.
In December, the ministry responsible for education issued a public invitation to apply for grants to subsidize fees for the continuous education of education staff in the academic year 2022–2023. See chapter 14.2.
In November, the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia adopted the Act amending the Organisation and Financing of Education Act. It introduced among others the Senior Councillor as the fourth title in the field of education, thereby facilitating the career promotion of education staff. The background for the amendment was the 2018 strike agreement between the ministry responsible for education and the Education, science and culture trade union of Slovenia (SVIZ).
Furthermore, it was determined with the amendment that the previous Preschool teacher assistant title shall be replaced with Teacher of preschool children – assistant teacher.
In November, the ministry responsible for education issued a public invitation to apply for the training of education and leadership staff in education to improve competences in digital literacy, sustainable development, and financial literacy. See chapter 14.5.
In September, the minister responsible for education adopted the Rules amending the Rules on promotion to titles of education staff. It was imposed according to the amendment of Article 105 Organization and Financing of Education Act. The amendment introduced in the system of promotion a preschool teacher – assistant post.
In July, the National assembly adopted the Act on reducing imparity and harmful interference of politics and ensuring observance of rule of law. The act affected the Organisation and Financing of Education Act. The latter specified the composition of the public kindergarten and basic school councils. It will now include three founder representatives, five staff representatives, and three parent representatives, the same as before the 2011 amendment.
In June, the minister responsible for education adopted the Rules on the education of preschool children educators and other professional workers in programmes for preschool children and adapted programmes for preschool children with special needs. It introduced new professional profiles or naming of staff that pursue activities with preschool SEN children: preschool teacher for early intervention, and preschool teacher for the deafblind, among others. It specified also that candidate preschool teachers for SEN children in the adapted programmes for preschool children can have a degree in the second cycle study programme in pedagogy, psychology or social pedagogy if they completed the relevant supplementary education programme in special pedagogy in the scope of 60 ECTS points.
In April, the minister responsible for education adopted Rules amending the Rules on documentation in kindergarten. The Rules specified based on the Act amending the Communicable Diseases Act that public and private kindergartens (part-funded from public funds) refuse to enrol an unvaccinated child if parents cannot provide a paediatrician’s notice about the child's medical condition stating medical reasons for skipping vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella.
In March, the Slovenian government adopted the Decree on the methods for ensuring the rights of persons enjoying temporary protection. It decreed among others that the decreased payment for kindergarten by parents who have a temporary protection status applies under conditions specified by the laws on kindergartens and on rights to public funds under the section that applies to foreigners. Parents with the right to social assistance benefit or to an allowance by law and this decree, enjoy an exemption from payment for the duration of that right.
In March, the minister responsible for education adopted the Rules on teacher education student grants. It specified the procedure, requirements and criteria for grants available to students in study programmes that lead to the qualification specified by law and other rules as required for education staff. The objectives behind awarding grants according to the rules were set in response to the long-term priority and employment needs of educational institutions. Grants would serve as means for encouraging young people to study for professions in education, as well as for boosting the prestige of those professions.
Response to the COVID-19 pandemic
In August, before the start of the school year, the minister responsible for education in cooperation with the National institute of public health issued the recommendations for leadership of educational institutions about what steps to take in case of the incidence of COVID-19 spread. The two-phase measures for responding are foreseen:
- Phase 1: in case of fast spreading SARS-COV-2 within all groups of citizens that would not involve severe illness that required hospitalisation, the key is to take basic hygienic measures, ventilation, self-testing of the sick, and exclusion from the group, self-protective behaviour, promotion of correct implementation of hygienic measures, in particular, learning the correct etiquette for hand and cough hygiene.
- Phase 2: in case of epidemiological situation worsening and fast spreading SARS-COV-2 that would involve severe illness that required hospitalisation, in such a substantial share that without public health measures an overstraining of the health system would take place, alongside consistent basic additional measures will apply: periodic self-testing of persons without symptoms, more intensive cleaning/disinfection, and several other measures with which the providers within given circumstances will increase physical distancing and decrease contacts among participants.
There was a consultative group appointed at the National institute of public health to monitor the situation of SART-CoV-2. The group prepared the document of instructions to the educational institutions on how to act in case of suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection at the institution in the school year 2022/2023. The instructions apply to all institutions for preschool, basic school and upper secondary education, including residential halls for students with special educational needs and upper secondary students. The document includes detailed steps to take by the leadership.
In May, the Slovenian government adopted the Ordinance repealing the Ordinance on the temporary measures for the prevention and control of infectious disease COVID-19. With it, it cancelled all temporary measures for prevention and control for SARS-CoV-2 infections.
In March, the Slovenian government adopted the Ordinance amending the Ordinance on the temporary measures for the prevention and control of infectious disease COVID-19. According to the amendment, the face coverings were no longer required for education staff and other staff that work together with the former in providing the programmes of preschool education in kindergartens, institutes for preschool education of children with special needs, and early childhood education and care families, as well as in professional or lay care of preschool children.
In March, the minister responsible for education adopted the Decision amending the Decision on the emergency measures in personnel administration required for smooth operations of educational institution. It allowed higher education students who had completed upper secondary education programme in preschool education to take on temporary assignment in kindergartens in the 2021/2022 school year. Afterwards, this would count for work experience future teachers need to qualify for professional examination.
In March, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia adopted the Ordinance on the temporary measures for the prevention and control of infectious disease COVID-19. It introduced exemptions from wearing facial coverings in kindergartens, among other. Since March 4, facial coverings are not a condition for kindergarten staff. The condition only applied to outside persons entering kindergartens (parents, suppliers …).
In February, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia adopted the new Ordinance on the temporary measures for the prevention and control of infectious disease COVID-19. It waived off from the recovered/vaccinated/tested rule.
Modernisation of preschool education
The Government of the Republic of Slovenian adopted in April 2021 the Recovery and resilience plan (sl). The Council of EU approved it end of July 2021.
It supports the process initiated in February, namely the process of modernisation of education programmes and modernisation of kindergarten curriculum.
End of March 2021, the Minister responsible for education adopted the Rules amending the Rules on norms and standards of preschool education provision (sl). It provides the underlying basis for a classification of a new job post in kindergartens until September 2021 and employ a technical staff – maintainer of learning technology and/or computer equipment. Kindergartens with several children of Roma background enroled can decide to classify a Roma assistant.
In February 2021, the Ministry responsible for education started the multi-year modernisation of education programmes (sl). By the decision of the Minister, the National education institute Slovenia has to develop background material for the modernisation of education programmes, as well as background material for modernisation of the Kindergarten Curriculum. For more information about the modernisation see subparagraphs Modernisation of basic school education.
In January 2021, the National Assembly adopted the new Kindergarten Act (sl). The new law does away with flaws of current setting that occurred in practice.
The new law seeks to increase the enrolment rate in kindergartens. It reintroduced free kindergarten for the second child attending kindergarten at the same time as the older sibling. It extended the right to a free kindergarten to families of at least three children. The third child (and all the next) now has this right even if none of his or her siblings attend the kindergarten at the same time.
The amended law boosts the institution of childminders at home and marks out the activity of preschool education and the activity of care, as well as other services aimed at preschool children, not of care, but more like animation, organisation of birthday parties, and so forth. It specifies severe sanctions for violating the interdiction, and sets out circumstances for the inspectors responsible for schools to pursue their activities more efficiently.
Other policy developments
In December 2021, the National Assembly adopted the Act amending the Organisation and Financing of Education Act. The amendment related to the objectives in education, personal data processing for setting up and operations of the security national information system for managing schools and school documentation of learners, as well as to the composition of councils of schools and kindergartens. Furthermore, the amendment introduced a new option for promotion to the title Mentor and Counsellor for preschool teachers and preschool. The law laid down additional objectives of education: education with an emphasis on the Slovenian culture and European values, and fostering curiosity, inquisitive spirit, imagination and intuitions, as well as developing independent thinking. It set up a single national information system of the highest standard of data protection and includes among other: enrolment in kindergarten, basic school and upper secondary school, central civil register, mark book, daybook, school’s annual work plan, national school calendar, agreement on school meals, decision, notifications, and school certificates. The councils of kindergarten and school would now include three representatives of a founder, three representatives of staff (five before) and three representatives of parents; in upper secondary school, two representatives of parents (three before) and on representative of students (two before).
In November 2021, the minister responsible for education adopted the Rules on the definition and registration of the preschool education activity and care of preschool children, as well as requirements for child minders and personal supplementary work.
In October 2021, the ministry responsible for education adopted the Action plan to work out the proposal for the installation of the Slovenian sign language in the system of preschool education, basic school education and upper secondary education in the period 2021–2024. It was developed by the working group consisted of representatives of professional community (institutes that provide education programmes adapted to deaf and hard of hearing learners, higher education institution), interest groups, National education institute, and ministry responsible for education. The aim was to address the individual aspects of education of deaf and hard of hearing learners comprehensively: contents of the education programmes as well as mechanisms necessary to support the provision. The action plan included four sets of activities:
- Analysis of the situation and mechanisms of on-going monitoring
- Duties and responsibilities related to education programmes for deaf and hard of hearing learners
- Promotion of learning and teaching of Slovenian sign language
- Planning, coordinating and monitoring of activities.
Under each individual set, it specified the objectives and expected outcomes, as well as type of foreseen activities including indicators, operators, dates or timeframe and funds. Operators have started the activities in 2021 and 2022. There has been a study ongoing on evaluation of the current model of education for deaf learners. The capturing of data on deaf and hard of hearing basic school and upper secondary students has been improved; the existing and new programmes of training for education staff have been carried out. For more information please consult the working group's report.
In September 2021, the minister responsible for education adopted the Rules on allocating state funds to kindergartens for co-funding payment by parents. The Rules specified the allocation process, set up of special ministry’s application “Subvention of payments by parents (SPS)”, and it listed explicitly information and data on persons eligible to co-funding of payments by parents from the state budget.
In July 2021, the Minister responsible for education adopted the Rules amending the Rule on additional professional and physical assistance for children with special needs (sl). It relates to the Act Regulating the Integrated Early Treatment of Preschool Children with Special Need. The provisions related to placement of preschool teachers were deleted, because the new law does not forsee the placement.
In June 2021, the Education, Science and Culture Trade Union of Slovenia signed with the Government of the Republic of Slovenian the Annex to the Collective Agreement for the Education Sector in the Republic of Slovenia (sl). It amended and/or defined the time lag for the salary to be paid out on day 10 of the relevant month at the latest.
Further, it amended the commuting, meal and holiday allowances, daily and off-site allowances, allowance per kilometre covered by a personal vehicle for work, holiday allowance, compensation for upper secondary and higher education students in compulsory practical training, and threshold for acquiring the right to solidary help for members of the representative union. Now, the amount of the meals allowance will be adjusted twice a year, the amount of the separation allowance, daily allowance for business travels within the country, long-service bonuses and solidarity help once a year, and for acquiring the right to long-service bonus one shall also allow for the years of employment with the concessionaires that pursue activities in the public service network.
In May 2021, consulted the ministrieas and the public on the draft new Rules on early treatment in educational institutions and with other providers of preschool education programmes for SEN children (sl). It introduces help and support for children with various factors and children with special needs, cooperation paths for educational institutions and other providers of programmes for children with special needs with an early treatment center, criteria for approving individual forms of help, as well as form sheets required.
In January 2021, one published the Rules on the process and criteria for the award of titles to education staff in the adapted programme for preschool education children and the special education programme for SEN children and youth in social welfare institutions (sl). The Minister responsible for education passed it. The staff in such settings now can be promoted to a title the same as the education staff in mainstream education.
Response to the COVID-19 pandemic
In December 2021, the National Assembly adopted the Act on Additional Measures to Stop Spreading and Mitigate, Control, Recover and Eliminate the Consequences of COVID-19. It allowed the educational institutions to on account of pressing work enter into employment fixed-term agreement without being compelled to make a public announcement about job vacancy, until 31 August 2022.
In October 2021, the minister responsible for education adopted the Decision on the emergency measures in personnel administration required for smooth operations of educational institutions. It allowed kindergartens to cooperate in the school year 2021/2022 on temporary or occasional basis with students of the 1st cycle study programme in preschool education. The temporary assignment can later count for work experience teachers need to sign up for the professional examination.
The Ordinance on the approach to meeting the recovered-vaccinated-tested requirements to contain the spread of SARS-CoV-2 (sl) came into force on September 6. It imposed on the staff in education (higher education, too) a mandatory recovered-vaccinated-tested requirement. To be able to assume work duties and responsibilities the staff can self-test with antigen testing kits at one-week intervals. Employers in education provide funds for self-testing and specify the time and place of self-testing that can be at home or at work. Employers can according to the ordinance act against the employees who do not meet the RVT requirement, namely according to the rules on occupational health and safety, rules on employment relations, and relevant collective agreements. Persons and employees who fail to meet the RVT requirement shall not be allowed to use services and participate or be present during the provision of a service.
On 1 April 2021, the deteriorated epidemiological situation and by the relevant ordinance of the Government (sl) kindergartens closed. They were only allowed to provide the needed care. Kindergartens welcomed back all children on 12 April 2021. The activities in kindergartens have been taking place according to the recommendations by the National institute of public health.
In February 2021, the Minister responsible for education adopted the Rules on the method of funding the protection equipment and room disinfection for providers in education and science (sl). It applies to the state funding. The funding criteria are number of employees and number of children and students as per standard cost of each employee and participant. The period of funding eligible costs of protection equipment takes from 1 March 2021 until the stop of compulsory use of protection equpment and disinfection of rooms for spread prevention of infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
On 25 January 2021, kindergartens opened doors in regions with better epidemiological situation. This meant that all enrolled preschool children could return to kindergarten. On 15 February 2021, all kindergartens in Slovenia reopened. By the Ordinance temporarily prohibiting gatherings of people in educational institutions and universities and independent higher education institutions (sl) as of February 2021, the staff of educational institutions have to get weekly rapid SARS-CoV-2 test.