Modernisation of basic and upper secondary general education (gimnazije)
In February, the ministry responsible for equal opportunities put up for inter-ministerial coordination the draft Resolution on the national programme for equal opportunities of women and men until 2030. This strategic document includes goals and actions, as well as key institutions that will spearhead the policies of equal opportunities for women and men in individual areas of life in the Republic of Slovenia from 2021 to 2040. For the sector of education, the draft document determines this goal and foresees two actions aimed at lowering gender segregation:
- Including the content of equality of women and men in the subject-curricula, learning material and programmes of professional development in education, as well as establishing gender equality during lessons and afterschool activities along with diversity and transversal attributes.
- Promoting non-gender stereotyped choices of education programmes and studies at all levels of education.
In January, the Service of the Republic of Slovenia for digital transformation developed the draft Digital Slovenia 2030 strategy. See chapter 14.5.
Other policy developments
In February, the ministry responsible for education put up for inter-ministerial coordination the draft Act amending the Act on Special Rights of Italian and Hungarian National Communities in Education. The amendment proposed allows for children with special educational needs to be placed in adapted and special education programmes not considering the municipality of the child’s permanent residence. By law now, only children from ethnically mixed areas can be placed in bilingual schools providing adapted and special education programmes. According to the amendment, this option will not be limited, so children with special educational needs whose permanent residence is outside that area could be placed there.
In February, the ministry responsible for education issued a public call for applications for scholarships for students in initial teacher education study programmes for the academic year 2023/2024. See chapter 14.4.
In February, the minister responsible for education adopted the Rules amending the Rules on the teaching certification examination. It introduced the pedagogical practice as working experience suitable for taking the professional examination for trainees, too, in the share of one-third at most of the scope determined for pedagogical practice in education or study programmes; and the organised direct activity aimed to educate in the scope of 55 hours at most for education staff with upper secondary educational qualification and of 80 hours for education staff with short-cycle higher vocational or higher education. Before, it applied only to education staff who had not done traineeship in education but had conducted educational activities in a kindergarten or school. The Rules introduced also the option of complementary taking the professional examination for candidates who had been or will be education staff in a kindergarten or school with the Italian medium of instruction or bilingual kindergarten or school and who had already passed the professional examination according to this Rules but not according to the Act on Special Rights of the Italian and Hungarian National Communities in Education. The amendment gives the national communities a greater guarantee for a higher quality of lessons in their respective language.
In February, the minister responsible for education adopted the Rules amending the Rules on the selection and co-funding of continuing education and training programmes for education staff. The Rules included programmes of public institutes and programmes of higher education institutions among the programmes of career development. The relevant public institutes are those tasked to develop and provide advisory services. The Government of the Republic of Slovenia established them to pursue activities and responsibilities needed for the provision of education. So, the programmes of those institutes are programmes of career development which are organised according to the annual plan of the institutes. The study groups and mentor networks are on the list. Programmes of higher education institutions are programmes for the career development of education staff which are provided and organised by the higher education institutions or public research institutes.
In February, the minister responsible for education adopted three rules for education in ethnically mixed areas:
- Rules on the Italian language proficiency level in kindergartens and schools with Italian medium of instruction
- Rules on Hungarian language proficiency in bilingual kindergartens and schools
- Rules on the national community language level test for education in ethnically mixed areas.
The first two determine requirements for:
Proficiency in Italian or Hungarian language as the medium of instruction which education staff in kindergartens and schools must demonstrate.
Proficiency in Italian or Hungarian language as the languages of national communities which administrative-technical staff must demonstrate in schools and kindergartens.
The third Rules determine requirements and schemes for granting or revoking a public authorisation for organising the exam in Italian or Hungarian language proficiency as mediums of instruction or languages of national communities, as well as the scope, content and method of administering examination for pursuing educational and other activities in kindergartens or schools with Italian medium of instruction or bilingual kindergartens and schools.
In February, the ministry responsible for education issued a draft Act amending the Matura Act. It further elaborates on the right to take matura examination in two parts and the method on how to obtain that right; it further elaborates on the circumstances, too, that would apply as justified for recognising the autumn term as the same as the spring term when enrolling in tertiary education.
In January, the Annex to the Collective Agreement for the Education Sector in the Republic of Slovenia was published in the official gazette Uradni list Republike Slovenije. See chapter 14.1.
Modernisation of basic school and gimnazija education
In December, the minister responsible for education issued a decision to appoint a working group tasked to develop the National programme of education 2023–2033. The working group’s background is the commitment of the coalition to address a complete renovation of the system of education and training as one of the key priorities of the government led by dr. Robert Golob. Various professionals in the field of education became members of the working group following a public call by the ministry. The working group’s target is to develop by the end of 2023 a National programme of education by 2033.
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, and to cultivate the culture of data-driven operations and to develop data literacy. The goal of the project is to set up an analytical hub that will affiliate the network of institutions to assess and assure quality, and support data-driven education policy-making. There is €0.6 million in the recovery and resilience plan planned for the 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)” project. 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 of upper-secondary vocational and technical education to include reasonably the digital competences and basic content of computer science and informatics, and sustainable development competences and financial literacy. In April, one appointed the curricular council to monitor and steer the modernisation. It met for the first time in August 2022. There is a total of roughly €4 m planned for the implementation in the scope of the recovery and resilience plan for 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 developing of the background documents, the ministry responsible for education developed in 2020 the “Insight into the challenges of the 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 in consideration of certain recommendations by the public institutes and school inspectorate. To support the process, the ministry carried out in 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 2022, the minister responsible for education issued a decision to appoint a working group tasked to develop the National programme of education 2023–2033. The working group’s background is the commitment of the coalition to address a complete renovation of the system of education and training as one of the key priorities of the government led by dr. Robert Golob. Various professionals in the field of education became members of the working group following a public call by the ministry. The working group’s target is to develop by the end of 2023 a National programme of education by 2033.
Other policy developments
In December, the minister responsible for education adopted:
- Rules amending the Rules on norms and standards for the implementation of the primary school programme
- Rules amending the Rules on norms and standards for the implementation of educational programmes for children with special needs
- Rules on norms and standards for the implementation of the primary school programme in bilingual primary schools and primary schools with Italian as the language of instruction.
All three Rules determined the amended environment for classifying the accounting-administrative posts. The amendment made provision for schools to classify the Accountant VII/1 or Accountant VII/2 for accounting tasks and Administrative assistant VIZ VII/1 or Administrative secretary VII/2 for administrative tasks.
The Accountant VII/1 and Administrative assistant VII/1 must have a professional bachelor’s degree or equivalent former educational qualification (level 6, sublevel 6/2 as per KLASIUS-SRV). The Accountant VII/2 or Administrative secretary VII/2 must have a master’s degree, specialisation in higher education professional education (former) or higher university education (former) (level 7 as per KLASIUS-SRV).
In December, the ministry responsible issued a public call for applications for grants to subsidise fees for continuous education of education staff in the academic year 2022/2023. The grants are for subsidising education in the amount of 50 per cent of the programme fee. For this, one earmarked €220,000.
In November, the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia adopted the Act amending the Organisation and Financing of Education Act. See chapter 14.1.
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 October, the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia adopted the Intervention Measures in Education Act. It determined that the ice for students in basic and upper secondary education in the school year 2022/2023 would remain the same as it had been in the school year 2021/2022. It determined also that upper secondary and higher education students would pay the same starting fee for residing in student residence halls in the school year 2022/2023 as it had been set for 3 January 2022 onwards until the end of lessons or studies in the year 2021/2022. By doing so, one wanted to avoid the social distress of students and their families.
In September, the minister responsible for education adopted the Rules amending the Rules on promotion to titles of education staff. See chapter 14.1.
In August, the minister responsible for education adopted the Rules amending the School competition co-funding Rules. The amendments made provisions among others for the cost of material and equipment required for the implementation of the experimenting part of the competition to fall under the eligible cost of organising and administrating the selection competitions. As by the Rules, the ministry responsible for education, issued in September 2022 the public call for applications for co-funding selection school competitions in the school years 2022/2023 and 2023/2024. The target of the public call was cofounding school competitions for basic school students in the field of foreign languages and biology; and in upper secondary schools, in the field of foreign language, technology, computer science and informatics, and history in the school years 2022/2023 and 2023/2024. For this, one earmarked €100,000.
In August, the ministry responsible for education issued a draft Rules amending the Outdoor school funding Rules. It specified among other that state budget funds shall be provided for co-funding outdoor school to one generation of basic school students a year or two generations every second year. Before the funds were provided to only one generation per year). With the amendment, the ministry made provisions for schools to be able to reduce the cost of outdoor school. The draft also specified new criteria for state budget funds allocation for co-funding and subsidising outdoor school, and it regulated the payment to education staff to compensate for the imbalanced distribution of working time of teachers imposed with the Collective Agreement for the Education Sector in the Republic of Slovenia.
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 (Article 46). The latter specified the composition of the council of public kindergartens and basic schools. It will now include three founder representatives, five staff representatives, and three parent representatives, the same as before the 2011 amendment. The council of vocational and technical schools, gimnazije in public residential homes for upper secondary student shall now include three founder representatives, five staff representatives, three parent representatives and two student representatives.
In July, the minister responsible for education adopted the Rules on accommodation in residential facilities. It eliminated among other certain administrative barriers to enrolment of extra newcomers in residential homes for upper secondary students. Now, the minister does not have to consent to the enrolment due to higher demand compared to the supply of places for newcomers with the first call for application (before, minister had to consent every single place). It further made provision for the enrolment procedure to start after the enrolment in upper secondary schools ended. In this way, a student actually enrols in the school first and weighs the relevant options for living arrangements. The rules also specifies basic standards of living in a residential homes. This further allows for a clearer differentiation between standard and beyond standard services of the hall.
In July, the National assembly's committee for education, science, sport and youths issued a decision in which it suggested to the ministry responsible for education to use all instruments available to stimulate physical activity during school time (for example during morning and afternoon care, supplementary and remedial lessons in sports, and so forth), and to include in the stimulation teachers as well as students. It suggested also to reintroduce the Healthy lifestyle programme in schools and develop a systemic solution that would lead to better physical activity of learners.
In June, the minister responsible for education adopted the rules specifying the educational qualification of education staff and other staff in education programmes: gimnazija, education programme for residence halls, and basic school. The new rules resulted from the education programme expansions and modernisation that involved the introduction of new optional subjects and a more effective system of learning support to immigrants after they enter the education system. For this, categorisation was required in terms of education staff, and requirements they have to meet. The new rules incorporate education staff according to existing changes of support to children and youth with special educational needs, as well as placement of Slovenian sign language in education.
In June, the ministry responsible for education put in inter-sectoral coordination draft rules on norms and standards in basic school, bilingual basic schools and basic school with Italian medium of instruction, music school, and education programmes for children with special needs.
The amendments among other specified:
- More favourable criteria for setting up the new head teacher assistant post
- More favourable platform for determining the scope of the counsellor classified post
- Reduced normative for school meals’ organisers
- New criteria for classification of accountant post
- Change in educational requirements for pursuing administrative duties, and possibility of setting up new posts, and
- Systematisation of extra lessons of Slovenian or initial lessons of Slovenian for foreign students.
In June, the Council of experts of the Republic of Slovenia for general education adopted the amended special education programme. It introduced increased autonomy of schools when considering programme flexibility – more options for a complete individual progress –, and implementation recommendations for social and care institution. The recommendations relate to placing children and youth in the centres for training, work and care, and specificity of afternoon pedagogical activities.
In May, the minister responsible for education adopted the Order amending the adapted nine-year basic school programme of lower educational standard. Following the decisions of the Council of experts of the Republic of Slovenia for general education, it specified curricula for compulsory subjects, namely for: Slovenian, mathematics, learning about environment, natural and social sciences in the second educational cycle, social and natural sciences in the third educational cycle, and optional subjects: computer science, sports, and conception of fine arts. The use of subject-curricula will start in the 2022/2023 school year.
In May, the ministry responsible for education issued the public call for application for creating a collection of e-books for compulsory reading for school libraries. Its purpose is to introduce e-books in school libraries and thereby allow concurrent reading. With it, it will be possible to complement the school library collection with the access to e-books. The goal is to acquire as complete as possible and balanced collection of titles for compulsory reading in e-format, which the applicants are willing to include within the Biblos distribution platform and lend out at the agreed price for one circulation of one e-book from the collection. The call for application and the upgrade of the Biblos distribution platform for lending out e-books for school libraries is a pilot within the Setting up the model of introducing e-books in school libraries project. The other part of the project is the public procuration – Use of Biblos distribution platform for lending out e-books for compulsory school reading.
In April, the Slovenian national assembly adopted the Student Status Act. Among other, it affected the Scholarship Act. Now, students enrolled for the first time in the programmes of short upper secondary vocational education, upper secondary vocational education, upper secondary technical or other professional education, and upper secondary general education – for which they are exercising the right to scholarship – can qualify for the scholarship regardless of their age (before the eligible candidates had to be first enrolled and of up to and including 22 years of age).
In accordance with amendments to the Gimnazija Act and the Vocational Education Act of July 2019 that specified the part-time studies, the minister responsible for education adopted in April this year the Rules on the call for applications and first enrolment in part-time studies of officially recognised upper secondary education programmes. It specified the procedure of consenting to the scope of a call for first enrolment, procedure of enrolment in part-time studies in officially recongised programes of short upper secondary and upper secondary vocational, technical education, gimnazija, and vocational and matura courses in upper secondary schools, public organisations for adult education, and private educational organisations. It specified also the expression the first enrolment, namely it means the first enrolment of a candidate in the part-time studies of a programme at school; so, well defined when a school can count a candidate in the quota of enrolment places consented by the minister. In May, the minister responsible for education adopted the Instructions on how to adapt the part-time upper secondary education. The instructions include provisions applicable to the educational contract, interest activities in vocational and technical education, compulsory optional contents in general education, and active citizenship.
In March, the Slovenian government adopted the Decree on the methods for ensuring rights of persons enjoying temporary protection. It specified among other the rights of persons under temporary protection to enrol in programmes of short upper secondary and upper secondary vocational education, upper secondary technical and general education, and short-cycle higher vocational education. The decision about the enrolment of candidates without any proof of previous educational qualification is with the relevant school that has to follow the recommendations developed for such cases by the National education institute Slovenia. Persons under temporary protection can enrol in education and study programmes also during or in the course of the school or academic year if the school has available places. If candidates apply to enrol in capped programmes, there can be places added to the call for enrolment. Basic school students under temporary protection have the right to free snack, lunch and transportation to and back from school. Upper secondary students have the right to free snack.
In March, the Council of experts of the Republic of Slovenia for general education adopted the amended education programme for children and youth with emotional and behavioural issues and impediments and recommendation for implementation of the programme. The amendment introduced new approaches to working with SEN children and youth, new forms of support in preventive activities that lead to early detection of issues, continuity of support provided to children, youth and their families, and to the school. Focus being on the holistic treatment of an individual in the form of cooperation of a team of professionals from different fields.
In March, the minister responsible for education adopted the Rules on teacher education student grants. It superseded the previous rules on study grants for employing education staff, namely for regular students in teacher education study programmes. The new rules specified in greater detail the procedure, eligibility and criteria for awarding grants to students in study programmes for educational qualification specified by law for pursuing educational activities of education staff. The rules further specified the purposes and aims of awarding study grants, namely: responding to the long-term priority and employment demands of public educational institutions that provide public service; incentive to study for pedagogical profession, and building up the reputation of a teaching profession.
In January, the minister responsible for education adopted the new Rules on the organization and work methods of commissions for the placement of children with special needs. It specified several processes of placement for preschool children. It was a follow-up consolidation with to the new system law the Act Regulating the Integrated Early Treatment of Preschool Children with Special Needs. The law has been standardising since 2019 the education of preschool children with special educational needs (SEN). The new Rules made provision to omit the implementation of individual elements of the programme for children with behavioural and emotional disorders (placed in the relevant educational institutions) in other educational institutions in the function of additional professional support in overcoming deficits, obstacles and/or disorders. Furthermore, it specified that SEN children could only be placed in institutes for education of SEN children and youth if the professional opinion addressed the disorder for which the institute has been established.
Response to the COVID-19 pandemic
In December, the minister responsible for education adopted the decision to modify the general and vocational matura examination in the school year 2022/2023. It determined modifications of subject examination catalogues, implementation of matura in two consecutive terms, keeping records of electronic mails of general matura candidates, insights in the examination documentation, objection to the general matura results, justified reasons for an additional term for insight in general matura results, return of examination documentation, development of examination slips for oral parts, and responsibilities of supervising teachers.
In November, the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia adopted the act on urgent measures to contain the spread and mitigate the consequences of communicable COVID-19 disease in the field of health. It determined among others that self-testing of basic school students, upper secondary students and higher education students with test HAG for provision of the education programme. The testing takes place at home. Funds for rapid antigen tests are allocated from the budget of the Republic of Slovenia. Individuals have ten free rapid tests available per month.
In October, the minister responsible for education adopted the Decision amending the Decision on emergency measures in personnel administration required for smooth operations of educational institutions. It extended the option for classification of an additional counsellor post and introduced anew the cooperation of teachers with the staff of the public institute CŠOD (Centre for school and extracurricular activities) in providing educational activities, and part-time and occasional work by students.
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, namely 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 May 2022, the minister responsible for education adopted the Decision amending the Decision on educational activities in public educational institutions in the school year 2021/2022. With it, the pursuing of educational activities according to the B model ceased to apply in basic and upper secondary schools. Schools will continue to observe the current epidemiological situation and take actions as recommended by the National institute of public health.
In May, the minister responsible for education adopted the Decision on the emergency measures in personnel administration required for smooth operations of educational institution. It defined as an emergency personnel measure the possibility of classifying additional counsellor post in basic schools, basic schools with adapted education programme, and institutes for education of children and youth with special needs for the 2022/2023 school year.
In March, the minister responsible for education adopted the Decision on the examination dates for final-year upper secondary students in the school year 2021/2022. It introduced an additional date for supplementary and resit examination, for establishing if the requirements for taking matura have been met, and for withdrawing the application.
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 waived the condition for wearing facial coverings for basic school, upper secondary, higher education students and staff for the duration of implementing the education programme. The condition still applies for participants in practical lessons and work-based clinical training.
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 the condition of recovered/vaccinated/tested proof in education, as well as doing self-tests in schools both for staff and students.
In January, the minister responsible for education adopted Decision on winter term examination board composition 2021/2022 school year. It specified the amendment to the oral exam boards in upper secondary schools in the 2021/2022 school year. The school exam board could now not include additional member alongside the president and examiner. The examiner could in exceptional circumstances and because of quarantine or self-isolation participate in examination board online not necessarily face-to-face.
In January, the minister responsible for education adopted the Decision on measures for uninterrupted educational activities in basic schools in the school year 2021/2022. It specified the assessment of knowledge in basic schools, basic schools with adapted programme and educational institutes for children and youth with special educational needs until the end of the 2021/2022 school year. Among other, it specified lesser number of marks required for individual subjects and that marks should not be obtained with written exams mainly. It was premise, that the knowledge of students in all subjects should be marked throughout the school year. Students, who because of absence in the first marking period had not received a single mark, could receive missing marks until the end of lessons in the 2021/2022 school year.
Modsernisation of basic and upper secondary general education (gimnazije)
The Government of the Republic of Slovenian adopted in April 2021 the Recovery and resilliation plan (sl). The Council of EU approved it end of July 2021. It includes the process initiated in February, namely the process of modernisation of education programmes and modernisation of the kindergarten curriculum.
The Ministry responsible for education started in February 2021 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 in basic and upper secondary general education, background material for modernisation of knowledge catalogues for general education subjects in upper secondary vocation and technical education, and short upper secondary vocational education, as well as background material for modernisation of the Kindergarten Curriculum.
The Institute has to relate the background material to the current Analysis of subject-curricula in basic school and upper secondary general education, the findings of the pilots carried out and development projects and activities, as well as concepts developed in parallel.
The process of developing the background material has to comply with the strategic goals and policies of the national recovery plan that seeks to improve, in particular, the digital competences and sustainable development competences in basic and upper secondary general education, as well as other important strategic development documents of the Republic of Slovenia.
Other policy developments
In December 2021, the ministry responsible for education consulted the public on the Rules on additional professional and physical assistance for children with special needs. It established the right to an interpreter in Slovenian sign language for deaf and deafblind learners if it was so stated in their the placement order.
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 secured national information system for administering schools and school documentation of learners, as well as to the composition of councils of schools and kindergartens.
The law laid down additional objectives of education: education with the 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 included 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 will 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 adopted:
- Rules amending the Rules on norms and standards for the implementation of educational programmes in secondary education
- Rules amending the Rules on norms and standards in secondary schools employing Italian as a language of instruction
- Rules amending the Rules on norms and standards in bilingual secondary schools
- Rules amending the Rules on methods for funding upper secondary education programmes
The amendments were made as follow-up to the amendments of upper secondary education programmes “aktivno državljanstvo” (active citizenship) and “Interdisciplinarni tematski sklop” (interdisciplinary theme set). Teachers of active citizenship could have their teaching load decreased proportionally. Schools that provide the interdisciplinary theme set could form additional groups of the interdisciplinary set. By the norm that applied to basic schools, one introduced a new job post for cooks and/or dietary cooks in the upper secondary schools, namely the need for preparing meals according to the medically indicated diets (allergies, hypersensitivity to food, metabolism disorders, and other chronic illnesses) has been ever-present. The amendments to the rules introduced certain changes in educational requirements for employing cooks and technical staff.
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 is to address the individual aspects of education of deaf and hard of hearing learners comprehensively: the contents of the education programmes as well as mechanisms necessary to support the provision. The action plan includes 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 already 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 read the report by the working group.
In October 2021, the National Assembly adopted the Act amending the Organisation and financing of education Act. The amendments related to operations and status of school funds. School funds could now be allocated for participation of children, basic school and upper secondary students from socially less advantaged backgrounds in activities relevant to the provision of an officially recognised programme. These activities could not be covered in full with public funds if this would stand for equal opportunities. The beneficiary for up to 0.3 % of donations by individual residents (part dedicated under annual personal income tax) could be the school fund and/or kindergarten fund.
In September 2021, the minister responsible for education issued a public invitation to submit applications for co-funding of selective and interest school competitions in the 2021/2022, 2022/2023 and 2023/2024 school years. Because of leftover funds, it issued a second invitation in January 2022. In both invitations, there have been 20 interest competitions and 19 selection competitions (11 for basic schools and 8 for upper secondary schools) selected.
The ministry responsible for infrastructure modernised according to the Act amending the Road transport Act (sl) as of 1 September 2021 the system of subsidised tickets for upper secondary and higher education students, as well adult education learners. It introduced the subsidised ticket for integrated public passenger transport. The ticket at a common price of EUR25 for one month and/or EUR200 for the whole year shall allow students to travel unlimitedly on the public transport intercity routes in Slovenia. That means between not only the place of residence and place of education, but on routes all over the country.
In July, the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia adopted the amendment to the Organisation and Financing of Education Act (en). The amendment introduces a 100 percent funding of the compulsory programme and 85 percent funding of the extended programme, namely supplementary lessons, after-school classes, morning care, and interest activities, in the private basic schools. It laid down eligibility criteria for public funding. Providers have to be on the relevant register, enrolment requirements have to allow access to basic school and upper secondary students without discrimination on the ground of nationality, race, gender, language, religion, political and other affiliation, birth, education, social status, disability or any other personal circumstance. Schools have to have at least 80 percent of teachers needed to implement the programme on staff.
The Minister responsible for education adopted in July 2021 the Rules amending the Rules on the matura for candidates with special needs (sl). The National committee for matura, matura testing committees for mathematics, and representatives of the association Društvo Bravo reached an agreement on the use of a simple calculator while taking the math exam – examination sheet 1 in general matura. Such aid is otherwise not allowed during the exam according to the Subject catalogue for general matura mathematics 2021.
Rules amending the Rules on the organisation and reimbursement of transportation costs for children and young people with special needs (sl) introduced amendments to provision of transportation of disabled children. In the past, head teachers of upper secondary schools had difficulties in finding the transporter with an adapted vehicle suitable for the transportation of students with moderate to severe physical disability. The physical disability of certain students is such that the students can move from a wheelchair into a vehicle on their own despite their disability in circumstances of domestic or organised transport and vice versa. If parents can drive a student in this way than there is no need to a different arrangement in school.
In July 2021, the Ministry responsible for education consulted the public on the following rules and relevant preambles to amendments:
- Rules on norms and standards of implanting education programmes and the education programme for students with emotional and behavioural disorders in upper secondary education (sl)
- Rules on norms and standards in upper secondary schools with Italian medium of instruction (sl)
- Rules on norms and standards in the bilingual upper secondary school (sl), and
- Rules amending the Rules on methods for funding upper secondary education programmes (sl).
The majority of proposed amendments related to increasing the counselling staff, librarian, and organiser of practical training at work, as well as accounting, administrative and technical staff. The draft rules introduce a new job post of a cook or dietary cook in upper secondary schools, as well.
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 (Annex to the Collective Agreement for the Education Sector in the Republic of Slovenia). It amended and/or stipulated the time lag for the salary, namely now it will be paid out on the day 10 of the relevant month at the latest. Further, it amended the commuting, meal and holiday allowances, amount of daily and off-site allowances, allowance per kilometre covered by a personal vehicle for work, holiday allowance, allowance for meals, 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. The amount of the allowance for meals 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 the years of service taken into account when acquiring the right to long-service bonus one shall also take into account years of service at concessionaires that pursue activities in the public service network.
In March 2021, the Minister responsible for education adopted
- Rules amending the rules on norms and standards of implementing the basic school programme (sl)
- Rules on norms and standards of implementing the education programmes for SEN children (sl), and
- Rules on norms and standards of implementing the education programme in bilingual basic schools and basic schools with Italian medium of instruction (sl). The latter was further amended in July 2021.
The amendments will started with the school year 2021/2022.
The amendments allow for a classification of further job posts for computer-organiser of information activities, so basic schools will be able to assure quality and efficient realisation of goals in the circumstances of distance learning, as well. Basic schools can now classify and employ Roma assistants who have been since over 10 years an important link among Roma children, their parents and education staff within the educational institutions. Basic schools and institutes that provide adapted and/or special education programme for SEN children can now the same as mainstream schools classify a job post for an assistant staff to support the Roma students.
The rules introduced a requirement of a higher level of educational qualification for accountants. They now have to have at least a first cycle higher education qualification or equivalent. The rules on norms in bilingual basic schools and basic schools with Italian medium of instruction on the other hand lower the standard for classifying an accountant.
The rules introduced, also, a new standard for a cook preparing meals in a basic school as it includes the preparation of medically indicated foods prescribed by a doctor. Now, schools can employ cooks on different job posts (cook IV, dietary cook IV, cook V and dietary cook V) according to the level of vocational and/or technical educational qualification and competences in preparing diet foods.
In May 2021, the Ministry responsible for education adopted the Funding of school competitions Rules (sl). The competent Ministry consulted other ministries and the public on the new Rules in February 2021. It specifies the requirements, selection procedure, funding, as well as eligible costs for cofunding school knowledge competitions and school talent and skills competitions, as well as competitions aimed to popularise knowledge in basic and upper secondary education. The Rules further specify the method for limiting the number of golden and silver award certificates, selection procedure, as well as eligible costs of international competitions organised in the Republic of Slovenia.
In March 2021, the Minister responsible for education adopted the Rules amending the Basic school documentation Rules (sl) after it consulted other ministeries on it in February 2021. It relates to the coordination of the Act on the Intervention for Children and Youth with Emotional and Behavioural disorders in Education. A student’s personal portfolio includes the report of the mobile team, other relevant reports, as well as diagnostics. This portfolio has to accompany the student in case the students transfers to another school. In this way, one secures the continuity of support and understanding of the child’s difficulties.
In March 2021, the Minister responsible for education adopted the Rules amending the Upper secondary school calendar Rules (sl). It will apply from the school year 2021/2022. It introduces some changes to dates (exams and end of school), does away with mismatch with the relevant laws on annual work plan. The names of statistical regions will be updated and start dates for individual holidays amended, that is no-school days (public holidays). It also does away with the mismatch with the Upper secondary school documentation
In January 2021, the Minister responsible for education approved the amendments: - Rules on norms of implementing education programmes and education programme for students with emotional and behavioural disorders in upper secondary education (sl), - Rules amending the Rules on norms and standards in upper secondary schools with Italian medium of instruction (sl) - Rules amending the Rules on norms and standards in the bilingual upper secondary school (sl).
The amendments allow for eventual extra reduction in instruction time in view of the organisation to date for a teacher who is responsible to organise information activities and has proper competences.
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. It specifies the procedure and requirements for the award of the relevant education staff title. The Rules gave the staff in social welfare institutions now can be promoted to titles the same as 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 specified that in case of the pandemic situation becoming worse, the decision to revert to distant learning for a specific time should be the decision of a head-teacher in consultation with the ministry responsible for education and the National institute of public health. An educational institution would have the opportunity to enter into agreement of employment for urgent duties and for a fixed term without the requirement to made a public announcement about the vacancy, until 31 August 2022.
In December 2021, the ministry responsible for education adopted the General and vocational Matura adjustment in the school year 2021/2022 Decision. It specified the amendment to the subject examination catalogues, implementation of matura in two consecutive terms, keeping record of e-mails of general matura candidates, insight in the examination documentation, appeal, justified reasons for an additional date for insight in general matura, return of examination documentation, nomination and composition of the school examination board, terms, development of test sheets for oral exams, organisation and notification of candidates in written exams, dates of oral exams and written exams, preparation of candidates for written exams, and implementation of oral exams.
In October 2021, the minister responsible for education adopted Decision on the emergency measures in personnel administration required for smooth operations of educational institutions. It specified that in the 2021/2022 school year, the workload of teachers in the centre for school and extracurricular activities (Center šolskih in obšolskih dejavnosti – CŠOD) could be carried out by staff of CŠOD if they fulfil the requirements for education staff. Students in the second cycle study programme for teachers could cooperate under the supervision of a mentor in an educational institution on temporary or occasional basis. This would count for work experience required for them to sign up for a professional examination. In December, the decision was amended to allow employment of counselling staff in basic school, basic schools with an adapted programme or educational institutes for children and youth with special educational needs.
In October 2021, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia the Ordinance amending the Ordinance on the method of meeting the condition of morbidity, vaccination and testing to curb the spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus. The amendment specified among other that the frequency of screening should be increased for all staff to every 48 hours. Additionally, the amendments introduced self-testing for all students of basic school, upper secondary schools and tertiary education, and also for participating in sports programmes, sports recreational activities and extracurricular activities.
In September 2021, the ministry responsible for education adopted the Decision on the emergency measures in personnel administration required for smooth operations of educational institutions. The decision made provision for educational institutions for children and youth with special educational needs in the 2021/2022 school year to provide, if all other possibilities to enter into employment agreement have been exploited, an interpreter of the Slovenian sign language for deaf and hard of hearing students who had been placed in programmes for children with special educational needs.
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 self-testing on the students in grades 7, 8 and 9 and upper secondary students, adult education learners, and higher education students. Self-testing is imposed on children and young people enrolled in institutions for education and training for SEN children (institutions for children with emotional and behavioural disorders), and students at third to sixth level of special education programmes unless objective reasons exist against it. Basic school and upper secondary students, adult education learners and higher education students self-test with antigen testing kits at one-week intervals. They receive free test kits at the pharmacist’s. The antigen testing kits shall be state funded.
The ordinance imposed on education staff and other staff at all levels of education the recovered-vaccinated-tested requirement. The results of antigen self-testing kits taken at one-week intervals apply, as well. Employers in education provide funds for self-testing and specify the time and place of self-testing, it 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 respective collective agreements. Persons and employees who fail to meet the RVT requirement shall not be allowed to used services and participate or be present during the provision of the service.
By the Decision on educational activities in public educational institutions in the school year 2021/2022 (sl) the new school year started in basic schools and upper secondary schools according to the model B according to the models and recommendations in circumstance of COVID-19 infectious disease (sl). Educational institutions have to account for the current epidemiological situation and pursue the educational activities as recommended by National institute of public health.
By the Distance teaching decision (sl) the distance teaching and learning in basic and upper secondary schools will take place if: Temporary restriction or prohibition of crowding in educational institutions, organisation of educational activities adjusted to epidemiological restrictions (alternate lessons etc.), and the competent inspectorate decides that the institution does not meet the defined restrictions to contain the spread of COVID-19 or quarantining of individual classes.
In March and April 2021, the Minister responsible for education adopted the Decision on the general and vocational matura adjustment in the school year 2020/2021 (sl). It specified adjustments to the subject examination catalogues, assessment, and implementation of matura in two consecutive exam terms, keeping records of electronic addresses of general matura candidates, access to examination documentation, complaint, return of examination documentation, nomination and membership of school examination committee, dates, development of oral exam sheets, arranging and informing candidates of written exams, dates of oral exams and presentations, duties and responsibilities of the invigilating teachers, arrangement of the examination room, preparing candidates for the oral exam, oral exam execution, and execution of the exam in the fourth subject of the vocational matura.
On 1 April 2021, the deteriorated epidemiological situation and by the relevant ordinance of the Government (sl) all basic and upper secondary schools closed. They welcomed back basic schoolchildren of all classes and upper secondary students in final years (as to the 4- or 3-year programme). Other upper secondary students returned to school according to the hybrid model: half of classes alternate at one-week intervals between learning in school and distance learning. On 10 May 2021, all upper secondary students returned to schools. Hybrid learning was discontinued.
On 8 March 2021 and in accordance with the Ordinance on the temporary prohibition of assembly in educational institutions and universities (sl), the upper secondary schools opened their doors to the remaining students still taking distance lessons. The students returned to school to sit their lessons according to the adapted model C. This means that students alternatively go to school for one week and stay at home and take distance lessons the next. In this way, only half of students or classes are present at school. Present at all time at school for all lessons are final-year uppers secondary students and all students in short upper secondary vocational education.
On 15 February 2021, all basic schools reopened their doors for students of all grades. Final-year students in upper secondary education and all in short upper secondary vocational education, too, returned to school. According to the Ordinance on the temporary prohibition of assembly in educational institutions and universities (sl) as of February 2021, the staff of educational institutions have to get weekly rapid SARS-CoV-2 tests.