All kindergartens and schools have in-house counselling services in place. School counsellors are psychologists, social pedagogues, education specialists, social workers, special and rehabilitation pedagogues, as well as inclusive pedagogues. Their main responsibility is to participate and take on comprehensively the educational, psychological and social challenges of children in kindergartens or schools. They assist and cooperate with all stakeholders of the educational process, parents and, if necessary, with relevant external institutions. They assist individuals and groups in kindergartens or schools in ensuring optimal development of all children, regardless of their personal circumstances or the social-economic or cultural background.
Definition of target groups
The rules specify groups of children and students eligible for assistance or special measures in view of their personal, socio-economic or cultural backgrounds:
- Members of the Italian and Hungarian national communities have the right to education in their mother tongue and provision of education in ethnically mixed areas. Rights are specified in detail by the relevant act on the special rights of members of the Italian and Hungarian national communities (sl).
- Members of the Roma community are specified as a special group with special rights defined by the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia. The special rights are specified by the Roma Community in the Republic of Slovenia Act (sl) and, in education, by the Kindergarten Act (en .doc) and Basic school Act (sl).
- Migrants (foreigners): as defined by the Strategy to include children and students migrants in education and training 2008 (sl .doc), the migrant students may be divided into several groups:
- former migrants with Slovenian citizenship
- persons without Slovenian citizenship but with permanent or temporary residence permit
- asylum seekers and persons under international protection
- citizens of EU member states
- children of Slovenian workers abroad or emigrants (with or without Slovenian citizenship) who returned to Slovenia
Children of foreign citizens who reside in Slovenia have the right to basic and upper secondary education under the same conditions as their peers of Slovenian citizenship. The same applies to citizens of other EU member countries, Slovenians without Slovenian citizenship, and refugees.
The principle of reciprocity applies for other foreign citizens. The law specifies the right of access to Slovenian education system for migrant students on:
- organisation and financing of education (en)
- basic school education (en)
- gimnazije (en)
- vocational and technical education (en)
- temporary protection of displaced persons (en .doc)
- foreigners (sl)
- international protection (en .doc), as well as other implementing instruments.
- Students with learning difficulties: provisions of the Basic School Act (sl) specify the right these children have to an adapted instruction; without adapted methods and forms of class work, these students struggle to attain standards of knowledge.
- Children in hospital care may attend preschool and basic school education in a hospital as specified by Kindergarten Act (en .doc) and Basic school Act (sl).
- Disadvantaged children in line with education objectives specified by the Organization and financing of education Act (en) receive support and assistance provided by kindergartens or schools.
Specific support measures
Members of the Italian and Hungarian national communities
- Language of instruction at kindergartens and schools for members of the Italian national community residing in ethnically mixed areas in Slovenian Istria is Italian. Slovenian language is a school subject.
- In Prekmurje, where alongside majority Slovenian population live members of the Hungarian ethnic community, the instruction in kindergartens and schools is provided parallel in Slovenian and Hungarian languages (bilingual school).
- Education programmes are adapted (timetables, subject-curricula, knowledge catalogues).
- Schools issue bilingual certificates and other documents.
- Two preschool teachers attend to a kindegarten group 6 hours per day, concurrently.
- In view of the adapted timetable (additional subject), weekly workload of students may be extended by two hours compared to mainstream schools.
- At basic and upper bilingual secondary schools, the organisation of classes and groups is subject to more favourable norms and standards compared to mainstream schools.
- In the first three grades of bilingual basic schools, two teachers are present at all times, one speaking Slovenian and the other Hungarian.
Members of the Roma community
- The education of Roma children is specified by the strategy of 2004, amended in 2011 (sl .pdf).
- The appendix to kindergarten curriculum (en .doc) on how to work with Roma children and the instructions of implementation of the basic school programme for Roma children were adopted.
- Roma children are integrated in kindergartens three ways: majority is placed in regular classes; kindergartens may organise a group of only Roma children or “Roma” education units may be arranged in settlements of Roma communities.
- Child-adult ratio in kindergarten groups including Roma children is more favourable (age group 1– 4 children per 1 adult, age group 2– 7 children per 1 adult).
- Roma culture (sl .pdf) is one of the optional subjects in the basic school.
- In basic schools, norms and standards to organise a class with at least three Roma students are more favourable than those for regular classes (max. 21 students).
- In Year 1 of basic school, two teachers stay in a class to deliver lessons for a longer time.
- Basic schools may employ an additional teacher or school counsellor to offer Roma children learning and other assistance; schools with more than 45 Roma students may employ two extra education staff.
- Roma assistants are joining the kindergarten and school staff in a special project. The assistants are commonly of Roma descent, they help children to overcome mental and language barriers, as well as support communication between for Roma community and kindergartens or schools
Students with learning difficulties
- Basic schools adapt methods and forms of teaching to individual students; students may take remedial lessons and other forms of individual or group support.
- The council of experts for general education adopted in 2008 the teaching concept “Learning difficulties in basic schools”.
- Based on the Strategy for the integration of migrant children into the education system (2007), the Guidelines for the education of migrant children were adopted in 2009 and amended in 2011). The document defines strategies, adjustments and methods of cooperation and integration of migrant children and their parents in view of assisting kindergartens and schools in planning the education work with children foreigners.
- In pre-school, primary, lower secondary, upper secondary and higher education, refugees have equal status to Slovenian citizens.
- Teachers in kindergartens implement activities according to relevant curriculum to improve speaking competences of children whose mother tongue is not Slovenian.
- Schools organise classes or a course of Slovenian language for students with mother tongue other than Slovenian and migrant students, namely at the time of inclusion.
- In agreement with parents, basic schools may adapt teaching methods, dates of knowledge assessment and number of grades to the needs of migrant studentsTeachers may assess the knowledge in terms of the student's progress. The measures of adjustments apply for two school years. At the end of the school year in which a pupil was first enrolled in basic school in the Republic of Slovenia, he or she may progress to a higher grade even if they did not receive final marks in all subjects.
- In upper secondary education, the subject-curriculum of Slovenian language course for foreign students was adopted, as well as the rules on the organisation and implementation of the intensive course of Slovenian (sl .doc) and additional lessons of Slovenian for upper secondary students of whom home language is not Slovenian or who had not completed basic education in the Republic of Slovenia.
- Students who seek asylum are entitled to a free school meal and they may borrow textbooks from the textbook school fund free of charge.
- For several years now and in agreement with the country of origin, the Ministry of education has been supporting the provision of basic school remedial classes in the respective home tongue and culture for children residing in Slovenia whose mother tongue is not Slovenian.
- The Ministry of Internal Affairs launched a web portal with information for foreign nationals to learn about life and work in Slovenia and all other information about free courses of Slovenian language and Slovenian history, culture and constitutional arrangement for the third country nationals.
- Migrant children have support provided also by associations and other non-governmental organizations: For example the Slovene Philanthropy that set up two programmes for migrants: programme of helping and supporting to facilitate the integration and the programme Young migrants. The programmes provide psychosocial support, help in integrations, advocacy, foster care for underage unaccompanied children, and other.
Children in hospital care
- Education and lessons in hospitals are provided in smaller groups or individually.
- In hospital classes of pre-school education, the education staff implements the curriculum of mainstream kindergartens.
- Basic school education programme in hospital school classes is extended to include supportive-relaxation or therapeutic activities that help prevent the negative consequences of hospitalization and enable children to better cope with the disease during their stay in hospital.
- Education staff in hospital classes co-operate with doctors and other medical staff as well as parents and respective kindergarten or school.
- Teachers of hospital classes give to the respective school a pedagogical report and give recommendations on how to pursue educational work after discharge from hospital.
- In agreement with the student’s principal school and individual plan, the hospital organises and provides individual learning support to students, as well as other forms of education and counselling.
- Education in hospital classes is organised according to the Concept of education of students in hospital care (sl .pdf) that was approved by the Council of experts of the Republic of Slovenia for general education in 2013.
Children from lower socio-economic background
- Children whose parents submit statement of social vulnerability of the family, issued by social work centre, have priority in admission to kindergartens.
- Counselling service at a kindergarten or school assists in identifying and providing possible support and assistance to the family of the child or student (e.g. assistance in locating scholarships, resolving financial issues, organizing learning space at a school, providing school textbooks and learning aids, organizing and coordinating additional assistance to children whose parents are unable to provide necessary support, etc.).
- Schools may organise individual or group assistance.
- A kindergarten and a school co-operate with the competent social work centre.