Education in Slovenia

Lying in central Europe is Slovenia, a country known for its mountainous terrain and as the land which once made up Yugoslavia. A small country, Slovenia is rather young and hasn’t made a large splash in global discussion yet. Still, it’s a country with classic European sights and environments that are perfect for an adventurous spirit. The country also has a more industrial side. Its society moves forward through the years and is powered by a productive education system. Here are eight facts about education in Slovenia that show what’s beyond the mountains.

Top 8 Facts About Education in Slovenia

  1. Slovenia has three options for secondary education. They are vocational, technical and general programs. Vocational education specializes in skills that go directly towards the workforce and the degree takes approximately two to three years to complete. Technical education degrees take about four years to complete and vary in topic. General education refers to academic pursuits that precede the international baccalaureate degree.
  2. The education system as a whole is split into three levels. The first is basic education, which is a required foundational portion for all Slovenia citizens and lasts from age six to age 15. At the end of the basic level, students must pass a nationwide exam to move into the next tier, secondary education. The secondary level is split into three groups with only two of them actually taking students further in their academic journey. If they chose one of these options—either general or vocational programs—then they can take another exam and, should they pass, partake in higher education, the final level of the system. Depending on the student’s choice they can participate in either vocational college or university.
  3. The educational system is primarily managed by the National Education Institute of Slovenia (NEI). The organization works with the Ministry of Education to efficiently run the schooling network. The NEI’s primary goal is to improve and maintain the quality, results and overall education for the students. The institute hopes to achieve this through the monitoring of various aspects of the schools themselves, from the encouragement of professional development to regimented operational conditions.
  4. The basic public elementary schooling in Slovenia is fully obtainable by all children due to the country’s compulsory education laws. Tuition is free and includes health insurance and medical examinations. Transportation is provided for younger children if they live within four kilometers of the school building. The schools are also required to provide meals for cost, though children from lower-income families can purchase the food at a reduced cost.
  5. Slovenia’s overall number of students in tertiary education—schooling post the high school level—has dropped in recent years. According to the Republic of Slovenia Statistical Office, the 2016-17 academic year presented 79,547 enrolled students. This is a drop of about 1,000 students from the prior year and a drop of nearly 36,000 students in the last decade. These numbers are similar to the 1998-99 academic year, which shows this trend won’t necessarily continue forward; rather, there could be an uptick in the next ten years, should history repeat itself.
  6. As previously mentioned, tertiary education is split between two categories, vocational and academic schooling. The tuition of this level, in both fields of study, is fully paid for native students. Part-time, post-graduate and foreign students have to pay separate tuition fees. Both vocational and academic study offer a variety of financial aid options, though student loans are not among these choices.
  7. Completion of secondary education, or general high school level, is rising in Slovenia. As of 2003, the completion rate itself was at 90.7 percent and that same year showed that 76.8 percent of all adults aged 25 to 64 had completed high school in their lifetime. The secondary education system prepares a student for two paths: the vocational route and the general studies route. As previously mentioned, general studies refer to academic pursuit of higher education, or in other words, university. The vocational route focuses more on practical skills and prepares a student for more labor-intensive work.
  8. The percentage of women in tertiary education has always been high for Slovenia. In the past ten years, female participation in higher education has increased by 16 percent, going from 40 to 56. Comparatively, the percentage of men has increased 13 percent in the same time span, from 20 to 33. As is evident with the numbers, there are more women in higher education than men—which showcases an empowering trend for women in the system.

Slovenia, despite being a smaller country, has a high functioning education system. The compulsory primary education pushes students out the door and offers opportunities in the exploration of knowledge. The split between vocational and academic study encourages both intelligence and industrialization within the country. As education is fully affordable, students are given the best chances possible to succeed in life. If one were to visit Slovenia, they might be more interested in the sights than the society—but one look at their schooling showcases an up-and-coming force in the world which one ought to pay attention to.

– Eleanora Kamerow
Photo: Flickr

Slovenia Poverty Rate

In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, one country that seemed to get overlooked was Slovenia. A Balkan country located in the heart of Central Europe, Slovenia wasn’t regularly mentioned in any newspapers or government hearings, but it, too, has had long-lasting economic issues.

The Slovenia poverty rate skyrocketed in four years, from 11.3 percent in 2008 to 14.5 percent in 2012, according to the World Bank. This number has since hovered around that peak, with the most recent data out of the C.I.A. World Factbook stating that, as of 2015, Slovenia’s poverty rate has remained at 14.3 percent.

Furthermore, Slovenia’s unemployment rate also saw a massive multi-year increase, from 4.38 percent in 2008 to 10.11 percent in 2013, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. World Bank data also shows that Slovenia’s GDP saw steady decreases while their population grew slightly over the same period.

The economic situation in Slovenia, though, has begun to change for the better. While Slovenia’s poverty rate, unemployment rate and the like have worsened since 2008, their trajectories are now turning around, forecasting a positive future for the small European nation.

By focusing on its economy, Slovenia has used export development as a catalyst to improve other societal factors. The Slovenia poverty rate, while currently at 14.3 percent, hasn’t worsened, their unemployment rate has dropped to 8.01 percent of the labor force and their projected GDP growth rate is a respectable 3.1 percent.

What this means is that, while Slovenia has undoubtedly suffered economic hardships over the last decade, there is hope for the future. With Slovenia’s poverty rate stabilizing and with other economic factors seeing marked improvements, Slovenia is on track to make a strong recovery. The next few years could be bright for the country and its people.

John Mirandette

Photo: Flickr

Human Rights in Slovenia
Before the 1991 formation of the official state of Slovenia, a country in central Europe, shifting boarders, names, Habsburg and communist rule pervaded the landscape. At the time of its independence, the country welcomed a multiparty democratic political system and experienced an economic prosperity that attracted hundreds of thousands of migrants to the region. Slovenia is now a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union. In such a young country, human rights are still developing. Below are five facts about human rights in Slovenia:

  1. In 2017 alone, Slovenia committed to accepting 567 asylum-seekers, 124 of whom were from Greece and Italy.
  2. The National Assembly in Slovenia passed the Protection against Discrimination Act in April 2017. In coordination with EU anti-discrimination law, the Act combats discrimination against gender identity and expression, social status and health. The Act also reinforced the Advocate of the Principle of Equality, which is an independent anti-discrimination body for hearing cases and offering assistance to victims of discrimination.
  3. Slovenia recently amended its constitution to include the right to drinking water. Water must be used as a source of drinking water for Slovenes before being used for any other purpose. Water resources are a public good, not a tradable commodity.
  4. Some groups have less access to human rights in Slovenia than others. Discrimination against Roma is an ongoing issue in Slovenia. Many Roma live in inadequate, segregated housing settlements without access to water, sanitation, electricity or public transportation.
  5. Slovenia has the highest recorded number of human rights violations per capita of any European country. The country has a record of 148 human rights violations per million people. Slovenia lost 94 percent of its cases in the European Court of Human Rights. Most of the violations concern the right to trial within a reasonable time and the right to effective legal remedy.

Human rights in Slovenia still require much development, as it is a relatively young country. Fortunately, Slovenia’s short history allows for the easier reformation of social and political systems.

Sophie Nunnally

Hunger in Slovenia
The Slovenian government and other private and public organizations are taking an interesting approach to its hunger problem– through the use of honey bees. While there is no extreme hunger in Slovenia, people still suffer.

According to the World Bank, the depth of hunger in Slovenia is an average of 120 kilocalories per person a day. Any depth of hunger rate below 200 kilocalories is considered troubling. According to the Slovenia Statistical Office, the at-risk-of-poverty rate is 14.5 percent.

Even though these rates are similar to other European nations, the poor in Slovenia have it much worse, because the figures to determine poverty rates is significantly lower than other European nations.

Also, the social stigma attached to poverty and hunger in Slovenia is a major problem. Many people in the country have the perception that the poor are only poor due to laziness. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. In Slovenia, six percent of people say they feel socially excluded for being poor. The official social exclusion rate is 20 percent in Slovenia.

The government of Slovenia is trying to amend this stigma and attack its relationship with hunger. It has recently invested in Slovenia’s beekeeping industry, which it claims is the best in the world.

The Slovenian government has successfully petitioned the U.N. to declare May 20th International Honey Bee Day, and the government will host the World Honey Bee conference the day before. The Slovenian government believes it will bring investors and publicity to Slovenia’s honey industry.

Embrace the World, a private organization, is fighting hunger in Slovenia as well. Volunteers for the organization donated 10,000 kilos of rice and pasta to families in need. The organizer of the program, Zoran Lobado said they choose to keep in mind those that suffer the negative stigma associated with poverty.

Slovenia has a problem with hunger and poverty, but this does not mean things aren’t being amended. If Slovenia and Embrace the World continue to do good work, the quality of living can increase and the desperate need for food can be ceased in Slovenia.

Bruce Edwin Ayres Truax

Photo: Google

Slovenia Refugees
Although small in size and population, Slovenia is a gateway to Central Europe for millions of migrants. Slovenia borders the countries of Croatia, Austria, Hungary and Italy, making it an ideal stomping ground for millions of refugees traveling north. Slovenia is also a member of the European Union (EU), which is idyllic for migrants seeking freedom and access to the western world. These 10 facts about refugees in Slovenia show how dire the situation has become.

  1. The years 2015 and 2016 saw a sizable increase in refugees traveling through Slovenia to reach other countries in the European Union. The total number of immigrants who traveled to Slovenia in 2015 was 15,420. This was an 11 percent increase from the previous year.
  2. Slovenia is a country with moderate poverty rates for the region. Overall, 13.9 percent of citizens live at or below the poverty line. As you move closer to the various border countries, this percentage increases. The shared border with Croatia has a 17.3 percent poverty rate, representing the thousands of refugees crossing over into Slovenia.
  3. October of 2015 saw the largest peak in refugees entering the country, with 66,353 entering the country in that month alone.
  4. As a member of the European Union and the Schengen Area, Slovenia is an ideal state for refugees. Individuals are able to move freely between countries in the Schengen Area.
  5. Syria has consistently been the country represented most with refugees in Slovenia. Forty-five percent of refugees in Slovenia immigrated from Syria.
  6. To date, twelve other countries have contributed police force officials to assist with the refugee crisis in Slovenia.
  7. Medical care is offered at reception and accommodation centers across Slovenia. Refugees are offered preventative physical exams and urgent care. This is all included in the federal budget of Slovenia.
  8. The European Commission provided Slovenia 10.17 million euros to help supply more officials on the border with Croatia and to improve reception centers for refugees.
  9. Every day, there are more than 400 volunteers from nonprofits, humanitarian organizations and other assistance agencies who work at various refugee camps across Slovenia to provide food and care.
  10. By simply stating that they are seeking asylum, refugees are immediately taken care of by government officials and a set of procedures is followed. This includes fingerprinting the individual to deduce whether or not they have requested asylum in a country before. This procedure is internationally known as the Dublin procedure.

A small Balkan country with various minorities, Slovenia is doing all they can to help traveling refugees. These facts about refugees in Slovenia show the lengths that the Slovenian government is going to in order to assist refugees seeking security and freedom. Although the number of migrants has declined with the closure of borders, the Slovenians are still willing to help those seeking a brighter future.

Sophie Casimes

Photo: Flickr

Poverty in Slovenia
After a brief war in 1991, Slovenia earned its independence and subsequently joined the United Nations. This central European nation offers picturesque landscapes, meandering caves and a wealth of history. Despite its relative prosperity, there is significant risk of deprivation and poverty in Slovenia among its most vulnerable.

Assessing At-Risk Indicators

The number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion (AROPE) is a statistic which refers to those materially deprived, at risk of poverty or residing in homes with low labor market involvement. It is a major indicator of the effectiveness of the EU 2020 Strategy on poverty reduction. One of the Europe 2020 objectives is to lift a minimum of 20 million people classified as AROPE out of that category.

In Slovenia, the 2015 AROPE was 19.2 percent versus 20.4 percent in 2014. The early 2000s saw a markedly lower rate of 17.6 percent. In 2015, the aggregate EU AROPE figure was 23.7 percent.

A 2004 article in the Slovenia Times argued this risk statistic carries enormous weight in discussions of poverty in Slovenia. According to Anja Ilc, the author of the piece, “While the level of poverty risk does not represent the number of poor people, it does show how many could become poor if they lost their jobs or fell ill. The group at greatest risk is single parent families.”

Furthermore, cultural beliefs and perceptions about laziness persist among Slovenians. Ilc wrote that “when portraying the true condition objectively, all viewpoints need to be taken into account. When researching poverty levels, a distinguishing factor should be the way people perceive it psychologically.”

Slovenia’s most recent AROPE rate for children, at 2.6 percent, is lower than the other EU member states. Despite this fact, in 2015, 5.8 percent (116,000 Slovenians) faced severe material deprivation while 7.4 percent (114,000 people) exhibited low levels of labor market activity.

Supporting Elderly Populations

According to the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, “Slovenia has consistently demonstrated its commitment to the rights of older persons at the international level.”

However, poverty in Slovenia amongst its senior population, consisting of mostly women and marginalized minorities, is an area of grave concern. According to a 2016 Slovenia Working Report, 17.1 percent of the elderly are at risk for poverty. This number is more than three percent higher than the EU average.

To address this, a 2020 Strategy for Quality Aging, Solidarity and Coexistence of Generations in Slovenia has been implemented.

Despite many advancements, more reforms are needed to bolster human and social capital investments in the country. Moreover, additional data is needed to fully understand the social constructs, psychological elements and perceptual forces which affect poverty.

This includes more research studies and statistical analyses of the population; although such endeavors are difficult given the forces of social exclusion, prejudice and marginalization which prevent some members of the population from being sampled.

In May, the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia is expected to release its 2016 Annual Report, containing new national statistics. Detailed data on income, poverty and social exclusion indicators are also anticipated over the summer. The more accurate the data collected, the better Slovenia will be in enacting an effective plan to extinguish poverty and health-related issues.

JG Federman

Photo: Flickr


Slovenia is a republic nestled near the Adriatic Sea and neighboring Italy, Hungary, Austria and Croatia. It has a population of two million and occupies an area of 7,287 square miles. The nation is known for its idyllic lakes, extensive caves, scenic mountains, iconic architecture and abundant history. Here are five facts about education in Slovenia:

  1. Slovenian PerspectivesIn 2011, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) launched the Better Life Initiative to understand wellbeing within its member countries. It is composed of a report and online index which allows participants to rank their wellbeing across 11 dimensions.The findings of the 2016 Better Life Initiative show that education is the fourth most important topic to Slovenians, behind safety, health and the environment. Results were obtained from a voluntary online sample of 192 nationals.Slovenia has the lowest educational deprivation level among OECD members and its percentage of youth (15-19-year-olds) who are not employed or engaged in education/training activities (3.5 percent) is far below the 7.1 percent OECD average. Additionally, Slovenian students are less likely to repeat grades than those in other countries.The main interests of Slovenian volunteers are education and culture — with 30 percent of formal volunteers (age 15-plus) involved in those sectors. Individuals with high levels of education tend to volunteer.
  2. Primary EducationPrimary education in Slovenia is compulsory under the nation’s constitution and paid for through public funds. It lasts nine years (students start at the age of six) and the school year runs from Sept. 1 to Aug. 31.According to the Slovenian Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport (MoE), in the 2013/2014 school year, there were 780 public schools and four private institutions. The student teacher ratio is reported to be 10.68:1 with a maximum class size of 28 pupils.
  3. Secondary EducationThe upper secondary education system in Slovenia is centralized and students enroll at the age of 15. Students are able to focus on general education, vocational or technical programs of study, which may last from two to five years. The school year runs from Sept. 1 to June 24 and class size ranges from 17-30 students.According to the MoE, there were 132 secondary schools with 91,849 students during the 2007/2008 school year.The 2016 Better Life report states that 85.7 percent of Slovenia’s adult population has completed upper secondary school, which exceeds the OECD average (76.4 percent). In Western Slovenia, 90 percent of the labor force has completed upper secondary education compared to 86.2 percent in the eastern portion of the country.
  4. International PerformanceAccording to the 2015 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), Slovenia outperforms many nations including the United States. The nation also ranks higher than the OECD average on the exam.The 2015 Slovenian scores were 513, 505 and 510 for science, reading and math, respectively, compared to the OECD mean scores of 493, 493 and 490.Slovenian students are also less likely than their peers to skip school prior to the examination. This figure has dropped two percent since the 2012 PISA. In the United States, there was an increase of student truancy on the order of 16 percent since the 2012 PISA.
  5. Tertiary EducationHigher education in Slovenia includes private and public universities, technical colleges, art academies and professional colleges. Learning pathways fall under two general categories: short cycle (two years) vocational education and traditional higher education.According to one MoE report, there are 89 tertiary education institutions with 90,403 students. In 2004, there were 14,888 college graduates and 8,378 students were enrolled in postgraduate studies.With respect to universities, there are four institutions of higher learning: Ljubljana, Maribor, Primorska and Nova Gorica. The international Euro-Mediterranean University (EMUNI) also provides educational opportunities for students. The school year is based on a semester model and runs from October to September.The University of Ljubljana is known as one of the best global universities according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU).

Overall, education in Slovenia continues to improve and students perform well across international benchmarks. However, the country’s higher education system — and vocational training frameworks — could be improved upon. This includes course selectivity, faculty workload rearrangements, research funding and departmental cooperation.

Moreover, the 2016 Slovenia Country Report outlines the diminished labor market returns of certain skills and baccalaureate programs based on intergenerational comparisons.

To address these concerns, and other emerging issues, the European Union has implemented the Europe 2020 strategy. Two key objectives of this initiative are to lower school dropout rates (the target is fewer than 10 percent) and to increase the proportion of higher education attainment amongst 30-34-year-olds by 40 percent.

Within the next few months, Europe 2020 updates are expected to be unveiled by Slovenian government on the Youth Employment Initiative, traineeship system, capacity building, long-term unemployment and other associated projects.

JG Federman

Photo: Flickr