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