About the Education System of Slovenia

Education System of Slovenia

There are three levels of Slovenian education: basic, secondary and higher education. Applicants have a large set of options. They can decide, at which stage to complete their education and how to continue it depending on career plans or circumstances. The education system in Slovenia is designed to produce specialists with a decent knowledge base, at whatever level they decide to complete their studies. Basic school is the first stage in the Slovenian system of education.

Basic School

According to the legislation of the Republic of Slovenia, all children must necessarily receive basic general education that is to finish a basic school (in Slovene: osnovna šola). Training is free for both Slovenian citizens and foreign children.

Studying at a basic school lasts 9 years at the age from 6 to 15 years. At the end of the 6th and 9th grades, schoolchildren have to pass the National Knowledge Assessment Test (in Slovene: Nacionalno preverjanje znanja). Based on the received assessment result and combined with the overall performance, a 9th-grade pupil is given a permission to continue his/her education. 

Secondary Education

Schoolchildren, who graduated from basic schools, can choose what type of secondary education they want to receive depending on their basic school academic performance, career aspirations and plans. In Slovenia, there are 4 types of secondary education:

1) Minimum Vocational Education

If a pupil has only 7 years of basic school, he/she can receive a minimum vocational education, which is aimed at preparing children for the mastery of future profession. Training on such a programme lasts 2 years and ends with a final examination, according to which children can continue studying at a vocational school.

2) Secondary Vocational Education

Secondary vocational education (in Slovene: Srednje poklicno izobraževanje, SPI) is available for students who have completed a basic school or received a minimum vocational education. In secondary vocational educational institutions, students study for three years and master applied professions such as carpenter, mechanic, glazier, hairdresser, baker, etc. 

Vocational schools offer apprenticeship programmes that are supported in Slovenia at the national level. If the country experiences a lack of qualified personnel in a certain field of expertise, then students of corresponding study programmes can be trained in practice by a real employer. This facilitate the search for job and helps students better solidify the theoretical knowledge and soon feel engaged in the working process and team. At the end of studies, students have to pass a final examination.

If a student has a desire to continue his/her education at a university or a vocational college, he/she must pass the General Final Examination (in Slovene: matura), which includes Slovenian language, Mathematics and a foreign language. There are also paid preparatory courses (in Slovene: Maturitetni tečaj), during which students are trained to pass the exams.

3) Secondary Technical and Vocational Education

Students can get a secondary technical and vocational education after completing studies at a basic school. The training lasts 4 years and is aimed at obtaining in-depth knowledge within a specific technical or economic profession.

At the end of studies, a Professional Final Examination (in Slovene: Poklicna matura) should be passed. The result of this exam involves enrolling in a vocational college or university for a professional Bachelor’s degree programme. If students have passed the General Final Examination (in Slovene: matura), they can later apply for a university Bachelor’s degree programme.

4) General Secondary Education

Children can also receive general secondary education in gymnasiums. There are schoolchildren who want to continue their studies and receive higher education. That is why gymnasiums are so popular among applicants. These are usually the schoolchildren who passed successfully the National Knowledge Assessment Test at a basic school and were successful in all disciplines.

There are different types of gymnasiums:

– a general gymnasium, where students study general subjects, such as Slovenian language, World Literature, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, History, Biology, etc.;

– a classical gymnasium, where students, besides basic subjects, also study Latin and have more lectures on History and Philosophy;

a gymnasium with in-depth study of foreign languages ​​or natural sciences;

a sport gymnasium, which is usually chosen by young professional athletes.

When passing the General Final Examination (Matura), students take tests in the Slovenian Language and World Literature, Mathematics, English and two optional subjects. After graduating from a gymnasium, students can enter a university.

Higher Education

Slovenian education is recognized at the international level. Training is conducted according to the Bologna system. An increasing number of universities keep introducing study programmes in English into the academic process.

Higher education in Slovenia for foreigners is provided on a paid basis, although the tuition fee is relatively low. Slovenian education is recognized throughout the EU, so graduates of Slovenian educational institutions can continue their studies in other EU countries. If desired, they can enter a Master’s degree programme in any other country of the European Union and participate in student exchange programmes.

Vocational College

Training in vocational colleges (in Slovene: Višje strokovno izobraževanje) is available to graduates of gymnasiums and secondary vocational schools, who have already worked for three years and passed the Slovenian language, Mathematics and Foreign Language exams (in Slovene: Poklicna matura).

Vocational colleges offer more study programmes than universities do. These programmes are focused on developing practical skills in such areas as Tourism, Wellness, Economics, Logistics, Security, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Two-year studies end with the diploma defence.

University

Students who have completed secondary education and successfully passed the General Final Examination can enter a university and receive a Bachelor’s degree in Management, Marketing, Business, Construction and other majors. There are university and vocational Bachelor’s degree programmes. The difference between them is that vocational programmes involve more practical subjects.

Bachelor’s degree programmes in Slovenia usually last 3 years and end with the thesis defence. After graduation from a Bachelor’s degree programme, students can continue their studies and receive a Master’s degree.

Studying under a Master’s degree programme (in Slovene: Podiplomski študij) lasts 2 years and ends with the Master’s thesis defence. Some programmes (for example, International Relations, Law) offer the “4 + 1” system, which is 4 years of Bachelor’s degree and 1 year of master’s degree studies. Students can receive PhD degree in Slovenian universities for 2–4 years. Studying under a PhD degree programme also ends with the defence of a doctoral thesis.

In Slovenia, there are:

state universities (University of Ljubljana, University of Maribor, University of Primorska, University in Nova Gorica);

private universities (New University, University in Novo Mesto);

international universities (Alma Mater Europaea, EMUNI);

private institutes.

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