a) persons who are citizens of another state or persons without citizenship, with residence permit in Slovakia;
(Act No 245/2008, note 81) (only in Slovak);
b) asylum seekers in Slovakia under special legislation;
c) Slovaks living abroad;
d) as asylum applicants under special legislation;
e) as foreigners present in the territory of Slovakia, unaccompanied by a legal representative.
1. What needs to be prepared by an EU citizen before they ‘start dealing with authorities’ (tools, documents, documentation, certificates, etc.) and where can they find/obtain this?
Compulsory school attendance (‘CSA’)
In SR no one is exempted from fulfilment of compulsory school attendance (Section 19 of the Education Act).
CSA starts at the beginning of the school year after the child reaches the age of six and has achieved school readiness. CSA lasts 10 years at the most until the end of the school year when the student reaches the age of 16.
Pupils fulfil CSA at a primary school in the school district in which they have permanent residence (’catchment school’), unless their legal representatives choose another primary school for them. Pupils can fulfil CSA at a school other than their catchment school, if the school’s director admits them for primary education.
During the fulfilment of CSA at a primary school, a primary school pupil may, upon a written request from the legal representative, be transferred to another primary school. The transfer of a pupil is decided by the director of the school where the pupil has applied for enrolment.
When a foreign pupil is admitted to school, the pupil’s legal representative or an adult pupil shall submit to the school´s director in the district where the pupil has an authorised stay (temporary residence or permanent residence):
- an application for registration of a child´s fullfillment CSA in primary school; and
- a certificate from the previous school.
Application for admission to a primary school should include:
What information does a primary school require when enrolling a child to fulfil compulsory school attendance?
- surname and first name;
- date and place of birth;
- permanent address or address of usual residence of the child or pupil, if different from permanent address;
- birth registration number;
What information does a primary school require to identify the child’s or pupil’s legal representatives?
- surname and first name;
- permanent address or address of usual residence of the legal representative, if different from permanent address;
- contact details.
The legal representative may provide the primary school with this personal data before the child is enrolled to fulfil CSA by means of an electronic submission delivered to the primary school’s electronic mailbox or by means of an electronic document authorised by a qualified electronic signature.
As part of the decision on admission, the school´s director will also decide which subjects will the pupil attend whether in the grade according to age or a lower grade.
In order to verify the level of knowledge of the state language by a foreign pupil, the the school´s director may order a commission examination based on the Section 57(1)(d) of the School Act. Its aim and result is not a classification, but a verbal assessment of the level of proficiency of the state language by a pupil – a foreigner for the needs of the school. The results of the commission examination are the basis for the best possible adjustment of the educational process of the pupil – foreigner in the school in Slovakia. It is up to the headmaster to decide whether he is interested in conducting a commission examination for a foreign pupil for this purpose.
In the case of insufficient knowledge of the state language, the child may be conditionally assigned to the relevant year by age for a maximum of one school year.
Such inclusion shall be discussed with the legal representative of the foreign pupil, in order to prevent adverse reactions, with a written record of the consultation in the pedagogical council and with the informed consent of the pupil’s legal representative on the transfer.
Recognition of the level of educational attainment and evidence of education
The process of recognising the level of educational attainment for the purposes of continuing the study depends on the level of educational attainment and whether the Slovak Republic has an agreement (only in Slovak) with the state concerned.
Recognition of partial education from primary schools
The director of the primary school decides on the recognition of evidence of education, i.e. the school report for the 1st to 8th grade of primary school, issued by a primary school in another Member State or in a third country.
In practice, it is necessary to submit a certified translation of a copy of the school report from the last completed grade to the director (reports for previous years upon request). It is important that these documents also include the learning content, so as to facilitate comparing the content and scope of the applicant’s educational attainment with the learning content and scope of the state educational program.
Conversion of marks from primary schools abroad
To submit an application for conversion of marks from primary schools abroad, use the ministry’s electronic service (only in Slovak)(no administrative fee applies to the submission).
For first grade pupils at primary schools whose mother tongue is different from the language of instruction of the primary school attended, results from other subjects are taken into account for assigning a mark for the language of instruction. When evaluating pupils in the first school year and the second school year of their attendance at a school with a different language of instruction, their factual knowledge is evaluated rather than the level of their language correctness. Methodical instruction No 22/2011 for the evaluation of primary school pupils
(only in Slovak).
2. What should citizens expect
Enrolling a child of foreigners with residence permit at the age of compulsory school attendance in a primary school in Slovakia:
The primary school director decides on admission of the child to the primary school. The director enrols the child based on an application submitted by the legal representative.
Where does enrolment take place?
A pupil who does not have a permanent residence in the Slovak Republic fulfils CSA in a catchment school, which is determined by the regional government education authority – the relevant Department of Education of the District Office in the seat of the region.
When does enrolment take place?
The enrolment takes place from 1 April to 30 April preceding the start of the school year in which the child is to start fulfilling compulsory school attendance. Foreigners who come to Slovakia with children in a different month may also apply for admission to a primary school during the year.
When does the director decide on admitting the child?
The director decides on the admission of children by 15 June preceding the school year when the primary education is to begin.
When does the school year start and end?
The school year starts on 2 September and ends on 30 June of the next calendar year, and it consists of the first and second term. The first term starts on 2 September and ends on 31 January of the following calendar year. The second term starts on 01 February and ends on 30 June.
3. Who should citizens contact when they need assistance or advice?
For more detailed information on how to apply for admission to a primary school, as well as on the study itself, contact:
- the school where you want to enrol your child;
- the relevant municipal education authority;
- the competent Department of Education of the District Office in the seat of the region.
4. Frequently asked questions
What are the possibilities to overcome the language barrier?
According to Section 146(4) of the School Act, ‘Children of asylum seekers, children of foreign nationals who have been granted subsidiary protection are to be included in the relevant year by the school´s director, after ascertaining the level of their previous education and knowledge of the state language, no later than three months after the start of the asylum procedure, the children of leavers shall be included within three months of the commencement of the procedure for granting temporary refuge. Due to the lack of knowledge of the state language, the child may be placed conditionally in the relevant year by age, for a maximum of one school year.’
Depending on the level of proficiency of the state language and the need to improve it in cooperation with the district office, the school´s director may organise, if necessary, a language course for the pupil – foreigner.
For asylum seekers’ children in asylum facilities, for which school attendance is compulsory according to this Act, courses of the elementary Slovak language are financially and professionally secured by the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic [Act No 245/2008, § 146 par. 5].
For children of foreigners with residence permit in Slovakia, language courses are organised and financed by the District Office in the seat of the region in cooperation with regional authorities [(Act No 596/2003, § 10 par. 12].
To eliminate language barriers, elementary and extension language courses of the state language are organised for children of foreigners [Act No 245/2008, § 146 par. 3].
The director of the school, if necessary, will provide a teacher to give the pupil a Slovak language course. (At the same time, the director of the school will ask the relevant Department of Education of the District Office in the seat of the region for funding. Language courses for children of foreigners are funded based on a consultation procedure at the request of the school founder.)
The elementary language course of the state language and the extension language course of the state language should provide children of foreigners with an adequate command of the Slovak language, facilitate admission to the relevant grade of the Slovak school system based on their age and length of school attendance in their country, and thus help them successfully attain primary education in the Slovak Republic. The courses should take place twice a week, with two lessons at a time in the afternoon. They are intended for a maximum of 10-member heterogeneous groups of children aged 6 to 16 years. The elementary language course of the state language is intended for students who do not speak Slovak at all, or have only basic knowledge of the language, cannot read or write in Slovak, or cannot even read and write in their mother tongue.
Free counselling in the field of language education is provided by the Migration Information Centre - Learn Slovak Language for Free.
How are children of foreigners evaluated at primary schools?
Children of foreigners are evaluated according to the following paragraphs:
For first grade pupils at primary schools whose mother tongue is different from the language of instruction of the primary school attended, results from other subjects are taken into account for assigning a mark for the language of instruction.
Following the transfer of a second to ninth grade pupil to a school with another language of instruction, the pupil is evaluated during the first two evaluation periods with a mark corresponding to the one received for the language of instruction on the last school report, or better.
After the first two evaluation periods following the transfer of the pupil to a school with a different language of instruction, less stringent standards for the language of instruction apply in the two next evaluation periods.
When evaluating pupils in the first school year and the second school year following their transfer to a school with a different language of instruction, their factual knowledge is evaluated rather than the level of their language correctness.
Methodical instruction No 22/2011 for the evaluation of primary school pupils (only in Slovak).
Are there methodical recommendations for teaching Slovak and a curriculum for Slovak studies for children of foreigners in Slovakia within pre-primary to secondary education?
The following materials (in Slovak) for teaching children of foreigners are available on the website of the National Institute for Education (only in Slovak):
- Language course – methodological recommendations – Teaching the state language to children of foreigners in Slovakia (language preparation of children of asylum seekers)
- Curriculum of Slovak realities for children of foreigners in the Slovak Republic – intermediate level (course)
- Methodical recommendations for teaching Slovak in the elementary and extension language course of the state language for children of foreigners
- Učebný plán pre základný a rozširujúci jazykový kurz štátneho jazyka pre deti cudzincov (Curriculum for the basic and extended language course of the state language for children of foreigners
- Children of foreigners in the education system in terms of respect for human rights and children’s rights
The Methodology and Pedagogy Centre provides the learning material:
Other learning materials from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) (only in Slovak).
5. Sanctions for non-compliance with obligations
Children may not be admitted to a primary school if their legal representatives fail to provide the required documentation to the school.