Slovenia has two ministries dealing with education: Ministry of Education and Sport and Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology (Study in Slovenia). The Ministry of Education and Sport is responsible for education and the training in the pre-university environment, including higher vocational colleges. The ministries carry out most of the financial, administrative and expert tasks; develop concepts and strategies, legislation and regulations on the basis of experts’ opinions. The responsibility for tertiary education carries out the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, and Technology. The sectors which fall under its authority include universities and single higher education institutions, student residences and tertiary education libraries.
The Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia, 1991 stipulates freedom of choice in education and regulates fundamental rights in the area of education by determining that:
• Education is free.
• Compulsory basic education is the responsibility of the state.
• The state must finance compulsory education with public funds.
• It is the responsibility of the state to give its citizens the opportunity to obtain an adequate education.
The state-wide official language of instruction is Slovenian. In the Hungarian-speaking area, bilingual instruction in Hungarian and Slovenian is mandatory. The Italian-speaking area hosts Italian secondary schools, where Slovenian is a compulsory subject, and Slovenian secondary schools, where Italian is a compulsory subject. There are also international schools like English and French. In higher education foreign language is possible alongside Slovene, or in parts of the program where visiting professors are conducting lectures.
The majority almost as many as 99% of basic and upper secondary school pupils attend public schools which are set up and funded entirely by the state and municipalities. Private schools, which are set up by private entities and provide education according to state-approved programs, are subsidized by the state. The grant rate is approximately 85 %.
Higher Education in Slovenia
Higher education is offered by public or private universities and single higher education institutions. Universities and single faculties usually academic as well as professionally oriented courses, while professional colleges mainly offer professionally oriented courses. If a professional college meets the highest academic standards with regard to staff and resources, it may also be accredited to provide doctoral programs; otherwise, such programs must be carried out and provided in co-operation with a university or single faculty establishments.
Slovenia offers many opportunities to those looking for education at higher level. Higher education institutions are universities, faculties, art academies and professional colleges. They are given their autonomy by the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia and the Higher Education Act.
Some of the top ranked Universities are as follows:
· University of Ljubljana
· University of Maribor
· University of Primorska, Universita del Litoral
· University of Nova Gorica
· EMUNI University
Some institutions from the sector of Higher Vocational Education are as follows:
- Vocational college for catering Maribor
- Horticultural College
- School center Slovenj grades, Vocational college
- School of economics, Vocational College
- Educational center of Biotechnology Ljubljana, Vocational college
- Kranj school center for technical sciences
- Agricultural school GRM Novo Mesto
- School center of Novo Mestopost-secondary vocational school
- Vocational College Maribor
- Wood technology school Maribor, Vocational college
- School center Šentjur, Vocational college
- Economic high school Murska Sobota, Higher vocational school
- Vocational college for catering and tourism Bled
- School of Business and Commerce Celje
- Technical school center Nova Gorica
- The Celje school of commerce
- Food technology school
While faculties and art academies can offer both academic and professional study programs, professional colleges can offer only professional study programs. After legislative changes in 2004, professional colleges may be accredited also for second-cycle study programs, if they meet academic standards with regard to staff and equipment, otherwise such programs must be carried out in co-operation with university establishments.
In Slovenia, the academic year begins in October and lasts until the end of September next year. It is divided into two semesters: the winter semester usually runs from October to January and the summer semester from February to the middle of July. The organization of studies is defined with a study program.
Higher Education Act additionally regulates undergraduate study programs that last for 30 weeks in the academic year and comprise the minimum of 20 and the maximum of 30 hours of lectures, seminars, and exercises per week. If the program includes also practical training then it can last up to 42 weeks per academic year but the total student workload must not surpass 40 hours per week. In some cases studies can also be organized part-time, which means that the organization and the time schedule of the lectures, seminars, and exercises are adapted to the possibilities of students, who are unable to attend the studies full-time like those who are employed or working.
Methods of teaching
Higher education institutions use different teaching methods like lectures, seminars, exercises, colloquium and written assignments. Usually, lectures are given for a large group of students, while the seminars and exercises are usually offered for a smaller group of students. The studies also demand a lot of individual and preparatory work from each individual student. The methods are defined with the study program.
Tests And Exams
The rules and procedures of the examination policy are set in detail by the constitution of higher education institution. As a general rule, subject courses end with examinations, which can be oral, written or both. Usually, the examinations are held at the end of each semester during the four week examination period (January-February and June-July) and in September before the beginning of a new academic year.
4. Grading system- In Slovenia the grading system used in higher education is unified:
10 = excellent (percentage of knowledge: 91 – 100 %),
9 = very good (81 – 90 %),
8 = very good (71 – 80 %),
7 = good (61 – 70 %),
6 = satisfactory (51 – 60 %),
5 – 1 = fail (less than 51 %).
Language of Instruction Language
The language of instruction is predominantly Slovenian. Many higher education institutions are already offering some lectures also in the English language mostly postgraduate studies and we expect that the number of study programs will increase.
All study programs, accredited after April 2004, are measured in credit points according to ECTS which is the European Credit Transfer System. One credit point represents 25 to 30 students’ working hours; one academic year can last from 1500 to 1800 students’ working hours.
Students from EU member states, like Slovene students, pay tuition fees for part-time studies, while full-time studies are free. Foreigners from Non-EU member countries pay tuition fees regardless on the type of studies. As a rule, the tuition fee is paid in a lump sum for each academic year. Payment of tuition fees covers also compulsory health insurance.
The Ministry of Education, Science and Sport issued a decree on the level of tuition fees for foreign students and Slovenians without Slovenian citizenship in 1995, setting out the highest and lowest fees, and within this range, higher education institutions calculate the fees for individual study programs.
Tuition for full-time undergraduate study:
- up to $1,500 in euro equivalent for one year in social science study programs;
- up to $2,000 in euro equivalent for one year in natural science, technical and arts study programs.
Tuition fees for full-time undergraduate study are generally paid on enrolment in the faculty in the full amount for one academic year. Faculties also use the tuition fees for undergraduate study to arrange and pay for basic health insurance for the foreign student.
Tuition fees for undergraduate study do not need to be paid by:
- citizens of European Union Member States,
- foreign citizens with permanent residence in Slovenia who themselves or their parents/guardians are liable for tax in Slovenia,
- foreign citizens from one of the countries with which Slovenia has concluded relevant bilateral agreements,
- foreign students for whom based on an individual request the faculty has agreed to waive or reduce the fees,
- Slovenians without Slovenian citizenship with Slovenian government grants.
8. Access for foreign students or enrolment
a) General and specific requirements
Access requirements are defined with a study program.
General admission requirement is set by Higher Education Act: for study programs leading to a university degree is ‘matura’ which is an external examination taken at the end of a 4-year secondary school program, for postgraduate programs the condition is a university degree from the corresponding field of studies for master studies and master degree from the corresponding field of studies for doctoral studies. In case of certain study programs, specific requirements are demanded, which may include a test of talent of artistic skills or psychophysical abilities like sports.
Whether the requirements for admission to an undergraduate or postgraduate study program are meet is decided by the competent body of higher education institution. Higher education institutions have the right to organize a preparatory study year for foreigners who do not fulfill all the admission requirements.
b) Enrolment procedures
The number of places available is limited for all study programs. The places available for new applicants are announced by higher education institutions each year in a pre-enrolment announcement separately for undergraduate and postgraduate study programs. For students from EU member states, the enrolment procedures are the same like for Slovene students. Places available for these students are included in the quota for Slovene students. For foreigners from Non-EU countries, the number of study places available is set additionally and must not exceed 5% of full-time or 50% of part-time study places for an individual study program.
If the number of applicants exceeds the available number of study places, applicants are selected according to the same criteria and procedure as Slovene students. If study places reserved for citizens of the Republic of Slovenia and EU member states remain vacant, foreigners from non-EU states can also register for those places.
1. GENERAL CONDITIONS FOR ENROLMENT IN THE FIRST YEAR OF STUDY:
Successfully completed appropriate secondary education so as to enroll in university study programs, the candidates must have a recognized national exit exam, like the Slovene matura or American SAT or final examination before 1 June 1995. To enroll in professional higher-education programs, the candidates must have a recognized final examination, vocational certification or national exit exam;
Knowledge of Slovenian language like for some study programs the candidates must pass the Slovene language examination;
Completed recognition procedure for secondary-school certificates obtained abroad.
Some study programs require the candidates to pass a test of artistic aptitude or psychophysical capacity.
2. EVIDENCE OF FULFILMENT OF ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS
Notarized copies of birth certificates, certificate of citizenship, passport or personal identity card. Notarized copies of the secondary school exit certificate and its Slovenian translation. All the graded subjects of the last two years, including the corresponding marks, must be specified in the certificate. All documents have to be translated by an officially authorized translator.
A decision on recognition of certificates obtained abroad. The recognition procedure determines the equivalent Slovenian certificate to the certificate issued abroad. The procedure is carried out by the University of Maribor.
3. RECOGNITION OF CERTIFICATES OBTAINED ABROAD
The Act on Recognition and Assessment of Education introduces a modern system of recognition of foreign certificates and diplomas and assessment of certificates and diplomas obtained in Slovenia and abroad, taking account, in the procedures and criteria, of the principles of education system reforms as well as respecting and continuing the tradition of transparency provided for by the previous Act regulating the recognition of foreign school certificates.
International conventions ratified by the Republic of Slovenia, in particular the Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region (Lisbon 1997), and the Bologna process creating a single European higher education area, based on the Bologna Declaration which is signed by the Ministers of Education from 29 countries, including Slovenia, on 19 June 2003, form a new and more efficient basis for international academic cooperation processes and exchanges and thus also for the recognition of education.
The establishment of an efficient and transparent recognition system for a quick and efficient exercise of individual rights arising from certificates and diplomas is facilitated by unified and openly designed criteria and frameworks, making it possible to take into account individual legal interests and enable the holders of certificates and diplomas to exercise their individual rights arising from such certificates and diplomas at the national and international level. This in particular concerns two fundamental rights resulting from education: the right to continue education at a higher or the same level as proven by the certificate or diploma and the right to enter the labor market.
The subject of recognition under this Act is education forming part of the education system of a particular country or several countries and leading to some level of education or its part.
4. INTERNATIONAL STUDENT OFFICE
Every higher education institution that accepts foreign students has an International Relations Office or a person in charge of dealing with international relations. It is recommended to establish contacts with this office before the enrolment in order to get detailed information on application procedures and other necessary data.
Knowledge of Slovene is not necessary for all postgraduate courses, though is desirable and highly recommended. The Centre for Slovene as a Second or Foreign Language runs beginners courses in numerous Slovenian towns.