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Primary education

Primary education in Slovakia

Primary schools are usually preceded by kindergartens where children can spend up to 4 years, which in turn can be preceded by day nurseries.

As a rule, children start the primary school in the year in which they have their 6th birthday. Standard primary schools last 9 years (8 years before approx. the mid-1990s), however since the early 1990s students can visit "8-year gymnasium" after 5 years (after 4 years prior to school year 2009/2010) on primary school (high school lasting 8 years and "extended" by the last grades of primary schools).

The primary education system is formally divided in two "stages". The second stage is characterized by many changes in the subjects treated as compared to the first stage:

  • first primary education stage - age 6 to 10, works as platform for next studies
  • second primary education stage - age 10 to 15, this "stage" can be spent either in a 9 year primary school or in an 8 year gymnasium

Many primary schools have been closed down since about 2000 due to an unfavourable demographic development.

Subjects at the second primary education stage (many of them are taught even earlier however) include:

  • Slovak language and literature (includes Slovak and world literature and Slovak grammar; Slovak is to be replaced with Hungarian or Ukrainian in minority schools; usually everyday one class),
  • foreign language(s) (usually two or one, usually English and German or Spanish; before 1990 Russian was compulsory with 4 classes a week)
  • mathematics (incl. geometry almost everyday one class),
  • geography (political and physical alike, usually 2 classes a week),
  • biology (incl. botany, animal biology, human biology, geology and environmental studies; usually 2 classes a week),
  • chemistry (usually 2 classes a week),
  • physics (usually 2 classes a week),
  • history (usually 2 classes a week),
  • religion or ethics (class is subject to a choice, usually 1 class a week),
  • PE (usually 2 classes a week),
  • music (usually 1 class a week; sometimes skipped altogether due to lack of equipment, funds, teachers),
  • drawing (usually 1 class a week, sometimes skipped altogether due to lack of equipment, funds, teachers),
  • farming and technical education (usually 1 class a week, sometimes skipped altogether due to lack of equipment, funds, teachers)

There also many facultative "primary art schools"- afternoon schools for particular music instruments, theatre, painting etc. These have had a long tradition in Slovakia and are attended by a large majority of pupils.




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