The Ministry of Education, Science and Sport is responsible for education in Slovenia at all levels- preschool, basic, upper secondary, higher and adult education. Education from basic/primary to secondary level is managed and controlled by the National Education Institute of the Republic of Slovenia (ZRSS).
The Slovenian education system comprises of following levels:
- Pre-school education
- Basic education: This level encompasses primary and lower secondary education
- Upper secondary education: This level encompasses general secondary education, vocational and technical education.
- Higher/Post-secondary vocational education
- Higher education: This educational level comprises of undergraduate and postgraduate studies
In Slovenia, other forms of education, such as adult education, special needs education, modified programmes, music and dance education, are also available.
- Total no.of students in Slovenia higher education (2013): 90622
- Total no.of students in enrolled in basic education with regular curriculum (2013): 163229
- Basic school programme with adapted curriculum (2013): 1807
- Basic education with special curriculum (2013): 1525
- Total no. of participants in Upper secondary education (2012): 78208 (including general, vocational, technical and short-term vocational programmes)
Source: Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia
Education Profile of Slovenia
Compulsory and Free Education
In Slovenia, all the Slovenian citizens are given free education. The basic education in Slovenia is compulsory and funded from the budget.
Pre-school Education (PredsolskaVzgoja)
This educational level in Slovenia is optional. The pre-school education in Slovenia comprises of general pre-school education, child care centres and kindergarten. In Slovenia, there are public as well as private kindergartens; the public kindergartens are established and funded by the municipalities.
Basic Education (Osnovna sola)
The basic education in Slovenia is compulsory to attend for children aged 6 to 15. This educational level is funded by the state budget and municipal. The duration basic education in Slovenia was made 9 years in 1999/2000 school year, and it is split up into three 3-year cycles:
- First cycle: Covers grades 1 to 3
- Second cycle: Covers grades 4 to 6
- Third cycle: Covers grades 7 to 9
The elementary schools consist of compulsory curriculum that is studied by all the students; and an optional curriculum that students may or may not take part depending upon their interest. Upon successful completion of basic education, students can go for further studies.
Upper Secondary Education (SrednjesolskoIzobrazevanje)
Upper secondary education in Slovenia is not compulsory to attend. The upper secondary education in Slovenia lasts for about 2 to 5 years (varies), and encompasses general, vocational and technical, and professional programmes.
Students must hold a basic education certificate in order to gain admittance into the upper secondary education.
This educational level comprises of general secondary education, vocational and technical secondary education. The general secondary education prepares pupils for further studies, while the vocational and technical education prepares pupils for the job market.
General Secondary Education
General secondary education prepares pupils for further studies. The general secondary schools are called gimnazija. Students aged 15 to 18 may attend the general secondary education in Slovenia. The programmes offered at this level are split up into 2 groups:
- Professionally oriented (technical gimnazija)
The duration of this educational level is 4 years, and at the end of the studies, an external exam called “Matura” is conducted.
Short-term Vocational Programmes
The short-term vocational programmes last for 1.5 years for pupils who have finished their basic compulsory education; and it lasts for 2.5 years for pupils and apprentices who have not finished their basic education.
At the end of short-term vocational education, final exam is held. Students who pass the examination are awarded a certificate of the final examination. With this certificate, pupils can enter job marketplace or can go for 3-year upper secondary vocational and technical education.
Upper Secondary Vocational and Technical Education
The upper secondary vocational and technical education is split up into 20 fields. This educational level provides the skills and knowledge required for employment or higher education.
The secondary technical education lasts for 4 years, and ends with a poklicnamatura exam.
The Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology is responsible for higher education in Slovenia.
Higher education in Slovenia comprises of short-cycle higher education (visjestrokovno) and higher education (visokosolsko) study programmes. This educational encompasses academic university education and professioallu-oriented education.
Higher Education Qualifications: At a Glance
Following are the degree levels in Slovenia:
First level-Undergraduate studies: Comprises of bachelor’s degree that lasts for 3 to 4 years, depending upon the area of study.
Second and third level: Postgraduate studies
It comprises of master’s and doctoral studies-
- Master’s degree: The master’s degree in Slovenia lasts for 1-2 years
- Doctorate degree: The duration of this degree programme is 2-4 years
Higher Education Institutions: Snapshot
Higher education in Slovenia is imparted by public and private higher education institutions-
- Universities: Following are the universities in Slovenia: University of Ljubljana, University of Nova Gorica, University of Maribor and University of Primorska
- Art academies
- Professional colleges
Universities, art academies and faculties offer academic programmes at all degree cycles, whereas professional colleges offer first cycle professional courses to study.
Post-secondary/ Higher Vocational Education: The higher vocational education in Slovenia is imparted by the higher vocational schools.
Children with Special Needs
Children and youth with special needs are given full support by the Slovenia’s educational administrators. Children with physical and mental disabilities aged 3 and above, are provided special developmental classes. Special education is offered at all levels: elementary, lower and upper secondary schools.
Pupils with learning difficulties are allowed to attend regular school studies and they get additional individual and group help of various kinds.
Adult education in Slovenia traditionally was imparted through peoples’ universities (ljudskauniverza). Also, many higher education institutions and schools provide adult education. Many programmes are available. Day and evening classes are held, along with apprenticeship training.
In Slovenia, post-graduate education is also available to adult learners. In addition, private and other organizations provide study courses for adults.
Music and Dance Education
The music and dance education provided by private and state music educational institutions has undergone a transformation as per the Music School Act of 2000. Music schools in Slovenia provide education to students from all the levels: pre-school, elementary school, secondary school, college students and adults, and apprentices. Generally, music and dance education is offered alongside the basic education.
Upon completion of both basic and music education, students can go for secondary level education or for art “gimnazija”.
The general admission requirement for first cycle study programme is a completed upper secondary education programme. For master’s degree, candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree; and for doctorate studies candidates must hold a master’s degree in a related field.
Admission requirements vary from institution to institution. To know in detail about the admission requirements, click here.
Slovenian Language Proficiency
Students are required to demonstrate their level of proficiency in Slovenian language. They must submit a Slovenian proficiency certificate. Generally, this certificate is required if you wish to pursue an undergraduate course in the Slovenia higher education institution.
English Language Proficiency
If the study programme chosen is in English, in that case, students are required to demonstrate their English proficiency level. Scores of TOEFL/IELTS are accepted.
Higher education of Slovenia has gone through many structural changes. New academic programmes have been introduced. As a result, Slovenia has become an increasingly popular study destination for international students. Presently, about 2,000 international students are studying in Slovenia.