Republika Slovenija (The Republic of Slovenia) is located in southern central Europe and is bordered by Italy, Croatia, Hungary, Austria, and the Adriatic Sea. The population is 2,007,711 and the literacy rate is 99.7%. Slovenian is the official
language and language of instruction.
The area of present-day Slovenia was first settled by Slavs in the 6th century. Slovenia was once part of the Holy Roman Empire. Slovene lands became part of the Habsburg monarchy during the 14th century. By 1813, Slovenia was part of the Austro-Hungarian
Empire until its dissolution after World War I. In 1918, along with the Serbs and Croats, the Slovenians formed the country of Yugoslavia. After World War II, Slovenia became a republic within Yugoslavia. On June 25, 1991, Slovenia declared its independence
from Yugoslavia. Slovenia became a member of both NATO and the European Union in 2004.
Education is free and compulsory from ages 6 to 15. Currently, education in Slovenia is overseen by the Ministrstvo za visoko šolstvo, znanost in šport.
Primary school is 9 years, including kindergarten. Prior to the 1999-00 academic year, it was 8 years. Primary school is divided into 3 cycles of 3 years. Upon completion of the 3rd cycle, students are awarded a Spričevalo o končani osnovni šoli.
Academic and technical secondary school programs are offered at gimnazija (gymnasiums). They both offer 4-year programs. Academic secondary schools prepare students for post-secondary studies. At the end of the 4th year, students in academic secondary
schools sit for an examination leading to the Maturitetno spričevalo.
Technical secondary schools are primarily designed to prepare students for post-secondary studies at vocational and professional colleges. At the end of the 4th year, students sit for an examination leading to the Spričevalo o poklicni maturi.
Vocational secondary school programs are 2 years. The programs alternate between coursework and apprenticeship. Upon completion, students sit for examinations leading to the Spričevalo o zaključme, izpitu. Students can enter the workforce or continue
on to a technical secondary program leading to the Spričevalo o poklicni maturi. This program is normally 4 years, but is shortened to 2 years for these students.
Post-secondary studies are offered at universities, colleges, schools, and higher vocational/professional colleges.
Višje strokovne šole (Higher vocational colleges) were first established in 1996-97. They offer 2-3 year programs in vocational, technical and professional fields, including nursing, engineering, business, and other para-medical fields.
First Cycle, Academic
The first level of university studies is 4-5 years and leads to the Diplomirani (Graduate), Universitetni diplomirani (University Graduate), Profesor (Teacher) - for students in secondary teacher education programs, or Akademski (Academician) for students in the arts.
First Cycle, Vocational/Technical
Programs leading to the title of Specialist are 1-2 years. They offer further specialization in a professional field and require a diploma from a higher vocational college, or a Diplomirani (Graduate), Universitetni diplomirani (University
Graduate), Profesor (Teacher), or Akademski (Academician) for admission.
Second and Third Cycles
Graduate programs are 1-2 years and require a Universitetni diplomirani, Profesor, or Akademski for admission. Upon successful defense of a thesis, students are awarded a Magister, Magister znanosti, or a Magister umetnosti.
Doctoral studies are 2-4 years. Students can enter directly from a Universitetni diplomirani (University Graduate), Profesor (Teacher), or Akademski (Academician) program or after a Magister (Master) program. Upon successful
defense of a dissertation, students are awarded a Doktor znanosti (Doctor of Science).
Slovenia is in the process of implementing a post-secondary educational system that is compliant with the Bologna Declaration. Full implementation is expected by 2016.
Teachers at the primary and secondary level must hold a university degree.