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This article is about education in Slovenia from primary to secondary schooling and the role of the National Education Institute of the Republic of Slovenia (ZRSŠ) in regulating education programmes, delivery and development.
Children first enter primary schooling at about the age of 6 and finish at about the age of 14. Each group of children born in the same year forms one grade or class in primary school which lasts until the end of primary school. Each grade or year is divided into two terms. Once or twice per term, children have holidays: autumn, Christmas, winter and May first holidays; each holiday is approximately one week long. At summer time, school ends on 24 June (except in the last/ninth grade, where it ends one week earlier), followed by a holiday of more than two months. The next school year starts on 1 September.
The 1st Period is the beginning of schooling for every child. From the first to the fourth graden children stay in one classroom and have one class or form and one teacher which teaches all subjects, except on some occasions, sports, art and music are taught by separate teachers or is supervised by the appropriate teacher. In the beginning of the first year there is always one special pedagogue in the classroom and he or she helps the master teacher lead the younger students into the new system. They start with reading, writing and counting. Children are taught their native language (Slovenian, Hungarian or Italian, depending on the area of their schooling), mathematics, natural and sociological sciences, music, physical education and art. In the fourth grade they begin to learn their first foreign language, which is usually English. Until the second grade, children only have descriptive marks, and following the second grades examinations are marked with number grades (some subjects are graded with descriptive marks up until the seventh grade).
The 2nd Period of primary schooling starts in the sixth grade when children begin switching classrooms. They still have a master teacher. He or she usually teaches them one or two subjects and all others are taught by other specialized teachers. The Main subjects which they need to attend are math, the native language, their first foreign language, PE, music and art. Later they start with physics, chemistry, geography, history, biology, craft and housekeeping. In the seventh grade they must choose at least two (the third is not compulsory). The subjects offered are subjects which tend to interest children, and they have around 40 to choose from (usually these are foreign languages, astronomy, fine art, computer science etc.).
At the end of the third, sixth and ninth grade pupil are examined by special state tests in math, the native language and their first foreign language, and the third subject tested in the ninth (or eighth) grade is decided by the minister. These exams are then checked and first two do not mean anything (they are only meant to examine the average knowledge of the pupils ). But exams in ninth grade are used to evaluate the pupil's performance during their school years. The points acquired by these tests used to be the key factor, when a child wanted to join a particular high school, but with the new system, the points acquired are only used when pupils running for the same school have the same points from their grades, so the commissioners of the school take into account the points acquired to finally evaluate the student whose performance is the best.
Marks and grades
The grades are the same as in other countries that belonged to Yugoslavia before 1991. In primary school marks start with 1 (insufficient) and is the only failure mark. The second one is 2 (sufficient), the next is 3 (good), then 4 (very good) and the best is 5 (excellent).
The National Education Institute of the Republic of Slovenia (ZRSŠ)
The National Education Institute of the Republic of Slovenia (Zavod Republike Slovenije za Šolstvo - ZRSŠ) is the main public organisation in Slovenia which encourages development in the field of education in Slovenia up to pre-university — covering all kindergartens, elementary schools, secondary schools, music schools, and student boarding schools.
After completing high school, graduates go to secondary school. Currently there are three public universities in Slovenia : the University of Ljubljana, Maribor University, and the University of Primorska. There is also a private university which is the University of Nova Gorica and an international university called EMUNI. According to the ARWU rating, the University of Ljubljana is among the top 500 universities in the world.
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