Pre-school education, offered by pre-school institutions, is not compulsory. It includes children between the ages of 1 and 6. The curriculum is divided in two cycles (from 1 to 3 and from 3 to 6). The new curriculum promotes different types of programme such as: day, half-day and short programmes. There is also the possibility of childminders, pre-school education at home or occasional care of children in their homes. The Curriculum for Pre-school Institutions defines six areas of activities: movement, language, art, nature, society and mathematics. The goals set in individual fields of activities provide the framework for the selection of contents and activities by teachers.

Basic, Primary school
Basic education was extended from eight years to nine. This was done gradually. The implementation of the nine-year basic education began in the 1999/2000 school year. Children that reach the age of 6 in a particular calendar year enter the first class in that year. Nine-year basic education is divided into 3 three-year cycles. Elementary schools provide the compulsory and extended curriculum. The compulsory curriculum must be provided by school and studied by all pupils. It consists of compulsory subjects, electives, home-room periods and activity days (culture, science, sports, technology). The optional elementary school curriculum must be provided by school but pupils are free to decide whether they will participate in it or not. It includes educational assistance for children with special needs, remedial classes, additional classes, after-school care and other forms of care for pupils, interest activities and out-of-school classes. Successful completion of basic education enables pupils to proceed to education in their choice of secondary school. Pupils who fulfil the legal compulsory education requirement and successfully complete at least seven classes in the nine-year elementary school can continue their education in a short-term vocational education programme. Success at that level opens doors to other more demanding secondary school programmes.

Each group of children born in the same year forms one grade or class in primary school which take time for nine years or grades. Each year is divided in three semesters and each of them is around three months long. Once or twice per term children least seven classes in the nine-year elementary school can continue their education in a short-term vocational education programme. Success at that level opens doors to other more demanding sechave holidays: autumn, Christmas, winter and first May holidays; each holiday is approximately one week long. In summer school ends on June 24 (except in last ninth grade, where it ends one week earlier), followed by a holiday of more than two months. The next school year starts on September 1.

Children first walk in their primary school when they are around 6 years old and on the last day when they finish their compulsory education they are around 14 years old.

1st period is a beginning of schooling for every child. From first to forth grade children stay in one classroom and have one class or form teacher which teaches them (almost) all subjects (except PE, music, art). In the beginig of first year there is always one special pedagogue in classroom and he or she helps master teacher to lead little ones in new system. They make start with reading, writing and counting. In second grade they begin to learn more and more stuffs. They have native language (Slovenian, Hungarian or Italian language), mathematics, natural and sociology science, music, physical education and art. In fourth grade they begin to learn their first foreign language and that is usually English. They have only descriptive marks and the real marks come in around second grade (that is still dependent of a school: somewhere real marks come in not earlier than in fourth grade).

2nd period of primary schooling starts in fifth grade when children are required to attend lessons with different teachers, in different rooms. They still have a master teacher, which is never the same as in previous four years. He or she usually teaches them one or two subjects, with all others are taught by different specialised teachers. The main subjects which they need to attend are mathematics, their native language, first foreign language, PE, music and art. Later, additionally, they start being taught physics, chemistry, geography, history, biology, technics and housekeeping. In seventh grade they must choose three additional new subjects from around 40 optional subjects (usually different foreign languages, astronomy, fine art, computer science, etc).

State tests
On the end of the third, sixth and ninth grade pupil must attend statutary state tests in mathematics, native language and first foreign language (except in last year the school minister defines the last one). From these tests, the first two (at the third and sixth grade level) are only required to allow reporting on the intellectual and scholastic development of the children. The exam sat in the ninth grade, however, reflect on the final assessment score which will be used to ascertain which higher school the child will attend.

In primary school grading is rated on the following scale:
1 - insufficient
2 - sufficient
3 - good
4 - very good
5 - excellent

In order to attain a 2 (sufficient) grade, the pupil is required to attain more than 50 percent. For 3, a grade of 65 percent is required. This is followed by 75 percent for 4 and 90 percent for 5.

In the case of mathematics, Slovenian language and foreign language the grading is judged in a different way. The marking scheme scales from 1 to 10. The only failing grade is 1. 2,3 and 4 are sufficient, 5 and 6 are good, 7 and 8 are very good and 9 and 10 are excellent.

(Upper) secondary education
Secondary education follows the compulsory general basic education. Secondary schools include vocational and technical schools preparing students predominantly for labour and general secondary schools (gimnazije) preparing students predominantly for further studies. Programmes in secondary education vary in content, duration and goals.

a. General secondary education
General secondary school preparing students for further studies is called gimnazija. Gimnazija programmes are divided into two groups: general and professionally oriented (technical gimnazija). It lasts four years. It ends with an external examination called the matura examination. Those gimnazija students who for various reasons do not wish to continue their education have a possibility to enter the labour market by attending a vocational course and gaining a qualification in the selected occupation. The aim of vocational courses is to provide a bridge between general and vocational education and to make it possible for graduates from general, classical, and technical gimnazija to obtain initial vocational qualifications at the level of corresponding secondary vocational and technical schools. Educational aims are the same as for vocational and technical education. The course leads to a vocational qualification needed on the labour market or for further studies at higher vocational and professional colleges.

b. Secondary vocational and technical education
The planning, programming and provision of vocational education are a joint responsibility of social partners (employers and trade unions) and the state. Common aims and goals of secondary vocational and technical education were defined in a common curricular document. This document stresses attainment targets in interdisciplinary fields and interest activities. Short-term vocational programmes should last a year and a half for students and apprentices that have completed their basic education, and two and a half years for those without completed basic education. They finish with a final examination. The certificate of the final examination enables students to enter the labour market or to enter the first year at any other (upper) secondary vocational school. Pupils who have successfully completed elementary school can enrol in 3-year secondary vocational programmes. Vocational education programmes are offered in the dual, that is the apprenticeship, system and/or in the school-based system. The core curriculum is common to all programmes and includes a minimal scope of theoretical and practical knowledge and skills specified by occupational standards and required for a certain vocational qualification, regardless of the type of educational provision. Practical training in the framework of the dual system is offered by employers. Programmes also specify the part of practical training that can be provided by schools and/or inter-company centres as practical instruction. The certificate of the final examination enables students to enter the labour market or to continue education in two-year vocational-technical programmes, leading to a qualification at the level of a secondary technical school. Vocational-technical programmes are developed as upgrade of vocational education. The aims of vocational-technical programmes are the same as those of technical education programmes and lead to educational qualifications at the level of secondary technical school, also called a technical qualification, in a specific field. On the other hand, graduates who find a job immediately after completing a three-year vocational programme can re-enter education after at least three years of employment to obtain a qualification at the level of a secondary technical school by passing examinations. By passing an examination for master craftsman, foreman or shop manager, they demonstrate a higher level of competence in their occupation. If they additionally pass examinations in the general subjects of the poklicna matura examination, they can continue their studies in higher vocational education. Technical education is designed primarily as preparation for vocational and professional colleges, although it also leads to jobs with a broad profile. Secondary technical programmes last four years, which end with the poklicna matura examination.

Higher vocational education
First vocational colleges were established in 1996/97. Programmes are markedly practice-oriented and tightly connected with the world of work. Post-secondary vocational education lasts for two years ending with a diploma examination. A post-secondary vocational diploma enables students to start work in specific occupations. Since the 1998/99 academic year, vocational college graduates have been able to enrol in the second year of professionally oriented higher education programmes if the higher education institution providing this type of study allows such arrangements.

Higher education

Higher education
Higher education includes academic university studies and professionally oriented studies.
In 2004, amendments to the Higher Education Act were adopted. The Act provides for a three-level study structure. The first level relates to the undergraduate studies and the second and third levels to postgraduate studies. The duration of study programmes is limited in years (three to four years) and credit points (180 to 240 credit points). Study programmes must be in line with the EU study programmes. The second level maintains the master's studies. It encompasses from 60 to 120 credit points and takes one or two years to complete. The third level is the doctoral studies and lasts three years. Higher education is the responsibility of the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology

Adult education (Continuing education)
Adult education is characterised by impressive programme diversity. Schools and higher education institutions, basically providing youth education, also offer formal education courses for adults, adapting the organisation and programmes to their needs. Non-formal education programmes are designed for various target groups, for example, employed people seeking to improve their employment opportunities or gain promotion, individuals wishing to enhance the quality of their life, individuals pursuing a hobby, the unemployed, marginal groups, ethnic groups, and foreigners. Access to most non-formal education courses is unrestricted. A new act introducing a certification system was passed in 2000. It enables the assessment and verification of vocation-related knowledge, skills and experience acquired out of school. It thus makes it possible for individuals to obtain a vocational qualification in ways other than through formal schooling. Candidates undergo a knowledge assessment procedure by a special commission to obtain a state-approved certificate attesting their competence in performing certain vocational tasks. Vocational qualifications obtained in this way can be used by their holders to find a job or, in further training, demonstrating that part of an education programme has already been mastered.

Music and dance education
The Music School Act (2000) reformed basic music and dance education offered by state and private music schools. Music schools offer education for pre-school children, elementary school pupils, secondary school students, apprentices, college students and adults. Most often, music and dance education is given in parallel to compulsory basic education. Having completed elementary and music schools, pupils can follow the same model at the secondary school level or opt for art gimnazija. The curriculum is fully compatible with European guidelines. Special significance is given to the participation of pupils in school string or brass orchestras (each public music school is required to have at least one orchestra). Extra lessons may be given to gifted pupils. Folk instruments have been newly introduced (zither, diatonic accordion and tamboura). Public music schools are also required to offer pre-school music education for pre-school children.

Special needs education
The new legislation in the field of education of children with special needs was adopted in 2000. According to the new legislation, inclusion is the basic principle of education of children with special needs. Since 2001, different programmes have been developed together with compensation programmes for pupils to help them achieve standards of knowledge. In parallel with this, a process of reorganisation and reconceptualisation of institutions for children with special needs has been started.

Modified programmes and programmes in ethnically and linguistically mixed areas
Education in areas where Slovenian nationals live together with the members of the Italian or Hungarian minorities and which are classified as ethnically and linguistically mixed areas, is part of the uniform education system. It is therefore upgraded and modified at the same time as the rest of the school system. Education in pre-school institutions and schools in ethnically and linguistically mixed areas is provided in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia, educational legislation, and the law regulating special educational rights of the Italian and the Hungarian ethnic minorities. In the ethnically and linguistically mixed area of Prekmurje, bilingual pre-school institutions, elementary schools, and a secondary school are attended by the children from this area. Classes are mixed and the languages of instruction are Slovenian and Hungarian. In addition to their mother tongue, children learn each other's language and the history and culture of both nations. In the ethnically and linguistically mixed area of Slovenian Istra, pre-school institutions, elementary schools, and secondary schools offer Slovenian or Italian as the languages of instruction. Pupils in schools where the language of instruction is Slovenian must learn Italian as the second language and children in schools with Italian as the language of instruction must learn Slovenian as the second language. They also learn about the history, culture, and natural heritage of both nations. To achieve parity in the development of ethnic minorities and the Slovenian nation, the organisation and the education programmes for pre-school institutions and schools in ethnically mixed areas have been adapted in the following fields: educational aims, timetables, syllabi, attainment target and examination syllabi, admission requirements, and programme implementation guidelines.

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