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6. Progress toward goals and targets
Dimension 1: Early Childhood Care and Development
In accordance with the No. 279/1993 of Digest, concerning educational establishments, these provide education and up-bringing of children in cooperation with family and community interventions according to their individual needs and age distinctiveness, including disability. They provide good conditions for different activities, such as games and plays, hobbies or relaxation. They help children with their studies, to develop their talents, their specific abilities and creativity.
Institutionalised pre-school education has had a long tradition in Slovakia. As early as in the 19th century the pre-school establishment was established in accordance with the enactment.
Before the 1989 year pre-school educational establishments (nursery schools and kindergartens) were developed extensively. In a relatively short time period there appeared many new kindergarten buildings and many common buildings for both nursery schools and kindergartens. These pre-school establishments were established by cities or village authorities, by factories or agricultural cooperative farms. Most teachers were qualified, almost 100%. In 1989 the enrolment of children was 92.30%.
Transformations of the whole society after the 1989 year influenced also this part of the education system. There appeared new conditions for establishing of private kindergartens. Due to the process of privatization some kindergartens belonging to factories or agricultural farms were dismissed.
1.1 Pre-school educational establishments - characterization
Pre-school establishments provide up-bringing and education tending to general development of childrens personality, their social, emotional, physical and intellectual development in accordance with their age and individuality for all healthy and disabled children from age three (sometimes, with suitable conditions, from two) to usually six, it means their school age.
There exist the following types of pre-school establishments: kindergartens and special kindergartens with a half-day, the whole-day, the whole-week or continuous care. These schools were established by the state, city or church authorities, factories, cooperations or individuals.
Conditions in kindergartens were positively influenced by new legislation after the 1990 year. Pre-school establishments are unseparable part of the educational system, their pedagogical function has become stronger, they have started the integration of disabled children with healthy children population, five-years old children and children with delayed school age are given priority when accepted in kindergartens .
The Degree of the ME of the SR No. 353/1994 of Digest on a pre-school establishments created human conditions for education of children in pre-school establishments. There is a lower number of children in each class, the director of a school has been given more power, they have started with gradual adaptation of healthy children and diagnostical stay of disabled children, logopedical care is provided directly in a school, parents can be given counselling through counselling specialists, what concerns education of their children or choosing any other kindergarten. Disabled children are provided with special care.
There are a different number of classes in pre-school establishments. Most of them have from one to four classes. Kindergartens are divided into classes. Usually there are classes for children of the same age but sometimes there are children of different age in one class.
In the Slovak Republic there are pre-school establishments with Slovak language spoken and also with minorities languages (Hungarian, Ukraine, German).
1.1.1 The subject of educational work in pre-school establishments
Education of children in public pre-school establishments is provided at present, as well as it was in the past, in accordance with the Program of children education in kindergartens(Program). At present the Program has been innovated to reflect positive trends in pedagogy and psychology. The education orientation to children personality concern their socially-emotional, perceptually-motorical and cognitive development, the attitude towards children is human, individual, their needs are respected. The Program concerns also health, environment and pro-social education.
The subject of education in separate parts of education, which are parts of the Program, is divided according the age of children. Teachers use the Program to make their plans in which they work out in details their target claims and tasks, depending on the age and individual characteristic of children and conditions of a particular kindergarten.
1.1.2 The cooperation of school and family
Cooperation of kindergartens and families is most frequent in comparison with other types of schools. This fact is caused namely by personal contact of teachers staff with parents or other people responsible for children.
Cooperation of kindergartens with families has both traditional and not traditional forms. Different kinds of cooperation - meetings, common activities of children, parents and teachers, personal discussions of teachers and parents, counselling guidance of kindergarten for parents, are oriented either to group presence of teachers and parents at meetings or other common activities, or to a personal contact of one teacher with one or both parents.
The content of the whole cooperation between kindergarten and parents is fulfilled according to requirements of a family and school. There are, for instance, common activities of children, parents and teachers which have creative features like festivals, holidays, trips, different games, plays, sports, work, etc.
It is possible to strengthen effectiveness of all forms of pre-school education by close cooperation with parents, their direct taking part in process of education in a kindergarten. Kindergarten attendance and the option of some forms of pre-school programs can be organized by regional authorities in close cooperation with parents. The attendance of Gypsy children and children from poor families is stressed in particular. These children are provided with free food conformably to the regulations.
Kindergartens cooperate closely not only with families but the whole community. For this reason kindergarten teachers should be familiar not only with educational orientation of kindergartens but also that of families.
1.1.3 The present trends in pre-school establishments
At present time the Government of the Slovak Republic is supposed to provide a sufficient number of places at pre-school establishments. This claim is fulfilled by the Ministry of Education through the action The conception of pre-school education development with emphasis on the year before the compulsory school age, which was passed by the government in November 1997.
Preparation of children for school is an integral part of pre-school education, it is provided by the state depending on particular conditions through specific forms of preparation for school. These forms are:
It is a form of pre-school preparation taking place in mornings or afternoons, depending on a capacity of the nearest kindergarten or other possibilities suitable for pre-school children.
Home pre-school preparation is a suitable combination with preparatory classes in kindergartens . Children and their parents can strengthen the knowledge and skills which they obtained in kindergartens . Home pre-school education is introduced in accordance with teachers instructions, educational plans and methodological materials worked out by methodologists of regional authorities.
1.1.4 Analysis of indicator 1 - Gross enrolment in early childhood development programmes
The Table 1 shows the development of the kindergarten enrolment in the 1990-1998 years. We can see that in the certain time period the kindergarten enrolment was decreasing. From the 1990 enrolment, which was 216 336 children, it decreased into 167 504 in 1998, it means about 48 832. It was caused mainly by the decrease in the whole population, but also by the lack of financial resources given by the state and by the dismissal of some kindergarten established previously by factories, or by privatisation of some others. At the same time the percentage of kindergartens enrolment in 1990 (which is 84.7%) is almost identical with that of 1998(which was 84.2%). The most evident decrease was in 1995, which was 70.9% (from 1990 it is 14.2% difference). In 1998 the percentage of kindergarten enrolment increased from 75.2 % (1996) into 84.2%.
The development of kindergarten enrolment differed in certain regions of Slovakia. Before 1996 Slovakia was divided into 4 regions (former territorial-administrative division). The kindergartens enrolment altered from 64.5% in the Central Slovak region in 1995 to 100.9% in the Bratislava region in 1993. The most evident decrease in kindergarten enrolment was in 1992-1995 in two regions, in the Central Slovak region (from 73.5% in 1992 to 64.5% in 1995) and in the East Slovak region (from 76.5% in 1992 to 67.4% in 1995).
After 1996 there are 8 regions (new territorial-administrative division). The kindergarten enrolment altered from 65.3% in the ilina region in 1996 to 104.7% in the Bratislava region in 1998. From 1996 there is an evident increase of kindergarten enrolment in each of Slovakia region. The most evident difference has been in the Trencín region (12.5%), the Trnava region (11.4%), the ilina region (9.6%), the Bratislava region and the Banská Bystrica region (9,6%), the Nitra region (8.1%), and the Koice region (5.6%). These fact are considered as highly positive.
Although the number of children who do not attend kindergartens is relatively high, it is not caused by the lack of places in kindergartens. Capacities of already existed kindergartens as well as qualified teachers were not utilizied. Many teachers had to either leave their schools after the schools were dismissed, or they started to work in primary schools (as not qualified teachers or as tutoresses in school clubs).
In Slovakia it is believed, and pedagogical and psychological research confirms that those children who attended kindergartens for at least one year before they started to go to school are better prepared for school and they have better study results.
1.1.5 Analysis of indicator 2 - Percentage of new entrants to Grade1 who have attended some form of organized early childhood development programme at least one year
The Table 2 shows the number of children who attended some form of pre-school education before they started to attend primary schools, regardless their age, which we started to follow in 1994.
For the grade 1 of primary school enrolment we took into the consideration the group of children 2/3 of whom were 5 years old and the rest 6-7 years old, who attended kindergartens. The analyzed data concern gross grade 1 primary school enrolment of children who attended kindergartens.
The percentage of kindergarten children as a whole (both in public and private institutions) decreased from 78.6% in 1994 to 75.8% in 1996. But in 1997 the kindergarten children percentage increased into 79.6% and in 1998 to 84.0%. The same tendency was evident in certain regions of Slovakia. The lowest percentage was in the ilina region (68.4%) in 1996, while the highest was in the Bratislava region (100,1%) in 1998.
The similar situation was evident also in public kindergartens. The whole percentage was decreasing from 81.6% in 1994 to 78.7% in 1996.But in 1997 it increased evidently to 82.4% and in 1998 to 87.1%.Watching certain regions the lowest percentage in public schools was evident in the ilina region (71.6%) in 1996 ,while the highest (106.5%) was in the Bratislava region in 1998. Since 1996 in every region (exept the Koice region) the percentage has been increasing: about 12.6% in the ilina region, about 11.% in the Bratislava region, by 10% in the Preov region. Under 10% increase there were these regions: the Trencín region (by 9.3%), the Trnava region and the Banská Bystrica region (by 8.6%), the Nitra region (by 7.4%). The lowest increase was in the Koice region (only by 2%).
In private kindergartens the percentage of children increased evidently from 0.5% in1994 to 6.3% in 1998. In 1996 it decreased to 3.7%, then it increased again to 6.5% in 1997. The most evident increase in percentage was by 11.4% in the Trnava region and by 8.4% in the Trencín region. Only in the Preov region there was evident the decrease of percentage of children in private kindergartens by 0.7%.
The low percentage of children in private kindergartens can be caused by these facts:
1.2 The policy and practice of disabled children involvement
The system of special education is established for children and pupils who, having been examined by doctors, psychologists, education specialists and according to results of these examinations showing problems in the field of psycho-social and physical development, are not able, even with the help of special compensation and rehabilitation aids, to be educated in common schools and establishments successfully.
The specialists who made the decision concerning their involvement into the system of special schools are from the field of health-care, education, social affairs and family.
After determining the diagnose the doctor usually recommends the child for further examinations in schools counselling guidance establishments. The diagnose is completed with the psychological examination. If the doctors and psychologist come to the conclusion that a child is disabled in the development of psychic, somatic or sensory functions which cause his disability to be educated successfully, further examinations follow in special education consulting centres or in logopedical centres. These establishments also sentence particular special -education interventions.
From the time aspect, the early childhood care is provided by counselling establishments for children aged 0-3 years. Since the age of three years some form of pre-school establishments is recommended- either in special kindergartens or in common nurseries. Children are sent to special kindergartens according to the type of their disability. In common nurseries children can be educated either in special classes or they are individually integrated among other healthy children.
Disabled children who do not attend any pre-school educational institution, and their parents, are provided with individual care through counselling centres.
Education of disabled children in pre-school age is provided by special education counselling guidance establishments, special kindergartens , special classes in kindergartens and common kindergartens using integrative forms together with special-pedagogy counselling.
Counselling establishments (logopedical counselling centres, education-psychological counselling centres, special-education counselling centres, childrens integrating centres) and pre-school establishments (common kindergartens and special kindergartens ) provide more exact examinations. Teams of specialists -doctors, psychologists, social specialists, special pedagogues give a complex appraise of children- pupils. The final special-education diagnose is given by a special pedagogue after appraising of all examinations and special-pedagogical interventions. At the same time special-educational requirements are defined with the proposal of a education prognosis. This appraising is a part of the "Proposal for involving of a child to a special school or a special kindergartens".
The proposal for involving of a child to the system of special schools is given either by parents or a person responsible for a child, a doctor, director of a special school or institution, director of a social institution.
The decision by the acceptance into the system of special education and training depends on the director of a school. Training and education of disabled children is under the control of two sectors (the sector of education and the sector of social affairs and family), which fact influences the process of disabled children acceptance.
In accordance with the Declaration of human rights parents have the right to express their opinion concerning the proposal for involving their child into the educational system. Signing the document they either agree or disagree with suggested proposals and recommendations.
1.3 School in nature
Schools in nature have been established and function with the purpose to improve health especially of those children who live in not healthy environment.
School in nature is an educational institution enabling children from kindergartens and special kindergartens aged 5-6 years to stay in nature, in the environment good for their health, without interrupting school work. These establishments try to improve physical condition of children, to strengthen their health.
Schools in nature are utilized namely by children from those regions where their healthy development is endangered by unsuitable environment, usually once a school year. Children and pupils can be sent there for utmost 12 days , with the permission of their parents or a person responsible for a child.
Educational process of pre-school children follows the Program, approved by the ministry of education.
The time except classes is spent usually outside, depending on the weather. Children concentrate on Ecology, Art Education, Physical Training, recreation and getting ready for the instruction.
The expenditures are paid from the budget of responsible organization, partly by parents or a person responsible for a child, or from other sources.
The Tab. 4 shows the data concerning the number of children in school in nature in 1990-1997 years.
Tab. 1: Number of kindergarten children in the school in nature
The development of children in school in nature percentage in the analyzed time period show the increase of the number of kindergarten children in school in nature from 2,9% in 1990 to 5,1% in 1997 (Tab. 4).
Dimension 2: Primary Education
In Slovakia the compulsory 6 year - lasting school attendance was introduced in accordance to the act from 1868 for pupils aged 6-12 years. So called the Small Education Act (No. 226/1922 of Digest ) prolonged the compulsory school attendance to 8 years (to 14 years of age). Since 1930 the compulsory school attendance finished either in eight -years public schools or three-years second -stage "metianska" schools. The Education Act No. 95/1949 of Digest introduced nine -years lasting compulsory school attendance to five- years lasting public school and four- years lasting lower secondary school. In 1953-1959 years the compulsory school attendance lasted 8 years. Then , in accordance with the Act No.186/1960 of Digest there was again introduced nine - years lasting compulsory school attendance. According to the document. The further development of the Czechoslovak education system from 1976 and the Education Act No. 29/194 of Digest the compulsory school attendance lasted 10 years (8 years in primary school and 2 years in secondary school).
In 1990 (the Education Act No. 171/1990 of Digest ) the compulsory school attendance was again shortened into 9 years. Seven years later (in 1997) it was prolonged to 10 years. Before 1990 the schools were ruled centrally, this has been changed and gradually the education system is being decentralized. In the field of primary schools there have been introduced many positive changes, such as opening of alternative schools, independence of schools, the subject of education based on principles of humanism and democracy, gradual changes in creation of pedagogical documentation.
2.1 Primary schools - characterization
In accordance with the Act No. 29/1984 of Digest concerning the system of primary and secondary schools (the Education Act) primary schools provide primary education. They provide intellectual education according to scientific knowledge, they lead pupils to principles of patriotism, humanism, and democracy. They provide ethical, esthetical, workshop, hygienic, physical and ecological education. Pupils are also provided with religion education.
Primary schools prepare pupils for further studies (for instance secondary modern schools, secondary special schools) or practice. Primary schools are divided into two stages. In the 1st stage pupils spend four years (grade 1-4), then they attend the 2nd stage (lower stage of secondary school- grade 5-9). Since the grade 5 pupils are usually differentiated according to their abilities and interests.
Before 1990 there were eight-years lasting primary schools (1st stage - grade 1-4 and 2nd stage grade 5-8). The compulsory school attendance lasted 10 years. In 1990 the Act was amended. The elementary education lasted nine years (grade 9 was attended by those pupils who were not accepted into secondary schools or who did not want to study at secondary schools). Most of 14 years old pupils left the grade 8 for secondary schools where they finished compulsory school attendance.
There was another change concerning the compulsory school attendance. The Education Law enabled opening of secondary schools lasting 4 or 8 years. Due to these changes a certain part of pupils (for instance 3.52% in 1944 and 7.44% in 1998) at the age of 10 continued with their studies and at the same time they finished the compulsory school attendance at 8-years lasting secondary schools.
Seven years later the Education Act was amended by the government (No 6/1998 of Digest ). Accordingly a gradual change from nine-years lasting school attendance to ten-years lasting school attendance has started. It started to come to life at the school year 1997/98 with the intention to move every year one third of primary school pupils (every year about one third more) to secondary schools. The process of transformation will finish in the school year 1999/2000 when almost all pupils will attend the grade 9 of primary schools. The only exception are pupils of bilingual secondary schools who were accepted after finishing the grade 8 of primary school having passed special entrance examinations.
The compulsory school attendance begins usually in that school year when a child is six years old, and it usually lasts utmost the end of that school year when a child is 16 years old. If a child at the age of six is not either physically or mentally developed enough, the beginning of compulsory school attendance can be delayed by the particular authorities about one school year. Having successfully completed primary schools, pupils continue with the compulsory school attendance in the grade 1 of secondary schools.
Primary schools are organized into grades according to the age, from the grade 1 to the grade 9. Classes are coeducative. There is no strict division of pupils according to their abilities. In each class there are pupils of the same age, the only exception are pupils who are repeating the grade, or extraordinarily gifted pupils who can skip some grades. Exceptional are also pupils with delayed school attendance.
2.1.1 The subject of educational work at secondary schools
The Education Law expressed the requirement to differentiate pupils according to their abilities and interests. This fact is evident also in pedagogical documents for primary schools pupils. The main means of education control are pedagogical documents such as: curricula, textbooks, and gradually formed, easy to reach educational standards.
Before 1990 pedagogical documents were created centrally, they were unified, compulsory and worked out into details. These documents should have been kept strictly. At present time curricula are created centrally too, but as they present only framework proposals, teachers may modify them, using different methods, forms and means to reach educational standards according to particular regional conditions, schools, classes or pupils.
Curricula have been completely changed in the previous ten years. For the school year 1990/91 there were created curriculum of the grade 9 or those pupils who were not accepted at secondary schools or who did not want to study at secondary schools, and who finished the compulsory school attendance in the grade 9. Starting with the school year 1993/94 there were new curricula for grade 8 lasting primary schools. The idea of future differentiation has been introduced into these curricula. For the first stage of primary schools (grade 1-4) there exist three possible variants of curricula - basic, stressing Science and Foreign Languages. For the second stage (grade5-8) there are seven variations - basic, and for class with special interest in Mathematics and Natural Science, Foreign Languages, Physical Education, Technical Education, Arts, Music.
Schools may decide for different options according to abilities and interests of their pupils. New elements of these curricula consist in the possibility to decide for one of five foreign languages instead of to have only one, that there are new subjects such as Ethics or Religion Education. For pupils with a deep interest in Mathematics and Natural Science there is a new subject - Computers.
Due to the fact that in 1993 the curricula did not include curriculum for grade 9, and that the whole population did not attend the grade 9, starting with the school year 1997/98 these curricula have been changed according to the conditions of grade 9 primary schools. Since the school year 1999/2000 the whole population attend the grade 9 (exept the above mentioned talented pupils who can pass to secondary schools from the grade 8).
Despite the fact that the first curricula of 90- ies were created and approved for the school year 1995/96, curricula were being changed from the beginning of 90-ies, because they had been too wide and they still had been influenced by previous socialist ideology. New curricula are more appropriate for pupils, they distinguish basic and supple subject matter, they are able to provide general preparedness for life as well as for further studies at secondary schools. These curricula prefer priorities of democratic and human society. When creating curricula the authors have gradually abandoned the ideas of scientisation and polytechnization of subject matter.
Creation of new pedagogical documents for Slovak primary schools - education standards - meant a liberal attitude towards curricula and effort to gain objective study results by testing pupils. At present time these documents concerning separate subjects are almost completed for the 1st and 2nd stages of primary schools. They consist of requirements concerning knowledge and skills of pupils from basic subject matter of particular school subjects, which are mastered by every pupil, however on a different level.
There have become positive changes in our schools since 1990. Every qualitative change has been reached gradually, by small steps. New pedagogical documents present the fact that the conservative school policy, which had been fixing a certain level, is no longer the source for them, but these new curricula respect educational requirements of pupils. In our school system requirements are equal for every race, nationality, sex, religion or social status. All pupils are educated to be able, according to their abilities and interests, to continue with their studies at different types of secondary schools. Due to these facts, the quality of pedagogical documents is under permanent control and criticism with the interest to coordinate possibilities of primary and secondary schools.
The quality and acceptability of education documents is confirmed by permanent acceptance of inward democracy of education at primary schools. Democracy respects each personality but, at the same time, it requires from him to respect the others.
Due to humanization of education the tendencies from the previous time periods before 1989, which made a pupil just a passive object of the process of education, have been gradually changed. This philosophy of education has been transformed into final pedagogical documents which help to involve creative atmosphere into school, and to have appropriate demands for pupils in accordance with their abilities.
Highly developed education is one of our priorities. We seek for different ways how to reach it. One of these ways presents new educational standards and regular measuring of the mastering level by testing pupils. In the passed ten years we have developed this way of measuring the effectiveness of education. In 1993 we performed the measuring of educational results in Slovak Language and Literature and Mathematics subjects with pupils of the grade7 and grade 8 in whole Slovakia. In 1995 we took part in the international measuring IEA of the results in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Geography with pupils of the grade 7 and grade 8 (the data will be given later).
Some positive steps were made in the field of changing conditions of educational process. The most important step was the change of the position of a pupil in the educational process. A pupil is now considered as a subject, somebody who helps to create the process of education. The communicative pattern teacher - class has been changed into the pattern teacher - pupil, pupil - pupil, pupil - pupils. Differentiation according to interests and abilities of pupils has integrated into primary schools. Teachers gradually find the appropriate rate when involving divergent parts into educational process. They concentrate also on goals beyond the subjects, such as Environment Education, Education towards Marriage and Parenthood, Hygiene Education. Some subjects at the first stage are evaluated only verbally, some are not evaluated.
Subjects of these positive progressive methods are presented by teachers who made their best in innovation of their work.
The change from directive pedagogy towards humanistic education and work with pupils was accepted positively and quickly by most teachers. At present time there are only few cases in our schools when teachers do not stress humanistic system of values.
A very important factor, when pedagogical documents are being completed, are central subject departments consisting of all types of teachers (including university teachers). Subject departments can guarantee that there is only elementary subject matter in curriculum. These subject departments together with other teachers propose continuous innovation of subject matter, mostly after having experience with teaching the wider form of a subject. This was the way which enabled introducing of such subjects as Financial Mathematics, Combinatorics, different ways of foreign languages teaching, Physics etc.
Our school is becoming more and more open towards parents and not- parents public. People gradually realize that school is supposed to help children at the first place, and that is the reason why they are willing to support schools both financially and ethically.
2.1.2 Accessibility and state of text books and other school accessories
In Slovakia new textbooks are decided through competition procedures. Competitions are proclaimed by the Ministry of Education of the Slovak Republic on mass media. Competitions can be initiated by the National Institute for Education, the National Institute of Special Education, schools, teachers, region educational institutes belonging to different ministries, and others. The base for new textbooks are current curricula and educational standards for subjects. Authors of textbook may suggest actualization of curricula or educational standards at the ministry.
Competition participants show at the competition their conspect of a textbook, detailed content and some samples of already worked out theme precsribed by the competition, or their completed manuscript together with the list of authors. New projects are reviewed by competition c comities which guarantee didactical and professional correctness. These are formed namely by creative teachers from schools, and also by specialists from scientific and methodological institutions and reputable didactics. Particular members of comities are proposed by the National Institute for Education for general subjects, and by the State Institute of Special Education for special subjects. The final state is approved by the minister of education.
New projects are anonymous. They are reviewed extremely critically and objectively , on the base of criteria for evaluation of textbooks. The criteria which are stressed most strongly are: to what extent the certain project responds to the purpose and content of curricula for a subject, whether the continuity of separate chapters is evident, and, particularly, how the rule concerning adequacy to age is kept (adequate language expressions, convenience and number of terms, exactness of their definition). Stress is laid also on motivation of the text, whether it is possible to read it without difficulty (which verbs were used, low long the sentences are), which types of letters were used, if the graphical lay-out is appropriate, the forms of emphasising and distinguishing of structural components of the textbook).
Publishers are responsible for producing of textbooks after competitions results are known. They cooperate with authors and lectors of textbooks.
The Ministry of Education awards attestation of a manuscript after showing the approving record. Thus the textbook is included into the list of textbooks recommended to schools . Textbooks placed in the official list of recommended books for schools are paid by the Ministry of education.
Schools are supposed to pay for teaching aids, accessories and didactical machines according to their own needs and choice, depending on their financial situation.
2.1.3 Regarding of regional conditions, environment protection, reducing of AIDS -extend speed, drugs abuse prevention in curricula
Issues of environment protection are dealt with the Conception of Environmental Education at schools, approved by the Ministry of education and the Ministry of Environment of the SR in 1997.
This conception includes extraordinal curricula of Environmental Education for primary and secondary schools - The environmental minimum. The purpose of these curricula is to form and develop such personal qualities of pupils, which enable them to protect and improve environment. We teach pupils to understand environment, it means that the knowledge help to develop receptiveness of children, and to apprehend issues of environment from local to global character and importance. We educate children through environment (development of skills, which enable to solve problems and to decide, using obtained experience in environment ) and for environment (development of positive values and attitudes of pupils), and we lead them to direct participation in environment protection and improvement.
The content of Environmental Education corresponds with the content of education at primary schools in following subjects:
Pupils are involved into projects concerning environment protection of their surroundings in the frame of after-school activity when cooperating with different organizations. These ideas have recently been included also in subject Olympiads, such as Biology, Geography, Chemistry, and in secondary schools special activities.
Issues of drugs-abuse basic prevention and AIDS- prevention are involved into the conception of the Education towards Marriage and Parenthood, which was approved by the Ministry of education in June 1998. Its realization is obligatory also for primary schools.
Drugs abuse prevention in the school district originates in the National program of fight against drugs, approved by the government in 1995, which is improved every year by suggested proposals. Besides this, teachers participated in special courses at preventive anti-drugs computer programs.
Issue of drugs-abuse prevention is an important part of educational process, it concerns several subjects such as Biology, Ethical Education, Social Studies, Slovak Language, Chemistry, Arts, Physical Education, History.
The Ministry of education in cooperation with the National centre of health support patronizes the project called Schools supporting health. The National Institute for Education patronizes the project called "Schools without alcohol, drugs, cigarettes".
Goals, content and methods of Education towards Marriage and Parenthood are worked out in curricula of the subject Education towards Marriage and Parenthood, and they present a part of this conception.
Education towards Marriage and Parenthood has multi-disciplinary character. It presents the integration of different philosophy, philosophy, sociology, psychology and biology aspects, concerning marriage, family life and intimate relationships. As Education towards Marriage and Parenthood presents an integral system of education and affection pupils, it is possible to apply separate parts of curricula into other subjects or class-masters activities.
2.1.4 Cooperation of school and family, relations in school community
Cooperation of school and family and cooperation of school with a wider community of a village or city is based on legislation. The Act No. 542/1990 of Digest concerning the State administration authorities in schools introduced new self-governing bodies - school councils and regional school councils. Regional school councils were supposed to help with consideration of parents´, teachers´ and pupils´ interests in the field of education, as an initiative and advisory self-governing body.
Members of school councils were representatives of schools, school institutions, parents, deputies of regional boards and organizations, it means important institutions of certain regions. There may be also other specialist (economists, lawyers, psychologists etc.). School councils were constituted on the same base at certain schools. They could express their opinions concerning every important fact of school system development, and every problem concerning school activities, especially the following:
They also could express their opinions concerning school administration and activities of parents council from the aspect of school issues.
Activities of regional school councils were changed by the Act No. 222/1966 of Digest concerning the organization of local State administration, and the change and completization of some acts. According to this, these institutions were no longer allowed to decide about appointments or removals of school councils directors or directors of schools and school institutions. In practice it meant disablement of self-governing school institutions, many of them lost their functions and most of them, for this reason, were dissolved.
The amendment of the act, which is supposed to come into life since September 1,1999, is expected to give the above mentioned rights back to school councils, regional and district councils.
Parents´ meetings are self-governing institutions which provide cooperation of school and family effectively. These are supposed to gather and deal with opinions and ideas, comments and requirements of parents, concerning education of children at school and school institutions. Through their deputies they can consult the director or teachers. They cooperate with public institutions as well as with governing school institutions. Problems above the frame of school are solved by councils, parents´ meetings, State administration institutions, and ME. Parents´ meetings provide representation of parity parents´ meetings members in school councils. They create parents council, which help in legislative, methodology and special activities at school.
One of main goals of parents´ meeting is to support school administration, teachers and other specialists in educational process.
Forms of cooperation between school and parents´ meeting, and wider community:
2.1.5 New forms of access and experimental activities at primary school
At some primary schools projects approved by the Ministry of education are experimentally introduced. These experiments concern, in particular, alternative programs of education, conceptions of work with talented pupils e.t.c. Alternative educational programs are regularly evaluated from the aspect of attitude of a pupils towards school, adaptation when pupils come into another school, motivation of pupils, social climate in classes, and other aspects influencing educational process in these classes. Experimental research activities are realized according to the Instruction of the Ministry of education for experimental evaluation, concerning the organization, forms and subject of education, and the way school governing.
From the aspect of aims and goals experimental research in primary schools in the years 1990-1998 can be divided into following categories:
A: Evaluation of the content of education in certain subjects:
a) projects concerning foreign languages teaching, where the following aspect are evaluated:
b) projects concerning Regional Education and Folk Culture, where the following aspects are evaluated:
c) projects concerning teaching of Environmental Education:
d) projects concerning evaluation of the following subjects: Work with Computers, and Computers;
e) projects concerning evaluation of teaching plans and content of the following subjects: Natural Science at the 1st stage and Natural Science at the 2nd stage;
B: Evaluation of alternative programs of education:
c) projects of various alternative pedagogical programs of education:
C: Evaluation of forms and means of evaluation and qualification of pupils, where the following aspects are evaluated in particular:
D: Conception of work with not-standard pupils, concerning the following issues:
2.1.6 Analysis of indicators 3 and 4 - Gross and net intake rates in primary education
In table 3 only the gross rate of primary school pupils in the period 1990-1998 is given. Since data on the age of new entrants to primary grade 1 in individual years are not available, it was impossible to calculate the real (net) rate of new entrants to primary school.
In the SR care of education of children of both pre-school and primary school age is obvious. In the analysed period the total number of new entrants in the first grade of primary school has a significantly downward tendency. From 89 660 pupils in 1990 it fell to 75 152 in 1998 (from 45 961 boys to 38 673 and from 43 699 girls to 36 476). This tendency is understandable because the population of 6-year-old children dropped sharply in the years 1990-1998.
In public schools the number of pupils went down sharply from 89 545 pupils in 1990 to 72 279 pupils in 1998 (from 45 904 boys to 37 213 and from 43 641 girls to 35 066). In private schools, on the contrary, the total number of pupils rose sharply from 115 in 1990 to 3 197 in 1993. In the years 1994-1998 the total number of pupils fell gradually from 3 101 to 2 873 pupils. In 1990 almost equal number of girls (58) and boys (57) attended private schools. However, up to the year 1998, the number of boys multiplied 25,6 times and that of girls only 24,3 times.
The total gross intake rate in primary education in all the analysed years exceeded a 100% limit. The lowest intake rate (101.3%) was in 1990 and the highest intake rate was in 1995 (104.2%).
In the SR girls and boys have equal access to education (not only primary). Gender differences in the gross rate of new entrants to primary education on the territory of Slovakia were insignificant. The gross rate of new entrants - of boys and girls equally - exceeded 100%. The gross rate of boys ranged from 101.4% in 1991 to 104.6% in 1993, the gross rate of girls ranged from 100.7% in 1990 to 103.8% in 1995.
The gross rate of new entrants in the first grade of primary education in the years 1990-1996 exceeded 100 % also in individual 4 regions of the SR (former territorial-administrative division), with the exception of Central Slovak region. A noticeably highest rate of new entrants in the first grade of primary education was observed in Bratislava region: 109.6% (1993), 107.2% (1995) and 105.7% (1994). The lowest rate of new entrants was 99.9% in Central Slovak region in 1990. However, since 1996, out of 8 regions of the SR (present territorial-administrative division) the gross rate of new entrants was lower than 100% in two regions: Trnava region (98%) and Trencín region (98.7%), in 1997 in ilina region (99.8%) and in 1998 in Trnava region (99.9%).
Gender differences in the intake rates in primary education are more evident when data from Slovakia as a whole are compared. Up to 1996, in all the regions of the SR, the gross rate of boys in primary schools was 99.7% and more, in 1991 in East Slovak region the figure was up to 109.4%, and in 1993 in Bratislava region. The scope of the gross rate of girls was almost identical with the scope of the gross rate of boys. It ranged from 99.8% in Central Slovak region in 1990 to 109.8% in Bratislava region in 1993. In the period 1996-1998, out of 8 regions of the SR, the most significant fall was in the rate of boys (to 96.9%) in Trnava region in 1996 and in the same year also the rate of girls dropped sharply to 98.0% in Trencín region. A significant rise in the rate of boys in the first grade of primary education to 106.4% was observed in Bratislava region in 1998 and in that of girls to 105.9% in Koice region in 1997.
In this connection it is necessary to mention that due to the new territorial-administrative division of Slovakia an inaccurate calculation of population within individual districts could have occurred, because new districts had come into existence, and those which had constituted the original territorial-administrative division up to 1996 are not identical with the new division. Inaccuracies in counting of population in individual districts might have also been caused by the fact that migration of inhabitants began and a census is once in ten years.
Regardless of the above mentioned differences in the gross rates of new entrants in the first grade of primary education in individual school years, regions, or sexes in the entire SR, the Education Act lays down an obligation of enrolment and care of school attendance for the legal guardian of the child.
With children educable in special primary schools, the beginning of compulsory school attendance follows an assessment of the childs maturity for entrance to school and completion of compulsory school attendance follows fulfilment of the conditions of compulsory education. In case the child, because of his/her mental state, is unable to be educated, the State administration authorities in education exempts them from compulsory school attendance.
If parents violate the law (which does not commonly occur), they are sanctioned severely.
2.1.7 Analysis of indicators 5 and 6 - Gross and net enrolment ratios in primary education
Table 4 gives only the gross enrolment ratio in primary education, as data on the age structure of pupils in individual grades of primary school are not available. For this reason:
In the period 1990-1996, the total number of pupils aged 6-13 (14) years of primary (both public and private) schools had a significantly downward tendency. In comparison with 1990, in 1996, the number of pupils fell by 61 956. Compared with 1996, the number of primary school pupils began to rise slightly by 3 890 pupils in 1997 and 9 125 pupils in 1998.
In the public primary schools there was a sharp drop of pupils aged 6-13 (14) years from 740 922 pupils in 1990 to 650 870 pupils in 1996, from 378 263 boys to 333 903, and from 362 659 girls to 316 967. In comparison with 1996, there was an evident rise in the number of pupils of public primary schools by 3 551 pupils in 1997 and by 7 965 pupils in 1998.
A reverse tendency was recorded in the number of pupils of private primary schools. In 1998, enrolment in private primary education rose significantly by 29 256 pupils (38 times) compared with the year 1990. However, the development in enrolment in private primary schools in individual regions of the SR was uneven and different. In 1990, the network of private primary school was concentrated only in two regions - Bratislava and West Slovak regions. Since 1991, it has gradually expanded throughout the entire territory of Slovakia.
Up to 1996, a vast majority of 14-year-old pupils left grade 8 of primary school for secondary school. Only pupils who were not admitted to secondary education continued their study in grade 9, thus fulfilling compulsory school attendance in primary school.
A gradual transition of eight- to nine-year primary school and from nine- to ten-year compulsory education started to be realized in 1997. It was supposed that in the first year 33.3 % pupils would move from grade 8 to grade 9, in the following school the expected number was two thirds of pupils, and as late as in the school year 1999/2000 the whole population would be educated in grade 9. However, the real situation was different. With regard to their capacity possibilities, secondary schools admitted a significantly higher number of pupils from grades 8 (aged 14) than it was originally planned, which resulted in the gross enrolment ratio in primary education in Slovakia that was 100 % in 1997, and in 1998 fell to 98.6%. In 1997 it was lower than 100 % in some regions. While in 1997 the scale of the gross enrolment ratio in primary education ranged 99.5 % in ilina region to 99 % in Preov region, in 1998 the scale reached the values of 99.9 % in Bratislava region to 97.3 % in Preov region. In the following school year of 1999/2000, i.e. after completion of the transformation of primary school, the above mentioned lower values reached the original levels from before 1997 not only in Slovakia as a whole, but also in individual regions.
In the analysed years, gender differences in gross enrolment ratios in primary education were not significant. The enrolment ratio of boys ranged from 97.0 % in Preov region in 1998 to 105.0 % in Bratislava region in 1995; that of girls ranged from 97.6 % in ilina and Preov regions to 103.9 % in Bratislava region in 1993.
2.1.8 Analysis of indicators 7 and 8 - Public expenditure on primary education as percentage of Gross National Product (GNP) and of total public expenditure on education (all levels); and public current expenditure on primary education per pupil as percentage of GNP per capita
Tables 5a and 5b document the development of public expenditure on primary education as percentage of GNP and of total public expenditure on education, as well as public current expenditure on primary education per pupil as percentage of GNP per capita for the fiscal year (Table 5a) and for the school year (Table 5b) in the years 1990-1998. In an effort to find the differences between them we calculated the indicators for the fiscal year and for the school year. Since financing for the fiscal year is not identical with that for the school year, comparison of calculations of numbers of pupils was carried out in such a way so that they would correspond with the period of financing. It means that up to the year 1991 we were realized by calculating 2/3 of performances of the school year 1990/1991 and 1/3 of performances of the school years 1991/1992.
Table 5a shows the values without calculations, Table 5b accepts the fact of financed performances in given fiscal years. As the data in the tables differ in public expenditure per pupil in primary education as percentage of GNP per capita in the years 1994-1996, in the following part we will consider only Table 5b in our analysis.
The methods of branch and economic evidence defined by Acts of the National Council of the SR and by execution rules of the Ministry of Finance of the SR are not identical with the requirements of documentary technique of the EC and UNESCO, which results in distorting some data on expenditure on education.
In connection with this fact we mention the following divergences, which were not possible to be given accurately in creation of Tables 5a and 5b, and thus in interpretation of individual parameters these facts have to be considered:
The rate of public expenditure on primary education out of total public expenditure on education was 28.5 % in 1998, which represents a fall of 49 % compared with 1996. The rate of public expenditure on primary education as percentage of GNP and the rate of public expenditure on primary education per pupil as percentage of GNP per capita dropped by 0.2% in 1998 compared with 1990. The lowest rate of public expenditure on primary education (27.4%) was in 1993 and the highest (34.1%) in 1995. At the same time, however, in both mentioned years the rate of public expenditure on primary education as percentage of GNP and the rate of public expenditure on primary education per pupil as percentage of GNP per capita represented the same figure (1.4%).
The most significant rise in the rate of public expenditure on primary education out of the total expenditure on education was recorded in 1995 (about 5-6% in comparison with 1990, 1992, and 1994), which represents, however, compulsory increase in the budget in connection with the legislative change as laying down an obligation to deliver financial means for insurance (health, social, retirement) and to the employment fund. In other words, in reality these are not financial means for the operation of primary schools, but finances which soon return to the state budget in the form of compulsory delivery.
The serious state in the sphere of financing of primary education as well as of education at large is indicated by equal rates of public expenditure on primary education as percentage of GNP and of public current expenditure on primary education per pupil, which ranged from 1.1% in 1994 to 1.7% in 1992.
One of the factors conditioning the above mentioned fact has been since 1996 a gradual transition from compulsory eight-year to compulsory nine-year primary education, as well as inadequate financial means allocated for this purpose.
A slight rise (of 1.8%) in public expenditure compared with the previous year apparently follows also from the state guaranteed compulsory valorization of salary-payment means of the rate classes by approximately 4%, which in some cases, however, was solved also by reducing non-compulsory parts of salaries in personal bonuses.
The development of expenditure in Table 5a indicates a rise in the rate of public current expenditure on primary education, which, however, means reducing financial means for the other levels of education despite the fact that these require more finances, e.g. for material and technical equipment (e.g. secondary vocational schools, higher education institutions of technological or artistic orientation, universities of agriculture and veterinary medicine, etc.), and also despite the fact that population in primary education is decreasing, while the number of those interested in study at secondary schools and higher education institutions is rising.
Furthermore, the development of expenditure on primary education also indicates a non-systematic approach to the financing of education, which is reflected by almost regular repetition of a slight rise in expenditure in one year and a drop in expenditure allocated to education from the state budget in the following year.
In this connection it is necessary to take into consideration that in the years 1990-1998 there was a significant rise in prices (which differed from the original prices in individual years even by 300%), and most changes in prices were related to basic consumption goods such as material equipment of schools, all kinds of energy, heating, basic kinds of food for school canteens, etc.
2.1.9 Analysis of indicators 9 and 10 - Percentage of primary school teachers having the required academic qualifications; and percentage of primary school teachers who are certified to teach according to national standards
In the course of the years 1990-1999, two investigations of the qualification of education staff and professionalism of teaching in regional schools were realized; the first in the school year 1994/1995 (to April 3, 1995) and the second in 1997/1998 (to April 24, 1998). The results of both the investigations are presented in Table 6.
In this connection we ought to explain the terms (education staff, qualification and professionalism, supplementary teacher training), which are defined by the legislative regulations of the SR and which we will use in this part of the report. According to the Education Act education staff (we define them only from the point of view of the need of the report) are teachers including headmasters and deputies of pre-school establishments, primary and special schools, institutions for special-interest studies, educators in schools and school institutions. With regard to the fact that the data in Table 6 refer only to primary school teachers, in the next part of the report we will replace the term education staff by the term teachers.
A general criterion of teacher qualification is his professional and educational competence, civil irreproachableness and moral maturity. In compliance with the Decree of the Ministry of Education of the SR No. 41/1996 of Digest on professional and educational competence of education staff, professional competence is a complex of expertise, professional skills and habits acquired through study at higher education institution or secondary school, as well as pertinent teaching practice. Educational competence is defined as knowledge from the area of sciences about education and training, and abilities and skills necessary for performing teaching activities, which are acquired through study at higher education institution in the fields of teacher training study, as well as in supplementary educational study.
By completing the field of teacher training education staff acquire professional and pedagogical competence. Through completion of non-teacher-training field of study education staff acquire only professional competence. They can obtain educational competence through supplementary teacher-training.
A special kind of study at higher education institutions for the acquisition of educational competence for educational and training activity at schools is supplementary study. The Decree of the Ministry of Education of the SSR No. 68/1985 of Digest on supplementary study of undergraduates and graduates of higher education institutions and secondary schools for acquiring educational competence lays down that through supplementary study graduates and students of higher education institutions of non-teacher-training fields of study are acquire educational competence for teaching subjects the content of which follows from the content of the curricula of the fields of study and profiles of the graduates.
While in 1994 out of all 2 486 public and private schools 2 413 primary schools were included in the investigation, in 1997 out of all 2 484 primary schools 2 440 schools were included. In 1998, compared with 1995, the total number of primary school teachers rose slightly by 524 (out of which the number of women rose by 929, and the number of men fell by 205).
As the qualification of primary school teachers was investigated in different territorial-administrative divisions (4 regions in 1995, 8 regions in 1997), only the qualification of teachers as a whole can be compared. It is necessary to take into consideration that the investigation was not realized at all schools.
In 1994 the total number of primary school teachers having the required academic qualifications in the SR was 31 195 (81.1%). As far as gender is concerned, the whole number of teachers with the required qualifications is dominated by male teachers (86.8%); women teachers represent 80.4%. The highest number of qualified teachers was determined in West Slovak region (87.3%), the lowest in East Slovak region (77.9%). In each region (except Bratislava region) more men than women were qualified. The scope of qualification ranged
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