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from 82.4% in Bratislava region to 88.1% in West Slovak region. With women teachers the scope of qualification ranged from 76.0% in East Slovak region to 83.9% in Bratislava region.
The investigation of qualification structure of teachers in 1994 was followed by another in 1997, which besides qualification of teachers monitored also those graduates who completed supplementary teacher training.
The total qualification of teachers fell from 81.1% in 1994 to 78.7% in 1997. However, the total numbers of teachers in individual eight regions of the SR (present territorial-administrative division) are balanced and correspond to the sizes of the regions, numbers of pupils and network of schools. The highest (82.9%) is qualification of the teachers in Trencín region and the lowest (73.6%) in Koice region. More men (85.6%) have the required academic qualifications than women (77.3%). In all the regions the acquired qualifications are dominated by men, ranging from 78.0% in Bratislava region to 90.5% in Trencín region. The scope of qualification of women ranges from 71.2% in Koice region to 81.6% in Trencín and Nitra regions.
In 1997, data on primary school teachers certified to teach according to national standards were collected and analysed. Graduates or students of higher education institution of non-teacher-training orientation acquire educational competence through supplementary study. The total number of primary school teachers in the SR who have completed supplementary study was 1 644 (4.2%), out of which there were 4.7% men and 4.1% women. The range of acquired certification to teach differred not only in individual eight regions but also with the sexes. A significant rise (6.2%) was recorded in Bratislava region, the lowest rise (2.9%) in Banská Bystrica region. As far as gender differences are concerned, the highest rates of teachers certified to teach according to national standards were 8.3% with men and 6.0% with women in Bratislava region. The lowest rates were determined in Banská Bystrica region - 3.8% men and 2.7% women were certified to teach according to national standards.
Tab. 1: Age structure of primary school teachers in 1994 and 1997
In the analysed years (1994, 1997), the age structure of primary school teachers is imbalanced (Tab. 5). While in 1994 the most numerous were groups of teachers aged 51-55 years (19.02%), 41-45 years (18.07%) and 46-50 years (15.32%), in 1997 the most numerous were the same age groups as in 1994 but in inverse order: the group of teachers aged 41-45 years (16.87%), the group aged 51-55 years (16.11%) and that aged 46-50 years (16.08%). In 1994 the least numerous were marginal groups of teachers up to the age of 25 years (5.62%) and 61 years and over (2.07%), and in 1997 the least numerous groups were those of teachers aged 61 years and over (2.70%), of teachers aged 25 years and under (8.49%) and a group of 56-60-year-olds (8.80%).
On the one side, a rise in younger age groups of teachers up to 35 years by 3.93% compared with 1994 can be considered to be a positive tendency; on the other side a rise in the group of teachers in retirement age (56 years and over) by 2.18% can be considered as negative development. The following graph shows and compares the age structure of primary school teachers in 1994 and 1997.
Graph 1: Comparison of age structure of primary school teachers in 1994 and 1997
2.1.10 Analysis of indicator 11 - Pupil-teacher ratios in primary education
Table 7 contains data on pupil-teacher ratios in both public and private schools. Since comparison of pupil-teacher ratios in primary (public and private) schools as a whole with ratios in public primary schools showed only negligible, decimal differences, in the following part of the report we will focus only on the analysis and comparison of pupil-teacher ratios between public and private primary schools.
In the SR the highest possible number of pupils per class is stated as follows: at the first level of primary school (grades 1-4) in a class of the first grade - 30 pupils, in a class of grades 2-4 - 35 pupils; in a class of the second level of primary school (grades 6-9) - 35 pupils.
In the years 1990-1999 in both public and private primary schools the pupil-teacher ratios did not exceed 19. While in 1998 the lowest pupil-teacher ratios were in both public (15,32) and private schools (13,86), the highest pupil-teacher ratio in public primary schools was 18,69 in 1990, and while in private schools in 1991 (17,07). The differences in the fall in the number of pupils per teacher in comparison with the highest numbers are evident in both types of schools (Graph 2). In public primary schools the difference in the number of pupils per teacher is 3,37 and in private primary schools 3,21.
In the period 1990-1995 in four regions of the SR (former territorial-administrative division) the pupil-teacher ratios in public primary schools ranged from 15,80 in West Slovak region in 1995 to 19,48 in Bratislava region in 1990. In private schools a significantly lowest pupil-teacher ratio was 11,42 in West Slovak region, and the highest ratio 20,37 was recorded in Bratislava region in 1990. In two regions - Central Slovak and East Slovak - the first private schools were established as late as in 1991, and the pupil-teacher ratios were 16,97 and 20,83 respectively.
Since 1996 in all the eight regions of the SR (present territorial-administrative division) a fall in pupil-teacher ratios in both public and private primary schools has been recorded. In public primary schools the pupil-teacher ratio dropped from 16,64 in ilina region to 14,29 in Nitra region; in private primary schools the ratio fell from 15,43 in Preov region to 12,52 in Banská Bystrica region.
Although the presented data on the development of pupil-teacher ratios are positive, they are mainly caused by the demographic development as well as transition to nine-year compulsory primary school attendance.
Graph 2: Comparison of pupil-teacher ratios in both public and private primary schools in 1990-1998
2.1.11 Analysis of indicator 12 - Repetition rates by grade
Table 8 shows repetition rates in individual grades of primary school (1-9) and repetition ratios in grades 1-5 in the years 1990-1997.
A repeater is a pupil who is enrolled in the same grade for a second (or further) year if he was not marked and the pedagogic council of the school did not approve his promotion to the next grade, as well as if he failed.
In compliance with the Decree of the Ministry of Education of the SR No.143/1984 of Digest on primary school as amended by subsequent provisions a failing pupil is a pupil of grades 5-9 of primary school who is at the end of the second term marked by grade insufficient" in maximally two subjects and fails examination re-sits.
In accordance with the Methodical Guidelines of the Ministry of Education of the SR on assessment and marking of pupils of primary school from 1994 a pupil fails if he is in any compulsory marked subject marked by grade insufficient" even after an examination re-sit. Pupils of the first level of primary school do not take examination re-sits. A pupil who achieves in grade 1 of primary school poor outcomes repeats the grade. A pupil of grades 2-4 fails if he is marked in minimally one marked subject by grade insufficient (variant A), or if his outcomes are so poor that they do not fill the requirements of the curriculum for grades 2,3 or 4.
A pupil of grades 5-9 of primary school is marked by grade 5 (insufficient) in case he has not acquired knowledge required by the curriculum solidly, accurately and totally, and has relevant and significant gaps in it. His skill to perform the required intellectual and motoric activities has substantial shortcomings. In application of the acquired knowledge and skills in the solution of theoretical and practical problems he makes serious mistakes. In the explanation and evaluation of phenomena and correlations he cannot use acquired knowledge, not even with the teachers help, he does not manifest independence in thinking, and logical errors appear frequently in his reflection. In oral and written expression he manifests serious shortcomings in behaviour and accuracy. The quality of the results of his activities and his graphic expression are at a low level. He is unable to correct serious mistakes and shortcomings even with the teachers help.
The total repetition rates in individual grades of primary schools in the SR in the analysed years ranged as follows (Table 8):
From the above mentioned data it follows that the repetition rates drop sharply from grade 1 to grade 9 of primary school. In this connection it is important to note that in the period 1990-1997 a vast majority of primary school pupils moved from grades 8 to secondary schools. Only pupils who did not want to continue, or were not admitted to a secondary school moved into grade 9, thus fulfilling compulsory school attendance at primary school.
However, sharp differences manifested in higher rates of repeating boys in comparison with girls not only in individual grades but also in each monitored year (1990-1997).
While an overall development in the repetition rates in grades 1-5 was not significant (it ranged from 2.3% to 2.5%), gender differences were more significant (with boys the repetition rates ranged from 2.6% to 2.9%, with girls they stood at 2.0% in each analysed year).
The development in repetition rates in individual grades of primary school in individual regions of the SR was uneven and different. Up to 1996, in four regions of the SR the lowest rate of pupils repeating grades 1-5 was 0.9% in Bratislava region in 1993 and 1994 and the highest - 4.1% - in East Slovak region in 1991. E.g. in the same region there was a sharp fall in the repetition rate in grades 1 of primary school from 7.3% in 1993 to 4.0% in 1995.
In 1996-1997 in eight regions of the SR the lowest repetition rate for grades 1-5 was 0.7% in Trencín region in 1997 and the highest - 4.7% - in Koice region in 1996. In each region of the SR a higher rate of repeating boys was recorded than that of girls. E.g. most repeaters were in grades 1 (9.2% boys) in Koice region and the fewest 1.0% in Trencín region in 1997.
As primary school in the SR consists of the first (grades 1-4) and second (grades 5-9) levels, we will focus our attention on transfer of pupils from the first to the second level of primary school (lower level of secondary school), i.e. from grades 4 to grades 5 (further only transfer of pupils). In 1990-1997 the transfer of pupils is characterized in each year by a rise (in some years even two-fold) in the rate of pupils repeating grades 5. For example, while the total repetition rate for grades 4 was 1.5% in 1991, the rate for grades 5 was as high as 3.0%, with more repeating boys (1.8% - grades 4 and 3.8% - grades 5) than girls (1,2% - grades 4 and 2.1% - grades 5). The repetition rate for grades 4 dropped from 1.6% in 1990 to 1.4% in 1995. In grades 5 the repetition rate ranged from 2.5% in 1995 to 3.0% in 1991.
Repetition rates at the transfer from grades 4 to 5 rose also in individual regions of the SR. Significantly lowest repetition rates were noted in Bratislava region in 1993 (0.7% repeaters of grades 4 and 1.2% repeaters of grades 5), significantly highest rates in East Slovak region (2.2% repeaters of grades 4 and 4.9% repeaters of grades 5).
The rise in the repetition rates of pupils of grades 5 can be explained by the fact that while at the first level of primary school one teacher teaches most subjects, at the second level (starting with grade 5) pupils come into contact with several teachers, and meet with various requirements for their work. Adapting to every teachers demands requires from pupils a relatively long adaptation process. The adaptation of pupils to concrete conditions has different levels, which are consequently reflected in their learning outcomes.
The transfer of pupils from grade 4 to grade 5 is considered a permanent problem, which is in the long term solved in such a way that already at the first level, especially in grades 3 and 4, some subjects (Art, Physical Education, etc.) are taught either by teachers from parallel classes or by teachers of the second level, teachers of the first and second levels work together within the framework of methodical associations and different curricular review groups, they observe one anothers teaching in classes, they use meetings with class teachers and educational counsellors.
The repetition rates are highest in grades 1 of primary school. The reasons for this phenomenon can be seen in that e.g. a child who should have been placed in a special school attends a regular type of primary school because in his/her place of residence there is not a given school. It is common that such child repeats a grade, sometimes more than one time. However, a vast majority of repeaters are constituted by Romaines.
2.1.12 Analysis of indicators 13 and 14 - Survival rates to grade 5 and coefficients of efficiency
Table 9 contains data concerning survival rates to grade 5, coefficients of efficiency of pupils in grades 5, as well as coefficients of efficiency of pupils of primary schools. Please note that the data in columns 8-10 referring to the coefficients of efficiency of pupils of primary school cannot be taken into consideration either in the comparison of the efficiency of pupils of primary schools in the SR or between individual schools for two reasons:
On the basis of the above mentioned reasons we worked out Table 9, which shows survival rates in individual grades of primary school and the average efficiency of pupils of primary school.
From Table 9 it follows that the survival rate to grades 5 dropped from 99.3% in 1990 to 97.9% in 1997. Up to 1996 the development in survival rates to grades 5 in four regions of the SR was different. In comparison with the year 1990 the rate reached 101.6% in Central Slovak region, in the other three regions it ranged from 98.0% in East Slovak region to 99.0% in Bratislava region. The sharpest fall in survival rates to grades 5 compared with the year 1990 occurred in East Slovak region - from 98.0% to 86.1% in 1995 - and in Central Slovak region - from 101.6% to 96.4%. The most significant rise in the development of survival rates to grades 5 was in Bratislava region to 115.9% in 1995 (compared with 99.0% in 1990) and in West Slovak region to 106.7% (compared with 98.3% in 1990). We suppose that this situation was a consequence of the election in the SR in 1995, which resulted in an increased influx of migrants from Central Slovak to Bratislava and West Slovak regions (many families abandoned their places of residence and moved for jobs).
In the new territorial-administrative division of the SR no significant differences a noticeable in survival rates to grades 5 within the same regions in 1996-1997. The lowest rates were 93.2% (in 1996) and 94.6% (in 1997) in East Slovak region, the highest 100.6% in ilina region (in 1996) and 101.2% in Trnava region (in 1997).
The coefficient of efficiency of pupils of grades 5 of primary school in the SR was falling slightly from 96.7% in 1990 to 96.2% in 1997, while the lowest coefficient in the analysed period (95.6%) was in 1995. There were insignificant differences between the genders. While the lowest coefficients of efficiency of pupils of grades 5 were with boys 94.9% in 1995 and with girls 96.2% in 1996, the highest coefficients were in the same year (1990) - 96.7% with boys and 97.6% with girls.
Identical development in the fall in the coefficients of efficiency of pupils of grades 5 can also be noticed in individual regions of the SR. Out of the four regions of the SR (former territorial-administrative division) we observed an insignificant drop in the coefficient of efficiency of pupils of grades 5 in Bratislava region from 99.2% in 1990 to 98.7% in 1995. In West Slovak region the opposite trend was noted - a rise in the coefficient of efficiency of pupils of grades 5 from 97.0% in 1990 to 100.3% n 1995. In Central Slovak and East Slovak regions the coefficients of efficiency dropped significantly from 98.6% in 1990 to 94.4% in 1995 (Central Slovak region) and from 95.3% in 1990 to 91.7% in 1995 (East Slovak region).
While in 1996 the coefficient of efficiency of pupils of grades 5 reached 100% only in ilina region (in the other regions it ranged from 91.3% in Koice region to 98.6% in Trencín region), in the following year it fell to 98.1%. The coefficients of efficiency in the other regions went up (with the exception of Banská Bystrica region, where the coefficient dropped very slightly from 95.8% to 95.2%, and Nitra region, where it remained uncharged at 97.2%) from 96.9% to 97.0% in Bratislava region, from 98.5% to 99.3% in Trnava region, from 98.6% to 99.6% in Trencín region, from 92.8% to 93.8% in Preov region, from 91.3% to 92.4% in Koice region.
In the introduction to this part we explained and drew your attention to the fact that the results related to the coefficients of efficiency of primary school pupils in Table 9 cannot be taken into consideration either in interpretation or comparison. For this reason we will use as substitute data the rate of efficiency of primary school pupils by grade and the average efficiency of primary school pupils (Table 9a).
The rate of efficiency of pupils in grades 2-9 in 1990-1997 exceeds a 95% limit. In grades 1it ranged from 93.4% in 1996 to 94.7% in 1990 and 1992. It is remarkable that practically in all grades (except grade 8) of primary school and in nearly each analysed year the rate of efficiency with girls is better than that of boys. In every grade 8 the rate of efficiency of pupils is slightly better in favour of boys (except the years 1995-1997). It is possible to assume that due to the fact that a vast majority of pupils in grades 8 (including boys) are interested to continue their studies at secondary schools they try to achieve the best possible learning outcomes which to a considerable degree, as well as the entrance examination, influence the admission of a pupil to a secondary school.
The development in the average efficiency of pupils of grades 1-9 of primary school was slightly different in the analysed years. The lowest average efficiency of primary school pupils was 97.2% in 1991 and 1995, the highest 97.5% in 1992 and 1997. In the analysed years within entire Slovakia the average efficiency of girls was better than that of boys. An almost identical situation was also in individual regions of the SR. Only in Bratislava region boys achieved slightly better results than girls: 98.1% boys (97.9% girls) in 1991, 98.5% boys (98.3% girls) in1994, 98.6% boys (98.4% girls) in 1997.
2.2 School club of children
Educational establishments also include school clubs for children. The school clubs provide education and training for pupils fulfilling compulsory school attendance in their out-of-school time and during the school holidays. As most pupils of grades 1-4 attend school clubs (pupils of higher grades use these establishments minimally), in the following Tab. 6 we give the number of school clubs of children, the number of departments and the number of pupils enrolled in school clubs.
Tab. 2: School clubs of children in the SR (total)
Note: % of enrolled pupils is calculated of the number of pupils of grades 1-4 of primary school.
In the SR the number of pupils enrolled in school clubs dropped from 200 771 (55.5%) in 1990 to 140 461 (41.5%) in 1995, which was naturally reflected also in the fall in the number of clubs (from 2 532 to 2 176) and departments (from 8 897 to 6 050). From 1996 the rate of pupils attending school clubs gradually rose from 43.5% to 46.3% in 1998 as a natural consequence of the new territorial-administrative division of the SR.
2.3 School in nature
School in nature is an educational establishment that enables pupils of primary schools, special primary schools, special schools and auxiliary schools a stay in nature without interrupting school educational work in an environment favourable to health. The aim of the school in nature is to recreate and strengthen health and physical fitness of children (the Decree of the Ministry of Education and Science of the SR No. 295/1994 of Digest on school in nature). Conditions, organization and financing of school in nature were specified in more details in part 1.3.
The educational process in school in nature is spread over six days in a week (the working week as well as teaching obligation at all schools last five days), while for pupils fulfilling compulsory school attendance at the first level it lasts four lessons a day and for pupils of the second level of primary school five lessons. A lesson lasts 40 minutes (at regular schools 45 minutes).
The data on numbers of pupils in school in nature in 1990-1997 are contained in the following table.
Tab. 3: Number of primary school pupils in the school in nature
From Tab. 7 it follows that the lowest number of pupils (7.2%) attended school in nature in 1992, the highest number of pupils (10.9%) in 1990. In 1991-1993 the number of pupils in school in nature dropped significantly to the level of almost 7%. From 1994 the number of pupils rose gradually from 9.2% to 10.5% in 1997, but it did not react the level of 1990.
2.4 Special schools
In part 1.2. we gave a detailed description of methods of integration of pupils with health impairments.
Special schools provide through special educational and teaching methods, means and forms education and instruction for pupils with mental, sensorial or physical handicaps, pupils with speech impediments, pupils with multidefects, maladjusted children, and ill or weakened pupils placed in health establishments; they prepare these pupils for the integration into the working process and society life.
Pupils with sensorial and physical handicaps and pupils with impaired communication abilities attend special primary schools. They are integrated into individual schools according to their handicaps, in case of multidefects according to dominant defect. They are ranked in classes according to their age. For pupils with specific developmental learning and behavioural disorders special classes are established at regular primary schools.
Special auxiliary school is meant for pupils with mental disorders due to which they cannot be successfully educated in primary school, auxiliary school is intended for pupils whose education due to the deficit in mental functions is not possible even in special auxiliary school. Special auxiliary school usually has nine grades.
Auxiliary school educates and trains maladjusted pupils with such deficits in mental development due to which they cannot be educated even in special auxiliary school, but are able to acquire at least some elements of education. Teaching in auxiliary school is carried out at the lower, secondary and higher working level. Pupils proceed to individual stages according to their age; the curriculum is adjusted to their mental potential. Auxiliary school has ten grades. Pupils are instructed in classes with lower numbers of pupils than at primary school. The minimum number of pupils in a class of special school is 4, maximum numbers are set up according to individual kinds and types of schools, ranging from 8-12.
In schools at health centres pupils are instructed during treatment of their diseases or health impairments for which they are temporarily placed in the health centre.
The legislation in education does not exclude a possibility of integrated education of pupils with health impairments in the system of regular primary schools. In accordance with the Decree of the Ministry of Education of the SSR No.143/1984 of the Law Code on primary school as amended by subsequent provisions also pupils with impaired sight, pupils with impaired hearing, physically handicapped pupils or pupils with speech impediments can be enrolled in primary school.
2.4.1 Experimental activities in special schools
At the present time the education of pupils with grave mental disorders is being verified. The pupils are ranked in groups of 2-6 and the content of curriculum is individually set for each pupil according to his/her mental potential. In this type of school it is planned to prolong education up to 21 years of age. School-leavers find placement in protected workplaces.
Within the special schools experimental verification was carried out with an orientation at:
With the above mentioned schools agreements are concluded on experimental research activity that is evaluated annually by its guarantors.
2.5 Centres of leisure time
Centres of leisure time rank among educational establishments that provide creation of conditions for special-interest and recreational activities of children and youth, participate in the improvement and development of abilities of young people in their leisure time. In compliance with the Decree of the Ministry of Education and Science of the SR No.291/1994 of Digest on centres of leisure time the aim of the centres is to implement a constant programme of care for children and youth, to create conditions for the development of their practical skills, and to participate in the formation of habits of proper use of free time of this age category throughout the year.
At present, 131 centres are in operation in the SR, in the activities of which 871 internal and 1 350 external workers participate. Throughout the school year, approximately 66 065 members actively participate in regular activities in circles, where they improve their knowledge and skills in the fields of science and technology, sports and arts. About 1 405 093 youths and children take part in occasional events during the school holidays and school year. During the summer about 25 153 youngest children up to the age of 15 spend their holidays in 914 summer camps.
Centres of leisure time offer a wide range of special-interest activities, they provide extra space for talented children and youth as well as for children with health impairments, they organize various district, regional and nation-wide activities, competitions, shows, and they cooperate in favour of children also with other subjects in their surroundings.
7. Effectiveness of the EFA strategy, plans and programmes
Implementation of the EFA project in conditions of the Slovak Republic has been characterised by turbulence, unsteadiness, instability and uncertainty of programmes and strategies as the result of earlier described social and political situation that also has been characterised by unsteadiness and many changes. As an evidence can be given the fact, that during the assessed period alternated in the head of the Department of Education nine Ministers, who represented various political subjects
All of political representation that managed the Department of Education had their own more or less determinate ideas of its state, problems, possibilities, needs and perspectives. In connection in these ideas, each of them usually started their work with critique of previous period and installing relatively entitled demand for elaboration of long-term concept of education system development. Main attempts and results of strategy creation we have already presented in previous parts of this report. Not all attempts of strategy creation have been completed because of frequency of governments alternation.
We can stated, that with regard to the EFA project all the versions those more successful, but those less successful as well contained acceptable and applicable starting-points for development of pre-primary and primary education programmes. All of them included principles of education for all, elaborated in the EFA programme, but differed in defining priorities in some specific aspects in the Slovak Republic. E.g. nationally oriented representatives laid stress upon the patriotism upbringing and education and point out the need for a better language education in the nationally mixed areas. And vice versa, the demands of representatives of Hungarian political parties one-sidedly stressed upon some specific traditions of their national schools. On the one hand, the right preferred the critical view on the state, efficiency and problems of the previous socialistic education system, on the other hand the left assessed the Slovakian education system fairly high and appreciated the actual situation. The first group called for and in all ways support and stimulate the foundation and development of private schools with the possibility to pay for better education, the second group gave priority to the development of the majority public education system and laid stress upon principle of its free access.
All the up to present time elaborated concepts have got several common features:
In spite of the given facts, creation and presentation of development projects up to now contributed to positive change in attitude of teachers, education administrators and citizens to abilities of education development. Presented proposals have stimulated interest in education system and its future and disclosed possible ways of education and training in schools.
The EFA project was one of the factors, which as programme resources contributed to inevitable and necessary stabilisation of condition for the education transformation in the Slovak Republic. The EFA project acted also as a corrective for considered and agreed reform steps.
In the difficult economic situation, we consider for the success e.g. the fact, that the pre-primary schools in spite of transitional decline henceforward secure for healthy and as well disabled children in age of three to six years (in suitable conditions from two years of age) education and training oriented towards universal development of personality of child and towards development of social, emotional, corporeal and intellectual skills in correspondence with individual features and age. Cooperation of pre-primary school with family is the closest and the most frequent among the all type of schools. It is based on personal contacts of pedagogical staff with parents or legal tutors of child. The gross enrolment ratio in pre-primary schools (public and private as well) decreased from 78.6% in 1994 to 75.8% in 1996, but in 1997 increased ratio of children in pre-primary schools to 79.6% and in 1998 to 84%. In interest of children, whose schools are situated in hygienically less favourable environment eventually in hygienically unfavourable environment, were established and work "school in nature". Children are sent into those establishments usually once year.
Primary education at level of comprehensive school has got in Slovakia more than 130-year tradition. In the territory of Slovakia was installed the 6 year comprehensive schooling by law from 1868. Due to long tradition, the public is used to a certain standard of primary schooling (in many aspects identical or close to targets of the EFA project), and so it pays great attention to all ongoing changes. The positive changes in this sphere include: a gradual decentralisation, establishing of alternative schools, independence of schools, creation of curricula in harmony with principles of humanism and democracy, sustaining of activity principle, gradual changes in the elaboration of pedagogic documents, implementation of ecology education into primary schooling. To the achievements belongs also the fact, that in spite of decrease of economic performance, radical limitation of primary schools network has not occurred, and the primary schools are still available and accessible to all children.
In primary schooling have originated basic elements of school self-government (of pupils, parents and teachers). However, progress in this domain presume much broader and stronger fundamentals of democracy in the society, respectively they overlap each other and proceed (from time to time retreat) together.
The influence of new technologies of education increases significantly. Youth, but pupils of primary schools with parents as well, travel much more, and interest in study of foreign languages, in abroad studies, and in abroad working is growing.
In education, teachers have got chance to introduce elements of individual creativity into practice teaching, mainly in respect of specification of educational goals, modification of curricula, choice of organisational forms of teaching, methods and tools in broad use. On the whole, teachers appreciate positive changes that have happened in the Slovakian education system since November 1989. The most appreciated elements are freedom and autonomy of teacher in teaching practice, in choice of methods and content. Teachers have got scope for making adjustments in content of education that are given by formal curricula.
Teachers, parents an broad public appreciate very much removing ideology from education, autonomy of school and possibility of juridical subjectivity, a broad democratisation of education, its organisation and management, humanitarian relations in school, mainly the relation between school management and teachers and the relation between teacher and pupil.
Significantly increased interest of teacher in abroad education experience especially of west provenience, as the possibilities in this sphere have become quite real, although by far not mass. Teachers are still more interested in improving foreign language knowledge.
To the greatest changes in Slovakian education system belong a possibility of establishment and development of alternative schools with regard to founder. In forming pluralistic and democratic environment is growing variability in educational methods, attitudes, and ways of teaching and schooling based on educational creativity.
A new social political, economical and cultural situation and a new legislative system are changing relations between school and family. Parents have the right to influence the choice and orientation of education of their children, to choose their way of education. Still persists traditionally good relation between majority of families and schools. Parents are interested in a good level of schools for all of children and most of them prefer public schools.
8., 9., 10. Main problems encountered and anticipated; Public awareness, political will and national capacities; General assessment of the progress
In conditions in the Slovak Republic really do not exist reasons and obstacles that can prevent progress in following specific EFA goals and targets. However, reasons exist causing partial difficulties, which can slow and complicate their achievements.
The reasons slowing and complicating efforts to achieve national EFA goals and targets are objective and subjective. To the objective retarding influences belong all problems and phenomena resulting from society transformation process. First of all there are economic conditions. Financial insufficiency of budget for education system is the most difficult one. It reflects insufficiency of sources for the whole performance, maintenance and repairs of schools. Schools are in debts, do not pay for electricity and gas, have not got enough sources for cleanings, basic educational devices, equipment for departmentalised classrooms, books for teachers and pupils libraries, modern technologies and other implements for education. For the same reason rewarding of teachers is insufficient as well, so many qualified teachers have left educational department for other departments because of better salary. Most of graduated of teacher training colleges (higher education institutions preparing teachers) never enrol for school. Percentage of teachers who are certified to teach according to national standard constantly decreases.
The enormous decrease of economy, restructuralization of production, and resulting high unemployment, low incomes of most families have caused financial insufficiency not only in founding education and upbringing, but in many cases in securing optimal nutrition of children as well.
To the objective factors slowing the achievement of the national EFA goals belong some changes of social and political factors in Slovakian society, that have appeared as the results of transition from totality to democracy. The essence of problem sticks in the under-development of democracy, yet not completed running in of democratic institutions in society. As a problem is precept e.g. comprehension of the right for education and its implementation by several various ways. This problems reflects in ways of financing oh public and non-public schools, in determination of degree of autonomy and so in limitation of self-government of schools on the whole, and schools of national minorities as well.
To sources of subjective problems and difficulties in fulfilling the national EFA programme belongs a state of Slovakian ministry of education and its ability to manage education system effectively, continuously and progressively.
In connection with previous problem has already been mentioned very frequent alternation of managing bodies in the whole education system, from the central level at the ME SR, through region and district departments of education, and at least to governing bodies of particular schools. As a matter of fact, after each election is changed most of staff in this management systems. It does not contribute to continuity and long-term programmed progress of education system, and precludes completing the work on a long-term concept of education development. A continual decrease of education research capacities has also negative results.
Higher plurality and liberality in education environment results in more and more significant changes in structure and hierarchy of youth and childrens value system. In education has appeared a certain gap, which has not been get over. The previous system of values, education goals and targets was rejected and the new one has not been yet completely developed. The gap in value education was not been get over by implementation of ethics education into schools. Civics education has got only insufficient space in curricula.
The change in structure and quality of education agents results in a need of effective cooperation. Incomparably stronger than in past is the influence of church upon education and upbringing. Much more significant and intensive than in past is influence of mass communication means (mainly television, cinema and advertisement), both in positive and negative way. Opening the borders was followed not only by positive changes, but by negative ones as well (enter of international crime, drugs penetration, increase of violence, venereal diseases, and other consequences).
Family environment of pupils differentiates in economical, social, cultural and other aspects. Decrease of percentage of children attending pre-primary schools (early childhood development programmes) reflects negatively in their school readiness, in their moral and entire personal culture.
Emerge and exist a great scope of youth and children organisation that vary in goals, methods, range, and arrangement. In spite of their existence and their obvious positive influence, the youth and children criminality increases, drugs penetration among youth and children is unexpectedly rapid and out of control.
Teacher position has change since 1990 in very contradict directions. Due to changes in curricula, gradually many teachers have changed they qualification (e.g. Russian language teachers). Great enrolment of unqualified teachers into education system results in deteriorating of education process quality. At present, education system does not dispose with sources to solve the problem of teachers low qualification in a short time.
At first, teachers suffer from financial problems, then the personal and social, and only at last professional, educational problems. Teachers suffer from difficulties connected with their own further education and training, from shortage of text books, methodical materials, professional literature, from the whole state of education system, absence of development concept, insufficiency in education management, from obscurity of some subjects curricula, slow reaction of governing bodies to needs for change in curricula, from lack of school equipment, shortage of financial resources and lack of methodical support.
Teaching creativity is not supported, both morally and materially. A part of teachers stagnate in their professional development, do not study and do not read professional press. Economic status of teachers is decreasing continually. The great part of teachers try to find supplementary source of income besides the teaching hours or during vocation. Teachers belong to the worst reworded professions with comparable level of education. In result of this, teachers work for pay instead of relaxation, study and personal development during the vacation (i.e. during holidays for recovery).
Teachers participation on school management is insufficient.
Existing problems in schools give rise discontent and resistance of a part of parents. Parents remembrances concern especially relation between teachers and pupils. Some parents support schools in a scope of their financial possibilities. Participation of parents has not corresponding legislative support and during reported time scale has been changed for several times. An autonomous and independent organisation of parents associations has been constituted. In spite of this, parents as the whole are not enough interested in extension of their rights and in asserting upon curriculum content, school budget and its implication. They relay upon the state and a school management in all these issues.
On the one hand, some part of parents assess negatively every decreasing in quality of education, on the other hand, another part of parents not more prefer education as a significant value and its relevance for child future.
For some parents is a problem to understand to educational problems of their own children. A need for improving the pedagogical culture of parents. According to opinions of pre-primary and primary schools teachers, parents ought to be more interested in school activities and in their cooperation with school, in their childrens school achievements and in their entire education and upbringing.
In this connection, many parents criticise schools for slacking in supplementary activities out of lessons.
We suppose, that those mentioned and other problems to be removed or simply disappear after perishing of their reasons. Of course, with the progress of society new problems will appear. New problems could be connected with integration efforts oriented towards the Slovak Republic enter into EU. New problems can arise due to changes in educational technologies, new possibilities of self-education and other phenomena, that we can hardly forebode today.
In the Slovak Republic exist enough strong and firm will to overcome obstacles and solve problems, which hinder to improvement of pre-primary and primary education. In spite of frequent alternation of governments in last years, each of them had very competent attitude to the schooling, though there were differences in ways and means for its improvement. According to previous development, there are no rational reasons to doubt effort to improve quality of pre-primary and primary education. The EFA project will continue to be one of the starting points for these efforts.
Dimension 3: Learning Achievements and Outcomes
This part concerns two international monitoring projects of learning achievement of primary school pupil, which took part in the Slovak Republic in 1995 and 1999.
The first monitoring was carried out among 13- and 14-year old pupils (grade 7 and 8 of compulsory education) with a goal to measure their learning achievements in mathematics and life sciences.
The second monitoring was carried out in the grade 4 of primary school (10-year old pupils) with a goal to measure literacy in reading and writing, mathematics and essential skills.
In 1995 the Slovak Republic joined into the international comparative study set by International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievements (IEA). This project TIMSS ascertained learning achievement of 14-year old pupils in Mathematics and Sciences (Geography, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, and Environment).
The sampling was carried on by stratification, i.e. proportionally included all types of schools. By random sampling were collected 144 primary schools (7 of them private) and 1 the 8-year gymnasium. Into monitoring were included 7 515 pupils (48% girls of the total number). The number of schools from particular districts was derived from the total number of pupils in the primary school grades 7 and 8.
45 countries joined to the project TIMSS. Data compiling was desegregated by grade, subject, and gender at the international level. Performance of pupils was expressed as average percentage of correct answers.
3.1.1 Results of TIMSS
Tab. 8 presents the average achievement of grade 7 and grade 8 by particular subjects.
Tab. 4: International average achievement
The total international average achievement of grade 7 in sciences attained 50% (0.1) and 56% (0.1) of grade 8. The total average achievement of Slovak pupils in grade 7 attained 54% (0.6) and pupils in grade 8attained 59% (0.6).
The best average results at international level were attained in Biology. The international achievement for grade 8 was 59% (0.1) and similarly the pupils in grade 7 solved tasks in biology with the best achievement of 53% (0.1).
Tab. 5: Average achievement of the Slovak pupils
Slovak pupils in grade 8 were most successful in Physics (Tab. 9). The average achievement attained 61% (0.6). The largest difficulties to the Slovak pupils caused the task in Environment, the average achievement of grade 7 was 50% and grade 8 was 53%.
TIMSS study disclosed that in all participating countries boys have better knowledge in Science than girls. Only in 7 countries (Australia, Cyprus, South Africa, Romania, Singapore, Thailand and USA) the difference between knowledge of boys and girls was statistically insignificant.
Tab. 6: Differences in knowledge between Slovak boys and girls
As follows from Tab. 10, presenting achievement by gender in the Slovak Republic, boys have better knowledge in examined subjects than girls in both grades 7 and 8. The highest differences were recorded in Physics and Chemistry. The lowest differences were in Ecology and Biology. The average achievements of girls in grade 8 are comparable to achievements of boys in grade 7.
International average achievement of grade 7 in life sciences attained 478 and 516 for grade 8. Slovak pupils in grade 7 attained average achievement 510 (followed Singapore, South Korea, the Czech Republic, Japan, Bulgaria, Slovenia, and Belgium [Fl]) and in grade 8 attained 544 (followed Singapore, the Czech Republic, Japan, South Korea, Bulgaria and Slovenia. For both grades it means the eighth position in the international comparison among 45 countries.
The international average achievement of grade 7 in Maths was 486 and 547 for grade 8. Slovak pupils in grade 7 with average value 508 (3.4) and in grade 7 with average value 547 (3.3) took the 7th position (beyond Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Belgium [Fl], and the Czech Republic).
In conclusion, we can state that Slovak pupils attain the higher average achievement in Mathematics and Science than was the average international achievement.
3.2 Analysis of Indicator 15 Percentage of pupils who master a set of nationally defined basic learning competencies in literacy in reading and writing, mathematics, and essential skills
The Slovak Republic as the first European country and at the same time as the first country over the world monitored the learning achievements of pupils in grade 1 of primary schooling in 1994 within the MLA project (Monitoring Learning Achievement).
3.2.1 MLA characterisation
The position of the Slovak Republic among the countries in which the monitoring MLA has been implemented is specific, because it serves as model for verifying a possibility of monitoring in post-communistic countries undergoing determinate inevitable transformation of content of education. Implementation of the project can provide effective operative information about changes caused by the transformation and so the basis for decision about prospective correction of transformation process.
The basic UNESCO strategy for the project implementation got out mainly from the Article 4: Focusing on Learning Acquisition and from Article 5: Learning Begins at Birth included in the World Declaration on Education for All (Jomtien, 1990).
Outcome can directly serve to all parts of education management from politicians through ministers and department directors to school headmasters.
The main goal of monitoring can not be simply to provide information, but as well to introduce changes at all of levels, if the results of monitoring will implicate the need for changes.
The MLA strategy comes out from the assumption, that in the end of our efforts must always be an individual child-pupil, given the possibility to attain by education as much sensible, useful, and applicable knowledge as possible. To such a apprehended education should have been accessible for as much children as possible. For teachers and decision-makers represents monitoring a very useful feedback providing information about either positive or negative effects, into which can they managerial or decision strategy result.
Besides the mentioned main goal of the monitoring project, it should stimulate activity of inland professionals so that they could carry on further monitoring on national or international level by themselves thanks to knowledge and experience from the project.
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