The Slovenia Times

New School Year Begins


The summer holidays will end for around 161,000 primary school children and 78,500 secondary school students on Monday. Around 19,200 children, 1,000 more than last year, will head to school for the first time.

The number of children in primary schools has seen a steady decline, as the figure has dropped from 176,000 ten years ago and from 217,000 20 years ago.

The changes standing out this year include the end of early morning classes, as even supplementary classes will no longer be allowed to start before 7:30 AM. Meant primarily as an aid to commuters, the change will also move the start of the traditional 8:00 AM class to 8:15.

Organisational changes include a return to the divided winter holiday scheme, where roughly half of schools, separated according to regions, will have a week off in the third week of February and half in the last.

More significant will be a change in the approach to ability grouping, with more flexibility allowed and schools given more autonomy in organising smaller groups.

Another novelty concerns children from other countries who are struggling with Slovenian. They will be allowed to remain without a final grade in problematic subjects and still pass to the next grade, but only once.

Moreover, documents will also exist in digital form, which is expected to decrease administrative burdens put on teachers and enable easier and faster performance feedback to the students and their teachers.

Although debate on this will continue, the matura secondary school ending exam will not be scrapped this year, while the reintroduction of grades into the third year of primary schools - once in place from the first year on and later pushed back to fourth year - is planned for next year.

Meanwhile, the problems of commuters were also addressed with subsidies for transport, which will allow everyone with commutes longer than 5 kilometres to travel more cheaply and even free of charge once they reach the city.

A cause of discontent on the other hand is the scrapping of the general subsidy for meals at secondary schools. Only underprivileged children will be entitled to the subsidy from now on.

The decision has prompted protests from the student organisations, which point out that this comes on top of an end to scholarships for underprivileged secondary school children and child benefits for children older than 18.

Also a cause for concern are the costs of basic necessities for primary school children. Basic school material and textbooks for a first year student cost at least EUR 100, which does not include around EUR 45 for a school bag. Social Service centres have already pointed to cases where parents are not able to cope with the burden.

Children starting school were also addressed by President Danilo Türk, who wished them a successful beginning of the new school year. He stressed that school will not only give them new knowledge but also teach them the importance of respecting people and nature.


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