The Slovenia Times

Back to School and New Experience for 22,000 Slovenian 6-Year-Olds



Marking the end of a two-month summer break, a new school year begins for the country's 167,800 primary school children and around 75,500 secondary school students.

An increase in the number of first graders (1,300 more than last year) is due to a spike in births in 2008 to 21,817, the highest since 1991. Schools can expect similarly large enrolment for four more years.

Considering the demographics, enrolment will peak in 2016 at over 22,300, which is still a far cry from generations born in the 1980s which numbered up to 30,000.

Greater enrolment is good news for school staff as it reduces the pressure on their jobs, but it also increases pressure on the thinning education budget.

The number of schools remains unchanged at 450, three of which are run privately. There are also 330 branch schools, 76 music schools (13 of them private) and 16 special needs schools.

The new school year brings some changes as primary schools start introducing the first foreign language in second grade and optional elective subjects, including a second language, are introduced in the 4th year.

To make school and teachers more responsive to children's interests and needs, especially in talented children and those with special needs, primary schools will get EUR 1.4m in EU funds this year and next.

The funding, 85% of which is provided from the European Social Fund, is aimed at encouraging new teaching strategies to contribute to development of key skills and competences, including digital literacy, entrepreneurial spirit and self-initiative, social and civic competences.

In his message at the start of a new school year, Education Minister Jernej Pikalo wished children school would satisfy their curiosity, noting that what you know is something that cannot be taken away from you.

He appealed for tolerance and solidarity, calling on children to help each other and care for one another and wishing them to forge many friendships. He also urged them to be careful on their way to school.

Like every year, the Traffic Safety Agency (AVP) and the police have launched a campaign to raise awareness among drivers of the presence of schoolchildren in traffic, and to promote tolerance and safety.

Police officers and volunteers from the AVP and motorists' associations will see to the safety of schoolchildren, in particular the youngest ones, at spots where they are most exposed to risk.

Children up to the age of seven are required by law to be accompanied to school by an adult, and first- and second-year children are also obliged to wear yellow scarves around their necks to alert drivers.

The children and their parents will also be given information brochures about how they should behave in traffic, while schools are required to make a plan of safe routes to schools.

The first break for Slovenian schoolchildren this year will be the so-called potato holidays between 27 October and 2 November, to be followed by Christmas holidays, winter holidays and May Day holidays.

Except for 9th graders, the school year will end with the presentation of reports on 24 June, signalling the start of a long summer holiday until 1 September.


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