6. Education and Training
Based on the findings of the survey “To dá rozum” (It makes sense) concluded in 2020, the education system in Slovakia does not sufficiently respond to the diversity of children's educational needs, which has a negative impact especially on some groups of children (children with disabilities or children from excluded Roma communities), who are not able to obtain quality education and are systematically excluded. The high proportion of children in segregated schools and classes for students with the same or similar type of disadvantage is diametrically different than international commitments and trends aimed at promoting the education for all children in their environment. This trend leads to reduction of interaction of these children with the rest of society, which also increases the likelihood of their future exclusion from the labour market or society.
On the other hand, a large group of students, who need additional support for various reasons, do not receive it due to the set criteria.
According to the findings of the study It makes sense, the education system preparing future teachers succeeds in fulfilling this goal only to a limited extent. Although the professional development system could to some extent compensate for shortcomings in teacher training, the findings of the project revealed various doubts about the extent to which this system really contributes to acquiring the necessary knowledge and skills for quality teaching and other pedagogical and professional staff in education.
The development of soft skills, critical thinking, creativity, but also cooperation or ethical behavior and civic engagement is not systematic and is a priority for only a small proportion of schools. The focus on the acquisition of isolated knowledge is also supported by the teaching methods used, in which the pupil or student is mostly a passive recipient of information. Insufficient support for the development of skills that will enable pupils and students to adopt strategies that support learning, communicate, and collaborate with other people, be open to change and cope well with change, solve various types of problems, but also be engaged citizens with ethical behavior, can be an obstacle to a full personal, civic and work life. Not only isolated knowledge that one can recall from memory, but also different types of skills or personal prerequisites are a must for creating a vision of one's own life and finding ways to fulfil it. It is for this reason that the content, teaching methods and assessment of acquired knowledge and skills should be changed to support the development of personality comprehensively and with that enable student to live a full life.
It is not possible to think about the problems and change education system without considering demographic trends within the population development of children and pupils at individual levels of education. The trend analysis has shown that the student population will decline rather than increase, and this will also affect school management processes as well as classroom teaching. A smaller number of students does not necessarily lead to reduction in educational institutions but may lead to a more fundamental change. Schools can be more open to vulnerable groups. Different trends in individual regions also refer to the need to create an educational policy that will be sufficiently sensitive to the needs of individual regions.
Young people in Slovakia do not like the fact that their schools does not prepare them for a practical life, they lack the support of critical thinking and civic activism, education in the field of financial literacy or presentation skills. 59% of young people from marginalized Roma communities end their education without achieving lower secondary education (6.1). This is despite the fact that there are many tools and measures to support children and youth from socially disadvantaged backgrounds, children with learning disabilities etc. (6.3, 6.6). According to the study It makes sense, 59% of young Roma students leaved education system before the age 16.
Since the adoption of Strategy for Lifelong Learning 2011, several key actions have been implemented to recognize the outcomes of non-formal learning at national level - National System of Qualifications, National Qualifications Framework (6.4). Significant initiatives were implemented also in the field of non-formal learning in youth work (6.9). Youth work was also the most effective platform for the development of innovation and entrepreneurship, particularly through the activities of the ESF National Project KOMPRAX – Competences for Practice (6.7, 4.7).
Media Literacy education has become more prominent in the education system since 2009. International Centre for Media Literacy was created at the University of Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Trnava, which integrates various independent projects and serves as a knowledge and education centre for schools, non-governmental organizations and general public (6.8).