07. 06. 2018 14:31
At its session on Wednesday, Cabinet approved the Education Ministry-sponsored National Programme for Education Development that should shape the Slovak education system for the next ten years. As TASR reports, in addition to the reform document as such, Cabinet also greenlighted an initial Action Plan for the National Programme for 2018-19, while another four action plans were acknowledged by the ministers. The approved document includes ten partial goals (five aimed at regional education and five at university education) and 105 measures, which haven't been further specified yet by Education Minister Martina Lubyová (an SNS nominee).
The national programme pays special attention to so-called cross-sectional goals, including the integration and inclusion of marginalised Roma communities and pupils from socially disadvantaged environments, linking the education system to the needs of the economy and the labour market, and developing the system of lifelong learning.
Unlike the usual legislation process, the reform document wasn't submitted for an inter-ministerial comment phase but was instead commented on directly at the ministries. Lubyová pointed out that the national programme aimed at reforming Slovakia's education system is based on a reform document called 'Learning Slovakia', the Government Manifesto and a report on the situation in the education sector drawn up during Dušan Čaplovič's (Smer-SD) term as education minister.
Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini praised the goals of the reforms. "For instance, the increase in the capacities of nursery schools, mandatory courses for children before they enrol at primary school, salary hikes for starting teachers and a salary increase going up to 85 percent of the [average] level enjoyed by people with higher education in Slovakia," he stated.
The measures are expected to cost around nine billion euro, which is to be the sum for the next ten years. Before being approved by Cabinet, some 50 personalities and educational experts sent an open letter to the education minister welcoming the Finnish model of education, but warned, "the way in which the programme was prepared without inviting key figures involved in the education sector to take part in the process casts doubts on understanding the value and content of what is included."
The opposition party Ordinary People (OĽaNO) voiced its displeasure with the reforms, stating that they won't contribute towards more quality education. "The document contains nothing new, despite the fact that the ministry postponed its release a couple of times," said OĽaNO's shadow education minister Miroslav Sopko.