Commission Opinion [COM(97) 2004 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(98) 703 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(99) 511 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2000) 711 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2001) 700 final - SEC(2001) 1754 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2002) 700 final - SEC(2001) 1410 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Treaty of Accession to the European Union [Official Journal L 236 of 23.09.2003]
In its July 1997 Opinion, the European Commission considered that, in terms of accession, Slovakia should not have major problems in the area of education, training and youth. The November 1998 report did not alter this initial assessment in any significant way.
In its October 1999 Report, the Commission noted that the Education Act had been amended in January 1999 to reintroduce bilingual school certificates in areas with large national minorities. The report also underlined Slovakia's continued participation in Community programmes such as Leonardo da Vinci and Erasmus, for which more than 500 students received mobility grants to study in European Union (EU) countries in 1998-1999. However, no major progress was reported with regard to mutual recognition of university degrees, although several bilateral recognition agreements had been concluded with Member States. A national observatory on vocational training had been set up.
The November 2000 Report noted that, on the whole, Slovakia was on the right track but it had to endeavour to continue the reforms and increase financial support for this sector. Despite the progress made, the pace of the education and training reform continued to be slow.
The November 2001 Report highlighted the progress achieved by Slovakia following the adoption of a new education and training strategy in May. However, work still needed to be done in the area of vocational training in order to improve coordination with employment services and private undertakings.
The October 2002 Report notes that Slovakia is continuing to make progress, especially in the legislative field. However, the effective implementation of legislation is dependent on provision of the necessary financial means and adequate administrative capacity.
The Treaty of Accession was signed on 16 April 2003 and accession took place on 1 May 2004.
The Treaty on European Union provides that the Community shall:
- contribute to the development of quality education which shall include a European dimension and shall support and supplement the action of the Member States while respecting their cultural and linguistic diversity (Article 149, ex Article 126) with regard to the content of teaching and the organisation of education systems;
- implement a vocational training policy which shall support and supplement the action of the Member States (Article 150, ex Article 127) and shall aim to facilitate adaptation to industrial changes and increase employability.
These provisions have been implemented mainly through three major action programmes (Socrates , Leonardo da Vinci and Youth for Europe) recently updated by a new generation of programmes (Socrates , Leonardo and Youth).
Slovakia has continued to make steady progress as regards legislation, but the effective implementation thereof is dependent on provision of the necessary financial means and adequate administrative capacity.
Slovakia has made progress concerning the use of minority languages in the education system, an issue which caused problems in the past. In particular, enforcement of the official language law has resulted in the traditional bilingual certificates being replaced by certificates in Slovakian only. The amendment of the Education Act in January 1999, reintroducing bilingual certificates in areas with large national minorities, goes some way towards dealing with this problem.
The Tempus programme had already played a part in reforming higher education and laid the foundations for cooperation with higher education institutes in the European Union. The Community programmes Socrates, Leonardo da Vinci and Youth were opened to Slovakia in March 1998.
In December 1999 and January 2000, the Government adopted two strategy papers in the field of education and vocational training. These propose inter alia to introduce a diversified education system and to extend the average period of compulsory schooling.
In May 2001 the Government approved the national education and training programme for the next 15 years, encouraging the decentralisation of management to be shared between national and regional administrations. The adoption in February 2002 of the University Education Act, which among other things makes provision for the transformation of State universities into public institutions and the creation of higher education establishments other than universities, has largely reformed education and vocational training systems.
With regard to vocational training, the national employment programme for 2001-2002 deals with problems linked to the transition from school to the world of work and is considering the possibility of setting up a system of second chance schools for young people without qualifications, the unemployed and older employees, etc. Since the adoption of a new Vocational Training Act in July 2002, responsibilities have largely been decentralised and transferred to the regional authorities, and a Council for Vocational Training has also been established at the Ministry of Education.
The Directive on the education of the children of migrant workers was adopted in June 2002.
Since the Commission's 1997 Opinion, Slovakia has achieved steady progress. Negotiations on this chapter have been provisionally closed. Slovakia has not requested any transitional arrangements in this field.
This summary is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document.