Studies structure in Slovakia
The Slovak term "Vysoká škola" - school of higher education, is also translated into English as "college" and can refer to all schools of higher education.
The first university on the territory of Slovakia was the Universitas Istropolitana (Academia Istropolitana) founded in 1465. The main and largest current university in Slovakia is the Comenius University.
Studies at the state and public universities is available free of charge for both residents of Slovakia and EU citizens. School fees are being planned, however. Other students have to pay from USD 2,500 to USD 6,500 for one academic year.
Before entering any school of higher education for which there are more applicants than places offered, the applicants have to pass entrance examinations. These examinations take very different forms at particular schools. The "maturita" results of the applicant are usually also taken into account when evaluating whether he can become student of the school. Since the number of branches of study and of schools of higher education increased considerably in the course of the late 1700s (although at the cost of quality of the studies), the general percentage of those not being accepted to these schools decreased considerably over the same time period. Also, an increasing number of Slovaks studies abroad, especially in the Czech Republic due to a low language barrier, a slightly better economic situation (and job perspectives) in that country, as well as similarities of the two educational systems. As a result, the percentage of Slovaks with higher education has increased considerably over the last decade.
The studies are organized within the following study programmes and "stages" (also translated as levels). Each school must provide at least Stage 1:
Stage 1: Bachelor study programme; 3-4 years; title: "Bachelor" (bakalár, Bc.)
Stage 2, or Stage 1 + Stage 2 (Stage 2 lasts 1-3 years):
The Act on Schools of Higher Education 2002 dinstinguishes:
The academic year begins on 1 September of the current year and ends on 31 August of the next year (in reality, however it ends in May/June). The studies in one academic year may be divided into two semesters or rarely in three trimesters. The teaching process includes various forms of instruction such as lectures, seminars, exercises, laboratory work, projects, practical training, consultations, etc. The credit system following the rules of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) has been introduced in 1998 for the organization of all levels and forms of higher education study. The student's standard load is expressed by the number of sixty credits per academic year and thirty credits per semester. The school of higher education determines the total number of credits required for due completion of the study in its respective stages.
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