Slovakia (Picture from Wikimedia)Slovakia is the smallest country in Central Europe and also has the smallest population. When it became independent in 1993, it had to face a number of challenges, notably in setting up an administrative system, restructuring its industry, refocusing its economic exchanges towards the West and tackling political upheavals.

In 1999, it reformed its education system, redefined the curriculum, reinforced foreign language learning and developed examination certification. Structural reforms to the education system still have to be accomplished.

Despite growing interest in general education, participation in secondary VET is still among the highest in the EU.

The Slovak education system – 2014


Slovak System (© Onisep / Elise Veteau)




The vocational pathway in Slovakia


Secondary education

After 9 years of compulsory schooling, pupils can enter high school, a specialised secondary school or vocational training school after passing an entrance examination. There are more applicants than places available.

Studies at high school (Gymnasium) last for 4 or 5 years in bilingual schools and prepare pupils for higher education. Pupils take the Maturitná school-leaving certificate at the end of their studies.

In specialised secondary schools, courses last for 4 years. The Maturitná school-leaving certificate is also taken at the end of this period. Pupils are trained for middle management positions or continue their studies in non-university tertiary education.




Initial VET (IVET) in Slovakia has traditionally been school-based, with periods of work-based learning arising from institutional contracts between secondary VET schools (SOŠ) and companies.

Since ‘dual’ IVET was introduced in 2015/16, it has allowed companies to sign individual training contracts on in-company practical training provision before a student enters SOŠ, complemented with an institutional contract between the company and an SOŠ on provision of ‘dual’ VET. In contrast to the traditional dual model in German-speaking countries, learners are regular VET students and not employees

Vocational training schools prepare pupils through apprenticeships. Training lasts for 3 years. Theoretical classes take place at school and practical vocational training in enterprises. At the end of the course, which is validated by an apprenticeship certificate, pupils join the labour market. They can also continue their education in order to pass the Maturita.

« Post-Maturitná«  education is available and enables students to add new skills or pursue further studies in their first professional qualification.


Key figures

  • Slovakia became the world’s leading car-maker per inhabitant. Volkswagen, Peugeot-Citroen, Hyundai and Ford have set up large-scale production units. Other large multinational companies have settled there in sectors such as electrical household appliances, computing and the agri-food business. ( – 2014)
  • In 2013, the unemployment rate for young people in Slovakia was high: 33.6%. (Eurostat – 2014)
  • Participation in, and the share of graduates from, VET are high. More than 70% of all pupils at secondary and post-secondary level graduate from VET. (CEDEFOP – 2016)

Last update : 19/06/2018