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School curriculum to change again

THE SLOVAK elementary school curriculum will change in the upcoming school year. The new national plans allot more time to Slovak language, mathematics and science, starting in September 2013, while pupils will no longer be required to learn two foreign languages in the second part of their elementary education.

THE SLOVAK elementary school curriculum will change in the upcoming school year. The new national plans allot more time to Slovak language, mathematics and science, starting in September 2013, while pupils will no longer be required to learn two foreign languages in the second part of their elementary education.

Since he took his post, Education Minister Dušan Čaplovič has been stressing that schools should focus more on mathematics and science. To achieve this at the elementary school level, the ministry is cutting the number of optional courses in the national curriculum and increasing the number of obligatory courses, the Sme daily reported on June 12.

The new curriculum also includes more music and art lessons, and introduces home economics as a compulsory weekly course for fifth- to ninth-graders, according to Sme.

On the other hand, pupils will no longer be obliged to learn two foreign languages by the time they reach the age of 12. Currently, every Slovak pupil starts learning one foreign language in the third grade and another foreign language is added in the fifth grade.

The second foreign language is now going to be solely optional – but only if a pupil does not take English as their first language. In that case, English as a second foreign language is compulsory from the fifth grade. Schools can teach English, German, French, Russian, Spanish and Italian as the first, and obligatory, foreign language.

Teachers and some observers do not welcome the changes, saying that changes in the school system occur too frequently. The last time the national curriculum was changed was five years ago, under the first government of Robert Fico, when Ján Mikolaj was education minister.

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