EC finds huge regional disparities in testing of Slovak fifth-graders

Bratislava is the best, while the Košice, Prešov and Banská Bystrica Regions fared the worst.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: SME)

When testing fifth grade pupils in Maths and the Slovak language, big differences among the most and least developed regions were confirmed, the Monitor of Education and Professional Training from 2018, published by the European Commission (EC) on October 16, shows.

Bratislava students placed best

The Monitor states that the worst results have been recorded in the Košice, Prešov and Banská Bystrica regions, while students from Bratislava fared the best.

Students from socially disadvantaged groups achieved about half the points compared to their peers from socially more favourable environments, the Monitor reads, as quoted by the Sme daily.

Read also:PISA tests: Slovak pupils lag behind in collaborative task solving Read more 

The Education Ministry reacted for the TASR newswire by saying that to reduce the impact of social-economic environments on pupils’ results, the National Programme of Education and Training (NPRVaV) foresees the introduction of an obligatory pre-primary education in kindergartens for each child before the start of obligatory schooling.

Read also:EC: Funds for education still low Read more 

This change should be introduced by 2020.

“… Further measures include a new form of support for pupils from socially disadvantaged backgrounds and support for inclusive education – with better material conditions and more expert staff in schools,” the Ministry added.

Huge differences in level of education

The published results suggest that there are some enormous differences in the level of education, and social-economic environment is cited as one of the crucial affecting factors.

The EC points out that despite some gradual improvement in the position of teachers and educators, it is still not desirable, especially when it comes to salaries. Notably in the capital and in western Slovakia, teachers’ salaries are not competitive with other professions, read the statements about Slovakia.

Also, the investments in education are deeply below the EU member states’ average, the Monitor finds.

However, both the EC and the NPRVaV programme expect additional expenses for individual measures to be implemented in 2018-2027, amounting – according to the Slovak Ministry – to €15.6 billion.

The Monitor of Education and Professional Training is the seventh edition of this annual report by the EC which follows the development of education and professional training in EU member states, looking at six goals, and predicting their outcome until 2020.

Gröhling: Results are this cabinet’s shame

The latest results of the Monitor published by the EC show that education in Slovakia keeps declining each and every year, and fails to keep pace with the rest of the world, opposition SaS MP, Branislav Gröhling said, as quoted by Sme. He pointed to the many flaws in the Slovak education system cited by the EC -regional differences, low investments in education, low salaries of teachers, impact of social environment on pupils’ education, but also the insufficient civics.

Gröhling deems the results the shame of the current government. He also points to the increasing share of pupils with insufficient levels in all three spheres monitored - mathematics, natural literacy and reading literacy, covered by the PISA testing. Also, the share of young Slovaks who dropped out of obligatory schooling prematurely increased from 6.7 percent, to 9.3 percent. “Slovakia has set the goal of decreasing this figure to six percent, but instead, it has kept increasing for many years,” he summed up, according to Sme.

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