Slovakia is the worst in Europe in number of educated children of preschool age

A little more than two-thirds of children attend municipal kindergartens in eastern Slovakia.

(Source: TASR)

Slovakia is the worst in Europe when it comes to the number of educated children of preschool age. While the European average is 95 percent, only 82 percent of children in Slovakia attend kindergarten from the age of four years.

The worst region in Slovakia is Košice with 70 percent, showed data of the Supreme Audit Office (NKÚ). Compulsory preschool education of children from the age of five could increase the number of children in kindergartens.

Every third child at home

NKÚ checked whether local municipalities are successfully increasing the capacities of the existing kindergartens.

Controllers, based on their findings, notified MPs of the risks linked with the bureaucratic obstacles in place when drawing the European funds. They also pointed out that there is a significant lack of qualified teachers who could be employed in newly-established classrooms, the TASR newswire reported.

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“The level of trained young people in eastern Slovakia is alarming,” said Ľubomír Andrassy, vicechair of NKÚ, as quoted by TASR. “Only a little more than two-thirds of children attend municipal kindergartens. This means that almost every third child of kindergarten age must sit at home.”

Critical results in eastern Slovakia unfavourably impact the national average.

Chaos in financial support

Kindergartens are primarily established and financed by local municipalities. Towns and villages could widen their capacities using funds from the state or the EU.

National controllers notified the government about the fragmentation of these finances and also on the different sets of rules established to receive the benefit that was provided by three ministries. While the Education Ministry offered funds from the state budget, European funds were managed by the Interior and Agriculture Ministry.

The realisation of the European projects, thanks to which municipalities widened the capacities of the preschool facilities, took more than 20 months.

Gelnica has the highest costs, almost €33,000 per one new place in kindergarten. The Košice municipality has the lowest costs at €4,300 per place.

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