How to enroll foreign children in primary school education?

Definition of a foreign student according to the Act No. 245/2008 Coll. on upbringing and education (the Education Act), as amended, and amending certain acts (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Education Act’): § 146 (1) of the Education Act ‘For the purposes of this Act, foreigners are children:

a) of persons who are citizens of another state or stateless persons with a valid residence permit in the territory of the Slovak Republic, b) applicants for asylum in the territory of the Slovak Republic pursuant to a special regulation, c) Slovaks living abroad, d) as applicants for asylum pursuant to a special regulation, e) as foreigners who are in the territory of the Slovak Republic without the accompaniment of a legal representative.’

The definition of a foreigner for the purposes of the Education Act does not include a person who does not have a valid residence permit in the SR at that time, is not an applicant for asylum, is in the SR accompanied by a legal representative, and is also not a Slovak living abroad.

Basic information on education in primary school

Primary school comprises nine grades. It is divided into the first stage (primary education) and the second stage (lower secondary education) as defined in the state educational program. Foreign children with a valid residence permit in Slovakia, children of applicants for asylum, and Slovak children living abroad are provided with education, accommodation, and meals in schools according to the Education Act under the same conditions as Slovak citizens.

If it concerns a primary school established by a municipality, self-governing region, or regional office of school administration, education is free of charge.

Fulfilling compulsory school attendance in primary school for foreign children

Compulsory school attendance begins at the start of the school year (September 1) following the day a child turns six years old and becomes scholastically eligible. Compulsory school attendance lasts for ten years and ends no later than the end of the school year in which the student turns 16. Fulfilling compulsory school attendance is tied to the child’s permanent residence in Slovakia. Therefore, the determining criterion for determining how compulsory school attendance is met is solely the child’s permanent residence, not their citizenship or the citizenship or permanent residence of legal representatives. If a child does not have a permanent residence in the territory of the SR, the legal obligation to fulfill compulsory school attendance in the SR does not apply to them.

Therefore, concerning compulsory school attendance, it is necessary to distinguish between asylum seekers, applicants for temporary protection, and persons who have been granted temporary protection on one side and asylum seekers on the other. According to § 24 (1) of Act No. 480/2002 Coll. on asylum and amending certain acts (hereinafter referred to as ‘Act No. 480/2002 Coll.’), ‘An asylum seeker is considered a foreigner who has been granted permanent residence.’ If foreign children have been granted temporary protection, it is only a second form of permitted stay. At the same time, even if such a child obtained temporary residence, it is still not permanent residence, and therefore compulsory school attendance does not apply to them. Of the mentioned groups of foreigners, only asylum seekers are considered as persons with permanent residence in the territory of the SR. Compulsory school attendance applies only to asylum seekers.

Guide to enrolling foreign children in primary school

  1. Fill out the application / request

Submit an application for education in primary school (for enrolling a child in the 1st grade of primary school) on the form provided in Slovak or bilingually (Hungarian form, Ukrainian form, German form).

The application for admitting a student transferring to primary education does not have a prescribed form. In the application, include:

personal information about the child name, surname, maiden name (in the same form as on the birth certificate) date and place of birth address of permanent residence or the address where the child usually resides birth number nationality ethnicity mother tongue personal information about the child’s legal representatives title, name, surname, maiden name residential address and type of residence contact for communication purposes

  1. Sign and submit the application

Sign the application before submitting it. According to the Education Act, the signature of both legal representatives is required, except in exceptional cases, such as when one parent has limited or suspended parental rights and responsibilities in upbringing, or when one parent is unable to sign for health reasons, or if the matter cannot be delayed, obtaining the consent of the other parent is associated with an insurmountable obstacle, and it is in the best interest of the child.

The signature of one legal representative is sufficient if the legal representatives have agreed and submit a written declaration to the school principal.

You can submit the application or request to the school in person or through eSubmission delivered to the eMailbox of the primary school. You can also deliver it by mail, courier, or by sending a scanned form via email.

  1. Wait for the school’s decision

The school will decide on the admission based on the application submitted and the school’s capacity. They will inform you about the decision within 30 days from the date of receiving the application.

Remember, the admission process may require additional documents, such as a birth certificate, proof of residence, health insurance, or other documents, as deemed necessary by the school.

Always ensure to stay updated with the latest regulations and requirements regarding foreign children’s education in Slovakia, as these may be subject to change based on legislative updates or government policies.