“He, who does not care for being instructed, you shall in vain try to instruct, unless you awaken in him a fervent interest in learning.” This was said by Jan Amos Comenius, the author of many other wise sayings. In numerous countries of Western and Central Europe he is known as the instructor of the nations. He tried to apply his unique ideas to practical life and teaching. What was his concept of school? Among his important views are the following, given in his Didactica:
· All young people should attend school regardless of property or gender.
· Lack of talent can be compensated by diligence and effort by the pupil.
· Most learning takes place in youth.
If we begin with the last idea, how then does our school system measure up? Does our progeny receive enough care and attention? In Slovakia a child since the age of six months to three years can attend a day nursery and from three or two years of age, kindergarden. There children experience their first contacts with society, social rules and ethics.
Six years old children begin their compulsory school attendance in the elementary school. The school year begins on September 1st and finishes on June 30th . This is followed by a long-awaited two months of holidays.
The elementary school lasts nine years. In the final year many children face a problem. During this time everybody needs to choose the next school which he/she wants to attend. The choice depends not only on the interests but also on the performance and success at school.
We can choose from various options: to study at a secondary school or an apprentice training centre, or an art school.
At the present time there are also private and religious schools. In contrast with the past, more emphasis is placed on foreign language studies as well as computers and economics.
Secondary school studies last for four years. At the end of the fourth year students have to pass a school leaving exam, usually consisting of oral and written parts.
If a student doesn`t manage to pass the examination on his/her first attempt, he/she is offered a second chance in September.
If you want to study at a college or university, you have to successfully pass the entrance examinations and interviews. The choices are really quite wide-ranging. Universities have several levels. The lowest, usually lasting three years, is the bachelor`s degree. Upon successfully completing this course of study, we achieve the title of bachelor. At the present time this type of study is relatively expanding in our country.
We can also opt for study at a teacher`s college, upon the completion of which we obtain the title of master. After completing studies at an economics or technical college we obtain the title of engineer. The completion of studies is marked by a ceremony called graduation, where we get a diploma certifying the successful completion of our studies.
I attended the elementary school in Svit. When I was a child the elementary school lasted only eight years. In the final year I had to choose the secondary school. I wanted to attend bilingual Grammar school in Poprad. But they didn`t enrol me. So I attended the Grammar chool. In the third year of the Grammar school I was in Switzerland. I studied there at the Higher Secondary School of Marzilli. After my comeback I had to do exams in Slovak language and Mathematics. After this exams I was able to go to the final year of the Grammar school in Poprad. At the end of the fourth year I passed the graduation examination consisting of Slovak language, English, German and Mathematics.
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Education does not end with a diploma
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