How, when and where to enrol my child to school in Košice?
The City of Košice is responsible for state primary schools and the city districts for state nurseries/kindergartens.
Nursery schools provide care for children up to three years of age while kindergartens are for children from three to six years of age. Their main function is to care for children and prepare them for primary school. Children start studying at primary schools at the age of 6–7. Primary schools are comprised of nine grades (starting at the age of 6). Compulsory school attendance is ten years and lasts until the end of the school year in which the pupil reaches the age of 16, unless the law stipulates otherwise. The child's legal guardian in the case of a kindergartener may, and in the case of pupil at the age of compulsory school attendance, must enrol the child in school.
Kindergartens represent a non-mandatory part of the education system. However, the Education Act has been amended and the final year of kindergarten before children go to school, which is at 5–6 years of age, will be mandatory from January 2021. Compulsory preschool education is free. The demand for places in kindergartens often exceeds their capacity. Enrolment in kindergarten, where a decision on admission or non-admission of children is made, take place every year, usually in May. Kindergartens use various criteria for deciding which children to accept.
There are school districts of so-called catchment kindergartens. Catchment kindergartens (assigned to the address of your registered place of residence) give priority to children who live in their catchment area. We recommend that you contact kindergartens close to the place where you live well in advance and find out what conditions there are for admission and whether there is a registration process for the enrolment. There are also private kindergartens, where it is easier to find a place for the child, but the fees are much higher.
The children of foreign citizens authorized to stay in the territory of the Slovak Republic, children of asylum seekers and Slovaks living abroad are provided with education and training, accommodation and meals in schools under the Education Act, applying the same conditions as citizens of the Slovak Republic. For children of foreigners, basic and expanding language courses of the state language can be organized to remove language barriers.
Your child has a legal entitlement to a place in a primary school. In practice, it means that the school in the area of your residence (a catchment school) has to accept your child. This school must not refuse to accept your child based on a reason other than insufficient capacity. In such a case, you need to contact the education department in your city district in your registered place of residence . The education department is then obliged to find your child a place in one of the other schools close to your home. You may also enrol your child in a chosen school outside your city district, if the school has a sufficient capacity and agrees with admission of the child.
Legal representatives (usually parents) are obliged to enrol the child for compulsory school attendance between 1st April and 30th April of the calendar year in which the child is supposed to start compulsory school attendance. All other facts such as the exact date, place, etc. are determined by each school individually. It is recommended to check the websites of the schools you are interested in to make sure you don't miss the deadline.
After graduating from primary schools, students must apply to secondary schools. The office of the Košice Self-governing Region is responsible for 63 secondary schools in the Košice region. The school principal makes the decisions on the admission of a pupil to a secondary school, according to the results of set admission procedure. Pupils without completed lower secondary education, where they have no evidence of its completion, cannot be admitted to secondary schools. Legislation allows for the education provided by the elementary school to be completed by lower secondary education, which can be provided by both elementary schools and secondary vocational schools.
Whether to recognize a certificate of education issued by a primary school in a third country is decided by the district office after comparing the content and extent of the applicant's education with the content and extent of the education required by the state education program in the Slovak Republic.
List of public kindergartens, primary schools and school facilities in Košice can be found here.
List of public secondary schools in Košice region can be found here.
Slovak language courses for children of foreigners
For children of foreigners, basic and advanced language courses of Slovak language are organized to remove language barriers. The District Office of Košice in cooperation with the authorities of self-government organizes and covers language courses for children of foreigners with granted residence in Slovakia. In practice, the head teacher will ask in writing the District Office of Košice to organize a language course for children of foreigners attending their school.