Nadacia AK blog EN

Slovaks return not only because of Brexit, but also because the state does not think about their children

I deal with the problem of children of foreigners in Slovakia and am very surprised that children of Slovaks returning to Slovakia from abroad often find themselves in an even more difficult situation than foreigners. Are we waiting with open arms for family returning from England after Brexit?

It goes without saying that a child born abroad to parents or a parent from Slovakia usually receives Slovak citizenship. It is assumed that citizens of the Slovak Republic automatically speak the Slovak language, even if they were born abroad. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and, importantly, there are no mechanisms that allow such families to cope with the adaptation barrier when their children return to their homeland. It seems that we do not want to see them here.

Commission exam

Any student who attends school abroad may, at the request of his legal guardian, pass a commission exam for the years that he indicates in the application. According to the results of the exam, the child will be enrolled in the corresponding class. Of course, if the child does not know the Slovak language or does not know it very well, it will be very difficult for him to pass the exam. For a child, this is a lot of stress, because quite often he does not even understand the question. Therefore, such children are transferred to a lower class or even two classes so that they first learn the Slovak language. So, a 6-year-old child can go to kindergarten, and an 11-year-old - to the 4th grade. The same thing happens with foreigners, with one exception. They are not forced to take commission exams, they need a report card from a foreign school, and they will be enrolled in a class, since compulsory school education applies to them. True, they also tend to put foreigners in grades 1-2 below, which increases the stress of moving. The child logically asks what did I do wrong that I was left in the second year?

Slovaks should know Slovak language

It is believed that every citizen of the Slovak Republic automatically knows the Slovak language. This has its own logic. But, unfortunately, no legal norm provides for the process of school education by a child with Slovak citizenship who came from abroad, where he studied in the local language. It is in the interests of parents that their child, even while abroad, knows the Slovak language. However, not all parents think about it or for various reasons cannot teach their child what he would be taught in a Slovak school. A child can study well in a foreign school, but it is quite clear that he may have problems with Slovak terminology, he may not know, for example, chemical elements, not to mention adverbs or adjectives. The problem, however, is that school may or may not help her. The school has no money, no manuals, no procedures. The law simply did not think about this scenario.

As for the children of foreigners, it is provided by law. According to the law, schools have the right to organize basic and advanced courses, which are paid for by the Ministry of Education, if parents ask for it. However, in practice, this opportunity is not fully used even for foreigners, since they simply do not know about it. But the basic and advanced course is not a textbook. It is an educational standard that can serve as inspiration for curriculum development and is little used in practice; each teacher prepares their own teaching materials.

Assessment of students

Grades are a very important motivational tool for children, but they can also be a nightmare for students who have just overcome the language barrier and are adapting to a new country. Foreigners are not given grades in the first year of study, or they cannot get a grade lower than that which they received in the report card in their country. Foreigners with Slovak citizenship do not have such a rule... It's very unfair. Children are very sensitive after moving to Slovakia, and it is often necessary for the child to receive psychological support. Either in cooperation with the pedagogical and psychological counseling center, or also a teacher's assistant, so as not to worsen the child's well-being.

To resolve this situation, we need not only a Slovak textbook for children of foreigners and emigrants, which is already being created thanks to enthusiasts who took up this project thanks to EU funds, but also a change in the Law on School so that Slovak citizens who have received education abroad receive support. Not rejection when they come to Slovakia. It would help if they wrote guidelines for schools so that they do not deal with this problem on their own.

After all, we all look forward to our citizens returning home with their children! Obviously, we have a demographic crisis. However, if there is no system for integrating Slovak children into the school process, we cannot expect that they will begin to come to us in greater numbers.

Current articles by Alona Kurotova are also available at