Nadacia AK blog EN

Berlin Wall recognition of qualifications of health professionals in Slovakia

A doctor educated outside the EU finds it difficult to enter the labour market not only in Slovakia but also in any other EU country. First, they must receive recognition of education documents, then pass a qualification test and, finally, speak the language of the country where they plan to start their professional practice. All three conditions are logical and aimed at providing quality medical care to patients. Each EU member state chooses the procedure for implementing these general rules, and I cannot understand why Slovakia has made it so difficult.

In the neighboring Czech Republic, for example, medical colleges are successful in recognizing diplomas, and they have a system that helps them consider applications in close cooperation with the applicant. I cite the example of Comenius University, whose rector issued decree No. 38/2017, an appendix to which is a table with a minimum number of hours in each subject.
Source: (

This is a very simple way for a foreign doctor to find out if his/her education really meets the minimum requirements. Unfortunately, this is not the case in Slovakia, and those who do not meet the minimum requirements, for example, diploma holders from the Soviet Union, when pediatrics did not pass in the form of a state exam, are trying to achieve recognition of their diplomas. They spend their money on paying for services, as well as the time of civil servants who do this.

Recognition of education (diploma) in Slovakia is handled by the Ministry of Education, which is only an intermediate link between the applicant and the selected medical university. The process is as follows: The Ministry of Education receives the application and sends it to the selected medical university, which has no direct contact with the applicant. In practice, this quite often looks like throwing hot potatoes without close interaction with the interested party. If the applicant accidentally inquires about the status of the application, the Ministry of Education will answer that the university has not yet responded, or that the university has responded negatively, so we reject your application. We're sorry. If the applicant contacts the university, the university will answer that it cannot provide information, because the applicant is the Ministry of Education, and all issues need to be resolved through it. I appeal and they contact the university.

The Ministry of Education is protected by the fact that it deals with all regulated licenses, including medical professions. Colleges are engaged in unregulated. The question is how logical in the face of a shortage of medical personnel is a system like the Berlin Wall, that is, not to let them into the country, and is it time to rethink it. After all, the Ministry is clearly not able to answer specific questions of applicants, but it is the answers to these questions that could facilitate the process of recognizing the education of foreign doctors. I know the case of a doctor who lives in Kosice and who was engaged in the recognition of his diploma at the Ministry of Education in Bratislava for an incredible 2 years. Of course, it would be easier for him to cope with this at the University of Pavol Jozef Shafarik in Kosice.

Recognition of the degree is followed by a professional exam in the Slovak language, and to pass it requires a very high level of language proficiency and style training: You must know everything, and therefore questions on the exam are not needed. The list of literature for reading is published, and these are books in Slovak and Czech. Therefore, after studying literature, candidates will be fluent not only in Slovak, but also in Czech. Medical faculties are engaged in professional examination, so the initial contact with the recognition of education will certainly contribute to their mutual understanding.

The professional exam is followed by a language test for knowledge of the Slovak language, for which the Ministry of Health is responsible. Why does the Ministry of Health conduct the language exam? Are they experts in language? Why is the Slovak language test conducted after the medical exam? I think the only reason sensible people can come up with is so that the minister can say this: "In May we did four language exams. The build percentage was 100 percent. "


I propose that the ministries change responsibilities, let each of them be responsible for what it logically does:

  • Transfer recognition of education to the medical faculties of universities, possibly to the Ministry of Health.
  • The language exam must be conducted in the Department of Education, or language schools must be responsible for it.

I propose that the language exam could be the first in a sequence of ways to recognize qualifications, or be canceled as unnecessary.

I propose to establish minimum requirements for the recognition of education and bring them to the attention of interested persons.

Current articles by Alona Kurotova are also available at