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No solution yet for private schools funding

Ljubljana, 5 December - Idealogical divisions came to a head over the issue of public funding of private schools as the ruling coalition struggled to comply with a Constitutional Court ruling from late 2014 mandating full government funding of publicly-approved curricula at private primary schools. Unlike state schools, which are eligible for full funding, private ones only get 85%. To enact the ruling, the government tabled a bill in April providing for full funding of the mandatory programme but only 85% funding of the extended curriculum, which includes activities such as remedial classes for struggling students. However, the legislative process was stalled by the Social Democrats-led initiative which eventually secured the necessary two-thirds majority in parliament on 21 November to launch procedure for a constitutional amendment to circumvent the Constitutional Court ruling. The effort became doomed after Hungarian minority MP Laszlo Gönz withdrew his support for the next stage of the procedure, but as reading of the original government bill resumed the parliamentary education committee backed an amendment proposing no funding for extended curricula at private schools. Apart from being denounced by a group of jurists, the efforts to comply with the Constitutional Court ruling also invited the ire of the Catholic Church, which operates two primaries in Slovenia. Apostolic Nuncio Juliusz Janusz raised the issue with Pope Francis as a breach of the 2001 agreement between Slovenia and the Holy See.

Ljubljana
Opinions clash over public funding of private primary schools.
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA
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© STA, 2017