Covid gives rise to home schooling
Ljubljana, 2 September - Home schooling appears to be ever more popular in Slovenia with the number of kids taught from home spiking by 75% last year, which is attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic and measures related to it.
In the past school year 687 children were schooled at home, most of them the youngest children in the first two years of primary school.
The number of first formers taught from home rose by 75% to 126, from 72 in the 2019/2020 school year as the number of second formers rose by also as much, to 106, from 61 the year before.
Data for the school year that started yesterday will be available after 10 September as parents have time until 31 August each year to opt for home schooling, but a new rise is expected.
Lara Romih, the head of the Parent Councils' Association, believes the reason for the surge is that some parents opted for home schooling because they oppose vaccination and testing of their children.
More generally, the association attributes increased popularity of home instruction to classes being held remotely during the Covid-19 outbreak and often disrupting the family's daily routine.
Talking with the STA, Romih said the association had noticed parents wanting to home-school their children have been joining into various initiatives, mainly on social networks.
In the run-up to the new school year, there was an increase in queries on social networks about the terms of home schooling.
The Institute for Development of Home Schooling, a non-profit promoting home schooling, has currently 2,292 followers on its Facebook site.
Home schooling has been legalised in Slovenia since 1996, but has not been practised until 2004 when first cases were recorded by the Education Ministry.
The ministry says that under valid legislation primary schools cannot deny pupils the right to home schooling, but they can if the pupil fails to pass exams at the end of the school year.
To home instruct their children, parents only need to notify the respective primary school by the start of each new school year, without needing to state their reasons for it.
However, the requirement is that home-schooled pupils attain at least the level of education standard afforded by state school, which is tested by exams.
These are held from the end of May Day break until ten days before the new school year with the level of attainment assessed by a three-member exam panel appointed by the headteacher of the primary the pupil is enrolled in.
In the first three grades, home-schooled pupils are tested in maths and the Slovene language, or in areas with the Italian or Hungarian minorities in Italian or Hungarian.
A foreign language exam is added in the fourth to sixth form, with exams in several more subjects added in the final three years of primary school.