STA, 28 January 2019 - Slovenia appears to be increasingly appealing to foreign students with data from the country's four publicly-funded universities showing they represent 6% of all students. Most of them come from SE Europe.
Of the 65,640 students enrolled at the four universities this academic year, 3,936 are foreigners. Their share thus rose to over 6% from 4.5% in the previous academic year.
Commenting on the data, Miha Zupančič from the Student Organisation (ŠOS) says that foreign students are attracted by the low study costs, good standard of living, the universities' reputation and quality courses.
Most foreign students come from the region of the former Yugoslavia; Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia, and EU countries, as well as from far-away countries such as the US and Canada.
Most foreign students enrol at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia's oldest and largest university. Over the past five years, their number increased from 2,113 to 2,389, so they represent 6.3% of more than 38,000 students there.
The University of Maribor has been seeing similar trends with a similar proportion of foreign students. Their number has risen from 664 five years ago to 920.
By far the largest proportion of foreign students are enrolled at the University of Primorska, rising from 3.7% or 213 foreign students to almost 12% or 572 this academic year.
"The percentage of foreign students is an indicator of the university's international orientation and when it reaches the 10% threshold we can say the university is internationalised," university official Mirella Baruca has told the STA.
The University of Nova Gorica, a private publicly funded institution, enrolled 50 foreign students this academic year. Most of them come from Italy across the border and from former Yugoslav countries.
Most foreign students study economics, and electrical and computer engineering. At the University of Primorska, most foreigners enrol in mathematics, natural sciences and information technology classes.
The universities are increasingly involved in student exchange programmes, mainly through Erasmus+, where the share of mobile students is about 5%.
The University of Ljubljana has 2,122 foreign students on exchange this year. ŠOU data show that most such students come from Spain and Portugal.
"Slovenia is interesting for foreign students because it offers a diversity and beauty of nature in a small area. The colleges are known abroad, they like the people, their friendliness and openness," Mitja Zorič, head of the ŠOU Ljubljana international cooperation department, has told the STA.
Completing their exchange, they would tell you that Slovenia, and Ljubljana in particular, is "designed for Erasmus", being small as well as large, with well organised student dorms, meals, public transport.
What foreign students like best is subsidised meals at restaurants, "they cannot believe the meals are so cheap", Zorič says. They also like the night life and the country's location as a gateway for travel.
STA, 14 December 2018 - Slovenian higher education students are one year younger than the average in the EU as they mostly decide to go to university immediately after the secondary school, which is not characteristic of other European countries, according to a survey carried out in all 28 EU member states.
The key points of the Eurostudent VI (2016-2018) survey were presented on Friday by Alenka Gril of the Educational Research Institute.
In the 2015/2016 academic year in Slovenia, a total of 77,354 were enrolled in tertiary education, of which 4,968 or 6.4% participated in the survey.
Their average age was 24.1, which is around a year below the average for students in all other EU member states, which stands at 25. There were more female students than male students in Slovenia, added Gril.
The share of part-time students in Slovenia is 13%, which is one of the highest shares in the EU. A majority of these students do not have a tertiary education background in their families.
"These students are mostly facing financial troubles and come from poorer families," she said, adding that they frequently had to work while studying.
Most Slovenian students also have jobs
The survey carried out by the Ministry of Education, the public institute CMEPIUS and the Slovenian Student Organisation (ŠOS) also shows that most of Slovenian students work during the academic year.
"Almost three-fifths work for the entire week during the academic year and are thus one of the most overburdened students in Europe, as they work and study for 51 hours a week on average," said Gril.
They work 14 hours a week on average, and only in six European countries students work more (15 hours) - Iceland, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
Also facing major financial troubles are students with long-term medical conditions, which represent a 5% share in total student population. Half of them believe that they are not provided sufficient support for studying.
Almost half of Slovenian students live with their parents or relatives (48%), while 19% live in dormitories or rented rooms.
On the occasion, the ŠOS pointed out that students face average monthly costs of EUR 500, while the state scholarship amounts to EUR 125, with only a fifth of students receiving it.
"As the survey showed, students are too much dependent on their own work and family. This means it is too difficult to get independent," ŠOS president Jaka Trilar said in a press statement.
The organisation has also detected a shortage of student dormitories, in particular in the western region of Primorska, but also in Ljubljana.
"The state has obviously failed to detect that bigger generations are coming," said Trilar, also noting that international student exchange programmes were mostly being attended by richer students.
It should be regulated at the EU level that more scholarships for mobility go to students from poorer families, he added.
STA, 16 December 2018 - Slovenia has the largest share of women graduates in sciences, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) among all EU member states, show figures released by European Commission earlier this week.
According to the study Women in the Digital Age, the share of women graduates in STEM stands at 20.5 per 1,000 persons aged 20 to 29 in Slovenia, which compares to the EU average of 13.1 per 1,000 graduates.
The study brings an assessment of the participation of women in the digital economy, showing women lag behind men in several areas in the EU.
Only one in six information and communications technology (ICT) experts are women, and although women represent 52% of the EU's population, only 17% work in ICT.
However, data for the 16-24 age group are more encouraging, as the gap in digital participation between women and men is fairly narrow.
In the age group, 55% of women are active in the digital world compared to 60% of men, with the trend even starting to reverse in certain countries, with women outperforming men in the category.
Slovenia is the 10th best performing country in terms of integrating women in the digital sector, while the leader is Finland, with Bulgaria at the bottom of the list.
Slovenia performed best in specialist skills and employment (3rd place) and worst in the use of the internet (19th).
The Commission's first annual review of women's participation in the digital economy is based on the Women in Digital Scoreboard, which brings together 13 indicators in three fields: internet use, internet user skills, and specialist skills and employment.
It is to serve as a tool for the Commission and national governments to identify shortcoming and take action to improve the situation.
STA, 7 December 2018 - The prosecution has withdrawn charges of negligence against a former Ljubljana primary school headteacher who banned two male final year students from school grounds after they allegedly sexually harassed a pair of their female classmates.
In a press release, the Ljubljana Supreme Prosecution Office said on Friday that the district prosecution took the decision after examining the defendant's written and oral arguments and documents in the file.
"In his plea, Dušan Merc shed light on the matter by presenting relevant circumstances material for the assessment of his conduct," the release said.
The prosecution concluded that Merc cannot be accused that he caused grave violation of human rights of the two students because their constitutional right to education was not violated.
According to media reports, Merc, the former headteacher of the Prule primary, was put on trial on charges of negligence at work for allegedly violating the two boys' right to education.
The case goes back five and a half years when two year 9 Prule students harassed their classmates in a swimming pool during a sports day.
After pushing them under water several times to the point of exhaustion, they sexually attacked the girls and later even made fun of them on school premises.
Five days later, after the marking period was over, Merc banned the boys from school grounds in order to protect the victims, but a schools inspector found him in the wrong and the case was later taken up by the prosecution.
STA, 26 November 2018 - Education Minister Jernej Pikalo discussed how to prevent anti-Semitism at Monday's session of the EU's Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council in Brussels, pointing to the thin line between freedom of speech and hate speech and noting that the educational system played the key role in preventing the spreading of hatred.
Pikalo said that all European societies had the problem of defining the line between freedom of speech and hate speech, which was why all kinds of deviations were taking place.
Related: Our stories on hate speech can be found here
The minister stressed that more proactivity in the prevention of spreading of hatred towards any individuals or groups would be introduced in the educational system.
"Policies and approaches in this field must be especially sensitive and proactive, because we must not allow any of the historical situations we were in to repeat," Pikalo stressed.
He said that the Holocaust must not be only a history lesson, but a lesson for the present time, adding that Slovenia was playing an active role in that respect.
Pikalo noted that around 50 teachers from Slovenia went to Israel every year as part of an educational programme, adding that Slovenia also had curricular and extracurricular activities which promoted democratic awareness.
In the context of hate speech, the minister also commented for the press on the call by Prime Minister Marjan Šarec to state-owned companies to reconsider pulling ads in the media which instigate hate speech.
Related: Our stories on Jewish Slovenia are here
Pikalo said that he supported Šarec's call. "It does not matter at the moment what direction the matter will take," he said, noting that the prime minister was not calling on the companies to act, but to consider an idea.
The EU ministers also discussed youth-related topics, focusing on the question of how to best implement the new European strategy for youth.
Pikalo said that from now on, the sessions of the government council for youth will feature relevant ministers, who would get better acquainted with the problems and challenges faced by the youth sector in Slovenia.
The ministers further discussed the Towards a European Education Area by 2025 document, a new initiative recently unveiled by the European Commission, which includes the idea to establish a network of European universities.
As a country which wants to be at the core of the EU, Slovenia wants to be connected in the field of education, said Pikalo, while noting that educational policies were always national policies.
The minister said that he had received initiatives from two Slovenian universities for cooperation at the EU level, adding that his ministry supported such integration.
STA, 1 October 2018 – While thousands of students will return to universities as the new academic year 2017/2018 starts on Monday, the trend of universities cutting the number of students they accept continues this year.
STA, 27 September - Among the 45,434 people teaching at all levels of the Slovenian educational system, most are women. But the higher the level of education and the seniority of posts, the more men there are among the staff, show the official statistics for the 2017/2018 school and academic year.
STA, 3 September 2018 - Outgoing PM Miro Cerar and Education Minister Maja Makovec Brenčič attended in Ljubljana on Monday the official opening of the European School Ljubljana. Cerar said this put Slovenia on the global and European maps in terms of providing for the education of children of staff working in EU institutions.
STA, 3 September - With the two-month summer break having ended, some 73,200 secondary school students and 184,169 primary school children are back at school, of whom almost 21,880 for the first time. Both children and teachers are in for a plenty of changes.