Public schools are free for anyone from the age of 6
until they finish 9th grade. There are three types of high
school: 4-year high schools that prepare students for higher
education, specialized high schools that prepare students
for technical university or professional studies, and
vocational schools. There are schools at all levels where
the minority languages are taught in Hungarian and
Ukrainian. The country has 22 higher education institutions,
14 of which are universities. Comenius University of
Bratislava was founded in 1467, reopened in 1919. See TOPSCHOOLSINTHEUSA for TOEFL, ACT, SAT testing locations and high school codes in Slovakia.
With the outbreak of World War I, the Slovakians were given
the opportunity to join the allies fighting Austria-Hungary.
Hundreds of thousands of Slovak soldiers, who had been
forced to serve in the Hungarian army, deserted to the
Allies. The Czech Alliance and the Slovak League, as well as
nationalist organizations in the United States, reached an
agreement in Cleveland proclaiming freedom for the two
states and an early agreement between them, with extended
autonomy for Slovakia, which would have their own parliament
and government, with Slovak as the official language.
With the victory of the Allies in 1918, the nationalist
forces, in cooperation with the opposition in the Czech
Republic and Slovakia, founded the Republic of
Czechoslovakia on October 28 of that year. It was led by
Slovakian doctor Thomas G. Masaryk - son of a Slovakian
father and a German-Moorish mother, respectively - by the
scientist and foreign Slovakian Milan Stefanik, and by the
Czech Edvard Benes.
Masaryk, who had promised to respect the rights of the
German and Hungarian minorities, was elected president of
the new republic in November; a post he retained until 1935.
Throughout his reign, and also under his successor, Benes',
the Slovakians felt marginalized in a state led by the
Germany's invasion of Sudeterland in 1938 led to Benes'
resignation - he later fled to London - and the German
occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1939 put a temporary halt to
independent Czechoslovak development, leading to a
fragmentation of the country. Bohemia became a German
province and the Russian Carpathians were conquered by the
Hungarians. In March 1939 a new independent Slovak state was
declared, with Joseph Tiso, Hitler's puppet, as president.
Following the victory of the Allies in 1945 and with the
presence of Soviet forces within the borders of the country,
the Czechoslovak Republic was restored with the return of
Benes' exile government; he was re-elected to the post of
president. The national unity was guaranteed by the
republic's accession to the socialist bloc that lasted until
the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In 1991, the two
population groups, the Czechs and Slovakians, decided to
divide the country and establish two republics.
Michal Kovak was elected President of the New Republic of
Slovakia on February 15, 1993. Vladimir Meciar, leader of
the Slovak Democratic Movement, MED, and the architect of
the split of the old republic, was elected prime minister.
At the June 1992 parliamentary elections, MED obtained 37.3%
of the vote; The Democratic Left Party 14.7%; The Christian
Democracy Movement gained 8.9%, while the Slovak Nationalist
Party gained 7.9%. The Coexistence Party, which represented
the Hungarian minority of 600,000 people, got 7.4%.
Meciar stood for a relatively polemical course; the
opposition accused him of being authoritarian. He
nationalized the newspaper «Smena» and introduced a daily
program on TV, presenting the government's plans.
The disintegration of the old republic proved to be of great
detriment to the Slovak economy, missing out on nearly $ 1
billion from the bilateral trade agreements with the Czechs.
Slovakia was much more affected than the Czech Republic by
the division, as it was much more dependent on the socialist
bloc. Acc. The OECD disappeared in the first quarter of 1993
alone, 500,000 jobs, while inflation rose to 18%.