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.
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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.
Slovakia flag source: Countryaah.com
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 Czechs.
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%.