In recent times we have run across the issue of recognition of documents on education more and more frequently. Many more Slovak children study abroad, and after completing their studies, or part of it, they wish to work, or study in Slovakia. The same relates to foreigners who studied at a school abroad and wanted to continue to study or work in Slovakia. It is this that determines the division of assessment of study (of documents on education) from abroad. In particular, these are:
- assessment of study abroad for medical insurance, social insurance, employers and the like.
- academic recognition of documents on education
- professional recognition of documents on education and professional qualifications.
Assessment of study abroad for medical insurance, social insurance, employers and the like
Assessment of study abroad for this purpose can be defined as verification of the eligibility of the educational establishment based abroad, or foreign study at an educational institution is in its range and level built on the level of study of a secondary school or university in the Slovak Republic or whether foreign study at an educational institution is in its range and level built on the level of another study at a secondary school or university in the Slovak Republic.
In this case a decision on the conclusions of an inquiry of the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic is issued for the needs of other authorities and organizations, such as the Office of Labour, Social Affairs and Family, Social Insurance, medical insurance, employers and others. This decision usually serves as the foundation for other decisions (e.g. in the matter of assessing a child allowance, orphan’s retirement, payment of insurance, payment of a tax bonus and the like).
With the aim of reducing the administrative burden the Centre for Recognition of Documents on Education issued a list of recognized universities in the EU, the EEC and Switzerland. This list is updated and available on the Web page of the Centre for Recognition of Documents on Education of the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport. On the basis of a decision of this centre, study at recognized universities stated in this list is considered as an equivalent study at universities in the Slovak Republic, and therefore is considered as systematic preparation of a child for a profession.
If a school is not stated in this list, or if a child studies at a secondary school or another educational establishment, the process proceeds through the form of submitting an application on assessment of the study, on the basis of which the Ministry issues a decision on equivalency of the study abroad from the viewpoint of systematic preparation for a future profession.
Academic recognition of documents on education
Academic recognition, or recognition for the purpose of continuing in study, means recognition of the degree of achieved education for the purpose of continuing in the next degree of education. The process of recognition of documents on education for the purpose of continuing in study is itself divided from the viewpoint of degree of achieved education and according to whether the Slovak Republic has a bilateral agreement with the state whose document on education is being assessed.
According to the degree of achieved education we distinguish recognition of study on the primary or secondary schools, which is done pursuant to Act No. 245/2008 Coll. on Education and Training (the Education Act) and on changes and supplements of certain acts, as amended.
If a child studies abroad during his/her compulsory school attendance, the headmaster of the primary school in Slovakia decides about recognition of this study. On the basis of a request of the pupil or his/her legal guardian, commissional tests will be held, the content and scope of which is determined by the headmaster. Commissional tests will equally be taken by a pupil who did not request taking them. After the taking of commissional tests a decision is made about to which grade of school the pupil will be assigned.
If the results of study were classified, the Centre for Recognition of Documents on Education introduces them to the Slovak classification scale.
Recognition of education completed at primary or secondary schools for the purpose of continuing in study at a secondary school or university in the Slovak Republic (nostrification) is done in the district office in the seat of a region.
Appendices of an application are in particular:
- copy of a document establishing identity,
- a certified copy of a document on the completion of education,
- a statement on completed subjects and tests taken,
- confirmation of a recognized secondary school on the scope of practical learning, if a vocational education or complete secondary professional education is involved,
- verification of the authenticity of signatures and stamp of the school on the document on completed education by the authority of the state relevant for its verification, if an international treaty does not stipulate otherwise,
- a document on payment of the correct fee.
The proceeding begins on the day of delivery of an application to the local relevant district office in the seat of the region. The district office assesses whether the application is complete, and if a complete application was delivered, it then decides to within 2 months on recognition or non-recognition of the education, or on the performing of a differential test.
Recognition of parts of study at universities usually proceeds according to the internal rules of the university where the applicant submits the results of his/her own education abroad.
Recognition of completed of education at universities in a member state or a third state for the purpose of continuing in study is decided by:
- a recognized university in the Slovak Republic, which carries out a study program in the same study areas or in related study areas as that mentioned on the document on education, or
- The Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic (hereinafter only the “Ministry of Education”), if there is no university in the Slovak Republic which carries out a study program in the same study area or in related study areas, as that mentioned on the document on education,
- The Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic, if a document on education issued by a military university is involved, or
- The Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic, if a document on education issued by a police force university is involved.
A proceeding likewise begins on the day of delivery of a complete application to the university, or to the relevant ministry. Within two months from delivery of a complete application the relevant university or ministry shall decide on recognition or refusal of the application, or the applicant will be asked to take a differential exam.
If the Slovak Republic has concluded with a member state or third state an international treaty on mutual recognition of the equivalence of documents on education, through which the Slovak Republic is bound in this case to automatically recognize a document on primary, secondary or university education. The Ukraine is among these states. In the case of automatic recognition of documents, the procedure is many times simpler and faster.
Professional recognition of documents on education and professional qualifications
Professional recognition of documents on education is recognition of education for the purpose performing a profession. In practice unregulated and regulated professions exist.
Unregulated professions are professions for which no qualification requirement exists, or these requirements are too general and for this reason it is not possible to compare an achieved education abroad with the qualification requirements in the Slovak Republic. This is the reason why no recognition is necessary. In this case with recognition of documents on education proceeds the same as with academic recognition of documents on education.
A regulated profession is a profession, specialist activity or group of specialist activities which require, in addition to general qualifications, the fulfilment of certain qualification requirements stipulated by special provisions, which is the degree of achieved education. This in particularly involves the assessment of studies in social, economic and legal sciences. This also relates to recognition of education for the performance of medical professions. This issue is, however, so extensive and complex that it could be the subject of a special article.