Can children with disabilities from Ukraine go to school in Slovakia?
All children in Slovakia are entitled to free education, including children with disabilities. Schooling is not compulsory for children of Ukrainian refugees in Slovakia, but legal guardians can apply to enrol their child in a school of their choice (see enrolment process below). A place in the school will be allocated to the pupil by the head teacher depending on the current capacity of the school and the form of disadvantage of the child. The following article will also introduce you to educational support options for children with disabilities from Ukraine.
What is the process of inclusion of children with disabilities from Ukraine in schools and kindergartens in Slovakia?
To place your child in a nursery („kindergarten“) or school, you need:
Have proof that you have applied for temporary shelter or asylum for your child.
Contact the principal of the kindergarten, primary or secondary school you are interested in and find out if the school has the capacity to take your child.
Make a written application for your child to be admitted to that school.
Include with your application the documents requested by the school (e.g. a copy of the child’s passport, vaccination certificate, etc.) and reports of professional examinations (medical, psychological, special education, etc.). If you do not have the professional reports, the school can arrange for assistance through the counselling and prevention facility*.
* Counseling and prevention facilities are „public“ (services provided free of charge) or „private“ (services provided for a fee according to a price list) institutions. Their task is to provide diagnosis, therapy, rehabilitation and other professional activities for children. They provide support, e.g. psychologist, special educator, therapeutic educator, social educator, speech and language therapist. (For more information see below)
When communicating with the school, prepare the following information:
How was the child educated in Ukraine? (e.g. regular/special school)
What educational arrangements did the child have in the institution he/she attended?
How did the child do at school in Ukraine?
The school principal shall ensure:
Presence of a school special educator or professional staff member at the enrolment of the child, according to the school’s capacity.
Collaboration with a counselling and prevention facility* that can provide specialist diagnostics and additional activities for your child, where appropriate.
List of all kindergartens and schools in Slovakia:
Overview of current capacities of kindergartens and schools: https://ukrajina.minedu.sk/najst-skolu/
School enrolment deadline
A child may be enrolled in school during the year as needed by the parent/guardian. If enrolment is at the beginning of a new school year, enrolment normally takes place in March-May of the previous school year.
The exact dates of enrolment are published by the schools and/or municipal authorities in the school district concerned.
Can the school reject my child?
The head teacher may refuse to admit/enrol a child in the school on the grounds of insufficient capacity. In this case, you must request a written statement from the school principal and contact the NIVaM coordinators who will work with the Regional school administration Office to find an alternative solution.
Where can I go if I need support with my child’s enrolment and education in a school in Slovakia?
We know that in practice, educating a child with a disability can be challenging, even more so when the family finds themselves in a new environment.
However, there are a number of tools that can facilitate this process for families from Ukraine and their children.
Advice from the regional coordinators of the National Institute of Education and Youth
Coordinators in eight regional cities in Slovakia work with Ukrainian families and school institutions to facilitate the enrolment and incorporation of individual children from Ukraine in Slovak kindergartens and schools (providing interpreters, psychologists, etc.). The list and contacts of the coordinators can be found here.
Counselling and Prevention Centres (CPP):
It provides services mainly in the field of their personal, educational and career development to children (without disabilities but also with disabilities), their parents, teachers and professionals involved in their education.
There are two types of these facilities:
Specialised Counselling and Prevention Centre (SCPP):
It provides services to children with disabilities, their parents, teachers and professionals involved in their education.
They specialise in disability e.g. visual, hearing, intellectual (mental) disability, physical disability, autistic spectrum disorder, impaired communication skills.
Some specialist centres focus on children up to the age of seven who have a disability or are at risk of developmental disability, without a diagnosis as yet.
If you are unsure which state (free) counselling service (SCPP or CPP) will provide you and your child with their services and support, or if you have a problem with the availability of their services, please contact the appropriate Regional school administration office in your county or the counselling services listed below.
Children from Ukraine are also entitled to various forms of educational support through the system of support measures.
Support measures can take various forms, e.g. providing a Slovak language course, adjusting goals, methods, forms and approaches to education, support of an assistant in the classroom.
The possibility of applying specific support measures is based on the pupil‘s needs and determining the extent of support for the pupil to develop his/her potential. The assessment of some needs is carried out directly by teachers or professional school staff (e.g. school psychologist or special educator), and for some cases, it is necessary a conclusion of a Counselling and Prevention Facility (SCPP or CPP).
Advice from the Platform of Families
The Platform of families operates InkluLINK, a telephone support line for families of children with disabilities. A Peer consultant – a parent – will offer you help in the form of listening, advice and specific solutions to situations that directly affect you. If a consultation with an expert is necessary, he will recommend where you can turn.
InkluLINK is available Monday – Friday, from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. on tel. number: +421 948 991 444 (SK) and +421 911 387 733 (UA) or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. We do not record the call or we do not make records of it either.
InkluLINK is operational with the financial support of UNICEF.
Peer consulting – parent to parent
You can find more information about individual family counsellors here: https://www.platformarodin.sk/poradenstvo/laicke-poradenst vo/
If you have legal question regarding the education of your child with a disability, you can contact the
– Legal Aid Centre and their advice line free of charge 0650 105 100 (Mon-Fri 8:00-17:00),
Distance education of a child in Slovakia in the Ukrainian school system
Many parents from Ukraine wish to continue their children’s education in Ukrainian schools through online learning.
In this case, it is necessary to contact the school in Ukraine that the child attended if it organises distance learning. In the case of graduates who are finishing their secondary school studies this year in the Ukrainian education system and are interested in obtaining a Ukrainian matriculation diploma, the legal guardian needs to contact the school in Ukraine.
There is also the possibility of enrolling the child in SchoolToGo (grades 1-11), an online school recognized by the Ukrainian and Slovak Ministries of Education: https://schooltogo.online/en/
For more general information about the education of children from Ukraine in Slovakia: