Schooling is compulsory for Slovaks between the ages of 6 and 15. Some children attend preschool before the age of 6. Primary school lasts five years. Children continue their schooling at one of several types of secondary schools.

 Gymnasiums prepare students for further study at universities. Specialized secondary schools train students in applied arts and sciences. Secondary vocational schools combine apprenticeships and academic study. Conservatories offer courses in music, dance or dramatic arts. Apprentice training centres prepare students for skilled trades and other occupations.

In addition to state schools, there are private schools and church-run primary and secondary schools. The government is currently trying to encourage the establishment of additional good-quality private schools.
  Did you know?
The first mining school in the world, the Mining Academy in Banská Štiavnica, was founded in 1762. 
The language of instruction is Slovak. Students must also study two foreign languages. English is the most popular second language, followed by German, French, Spanish and Italian. Children of Hungarian, Ukrainian, Ruthenian, Polish and German families may also take classes in their mother tongues.

 Currently there are 14 institutions of higher education in the Slovak Republic. At the end of secondary school, students write an entrance exam to gain admission to university. Slovak universities and colleges are renowned for their programs in forestry, sciences, wood technology and environmental studies.

Slovaks believe in lifelong education. The City University in Bratislava provides distance education in cooperation with Great Britain's Open University. Three universities also offer the University of the Third Age, where older people can study.
  Did you know?
Maximilián Hell (1720-92) was a Slovak mathematician and astronomer. He was the first to calculate the distance between the earth and the sun.