Slovakian mountains

Slovakia is known for its mountainous landscapes, including the Carpathian Mountains, and experiences a temperate continental climate with distinct seasons. The country has notably robhust formal and nonformal environmental education networks, an environmental policy strategy active through 2030, and is working to reform its educational standards to place a greater emphasis on environmental education.

    National Policy

    Formal EE: 

    The state educational program, includes EE as a cross-cutting topic within its curriculum.

    Nonformal EE: 

    In 2015, the Departmental Concept of Environmental Education (through 2025) was approved by the Ministry of the Interior of the Slovak Republic. This responds to current needs and new challenges in the field of environmental management in Slovakia and has a central goal of establishing a functioning, comprehensive system of environmental education.

    Slovakia’s environmental policy strategy was approved in 1993. The Ministry of the Environment of the Slovak Republic has prepared a new, modern strategy for environmental policy through 2030 (Envirostrategy 2030) in coordination with the Institute for Environmental Policy (IEP) to address current environmental challenges. A component of this strategy is environmental education and learning for people of all ages. The systems of formal and nonformal environmental education and training for sustainable development will become more efficient through cooperation with central government authorities, professional organizations, academia, non-governmental organizations, and municipalities. For more on Envirostrategy 2030 click here

    Nonformal EE is covered by the Ministry of the Environment through the Departmental Concept of Environmental Education through 2025. The topic is personally covered by only one person working under the Department of Foreign Relations and Environmental Policy. EE is implemented as part of the activities of departmental organizations such as the Slovak Environmental Agency, the Slovak Mining Museum, the National Zoo, Slovak Museum of Nature Protection and Speleology, and others. These organizations implement practical EE for their target groups in the form of educational programs, exhibitions, excursions, trainings, festivals, publications, etc. EE is also implemented by other organizations under the purview of the Departments of Culture (museums) and Agriculture (forest pedagogy) and local governments (cultural centers, leisure centers, eco-centers). 

    EE-focused non-governmental organizations (NGOs), many of which are listed below, also provide a rich variety of nonformal of EE as well.

    EE in K-12 Education

    Formal environmental education (EE) is overseen by the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sports. As a cross-cutting topic, EE is formally part of all educational subjects, especially in the educational areas Humans and Nature, Humans and Society, and Humans and Values. Schools are recommended to introduce the position of an EE coordinator. Currently, a reform of educational standards is being prepared, and is aimed to be released in 2026.

    Professional Development

    Since 2019, the Slovak Environmental Agency has been coordinating a working group consisting of approximately 20 environmental education organizations that have collaborated on the following projects and programs: 

    • The creation and development of the EE portal EWOBOX. Through this, people and organizations can network and share information on environmental education. Additionally, statistical EE data is collected and presented through this portal.
    • Preparation of  the system of certification of EVVO (acronym of Slovak “environmental education, training and awareness”) Educators, according to the model and certification experience of the Czech Republic. Basic quality criteria are currently defined in the areas of Management, Employees, Program and Operation. Work is underway to create processes, procedures, and an administrative apparatus. Qualification criteria for the position of an EVVO Educator were also defined within this working group. The vision is to get this position’s criteria into the National System of Qualifications and create an education program for EVVO workers, which will be submitted for accreditation to the Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic. Approximately 100 training hours will have to be completed to receive accreditation. 
    • The Slovak Environmental Agency and other organizations provide innovative education for teachers focused on EE (or education for sustainable development) and this training is accredited by the Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic. After successfully completing 50 hours of such training, teachers receive a 3% extra bonus on top of their salary.

    National Associations

    Špirála (the Spiral) network of environmental education organizations operates in Slovakia, which brings together 12 non-governmental organizations. This portal brings together people and organizations to network and share information on EE.

    EE in National Government 

    The following government agencies and offices are those most involved in EE efforts across the country:

    National EE Campaigns and Funding

    Nonformal education within the Department of the Environment is financed by the Ministry of the Environment of the Slovak Republic through the Plan of Main Activities. This provides state funding for the salaries of employees, such as nonformal educators, researchers, administrators, and project managers. Departmental organizations, however, often have to look for additional funding for their EE activities through projects and grants (such as, EU Operational Program, Life, EEA and Norway Funds, Interreg, and others). 

    The Environmental Fund operates through the Ministry of the Environment and partially supports EE projects received from schools through departmental and non-governmental organizations. The Environmental Fund also implements the Green Education Fund to support EE in selected thematic areas. 

    The Erasmus+ educational program of the European Union supports education in all sectors of education (school education, higher education, non-formal education, etc.), focusing on capacities of individuals, strategic collaborations, and policy reforms. The program has emphasized sustainability and focuses on environmental education as one of its four main priorities, named the “Environment and fight against climate change” priority. 

    Many other established non-governmental organizations associated under the Spiral network support environmental education across the country.