The Matura is a school-leaving exam required for the completion of secondary education and for university entrance. Thus the Matura represents not only a final exam but also a continuation regulating the transition from secondary to tertiary education, as is the case of educational systems in many European countries.
History of the Matura
- The Matura is a national exam with equal conditions for all candidates: they take the exam simultaneously, following the same procedures and rules and in accordance with the same criteria of assessment.
- The Matura is a school-leaving exam which signifies the acquisition of a secondary education. By passing the Matura exams candidates prove that they have achieved the standards of knowledge as determined by the general upper secondary school programme.
- The Matura is a test of candidates' abilities for academic studies. Candidates who pass the Matura prove they have the general ability for any academic course. Special talents or psycho-physical aptitude are not, however, evaluated in the Matura, but can be assessed by the University itself.
A pass in the Matura is a general admission requirement for any academic course and a minimal admission requirement for those academic courses having no limit as to the number of students. In accordance with the Higher Education Act, in the candidates' course selection, achievement in the Matura and achievement in the last two years of schooling are taken into consideration where there is a limit to the number of students. There may also be other requirements.
Until 1960, the school-leaving examination at the end of secondary education resembled the present Matura (i.e. a general upper secondary school-leaving external exam): it consisted of five subjects – four compulsory (Slovene language, a foreign language, Mathematics and History) and one optional. Candidates were allowed to choose a fifth subject from the three natural science subjects, i.e. Biology, Chemistry and Physics. The organizers of the exam envisaged all candidates sitting the same written tests in Mathematics and foreign language simultaneously. The examination committee chairperson was an external teacher.
In 1960 the Matura was replaced by a school-leaving exam, the scope and contents of which were changed during the following years.
The 1967 Secondary Education Act provided the basis for a school-leaving examination consisting of two compulsory and no more than three optional subjects. The compulsory part of the examination envisaged candidates sitting exams in Slovene, modern history and the social and political order of the country. Optional examination subjects were set by schools in agreement with the National Education Institute.
In 1980, the Vocational Education Act abolished general upper secondary schools as well as school-leaving exams. On completing secondary education, candidates were awarded a certificate stating that they met all the requirements of the educational programme.
Amendments to the 1983 Vocational Education Act and the 1988 Rules on Evaluation and Assessment of Knowledge in Vocational Education allowed for the possibility of completing secondary education with a school-leaving examination, if so stipulated by the educational programme in question. Thus in 1991, candidates were obliged to sit a school-leaving exam in two subjects for the first time. In the following school year, the exam consisted of four examination units, i.e. Slovene, Mathematics or a foreign language, and two optional subjects.
After 1980, initiatives began to emerge from the University calling for the reintroduction of the Matura. Legislative changes in 1989 reintroduced the Matura as a school-leaving examination at the end of a four-year secondary education. In 1992, the National Matura Committee was appointed and preparations for the present-day Matura were under way. Subject testing committees were appointed for individual Matura subjects and the National Examinations Centre was established for activities relating to the organisation and administration of Matura examinations.
In 1994, a pilot test was carried out on a sample of secondary schools, and a 'proper' Matura was reintroduced in the 1994/95 school year.
2003 was marked by the Matura Examination Act which changed the name of the then Matura to General Matura and added the Vocational Matura. The National Matura Committee was renamed the National Committee for the Matura (NCM). A candidate who passes the Matura completes their secondary education and thus has a possibility to enter any academic or technical course.
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