Slovakia

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Overview

The Slovak Republic - short form: Slovakia; Slovak: Slovensko - long form Slovenská republika - is a landlocked country in Central Europe with an area of about 49,000 square kilometres (almost 19,000 square miles).It borders the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south.

It has a population of around 5,445,000.

The largest city is its capital, Bratislava.

Slovakia is a member state of the European Union, NATO, United Nations, OECD, WTO, UNESCO and other international organizations.

Slovakia is a high-income advanced economy with the fastest growth rates in the EU and OECD. It joined the European Union in 2004 and joined the Eurozone on the 1st of January, 2009. The Slovak economy is considered a tiger economy, with the country dubbed the "Tatra Tiger". Slovakia transformed from a centrally planned economy to a market-driven economy. Major privatizations are nearly complete, the banking sector is almost completely in private hands, and foreign investment has risen.

Slovakia's has recently been characterized by sustained high economic growth. In 2006, Slovakia achieved the highest growth of GDP (8.9%) among the members of OECD. The annual GDP growth in 2007 was estimated at 10.4% with a record level of 14.3% reached in the fourth quarter.

Unemployment, peaking at 19.2% at the end of 1999, decreased to 7.51% in October 2008 according to the Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic. In addition to economic growth, migration of workers to other EU countries also contributed to this reduction. According to Eurostat, which uses a calculation method different from that of the Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic, the unemployment rate is still the second highest after Spain in the EU-15 group, at 9.9%.

Further information

Demographics

The majority of the inhabitants of Slovakia are ethnically Slovak (85.8%). Hungarians are the largest ethnic minority (9.7%). Other ethnic groups, as of the 2001 census, include Roma with 1.7%,[29] Ruthenians or Ukrainians with 1%, and other or unspecified, 1.8%.[1] Unofficial estimates on the number of Roma population are much higher, around 9%.

The official state language is Slovak, a member of the Slavic Language Family, but Hungarian is also widely spoken in the south of the country and enjoys a co-official status in some municipalities; and many people also speak Czech.

The Slovak constitution guarantees freedom of religion. The majority of Slovak citizens (68.9%) identify themselves as Roman Catholics, although church attendance is much lower than this percentage. The second-largest group are people "without confession" (13%). About 6.93% indentify as Lutherans, 4.1% Greek Catholic (affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church), and 2.0% Calvinism. Other and non-registered churches account for 1.1% of the population and some 0.9% are Eastern Orthodox. About 2,300 Jews remain of the large estimated pre-WWII population of 90,000.


Politics

Slovakia is a parliamentary democratic republic with a multi-party system. The last parliamentary elections were held on June 17, 2006 and two rounds of presidential elections took place on April 3, 2004 and April 17, 2004.

The Slovak head of state is the president, elected by direct popular vote for a five-year term. Most executive power lies with the head of government, the prime minister, who is usually the leader of the winning party, but he/she needs to form a majority coalition in the parliament. The prime minister is appointed by the president. The remainder of the cabinet is appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister.

Slovakia's highest legislative body is the 150-seat unicameral National Council of the Slovak Republic (Národná rada Slovenskej republiky). Delegates are elected for a four-year term on the basis of proportional representation. Slovakia's highest judicial body is the Constitutional Court of Slovakia (Ústavný súd), which rules on constitutional issues. The 13 members of this court are appointed by the president from a slate of candidates nominated by parliament.

Regions of Slovakia

Slovakia is subdivided into 8 krajov (singular - kraj, usually translated as "region", but actual meaning is "county"), each of which is named after its principal city. Regions have enjoyed a certain degree of autonomy since 2002. Their self-governing bodies are referred to as Self-governing (or autonomous) Regions (sg. samosprávny kraj, pl. samosprávne kraje) or Upper-Tier Territorial Units (sg. vyšší územný celok, pl. vyššie územné celky, abbr. VÚC):

  1. Bratislava Region (Bratislavský kraj) (capital Bratislava)
  2. Trnava Region (Trnavský kraj) (capital Trnava)
  3. Trenčín Region (Trenčiansky kraj) (capital Trenčín)
  4. Nitra Region (Nitriansky kraj) (capital Nitra)
  5. Žilina Region (Žilinský kraj) (capital Žilina)
  6. Banská Bystrica Region (Banskobystrický kraj) (capital Banská Bystrica)
  7. Prešov Region (Prešovský kraj) (capital Prešov)
  8. Košice Region (Košický kraj) (capital Košice)

(the word kraj can be replaced by samosprávny kraj or by VÚC in each case)

The "kraje" are subdivided into many "okresy" (sg. okres, usually translated as districts). Slovakia currently has 79 districts.

In terms of economics and unemployment rate, the western regions are richer than eastern regions; however the relative difference is no bigger than in most EU countries having regional differences.

For further general information see Wikipedia:Slovakia.


Education in Slovakia

For a general description of education in Slovakia see Education:Slovakia.


e-learning

For a description more focussed to e-learning see E-learning:Slovakia.


Quality procedures

Internet in Slovakia

Internet in Education

Copyright law in Slovakia

Copyright law in Education

OER Initiatives in Slovakia

National OER initiatives

Regional OER initiatives

Institutional OER initiatives

References

Reports


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