The mission and the history
The faculty offers single subject study programmes as well as combinations of two or more subjects. Apart from the study programme “teaching Slovak language and literature” the faculty also provides the programmes specialized in teaching English, German and Romance languages (French, Italian and Spanish). The departments of languages emphasize using the latest trends, strategies, methods and forms of teaching foreign languages. The faculty declares its attitude to modern teaching at various conferences, workshops, and through its cooperation with State Pedagogical Institute and the teacher training centres around Slovakia.
In artistic study programmes, our teachers, recognized locally as well as internationally, prepare the future teachers of music and fine arts. Together with their students they organize various festivals, concerts, exhibitions and artistic workshops.
The Faculty of Education of Comenius University is the only faculty that prepares specialists in the field of pathopsychology and psychology for working with impaired individuals. At the Departments of History and Civics and Ethic Education top specialists are employed and their graduates easily find the path of their future career.
The studies of pre-primary and primary education is also one of the most required study programmes. Annually, these departments accept a number of new candidates.
Apart from the teaching study programmes the departments of German language and Romance languages offer non-teaching study programmes “German and Spanish language in intercultural and transcultural communication”. These were established as a result current requirements of labour market. These study programmes contain various lectures and seminars on specifics of culturology, literal science and linguistics in intercultural communication. The study of communication disorders is unique of its kind and has a solid scientific background just because of the faculty. The study programmes of special pedagogy have a long tradition and the widest spectrum of subjects of all Slovak universities. In the study programme of special pedagogy graduates may obtain a master’s and doctoral degree and are offered a number of specializations including sensory, kinesthetic, visual and mental impairment pedagogies. They are also offered the teaching study programmes specialized in learners with impaired behaviour, communication disorders, autistic learners, and talented learners. The study programme of therapeutic pedagogy studies focuses on therapeutic work with children. Its graduates find their jobs in various institutions of medical or social services. Pedagogy may also be studied as a teaching programme in combination with other subjects. Apart from that, pedagogy may also be studied as a non-teaching programme with a major in social pedagogy and education. Another non-teaching study programme offered by the faculty is Social work. Graduates from this study programme find their future jobs in the fields of social services, management of social services and in HR departments. Reflecting the needs and requirement of the population in 90´s, the faculty of education of Comenius university was the first in Slovakia to have opened the study programme of social work.
The faculty has a number of top quality specialists who are the guarantors of study programmes (professors, associate professors and other pedagogues). Recently, the faculty has employed young professors and associate professors. The faculty also employs coordinators – pedagogues for impaired students of our faculty. Impaired students are offered assistance through the Centre of Services for Students with Special Needs.
The faculty creates good conditions for young research workers within students’ scientific and artistic activities. Our students win various awards. Within artistic activities, the student choir Comenius needs to be mentioned.
The faculty actively cooperates with a number of school and non-school training institutions. Our students participate in excursions and research fellowships in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Students also take international exchange programmes and attend research fellowships in Poland, Finland, Germany, Spain, and the United States. In this type of exchange programme the number of PhD candidates has increased recently who work at foreign research institutions and laboratories. This experience significantly influences their education and their expertise. The quality of education at the Faculty is also influenced by foreign guest teachers and research workers. They usually teach an agreed number of classes or whole semesters. Guest teachers may also deliver single lectures or seminars. In Erasmus+ programme, the faculty has signed dozens of bilateral contracts about future teachers’ and students’ foreign exchanges.
The faculty has been actively involved in various European initiatives supporting foreign exchange programmes for all levels of university students, teachers and research workers which has a significant impact on entire education and research (the international activities and projects within LLP Erasmus, Erasmus+, Tempus IV, Leonardo da Vinci, Comenius, Grundtwig, DAAD, CEEPUS, International Visegrad Fund, National Scholarship programme of the Slovak Reoublic, Fulbright programme, inter-governmental exchange programmes, etc.). Erasmus+ as well as other exchange programmes enable dozens of our students in bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral study programmes to study and take practical trainings abroad. Through these exchange programmes, the teachers and research workers of our faculty may participate in research abroad. The programme also gives an opportunity to welcome foreign students and university teachers to our faculty (e.g. teachers and students from Japan, Thailand, Mongolia).
The faculty has also signed individual contracts about cooperation and mutual support in the field of science and education with a number of foreign university institutions. (The Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, USA, Russia, France, Spain, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, etc.). In 2012 Comenius University entered a prestigious organization Agence Universitarie de la Francofonie. In 2013 the faculty joined the University network within CEEPUS programme focusing on the development of language and intercultural education. As a result, the faculty offers unique study programmes where students may study and graduate in a foreign language.
The faculty is awarded the right to name professors and associate professors in two fields and we strongly believe that more fields will come soon. The faculty offers 8 PhD study programmes. We organize various local and foreign research activities in an effort to be involved in all important projects. The pedagogues do all their activities in with the aim to link their research iniciatives with their publication activities. All efforts of this type have been summarized and awarded in the complex accreditation where the faculty improved by one level compared to the last year. Last but not least, each year the university takes higher place in the international evaluation of universities ARRA
First attempts to constitute faculties of education in the previous Czech-Slovak Republic go back to 20’s of the previous century. However, the first steps were taken after the WWII in 1945. The initiative was taken by teachers themselves who, at the annual assembly in Prague on 14 – 15th July opened the question of university education for teachers. The Slovak parliament passed the law 132/1945 about education of teachers which was signed by president Edvard Beneš on 27th October 1945. According to this law, teachers at all levels of schools needed to acquire their education at faculties of education or other colleagues of university type.
The issues of establishment of faculties of education and the length of studies were later codified by law. One of the first was the law about the establishment 100/1946 passed on 9th April 1946. According to this law, all Czech and Slovak universities needed to open faculties of education.
Ladislav Novomesky, the government official established a commission of representatives from Slovak university on 25th September 1946. At Slovak university, the main protagonists responsible for establishing of the faculty of education was Juraj Hronec, the dean and Jozef Schubert, the faculty secretary. The opening celebration took place on 6th December 1946 in the university assembly hall at Šafárikovo námestie in Bratislava. During this celebration, Karol Kizlink, the rector of the University gave Jozef Hronec the insignia of the faculty and officially opened the faculty.
Among other personalities who significantly contributed to the history of faculty at its beginnings let us mention professor Eugen Suchoň (music), Martin Novacký (biology) Jozef Kostka (fine arts), Juraj Čečetka (pedagogy), Ján Stanislav (Slovak language) Andrej Mráz (literary science), Orest Dubay and Fridrich Hoffstädter (fine arts), Karol Goláň and Ján Huček (history).
The further development of the Faculty of Education was largely influenced by the communist putsch in 1948. Following this, the faculty had to struggle with two major negative factors: 1. Ideology of Marxism and Leninism, 2. Instable position of faculties of education. From the beginning of the school year 1952/1953, all faculties of education changed into 2-year higher pedagogical schools and into pedagogical colleges. The Faculty of Education in Bratislava changed into Vyššia pedagogická škola and Vysoká škola pedagogická.
This situation took for several years until 1959 when the law no: 57/1959, passed on 31st July 1959, opened pedagogical institutes. The newly established pedagogical institute had to be moved from Bratislava to Trnava and at the time there was no pedagogical school of university type in Bratislava. The situation improved in 1964 when faculties of education were re-opened. However, it was still in Trnava.
From the beginning of school year 1972/1973 the faculty was the only one to offer education for teachers and educators working with learners with special needs. Since 1977/1978 the faculty trained secondary teachers. On 1st January 1986 it was moved from Trnava back to Bratislava.
The situation remained unchanged until 1989 when the faculty was largely developed. Currently, the faculty has its stable position among other faculties of Comenius University. Its quality can be observed in the number of study programmes opened, great graduates, good grades in evaluations by independent agencies and an increased number of students being interested in studying at the faculty.
The establishment of the Faculty of Education at Comenius University is a result of long struggle for university education for teachers. The later development only confirmed that this was the right step. It was a requirement of the modern society closely linked with significant progress in natural and technical sciences and humanities. These requirements put urgent demands on both teachers and students. We strongly hope that the future will not bring changes in understanding the importance of teachers’ education. We believe that the role of teacher in society will be understood even better and it will lead to overall development of society and appreciation of the role of teacher.