The academic year lasts 12 months; the start is fixed by the head of the higher education institution (rector). Courses are divided into semesters, years or blocks, which are composed of a period of teaching, an examination period and a vacation.
The structure of the academic year is decided by each institution. It usually begins in October and is divided into two semesters: winter and summer, with approx. a five-week examination period after each semester. The summer vacation is in July and August.
The frequency and methods of assessing students’ achievements differ according to the field of study. In some cases, a system of partial examinations taken after each semester has been introduced, in other cases one comprehensive examination after each completed part of studies is prescribed, mostly at the end of a certain module. Performance in examinations and in the defence of the thesis is graded. In majority, institutions students are assessed by means of credits. The credit system (ECTS, European Credit Transfer System) has been encouraged since it allows completed parts of studies to be recognised, thus contributing to transferability within the system.
By law, higher education at public and state institutions is free of charge for citizens of all nationalities, with the following exceptions:
• fees for administration of admission proceedings;
• fees for extending the duration of study beyond a set limit;
• fees for the study of an additional programme;
• fees for study in a foreign language.
Private institutions of higher education can fix their own fees. The tuition fees differ from 2,000 – 15,00