Bežigrad Grammar School
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|Principal||Ciril Dominko, MSc|
Bežigrad Gymnasium (Slovene: Gimnazija Bežigrad) is a selective coeducational state secondary school for students aged between 15 to 20. It is named after the Bežigrad district in Ljubljana, Slovenia, where it is located. It is famous for its quality and for eminent alumni and is regarded as one of the top grammar schools in Central Europe.
For number of years it has been the school with highest admission standards in Slovenia as well as the school with best Matura results in the country. Bežigrad has a long list of distinguished former pupils that form political, academic and business elite. A number of its former pupils have been Olympic medalists. It has also produced more NBA league players than any other high school in the world outside of the United States.
The school was founded in 1596 as a Jesuit educational institution and it was located in the town center of Ljubljana, then capital of the Duchy of Carniola. In 1773 the Jesuit order was abolished and the Gymnasium became a state institution of the Habsburg Monarchy. Until 1889, it was the only grammar school in Ljubljana. In that year, the Poljane Grammar School was founded and the old institution was renamed to "First Gymnasium of Ljubljana".
Most of the education process was in German language until 1907, when the Austrian government introduced Slovene as the main language of education in most grammar schools in Carniola. The First Gymnasium of Ljubljana began conducting parallel classes in German the following year. Later they were merged into a new grammar school, called "Imperial Royal Gymnasium with German Language of Instruction in Ljubljana". The new school, known colloquially as "The German Gymnasium" or the "Third Gymnasium", was the predecessor of the current Bežigrad Gymnasium. According to the official statistic of the time, most pupils regarded themselves as ethnic Germans, although some Slovenes also attended the schools. After the establishment of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1918, the school was officially renamed to "Third Gymnasium in Ljubljana" and Slovene was introduced as the main language of instruction, although German classes were kept until 1924. In 1929, the school was renamed to "Classical Gymnasium". In 1936, it was moved to the current location in the Bežigrad district. When grammar schools were abolished under communism in 1982 the school was renamed to the "School for Sciences and Mathematics". Among the locals, it became known as the "Bežigrad Gymnasium". In 1990, the name was adopted as the official one and the school once again adopted a grammar school curriculum.
The Bežigrad Grammar School is regarded as the most selective in Slovenia. Admission is based on primary school performance and standardized tests. There are no residence requirements for admission. The school has consistently performed well in the Matura.
An International School with English as the primary language of instruction is also part of the Bežigrad Grammar School. It also runs small (normally around 9) and highly selective class of the International Baccalaureate with results being consistently among the top 10% worldwide. Selection is done in the end of the second year on school (grade 10).
Notable alumni and professors
Several notable professors and pupils are associated with the Bežigrad Grammar School.
- Lavo Čermelj, physicist, publicist and political activist
- Edvard Kocbek, poet and political activist
- Dragotin Lončar, historian
- Barbara Brezigar, politician and jurist
- Stane Dolanc, Yugoslav Communist official and politician
- Toussaint Hočevar, historian and economist
- Sara Isaković, swimmer, Olympic medalist
- Taja Kramberger, poet and historian
- Katarina Kresal, politician
- Ljubo Sirc, economist
- Uroš Slokar, basketball player
- Erazem Lorbek, basketball player
- Bojan Štih, stage director, literary critic and essayist
- Slavoj Žižek, philosopher