Czechia has concluded more than 100 bilateral international agreements (of a governmental nature) on cultural cooperation, which includes the field of education. These agreements are concluded for an indefinite period. For cultural agreements, implementation documents are negotiated which outline the specific forms and conditions for cooperation. The agreements specify the number of students, duration of study stays and financial compensation.
Within bilateral agreements, scholarships are offered to students from selected countries. For foreign students studying in Czechia under these agreements the same rules are applied as for Czech students. Study places are awarded on a competitive basis. International agreements of a sectoral nature are concluded for a fixed period and for a specific area of cooperation.
Agreements on mutual recognition of the equivalence of proof of school education and tertiary education are also concluded for an indefinite period.
The government of Czechia also provides assistance to foreigners from countries receiving development assistance from Czechia.
Cooperation and participation in worldwide programmes and organisations
Czechia is a member of the following major international organisations:
Czechoslovakia was one of the founding members of both the United Nations in 1945 and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1946. Czechia became a member of UNESCO on 22 February 1993, shortly after the split of the Czechoslovak federation in 1993. The Czech National Commission for UNESCO was established by a government resolution dated 1 June 1994 as an advisory body to the government. The Commission's main task is to facilitate the contact between Czech institutions and experts and UNESCO. For information about the relationship between the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and UNESCO, see the website of the Ministry.
One of the UNESCO projects is the global UNESCO Associated Schools Project, in which Czechoslovakia became involved in 1966 and, to a greater extent, in 1990. The project aims to improve the quality of education. To achieve that, it uses new teaching materials and tests new teaching methods. Each school focuses on a theme in areas such as global problems and the UN efforts to eliminate them, human rights and democracy, cultural heritage and multiculturalism, the environment and ecology.
Czechia has been a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) since 1995. The membership allows the country to take part in multilateral international cooperation between the OECD member states, including in the area of education. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports has its representatives on the Education Policy Committee, the Governing Board of the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) and the Governing Board of the Programme on Institutional Management in Higher Education (IMHE).
In the long term, Czechia has been participating in the following two activities: the Indicators of Education Systems (INES) programme, which aims above all to allow a quantitative comparison between all member countries and in many cases also non-member countries, and the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which aims to survey the knowledge and skills of 15-year-olds in their mother tongue, mathematics and science subjects.
Another OECD project that is financially supported by the European Commission: Programme for the International Assessment of Adults Competencies (PIAAC). The last survey focused on evaluating the level of literacy and numeracy in adults aged 16–64 and their skills of problem solving in technology-rich environments.
Another major project in which Czechia participated was the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS). It is an international survey focusing on teachers.
Czechia also participated in the following projects: Evaluation and Assessment Frameworks for Improving School Outcomes, Review of Policies to Improve the Effectiveness of Resource Use in Schools, Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) and Overcoming School Failure: Policies that work.
For more information about Czechia's participation in OECD education projects see the website of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. Information on the PISA international surveys is also available in the section on Other evaluation activities in early childhood and school education, the TALIS and PIAAC international surveys in the section on Other evaluation activities in adult education and training.
Council of Europe
Czechia as an independent state became a member of the Council of Europe on 30 June 1993 and, since the very beginning has been actively involved in its various activities. In the area of education and at all education levels, Czechia has given attention especially to the projects that have been identified as high priority by the Council of Europe. Great emphasis was placed on education towards democratic citizenship and language policy. In April 1995, Czechia acceded to a Partial Agreement of the Council of Europe establishing the European Centre for Modern Languages in Graz, Austria. The Centre's objective is to implement language policy in the area of foreign language teaching and learning. It organises meetings of language policy makers, experts in theory of teaching and methodology of modern language teaching, teacher trainers, authors of textbooks and other experts from this field. Czechia has a representative on the Governing Board, which enables Czechia to play an important part in shaping the strategy for the Centre's activities. Czech experts participate in all events that are open to them.
There are also representatives of Czechia on other committees of the Council of Europe. Since 1995 the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports has been organising seminars for education experts from member states of the Council of Europe under the title Prague Forum. The latest eighth forum dedicated to politics in education was held in 2017. Since the academic year 1992/93, some schools have participated in the Europe at School event, which is organised under the auspices of the Council of Europe. Czechia focuses on organising exhibitions and fine art and literary competitions, both in Czechia and abroad. The coordinator of the activities is a national committee appointed by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.
Czechia participates in surveys conducted by IEA (International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement). In 2009, Czechia also participated in the IEA project: International Civic and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS), which took place in 38 countries. Its aim was to find out how young people were prepared for their role as citizens of a democratic society and how they perceived it.
Since 2011, Czechia has also participated in testing within the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) project, which takes place in regular five-year cycles. The testing is aimed at determining the literacy level in pupils in 4th grades of basic schools (základní školy).
Every four years (since 1995), a survey within the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) takes place in Czechia. The survey is aimed at determining the level of pupils' knowledge and skills in mathematics and science.
For more information on international surveys see Other evaluation activities in early childhood and school education.