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Eurydice

EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Early childhood and school education funding

Czechia

3.Funding in education

3.1Early childhood and school education funding

Last update: 19 February 2024

 

Funding

 

Early childhood care funding

Early childhood care takes place mainly in children's groups (dětské skupiny). Their financing system was introduced by an amendment to the Act on Providing Childcare in a Children's Group effective from October 2021. From 2022, providers of childcare services in a children's group are entitled to an operating contribution paid from the state budget. The contribution is decided and paid by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.

By law, all providers with valid authorisation are entitled to the contribution, except from state organisational units and state-subsidised organisations. The condition for providing a contribution to a given capacity place is submitting an application within the set deadline and concluding a childcare contract with the parent who prove a participation in labour market. The contribution can be provided if the children's group has at least 3 capacity places and if the places are filled for at least 3 hours a day. It is not provided for a capacity place occupied by the provider's own child, if the provider is a childminder running a children's group with a capacity of no more than 4 children.

The contribution can be used for:

  • wages and salaries and related expenses (insurance premiums, remuneration, etc.),
  • costs associated with the provision of compulsory further education for childcare staff,
  • children's meals (provided under specified conditions),
  • other operating costs.

The financing follows the formula funding system valid in private nursery schools (mateřská škola) and school canteens (školní jídelna). Because of greater flexibility in the children's group, where daily attendance throughout the week is not common, the per capita amount is set at a daily rate. In the children's group, the per capita amount for a child under 3 years of age (until 31 August after reaching the age of 3) is 1.7 times the per capita amount for a child in a private nursery school; for older children, the per capita amount is the same as in a private nursery school.

Per capita amounts for 2023

  daily amount for operation daily amount for meal approximate monthly amount
children under 3 yrs. CZK 507.41 / EUR 23 CZK 23.55 / EUR 1  CZK 11 062 / EUR 456
children over 3 yrs. CZK 291.28 / EUR 12 CZK 13.80 / EUR 0.5 CZK 6 335 / EUR 269

Note: The approximate monthly amount is the product of the average number of working days per month (20.83) in 2023 and both daily per capita amounts. Rate: CZK/EUR 24.175 – 2 January 2023. Source: website of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (in Czech).

Providers apply for a contribution separately for each children's group for each calendar year, always during January of that year. Regarding the situation in Ukraine, a temporary adjustment was made; until 31 March 2023, it is possible to enter the system even during the year. It is possible to apply only for a part of the year, e.g., with a view to ensuring a smooth follow-up to financial support from the operational programmes of ESF.

In the case of children under 3 years of age, receiving an operating contribution influences the amount of fees in the children's group.

Children over 2 years can also be educated at nursery schools. For funding of nursery schools, see section Early childhood and school education (below).

 

Early childhood and school education funding

Pre-primary, basic, upper secondary and tertiary professional education is regulated by the Education Act and is funded from the state budget and budgets of the territorial self-government units, i.e., particular school organising bodies.

 

Types of expenditures

Within the aforementioned education above, there are the investment and non-investment expenditures. These are composed of running costs and direct educational costs.

Direct educational costs

Direct educational costs are composed of:

  • salaries, wages, reimbursements and related costs (i.e., deductions for social insurance and health insurance and other costs which follow from labour law relations, etc.);
  • reimbursements for the members of the examination board for the VET final examination (závěrečná zkouška) and Maturita examination (maturitní zkouška);
  • costs for teaching aids and textbooks if these are provided free of charge;
  • other costs connected with education, i.e., CPD of education staff and activities connected with the school development and quality of education.

The direct educational costs of all schools and school facilities are covered from the central state budget (budget chapter Education – Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports).

Running costs

Other non-investment costs, i.e., running costs are covered by the organisation body of the particular school. As for the organising body, there are:

  • schools and school facilities established by the territorial self-government units (municipalities, union of municipalities and regions), hereafter known as “public schools“;
  • schools and school facilities established by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, hereafter known as “state schools“;
  • schools and school facilities established by registered churches or denominational associations, hereafter known as “denominational schools“;
  • schools and school facilities not established by state, territorial self-governing unit, registered church or denominational association, thus schools and school facilities established by private bodies, hereafter known as “private schools“.

The running costs of school and school facilities established by territorial self-governing units are covered from the budgets of the organising body, i.e., budget of the municipality, units of municipalities or region. The primary source of reimbursement of these expenditures is the income of municipalities and regions from the so-called "budgetary allocation of taxes", i.e., the redistribution of explicitly determined shared taxes between the state, municipalities and regions. One of the coefficients, according to which part of the shared taxes is distributed among individual municipalities, is the number of children/pupils of nursery schools (mateřské školy) and basic schools (základní školy) educated in schools established by given municipality.

In the case of state schools, denominational schools or private schools, the running costs are partly covered from the state budget (from the budget of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports), partly from other resources (tuition fees, donations etc.).

Investment expenditure

Investment expenditure is covered by the particular organising body of the school. In the case where the school is established by the municipalities (namely, nursery schools and basic schools), the costs are covered from municipalities budgets; in the case of regional schools (namely, upper secondary schools – střední školy and tertiary professional schools – vyšší odborné školy), from the budget of the regions. In case of private and denominational schools, the expenditures are covered from the budgets of the private and church organising bodies.

 

Financing of schools from the state budget

 

PUBLIC SCHOOL FUNDING

Since January 2020, so-called "standardised cost-based funding system“ has been in force, replacing the previous system of national and regional per capita (per-pupil) amounts. The current system is based on the financing of the real volume of teaching and the real amount of teachers' tariff salaries in nursery schools (mateřské školy), basic schools (základní školy), upper secondary schools (střední školy), after-school centres (školní družiny), and conservatories (konzervatoře).

Financial flows in the public school financing system can be divided into two phases:

  • Phase 1: The Ministry of Education breaks down most of the financial resources for direct education expenditure, which are calculated and determined for each individual school and the education staff of particular after-school centres in individual regions.
  • Phase 2: The regional authority will supplement the above-mentioned central breakdown of the Ministry of Education with a breakdown of funds for school services through regional per capita amounts (which does not apply to educational work in after-school centres).

Nursery, basic and upper secondary schools, conservatoires and educational staff in after-school clubs

Parts of the budget:

I./ Financing of teaching work: The maximum extent of teaching / education to be paid from the state budget is stipulated by a binding legal regulation (a government regulation and a decree) for individual areas of education.

  • The Ministry of Education determines to each individual nursery, basic and upper secondary school (and after-school centre) and the conservatoire the amount of funds for the actual number of its teachers if the hour rate of their work (direct teaching activities) does not exceed the stipulated maximum range. The volume of provided funds also respects the factual placement of teachers at given school in salary categories and grades within the salary structure (obligatory state-regulated pay system in the public sphere).
  • The Ministry of Education also specifies for each individual nursery, basic and upper secondary school (and after-school centre) and the conservatoire formula-based funds for other claimable and non-claimable (variable) salary components, according to the number of teachers. This ensures that the school always receives funds for the other salary components in addition to funds for tariff components of salaries. And the school head is guaranteed that he or she will not be forced to provide tariff components of teachers' salaries at the expense of funds for other salary components (especially the motivational ones).

II./ Financing of salaries of non-teaching staff: The amount of funds for the salaries of non-teaching staff in schools is allocated by the Ministry of Education to each individual school via a per capita amount composed of three partial per capita amounts (PCA), i.e., 1/ PCA on the school directorate, 2/ PCA on other workplaces, and 3/ PCA on each class (in case of conservatoire PCA per pupil).

III./ Other non-investment expenditures ("ONIV") - these are especially funds for textbooks, teaching aids and materials provided free of charge to pupils, and funds for continuing professional development of teachers. These expenditures are determined for each individual nursery, basic and upper secondary school and conservatoire on the basis of a national per capita amount according to the number of children, pupils.

Basic art schools and tertiary professional schools

In the area of basic art education and in tertiary professional education the per capita normative funding system remains unchanged, i.e., the same system applies which was valid until 2020. Since January 2020, however, the per capita amounts per pupil/student are set on top-level basis, directly by the Ministry of Education, and not by individual regional authorities as has been the case in previous years.

School facilities

The original per capita normative funding system also applies in the area of school services, i.e., facilities that support and follow-up schools' activities (especially school catering facilities, school guidance and counselling facilities – školská poradenská zařízení, school clubs – školní kluby, lodging and boarding facilities for students – domov mládeže and internát, children's homes (dětské domovy) etc.). The Ministry of Education will distribute the allocated funds to the individual regional authorities through the so-called "national normatives" (national per capita amounts). Each regional authority then sets up and issues its own structure of so called “regional normatives” (regional per capita amounts) of non-investment expenditures per performance unit (i.e., per child, pupil, student, per individual receiving meal, accommodation etc.) for particular types and forms of school facilities within its territory. This is governed by a Decree on Regional Per Capita Amounts of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. The regional authority then distributes resources to the individual school facilities in the amount of the product of the number of performance units and the relevant regional normative.

Financing of support measures provided to children, pupils and students with special educational needs

The state budget also provides schools and school facilities of all organising bodies (public, private and denominational) with targeted funding for the implementation of so-called "support measures" for the education of children, pupils and students with special educational needs, both support measures of a personal nature (teacher assistant, pedagogical intervention, etc.), and material (special textbooks, materials and teaching aids etc.). The legal regulation stipulates for each support measure the so-called "standardised financial costs", i.e., financial flat-rate expression for the “cost” of the support measure. A precondition for providing support measures with standardised financial costs is the recommendation of the school guidance and counselling facility and the informed consent of the child's or pupil's legal guardian.

 

FUNDING OF PRIVATE AND DENOMINATIONAL SCHOOLS FROM THE STATE BUDGET

Funding of private schools and school facilities is regulated by the Act on Providing Subsidies to Private Schools, Pre-school and School Establishments on providing subsidies to private schools, pre-primary and school facilities. Direct expenses on education, running costs of private schools and development programmes are financed from the state budget. The capital expenditures are financed from the budgets of the school organising bodies and from other resources (especially tuition fees); the school organising body also covers possible differences between the actual expenditures and the amount of subsidies provided from the state budget. The direct expenses on education and the running costs are allocated via per capita funding. Every year the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports sets the per capita amounts for non-investment expenses, which take into account both the direct expenses on education and the running costs. Private schools receive the financial means based on the per capita amounts through regional authorities.

Denominational schools and school facilities are funded directly by the Ministry of Education by the per capita amounts set for private schools. This does not include funding for the maintenance of property which does not belong to the state.

For details, see Private education.

 

GRANTS FROM THE STATE BUDGET

For specific or one-off issues in education, grant calls from the Ministry of Education are announced. Some related areas (e.g., minority and regional languages ​​or drug policy) may be supported by Government Office grant programmes.

 

Financing from the European Union funds

 

National Recovery Plan

In the context of the COVID-19 crisis, the European Commission has decided to launch the Recovery and Resilience Facility and provide direct financial support to Member States for pre-agreed reforms and investments as part of the Next Generation EU recovery plan. According to current calculations, Czechia will receive EUR 6.96 billion in the form of grants, which is 100% of expenditures on the intentions of the National Recovery Plan (hereinafter NRP). The recovery plans of all Member States must support, in particular, the digital and green transformation. At least 37 % of total NRP funding must go to climate and environmental sustainability and 20 % for digitisation-related expenses.

The NRP consists of six pillars: 1. Digital transformation (CZK 27.9 billion /EUR 1.1 billion/; CZK/EUR 25.735 – 4 March 2022), 2. Physical infrastructure and green transition (CZK 85.2 billion /EUR 3.3 billion/), 3. Education and the labour market (CZK 41.0 billion /EUR 1.6 billion/), 4. Institutions and regulation and business support in response to COVID-19 (CZK 10.9 billion /EUR 0.4 billion/), 5. Research, development, and innovation (CZK 13.2 billion /EUR 0.51 billion/) and 6. Health and resilience of the population (CZK 12.4 billion /EUR 0.48 billion/). Each pillar is further divided into sub-components, which are managed by individual ministries.

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports manages three components in the NRP:

The first two components are from the pillar 3. Education and the labour market, the third from the pillar 5. Research, development, and innovation. The activities are of a reform and investment nature and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports will have around EUR 0.9 billion at its disposal for these purposes.

For information on the NRP in the area of education see portal edu.cz/npo.

 

Operational programmes

In June 2022, the European Commission approved the new Operational Programme Jan Amos Komenský (OP JAK) for the programming period 2021–2027, which enables to use the resources of EU structural funds. The total allocation of the program is CZK 90 billion (EUR 3.5 billion; CZK/EUR 25.735 – 4 March 2022). In the years 2022–2023, a number of calls for science and research were announced. For the lower educational levels, the first wave of so-called Templates took place, which allow nursery schools (mateřské školy), basic schools (základní školy), upper secondary schools (střední školy), and tertiary professional schools (vyšší odborné školy) to apply more easily compared to other calls. Their goal is to contribute to equal access to quality and inclusive education for all through support staff positions (including social pedagogue or career counsellor), education of staff, sharing of experiences, cooperation and support for innovative teaching methods. Through the call, the model of institutionalisation of the position of school psychologist and SEN specialist in basic schools should be verified; after its evaluation it is assumed that it will be taken over for national funding. The calls schedule 2023 includes, e.g., calls aimed at the implementation of an innovative curriculum at lower educational levels, the implementation of local and regional action plans, the support of pedagogical faculties and other faculties for teacher training, and the development of the quality teaching at higher education institutions (vysoké školy). The OP JAK follows on from the Operational Programme Research, Development and Education (OP RDE), which was one of the main financial tools for 2014–2020 period.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs is the managing authority of the Operational Programme Employment Plus for the period 2021–2027. The calls focus, among other things, on establishment and operation of the children's groups (dětské skupiny), the prevention of early school leaving, youth guarantees, the development of further professional education or gender issues. An overview of calls related for the education is presented in a separate section. OP Employment Plus follows on from the Operational Programme Employment for the period 2014–2020.

 

Financial autonomy and control

Early childhood care

The operating contribution from the state budget for children's groups (dětské skupiny) can be used exclusively for the costs listed in the Act on Providing Childcare in a Children's Group. The provider is obliged to keep accounting records concerning the drawing of the operating contribution separately from other accounting records. Financing through the operating contribution is controlled by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.

Early childhood and school education

Schools or school facilities can be established by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, regions, municipality (or union of municipalities) as:

  • subsidised organisation (příspěvková organizace)
  • school legal entity (školská právnická osoba)

Subsidised organisations have a long tradition. The form of school legal entities first appeared in the New Education Act of 2004. The form of legal entities of a school or school facility does not influence the operation and funding of the school or school facility.

The most frequent form of public school is that of a subsidised organisation. The founder issues the instrument of establishment as the document on the establishment of the school. It defines the main purpose and corresponding subject of activities. It further defines the rights that enable the organisation with the entrusted property to fulfil the main purpose of its establishment. An important part of the instrument of establishment is specifying the additional activities' spheres. Additional activities must not affect the fulfilling of the main purpose. A subsidised organisation can acquire into its possession only the property needed to perform the main purpose for which it was founded, namely by free of charge transfer from its founder, by gift or heritage (with the approval of founder) or by another way on the basis of the decision of the founder. The founder inspects the funding management of the subsidised organisation.

A school legal entity uses, for its activities, its own property or property rented or borrowed from its founder or another person. The main and complementary activities are also set by the instrument of establishment.

The head of the school established by the state, region municipality or union of municipalities manages the institution he/she is responsible for and fulfils the role of an organisational head with authority in the area of financial management.

The school council (školská rada) approves the school's annual report, discusses the budget, expresses its opinion on the analyses of economic results, and proposes measures to improve economic results; thereby fulfilling its public control role.

Fees within public education

 

Fees in early childhood care

The regulation of reimbursement in a children's group (dětská skupina) was introduced by an amendment to the Act from October 2021. The Act on Providing Childcare in a Children's Group stipulates that reimbursement is limited if the financing of this service is provided using a children's group operating allowance for a capacity occupied by a child aged from 6 months of age until 31 August after reaching the age of 3. Under specified conditions, the Government determines by regulation the maximum amount of parental reimbursement for the relevant calendar year; in 2023, the maximum amount is CZK 4.720 / EUR 195 (CZK/EUR 24.175 – 2 January 2023). The provider is obliged to determine the criteria on the basis of which the amount of reimbursement of costs is determined in a specific case.

 

Fees in early childhood and school education

Pre-primary education in the nursery school (mateřská škola) can be (and normally is) charged for. In public and state schools the level of fees is set by the school head, although it is to a large extent regulated by the Decree on Pre-primary Education. The school head determines the fees for one school year so that they do not exceed 50 % of real average non-investment monthly expenses per child in the previous calendar year. Within the non-investment monthly expenses, the costs met by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports are excluded, such as personnel costs, insurance payment, costs of teaching materials, and other costs related with CPD of teachers, development of schools and quality of education. The decree, the payment is also reduced proportionally in the case that the operation of the nursery school is limited or interrupted for more than 5 days.

The reason for the exemption from fees for nursery schools is due to them receiving special social benefits. Persons exempted from fees are:

  • a legal guardian of the child who receives recurring poverty benefits
  • a legal guardian of a dependent child entitled to increased care allowances
  • a parent, who is entitled to increased care allowances in order to care for a dependent child
  • a natural person who personally cares for a child and is thus entitled to foster care benefits

Education in public and state nursery schools is free of charge from the fifth year of the child (from the school year following the day the child reaches the age of 5). It is free of charge also in preparatory classes (přípravné třídy) of basic schools (základní školy). Private facilities set charges on a commercial basis.

Estimated average fees for education in nursery schools by the statutory authority, 2021/22 school year

(The estimation is based on 761 entrances to schools providing pre-primary education; source: Annual report of the Czech School Inspectorate 2021/22)

  Remuneration for pre-primary education (monthly, in CZK), tuition fees in a private area
Public nursery schools established by the regions 217
Public nursery schools established by the municipalities 387
Private nursery schools 6 259
Denominational nursery schools 750
Total 938

EUR/CZK = 24.175 (2 January 2023)

Source: Czech School Inspectorate

The monthly fee for pre-primary education depends on the organising body of the nursery school. Parents pay the least in schools established by the region and municipalities, the highest in the private sector.

According to the 2021/22 CSI Annual Report, in the same year the highest average fee was in nursery schools established by municipalities in Prague (CZK 750 / EUR 31 (CZK/EUR 24.175 - 2 January 2023)), Central Bohemia Region (CZK 493 / EUR 20), and Liberec Region (CZK 447 / EUR 18). On the contrary, the lowest average fee was in the Vysočina Region (CZK 233 / EUR 7), Olomouc Region (CZK 267 / EUR 11) and South Bohemia Region (CZK 303 / EUR 13). In recent years, especially small and smaller municipalities in the role of statutory authority have set a low level of remuneration, or do not set it at all, to help keep the school in place.

Basic education is free of charge with the exception of private and denominational schools, which can charge tuition fees.

Upper secondary education is free of charge with the exception of private and denominational schools, which can charge tuition fees.

For details on fees in private and denominational schools, see Private education.

The fees for teaching aids, textbooks, school meals, accommodation etc. see Financial support for learners' families.

In many schools there are associations of parents, which are the registered association. These associations can collect an agreed voluntary subsidy and contribute to the school and pupils for specific needs.

Financial support for learners' families

Generally, families are financially supported from three sources:

Health insurance for children, pupils and students up to the age of 26 is covered by the state. One of the parents might draw claims for tax relief for a dependent child (for 2023 the tax relief was CZK 15 204 per first dependent child, CZK 22 320 per second child and CZK 27 840 per third and other children respectively (EUR 629, EUR 924, EUR 1 152; CZK/EUR 24.175 - 2 January 2023). A tax relief might be claimed by one of the parents also for the placement of a child in pre-primary facility; in 2020 to a maximum of CZK 13 350 (EUR 525). Reduced fares are described in Financial support for learners.

 

Support from the budget of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs

Parents are entitled to receive the parental allowance after termination of the maternity leave (from 5 months of a child's age) during which they were withdrawing financial help in maternity.

Parents decide on the monthly amount of the allowance, up to the amount of possible withdrawn financial help in maternity (a maximum of 70 % of the daily assessment base for financial help in maternity, i.e., approximately 70 % of the gross monthly income). Thus, those with higher income can deplete the total amount faster. Since 1 January 2020, the parental allowance is CZK 300 000 (EUR 12 420, CZK/EUR 24.175 - 2 January 2023) for the entire period of receiving parental allowance per child. This applies for parents who actively draw this allowance for a child under the age of 4 on 1 January 2020, and for parents who start drawing the parental allowance at any time from this date. The total amount of parental allowance for parents of two or more newly born children is CZK 450 000 (EUR 18 614). The minimum period for which the parental allowance can be exhausted is six months.

Parents who have not withdrawn the financial help in maternity can also choose a speed for the drawing of the total amount 300 000, up to the amount of CZK 10 000 (EUR 414) per month. Parents of two or more newly born children are entitled to CZK 15 000 (EUR 620).

While withdrawing the parental allowance, parents can be gainfully employed. The income level has no relation to the amount of the parental allowance. Parents who take care of their child during the whole day are entitled to receive the allowance (possibly provide care by another of age person). Up to 2 years of age, the child can attend a crèche, a nursery school (mateřská škola) or a similar facility, however, for 92 hours per month at maximum (when the amount is exceeded, the allowance cannot be disbursed). Attendance of children over 2 years is not observed in the above-mentioned facilities.

Other support provided by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs is based on the subsistence level of a family (depending on the number of household members and age of children).

The family of a child receives the child allowances from birth until the end of child's compulsory school attendance and further to the age of 26 if the child is in education and being systematically prepared for a future occupation. The benefits for children are not provided comprehensively, but based on the family's income, with three levels directly proportional to the child's age.

Family can claim a child allowance if their income is less than 3.4 times the subsistence level. E.g., adult income living alone with one child under 6 years must not exceed CZK 23 630 (EUR 977; CZK/EUR 24.175 - 2 January 2023) (as of 1 March 2023).

The benefits are then drawn monthly as follows:

  • CZK 830 / EUR 34 (CZK 1 330 / EUR 55 in higher level) for children under 6 years
  • CZK 970 / EUR 40 (CZK1 470 / EUR 61 in higher level) for children from 6 to 15-year-olds
  • CZK 1 080 / EUR 45 (CZK 1 580 / EUR 65 in higher level) for children aged 15–26

(Note: Data are as of 1 March 2023; CZK/EUR 24.175 - 2 January 2023)

Precondition for the higher level of child allowances is that at least one parent has income from employment or business, received health insurance or pension insurance benefits, received unemployment benefit, received a care allowance for a person under 18 years of age or received parental allowance. (For more information on parental allowance and child allowance, see the websites of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.)

A family with an insufficient income, whose overall social and material situation prevents them from satisfying their basic living requirements (at a level generally acceptable in the society) and which cannot increase their income, is provided with benefits of assistance in material need. These include subsistence allowance, housing rebate and emergency immediate assistance subsidy; see the portal of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs for more details.

People who look after children in foster care receive the foster care benefits, according to the act on social and legal protection of children.

Support from the budget of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport

For financial support for the education of pupils migrating from Ukraine as a result of the armed conflict is described in Chapter 14.

Pupils in the first year of basic education and children placed in preparatory classes (přípravné třídy) of basic schools (základní školy) or in the preparatory stage (přípravný stupeň) of special basic school (základní škola speciální) are provided with free basic teaching aids to the value of CZK 500 per pupil per school year (EUR 21; CZK/EUR 24.175 - 2 January 2023). Pupils with specified types of disabilities in the second and higher grade are provided with free basic teaching aids to the value of CZK 100 per pupil and school year (EUR 4). Pupils of basic schools and children included in preparatory classes are provided with free textbooks and teaching texts. Pupils in the first year of basic education and children in preparatory classes are not required to return such textbooks and teaching texts, whereas pupils of other years of basic education must return the textbooks and teaching texts no later than by the end of the relevant school year.

Support from the budget of the Ministry of Education is also given for the costs that are not direct educational costs but are related to education. Apart from education, a school can offer its pupils all-day care in school facilities established by the community. These include the školní družina, intended for pupils in the first stage while their parents are at work, and the školní klub, which provides general interest activities for pupils at the second stage and corresponding years of multi-year general secondary school (víceleté gymnázium) and conservatoires (konzervatoře). The školní družina and the školní klub provide general interest education for pupils of one or several schools. There is generally a charge for education that satisfies personal interests. The amount of the payment is regulated; the school head can divide it into several instalments and the amount can be reduced or waived under stipulated terms.

Subsidised meals and other services (e.g., guidance services) are an important form of support provided for families by the Ministry of Education budget.

Children at nursery schools, pupils of basic schools and minor pupils of upper secondary schools (střední školy) are provided with school meals (preferably in school canteens (školní jídelna), and in case of need, also on a contractual basis with another person providing catering services). For other pupils/students, schools can also offer the school meals. Schools can also ensure school meals by a contract with external catering services. The level of payment for school meals in public school is set by the Decree on School Catering which defines, within the range, the financial limits for individual age groups of pupils/students. In school canteens established by a church or a private person, the given entity sets the price for the meals provided.

Amount of payment for school meals by the organising body of the school (in CZK/day) in the school year 2021/22
(data from the Czech School Inspectorate based on 1 252 school canteens)

  Public school canteens (average day fees) Private school canteens (min. - max. range) Denominational school canteens (min. - max. range)
Children up to 6 years (all day meals) 40 20-130 40-41
Children 7 year in nursery schools (all day meals) 44 25-130 22-47
Pupils 7-10 years (lunch) 26 22-90 25-29
Pupils 11-14 years (lunch) 28 24-110 27-31
Pupils 15+ years (lunch) 31 26-110 29-34

EUR/CZK = 24.175 (2 January 2023)

Source: Czech School Inspectorate

The school may also offer accommodation. The charges for accommodation are regulated by law, the level depends on whether a room is classified as category I or II. For category I, the charges can be a maximum of CZK 1 600 for every calendar month (EUR 66); for category II, CZK 900 per bed for every calendar month (EUR 37; CZK/EUR 24.175 - 2 January 2023). For a child in nursery school, the preparatory stage of special basic school and a pupil fulfilling compulsory school attendance, the charge is CZK 500 at maximum (EUR 21).

In accordance with the school Framework Education Programme, the school can organize recovering stays of pupils in a health-conscious environment without interruption of education (school in the countryside), excursions abroad, and other events related to the educational activities of the school.

A school can provide rooms and equipment for the recreational activities of different institutions.

The Ministry of Education annually announces a lunch programme for pupils in basic schools. This subsidy can get non-profit organisations that mediate this help. The intention is to support the single-parent families or families who have been in an unfavourable financial situation for a long time, but they do not meet the conditions for receiving benefits of assistance in material need.

Another option how to ensure free lunch for children in schools is to apply for financial support from the Operational Program for Food and Material Assistance. Via this programme, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs ensures the drawing of funds from the European Fund for European Assistance to the Poorest (FEAD). One of its specific aims is reducing food deprivation of children through free school meals. Under the program, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs announces calls to regions that process requests from parents and send money to individual schools. The aid is intended for children aged 3-15 who attend a nursery school, basic school, or multi-year general secondary school and, at the same time, live in families who are in material need (below the subsistence level).

 

Financial support for families of pupils with special educational needs

Financial support for families with disabled children is provided by:

  • state social support benefits, benefits of assistance in material need and the foster care benefits
  • care allowance and social services
  • social assistance benefits for people with disabilities

State social support benefits and benefits of assistance in material need provided to families with disabled children is the same, with a few exceptions, as for all other families. Foster care benefits are increased in the case of care for disabled children; see Support from the budget of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.

The care allowance is intended for persons (excluding children up to 1 year) who are, due to a long-term unfavourable health condition, dependent on the help of others; i.e., the health status of a person does not make it possible to manage basic life needs. The monthly amount depends on the degree of dependence on the help of another person. It ranges from CZK 880 (for persons up to the age of 18 from CZK 3 300) to CZK 19 200 (i.e., from EUR 36 (for persons up to the age of 18 from EUR 137) to EUR 794; CZK/EUR = 24.175 (2 January 2023)). Persons over 18 are awarded a lower allowance than those that under 18 years of age (except for those that are classified in degree IV (completely dependent)). The allowance is increased by CZK 2 000 (EUR 75) in the case of dependent children up to the age of 18 if the family income is less than twice the subsistence level, and also in the case of children from 4 to 7 with a degree of heavy or total dependence (degree III or IV) without relation to the income level. Until now, the care allowance has been allocated without any relation to the income level.

The parent of a child with disabilities can also ask the regional offices of the Labour Office for a benefit for people with disabilities.

These benefits are provided under the Act on Provision of Subsidies to People with Disabilities and on Amendments to Some Acts, and amending the acts. The benefits are:

  • mobility allowance
  • contribution to a special needs tool (and a loan of special needs equipment)
  • cards for disabled, and some benefits that result from it

Mobility allowance is a recurring entitlement benefit, which is intended for a person older than 1 year, and amounts to CZK 900 per month (EUR 37; CZK/EUR 24.175 - 2 January 2023).

A person who has a severe defect in the musculoskeletal system or a severe hearing impairment, or a severe visual impairment, is entitled to a special needs tool allowance. At the same time, it must be a long-term unfavourable health condition, i.e., lasting more than 1 year. The sum of contributions to one person paid for a special needs tool must not exceed the amount of CZK 800 000 (EUR 33 092) in 60 consecutive calendar months (CZK 850 000 / EUR 35 160 in the case of a stair platform). In most cases 10 % financial interest in the purchase of the equipment is required. However, the Labour Office may set a lower interest with regard to the family's poor financial situation. Financial benefits are granted for, e.g., adaptations of flats, guide dog, purchase of cars and their operation, special aids to remove, reduce or overcome consequences of the disability (e.g., a PC modified for reading Braille).

Depending on the level of dependence on the help of others, severely disabled children are issued with cards for the disabled – for physically disabled (TP), severely physically disabled (ZTP) or severely physically disabled with attendance. These entitle them to various privileges, e.g., have a reserved seat in public transport, or, with the last two cards they can travel free of charge on integrated public city transport or with a substantial discount on other types of public transport.

According to the Education Act, children, pupils and students with disabilities, namely with mental, physical, visual, and hearing disabilities, serious developmental disorders of learning or behaviour, serious speech defects, multiple impairment or autism are as children with special educational needs entitled to a range of support (special educational) measures which include various compensatory and special aids.

Guidance concerning entitlements to state social allowances and benefits is especially provided by social service facilities but within the education sector. The special education centres (speciálně pedagogická centra) can also give advice (see Special education centre in Chapter 12).

 

Financial support for learners

Children, pupils and students and in certain circumstances their families can receive financial support from the budget of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and from the budget of Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (for details, see Financial support for learners' families).

Pupils and students can receive child allowance until the age of 26, depending on the financial situation of the family if they are in education and being systematically prepared for a future occupation. Since the legal age (18 years) pupils receive child allowance directly, up to the legal age the child allowance is allocated to their parents or guardians. For more, see Support from the budget of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.

Working pupils may reduce tax relief up to 26 years of age.

Health care is free of charge under the general health insurance system. Health insurance for pupils and students is paid for by the state.

There is a system of reduced fares for pupils who commute to school. Students and pupils between the ages of 6 and 18 are not required to pay more than 50 % of the normal fare. Students from 18 to 26 years of age who are constantly preparing for a future profession by studying at an upper secondary school (střední škola), conservatoir (konzervatoř), tertiary professional school (vyšší odborné školy), or higher education institution (only during full-time study) are also entitled to the same discount. The difference in the price of fares is paid to transport companies by the regions according to rules laid down by the Ministry of Finance.

The head of an upper secondary school may, with the consent of the founder, issue Scholarship Rules, according to which pupils may be granted scholarships for excellent results.

 

Private education

Determining the amount of the state operating contribution or the maximum amount of fees in children's groups (dětské skupiny), is not related to the legal form of the provider, i.e., whether it is a region, a municipality, a non-profit or denominational organisation, a university, a natural person or a business employer. However, the organisational units of the state or state subsidised organisations pay for the operation of the children's group from their budget chapter (and are therefore not subject to the limitation of the amount of fees). 

Funding of private and denominational schools differs in legislation.

 

Private schools

Private schools and school facilities receive subsidies from the state budget through regions. The subsidy is intended for non-investment expenditure related to education and for the financing of current operational non-investment expenditure (in the case of public schools this is covered by the school organising body – a region or a municipality). These funds are allocated on the basis of a contract signed by the regional authority for the relevant calendar year. The contract specifies the educational activities for which the subsidies are allocated, their extent (number of pupils) and the percentage of per capita amount. Per capita amounts of private schools, which are set for various courses and forms of education, duration of operational hours and school size, are set annually by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports on the basis of the Act on Providing Subsidies to Private Schools. Increases per pupils with special educational needs are also set. Capital expenditure of private schools is met by the organising body.

If a school fulfils the basic conditions, (which are registration on the Register of Schools and School Facilities and other administration terms set in the contract, including a statement of account of the previous subsidies, the annual report of school activity and the school management report and information on their discussion), it receives the basic subsidy.

If a school fulfils other conditions, it can apply to the regional authority for increased subsidies. The conditions for increased subsidies are as follows: the school has already received the subsidies for one year, the last evaluation by the Czech School Inspectorate was average or better; the school is a public benefit corporation or a school legal entity (in the case of other legal forms) and it undertakes to spend all profits on education and operation.

The subsidies are allocated as a product of the percentage share of per capita amount set in the contract and the real number of pupils in a school year. The Ministry of Education transfers the resources quarterly to the regions, which allocate them to individual schools.

Normative per capita amount (amount per pupil) in private education, which is set at the central level, must correspond with the budgetary trends of local government units for regional schooling (“public schools”).

Basic and increased subsidies in per cent share from the formula funding for private schools:

Type of school Basic subsidies (%) Increased subsidies (%)
Nursery school (mateřská škola) 60 100
Basic school (základní škola) 60 100
Upper secondary school (střední škola) 60 90
Tertiary professional school (vyšší odborná škola) 60 90
Special school (speciální škola)1) and upper secondary school providing level "střední vzdělání" 80 100
Other schools and school facilities 50 80
School facilities for providing institutional education, protective education and preventive educational care 80 100

1) I.e., schools which organise educational programmes for children, pupils and students with mental, physical, visual, hearing disabilities, developmental disorders of learning or behaviour, speech defects, autism, multiple disabilities and the special basic school (základní škola speciální).

Private basic school and nursery school, which are normally established by municipalities, can ask the municipality (or union of municipalities) for other subsidies to cover non-investment expenditure. Similarly, the regions which are normally founders of the upper secondary schools can supplement a central subsidy by other means if a private school is successful in providing a field of study required by the labour market.

In general, private schools collect fees, the level of which depends on the complexity of the field of study, the technical equipment of schools and the economic situation of individual regions (e.g., there is a difference between fees in Prague and in the country).

 

Denominational schools

Denominational schools and school facilities are funded directly by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports by the same per capita amounts as private schools, thus the subsidy does not cover resources for maintenance of the property in possession of the organising body. Compared to private schools, some denominational schools and school facilities receive an increased part of the per capita amount for operational expenditures. The Ministry of Education breaks down the funds for individual schools directly and transfers them quarterly to schools (without going through regions).

Denominational schools can also charge fees, but often they do not (except for tertiary professional schools (vyšší odborné školy) – see Private tertiary professional schools).