Early childhood care
There is no comprehensive system of care for children with special needs in children's groups (dětské skupiny). However, the plan of education and care that the provider must draw up should regulate the conditions and methods of providing care if a child with special needs is admitted. This requirement is a part criteria for assessing the standards for quality of care introduced by the 2021 Decree on Implementing Certain Provisions of the Act on Providing Childcare in a Children's Group.
Early childhood and school education
All pupils (children, students) of nursery schools (mateřské školy), basic schools (základní školy), upper secondary schools (střední školy), conservatoires (konzervatoře) and tertiary professional schools (vyšší odborné školy) are entitled by a codified law, the Education Act, to get a form of education that respects their individual educational needs.
The act guarantees the provision of free specific educational support for pupils with special educational needs through appropriate support measures, in both inclusive and separate education.
The Act further codifies the conditions and educational support for gifted and exceptionally gifted pupils. Support measures for gifted pupils are also guaranteed. To develop the talent of gifted pupils, additional lessons in various subjects may be used.
Support measures consist of a wide range of pedagogical, organisational, personal, material and content modifications to education, and providing school services that correspond to the educational needs, health state, and cultural environment or other life conditions of the pupil, with the aim to balance out pupils' disadvantages, facilitate their access to a good education and ensure conditions for their universal development.
Support measures include consulting support provided by the school or school guidance and counselling facility, using the assistance of ICT and compensatory aids and techniques.
Support measures are divided into 5 levels according to organisational, pedagogical and financial demands. It is possible to combine support measures from various levels on the basis of pupil's needs.
Identifying the needs for support measures for the education of pupils with special educational needs and establishing their stage and kind is the responsibility of school guidance and counselling facilities (see below).
Support measures are provided by:
schools themselves through the entire education staff including specialists – school counsellor (výchovný poradce) and school prevention specialist (školní metodik prevence), school psychologist (psycholog) or school special educational needs specialist (speciální pedagog)
school guidance and counselling facilities (pedagogical and psychological counselling centres and special education centres) through a special educational needs specialist or a psychologist of the school guidance and counselling centre
In Czechia, special needs education is provided several ways:
in the form of individual integration in ordinary classes within the mainstream school (departments, study groups)
in the form of group integration in classes established within the mainstream school for pupils with disadvantage mentioned in section 16, paragraph 9 of the Education Act
in schools established directly for pupils with disadvantage mentioned in section 16, paragraph 9 of the Education Act
within the other forms of compulsory school attendance permitted by law (individual education, education of pupils with severe intellectual disabilities)
The education of pupils with special educational needs is preferentially codified in mainstream schools. The system of support measures makes it possible to create inclusive conditions for the education of pupils with special educational needs in mainstream schools without any discrimination.
In addition, the act allows independent schools/classes of pre-primary, basic, upper secondary, and tertiary professional education and education in conservatoires for pupils with visual, hearing, physical, intellectual disabilities/impairment, autism, developmental disorders of learning or behaviour, serious speech impediments or concomitant multiple disabilities (pupils mentioned in section 16, paragraph 9 of the Education Act) to be established. In these classes/ schools support measures are used as well.
Pupils with special educational needs in inclusive conditions, as well as in separately established schools/classes are educated with the help of support measures according to the school education programmes (or the individual education programmes) based on the unified, nation-wide framework education programmes designed for the intact population. Pupils with moderate and serious intellectual disability, concomitant multiple disabilities, and autism can be educated according to the school/individual education programme prepared on the basis of Framework Education Programme for the Special Basic Education, that reflects the educational needs of these pupils.
Inclusive education has been gradually applied since the beginning of the 90ʼs. Currently, it is the priority trend of the state school policy. Of the total population aged 3 to 18 years, 8.4 % of pupils are individually integrated in mainstream schools, another 2.3 % are in "special classes" of these schools. 1.4 % of pupil population aged 3 to 18 years are at special schools. The inclusive education is currently most monitored at basic schools. Individually integrated are 9.9 % of the population (6 to 15 years) corresponding to this educational level. (Source: Statistical Yearbook – Education. Performance Statistic Indicators. Data for 2022/23.)
Some conditions for the education of foreigners are codified separately. Citizens of the EU are entitled to get education and school services under the same conditions as Czech citizens. Regional authorities provide teaching of the Czech language for these pupils within basic school education. All foreigners have the right to free basic education, which also include access to school meals, leisure education in school facilities for interest education in a daily attendance, and Czech lessons. The conditions for access by foreigners to pre-primary education, upper secondary education, tertiary professional education, and school services are specifically modified.
Members of national minorities have the right to education in their native language.
Higher education institutions
The Higher Education Act order the public higher education institutions (vysoké školy) to take all available measures that everyone has the same opportunities to study. Students with special educational needs use services of counselling centres in their education institutions. Foreigners have the same education conditions as Czech citizens.
Public higher education institutions are obliged to ensure consulting services usually through their specialised guidance and counselling workplaces (one or more), which deal with academic, carrier, psychological and other problems. The students may also take use of assistance services.
Competence of bodies, planning and strategies
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports is responsible for the availability, structure and conception of education at the national level; at the regional level this responsibility belongs to a relevant regional authority. The regional authority works out a long-term plan of education and development of the regional education system for a period concerned based upon a Long-term Education Plan and Development of Education System in the Czech Republic, which includes among other things main objectives and tasks for each area of education, including education of pupils with special educational needs.
Much attention is also paid to working out conception of early care and foster care for children at risk, including children with special educational needs, and the role of the Ministry of Education in this area.
The national policy regarding pupils with special educational needs is based upon accepted and ratified international documents, particularly:
Basic legal documents regulating education and training of all pupils including those with special educational needs, gifted pupils and provision of relating school services are as follows:
- The Education Act, which defines among other things a group of pupils with special educational needs and gifted pupils, sets their education possibilities and conditions, and codifies support measures and their funding from the state budget. The Act supports the inclusion/integration of pupils with special educational needs into mainstream education.
- The Decree on Education of Pupils with Special Educational Needs and of Gifted Pupils, which sets support measures and further details regarding education of pupils with special educational needs and gifted pupils.
- The Decree on Provision of Counselling Services in Schools and School Guidance and Counselling Facilities, which sets the content and conditions to provide consulting services, their providers, their users and other details.
- The Decree on Completion of Education in Upper-secondary Schools in the Form of a VET Final Examination, and on Completion of Education in Conservatoires in the Form of a Graduate Examination and the Decree on Conditions and Procedures Required for the Completion of Upper-secondary Education with a Maturita Examination. Both decrees set the ways the right is granted to modify conditions for taking an exam in question with respect to the type and level of the disadvantage.
- The Act on Institutional Care or Protective Care in School Facilities and on Preventive Educational Care in School Facilities, the Decree that Regulates the Operation of Institutional Care and Protective Care in School Facilities, and the Decree that Regulates Details on the Organisation of Educational Care in Educational Care Centres
- The Act on Communication Systems of Deaf and Deaf-blind Persons, which codifies the right of deaf and deaf-blind persons to use a sign language and other communication systems.
The special education field is also governed by a number of regulations of lower legal force and methodological instruction, information, pedagogical documents, and the like.