The Constitution describes the Czech Republic (Czechia) as a sovereign, unitary, and democratic state where the rule of law applies and where the people are the source of all state power. It is implemented through legislative, executive and judiciary bodies. Part of the constitutional order of Czechia is the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms.
The public administration is provided by central state administration and territorial self–government, its role increased remarkably as a result of decentralisation in 2001–2003.
The state administration in education is described in the part on Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level and in the part on Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level in Chapter 2.
The legislative branch
Legislative authority in Czechia belongs to a Parliament (Parlament) composed of two chambers: the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. The Chamber of Deputies (Poslanecká sněmovna) consists of 200 members of Parliament who are elected for a four-year term of office. The Senate (Senát) consists of 81 senators elected for a six-year term of office. One-third of senators are elected every two years.
Every citizen of Czechia aged 18 or more has the right to vote. Members are elected through a secret ballot based on general, equal, and direct suffrage: to the Lower House using the proportional representation system, and to the Senate using the simple majority system.
Both chambers set up committees and commissions as their own bodies. In the Chamber of Deputies, the education sector is represented by the Committee for Science, Education, Culture, Youth and Sports; and in the Senate, by the Committee for Education, Science, Culture, Human Rights and Petitions.
A deputy, a group of deputies, the Senate, the Cabinet, or a regional assembly may initiate new legislation. A bill is submitted to the Cabinet for comments, passed by the Chamber of Deputies and then by the Senate.
The executive branch
The executive branch is made up of the President (prezident) and the Cabinet (vláda). These bodies fulfil their role with a division of powers.
In 2013 the President was elected for the first time in the direct presidential election by citizens older than 18 years in the second ballot system. The term of office is five years. The President is the head of state and represents the state externally as well as in internal relations. He shall not be liable for the performance of his duties, except for high treason and gross violation of the Constitution or other parts of the constitutional order. The Cabinet, however, is responsible for the president's decisions if they need to be co-signed by the prime minister or another authorised member of the government. The President appoints and dismisses the Prime Minister and Cabinet members.
The Cabinet is the supreme executive authority and is accountable to the Chamber of Deputies (Poslanecká sněmovna).
The executive bodies also include, apart from the Cabinet, ministries, and other administrative bodies. These may be set up and their function defined only by law (Act on the Establishment of Ministries and Other Bodies of the Administration of the Czech Socialist Republic).
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports is responsible for the concept, form and development of the education system. The organising bodies of schools in other sectors are the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Justice and Ministry of the Interior. In social issues, the labour market and career guidance, the Ministry of Education co-operates with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. In health education, the Ministry of Education co-operates with the Ministry of Health.
Territorial administration and self-government
Czechia is divided into municipalities, which are the basic territorial self-governing units, and regions, which are the higher self-governing territorial units. A municipality is always a part of a region, some of the municipalities have extended competences or they operate as commissioned municipal authorities. Czechia is divided into 14 regions by the Constitutional Act on Creation of Higher Territorial Autonomous Units. As of 1 January 2023, there were a total of 6 258 municipalities in Czechia, 206 administrative districts of municipalities with extended powers and 393 administrative districts of municipalities with commissioned municipal authorities.
Territorial self-government units are public corporations with their own property, administered by elected bodies for a four-year term of office. They are responsible for the overall development of their territory and for the needs of their citizens and in performing their tasks; they must protect the public interest.
In some cases, laid down by the law, the execution of state administration can be delegated to self-governing bodies. The law defines when the self-governing units are also administrative districts.
The municipalities and regions have a double sphere of authority on their territory – independent for allocated responsibilities, including education, and delegated for the execution of state administration. The authority of the regions in education is described in the section on Administration and governance at the regional level and the authority of the municipalities is described in the section on Administration and governance at the local level.
A municipality is administered by a board of representatives (zastupitelstvo obce) headed by a mayor (starosta) elected from among the board's members. Other bodies are the municipal council (rada obce), municipal authority (obecní úřad) and special municipal bodies. If a municipality is a statutory town, it is headed by a city mayor (primátor) and the municipal authority is called the magistrát. A city can be divided into smaller territories – the city districts also being administered by a local administration headed by a mayor.
The municipal council is an executive body with independent responsibilities and it is answerable to the board of representatives. The municipality can establish legal entities and organisation bodies.
In the sphere of transferred responsibilities, a municipal council can make decisions only if allowed for by the Act on Municipalities. The municipality executes the transferred responsibilities in its administration district or in a district composed of several neighbouring municipalities. Commissioned municipal authorities (pověřené obecní úřady) were constituted for specific purposes. For other issues, including education, municipalities with extended competences (obce s rozšířenou působností) were constituted, whose municipal authorities hold the transferred responsibilities in their districts. In other words, municipalities with extended competencies (so-called municipalities of the 3rd degree) are intermediate members of the transferred powers of self-government between regional authorities and other municipal authorities; the lower article is municipalities with commissioned municipal authorities (so-called municipalities of the 2nd degree) and the lowest by all other municipalities (so-called municipalities of the 1st degree). Municipal authorities of municipalities with extended powers and commissioned municipal authorities thus have some additional areas of competence compared to other municipal authorities, not only for their own, basic administrative district but usually also for other municipalities in the vicinity. Commissioned municipal authorities perform a number of tasks, for example in the field of nature and landscape protection, electoral matters, crisis management, deciding on matters relating to interference with the state of peace under § 5 of the Civil Code, etc. or tasks under the Education Act. Among the competencies entrusted to the municipal authorities of municipalities with extended competencies, we can mention the powers of the Trade Licence Offices or tasks under the Education Act.
The municipal authority consists of a mayor, deputy mayor, secretary of the municipal authority where this function is established, and employees.
The municipal council can establish commissions (komise) as its initiating and advisory bodies. The commissions submit their statements and proposals to the municipal council. Commissions are executive bodies when the transferred responsibilities have been entrusted to them.
The authority of the municipalities in the area of education is described in the section on Administration and governance at the local level.
A region is administered by a board of representatives (zastupitelstvo kraje), headed by a governor (hejtman) elected from among its members. Other bodies include a regional council (rada kraje), a regional authority (krajský úřad) and special regional boards. One of these is a regional council for human resources development composed of representatives of regional self-government and social partners.
The regional council is an executive body with independent responsibilities, responsible to the board of representatives. The regional council makes decisions on transferred responsibilities when this is allowed for by the Act on Regions.
The regional authority executes the transferred responsibilities with the exception of matters that are delegated by law to the boards of representatives, to the council or to a special body. It is headed by a director, who is an employee of the region. The regional authority is divided into departments and units. Among the responsibilities of a regional authority with transferred responsibilities is the supervision of the independent and transferred performance of municipalities.
The board of representatives can establish committees as initiating and advisory bodies. It always establishes a committee for education and employment.
A regional council establishes commissions (komise) as its initiating and counselling bodies.
In the execution of transferred responsibilities, the bodies of territorial self-government are responsible to the relevant ministry.
The authority of the regions in the area of education is described in the section on Administration and governance at the regional level.