Amendment to the Act on Education Staff
Amendment to Act No.563/2004 Coll., on education staff and on amendments to certain acts, and Act No.561/2004 Coll., on pre-primary, basic, secondary, tertiary professional and other education (the Education Act), brings a number of significant changes to the Czech education system. These changes affect pre-primary, primary, secondary, and tertiary professional levels. They range from adjusting the qualification requirements for teaching staff to enshrining the induction period for new teachers, as well as the positions of induction mentor and supervising teacher in legislation, to a new legal framework for the size of the education budget for teachers' salaries. Behind the changes is the government's effort to increase the attractiveness of the teaching profession and to bring new staff into education, especially in view of the problem of teacher shortages, which has become more acute in recent years. Strengthening the financial remuneration of teachers, specifically the inclusion of a requirement for a teacher's salary of at least 130 % of the average wage in the national economy, is another form of support for the teaching profession. Most of the amendments are effective from 1 September 2023, some from 1 January 2024. Below we provide an overview of some main changes.
Changes to the qualification requirements for the employment of teachers, e.g.:
- Possibility of employing a person without a pedagogical qualification at lower and upper secondary level for up to 3 years.
- Extension of qualification pathways for some teaching positions such as primary teachers, SEN teachers, teachers of vocational practice, trainers, etc.
- Change of qualification requirements for teaching assistants - the number of hours of compulsory training has been increased and mandatory practice in schools has been introduced.
- Introduction of the school speech therapist as a separate category of education staff.
- New legal framework for the size of the education budget for teachers' salaries - the total amount of funds allocated for teachers' salaries will now correspond (on a monthly average per 1 full-time teacher) to at least 130 % of the average gross monthly salary for the converted number of employees in the national economy.
- Legally enshrining the two-year adaptation/induction period for beginning teachers and introducing the position of an induction mentor.
- Establishment of a supervising teacher to guide student practice in schools.
More information on the amendment is available on the edu.cz website (in Czech).
Upper secondary schools: Czech language teaching of pupils-foreigners in language groups 2023
As in 2022, the amendment to the Decree on Secondary Education and Education in Conservatoires extended free Czech language tuition within the framework of language training groups for pupils-foreigners; the measure is currently valid only for the 2023/24 school year. To qualify for free language training, the pupil must have attended school for a maximum of 24 months.
Identification of socially disadvantaged pupils in basic school
Until now, pupils with social disadvantages have not often received any special support in Czechia - among other reasons, because neither schools nor pedagogical and psychological counselling centres had any tool to identify a pupil's social disadvantage. The newly published methodology "Identification of socially disadvantaged pupils in basic school" created by the National Pedagogical Institute of the Czech Republic should help solve this situation.
The material follows up one of the main themes set by the Strategy for Education Policy of the Czech Republic until 2030+, i.e. solving inequalities in education, and is primarily intended for employees of basic schools and other interested parties from the wider educational public. The aim is to provide schools with a simple and functional tool for identifying pupils with social disadvantages so that it is clear which pupils need to be provided with increased support in education.
The methodology contains both a description of the tool itself for identifying students with social disadvantages, as well as the results of a pilot verification in forty basic schools.
More information and the entire methodological material are available on the edu.cz website (In Czech).
Education of the Ukrainian pupils – news from January 2023
With the new year 2023, the condition for the education and support of the pupils with temporary protection coming from Ukraine were prolonged and partially changed.
The amendment to the Act No. 67/2022 on the measures in education of January 2023 prolonged its validity until August 2024. At the same time, it enables the nursery and basic schools to set up a special term (between 1 June and 15 July 2023) for the registration of the children with temporary protection for the 2023/24 school year. For this purpose, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports prepared the methodology for the schools.
Within the competence entrusted by the previous amendment, the Ministry issued three binding general measures, which adjusted the conditions for the pupils with temporary protection for:
- the admission procedure for education in upper secondary schools (střední školy) and tertiary professional schools (vyšší odborné školy) for the 2023/24 school year (Measure of October 2022): Pupils are exempted from the entrance examination from the Czech language if it is a part of the examination (the necessary knowledge is examined by interview). The pupils are entitled to take the written test within the standardised examination from the Mathematics and its Applications in Ukrainian. School can assign the written test within the school examination in Ukrainian, otherwise the time limit is increased by 25 % and the translation dictionary can be used;
- the Maturita examination in 2023 (Measure of November 2022): The time for the preparation for the oral examination except for the foreign language is prolonged to 30 minutes and the time for all written and practical examinations by 25 %. For the Czech Language and Literature, the minimum length of the essay was decreased to 200 words, and the length of the pupil’s list for the oral examination was shortened to 15 literary works. In most examinations, the translation dictionary or the Czech Spelling Rules can be used;
- VET final examinations in 2023 (Measure of January 2023): In the study field with the VET certificate, the time for the oral examination is prolonged by 10 minutes and for the preparation for it by 15 minutes upon a request. In the fields without the VET certificate the time for the practical examination is prolonged by 60 minutes, for the theoretical examination (or its parts) by 10 minutes and for the preparation for it by 15 minutes upon the request. The translation dictionary can be used during the examinations.
In 2023, the financial support of the Ministry continues, like in 2022. For the funding of the Ukrainian teacher's assistants in the nursery schools (mateřské školy), basic school (základní školy) and upper secondary schools, and conservatoires (konzervatoře), the conditions for the period from January to August 2023 were set; the funds are allocated based on the number of pupils with temporary protection in the school. Subsequently, the support was extended from September to the end of the year (the allocation from September to the end of the calendar year is CZK 116 million / EUR 4.74 M, 8 September 24.47). For the adaptation groups for children with temporary protection from 3 to 18 years of age, a new call for the period from January to June 2023 was announced; total allocation is CZK 100 million / EUR 4.23 M (CZK/EUR = 23.66, 23 March 2023).
Support for schools with socially disadvantaged pupils
As part of the National Recovery Plan, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports announced two calls for the implementation of the "Reforms 3.2.2 School Support" in 2022. They focus on basic schools (základní školy) with a higher proportion of socially disadvantaged pupils. Based on the first call, the National Pedagogical Institute carries out the “Support for equal opportunities” project. The second call is addressed directly to schools.
Approximately 400 concrete schools throughout Czechia are supported, which were selected based on the ministry's composite index. The criteria include the number of Roma pupils, pupils with selected foreign citizenship, socially disadvantaged pupils, pupils from a different cultural environment or with other living conditions, the rate of early school leaving, the number of grade repetitions and the Social Exclusion Index of the municipality (according to the Agency for Social Inclusion).
Support for equal opportunities
The Support for equal opportunities project (Podpora rovných příležitostí) is aimed at supporting schools with a higher proportion of socially disadvantaged pupils and solving inequalities in education. It is based on the objectives of the Education Policy Strategy 2030+. As part of the project, above-mentioned schools will be methodically supported in the long term. The project is implemented by the National Pedagogical Institute. The total allocation is CZK 200 million / EUR 8.5 M (CZK/EUR = 23.66, 23 March 2023).
The main goal of the project planned for the years 2022–2026 is to prepare and implement solutions leading to the reduction of growing inequalities in education. Schools in more demanding conditions will be provided with multi-layered support aimed, among other things, at strengthening the competences of teaching staff for working with heterogeneous groups of pupils, especially pupils with social disadvantages. A partial goal of the project is to design and verify the future school financing system according to the index of socio-economic disadvantage of pupils determined by a combination of several indicators.
Call to support schools with an above-average representation of socially disadvantaged pupils
The Call to support schools with an above-average representation of socially disadvantaged pupils (Výzva na podporu škol s nadpůrměrným zastoupením sociálně znevýhodněných žáků) is aimed at increasing the school success of these pupils, their motivation to learn and overall well-being. Selected schools can apply (only some schools in the first round, a second round will follow). The call is announced for the period 2022–2025. The total amount allocated is CZK 2 billion / EU 85 M (in the first round, CZK 1.3 B / EUR 55 M). The schools receive CZK 2 000 to 16 000 (EUR 85 to 676) per pupil per year.
Supported activities can be divided into three areas. The first of them is the provision of support staff for schools, when schools can apply apart from teacher’s assistants also for other support staff such as school psychologists, special pedagogues, and social pedagogues, career advisor, inclusion coordinators, adaptation coordinator, tandem teachers, etc. The second area is the direct support of pupils, such as pedagogical intervention (tutoring), psychosocial intervention (preventive programmes), strengthening cooperation with the parents of socially disadvantaged pupils, experiential educational programmes for pupils, educational events with a focus on increasing pupils' study motivation, adaptation, socialisation activities, etc. The third area is the provision of support for further education and the development of the competences of teaching staff, which includes, in addition to specially focused CPD programmes, also supervision, internships, mentoring, coaching or mediation aimed, for example, at solving conflict situations.
Johannes Amos Comenius Programme was approved by the European Commission
In June 2022, the European Commission approved the Johannes Amos Comenius Programme (OP JAC). In the new period 2021–2027, CZK 90 billion (EUR 3.7 billion; CZK/EUR 24.54 – 9 September 2022) are allocated to support research, development and education. The new programme continues a number of supported activities from the previous Operational Programme Research, Development and Education – OP RDE (Operační program Výzkum, vývoj a vzdělávání) and at the same time brings news responding to current global challenges such as climate and social changes, strengthening competitiveness through digitalisation, robotisation and innovation.
The programme has two priorities; the first is research and development support with a total allocation of CZK 43 billion (EUR 1.8 billion). It aims to develop excellent capacities, both in the field of infrastructure and human resources. In addition to the development of the management of research organisations and internationalisation, the new focus is on supporting the return of persons from parental leave. The goal is also to deepen the knowledge potential of subjects in the Czech Republic and to create a basis for the future applicability of research and development results in practice.
Around CZK 47 billion (EUR 1.9 billion) in the second priority are intended to support all levels of education from pre-primary to higher education (allocation to school education, i.e. from pre-primary up to tertiary professional level, is CZK 28 billion (EUR 1.1 billion), to the higher education sector CZK 19 billion (EUR 0.8 billion). The funds are intended to modernise the objectives and the contents of education, including the forms and the methods of learning, increase the attractiveness of the teaching profession through the higher quality of initial education and supporting teachers at the beginning of their career and their further education and professional development. The programme also aims to ensure equitable access to quality education and reducing segregation, inequalities and the risk of excluding vulnerable groups from education whereas P JAC also considers Ukrainian migrants to be socially and economically disadvantaged groups.
Upper secondary schools: Czech language teaching of pupils-foreigners in language groups
Based on the amendment to the Decree on Secondary Education and Education in Conservatoires, free Czech language lessons are now also available for the above mentioned schools within the framework of language training groups for pupils-foreigners; the measure is currently only valid for 2022/23 school year. The precondition is the length of stay of pupil-foreigner in the Czech Republic, which must be shorter than 12 calendar months. For more detailed information on schools providing Czech language teaching, the creation and functioning of language training groups and the placement of pupils in these groups, see the section Specific support measures – foreigners. The Ministry of Education has issued detailed methodological material to provide free language training and will continuously monitor the success of language training by collecting relevant data in the form of webinars with schools or consultations with the pupils themselves. The language training groups will be funded from the regional reserve of the "direct educational costs".
Education of Ukrainian pupils in 2022/23
In the new school year, there was a significant increase in pupils arriving from Ukraine in basic schools (a total of over 43 thousand of these pupils attended the schools). An even greater increase was recorded by upper secondary schools (a total of 4 thousand pupils are being educated). Numbers have also increased in conservatories and tertiary professional schools (over a hundred pupils/students attend them in both cases). (Source: Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. All data are valid as of 12 September.) Measures that should facilitate their inclusion in education were already taken ahead of time.
In June 2022, the amendment to Act no. 67/2022 entered into force; it extended the validity of most provisions until 31 August 2023. This also applies to the possibility of providing education in classes for Ukrainian pupils (or for individual pupils) by the education staff who does not demonstrate knowledge of the Czech language. Newly, the school has the opportunity to employ educator who has the knowledge of the Ukrainian language at the level of a native speaker and the knowledge of the Czech language to the extent necessary for the performance of the work, who works in the classroom together with a teacher with full knowledge of Czech. This measure is intended mainly for heterogeneous classes. If certain conditions are met, schools can receive funding from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports for the salaries of these "Ukrainian teacher's assistants" (for September–December 2022 and January–August 2023).
In addition to the commentary on the mentioned amendment, the Ministry of Education also prepared a number of other methodological materials, available on the website edu.cz/ukrajina (in Czech).
In the 2022/23 school year, the financial support for the so-called adaptation groups for Ukrainian pupils continues and it is still possible to draw funds from EU resources, see Financial support for the education of pupils migrating from Ukraine.
Financial support for the education of pupils migrating from Ukraine
In 2022, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports announced several calls for applications for subsidies to support the education of Ukrainian pupils:
- Language courses for children-foreigners migrating from Ukraine 2022 (Jazykové kurzy pro děti cizince migrující z Ukrajiny 2022), call aimed at intensive language courses for children aged 14 to 18 held from April to August 2022
- Adaptation groups for children-foreigners migrating from Ukraine 2022 (Adaptační skupiny pro děti cizince migrující z Ukrajiny 2022), call aimed at free-time adaptation groups for children aged 3 to 15 in the period from April to August 2022;
- Holiday language courses for children-foreigners migrating from Ukraine 2022 (Prázdninové jazykové kurzy pro děti cizince migrující z Ukrajiny 2022), call aimed at children aged 3 to 18
- Adaptation groups for children-foreigners migrating from Ukraine for the period September-December 2022 (Adaptační skupiny pro děti cizince migrující z Ukrajiny na období září–prosinec 2022)
- salaries of "Ukrainian teacher's assistants"
The Ministry publishes the calls on the website edu.cz/ukrajina (in Czech).
Education of Ukrainian pupils in 2021/22
Ukrainian citizens who have been granted the temporary protection have the access to education in nursery, basic, upper secondary and tertiary professional schools as well as education in conservatoires according to the Education Act as the Czech citizens. For children from 6 to 15 years, the compulsory school attendance applies if they stay on the territory of the Czech Republic for more than 90 days; the newly arrived pupils have the right to free preparation for their integration into basic education, including Czech language teaching. (Similar rules apply to compulsory pre-primary education.) Foreigners at all educational levels can be provided by the support measures of the linguistic or other nature. For an overview of the education of foreigners according to the Education Act, see the section Specific support measures – foreigners.
In the response to the Ukrainian crisis, three laws have been adopted, in force from 21 March 2022 to 31 March 2023. With some exceptions, they apply only to Ukrainian citizens holding the temporary protection. Act no. 65/2022 sets the conditions for granting the status of persons with temporary protection and providing health services, Act no. 66/2022 concerns the employment and social protection (incl. care for children in the children's groups). Act no. 67/2022 implements measures in education:
It possible to increase the capacity of a school temporarily, at the same time it is not necessary to meet all space conditions (e.g. it is possible to teach in other than school buildings).
In the event that the school head is not able to admit a child to a nursery or basic school during the school year, a procedure is laid down for ensuring a place in another school.
For the next school year, a separate term for the enrolment of the Ukrainian children to nursery and basic schools was set (from 1 June to 15 July).
The applicants can be admitted not only to the higher years but also in the first year of an upper secondary school, a conservatoire or a tertiary professional school. As far as the admission procedure to upper secondary schools for the next school year, following applies: The deadline for the submission of an application was prolonged to 5 (fields with Maturity examination) or 8 April. The time both for the standardised and profile (school) examination was extended by 25 %. The applicants can take standardised examination in Mathematics in Ukrainian or in English. (In addition, at all educational levels, the standard option to replace the examination in Czech language and literature by an interview applies.)
The document proving the prior education can be replaced by a solemn declaration.
In order to adapt the children, pupils and students the content of education can be modified/replaced for them for the time strictly necessary. In classes/groups, in which exclusively Ukrainians are educated (not only those with temporary protection), a pedagogical worker who did not prove the knowledge of the Czech language may work until 31 August 2022.
Methodological support for the education of foreigners is provided by the National Pedagogical Institute (NPI) via the website cizinci.npi.cz. The NPI provides for example interpretation and translation services or the services of the adaptation coordinator. In response to actual situation, the NPI created specific website ukrajina.npi.cz, focused on the support for Ukrainian pupils. Summary of the methodological documents, other information and useful links is available at the portal edu.cz/ukrajina, administrated by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.
The funding of the education of the Ukrainian pupils and support provided on the basis of the school legislation should be covered by the common funding of schools from the state budget. In addition, various grants for particular support activities are being prepared. Schools can also draw funds from the National Recovery Plan.
Other educational and supporting projects are carried out outside the education system. Various organisations (e.g. municipalities, regions, family centres, companies as well as schools and school facilities) run the so-called adaptation groups, which may facilitate integrating the pupils into schools. Financing by grants is planned. The endowment fund Children of Ukraine carries out the project “Ukrainian single classes” in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic, Embassy of Ukraine and other institutions. The instruction is provided in the Ukrainian language according to the Ukrainian curriculum. It is a temporary project for persons who are expected to return to Ukraine soon.
Compulsory education: changes in education of pupils-foreigners
Within compulsory education, some existing measures have been updated concerning the requirement for inclusion of pupils-foreigners to basic education.
Changes are based on an amendment to the Decree on Basic Education, specifically education in language training groups. The rules have been specified for including of schools in the list of schools designated for the language training of pupils-foreigners, the conditions for pupils to be included in the language training and the way in which schools provide it. The length of language training was extended to 100-200 hours within at maximum 10 months of instruction.
In relation with these changes, methodological materials were published, which are available on the website cizinci.npi.cz, administered by the National Pedagogical Institute. In line with the changes methodological measures for basic schools were issued. Teachers have at their disposal the Curriculum of Czech as a Second Language for Basic Education.
In basic education, language training is newly financed from the region's reserve for education. Language support for foreigners who do not meet the conditions of the decree and pupils with different mother tongues can be financed, for example, through support measures for pupils with special educational needs or within various projects.
For more information, see Specific support measures – foreigners.
National tutoring plan
Within the National Recovery Plan and its pillar focused on education and the labour market, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic responds to the negative effects of the failure of on-site teaching due to the COVID-19 pandemic by the so-called National Tutoring Plan.
The impossibility of on-site teaching has negatively affected the previous study habits and education of pupils, but at the same time it has also increased the differences between schools and individual pupils. Gaps in education could, among other things, also have a long-term negative effect on the future earnings of current pupils and students. The National Tutoring Plan aims to reduce the negative effects of the exclusion of on-site teaching. This long-term programme designed primarily for pupils at risk of school failure supports all primary and secondary schools and conservatories in the Czech Republic in the implementation of individual and group tutoring of pupils.
The purpose of the National Tutoring Plan is to initiate a broad informal platform of schools and external tutors (whether individuals or non-profit and other organisations and institutions) who will work intensively to provide the most effective support to children at risk. The possibility to use the funds to involve people from around the school will open up new ways to improve communication with children and their families where cooperation has not yet been fully operational. The National Tutoring Plan enables the intensive use of functional tools, including the involvement of teaching assistants and support positions in schools. But at the same time also look for new ways of external support, including the already proven involvement of students from faculties of education.
At the end of the summer 2021, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, together with the National Pedagogical Institute and non-profit organisations, launched a practical web guide (webový průvodce) where school heads, teachers, tutors and parents can obtain the necessary information and inspiration about the National Tutoring Plan.
In the first phase, direct tutoring of pupils will take place until 31 December 2021. To cover the costs of tutoring pupils, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports has decided to distribute almost CZK 250 million (EUR 9.89 million) to primary and secondary schools this year. Schools will receive these funds through the regional authorities at the turn of September and October. Tutoring will take place outside of class and tutors will be paid for it. The amount of funding received by basic schools and lower levels of multi-year general secondary schools and conservatories depends on the total number of pupils in the school and other criteria. One of them is, for example, the proportion of problematic children involved in distance education (based on the Czech School Inspectorate survey). These funds range from CZK 148 to CZK 740 per pupil. Secondary schools and conservatories will then receive funds for tutoring and supporting needy pupils in their final years (CZK 148 per pupil).
The second phase is under way from January to August 2022. This phase is financed from the budget of the National Recovery Plan, in the total amount of CZK 360 million (EUR 14.2 m) for public schools. The amount of funds depends on the number of disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged "lagging" pupils and other pupils in need of support (with different levels of per capita amount). Tutoring criteria are recommended for the selection of pupils directly at the school. Some conditions are different from the previous period: The funds can no longer be used for social activities. Finance can now be used in all years of upper secondary schools and conservatories. Schools have an obligation to inform the public about the sources of funding. Only remuneration from agreements on work performed outside the employment can be covered. Additional funds will be provided in the periods September-December 2022 and January-August 2023.
A grant call for private and church schools (dotační výzva pro soukromé a církevní školy) and a grant call for non-governmental non-profit organisations (dotační výzva pro nestátní neziskové organizace) were announced separately.
Revision of curricular documents for the subject of informatics in basic education
In connection with the Strategy for Education Policy of the Czech Republic until 2030, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports decided on the need to revise curricular documents, so-called Framework Education Programmes. In this context, the area of informatics and information and communication technologies is currently undergoing the most significant change. The changes concern, resp. they will cover all levels of education from nursery schools to upper secondary schools (i.e. ISCED 0-3). So far, the reform has made the most progress at primary and lower secondary level, as basic schools can start teaching according to the new informatics/ computer science curriculum as early as 1.9 2021. However, the obligation to teach according to revised documents for basic schools does not begin until 2023 at the 1st stage (i.e. primary level) and a year later at the 2nd stage (i.e. lower secondary level) of basic schools.
Unlike the current educational content of ICT in basic schools, which emphasized the ability to use computers and information and digital literacy, this "new informatics" focuses primarily on the development of computational thinking and understanding the principles of how digital technologies work. The new informatics is based on active approach in which students use informatics procedures and concepts - algorithms, coding, modelling, etc. Understanding how digital technologies work also contributes to their effective, safe and ethical use. The reform also introduces the inclusion of a new key competence - digital - and significantly strengthens the instruction time of informatics at ISCED levels 1 and 2.
Focus of new informatics:
In primary education, pupils, through games, experiments, discussions and other activities, form their first ideas about the ways in which data and information can be recorded and discover the IT aspects of the world around them. They gradually develop the ability to describe the problem, analyse it and find a solution. In a suitable programming environment, they verify algorithmic procedures and form the basis for understanding computer concepts. It also includes the safe handling of technologies and the acquisition of skills and habits that lead to the prevention of risky behaviour. Even at lower secondary level, students create, experiment, test their hypotheses, discover, actively seek, design and verify various solutions, discuss with others and thus deepen and develop an understanding of basic computer science concepts and principles of digital technology. When analysing a problem, they choose which aspects can be neglected and which are essential for its solution. They learn to create, formally write and systematically assess procedures suitable for automation, and process large and inconsistent data sets. Pupils understand the basic principles of coding, modelling, learn to test prototypes and their gradual improvement as a natural part of design and development in information technology. They consider and verify the impacts of the proposed solutions on individuals, society, the environment.
Temporary changes in enrolment proceedings and VET final and Maturita examinations in 2021
In connection with the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports issued series of biding „general measures“ adjusting the scope and course of the enrolment proceedings and some examinations at upper secondary schools (střední školy) and conservatoires (konzervatoře). Following changes are the most important:
Standardised admission examination (jednotná přijímací zkouška): The term for holding the examination has been moved to 3 and 4 May (four-year and follow-up fields) and 5 and 6 May (multi-year secondary general schools) and the time for the tests has been prolonged (Czech language and literature – 70 min, Mathematics and its applications – 85 min). In four-year and follow-up fields of study, the school head of the upper secondary school can decide that the standardised examination will not be organised. In such a case, he/she should include a school admission examination (except for cases when the number of admitted pupils exceeds the number of applicants). In multi-year secondary general schools (víceletá gymnázia), the standardised admission examinations are obligatory even this year.
Aptitude test (talentová zkouška): The term for holding the aptitude test has been extended in the art fields of upper secondary schools and in conservatoires (from 2 to 31 January 2021) and in sports training secondary general schools (from 2 January to 19 May 2021).
VET final examination (závěrečná zkouška) in the fields with VET certificate (výuční list): The composition of the VET final examinations has been modified – the practical examination must be organised, in addition, the school head chooses between an oral or a written examination. The school must use the standardised assignments; however, it can be adopted to the extent necessary. The term of the examinations has been prolonged to 31 August 2021.
Maturita examination (maturitní zkouška): The written examination from the Czech language and literature and Foreign language has been removed from the Maturita examination scheme, the oral exams from these subjects are voluntary. For the didactic tests, the time limit has been increased (Czech language and literature 85 min, Foreign language 110 min and Mathematic and its applications 135 min) and the term for holding up the tests has been moved to 24 and 26 May 2021. The term for holding up the profile part is set from 1 June to 23 July, the practical examinations can be organised up to 27 August.
The other terms set for the enrolment proceedings were also changed, incl. the fields without Maturita examination. For the full list of the changes and the texts of particular general measures, see the website of The Centre for Evaluation of Educational Achievements (in Czech).
Amendment to the Decree on Education of Pupils with Special Education Needs and of Gifted Pupils
Since January 2020, an amendment to the Decree on Education of Pupils with Special Education Needs and Gifted Pupils has been in force, the aim of which is to streamline the provision of pedagogical intervention. It serves mainly to support the education of a pupil with special education needs in subjects where it is necessary to strengthen his/her education, to compensate for insufficient home preparation for teaching and to develop the pupil's learning style (usually by so-called tutoring). Until now, this support was provided within the 2nd to 5th level measures, whereas now it is a 1st level measure and can therefore be implemented by the school itself (it is then provided by the basic school, the after-school centre, the school club or the upper secondary school). Therefore, even pupils who are not currently clients of a school guidance and counselling facility, have not yet been diagnosed with special education needs and still need a support (e.g. pupils from a socially disadvantaged environment, with the health impairment/disability) should now be able to achieve the support through pedagogical intervention. Furthermore, the administrative burden should be reduced and, conversely, the ability to respond operatively to the current needs of pupils should be increased. In 2021, the measure will be financed by an increase in funds for the remuneration of teachers. See also the website inkluzivne.cz (in Czech).
New Strategy for Education Policy of the Czech Republic 2030+ approved
On 19 October, the government approved the Strategy for Education Policy of the Czech Republic 2030+ (hereinafter referred to as the “Strategy 2030+ ”), which sets out the direction of education development and investment priorities for the next ten years. The aim is to modernise the education system of the Czech Republic in the field of regional education, leisure time activities and non-formal education and lifelong learning. The Strategy 2030+ has two main strategic objectives:
Strategic objective 1: "Focus education more on acquiring the competences needed for active civic, professional and personal life" addresses the need to adapt education to long-term trends such as digitisation or climate change, and the associated support for content and education innovations.
Strategic objective 2: "Reduce inequalities in access to quality education and enable the maximum development of the potential of children, pupils and students" reflects the need to provide fair opportunities for access to quality education for all pupils, support individualisation of teaching and implementation of teaching methods enabling the education of diverse groups.
The strategic objectives will be implemented through five strategic lines, which indicate how to achieve the goals. The implementation of the strategy will take place in three periods: 2020-2023, 2023-2027 and 2027-2031. In each of the defined periods, implementation will be based on the identification of five key measures that have the most significant potential to contribute to the fulfillment of the objectives of the Strategy 2030+ itself. These key measures will then be processed into separate measure cards with a defined structure. The cards of key measures for the period 2020–2030 are an annex to the Strategy 2030+.
Strategic lines of the Strategy 2030+:
1. The strategic line "Changing the content, methods and evaluation of education" focuses on the development of those elements of the education system that will enable students to acquire competencies usable in personal, civic and professional life. This transformation will take place through the revision of education programmes and support for their implementation. Competence access to education will be strengthened and the EU Council Recommendation of 22 May 2018 on key competences for lifelong learning will be taken into account. Individualisation in education will be supported. The education system will support innovation and there will also be changes in the evaluation system, where the achievement of outputs will be verified at key points, as well as changes in the standardised admission examination for upper secondary education and the standardised Maturita examination. The strategy also focuses on supporting the digitalisation of education, specifically the digital literacy of pupils, the digital competences of all teachers and reducing inequalities and preventing the digital gap. The strategy also addresses the areas supporting civic and environmental education. It is also important to promote the climate in schools and the well-being of pupils. In the field of vocational education, it will focus, among other things, on the innovation of the system of fields of education. The strategy also addresses non-formal education and lifelong learning.
The first strategic line is followed by the implementation card "Support for pre-primary education", specifically as part of the support of educational content in pre-primary education.
Furthermore, by the implementation card "Revision of the Framework Education Programme of Basic Education and the system of methodological support for schools and teachers", which aims not only to revise the educational content itself, but also support its implementation and support the teachers, but also, for example, the experimental verification of combined education in basic schools.
The first strategic line is also followed by the implementation card "Innovation of the system of fields of education", the aim of which is to modernise the system of vocational fields of education, and thus facilitate the transition of school leavers to the labour market. It also wants to support acquiring qualifications already during the studies.
2. The second strategic line is "Equal access to quality education". The basic starting point for strengthening equal access to education is to ensure comparable and high-quality teaching in all schools. For many reasons, it is beneficial for society that all children, regardless of their personal characteristics or the socio-economic conditions in which they live, are educated together in high-quality basic schools throughout compulsory schooling. This brings both stronger social cohesion and civic engagement, as well as greater flexibility in professional careers, which, among other things, reduces the future risk of unemployment. Equal access to quality education will be strengthened, inter alia, by reducing external differentiation by improving the quality of lower secondary education in basic schools and reducing the differentiation of external educational pathways, but also by reducing disparities and segregation or strengthening cooperation with at-risk families and disadvantaged children.
The second strategic line is, among other things, connected with the implementation card "Support for pre-primary education", specifically within the support of increasing participation in pre-primary education, which is closely linked to maximising the educational potential of pupils. It is also about preventing early school leaving and acquiring the necessary competencies for professional, personal and civic life. It is necessary to focus specifically on compulsory pre-primary education, which is not attended by all children, especially those from groups at risk of future school failure.
The second strategic line is also followed by the implementation card "Improving the quality of education in structurally disadvantaged regions". Its goal is to increase the quality of education in structurally disadvantaged regions with an emphasis on increasing children's participation in pre-primary education, methodological support for schools educating a high proportion of socially disadvantaged pupils and organising bodies of these schools. Its measures include comprehensive support for schools in municipalities with a higher proportion of children and pupils at risk of social exclusion in the Karlovy Vary and Ústí nad Labem regions, reducing segregation in basic education, increasing children's participation in pre-primary education in these regions and the targeted financial support of recent graduates’ teaching practice in schools also within these two regions.
3. The third strategic line "Support for pedagogical staff" is devoted to a system of comprehensive professional training and support, within which the competence profile of teachers will be created, the concept of further education of pedagogical staff and methodological support will be changed, the attractiveness of the teaching profession will be supported and the system to support the beginning teachers will be created. It will also be crucial to strengthen the role of the school head as an educational leader. The educational work of schools will be supported by providing conditions for joint education, the school's specialised activities will also be analysed and the well-being of teachers will be supported.
The third strategic line is to some extent cross-sectional. Its direct connection to the implementation documents is, for example, in the implementation card "Support for pre-primary education", which contains measures to support teachers and school management in pre-primary education or in the implementation card "Revision of Framework Education Programme for Basic Education and methodological support system for schools and teachers", which also contains measures to support teachers, which is specifically focused on their support in working with revised educational content.
The third strategic line is also connected with the implementation card "Improving the quality of education in structurally disadvantaged regions", specifically with the measures of targeted financial support for the entry of recent graduates into teaching practice in schools in the Karlovy Vary and Ústí nad Labem regions.
The implementation card "School Support and Management" intersects with the second strategic line, especially in the measure aimed at supporting the education of children and pupils with different mother tongues.
4. The strategic line "Increasing professional capacities, trust and mutual cooperation" will focus on the concentration of professional capacities, inter alia through the introduction of an intermediate support element. The intermediate element of support in the area will provide targeted support to schools, ensure coordination of their activities in the locality and becomes a mediator in the communication between the centre and territories, especially in terms of mediating feedback of schools in the locality to the centre and providing individual assistance and support to individual schools. The intermediate element will, for example, provide methodological support to schools, legal support in education, but also support cooperation between schools, it will also focus on supporting innovation in schools in the area and their evaluation and dissemination. This strategic line also addresses better use of data and the implementation of research in the field of education. Furthermore, it focuses on reducing the non-pedagogical burden on schools and strengthening information, communication and cooperation across all levels of education.
The fourth strategic line is followed by the implementation card "Support and management of schools", which will focus mainly on piloting the intermediate element, but also, for example, on school management, support for non-teaching work or institutionalisation of specialised positions in schools.
5. Strategic line "Increasing funding and ensuring its stability" will focus on securing funding within the individual strategic lines.
The fifth strategic line is cross-sectional and concerns the education system as a whole, yet its explicit link can be found, for example, on the implementation card "Support for pre-primary education" in the measure of parameterisation of funding and costs of nursery schools. Its aim is to set up the financing of nursery school so as to support the further reduction of the number of children per teacher and at the same time do not burden the school management or legal representatives with unnecessary administration.