Early childhood care is provided mainly by children's groups (dětská skupina) which fall under the responsibility of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. It governed by the Act on Providing Care for Children in a Children's Group.
Education from pre-primary to higher education falls under the responsibility of the department the department of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. However, the organisation and administration of lower levels of education and higher education differ and are governed by two separate laws:
The Education Act applies to the following types of schools: nursery schools (mateřské školy), basic schools (základní školy), upper secondary schools (střední školy), conservatoires (konzervatoře), tertiary professional schools (vyšší odborné školy), basic art schools (základní umělecké školy) and language schools authorised to organise state language examination (jazykové školy s právem státní jazykové zkoušky). Schools provide a defined level of education, with the exception of nursery schools, basic art and language schools. The Education Act further defines the operation of school facilities that provide services and education supporting or supplementing education provided by schools or provide institutional and protective education or preventive protective care. School facilities are divided into: school facilities for developing personal interests, school educational and boarding facilities, school canteens, school facilities for special purposes, school guidance and counselling facilities, school facilities for further education of education staff, school facilities for providing institutional education or protective education and preventive educational care.
Further adult education and training is carried out in the field of general, vocational and civic education, and interest-based learning. It is provided by various subjects including schools.
Early childhood care – children's group
One of the types of facilities for young children is a children's group. It provides care for children from 6 months until the beginning of compulsory school attendance (i.e. up to 6/7 years), but children from 5 years attend it only exceptionally, as they are subject to compulsory pre-primary education. The service is provided on a non-commercial basis, it can be set up either by companies for their employees, by public and non-profit entities, and by individual childminders. Children from the age of 2 can also attend nursery schools that provide pre-primary education (see below).
For more information on early childhood care, see Chapter 4 Early Childhood Education and Care.
Pre-primary education – nursery school
Pre-primary education does not provide a defined level of education (it is considered as ISCED level 020), but it creates basic pre-conditions for continuing in education and helps to compensate for the developmental irregularities of children before they enter primary education.
It is offered mainly by nursery schools usually to children from 2 to 6 years of age. Pre-primary education takes place also in preparatory classes (přípravné třídy) of basic schools and classes of the preparatory stage of a special basic school (přípravný stupeň základní školy speciální). The first ones are designed for children in the year prior to compulsory schooling (from 5 years), where there is a presumption that their inclusion into the preparatory class may balance out their development, preferentially to children with the postponement of compulsory school attendance (6-year-olds). The others are devoted to children with more severe degree of mental disability (from the age of 4).
From the beginning of the school year following the child's 3rd birthday, the municipality must secure a place for the children in the nursery school. From the beginning of the school year following the child's 5th birthday, education in a nursery school is free of charge and compulsory. In addition to nursery schools, the compulsory education can also be fulfilled in the above mentioned classes, individually, or in foreign country school.
See details on pre-primary education in Chapter 4 Early Childhood Education and Care.
Basic education – basic school
The duration of basic education is 9 years in duration and corresponds to the length of compulsory schooling. It is provided predominantly by basic schools with divided five-year first stage (primary education) and a four-year second stage (lower secondary education). Pupils aged from 6 to 11 years are usually at the first stage, those aged from 11 to 15 years at the second stage. Upon completion of the first stage (ISCED 100), pupils automatically enter second level (ISCED 244).
After successfully completing the fifth year, they may also be admitted to an eight-year secondary general school (osmileté gymnázium) or eight-year conservatoire, or upon the successful completion of the seventh year to a six-year secondary general school (šestileté gymnázium), where they continue their basic education and thus complete their compulsory schooling. In 2021/22, 10.8 % of all pupils who completed basic education successfully were in multi-year general secondary schools (víceletá gymnázia) and only 0.1 % were in eight-year conservatoires. (Source: Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.)
After completing primary and lower secondary education the pupils attain the defined level of "basic education" (základní vzdělání, ISCED 244). Only those pupils completing a basic special school (základní škola speciální), or similar programme within the mainstream education, targeted at pupils with moderate and severe mental disabilities, attain the defined level of education "basics of education" (základy vzdělání, also ISCED 244).
For more information on basic education, see the Chapter 5 Single Structure Education (Integrated Primary and Lower Secondary Education).
Most pupils, after completing nine years of compulsory schooling (or after obtaining basic education in a lower year), enter upper secondary schools, or conservatoires. Only about 3.6 % do not continue their education. (Data for 2021/22. Source: Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.)
Education in upper secondary school
Upper secondary schools provide upper secondary education – ISCED 3. Some schools may also provide lower secondary education (ISCED 253 or 244).
The education attained can be at one of three levels, depending on the relevant educational programme:
- Secondary education (střední vzdělání), attained after one or two years of education in the fields (ISCED 353) which do not provide the VET certificate (výuční list), including the fields practical school (praktická škola) for pupils with more severe mental disability (ISCED 253). This education is achieved only in a limited number of fields. The education is completed by the VET final examination (závěrečná zkouška).
- Secondary education with a VET certificate (střední vzdělání s výučním listem), attained after two or three years of education in vocational fields (ISCED 353). The wide range of fields includes, in addition to the regular fields, also fields adapted to pupils with incomplete basic education or with mild mental disability. The education is completed by the VET final examination.
- Secondary education with a Maturita examination (střední vzdělání s maturitní zkouškou), attained after 4 years of education, or after 6 or 8 years of education. Most fields are vocationally oriented (ISCED 354), some of them also include the practical training. The fields considered in the international classification to be general (ISCED 344) are mainly the fields of four-year, six-year or eight-year general secondary school – gymnázia, and also the lyceum fields, which also have a professional component. The multi-year programmes include the lower secondary level – ISCED 244. The Maturita examination (maturitní zkouška) entitles pupils to seek admission to tertiary education. In some fields of secondary education with the Maturita examination, pupils also have the opportunity to obtain secondary education with a VET certificate.
In addition to on-site education, schools may offer other forms of courses (evening, distance, distance mostly in a form of e-learning or combination of study forms). The education in all forms is equivalent.
The Government Regulation on the System of Fields of Studies in Basic, Upper Secondary and Tertiary Professional Education set about 290 fields at different levels of upper secondary education, divided in 31 groups (areas). The structure and types of education enable pupils to change or broaden their original educational pathway. The most pupils completed their studies in vocational fields with Maturita examination (41.0 %), followed by the pupils in the fields with the VET certificate (27.2 %), fields of general secondary schools (26.7 %), lyceum fields (4.3 %) and fields of secondary education (0.9 %). (The data include pupils in the on-site form of education in 2021/22.)
All upper secondary schools can offer education at any of these levels if they have registered the educational courses of the respective level of education in the School Register. The Education Act mentions three types of schools; however, these are not defined. They follow up from the former clearly stipulated structure: gymnázium – upper secondary general schools providing general fields, střední odborné školy - upper secondary vocational/technical schools providing vocational fields completed with Maturita examination and střední odborná učiliště - upper secondary vocational/technical schools providing fields completed with a VET certificate and fields completed with Maturita examination which include vocational training. Numerous schools offer fields with more educational levels or specialisations thus it is not possible to apply the above classification for these.
The following three types of study are organised at upper secondary schools for those who have achieved secondary education with a VET certificate or a Maturita examination and want to gain another qualification:
- Follow-up courses (nástavbové studium – ISCED 354) are intended for applicants who completed three-year courses completed with a VET certificate (ISCED 353) and want to supplement their secondary education with a Maturita examination. It is a two-year course completed with a Maturita examination. It is usually entered by students immediately after they complete their preceding education. Their educational track at an upper secondary school therefore takes five years (a three-year course and a two-year follow-up course) and upon its completion, students have both secondary education with a VET certificate and education with a Maturita examination.
- Shortened study courses aimed at acquiring secondary education completed with a VET certificate (zkrácené studium s výučním listem – ISCED 353) provide education for school leavers with a Maturita examination (ISCED 344 or 354) and courses with a VET certificate (ISCED 353), who want to acquire further qualifications. The studies take one to two years and are completed with a VET final examination.
- Shortened study courses aimed at acquiring secondary education with a Maturita examination (zkrácené studium s maturitní zkouškou – ISCED 354) are organised for school leavers with a Maturita examination (ISCED 344 or 354) who want to acquire further qualifications. The studies take from one to two years and are completed with a Maturita examination.
There are separate fields for follow-up courses. Shortened study courses can be carried out by schools that have the given field with a common study length registered in the School Register (this study is not shown above in the diagram).
See details on education in upper secondary schools in Chapter 6 Upper Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education.
Education in conservatoire
Conservatoires offer six- or eight-year programmes of general and vocational education in music, dance, singing, and drama and prepare pupils for artistic and combined artistic and pedagogical activities. The studies of dance last eight years (including four years of lower secondary, two years of upper secondary and two years of tertiary education) and pupils enter these after the fifth year of basic school, while all the other study programmes mentioned above last six years (including four years of upper secondary and two years of tertiary education), and pupils enter them after completing their compulsory school attendance, i.e. after attaining "basic education" (ISCED 244). Studies in general conclude with the graduate examination (absolutorium) in conservatoires, giving pupils vyšší odborné vzdělání v konzervatoři (ISCED 554). They can also complete their education with a Maturita examination (ISCED 354), which is a prerequisite to be admitted to all courses of tertiary education. The graduates who passed the graduate examination but did not pass the Maturita examination can be admitted only to arts programmes of higher education institutions (see below).
See details on education in conservatoires in Organisation of Conservatoires (Arts Education) in Chapter 6.
Although the upper secondary education (at upper secondary schools or conservatoires) is not compulsory, most people achieve this level of education. The percentage of people who completed at least upper secondary education (ISCED 3) was 89.3 % in the age category 20–24 and 92.9 % in the age category 25–35 in 2021 (source: Eurostat Database, ČSU). Due to the significant predominance of vocational schools over general schools, a significant majority of pupils already acquire a professional qualification recognised by the labour market at the upper secondary level. School leavers of upper secondary schools and conservatories who have received secondary education with Maturita examination (ISCED 344 or 354) can continue their studies at the tertiary level - at a tertiary professional school or higher education institution. Most of them do so; in 2022/23, 76.73 % continued their education at tertiary level – 66.31 % at higher education institutions and 10.32 % at tertiary professional schools (source: Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports).
Tertiary professional education – tertiary professional school
Tertiary professional schools prepare holders of secondary education with a Maturita examination (ISCED 344 or 354) for the professional performance of more demanding, skilled professions. They offer 3- to 3,5-year tertiary professional education (ISCED 655) considered a form of tertiary education. The education ends with a graduate examination, the graduates attain the defined vyšší odborné vzdělání. When entering higher education study programme, the higher education institution may set different conditions for admission for students or graduates of tertiary professional schools, they may also recognise some parts of the previous study.
See Tertiary professional schools in Chapter 7.
Higher education – higher education institution
The higher education institutions provide education in three study programmes: Bachelor's (ISCED 645), Master's (both ISCED 746 or 747), and Doctoral (ISCED 844). They also make it possible to acquire, broaden, and deepen or recover knowledge in various fields of science and culture within the frame of lifelong learning programmes.
- Bachelor's programmes aim to prepare students for a profession or to continue to Master's programmes. The standard duration is 3 to 4 years. The minimum requirement for entrance is secondary education with a Maturita examination (ISCED 344 or 354). (Applicants with a tertiary professional education at a conservatoire (ISCED 554) may also be admitted to study at an art higher education institution. Exceptionally, those who have not attained any of these degrees may also be admitted to the art field; however, the condition for the awarding of a higher education degree is that they complete their education.) In 2022/23, approximately 34.70 % of the age cohort entered a Bachelor's programme.
- Master's programmes are aimed at gaining theoretical and practical knowledge based on current scientific findings, research, and development and putting them into practice and developing skills for working creatively. In Arts they focus on advanced artistic training and the development of talent. Master's programmes follow on from Bachelor's courses, and last between 1 and 3 years. The minimum requirements are the same as for the Bachelor's programmes. Furthermore, completion of any type of higher education programme is a prerequisite. The higher education institution may, among other conditions, also stipulate a requirement for the affinity of the previous study programme or the number of credits obtained in the selected types of subjects. Where relevant with respect to the character of the studies, a Master's programme does not follow on from a Bachelor's programme (so-called long or non-structured Master's programmes). In this case secondary education with a Maturita examination is a minimum entrance condition and the studies last 4 to 6 years (the standard duration of the studies is usually 5 years, or 6 years in the case of medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, art, and architecture). In 2022/23, there were approximately 91.88 % of Bachelor's graduates who continued into Master's programmes.
- Doctoral programmes focus on scientific research and independent creativity in research and development and independent theoretical or creative activity in art. They follow a Master's programme and last at least 3 years and not more than 4 years. In 2022/23, 13.59 % of Master's graduates were admitted into doctoral programmes.
All three types of programmes can take forms of on-site courses, distance learning courses or a combination of both. Education in all the three forms is equivalent.
The Higher Education Act sets out 37 areas of education for higher education institutions, the areas are further defined by a Government Regulation on the Educational Areas in Higher Education. Institutions either obtain accreditation for the implementation of the study programme, which they prepared within a chosen area(s), or they obtain the so-called institutional accreditation for the entire area(s) and the created study programmes are no longer subject to separate accreditation.
See details on the higher education study programme in Chapter 7 Higher Education.
In addition to study programmes, the higher education institutions can offer programmes of lifelong learning courses.
Art and language education
The following two types of schools offer education only in the field of the study specified in the name of the school. This type of education is usually offered to pupils outside school hours and thus runs parallel to the education offered at the other types of schools. These schools can also provide adult education.
Basic art schools teach the basics of various fields of art and music and prepare pupils for the study of these disciplines at secondary schools, conservatoires, or higher education institutions (completion of the former is not a condition for admission to the latter). They organise structured courses mainly for basic school or upper secondary school pupils (preparatory, two levels of basic education, and extended) but courses for adults may also be offered. See Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Chapter 5.
Language schools authorised to organise state language examinations offer courses in foreign languages according to the Education Act. They offer courses of various levels and specialisations; the education can lead to the state language examination. The language schools can also offer foreign language courses following a Maturita examination. See details in Language education in Chapter 8.
Further adult education and training
Further adult education and training is provided by schools, school facilities, higher education institutions, public administration and self-government bodies and their educational institutions, non-profit organisations and professional and commercial entities.
Persons who have not achieved basic education (ISCED 244) within the compulsory school attendance can complete it in courses of basic education organised by basic and upper secondary schools.
Adults who have not gained any upper secondary level (ISCED 3) can attend standard programmes of upper secondary schools, both in on-site and other forms of education.
Successful leavers of upper secondary schools can update or extend their qualification in follow-up (ISCED 353) or shortened study (ISCED 353 or 354), organised by upper secondary schools in on-site or other forms – see above.
Adults can also participate in education at basic art schools and languages schools – see above.
Secondary school leavers have a chance to take one-year post-secondary foreign language courses following a Maturita examination in the day form. These are run by legal and natural persons listed in the supplement to the Decree on Further Study. The courses have the character of post-secondary education (ISCED 454). If the given conditions are met, they can get official student status.
In addition to its educational activity, the higher education institution can offer programmes of lifelong learning courses focused on an occupation or personal interests/hobbies. The studies in lifelong learning programmes have the character of post-secondary education (ISCED 444), but students do not have official student status.
Within lifelong learning programmes, some faculties of higher education institutions accept applicants who passed an entrance exam but were not admitted to regular courses because of a lack of capacity (sometimes called “Year Zero”). These students can take subjects according to the study plan for Year 1 of full-time study in an accredited programme and if they satisfy all the prescribed study requirements, they can be excused from the entrance exam for the following academic year and become students of regular courses.
Some higher education institutions and commercial education agencies offer preparatory courses for entrance exams for many fields of study and in a broad scope for those applicants who were not admitted to regular study programmes.
Those leavers of all types of schools who did not succeed on the labour market are offered retraining courses in various spheres for individual occupations or what are known as non-specific retraining courses, preparing job applicants for employment and thus increasing their employability. The courses focus on computer literacy, management, marketing, accounting, banking, labour relations, and preparation for private enterprise in combination with intensive foreign language training.
See also the Chapter 8 on Adult Education and Training.
School facilities provide services and education which support or supplement the education offered by schools, or they assure institutional or protective care or preventive educational care. They are regulated by the Education Act.
The facilities for further education of education staff (zařízení pro další vzdělávání pedagogických pracovníků) provide in-service training and advisory services in methodical issues and management of schools and school facilities. They also disseminate information on directions and procedures in education and coordinate supporting activities for schools and school facilities and coordinate development programmes and other events.
School guidance and counselling facilities (školská poradenská zařízení) provide information and diagnostic, guidance, and methodological services for children, pupils, and students and their statutory representatives and for schools and school facilities, provide pedagogical and specialised pedagogical and psychological services and preventive educational care, and assist in selecting suitable future education and training. School guidance facilities cooperate with the authorities in providing social and legal care for children, and also with bodies providing care for young people and families, providers of medical services, or other bodies and institutions. It is divided into pedagogical and psychological counselling centres (pedagogicko-psychologické poradny) and special educational centres (speciálně pedagogická centra). The activities of the facilities are specified by the Decree on Providing Guidance in Schools and School Guidance Facilities.
School educational, lodging and boarding facilities (školská výchovná a ubytovací zařázení) include the boarding home for youth (domov mládeže) for pupils of upper secondary schools and students of tertiary professional schools. There were 371 such institutions in 2022/23, which were typically affiliated with schools; almost 25 % of pupils in conservatoires were housed in boarding homes for youth, while only 8.4 % of pupils of upper secondary schools and tertiary professional schools were housed in these institutions. School lodging and boarding facility (internát) accommodates pupils of independent schools for persons with disabilities. Both institutions provide whole day education, accommodation, and meals, and if necessary, education, sport, and other leisure activities. A third institution is the school in the countryside (škola v přírodě), which provides breaks for children and pupils in a healthy environment without the need to interrupt their education. Organisation of the facilities is regulated by the Decree on School Educational and Boarding Facilities, and Facilities for School Purposes.
School facilities for personal interests education (zařízení pro zájmové vzdělávání) provide appropriate educational, training, interest, or recreational services and events, as well as cultural activities for pupils, students, and education staff or other persons. The after-school centre (školní družina) is designed for pupils at the first stage of basic school and operates at almost all basic schools (98.24 %). The school club (školní klub) is intended mainly for pupils at the second stage of basic school, it operates at 22.16 % of basic schools with integrated second stage. A leisure time centre (středisko volného času) can be a children and young people's centre (dům dětí a mládeže), which organises activities in several areas of interest education, or a special activity station (stanice zájmových činností) that focuses only on one area of interest education, they are most often organised outside the school premises. In 2022/23, there were 334 such institutions with over 223 thousand people engaging in regularly scheduled activities. The details are set by the Decree on Special Interest Education.
Facilities for school catering – school canteens (školní jídelny) provide food for children, pupils, and students while at school or a school facility. Their founders are obliged to assure food for the children at nursery school and pupils of basic schools and under-age pupils of upper secondary schools, preferably in school canteens (or on the basis of a contract in another entity providing catering); mature pupils and students can also access the service voluntarily. Decree on School Catering specifies the requirements for the operation and scope of services and determines per-capita amounts, fees and catering standards.
School facilities established for a special purpose (školská účelová zařízení) assist schools and school facilities in their activities. There are five types of such facilities. A service centre for schools (středisko služeb školám) provides schools and school facilities with technical and material services (supply of textbooks, servicing of teaching equipment, etc.) and advisory, information, and technical and organisational support. A school farm (školní hospodářství) provides for the vocational training of secondary school pupils of agriculture, horticulture, forestry, and fishing, and centres of practical education (střediska praktického vyučování) offer training in other fields (if the school does not provide them itself). A school library (školní knihovna) provides professional services, services related to study and work, and library and information services to children, pupils, students, or the education staff of schools and school facilities. A swimming school (plavecká škola) provides swimming lessons to pupils of basic schools as part of their compulsory physical education.
School facilities for institutional education, protective education, and preventive educational care (školská zařízení pro výkon ústavní výchovy, ochranné výchovy a pro preventivně výchovnou péči) a include a children's home, a children's home with a school and a preventive care institute (dětský domov, dětský domov se školou, výchovný ústav) as well as a diagnostic institute (diagnostický ústav) and a centre for behavioural development (středisko výchovné péče). The Act on Institutional Education and Protective Care in School Facilities and on Preventive Educational Care in School Facilities applies.
Compulsory pre-primary education
Compulsory pre-primary education lasts 1 year, or, in the case of children with postponement of the commencement of schooling, two years. The obligation applies to children from the beginning of the school year (September) following the day they reach the age of 5 years up to the beginning of their compulsory school attendance.
Compulsory pre-primary education applies to Czech citizens and citizens of member states of the European Union provided they have been present on the territory of Czechia for more than 90 days, and also other foreigners who have permanent or temporary permission to stay in Czechia for more than 90 days and for applicants for international protection. The obligation does not apply to children with severe mental disorders.
The parent or guardian of a child is obliged to enrol her/him in school. The enrolment for the next year takes place between 2nd and 16th May.
The duty to ensure pre-primary education falls within the competence of municipalities. (This duty applies also to all children who are 3 years old before the beginning of the next school year, not only to children for whom the pre-primary education is compulsory.) The municipality has to ensure enough places in a nursery school (mateřská škola) it has established, or it has to ensure pre-primary education in a nursery school as established by another municipality or a union of municipalities.
A child for whom education is compulsory attends a nursery school established by a municipality or a union of municipalities residing in the school district where the child has permanent residence, or in the case of a foreigner their place of residence ("catchment nursery school"). However, the parent or guardian may also choose another school for the child than catchment nursery school. If a child is taken to such school, the school head of this school informs the school head of the catchment school about it. As in the case of basic schools, the region is obliged to ensure transport if the distance between the catchment school and the child's place of permanent residence is more than 4 km.
The education takes place through regular daily attendance at nursery school on weekdays. Four hours are reserved for learning every day (however, the children can be taught throughout the hours of operation of the nursery school).
Parents can choose another form of education for their children:
individual education (home education), i.e. without regular attendance at nursery school, provided the legal conditions are met
education in a preparatory class of a basic school (přípravná třída), for children in the school year before compulsory schooling, preferentially for those with postponement of the commencement of compulsory school attendance
education in a class of the preparatory stage of a special basic school (přípravný stupeň základní školy speciální) – children with moderate and severe mental disorders, concurrent multiple disorders, or autism
Parents or guardians of children have, apart from other rights, the right to be informed on the course and results of the child's education and the right to express their views on all decisions concerning key learning issues. They are also entitled to get information and assistance from the school or school counselling facility concerning education according to the Education Act.
The parents or guardians of children have to enrol them in compulsory pre-primary education (see above). They are also required to provide them with compulsory pre-primary education. Neglect of these obligations is an offence under the Education Act, which may be penalised with a fine of up to CZK 5 000 (EUR 194; EUR/CZK 25.815 – 16 October 2018). Furthermore, they are obliged, among other things, to ensure that the child attends school properly (unless they have chosen individual education for him/her) and, at the request of the school head, to personally participate in the discussion on important issues related to the child's education.
For a complete list of the rights and obligations of legal representatives as well as the opportunity to participate in life, or school management, see Involvement of pupils and parents.
Compulsory school attendance
The length of compulsory education is set by the Education Act and is for 9 years starting at the beginning of the school year following the day on which the child reaches 6 years of age. Compulsory education takes place at a basic school (základní škola) (including special basic school (základní škola speciální) and other basic schools for pupils with disabilities). Pupils who are admitted to a multi-year general secondary school (gymnázium) or to an eight-year conservatoire in the course of their compulsory education complete their compulsory education at these schools.
Compulsory school attendance applies to all Czech citizens, as well as to citizens of member states of the European Union, provided they have been present on the territory of Czechia for more than 90 days, other foreigners who have permanent or temporary permission to stay in Czechia for more than 90 days and for applicants for international protection.
The duty to ensure pre-primary education falls within the competence of municipalities. Within the basic transport services of the region, the region is obliged to provide transport to and from the catchment school, if the distance of the catchment school from the pupil's place of permanent residence exceeds 4 km.
The responsibility for compulsory education provided at private and denominational schools lies with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. This means, in practical terms, that the state guarantees education at these schools, provided that they are included in the Register of School and School Facilities. The state also recognises the education gained at these schools and guarantees that if a private school has any difficulties, its pupils will be able to complete their compulsory schooling at a public basic school.
The parent or guardian of a child is obliged to register the child for compulsory school attendance. The enrolment for the next year takes place between 1st April and 30th April of the calendar year during which the child should begin compulsory school attendance.
A pupil satisfies the requirement for compulsory school attendance in what is termed the catchment school (spádová škola) (the basic school located in the territory where a child has its place of permanent residence) or – if the parents or guardians decide otherwise – in another school. The list of children for whom the given school is the catchment school is provided by the municipal authority of the municipality on the territory of which the school district of the basic school lies sufficient time before the date for registration. The head of the catchment school has to preferentially accept pupils with permanent residence in the relevant school district, up to the number of pupils set in the School Register. If the child is accepted to a school other than the catchment school, according to the Act the school head should announce this fact to the school head of the catchment school by, at the latest, the end of May of the year in which the child has to start compulsory school attendance.
A child who turns six in the period between September and June of a given school year can be enrolled in compulsory school attendance early at the request of the parent or guardian if the child is sufficiently physically and mentally mature. The precondition for admission is a recommendation from the school guidance facility. In the case of children born in the period between January and the end of June an expert opinion of a specialist (e.g. a neurologist or paediatrician) is also necessary. In 2022/23, 700 children were admitted to compulsory school attendance early.
If, on reaching the age of six, the child is not physically or mentally ready and if the parent or guardian so requests (by 31st May), the school head may postpone the start of compulsory schooling by one year provided that the request is supplemented by a recommendation from the school guidance facility and a specialist physician or a psychologist. Starting school can be postponed at most to the beginning of the school year in which the child turns eight. If the school head makes a decision about the postponement of the commencement of compulsory school education, he/she must inform the parent or guardian about the obligation to ensure the child's compulsory pre-primary education and possible ways of fulfilling this requirement. In 2022/23, compulsory school attendance was postponed for 29 311 children. (Source of the data: Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.)
If, during the first half of the first year of school attendance, the pupil shows insufficient physical and mental maturity, the school head may, with the consent of the pupil's parents or guardians, additionally postpone the start of the compulsory schooling to the next year (this also includes pupils starting their compulsory schooling after already having received a postponement).
A pupil completes his/her compulsory education after 9 years of schooling, at the latest at the age of 17.
This also applies when the pupil does not complete the 9th year (e.g. he/she may have repeated a year) and thus does not achieve the defined level of education “basic education” (základní vzdělání). In such case a pupil may complete basic education either by remaining at school with the consent of the school head and at the request of the parent or guardian, at most until the end of the school year in which the pupil turns 18 or, later on, by attending special courses of basic education.
In exceptional cases, the school head may permit a pupil with a disability (defined in § 19, Article 9 of the Education Act) to continue their basic education until the end of the school year in which the pupil concerned reaches 20 years of age. In the case of pupils being educated in the educational programme of a special basic school, the school head, with the consent of the organising body, may permit to continue the basic education until the end of the school year in which the pupil concerned reaches 26 years of age.
Pupils can complete part of their compulsory education upon meeting the given conditions at an upper secondary school. They may continue at an eight-year general secondary school (osmileté gymnázium) after the fifth year or at a six-year general secondary school (šestileté gymnázium) after the seventh year or, after the fifth year, at an eight-year conservatoire. If pupils receive a basic education earlier than after 9 years (in the case of exceptionally gifted pupils who "skip" a year), they can be admitted to any secondary school or conservatoire.
Parents of children at basic school have the option to ask the school head for permission to satisfy compulsory school attendance in the form of individual education (home education), which occurs without regular participation in instruction in school.
For a child with a serious mental disability who is not able to attend even a special basic school, the educational department of a regional authority can (on the basis of an expert assessment and with the agreement of the child's parent or guardian) provide a substitute form of education that meets the child's needs.
The Education Act allows for special forms of satisfying school attendance because of a pupil staying abroad by attending a school abroad, a school established at an embassy or consulate of the Czech Republic, a European School, or by an individual tuition. Pupils can satisfy the attendance in a foreign school on the territory of Czechia.
If a pupil attends a foreign school in Czechia, he or she is at the same time a pupil of a school known as the tribal school (the catchment school or another chosen school registered in the School Register) where they also take exams from the chosen subjects. For other pupils, the registration in the tribal school is voluntary. Pupils from schools abroad and pupils with individual tuition can take exams if they register in a tribal school. Pupils from schools established at an embassy or consulate or from the European Schools do not take exams at all (even if registered in the tribal school).
Examinations take place at least once a half year but for a maximum of two years. Pupils who satisfy their compulsory school attendance in the form of individual tuition must sit an exam in all subjects except of the optional ones. For those attending a school abroad or foreign school established in Czechia, the examinations concern following chosen subjects: in all the years - the educational content of the educational field of Czech Language and Literature; in the fourth and fifth years then – the educational content of a homeland nature relating to Czechia in the educational area People and their World; in the sixth to ninth years – the educational content relating to Czechia in the educational fields History and Geography. Examination results can be replaced by documented results of education (a certificate) supplied by a “provider of education abroad” who has an agreement with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (according to § 38, Articles 5 and 6 of the Education Act), or Czechia.
In certain cases, it is necessary to document the compulsory school attendance (see below), either to the school head of the tribal school or, if the pupil does not have a tribal school, to the Ministry of Education. A report from a school outside Czechia (including the Czech translation) is submitted, or an affirmation of the pupil's legal representative on the education of the pupil during the stay abroad; both for a period of a maximum of two school years. If a pupil does not take exams, then in most cases he / she does not obtain a (Czech) report and a level of basic education (základní vzdělání) (see below). However, if pupil has a proof of attainment of a foreign education corresponding to the basic education, he/she may apply for its nostrification.
More details on completing compulsory education:
Attending a school abroad (outside Czechia): A pupil does not have to be enrolled in a tribal school. If a pupil is enrolled, he / she can take exams in specified subjects, and thus obtain a Czech school report, and acquire the level of basic education. If a school abroad has an agreement with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports or the Czechia, the tribal school will issue a school report, even if the pupil has not passed the exams. In other cases, when the pupil of the tribal school did not take the exams or when he/she does not have a tribal school, he/she does not obtain a school report nor a level of basic education. In such case pupil must prove to the tribal school or the Ministry of Education the fulfillment of compulsory school attendance (by evaluation from a school abroad or affirmation). However, if he/she has a proof of completion of education corresponding to basic education, he/she may apply for its nostrification.
Attending a school established at an embassy or consulate of the Czech Republic: A pupil does not have to be enrolled in a tribal school. He/she does not take the exams, but the school established at an embassy or consulate of the Czech Republic issues a Czech school report to him/her and the pupil also acquires a level of basic education. If he/she is enrolled in a tribal school, his/her attendance is monitored by the school established at an embassy or consulate of the Czech Republic. Otherwise, the pupil proves (by a school report) the fulfillment of compulsory school attendance to the Ministry of Education.
Attending the European School: The pupil attends the European school operating on the basis of the Convention defining the Statute of the European Schools, intended primarily for children of staff of the European Communities (institutions of the European Union). A pupil does not have to be enrolled in a tribal school. He/she does not take the exams, whether he/she is enrolled in it or not. Thus, he does not receive a Czech school report, but a certificate from a European school is considered equivalent to a Czech one. A school leaver of the fourth year of the secondary cycle of the European School is seen as a person who has completed a level of basic education. If the pupil is enrolled to a tribal school, the European School monitors his/her compulsory school attendance, if this is not the case, pupil documents the fulfillment of attendance to the Ministry of Education (by a certificate from the European School).
Individual tuition: The pupil fulfills compulsory school attendance in the form of individual tuition, if he / she cannot fulfill it in any of the above-mentioned ways. He/she does not have to be enrolled in a tribal school. If a pupil is enrolled in it, he/she has can take exams (from all subjects except the optional ones), and thus obtain a (Czech) school report and a level of basic education, respectively. If the pupil does not take the exam, he/she will not receive a certificate and the level of basic education. However, pupil must (by a solemn declaration) prove to the tribal school or the Ministry of Education the fulfillment of compulsory school attendance.
Attending a foreign school on the territory of Czechia: A pupil attends a foreign school providing education according to a foreign educational programme on the territory of Czechia, which is not registered in the School Register and which is established by a foreign country, legal entity or a citizen, if the Ministry of Education permitted compulsory school attendance in such school in the relevant school year. At the same time, the pupil must always be enrolled in the tribal school, where he/she must also take exams in the given subjects. A pupil does not take exams only if a foreign school has an agreement with Czechia. The tribal school then issues the Czech school report and a clause on obtaining a level of basic education for the pupil. It also records his/her compulsory school attendance.
Rights and duties of parents
The right to education and the obligation of school attendance are included in the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms. The Education Act gives more details on these. Among others it stipulates that pupils have the right to education and school services (e.g. meals) defined by law, and pupils and parents/guardians to be informed about the course and results of education.
In connection with compulsory school attendance, the following obligations are particularly important: Parents or the guardians of children have to enrol them in compulsory school attendance (see above) and ensure that a pupil attends school properly provided he/she was not allowed individual education possibly, individual tuition while staying abroad. Neglect of these obligations is an offence under the Education Act which may be penalised with a fine up to CZK 5 000 (EUR 194; EUR/CZK 25.815 – 16 October 2018). Significant neglect of upbringing may be classified as threatening the moral upbringing of children and young people. The parents/guardians are also obliged, at the request of the school head, to personally participate in the discussion of important issues related to the education of the pupil.
For a complete list of the pupil's rights and obligations and their legal representatives as well as the opportunity to participate in life or the management of school, see Involvement of pupils and parents.
Fulfilling compulsory pre-primary education in the form of individual education
According to the Education Act, compulsory pre-primary education lasts 1 year, or, in the case of children with postponement of the commencement of schooling, two years. The obligation applies to children from the beginning of the school year (September) following the day they reach the age of 5 years up to the beginning of their compulsory school attendance.
If in justified cases parents choose individual education for their child, they announce this fact to the school head of the nursery school (mateřská škola) which admitted the child to pre-primary education. The parent or guardian of a child attending pre-primary education in other forms (i.e., preparatory class (přípravná třída) of a basic school, preparatory stage of a special basic school (přípravný stupeň základní školy speciální) or foreign school in Czechia) should also announce this fact to the head teacher principal of the catchment nursery school.
If a child should be educated individually, its parent or guardian is obliged, as in other cases, to enrol it in pre-primary education. Then he/she must tell the head teacher principal of the nursery school which admitted the child that it will be educated individually. If the individual education is supposed to last most of the school year, he/she must provide notification of this at the latest three months before the beginning of the school year. During the school year the individual education can start only from the day the notification is delivered to the head teacher principal.
The parent's or guardian's notification of the individual education of a child should contain:
the first name (or names), family name, birth number, and place of residence of the child (in the case of a foreigner, the place of residence of the child)
the period in which the child should be educated individually
the reasons for the child receiving individual education
The school head of the nursery school recommends to the parent or guardian the fields of study the child should be educated in. These fields are based on the Framework Education Programme for Pre-primary Education. The nursery school checks out the level of the child's mastery of the expected results in particular fields or recommends further educational steps to the parent or guardian. The method used for checking and dates (including alternative dates) are laid down in the school rules so that the check takes place in the period from the third to fourth month from the beginning of the school year. The parent or guardian must ensure the child is present at the check.
The school head of the nursery school terminates the child's individual education if the parent or guardian does not ensure its presence at the check on the regular date or an alternative. After that it is not possible to educate it at home anymore. An appeal has no suspension effect.
The minimum level of qualification of the person educating the child is not prescribed.
The expenses associated with individual education, excluding expenses for special compensatory aids according to the Education Act and expenses for the operation of the nursery school to which the child was admitted, are paid by the parent or guardian.
In the school year 2022/23, 2525 children were educated individually (source: Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports).
Fulfilling compulsory school attendance in the form of individual tuition
The length of compulsory education is set by the Education Act and is for 9 years starting at the beginning of the school year following the day on which the child reaches 6 years of age. Compulsory education takes place at a basic school (základní škola), possibly after the year five or seven to multi-year secondary general school (víceleté gymnázium) or eight-year conservatoire, respectively. Parents of children at basic school have the option to ask the school head for permission to satisfy compulsory school attendance in the form of individual (home) tuition (for second stage this option has been possible since 2016/17).
Individual (home) tuition takes place without regular attendance at lessons in school. Permission for individual tuition can be granted by the head of school where the pupil was accepted for compulsory education on the basis of a written application by the parent or guardian of the pupil.
The parent's or guardian's application on the individual education should contain:
the first name (or names), family name, birth number, and place of residence of the child (in the case of a foreigner, the place of residence of the child)
the period, year (or half-year) in which the pupil should be educated individually
the reasons for the individual education of the pupil
a description of the spatial and material-technical provision of education and the conditions for the protection of the health of an individually educated pupil
evidence of compliance with the prescribed minimum education of a person who will individually educate the pupil
a list of textbooks which will be used in individual tuition, unless they are the textbooks referred to in the Education Act
other facts that affect the pupil's education
a statement of the school counselling facility
In this school, the individually educated pupil performs every semester an examination verifying the level of attainment of the relevant educational contents. The form of the examination/verification of the level of attainment is up to particular school. If an individually educated pupil cannot be assessed at the end of the relevant semester, the school head sets a substitute date for his/her evaluation so that the assessment is made no later than two months after the end of the semester.
If the pupil does not pass successfully at the end of the second semester of the respective school year or cannot be assessed at all, the school head terminates the individual education.
The person educating the pupil of the first stage (ISCED 100) of the basic school is required to have at least ISCED 344/354 qualification. The preconditions for the individual education of pupils of the second stage of basic school (ISCED 244) is the higher education qualification (at least ISCED 645) of the person educating the pupil.
The expenses associated with individual education are paid by the parent or guardian, excluding expenses for textbooks and basic school supplies, special textbooks and special compensatory and teaching aids specified by the Education Act and expenses for the operation of the basic school to which the child was admitted for compulsory school attendance.
In 2022/23 school year, 4277 pupils of the first stage (ISCED 100) and 2032 pupils of the second stage (ISCED 244) were fulfilling the compulsory school attendance through this form of education (source: Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports).