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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Organisation of upper secondary education


6.Upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education

6.1Organisation of upper secondary education

Last update: 22 March 2024


Types of institutions

Upper secondary education is provided by two types of schools: primarily by upper secondary schools (střední školy), although a small proportion of pupils attend conservatoires (konzervatoře).

Under the Education Act, the upper secondary school is a type of school with three basic sub-types:

  • secondary general school (gymnázium)
  • secondary technical school (střední odborná škola)
  • secondary vocational school (střední odborné učiliště)

These sub-types are not defined by the law, but schools can (but do not have to) choose to use them in their names. The sub-types derive from the former strictly differentiated subdivision of upper secondary schools used until 2004.

Actually, the provision of education is linked more to the level of education, i.e., upper secondary education with Maturita examination (střední vzdělání s maturitní zkouškou), upper secondary education with a VET certificate (střední vzdělání s výučním listem), and (upper) secondary education (střední vzdělání). Offering any of the three levels of secondary education is not firmly connected with the sub-type of upper secondary school. Each upper secondary school can offer various levels, fields, or possibly forms of secondary education (if the school fulfils teaching requirements and has the levels, fields and forms of education registered in the Register of Schools and School Facilities).

Some upper secondary schools also provide the programme of multi-year secondary general school (víceleté gymnázium), usually together with four-year general programme (therefore, multi-year secondary general school is not considered to be a separate type of upper secondary school). The eight-year programme corresponds to the last four years of basic education and, in the case of the six-year programme to the last two years of basic education. The upper level corresponds to a four-year secondary general school.

The Decree on Secondary Education and Education in Conservatoires also mentions other sub-types of upper secondary schools (e.g. střední průmyslová škola, střední pedagogická škola, odborné učiliště, praktická škola and others) which are nevertheless also not bound to concrete fields of education, such as in the area of industry, pedagogy, etc. However, the name of such school may indicate its specialisation. The name should not be misleading.

A conservatoire is a separate type of school.

Legally defined school facilities and other institutes can also take part in the education of pupils of an upper secondary school. They participate mostly in practical education in the workplace of a private individual or legal entity or in a school special purpose facility (středisko praktického vyučování), possibly on school farms. Other school facilities provide meals, leisure time activities or accommodation.

Geographical accessibility

Before 1989, residential developments always included the building of schools, so schools were very evenly distributed.

After 1989, when the central management of the branch structure of education disappeared, supply started to be governed by the rapidly changing demand, which shifted its focus from vocational training to schools leading to a Maturita examination (maturitní zkouška) and from technical subjects to economic, business and service ones. Many new schools have been established, in spite of a decline in the population and consequently the number of pupils in schools has decreased. Their geographic accessibility has improved due to the changes in the formerly rigid monotype field structure: vocational and technical schools have introduced diverse types of courses to satisfy new demands.

In 1997, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, which at that time was the founder of most of upper secondary schools (střední školy) and tertiary professional schools (vyšší odborné školy), adapted the network of these schools to the demographic development. This led to a decrease in the number of schools although ensuring that education was still accessible to all.

Since 2001, the regions, which became the founders of most of upper secondary schools and tertiary professional schools in 2000, have played a decisive role in the optimisation process. According to the Education Act they should ensure conditions for the provision of upper secondary education and education at tertiary professional schools. At the same time, they open or close down public upper secondary schools and tertiary professional schools. Within the optimisation process schools continued to be closed or more often merged, but this process has slowed down. At present, the total number of schools is stable. In 2022/23, the total number of upper secondary schools was 1 294. They were attended by 438 thousand pupils, of which 98.5 % were in the day form of education (without follow-up and shortened study). (Source: Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.)

In order to increase the accessibility of the upper secondary schools, boarding homes for youth (domovy mládeže) are established in some of them; in addition to accommodation and meals they offer pupils leisure time activities. The level of fees for accommodation in public and state boarding homes for youth is limited by the Decree on School Educational and Boarding Facilities, and School Purpose Facilities.

Admission requirements and choice of school

The school head of the relevant upper secondary school (střední škola) issues a decision on the admission of applicants for education at an upper secondary school. He/she follows the Education Act and the Decree on Admission Procedure to Secondary Education.

Some aspects of the admission procedure in upper secondary schools are similar to those in conservatoires. Following subsection describes them together. Specific conditions for conservatoires are described separately.



Schools may admit applicants to an upper secondary course on the basis of the admission procedure if they have completed compulsory school attendance or successfully completed the level of basic education (základní vzdělání) prior to finishing compulsory school attendance and who in the course of admission procedure have met all the conditions on which they may be admitted by proving adequate abilities, knowledge, interests and health.

Similar rules are set for multi-year secondary general schools (víceletá gymnázia). The applicants who successfully complete the seventh/fifth grade of a basic school (základní škola) in the given school year may, on the basis of an admission procedure, be admitted the first grade of the lower level of six-year/eight-year secondary general school.


The rules described below apply to the admission procedure under regular circumstances.

The school head of the upper secondary school sets common criteria of admission for each round of the admission procedure and publishes both the criteria and the means of evaluation of their fulfilment, as well as further detail on the organisation of the admission procedure. All criteria must be of an evaluative nature and must not include assessment from school reports for the second term of the school year 2019/2020 because these school reports were released in accordance with special rules caused by the pandemic of Covid-19, which makes them incomparable. 

The admission procedure starts with the submission of an electronic application and ends with a decision as to the admission/non-admission of an applicant. According to the Education Act the school head evaluates an applicant based on the:

further evaluation is based on:

  • results achieved within a school admission examination (if set by the school head),
  • results achieved within an aptitude test (fields of education requiring an aptitude test/conservatoires),
  • school reports from previous education,
  • other facts proving adequate abilities, knowledge and interests of the applicant.


As part of the admission criteria, the school head may set a threshold of success for the standardised examination, school admission examination, aptitude test or for the overall evaluation within the admission procedure. The applicant must reach the threshold in order to be admitted.

The admission procedure for the first grade is organised in a number of rounds and a school head is obliged to announce at least one round of enrolment. Number of other rounds is not limited.


Dates of the first round of admission procedure in the school year 2023/2024


Educational fields without an aptitude test

Educational fields requiring an aptitude test


Announcement of the admission criteria by the school heads

until 31 January

until 31 October

Educational fields requiring an aptitude test proceed according to previous legislation.

Submission of the application

from 1 February to 20 February (according to the priority)

until 30 November

In the educational fields with an aptitude test, the priority can be changed by 15 March or by submitting a new application, otherwise the priority is determined by the listed order.

Entry of paper applications into DIPSY by the school head of the first school in the application

from 21 to 26 February

27 February – entry of missing data on applicants

Within 5 days from the application deadline. If the deadline falls on a weekend, the first working day is counted.

Control by school heads of other schools

from 27 to 28 February

28 February

Within 2 days from the entry of applications by the school head of the first school.

Regular date of school admission examination and aptitude test (AT)

from 15 March to 23 April

Educational fields No. 82*: from 2 to 15 January

Conservatoires: from 15 to 31 January

STSGS**: from 2 January to 15 February

At least two dates, at least one date other than the date of the standardised admission examination.

Aptitude test results


Sending the examination results:

Educational fields No. 82*: 20 January

STSGS**: 20 February

School admission examination results, overall results, and ranking: 15 February

Decisions of acceptance are not sent to the applicants.

Regular date of the standardised admission examination

Four-year general secondary schools: 12 and 15 April 2024

Multi-year general secondary schools: 16 and 17 April 2024

STSGS similarly

Period from 10 to 18 April.

Alternate date of the school admission examination and aptitude test

From 24 April to 5 May

within one month of the event

At least one date other than the date of the standardised admission examination.

Alternate date of the standardised admission examination

29 and 30 April 2024

STSGS similarly

Period from 24 April to 5 May

Invitation to an examination

14 days before the regular and 7 days before the alternate date of the examination

Conservatoires: 7 days before the regular as well as alternate date of the examination


Standardised admission examination results

6 May



Publication of the results of the admission procedure

15 May


4th working day after confirmation received by the school head

* Arts and applied arts

** Sports training secondary general schools



Application forms

Since the school year 2023/2024, there are three different ways to submit an application form to an upper secondary school. Submitting an electronic application is the most convenient, but it can also be submitted in a form printed from the online system (so called listing) or by handing in a filled-in printed matter. An applicant has to submit the electronic application between 1st and 20th February via the electronic system DIPSY.

An applicant may submit up to three applications for upper secondary education programmes and up to two other applications for programmes with an aptitude test or a conservatoire. Every applicant states the order of programmes according to preference. The education programme with the highest priority is stated first. The applicant may conduct the standardised examination up to two times, regardless of the number of applications.

Admission examination

Standardised admission examination

Since 2017, the obligatory standardised admission examination has taken place in all education programmes of secondary education with a Maturita examination (maturitní zkouška) excluding education programmes with an aptitude test (Sports training general secondary schools are an exception as in their case standardised admission examination is held). Standardised admission examination is also not held in the case of admission procedure into shortened courses for obtaining upper secondary education with the Maturita examination.

The applicant takes the standardised admission examinations within the first round of the admission procedure on the date determined before 30 September of the previous calendar year by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, and which is set in the interval from 12 to 28 April. Each applicant who applies to at least one upper secondary education programme, where standardised admission examination is held, may conduct the examination twice. The examination consists of a written test in Czech language and literature and Mathematics. The higher result is used for evaluation. The result from the standardised admission examination is taken into account also in the second round of the admission procedure. Applicant conducts standardised admission examination at one of the schools stated in the application form.

The standardised admission examination consists of a written standardised test in Czech language and literature and a written standardised test in Mathematics and its applications. Preparation of these tests as well as their distribution, results processing and evaluation is guaranteed by the Centre for Evaluation of Educational Achievements. The result in the standardised admission examination represents at least 60 % of the overall assessment of fulfilment of the admission procedure criteria (at least 40 % in the case of Sports training secondary general schools).

School admission examination

The school head decides if the school admission examination will be held. Should he/she so decide, he/she is obligated to set at least two dates for the first round of the admission procedure in the interval from 15 March to 23 April so that at least one of the terms takes place on a different day than the standardised admission examination. At least 14 days before the first date, the school head announces the dates of the school admission examination at a publicly accessible place in the school and in a way that allows distance access. The dates should be assigned to applicants in a way that prevents overlap considering the date and place of the standardised admission examination. In the case of overlapping examinations, it is possible to grant an alternative date to the applicant if he/she is dully excused from the previous date. The invitation includes information on requirements for the admission examination, on the expected number of applicants to be admitted and the criteria of admission procedure.

Aptitude test

The aptitude test is held in those study fields of upper secondary schools for which it set in the framework education programmes, i.e. in fields from the Arts and applied arts group and the field Sports training secondary general school, and in study fields of conservatoires. Within the first round, the tests are held from 2 to 15 January in most study fields of upper secondary schools (from 2 January to 15 February in the field Sports training secondary general school) and from 15 to 31 January in study fields of conservatoires

The school head is obliged to announce whether applicants have been successful before 15 February as well as the order in which they were placed. This is done by publishing a list of applicants in the form of assigned registration numbers (this is not the decision of admission). This obligation does not apply to the education field Sports training secondary general school.

Applicants who applied to up to two education fields with aptitude test have the option to submit an application to up to three education fields without an aptitude test in the interval from 1 to 20 February. They may include the fields with aptitude tests where they previously applied according to preference.


Adapted conditions

According to the Decree on Admission Procedure to Secondary Education, the school guidance and counselling facility may recommend to applicants with special educational needs (incl. those with a mother tongue other than Czech) an adaptation of the conditions of the admission examinations.

If foreigners have acquired a previous level of education abroad, they can be, based on the Education Act and upon a request, exempted from an admission examination in the Czech language, if it is a part of the admission procedures. A working knowledge of Czech, sufficient for education in the field of study, is examined by interview.

According to Act No. 67/2022, pupils with temporary protection can replace documents on previous education with a solemn declaration. In addition, the Ministry of Education established specific conditions for the admission procedure for the 2023/24 school year for these pupils through a binding general measure.


List of admitted applicants and decision of acceptance

An applicant is admitted to the education field that has the highest priority in the application form (is listed first) if his/her results from the admission procedure qualify him/her for admission. The applicant can be admitted to only one education field in the first and second round.

The school head publishes the results of the admission procedure on 15 May in the form of a list at a publicly accessible place in the school (the list must be published for the duration of at least 15 days) and in a way that allows distance access in the information system of the admission procedure. The results are considered officially announced by publishing the list and they are not made or disseminated in a written form.



The number of free places for the needs of an appeal depends on the school head's decision. Applicants' appeal against the decision of the school head on the result of admission can be submitted within 3 working days from the day results were published. The appeal is submitted to the school head. The school head either accepts an appeal, or forward it within 30 days to the competent regional office (i.e. to the superior administrative body of the school heads and school facilities) along with his/her opinion as well as the criteria for admission. The final decision in the appeal process is made by the region, which must do so within 30 days.

For more details and application forms see on the web site of the Ministerstvo školství, mládeže a tělovýchovy (Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports). Information of the standardised admission examination are available on the web site of the Centrum pro zjišťování výsledků vzdělávání (The Centre for Evaluation of Educational Achievements). Admission criteria for specific courses and schools are provided by Informační systém ISA+ (Information system ISA+).

Age levels and grouping of pupils/students

Typically, a pupil attending day courses of secondary schools at upper secondary level is between 15 and 18 years old. However, more than half of those entering the upper secondary school (střední škola) are 16 or older. A very small number of pupils begin their compulsory schooling before the age of 6 and thus enter upper secondary level before reaching 15. Other than the on-site forms of education are almost exclusively attended by pupils older than 18, more than half of whom are older than 30. (Source: Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports)

Lower grades of multi-year secondary general schools (víceletá gymnázia) and lower grades of conservatoires offer lower secondary (compulsory) education (intended for 11 to 15 years old pupils).

Classes are co-educational (usually with the exception of physical education) and pupils are grouped according to their age. Subjects are taught by different teachers, with individual subjects usually being taught by one teacher for several years. Every class has its own class teacher who is usually in charge of the class throughout its time in the school.

Minimum and maximum number of pupils is set by the Decree on Secondary Education and Education in Conservatoires. A school teaching all grades must have a minimum of 60 pupils, with an average of at least 17 pupils per class. (In schools providing education in courses to which pupils are admitted on the basis of an aptitude test, the minimum number of pupils in the school is 30, and there is no minimum number of pupils in a class.) The maximum number of pupils in a class is 30. The average number of pupils in a class in the school year 2021/22 was 22.6 pupils (source: Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports).

The school head can divide classes into groups for subjects, and merge or create groups of pupils from one or more grades. When deciding the size of a group, the following must be taken into account:

  • requirements concerning the safety of the pupils and protection of their health;
  • the demands of the subject in terms of teaching and methodology;
  • the situation of pupils with special educational needs and of gifted pupils;
  • the nature of the knowledge and skills to be acquired;
  • the demands of the educational process in terms of space and material, as stipulated in the curricular documents;
  • the efficacy of the educational process both within the framework of the pre-defined objectives and in economic terms.

Foreign languages are always taught in groups of pupils between 9 and 23 and pupils from several classes in the same grade can be taught together.

The pupil/teacher ratio in groups for practical training in the school (or school facility) is from 6 to 17 depending on the course. If it is carried out at a workplace of a physical or legal entity, the pupil/teacher (instructor) ratio is a maximum of 6.


Organisation of the school year

In upper secondary schools (střední školy) and conservatoires (konzervatoře), the same organisation of the school year as in basic schools (základní školy) applies. It is stipulated by the Education Act and the Decree on Organisation of School Year.

If, in accordance with the framework curriculum timetable, work or artistic practice or sports training is planned in July and August, second term teaching finishes prior to the general date by the number of teaching days corresponding to the length of the practice. The last grade of school is influenced by the dates of examinations. School heads are responsible for ensuring the necessary school operation during school holidays (e.g., office hours, repetition of examinations, school maintenance, preparing schools for the next school year, etc.).


Organisation of the school day and week

The school year, holidays and weekly and daily regime is set down by the Education Act, the ​Decree on Secondary Education and Education in Conservatoires and the Decree on Organisation of School Year. The framework education programmes fix the number of teaching hours in a week.

The weekly and daily timetable depends on the form of education. In the on-site form of education, the school week is similar to the working week, i.e. five days from Monday to Friday.

The Amendment to the Education Act of 2020 legislatively enshrines education in the distance way as an equivalent way of education in case of crisis situations. Pupils are obliged to learn in the distance way to the extent appropriate to the circumstances.


Five-day week system (in the form of day attendance – theoretical education)

  Out-of-hours provision (before lessons) Lessons (morning) Lunch break Lessons (afternoon) Out-of-hours provision (after lessons)
Monday Not set No earlier than at 7 a.m. At least 30 minutes No later than 8 p.m. Not set
Tuesday Not set No earlier than at 7 a.m. At least 30 minutes No later than 8 p.m. Not set
Wednesday Not set No earlier than at 7 a.m. At least 30 minutes No later than 8 p.m. Not set
Thursday Not set No earlier than at 7 a.m. At least 30 minutes No later than 8 p.m. Not set
Friday Not set No earlier than at 7 a.m. At least 30 minutes No later than 8 p.m. Not set


Weekly number of lessons

The weekly number of lessons is a maximum of 35 lessons per week. In case of practical training and work practice within the practical education it is up to the maximum of 40 compulsory lessons per week. The maximum weekly number of lessons is 40 lessons for courses where an aptitude test is a part of the admission examination. The maximum is 46 lessons for a sports training secondary general school (sportovní gymnázium). The number of lessons in other forms of education (evening, distance, e-learning, and combined forms) differs.


Organisation of the school day

One lesson lasts 45 minutes, except for lessons of practical training and work practice which last 60 minutes. In justified cases lessons may be split or merged. The educational programme for pupils with special educational needs may specify a different length of school lesson.

The beginning and end of theoretical classes in day education is decided by the school head – classes usually start at 8 a.m., 7 a.m. at the earliest, and finish at the latest by 8 p.m. The maximum number of compulsory lessons in one day, including a lunch break, is 8, exceptionally 9, with a maximum of 7 lessons without a lunch break. There is a 15-20-minute break usually after the first two lessons, and a break, usually of 10 minutes, between other lessons. The duration of the lunch break should be at least 30 minutes.

Practical training is included in courses with the VET certificate and in some courses with the Maturita examination. Its inclusion in instruction is set by the school education programme. Traditionally, the teaching is organised in the way of weekly rotation of theoretical teaching and practical training. For day education, practical training is in units of one day. Morning lessons start no earlier than at 7 a.m., except in justified cases, when they may start at 6 a.m. for pupils of the 2nd–4th grade. Afternoon lessons end no later than at 8 p.m., or in justified cases at 10 p.m. for pupils of the third and fourth grade. However, pupils must have a break of at least 12 hours between the end of one day and the beginning of lessons on the following day. Practical training of pupils in the first grade can be a maximum of 6 (60-minute) lessons per day. There is a break of 15–20 minutes, usually after the second lesson of practical training in the school or in a school facility. Students carrying out their practical training in companies have the same breaks as employees (in accordance with the relevant provision of the Labour Code). The time of breaks is not included in the total length of the teaching day.

VET practice is carried out regularly as a part of education, work and art practice is in the form of compact blocs, usually during whole weeks.

Sports training consists of training units of 45 minutes, with a maximum of 6 training units in one day. Morning lessons start at 7 a.m. at the earliest, or at 6 a.m. in justified cases, and afternoon lessons end no later than at 8 p.m., in justified cases at 10 p.m. However, pupils must have a break of at least 12 hours between the end of one day and the beginning of the following day on when lessons take place.


Extra-curricular activities

Upper secondary schools can provide pupils with opportunities for extra-curricular activities for their leisure time, focusing primarily on active relaxation, development of their skills and interests, preparation for lessons, and participation in contests and shows. In out of school hours, pupils can also use guidance services, services of leisure time centres (střediska volného času), or school club (školní klub) for pupils at the lower secondary level, school libraries and other school facilities. The fees in public school facilities are regulated by the legislation.