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Czech-Republic:National Reforms in School Education

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Overview Czech Republic

Contents

Czech-Republic:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Czech-Republic:Historical Development

Czech-Republic:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Czech-Republic:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Czech-Republic:Political and Economic Situation

Czech-Republic:Organisation and Governance

Czech-Republic:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Czech-Republic:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Czech-Republic:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Czech-Republic:Organisation of Private Education

Czech-Republic:National Qualifications Framework

Czech-Republic:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Czech-Republic:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Czech-Republic:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Czech-Republic:Funding in Education

Czech-Republic:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Czech-Republic:Higher Education Funding

Czech-Republic:Adult Education and Training Funding

Czech-Republic:Early Childhood Education and Care

Czech-Republic:Organisation of Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Czech-Republic:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Czech-Republic:Assessment in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Czech-Republic:Organisation of Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Czech-Republic:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Czech-Republic:Assessment in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Czech-Republic:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Czech-Republic:Single Structure Education (Integrated Primary and Lower Secondary Education)

Czech-Republic:Organisation of Single Structure Education

Czech-Republic:Teaching and Learning in Single Structure Education

Czech-Republic:Assessment in Single Structure Education

Czech-Republic:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Single Structure Education

Czech-Republic:Upper Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Czech-Republic:Organisation of Upper Secondary Education

Czech-Republic:Teaching and Learning in Upper Secondary Education

Czech-Republic:Assessment in Upper Secondary Education

Czech-Republic:Organisation of Conservatoires (Arts Education)

Czech-Republic:Teaching and Learning in Conservatoires (Arts Education)

Czech-Republic:Assessment in Conservatoires (Arts Education)

Czech-Republic:Organisation of Follow-up and Shortened Study

Czech-Republic:Teaching and Learning in Follow-up and Shortened Study

Czech-Republic:Assessment in Follow-up and Shortened Study

Czech-Republic:Higher Education

Czech-Republic:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Czech-Republic:First Cycle Programmes

Czech-Republic:Bachelor

Czech-Republic:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Czech-Republic:Second Cycle Programmes

Czech-Republic:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Czech-Republic:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Czech-Republic:Adult Education and Training

Czech-Republic:Distribution of Responsibilities

Czech-Republic:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Czech-Republic:Main Providers

Czech-Republic:Main Types of Provision

Czech-Republic:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Czech-Republic:Teachers and Education Staff

Czech-Republic:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Czech-Republic:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Czech-Republic:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Czech-Republic:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Czech-Republic:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Czech-Republic:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Czech-Republic:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Czech-Republic:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Czech-Republic:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Czech-Republic:Management and Other Education Staff

Czech-Republic:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Czech-Republic:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Czech-Republic:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Czech-Republic:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Czech-Republic:Management Staff for Higher Education

Czech-Republic:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Czech-Republic:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Czech-Republic:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Czech-Republic:Quality Assurance

Czech-Republic:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Czech-Republic:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Czech-Republic:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Czech-Republic:Educational Support and Guidance

Czech-Republic:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Czech-Republic:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Czech-Republic:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Czech-Republic:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Czech-Republic:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Czech-Republic:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Czech-Republic:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Czech-Republic:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Czech-Republic:Mobility and Internationalisation

Czech-Republic:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Czech-Republic:Mobility in Higher Education

Czech-Republic:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Czech-Republic:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Czech-Republic:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Czech-Republic:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Czech-Republic:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Czech-Republic:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Czech-Republic:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Czech-Republic:National Reforms in School Education

Czech-Republic:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Czech-Republic:National Reforms in Higher Education

Czech-Republic:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Czech-Republic:European Perspective

Czech-Republic:Legislation

Czech-Republic:Institutions

Czech-Republic:Bibliography

Czech-Republic:Glossary


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Contents

2017

Czech School Inspectorate launches a project Comprehensive evaluation system

In February 2017, the Czech School Inspectorate (CSI) launched a project Comprehensive evaluation system, which is co-financed by the European Union through the Operational Programme Research, Development, and Education and the state budget of the Czech Republic. CZK 248.7 million (EUR 9.2 m; CZK/EUR 27.02 – 16 March 2017) was allocated to this project, which will be implemented over five years. It follows up the NIQES project, implemented in 2011–2015 (for more see the section Other evaluation activities in Chap. 11). The result of the project should be the further linking of the external and internal evaluation of schools (and selected school facilities) as at the level of the education system in the Czech Republic (international surveys, evaluation carried out by the CSI) and at the level of school evaluation (evaluation carried out by the CSI, self-evaluation of schools). For more information on the project, see the website of the Czech School Inspectorate (In Czech).


Amendment to the Education Act – changes in funding of regional education

In January 2017, the Chamber of Deputies approved an amendment to the Education Act to change the funding of regional education. The most important change as brought about by the amendment is removing of funding “per pupil” and introducing a system to guarantee funds allocated to pedagogical work or to the number of hours taught.

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MEYS) will allocate funds from the State budget for the education provided by nursery, primary and secondary schools, conservatoires and after-school centres in the amount of the State-defined maximum.

Currently, the schools and after-school centres established by municipalities and regions are allocated funds from the State budget through formula funding per pupil. The funding does not take into account regional specificities, resulting in remarkable differences within regions in financial support for education in the same types of schools.

The amendment brings a fundamental change in the financing of pedagogical work for the above mentioned schools and after-school centres, whereby the implementing regulations will set the maximum teaching hours in a class for a particular type of education (basic schools, secondary schools, conservatoires), or a maximum scope of direct pedagogical activities (nursery schools, after-school centres) covered by the State budget.

The fixed maximum of teaching hours, or direct pedagogical activities will reflect real conditions in providing education in the quality required and will be clearly and positively derived from the number of class or divisions (for nursery schools and after-school centres), and from the number of pupils (for basic schools and secondary schools), which should be taken into account when determining the volume of lessons.

The budget breakdown will now be carried out directly by the MEYS, not by regional authorities through the per capita amounts. When distributing funds, the different size and branch structure of schools in the regions, financial demands of supporting measures, and different salary levels of teachers in particular schools, will all be taken into account. So the amendment will make it possible to fairly evaluate the teachers and the schools will get money according to the actual extent of the education provided.

The funding changes should take effect as of 1 January, 2019. The current funding system based on the per capita amounts per pupil will remain valid for funding private and denominational schools.


Career Code for Teachers – draft amendment to the Act on Education Staff being discussed by the Chamber of Deputies

In 2017 a draft amendment to the Act on Education Staff as approved by the Government in November 2016 was referred further within legislation procedure and is currently under discussion in the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic.

The legislation procedure should be completed as early as by the end of the 2013–2017 election period.

During 2017 The Ministry of Education Youth and Sports (MEYS) should prepare a decree which will provide details of the teacher’s professional competences. The decree will serve both the teachers and their employers as well as the attestation procedure, a platform to assess the meeting of the statutory requirements of the teacher’s professional competences.


Calls of the Operational Programme Research, Development and Education to support the regional education

In the end of 2016 and first quarter of 2017, the following calls to support regional education within the Operation Programme Research, Developments and Education were announced:

 

The call Pre-gradual Education

In November 2016 a call Pregraduální vzdělávání to support the pre-graduate education was launched. It is designed to support reflective praxis of students – future teachers, and competence development of academic staff – academics, who educate future teachers. These academics will in turn improve preparation of future teachers (particularly for nursery and basic schools). The intended activities follow the approved Framework conception of the initial education of teachers for basic and secondary schools. It will be possible to work up the essential parts of the Frame, to enlarge the pedagogical, psychological and practical parts of preparation for future teachers. The call will make it possible to work out also the branch and didactic work and issues concerning the students’ assessment. The deadline for the physical implementing of the project is 31 December 2020. The deadline for receipt of application for subvention is 31 May 2017. CZK 400 million (EUR 14.8 million; CZK/EUR 27.02 – 28 March 2017) can be allocated within this call.


Implementation of the Strategy of Digital Education I

In November 2016, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports announced the call Implementation of the Strategy of Digital Education I focusing on projects that will prepare conceptual materials enabling modernisation of the curricular documents through the involvement of digital technology. The aim is to foster conditions for open education and contribute to the improvement of the education system, which should equip each individual without distinction with competencies enabling him/her to succeed in the information society and use the offer of the open education. Conceptual materials will thoroughly reflect the needs of the common education. The outputs of the projects will also be used for the implementation of the projects of a simplified funding of particular schools (ISCED 1–3) in the next rounds. The duration of the project planned by the applicant is from 24 to 36 months. The deadline for the physical implementation of the project is 31 December 2022. Deadline for receipt of applications for subvention is up to the exhaustion of allocation, no later than 1 March 2017. CZK 250 million (EUR 9.25 million; CZK/EUR 27.02 – 28 January 2017) can be allocated within this call.

 

Programme Inclusive education for Co-ordinated approach to socially excluded areas II

In October 2016, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports announced already the second call for municipalities involved in KPSVL (Co-ordinated approach to socially excluded areas). The call Inclusive education for KPSVL II focuses on promoting inclusive education specifically on the territory of socially excluded localities. Activities will support nursery, primary and secondary schools in the area of introducing and implementing of individual integration. The call stresses awareness-raising activities aimed at the public and supports the development of platforms and organising workshops for various stakeholders in education. Compulsory optional activities of the call are Pre-primary education and Prevention of the school failure (this activity is further divided into two thematic sections: Programs aimed at facilitating the transition of students between levels of education and Development of cooperation between family, educational staff and social and health services in education). The duration of the project planned by the applicant is from 24 to 36 months. The deadline for the physical implementation of the project is 31 December 2022. Deadline for receipt of applications for subvention is up to exhaustion of allocation, no later than 11 December 2017. CZK 450 million (EUR 16.65 million; CZK/EUR 27.02 – 28 January 2017) can be allocated within this call.


2016

Sample Survey on science, language and information literacy of students in the 3rd year of upper secondary schools

In November 2016, the Czech School Inspectorate carried out a sample survey of pupils' results in the third grade of upper secondary schools (in courses with the school-leaving examination) in science, language and information literacy. In this survey, about 700 secondary schools were sampled; in each school, only one of the above mentioned literacies was tested. The sample survey validates the current level of achievement of expected outcomes according to the relevant framework educational programmes. Providing a feedback to pupils and their teachers, it enables to efficiently and effectively develop the strengths and eliminate the weaknesses of actual performance. The sample survey is also part of a broader thematic inspection activities which are carried out during the school year 2016/2017. The results of the thematic inspection activities will help to map the current state of education in schools concerning the particular literacies and identify areas which deserve targeted support.

Career Code – draft amendment to the Act on Education Staff approved by the Government

In November 2016 the Government approved a draft amendment to the Act on Education Staff submitted by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, which introduces a new Career Code for teachers. The Career Code will support the lifelong professional development of teachers and will link it with the system of remuneration. For more information on the new career system, see part Career Code – draft amendment to the Act on Education Staff.

Modified criteria for external evaluation of education by the Czech School Inspectorate and the Plan of the Main Objectives of the Czech School Inspectorate for the School Year 2016/2017 approved

The Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports approved new Criteria for Evaluation of the Conditions, Course, and Results of Education (valid from the 2016/2017 school year) and the Plan of the Main Objectives of the Czech School Inspectorate for the 2016/2017 School Year. The criteria are used by the Czech School Inspectorate in the realisation of the external evaluation of schools. Through them, it is possible to assess the conditions, the course, and the results of education and school services at schools and also the educational programme. Further, it enables the achievement of the objectives of education set in the school educational programmes to be monitored. The aggregated data forms the basis for assessing the effectiveness of the education system and parts thereof. For more, see the website of the Czech School Inspectorate (in Czech). The Plan of the Main Objectives is divided into four parts:

  • the first part involves the ongoing tasks of the Czech School Inspectorate as defined by the relevant provisions of the Education Act;
  • the second part defines in more detail selected specific tasks of the Czech School Inspectorate for a given school year;
  • the third part defines other tasks stipulated by the Education Act (subsequent to inspection activities undertaken in the previous periods or reflecting the role of the Czech School Inspectorate in the education and training system);
  • the fourth part of the plan determines the main development challenges.

For more, see the website of the Czech School Inspectorate (in Czech).

Amendment to the Education Act approved (2016)

On 24 May 2016 an amendment to the Education Act was approved.

The amendment introduces:

  • compulsory year of pre-primary education before the commencement of compulsory school attendance, i.e. from the beginning of the school year following the child'sfifth birthday till the beginning of compulsory school attendance (with effect from 1 January 2017). For information on other changes concerning pre-primary education, see the section Amendment to the Education Act approved – compulsory preschool year;
  • a common admission examination in the Czech language and literature and mathematics for admission to study fields of secondary education with a school-leaving examination (maturitní zkouška) (with effect from 1 September 2016);
  • modification of the structure of the school-leaving examination;
  • introducing three obligatory written examinations (Czech language and literature, foreign language, mathematics) in the common part of the school-leaving examination (with effect from 1 November 2020);
    • introducing three obligatory written examinations in the profile part of the school-leaving examination in the fields of education for which the obligatory examination in Mathematics will not be set in the common part (with effect from 1 November 2020);
  • modification of the evaluation of the school-leaving examination, i.e. methods of evaluation of written examinations in the Czech language and literature, unified evaluation of written examinations in the Czech and foreign languages (with effect from 1 January 2017).

The amendment newly allows:

  • permission to be granted for individual tuition to pupils in the second stage of basic school (základní škola) – ISCED 2; the permission can be granted by the school head on the basis of a written application by the legal guardian of the pupil (with effect from 1 September 2016).

Amendment no. 178/2016 was published in the Collection of Laws – see Sbírka zákonů on the website of the Ministry of the Interior (in Czech).


Promoting civic education in schools – pupils’ parliaments

The experimental verification of the systematic support of civic education in schools, announced by the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports in February 2016, was launched in March 2016. The project is based on the assumption that the development of civic competences is one of the most important tasks of the educational process. The goal of the verification is to address ways and tools for the successful implementation of civic education.

Specific goals of the verification are:

  • to verify the system for the implementation of pupils’ parliaments in pilot schools and to create advisory centres to support other schools in the future;
  • to identify themes, activities, and tools of civic education for setting up the calls of the Operational Programme Research, Development, and Education and of other grants;
  • to verify how to support teachers who coordinate the pupils’ parliaments at schools and how to promote the extension of these activities towards parents and the local community;
  • to develop a system for the effective assessment of pupils’ parliaments.

The implementer and the main guarantor of the verification is the National Institute for Education; the professional and methodical guarantors are the Civic Education Centre and the Centre for Democracy in Education – School for Democracy.

Experimental verification will be completed on 31 August 2018. The amount of CZK 10.98 mil (0.41 m EUR; 27.025 Kč/EUR – 27 May 2016) was allocated for the project by the Ministry of Education.


Career Code – draft amendment to the Act on Education Staff

According to the government policy statement, the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports submitted to the comment procedure a draft amendment to the Act on Education Staff, which introduces a new Career Code for teachers. The Career Code will support the lifelong professional development of teachers and will link it with the system of remuneration. The draft was made available to the experts and the general public.

The draft amendment to the Act complements the existing career system for teaching staff by a new career path – the path of the development of professional competencies. So far teachers can only choose a career path to carry out specialised activities in school (e.g. school prevention specialist (školní metodik prevence) and school advisor (výchovný poradce) or head towards a leadership position).

An integral part of the new path is, according to the draft amendment, the adaptation period of a beginning teacher (induction phase). The draft provides for a two-year period during which the beginning teacher will benefit from increased support from their employer. The Act also explicitly specifies the role of a senior teacher – mentor (uvádějící učitel) providing induction of novice teachers, and counts on conditions being created for the induction. According to the draft, the extent of a senior teacherʼs direct educational activity should be reduced. Another source of support provided to the new teacher should be the higher education institutions preparing teachers.

The basis of the new career system for teachers will be theteacher standard, which has three degrees and is based on the professional competence of teachers. The standard is designed as a tool for achieving, maintaining, and improving the quality of teachersʼ work and also encompasses the extent of the teachers’ activities at school.


Draft amendment to the Education Act is being prepared (2016)

On 9 February 2016, the Chamber of Deputies approved a draft amendment to the Education Act. One of the goals of the amendment to the Education Act is the introduction of a compulsory year of pre-primary education before the commencement of compulsory school attendance from 1 September 2017, and related changes in force from 1 January 2017 (see the part on early childhood, section Draft amendment to the Education Act is being prepared (2016)). Another goal is a modification of the admission procedure to study fields of secondary education with a school-leaving examination (maturitní zkouška). Thus, one of the compulsory criteria for admission will be the results of the common admission examination in the Czech language and literature and mathematics. Furthermore, a modification of the form and evaluation of the school-leaving examination (a change in the way written examinations in the Czech language and literature are evaluated, in the sense of coordination with the evaluation of written examinations in a foreign language, introducing three obligatory written examinations in the common part of the school-leaving examination from the spring examination period 2021) and some other requisites for the procedure for the investigation of the results of the school-leaving examination are proposed.

The document is available on the website of the Chamber of Deputies (in Czech).


Programme Inclusive education for Co-ordinated approach to socially excluded areas

Under the Operational Programme Research, Development, and Education, the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports announced the call Inclusive education for Co-ordinated approach to socially excluded areas (KPSVL) for municipalities involved in KPSVL. It focuses on promoting inclusive education, specifically on the territory of socially excluded localities. Municipalities will be supported as they are coordinators dealing with inclusive education.

Municipalities will be able to target their other activities towards direct support for nursery schools, basic and secondary schools, and school facilities for developing personal interests in the area of the introduction and implementation of the integration of individuals. Another of the activities is the prevention of failure at school. The activities of the coordinator of inclusion or the methodology of teachers’ assistants (school assistants) are also supported.

The call stresses awareness-raising activities aimed at the public and supports the development of platforms and organising workshops for various stakeholders in education.

Only those municipalities or associations of municipalities that are involved in KPSVL can apply in response to this call. CZK 250 million (EUR 9.3 million, 27.025 CZK/EUR – 27 May 2016) can be allocated within this call.


Inclusive education – changes in the law, funding and curriculum under preparation

The inclusive education of children, pupils, and students within mainstream education is one of the priorities of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports. The priorities are based on the Strategy for Education Policy of the Czech Republic until 2020, accessible on the website of the Ministry of Education. An Amendment to the Education Act, approved in April 2015 (in force since 1 September 2016), guarantees the right of pupils to so-called supporting measures. Such measures will help them to overcome their disadvantage, if it concerns children or pupils from socially disadvantaged or culturally different backgrounds, disabled children and pupils, or those with a health disadvantage, as well as exceptionally gifted pupils. The new Decree no. 27/2016 Coll. summarises the supporting measures in five stages and provides further details on the education of pupils with special educational needs and gifted pupils. In 2016 the inclusive education will be financed as before:

  • through disability allowances (the responsibility of the regional authorities);
  • through the additional financing (i.e. beyond the normatives) of the needs of schools from the compulsory reserves of the regional authority (the responsibility of the regional authorities);
  • through the development programmes announced by the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports (three basic programmes: teachersʼ assistants for socially disadvantaged pupils, teachersʼ assistants for disabled pupils in private and denominational schools, and a development programme for the purchase of supplementary aids).

In addition, the claimable gradually assigned supporting measures will be financed from the reserve from 1st September 2016. In 2017, in addition to the disability allowance, the planned amendment to the Decree on regional norms will enable the regional authorities to set regional per capita amounts for supporting measures. The normative amount will be uniform throughout the country, set by the Decree on the education of pupils with special educational needs and gifted pupils. In 2018, the financing of inclusive education should already have been incorporated into the new financing system, which is subject to further amendments to the Education Act and is to be in force from 1st January 2018.

Support for inclusive education at all levels of schools and within extracurricular activities is also one of the priorities of the Operational Programme Research, Development, and Education; its calls are presented in separate sections below.

In February 2016, the Ministry of Education issued a measure changing the Framework Educational Programme for Basic Education (FEP BE) in accordance with the Education Act. The Annex of the FEP BE regulating the education of pupils with mild mental disabilities was abolished. The pupils in question will be educated according to an individual educational plan on the basis of the recommendation of a school guidance and counselling facility. Mainstream basic schools will harmonise their school educational programmes with the modified FEP BE by 1 September 2016. Schools or classes whose school educational programmes were issued in compliance with the annex for pupils with mild mental disabilities will harmonise their school educational programmes with the modified FEP BE by 1 September 2018. By the time the school educational programme is harmonised with the modified FEP BE, the school will have adapted the conditions for the education of pupils with mild mental disabilities to their special educational needs, following the original FEP BE. Pupils with mild mental disabilities in the second stage of basic schools (ISCED 2) are exempt; they will complete their education according to the existing school educational programmes.

More information on the inclusive education is available on the website of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports (in Czech).


The teacher career code (2015)

A draft of the proposal for a career system for teachers is now being finalised. It should enable the professional growth of teachers and the lifelong improvement of the quality of their work. The career system should be related to certifications (atestace) and brought together with a motivating reward system. The career system is designed to help increase the prestige of the teaching profession, to promote teaching as a profession among young people, and to give both new and experienced teachers the prospect of professional growth throughout their career. The career system will be based on the principle of the interdependence of professional development, the career system, and remuneration, and on the rights and obligations of teachers to develop their professional skills. For more see the section Career Code – draft amendment to the Act on Education Staff

The proposal for the career system is the subject of an amendment to the Act on Education Staff. It introduces three degrees which reflect different levels of the development of professional skills and conditions for progress through the career system. It sets down the form of the certification process for a teacher to advance to the upper career level and the form of the two-year adaptation period in the teacher’s practice; it specifies the activities and labour relations of a starting teacher. The new career system is to be based on a three-level teacher standard, grounded in the professional skills of a teacher. The draft of the Act also stipulates the prerequisites for a school head’s performance and the inclusion of new activities into the specialised activities of teachers.

The system was developed as a follow-up to the career system project (Kariérní systém), financed by the European Social Fund. The project was completed on 31 March 2015. See the website of the project (in Czech). As of the beginning of 2015, legislative work has also started that will put the launch of the career system into practice; besides this, a new follow-up project focusing on the implementation of the career ladder ("IMKA") is being prepared; it is envisaged that its costs will be covered by the new Operational Programme Research, Development, and Education. It aims to prepare, pilot, and implement the methods and tools necessary for the smooth transition to the new teacher career system, the development of teachers’ competence, and an improvement in the quality of education.


Fixed term employment contracts of teachers

Since January 2016, an amendment to the Act on Education Staff has been in force. It has introduced 12 months as the minimum length of a fixed-term employment contract for education staff. Thus, concluding contracts with education staff for only the period of the teaching year, which used to be the practice in some cases, should be eliminated.


Development and grant programmes 2016

Every year, the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports announces development programmes that reflect the specific needs of regional education. Within the financing of the programme, the Ministry of Education provides financial support to those measures that cannot be included into the national formula (e.g. because they do not concern all schools and school facilities) or it would not be efficient in the given case. The programmes are often focused on the area of inclusive education.

For the year 2016, four programmes are aimed at the integration of foreigners. The Assurance of the conditions of the basic education programme concerns the education of minors, i.e. those who were granted asylum or who are under subsidiary protection, seekers of international protection on the territory of the Czech Republic and children of foreigners in the facilities for the detention of foreigners. The programme is supplemented by the development programme Czech language teaching adapted to the needs of pupils – foreigners from the third countries (i.e. persons from outside the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), provided free of charge. Another programme – Assurance of free-of-charge preparation for inclusion into basic education – is intended for the children of persons who are nationals of another EU country. The development programmes in this area are enlarged by the grant programme Support for activities in the area of the integration of foreigners on the territory of the Czech Republic in 2016, which focuses on projects concerning more efficient Czech language teaching to foreigners and increasing the knowledge level of the Czech language as a basis of the process of integration by electronic learning programmes or textbooks (e-learning) for different age categories of children and pupils with regard to their level of knowledge of the Czech language.

Funds are also directed towards minorities. For the grant programme Supporting education in the languages of minorities and multicultural education, over CZK 15 million is earmarked for 2016. Two grant programmes were announced to foster the integration of the Roma minority with a total amount of more than CZK 19.9 million. The programme Supporting the integration of the Roma community 2016 mostly focuses on pre-primary education and early care. The aim of the programme Supporting socially disadvantaged secondary school Roma pupils and students of tertiary professional schools and conservatories is to safeguard the studies of those Roma pupils whose families face considerable difficulties concerning the costs associated with secondary school studies.

Another programme is the development programme Supporting the implementation of ethics in basic schools and in the lower grades of multi-year general upper-secondary schools.

A grant programme for non-governmental non-profit organisations supporting the school meals of basic school pupils whose families are caught in a financially unfavourable situation was announced. The goal of the programme is to improve the conditions of the proper course of the compulsory school attendance of pupils of basic schools.

The following programmes of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports are targeted at promoting inclusive education:

In 2016 the Ministry of Education announced the development programme Supporting an increase in the capacity of school guidance and counselling centres 2016. The purpose of the development programme is ensuring adequate professional support for the implementation of the new system for the identification of pupils with special educational needs and providing support measures for these pupils (Article 16 of the amendment to the Education Act). This concerns pupils in the facilities of all founders registered in the School Register. The amount earmarked exceeds CZK 58 million.

At the same time the annual development programme Equipping school guidance and counselling facilities with diagnostic tools was announced, with a total allocation of CZK 2 million.

For the period January to August 2016 the development programme Supporting school psychologists, school SEN specialists, and methodologists in school guidance and counselling facilities was also announced.

The development programme Compensatory teaching aids for students with disabilities 2016 was announced with the aim of allocating to the schools of all providers registered in the School Register non-investment grants specifically earmarked for the purchase of teaching aids of a compensatory and rehabilitation character to promote access to education for children and pupils with disabilities in pre-primary, basic, and secondary education. The programme has a total of CZK 10 million (EUR 370 thousand) at its disposal.

The development programme Supporting the funding of teachers’ assistants for disabled pupils and socially disadvantaged pupils has been announced for the period January to August 2016 and for the period September to December 2016. The second phase of the programme aims to provide financial support to teachers’ assistants for pupils with special educational needs to whom the school guidance facilities recommended a teacher’s assistant before 1 September 2016. This recommendation does not create a claim for a teacher’s assistant as a support measure under the new legislation (a new financing system).

As in previous years, the development programmeLogopaedic (speech therapy) prevention in pre-primary education was announced. For more information, see the section onDevelopment and grant programmes in the pre-primary education area 2016. Other programmes announced were the development programme Supporting vocational education (for more information, see the section on Development and grant programmes in the vocational education area 2016), the development programme Supporting the organisation and completion of secondary education by the school-leaving examination, and the development programmes for gifted students – Excellence of secondary school, Excellence of basic schools, and Support for the training of sports talents at schools with the field of education –Sports Training Secondary General School (Gymnázium se sportovní přípravou).


Literacy Programme

The goal of the call Literacy within the framework of the Operational Programme Research, Development, and Education is to support the functional literacy of pupils with special educational needs in upper-secondary schools (střední školy) in the fields without a school-leaving examination (maturitní zkouška) (e.g. secondary education (střední vzdělání, ISCED 353/253) and secondary education with an apprenticeship certificate (střední vzdělání s výučním listem, ISCED 353)),and also pupils of basic schools (základní školy) from socio-economically disadvantaged and culturally different backgrounds whose reading literacy, numeracy, and social literacy need more support. The call has a total of CZK 380 million at its disposal (EUR 14 m.; CZK/EUR 27.035 – 23 March 2016), focusing on these activities:

  • pilot projects with a research component (action research concerning the creation and testing of efficient teaching methods); the output will be methodological tools verified in practice – for the area of the support of the functional literacy of pupils with special educational needs in upper-secondary schools in the fields without a school-leaving examination;
  • support for peer learning of school and education staff in the form of networking – support for basic schools in the form of a regional centre for the support of socially disadvantaged pupils in these topics:
    • development of basic literacies;
    • development of social and civic skills, support for ethics education, personal development of pupils;
  • regional centres – extracurricular activities (after-school activities at schools and school facilities) for the support of basic literacies, with a stress on socially disadvantaged pupils;
  • research pilot projects with a stress on socially disadvantaged pupils – innovative topics.

Programme Development of key competences within the theory of teaching of cross-curricular and inter-subject relations

The goal of the projects in the call Development of key competences within the subject the theory of teaching  of cross-curricular and inter-subject relations (within the Operational Programme Research, Development, and Education) is to develop the skills of educators at faculties of education and teachers of schools providing the lower level of education (ISCED 0-3) through support for the “practice community ”. The practice community means regular and long-term cooperation based on the principles of action research with the aim of developing the skills of participants from both groups and to prepare more comprehensive education strategies for different subjects, including the cross-curricular themes. The call focuses, among others, on numeracy, reading, and information literacy, social and civic competencies, or the educational area People and nature. The call has a total of CZK 350 million at its disposal (CZK 13 m.; CZK/EUR 27.035 – 23 March 2016); the projects can be carried out across specific goals.


Programme Building up capacities for school development I

The goal of the call Building up capacities for school development I within the Operational Programme Research, Development, and Education is to enhance the peer learning of school and education staff in the area of reading (pre-) literacy, (pre-) numeracy, and natural science literacy, polytechnic education, the individualisation of education, the development of the creativity of children and pupils, support for entrepreneurial spirit, and development of the CLIL method (content and language integrated learning). Furthermore, the call will make possible individual support for the education staff in these topics, as well as training of the education staff to provide peer assistance. Within this call, it will also be possible to prepare methodological materials for pre-school education, to organise study visits of education staff abroad, and to support the cooperation of students who are future teachers with practising teachers. The call makes available CZK 700 million in total (CZK 26 m.; CZK/EUR 27.035 – 23 March 2016); it will focus mainly on these activities:

  • support for the peer learning of school and education staff in the form of networking;
  • the development of skills for peer support;
  • preparation and development of external mentors.

Programme Local action plans of development of education

The goal of the call Local action plans for the development of education within theOperational Programme Research, Development, and Education is to support joint planning or sharing activities in the local area that will contribute to the fulfilment of the Long-term Plan for Education and the Development of the Education System of the Czech Republic and long-term plans for education and the development of the education systems of different regions, to increase the quality of education in schools, stressing support for schools with poor results, to improve the cooperation between formal and non-formal education, and other services in the locality for the development of the potential of every pupil. The call has a total of CZK 630 million at its disposal (CZK 23 m.; CZK/EUR 27.035 – 23 March 2016). The local action plans are part of the so-called “KLIMA action”, which is a set of activities running across all the specific goals of the 3rd Priority axis of the Operational Programme Research, Development, and Education. Thanks to support for the cooperation of the organising bodies (municipalities/regions), schools, and other participants in education, meaning mutual informing, educating, and planning of partner activities when solving specific local problems and needs, the quality of the education in nursery and basic schools should improve.


Programme Inclusive education

Inclusive education and equal access is part of the so-called “KLIMA action”, which is a set of activities running across all the specific goals of the 3rd Priority axis of the Operational Programme Research, Development, and Education. The term KLIMA is an acronym covering the fundamental components of the quality of schools – Culture of learning, Leadership, Inclusion, Mentoring, and Activating learning forms. The goal of the call Inclusive education is to support equal access to quality education; it focuses mainly on the equalisation of opportunities of children and pupils from socio-economically disadvantaged and culturally different backgrounds. This call is based on the value of inclusive education that teaches different people to live together. If children and pupils from socio-economically disadvantaged and culturally different backgrounds meet other children/pupils from an early age, they perceive life together as a natural thing; they learn to understand each other. Later, such understanding spreads throughout the society, making it open to every individual; it eliminates barriers to disadvantaged people and manages to integrate them into working and cultural life, which also has a positive economic impact. The call has CZK 700 million at its disposal (CZK 26 m.; CZK/EUR 27.035 – 23 March 2016). The goal can be fulfilled in two basic areas, from which the applicant has to choose at least one:

  • pre-primary education that is oriented towards inclusive education, openness, and better cooperation with parents and the integration of children into pre-primary education, including preparation for it;
  • prevention of school failure that is oriented towards easier transitions between the levels of education; furthermore, it supports better cooperation between schools and families and between schools and social services.

School-leaving examination: 2015/16 and 2016/2017 school year, with a view to 2020/21

In the 2015/16 school year, there are no changes to the school-leaving examination (maturitní zkouška) scheme. However, according to the Education Act and related decree, the school head may newly decide that the profile examination in foreign language may be replaced by the results of a certified standardised examination (if the profile part consists of three examinations). See the list of standardised examinations on the website of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports (in Czech). For more details on the present form of the school-leaving examination, see the section Courses with the school-leaving examination in Chapter 6.

According to the governmentʼs draft amendment to the Education Act, approved by the Chamber of Deputies in March 2016, the system for the evaluation of the written essays of the Czech language and literature examination (at present evaluated at schools) and of the written essays of the foreign language examination (evaluated externally) should be unified from the 2016/17 school year. After approval of the amendment, both of the written essays should be evaluated by external evaluators. Other changes to both the common and the profile part of the school-leaving examination are expected from the 2020/21 school year. The common part should consist of the compulsory subjects Czech language and literature, a foreign language, and also mathematics (this applies to the majority of fields of study). In the fields where the compulsory examination in mathematics is not set, students should pass three compulsory examinations in the profile part. See also the section Draft amendment to the Education Act is being prepared (2016).


Testing of standardised admission tests to courses completed with the school-leaving examination (2016)

In 2016, the project "Testing of the organisation of the admission procedure to the fields of education completed with the school-leaving examination using a compulsory entrance examination in the school year 2015/2016" will follow the pilot testing of the standardised entrance examination to secondary education completed with the school-leaving examination, carried out in spring 2015. An admission procedure in the form of standardised tests in mathematics and its applications and Czech language and literature at schools participating in the project will be held on 15 April 2016 (for four-year study fields) and 18 April 2016 (for six- and eight-year study fields). The aim of the project is to check the organisation of the standardised tests and to check the content of the tests that are assigned, to learn about the influence of the standardised tests on enrolment procedures, and to obtain data for the future amendments of regulations governing the system of enrolment procedures. The project is organised and evaluated by the national education assurance agency CERMAT and financed from the state budget. For more, see the website of the Centre for the Evaluation of Educational Achievements (in Czech).


2015

Further salary increase of education and non-education staff

In October 2015, the amendment to the Government regulation on the pay structure of employees in public services and administration was approved, thanks to which the tariff salaries of education staff grew by 3.3% on average and the tariff salaries of non-teaching professionals by 3%. The pay scale was also changed, with a sixth pay grade being introduced for teachers with a length of creditable experience of over 32 years. The amendment is followed by the Development Programme of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports "Increasing the pay of employees in regional education in 2015". The programme will provide resources in the form of subsidies to regions, in order to take into account the impact of the amendment on the budgets of schools and school facilities that were established by the region, municipality, or group of municipalities. For the year 2015, the sum of CZK 397.7 million (14.7 m EUR; 27.025 CZK/EUR – 30 December 2015) was allocated for this development programme. For more information, see the website of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports (in Czech). Earlier in 2015, a similar amendment to the Government regulation on the pay structure of employees in public services and administration from 2014 was followed by another development programme increasing the salaries of workers in education – see the section Development Programmes for 2015.


Approval of the modified criteria for the external evaluation of education

The Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports approved modified Criteria for the Evaluation of the Conditions, Course, and Results of Education (valid from the 2015/16 school year). The criteria are used by the Czech School Inspectorate in the implementation of the external evaluation of schools. Through them it is possible to assess the conditions, the course, and the results of education and school services at schools and also the educational programme. Further, it enables the achievement of the objectives of education set in the school educational programmes to be monitored. For more, see the website of the Czech School Inspectorate.


New decree on some educational certificates

In 2015, a new decree 3/2015 Coll. on some educational certificates came into force. The decree contains examples of new forms of school reports, apprenticeship certificates, graduate diplomas, etc. At present schools may already use them; the previous forms can be used too until 1 October 2017. Newly, the data on the European Qualification Framework (EQF) will be mentioned in the documents. The EQF is a scale according to which all qualifications can be classified. It starts with level 1, which in the context of the Czech Republic means the basics of education (acquired in základní škola speciální – special basic schools for pupils with moderate and severe mental disabilities) and ends with level 8, which corresponds to higher education on the level of a doctoral degree programme. For more information, see the website of the National Institute for Education (in Czech).


Bilingual General Secondary Schools – new field, new framework educational programme

On the basis of the Government regulation on the system of fields (211/2010), a new educational field, “Bilingual General Secondary School” (dvojjazyčné gymnázium), has been introduced. Pupils will enter the first year of education from 1 September 2016. This new field will replace the previous “General Secondary School – selected subjects in a foreign language”. Teaching will be carried out according to the school educational programmes based on the Framework Educational Programme for Bilingual General Secondary Schools that was piloted during the last six years (for information on the pilot phase see the section on Bilingual secondary general schools: Testing of teaching according to the pilot framework educational programme; for information on the curriculum see the section Language education in Chapter 6 on upper secondary education). See also the website of the National Institute for Education (in Czech).


Support for childcare services at primary education level during out-of-school hours for regions

The call "Support for childcare services at primary education level during out-of-school hours for regions excluding Prague" follows the results of the Lisbon summit, as well as the specific recommendations of the European Commission for the Czech Republic from 2013. This call was announced within the Operational Programme “Employment” by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in August 2015. The aim of the call is to reduce gender differences in the area of the labour market and to expand the employment and involvement in work of parents, especially mothers. On the basis of the call, the establishment of facilities that enable working life and care for children in the first stage of basic school to be combined has been supported. The supported activities are the following: 

  • the foundation of facilities to enhance the capacity of the existing institutions (after-school centres and school clubs) and that fit the needs of parents in terms of their opening hours
  • school transport services (school buses), especially in regions with a complicated traffic situation
  • accompanying children to leisure-time activities

suburban camps during school holidays

The projects can be planned for a maximum of two years and they have to be completed by 30 September 2018. The estimated amount of the financial resources available from EU funds, the national budget, and possibly directly the state funds budget is CZK 167.2 million (6.1 m EUR; 27.21 CZK/EUR – 29 September 2015). The call, as well as other documents, is available at www.esfcr.cz.


Action Plan for Inclusive Education 2016–2018

The Action Plan for Inclusive Education 2016-2018 puts forward policy measures of the Education Policy Strategy of the Czech Republic for 2020 for the area of inclusive education and is also the basis for targeting the challenges of the Operational Programme Research, Development, and Education. It includes measures to promote equal opportunities and equal access to quality education, including the prevention of early school leaving. The document also reflects the legislative changes proposed in the amendment to the Education Act (see the section on Amendment to the Education Act approved (2015)). For the years 2016-2018 the introduction of support measures for children, pupils, and students with special educational needs comes into effect, accompanied by the introduction of accurate records and statistics on pupils educated in an inclusive environment, by the clarification and unification of diagnostics so that pupils with any handicaps or disabilities are offered adequate support within the education system, and also by the introduction of a new inspection system in the diagnosis counselling facilities. See the website of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports (in Czech).


State Service Act comes into force

As of 6 November 2014 Law no. 234/2014 Coll. on the civil service came into force, regulating the organisation of the civil service, the legal status of government employees performing state administration activities in administrative offices and their working relationships, remuneration, and management in service matters. It is also intended to depoliticise the public administration and promote its professionalisation. With the Act coming into force,the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports and the Czech School Inspectorate became service authorities and started to operate under the provisions of the Act.


Development programme to support school psychologists and SEN specialists

A new “Development programme to support school psychologists, school SEN specialists, and methodologists in school guidance and counselling facilities” was announced by the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports for the year 2015. It is a follow-up to the project RAMPS (Development of methodological support for counselling services) that was carried out in the years 2012 to 2014. The sum of CZK 90 million (3.3 m EUR; 27.21 CZK/EUR – 29 September 2015) was allocated from the state budget to this new programme. The subsidy can be granted to schools and school facilities that meet certain conditions. More detailed information can be found on the website of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports (in Czech).


New Operational Programme Research, Development, and Education (2014–2020)

In 2015 the Operational Programme Research, Development, and Education was launched after being approved by the European Commission in May 2015. Till 2020 it is possible to use resources from EU structural funds within this programme. Individual projects are co-financed from the state budget. The main aim of the Operational Programme – human resources development – has been defined by its administrator, the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports, in such a way that the economy of the Czech Republic would be built on an educated workforce. In line with this, there should be changes leading to the improvement of the education system and empowering its equality and inclusiveness. The programme has four main axes:

  • strengthening the capacity for quality research
  • the development of higher education institutions and human resources for research and development
  • equal access to quality pre-school and primary and secondary education
  • technical support;

These priority axes are broken down into individual specific goals. The expenditures for their fulfilment from EU funds should be EUR 2.8 billion (CZK 76 billion; CZK/EUR 27.030 – 17 December 2015) for the whole period of the programme. For more details on the programme, see the website of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports (in Czech). The European Commission publishes several recommendations for the monitoring and evaluation of operational programmes.


Sample survey on pupils' results in the ninth grade of basic schools and pupils in the third years of upper secondary vocational schools

In May 2015, the Czech School Inspectorate carried out a sample survey of pupils' results in the ninth grade of basic schools (základní školy) and the corresponding years of general secondary schools (gymnázia) (ISCED 2) and pupils in the second year of upper-secondary vocational schools (ISCED 3). The testing focused on verifying the results in social studies (ninth grade of basic schools and the corresponding years of general secondary schools) and natural sciences (ninth grade of basic schools and the corresponding years of general schools and pupils in the second year of upper-secondary vocational schools). 1937 basic schools (základní školy) and general secondary schools (víceletá gymnázia), as well as 374 vocational upper-secondary schools (střední odborné školy), participated in the survey. The testing was based on the expected outcomes of the Framework Educational Programme for Basic Education. On the basis of the results, only 21% of the pupils of basic schools met these expected outcomes in the defined areas; the pupils’ results in social studies were better than in natural sciences. In the case of upper-secondary vocational schools (střední odborné školy), roughly 25% of the pupils were successful in the test and they were slightly more successful in natural sciences than the pupils of basic schools. See also the website of the Czech School Inspectorate (in Czech).


School leaving examination – in 2014/15 the model of the common part remains the same as in the previous year

In 2014/15 the form of the school-leaving examination (maturitní zkouška) was not changed. As in the previous year, it consists of two parts, the common (state) part and profile (school) part. The common part covers two compulsory exams – Czech language and literature and another subject chosen by the pupil: mathematics or a foreign language (English, French, German, Spanish, or Russian). The school head decides on the content of the profile part. The pupils can also choose to sit two non-compulsory examinations. For 2014/15 Mathematics+ is offered to those interested in studying mathematics, economics, technology, or natural sciences at higher education institutions. See also the section on certification in Courses with the school-leaving examination or the website www.novamaturita.cz (in Czech).

The new, two-level form of the school-leaving examination consisting of the common (state) part and the profile (school) part was introduced by the Education Act in 2011. Originally, the common part should have consisted of three exams – Czech language and literature and a foreign language and one subject chosen from mathematics, civics and the essentials of social sciences, and informatics. This model has been postponed by amendments to the Act; thus from the beginning the common part has consisted of two compulsory parts and three non-compulsory exams at a maximum. In the first two years pupils were able to choose between two levels of difficulty. In the years 2013, 2014, and 2015 all the exams had only one level of difficulty, and the offer of non-compulsory subjects was reduced to mathematics and five foreign languages.

The new Strategy for the Education Policy of the Czech Republic until 2020 is planning to introduce mathematics as a compulsory exam in the common (state) part of the exam, following the introduction of a curriculum and a methodological change in the teaching of mathematics in primary and secondary education, by 2020. The common part of the school-leaving examination is being prepared and processed by the Centre for the Evaluation of Educational Achievements (Centrum pro zjišťování výsledků vzdělávání – CERMAT), a contributory organisation established for this purpose by the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports.


New final examination

Since 2015, the approved amendment to the Education Act has introduced the obligation for schools to use unified, centrally prepared assignments for the final examinations in the secondary education fields completed with an apprenticeship certificate (see also the section on Amendment to the Education Act approved (2015)). The National Institute for Education, with the financial support of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports and ESF funds, prepared the implementation of the amendment. See also the website of the National Institute for Education (in Czech).

It is not a change that the schools should perceive as an implementation of a revolutionary innovation into the current environment but merely an adjustment of the existing practice. In the Czech Republic in the last decade (2005-2015) the reform of the final examination in fields completed with the apprenticeship certificate was organised in order to permanently assure the quality of the education of pupils in apprenticeship courses and the prestige of vocational education and training. The new final examination was successfully implemented into the system of vocational education and training. The reform was financially supported by the European Social Fund and the state budget of the Czech Republic through the national projects Quality (2005-2008), New Final Examination (2009-2012), and New Final Examination 2 (2012-2015). A year before the unified assignments became compulsory, 90% of schools were already organising their final examinations according to the unified assignment. See also the section on Project New final examination.

The concept of the final examination is characterised by the following points:

  • it is based on a unified assignment of the final examination for every field of upper-secondary education with the apprenticeship certificate (in both categories of the fields – H and E; see their characteristics in the section on Teaching and learning in vocational education). The aim is to reinforce the comparability of the final examination in a particular field and clearly set out which competences relate to qualification requirements for performance of the relevant profession and can be verified at the final examination;
  • vocational school teachers prepare topics for the unified assignment, putting the stress on the application of technical theory in practical tasks and questions. The aim is to take into consideration the actual educational needs of pupils of vocational fields in the final examination;
  • specialists from practice participate in the preparation of the topics of the unified assignment, a qualification standard of qualification to which the training in the field leads. The aim is to link the content of the final examination with current needs which follow from the development of the professional and qualification requirements of the relevant technical qualification;
  • so far non-traditional elements have been integrated into the final examination – a general overview of the world of work and the possibility of using the results of independent technical work. The aim is to support graduates in terms of their employability, financial literacy, orientation on the labour market, and key competences;
  • in relation to the use of framework and school educational programmes, the schools are given the opportunity to supplement (according to the defined rules) the unified assignment with their specific features stated in their school educational programmes. The aim is to keep an adequate level of school autonomy during the preparation of the content of the final examination and to use above-standard possibilities and conditions that individual schools may be able to offer.

Long-term Plan for Education and the Development of the Education System of the Czech Republic (2015-2020)

In April 2015, the Long-term Plan for Education and the Development of the Education System of the Czech Republic (2015-2020) was approved. It is one of the implementation documents of the Education Policy Strategy for 2020. It is a principal operational tool for the education system and a basis for the communication between the central authority and the autonomous regions. It asserts the strategic aims and criteria of the national education policy (based on the 2020 Strategy), shapes the form of regional Long-term Plans, and brings together the approaches of the state and regions, especially in setting up the systemic parameters. The targets and priority areas of the Long-term Plan are as follows:

  • making the system of students, schools, and the education system more effective – a shift towards formative assessment providing feedback to schools on their work;
  • equal opportunities in education, guidance, and the education of children with special needs;
  • creating better conditions for teachers and teaching staff – career ladder, salaries, development of school leadership. 

These aims are to be achieved through allocated state budget funds, with some of the activities being co-financed by the ESF.

For the document, see the website of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports (in Czech).


Amendment to the Education Act approved (2015)

In April 2015, the President signed an amendment to the Education Act. Part of the amendment already took effect in May; another part will enter into force on 1 September 2015 and certain provisions only on 1 September 2016. The amendment:

  • specifies the rules for the education of children, pupils, and students with special educational needs (from September 2016);
  • newly allows all children, not only those who are socially disadvantaged, to attend pre-school preparatory classes (from September 2015);
  • implements unified assignments of the final examination at upper-secondary schools for educational fields completed with an apprenticeship certificate (from May 2015);
  • imposes a ban on selling junk food in schools (from September 2015);
  • also newly, the heads of public schools are to be employed on a permanent contract basis (from May 2015).

The most significant modification in the amendment is the one that newly defines the form of the support provided to pupils with special educational needs and how to diagnose them and provide adequate support. A new categorisation of SEN pupils is being introduced, which is directly linked to the extent of educational support  the pupil needs and not to the definition of disability. It also postulates some auxiliary measures, such as modifications to the construction of buildings where needed.

For the current wording of the Act and methodical material, see the website of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports (in Czech).


Pilot testing of standardised entrance examination to secondary education completed with the school-leaving examination (2015)

A standardised entrance examination to secondary schools providing education completed with the school-leaving examination (maturitní zkouška) was to be tested for the first time in the 2014/2015 school year as a reaction to the differing levels of competences and knowledge of pupils leaving compulsory education. Around 630 schools participated. Examinations were held on 15 April 2015 for four-year study fields and 16 April 2015 for six- and eight-year study fields. Standardised tests of Mathematics and its applications and Czech language and literature were used. The results were forwarded to schools; they were allowed to hand them over to the pupils who applied. They were able to find out not only the number of points achieved, but also how they performed on a percentile scale compared to all the applicants in the same study programme throughout the whole Czech Republic. The project was organised by the national education assurance agency CERMAT and financed from the state budget. For more, see the website of the Centre for the Evaluation of Educational Achievements (in Czech).


Amendment to the Act on Education Staff

As of January 2015 an amendment (No. 197/2014) to the Education Act has been in force. Exceptions regarding the education of some education staff have been introduced. In fact, about 10% of teachers did not fulfil the qualification requirements according to the previous version of the Act and they should have had to leave their schools by 1 January 2015; this could have complicated the ability to guarantee that instruction could be provided, especially in some particular regions.

The amendment affects performers, artists, coaches, and respected professionals in their fields, native speakers (or those managing the language at the level of native speakers) for subjects in a foreign language and conversation, and also education staff reaching the age of 55 on 1 January and who have at least 20 years of relevant teaching experience. Furthermore, if the education cannot be provided by qualified education staff, for a certain necessary time and to the extent needed, teaching can be delivered by education staff who do not fulfil the qualifications under the exceptions mentioned above. See the website of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports (in Czech).


Equal access to education

Promoting equal access to education is one of the building blocks of the new Strategy for Education Policy until 2020. The Strategy aims to ensure that no social group faces a disadvantage in terms of its access to school education and that educational opportunities and outcomes are influenced to the least possible degree by factors such as gender, socio-economic status, region, nationality, cultural background (immigrants), etc. that one cannot influence. For more on the strategy, see the Introduction to the chapter on reforms.

As one of the implementation documents, the Action Plan for Inclusive Education 2016-2018 has been prepared and will be followed by a similar document for the period 2019-2020. The plan includes concrete measures to achieve one of the main objectives of educational policy, which is to reduce inequalities in education, especially activities to promote inclusive education and solutions to the problem of early school leavings among vulnerable groups. See also the website of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports.

In 2015, an amendment to the Education Act was approved, which legally anchored the principle of individual support for each pupil with a need for support measures provided by schools and educational institutions. From September 2016, the amendment guarantees the right of children to demand support measures, which are intended to help to overcome their handicaps. At the same time, the Annex to the Framework Education Programme for Primary Education (FEP BE) for the education of pupils with mild mental disabilities was abolished (see the section on Inclusive education). Children in all mainstream primary schools should be taught according to the revised FEP BE. An individual education plan should only be provided on the basis of a recommendation from the counselling authority. The amendment also makes available preparatory classes of basic schools for all children, not just children from socially disadvantaged backgrounds, from the 2015/16 academic year. See also the section on Amendment to the Education Act approved (2015).

In 2015, a call is planned within the new Operational Programme Research, Development, and Education to support a systemic project for the creation of social inclusion strategies aimed at developing education in communities in socially excluded localities, as well as support for specific measures to promote inclusive education in communities that are already prepared to implement their strategies. At least 25 towns and villages will thus be supported in 2015. Emphasis will be placed on the development of school counselling centres, i.e. in particular to ensure the activities of specialists in schools – teaching assistants, school psychologists, special teachers, etc. Special attention will be paid to desegregation in the education of children with special educational needs, especially children from socially disadvantaged backgrounds (e.g. some Roma children) and increasing the readiness of nursery and basic schools in mainstream education for their education.

In December 2014 the Action Plan of Measures for the Education of Roma Children, Pupils, and Students 2015-2017 was approved – see the section on Current measures focused on social inclusion (2015).

As a follow-up to the Action Plan for the Implementation of the Judgment of the European Court for Human Rights in the case of D. H. and Others v. the Czech Republic (for the Action Plan see the section on Current measures focused on social inclusion (2014)), the Czech School Inspectorate issued two thematic reports: Pupils educated according to the Framework Educational Programme for Basic Education with Annex Regulating Education for Pupils with Mental Disability and Care provided by school guidance facilities for pupils with mild mental disabilities in the 2014/15 school year. Electronic testing preceded the issuing of the report. For the report, see the website of the Czech School Inspectorate (in Czech).


Current measures focused on social inclusion (2015)

In February 2015 the government approved the Roma Integration Strategy for 2020 It envisages an increased number of teaching assistants and increased financial support for Roma pupils in secondary education and Roma students at university . See the website of the Government (in Czech).

Similarly as in recent years, the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports announced a grant for supporting the integration of the Roma community for the year 2015. It concentrates on:

  • support for early care for children from socially and culturally disadvantaged environments; their preparation in nursery schools (mateřské školy) is one of the highest priorities in the area of the integration of the Roma community;
  • support for pupils' success at basic school (základní škola) and upper-secondary school (střední škola);
  • education and methodological support for education staff, the staff of the careers and guidance services, and higher education students with teaching specialisations;
  • leisure-time and special interest activities for Roma children and young people connected to their social exclusion and cultural difference. For more details see the website of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports (in Czech).

Development programmes for 2015

The Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports announces development programmes every year; they reflect the particular needs of regional education. Within the financing of the programme, the Ministry provides financial support for measures that cannot be included in the national per capita amounts (e.g. they do not concern all schools and school facilities) or would not be efficient in the given case. Often, the programmes are focused on the area of inclusive education.

For the year 2015, CZK 2,897 million (EUR 105.3 m; CZK/EUR 27.523 – 27 March 2015) was allocated for the development programmes. The biggest amount, CZK 2,263 million, (EUR 82.2 m) is assigned to the programme Salary Increases of Education Staff in Regional Education. The new Development Programme Supporting School Psychologists and SEN Specialists at Schools and Methodologists – specialists in school counselling facilities, which follows the RAMPS project (Development and Methodological Support for Counselling Services RAMPS ─ VIP III), was prepared, as was the programme Year 2015 – Year of Industry and STEM Education (see also the section on the Year of Industry and STEM Education). For the list of programmes announced for 2015, see the website of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports (in Czech).


Nursery and basic school capacity development fund

In July 2014 the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports announced the first call for the submission of grants under the programme Development of the Teaching Capacities of Nursery and Basic Schools Established by Territorial Self-governing Units. The programme should be launched in 2015. For more details see the section on early childhood education and care.


Salary increases for education and non-education staff

From 1 November 2014 the salary tariffs of employees in services and administration, including the education and non-education staff at schools, were increased by 3.5% on average. In this way the government is fulfilling one of the goals of its Policy Statement. In 2015 the salary increase in education will be funded from the development programme to the tune of CZK 2,263 million (EUR 82.2 m; CZK/EUR 27.523 – 27 March 2015). See Development Programmes for 2015. See also the website of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports (in Czech).


Current state of the curricular reform (2015)

In 2015 the curricular reform, legally supported by the 2004 Education Act, continues to progress. Originally based on the strategic document the National Programme for the Development of Education in the Czech Republic – the White Paper (2001), it has been taken into account as an important issue in the new Strategy for Education Policy until 2020. Also affected by the outcomes of European cooperation in education and examples of good practice from other EU member states, the main emphasis in education is being put on mastering the so-called key competencies and at the same time efforts to strengthen the educational autonomy of schools continue to proceed. The new system of curricular documents is gradually being introduced into practice. They are prepared at two levels – the state level (Framework Educational Programmes) approved by the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports) and the school one (school educational programmes). In the 2014/2015 school year, education according to the school educational programmes was used in almost all fields of studies at all educational levels (in nursery schools (mateřské školy), basic schools (základní školy), and upper-secondary schools (střední školy), as well as in basic art schools (základní umělecké školy) and conservatoires (konzervatoře). The testing of teaching according to the pilot Framework Educational Programme for Bilingual Secondary General Schools (dvojjazyčné gymnázium) is being carried out (for more, see the section on Bilingual secondary general schools: Testing of teaching according to the pilot framework educational programme). In September 2014, starting with the first year, teaching according to the school educational programmes began in several branches of a follow-up study (nástavbové studium), and in 2015 instruction according to the school educational programme will also commence in a six-year field of study – Contemporary Dance – at conservatoires. In 2012 and 2013, the Framework Educational Programme for Basic Education was supplemented by Standards of Basic Education and in 2013 the compulsory teaching of a second foreign language was introduced.

The preparation of the documents is ensured by the National Institute for Education. The implementation of curricular reform on the school level is in the sphere of interest of the Czech School Inspectorate, which refers to it in its thematic reports. Within the project of the National System of Inspection Assessment of the Education System in the Czech Republic (NIQES), which was under way from 2011 to October 2015, apart from other issues, the modernisation of the system for the evaluation of school education programmes was prepared. For more information on the project, see the website www.niqes.cz (in Czech) and the section on Other evaluation activities in the chapter on Quality Assurance.


Bilingual secondary general schools: Testing of teaching according to the pilot framework educational programme

From 2009 to August 2015, teaching according to school educational programmes based on a pilot version of the Framework Educational Programme for Bilingual Secondary General Schools (dvojjazyčné gymnázium), created in 2007, was tested in six-year secondary general schools with the teaching of selected subjects in foreign languages (CLIL type). The Framework Educational Programme will be binding for the new educational field "Bilingual Secondary General Schools" from the 2016/17 school year (for more see the section on Bilingual General Secondary Schools – new field, new framework educational programme). For more information on the curriculum see the section Language education in Chapter 6 on upper secondary education. See also the website of the National Institute for Education (in Czech).


2014

Modification of rules for admission to special schools

Decree 72/2005 (on providing guidance in schools and school guidance facilities) and 73/2005 (on the education of children, pupils, and students with SEN and those who are exceptionally gifted) were both amended by the joint amendment 103/2014. Socially disadvantaged pupils cannot be admitted to schools or classes for pupils with disabilities. Pupils with a health disadvantage can be placed in such schools/classes in the case of basic schools. However, they cannot be admitted to schools/classes for pupils with mild mental disabilities. See the website of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports (in Czech).


Draft amendment to the Education Act (2014)

At the end of August 2014 the government approved a draft amendment to the Education Act. In February and March 2015 the draft amendment was approved by both chambers of the Parliament. In April 2015 the amendment was signed by the President. For details see Amendment to the Education Act approved (2015).


Digital Education Strategy for 2020

Adopted by the Government in October 2014, the new Digital Education Strategy for 2020 is part of the Touch Your Future strategic objective of the Government's Digital Czech Republic initiative, which was created on the basis of a government document, Digital Czech Republic. It has three priorities: to implement new methods of learning making use of digital technologies in the education process; to improve the students' information processing and digital skills, and to develop their computational thinking. It aims to incorporate and implement e-technologies throughout the whole education system, at all stages and in all teaching subjects. This should facilitate a shift from memorising facts (a phenomenon still present in some subjects) to enhanced reading literacy, communication skills, and logical thinking. Therefore the interventions aim to enhance the pupils' development of e-competencies and ICT skills, support teachers and school leaders in being able to facilitate the process, and foster connections between formal and informal/non-formal education and learning. See the website of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports (in Czech).


Development programmes for 2014

Every year the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports announces development programmes that reflect the particular needs of regional education. In 2014 about CZK 540 million (EUR 19.6 m; CZK/EUR 27.523 – 27 March 2015) was allocated to the development programmes, and CZK 220 million (EUR 8 m) was used to finance a new development programme supporting vocational education. The list of programmes announced for the year 2014 can be found on the website of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports (in Czech).


Concept to Support the Development of Talent and Care for the Gifted for 20142020

In September 2014 the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports approved the Concept to Support the Development of Talent and Care for the Gifted for 2014-2020. The key step would be to build up the national system of support for talent and care for the gifted from the pre-school age throughout their whole education. This system should be based on the gradually emerging National Talent Support Network. The network should comprise central sectoral and inter-sectoral working groups, regional working groups of care for the gifted (as the main actors closely linked with the existing regional workplaces of the National Institute for Further Education), and coordinators for the support of talent in particular schools. Other bodies, above all non-profit organisations and higher education institutions, will also be included in the network. Special skills for work with the gifted should be developed through the initial and continuing education of education staff. Most of the proposed measures should be financed from the state budget, and part from the European Social Fund or other resources. For more details, see the website of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports (in Czech).


School Ombudsman

As the governing mechanism of the Czech education system has not included any mediator covering problems and complaints generated by the system, it was decided in 2014 to create the official post of a Schools Ombudsman. Effective from 15 September 2014, the former education minister Eduard Zeman was appointed to the post. Focusing primarily on interpersonal relationships and the school environment, the Ombudsman is officially employed (part-time) by the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports, together with his legal assistant. Strictly speaking, he wields no powers and reports directly to (and is held responsible by) the Minister. See also the website of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports (in Czech).


Project New final examination

The New Final Examination project (Nová závěrečná zkouška) was finalised in June 2014. The project has gradually been developing since 2005 within the systemic projects of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports – Quality I (2005-2008), New Final Examination (2009-2012), and New Final Examination II (2012-2014), which are funded from the ESF and from the budget of the Czech Republic. The National Institute of Technical and Vocational Education (Národní ústav odborného vzdělávání), nowadays the National Institute of Education (Národní ústav pro vzdělávání), was the coordinator of the project. The objective of the project was the preparation of the unified assignment of the final examination at the central level for all particular fields of study in schools. Upper-secondary school teachers, together with experts in service, cooperated on the development of the united assignment of the New Final Examination (NFE) for particular fields of study leading to an apprenticeship certificate. The unification of the requirements concerning the content of the final examination took place and thus the comparability of the results of education in the fields with an apprenticeship certificate increased, which has a substantial impact on the quality of pupils' preparation and their employment opportunities. The unified assignments were used by more and more schools and pupils annually during the running of the project. In 2013/14 88% of upper-secondary schools with study fields completed with an apprenticeship certificate participated in the project. For more details see www.nuv.cz/nzz2 (in Czech).

An Amendment to the Education Act introduced an obligation for upper-secondary schools providing education in fields completed with an apprenticeship certificate to use unified assignments of the final examination. See the section on Amendment to the Education Act approved (2015).


Sample survey on pupils' results in the 4th and 8th grade of basic schools and pupils in the second year of upper-secondary vocational schools

In May and June 2014, the Czech School Inspectorate carried out a sample survey on pupils’ results in the 4th and 8th grades of basic schools and pupils in the second year of upper-secondary vocational schools. The testing involved approximately 384 schools and was focused on verifying the results in languages – foreign language (8th grade of basic schools and second year of upper-secondary vocational schools) and scientific literacy (8th grade of basic schools) and the educational area called People and their world (4th grade of basic schools). An additional questionnaire supplemented the three areas that were tested. The basic school pupils achieved good results in the areas People and their world, scientific literacy, and foreign language (a considerable number of them would already have fulfilled the requirements of the framework education programme for pupils in the 5th and 9th grades). After two more additional years of study, the pupils of the second year of the upper-secondary vocational schools achieved results in English which were only slightly higher than those of the pupils in the 8th grade of basic schools (almost half of them did not reach the basic school standard); in German the results of the second-graders were actually worse than those of the basic school pupils. For the results see the website of the Czech School Inspectorate (in Czech). The tests were made available to other schools after the finalising of the testing.


Current measures focused on social inclusion (2014)

In July 2014, the Government approved an Action Plan for the Implementation of the Judgment of the European Court for Human Rights in the case of D. H. and Others v. the Czech Republic (known as the Judgment in the Case of D. H. ("Equal Opportunities" plan). This action plan replaced the National Inclusive Education Action Plan (NAPIV) and it seeks to implement measures that efficiently prevent any potential discrimination and allow for stricter methodological guidance related to all stages of the counselling, decision-making, and executive processes, including a pupil’s placement into the education system. The measures contained in this Action Plan are generally linked to the effort to ensure equal access to education for all children. The action plan was prepared by the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports in cooperation with other government agencies. In 2012, the measures were introduced to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which supervises the execution of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. See the website of the Council of Europe.

In 2014, following the action plan for the implementation of the European Court of Human Rights judgment in the case of DH against the Czech Republic, the Ministry of Education also announced the grant Equipment of the school guidance and counselling facilities with diagnostic tools. The grant is aimed to support the school guidance facilities which provide diagnostics with the aim of recommending the education of a child according to the annex to the Framework Educational Programme for Basic Education for pupils with a mild mental disability. The stipulated amount is CZK 2 million (EUR 72 666; CZK/EUR 27.523 – 27 March 2015). See more on the website of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports (in Czech).

In January 2014 the government approved the Strategy for Social Inclusion 2014-2020, a basic document embracing the area of social inclusion and the fight against poverty. One of its aims is to assure equal access to education for all. See the website of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (in Czech).