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

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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

General Structure of the Education System

The education system consists of schools and school facilities. Facilities for children under 3 years are so far entirely outside the system and are not under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (according to an amendment to the Education Act, nursery schools will admit 2-years old children from the 2020/2021 school year).


Settings for Children under the Age of 3

Traditionally, the institutions for care for children under 3 years were crèches (jesle) – special health facilities which were founded predominantly by municipalities. In the past decade their number and thus their capacity significantly decreased. According to the new Act on Health Services the running of these facilities as stated in the current regulations finished by the end of 2013. But crèches continue to exist, mainly on the basis of the trade "Daily care for children under 3 years of age" or as a child group:

Since 2000 there is a trade – Daily Care for Children under 3 Years of Age – intended predominantly for private entities. Care is provided individually or in settings by course of the Trade Licensing Act. The service providers can be also public subjects such as different centres of social services established by districts cities or municipalities or public benefit corporations. In the case of public subjects the running of the facility is subsidised by the municipality or the district of the city.

In November 2014, a new act on providing care of children in a child group came into force. The child group is aimed at children from one 1 year of age until the commencement of compulsory schooling (6/7 years). Care is provided on the non-commercial basis; the founders can be companies establishing them for their employees or public or non-profit entities.

For more information, see the chapter on Early Childhood Education and Care.


Legislation and Bibliography:

Act on Health Services

Act on Providing Care of Children in a Child Group

Trade Licensing Act



Schools

Schools provide education according to educational (study) programmes; their prerequisites are defined in the Education Act (or the Act on Higher Education).

Schools are divided into the following types according to the level and nature of the education provided:

  • nursery school (mateřská škola)
  • basic school (základní škola)
  • upper secondary school (střední škola gymnázium, střední odborná škola, střední odborná učiliště)
  • conservatoires (konzervatoř)
  • tertiary professional school (vyšší odborná škola)
  • basic art school (základní umělecká škola)
  • language school authorised to organise state language examinations (jazyková škola s právem státní jazykové zkoušky)
  • higher education institution (vysoká škola)

All these institutions are subject to the Education Act. The only exception is the higher education institution (vysoká škola) which is subject to the Higher Education Act.

Nursery schools, basic art schools and language schools do not provide a defined level of education.


The Nursery School (mateřská škola)

The nursery school (see chapter Early Childhood Education and Care) offers pre-primary education usually to children from 3 to 6 years of age (to 2-years old children at the earliest). Till 2016/17 school year, children are not obliged to attend nursery schools, but most children do attend. In the last pre-school year, attendance (for one year) is for free and has to be available to all children, who are interested in. From 2017/18 school year, the last year of pre-primary education will be compulsory (the legal guardian of a child is obliged to register the child between 2nd and 16th may 2017). Education in nursery school does not provide a defined level of education (ISCED level 020), but it creates pre-conditions for sustainable education and helps to compensate for developmental irregularities of children before entrance into primary education. It offers special educational care to children with special educational needs.


The Basic School (základní škola)

Basic schools (see chapter Single Structure Education (Integrated Primary and Lower Secondary Education) provides basic education (ISCED 1+2). It is nine years in duration and corresponds to the length of compulsory schooling. It is divided into a five-year first stage (primary education) and a four-year second stage (lower secondary education). Upon completion of the first stage (ISCED 100), pupils who show interest and succeed in the admission procedure may transfer to a multi-year general secondary school (gymnázium). They may continue in an eight-year general secondary school after the fifth year or a six-year gymnázium after the seventh year or after the fifth year to a dance conservatoire and complete their compulsory schooling there. After completing primary and lower secondary education the pupils attain the defined level of education základní vzdělání (ISCED 244). Pupils completing the základní škola speciální (see Separate Special Education Needs Provision) targeted at pupils with moderate and severe mental disabilities attain the defined level of education základy vzdělání (ISCED 244).


Upper Secondary School (střední škola)

The upper secondary schools (see chapter Upper Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education) provide upper secondary education – ISCED 3. The structure and types of education enable pupils to change or broaden their original educational pathway.

The attained education can be at three levels depending on the relevant educational programme:

a) Secondary educationstřední vzdělání (ISCED 253 or 353) attained after 1-2 years of study is provided by those upper secondary schools mainly named odborná škola (vocational school), odborné učiliště or praktická škola (practical school). They are targeted at pupils who ended their basic education without success or attained only the defined level of education základy vzdělání (ISCED 244);

b) Secondary education with an apprenticeship certificatestřední vzdělání s výučním listem (ISCED 353) attained after 2-3 years of study, is usually provided by upper secondary schools called střední odborné učiliště. They provide qualifications for manual and technical workers and similar professions;

c) Secondary education with a school-leaving examinationstřední vzdělání s maturitní zkouškou is general (ISCED 344) or vocational in nature (ISCED 354). The maturitní zkouška certificate entitles pupils to seek admission to tertiary education. Vocational education at this level is usually offered by schools called střední odborné školy, or střední odborná učiliště and lasts four years. Pupils are qualified to enter certain technical, economic and other occupations or highly skilled technical and operative functions or to tertiary education. General education is provided by upper secondary schools that are usually called gymnázium. The studies may last four years (only upper secondary level), or six or eight years (including lower and upper secondary education) and prepare pupils mainly for higher education, or tertiary professional education.

All upper secondary schools can offer education at any of these levels, in case they have registered the education courses of respective education level in the School Register. Although in order to maintain continuity with the previous regulation, most schools keep names corresponding to the existing division of upper secondary schools (gymnázium, střední odborná škola, střední odborné učiliště – see the Glossary).

Following types of study are organised at upper secondary schools for those who have achieved secondary education with an apprenticeship certificate or a school-leaving examination and want to achieve other qualification:

a) Follow-up courses (nástavbové studium – ISCED 354) are intended for applicants who completed three-year courses completed with an apprenticeship certificate (ISCED 353) and want to supplement their secondary education with a school-leaving examination. It is a two-year course completed with a school-leaving examination. It is usually entered by students immediately after they complete their preceding education. Their educational track at an upper secondary school therefore takes five years (a three year apprenticeship course and a two-year follow-up course) and upon its completion, students have both a secondary education with an apprenticeship certificate and education with a school-leaving examination.

b) Shortened study courses aimed at acquiring secondary education completed with an apprenticeship certificate (ISCED 353) provide education for school-leavers with a school-leaving examination (ISCED 354) and courses with an apprenticeship certificate (ISCED 353), who want to acquire further qualifications. The studies take one to two years and are completed with a final examination.

c) Shortened study courses aimed at acquiring secondary education with a school-leaving examination (ISCED 354) are organised for school-leavers with a school-leaving examination (ISCED 344 or 354), who want to acquire further qualifications. The studies take from one to two years and are completed with a school-leaving examination.


Conservatoires (konzervatoře)

Conservatoires (see Organisation of Conservatoires (Arts Education)) offer six or eight-year programmes of general and vocational education in music, dance, singing and drama and prepare pupils for artistic and combined artistic and pedagogical activities. The studies of dance last eight years (including levels ISCED 244, 354 and 554) and pupils enter it after the 5th year of basic school, while all the other of the above mentioned studies last six years (including ISCED levels 354 and 554), and pupils enter after completing their compulsory school attendance, i.e. after attaining základní vzdělání (ISCED 244). Studies in general conclude with the absolutorium examination in conservatoires, giving pupils vyšší odborné vzdělání v konezrvatoři (ISCED 554). They can also complete their education with a school-leaving examination (maturitní zkouška) (ISCED 354), which is a prerequisite to be admitted to all courses of tertiary education.


Tertiary Professional Schools (vyšší odborné školy)

The tertiary professional schools (see Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure) prepare holders of secondary education with a school-leaving examination (ISCED 344 or 354) for professional execution of more demanding, skilled professions. They offer vyšší odborné vzdělání (ISCED 655) ending with an absolutorium examination. The tertiary professional schools are considered a tertiary education.


Any of the above mentioned schools can be established separately for pupils with health disabilities (see Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education). In this case they provide the same level of education as the relevant mainstream school, with the exception of a special basic school (základní škola speciální), which awards the defined level of education základy vzdělání, but not základní vzdělání. Pupils acquire, however, ISCED level 244 in both cases.


Higher Education Institutions (vysoké školy)

The higher education institutions (see chapter Higher Education) provide education in three study programmes: Bachelor's (ISCED 645), Master's (both ISCED 746 or 747) and Doctoral (ISCED 844) following Master's.

Bachelor's programmes aim to prepare students for a profession or to continue to Master's programmes. The minimum requirement for entrance is secondary education with a school-leaving examination (ISCED 344 or 354) and the standard duration is three to four years.

Master's programmes are aimed at gaining theoretical knowledge based on current scientific findings, research and development and putting them into practice and developing skills for working creatively. In Arts they focus on advanced artistic training and talent development. Master's programmes follow on from Bachelor's courses, and last between one and three years. Where relevant, accreditation can be granted to Master's courses which do not follow on from a preceding Bachelor's course, in which case the minimum requirement for entrance is secondary education with a school-leaving examination and the course will last between four and six years (usually 5 years, or 6 years in the case of medicine, veterinary medicine, stomatology, pharmacy, art and architecture).

Doctoral programmes focus on scientific research and independent creativity in research and development and independent theoretical or creative activity in art. They follow a Master's programme and have a standard duration of three to four years.

All three types of programmes may be studied on a full-time, part-time or distance basis or in a combination of these.

The following two types of schools only offer education only in the field of the study specified in the name of the school. This type of education is usually offered to pupils outside of school hours and thus runs parallel to the education offered at the other types of schools. These schools can also provide adult education.


Basic Art School (základní umělecké školy)

Basic art schools (see Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures) teach the basics of various art and music fields and prepare pupils for the study of these disciplines at secondary schools, conservatoires or universities (completion of the former is not a condition for admission to the latter). They organise structured courses mainly for basic school or upper secondary school pupils (preparatory, two levels of basic education, and extended), although courses for adults may also be offered.


Legal and Natural Persons Providing One-year Courses of Foreign Languages with Daily Lessons

For upper secondary school graduates one-year post-secondary foreign language courses following in the day form are organised. These are run by legal and natural persons listed in the supplement to the Decree on Further Study. The courses have the character of post-secondary education (ISCED 454).


Language Schools Authorised to Organise State Language Examinations (jazyková škola s právem státní jazykové zkoušky)

Language schools authorised to organise state language examinations offer courses in foreign languages according to the Education Act, which can lead to the state language examination. These schools are also allowed to provide one-year post-secondary foreign language courses following a school-leaving examination.


Individual fields of study at basic, secondary and tertiary professional schools are listed in Government regulation on the system of fields of studies in basic, upper secondary and tertiary professional education. Accredited study programmes of higher education institutions are incorporated into the so-called Basic Study Fields according to the Classification of Basic Study Fields (CBSF) (translated also as the Classification of Basic Branches of Education (CBBE)). As of 2009, this classification (between 1998 and 2004 used also for statistical purposes at the education level of secondary and professional tertiary schools) remains in the purview of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports while the Czech Statistical Office in 2008 started to use ISCED 97 as a new state classification system. Since 1 January 2014 the classification ISCED 97 has been replaced by the new classification CZ-ISCED 2011.

It is typical of the Czech education system that practically all basic school leavers continue their studies at post-compulsory educational institutions (see the section on Defining moments in educational guidance). In view of the predominance of vocational/technical schools over general education schools, a considerable proportion of pupils at the upper secondary level gain a vocational qualification recognised by the labour market.


Legislation and Bibliography:

Education Act

Decree on Basic Art Education

Decree on Basic Education

Decree on Education of Children, Pupils and Students with Special Educational Needs, and of Exceptionally Gifted Children, Pupils and Students

Decree on Language Schools

Decree on Pre-primary Education

Decree on Secondary Education and Education in Conservatoires

Decree on Tertiary Professional Education

Higher Education Act


School Facilities

School facilities provide services and education, which support or complete the education offered by schools, or they assure institutional or protective care or preventive educational care.

School facilities are as follows:

  • school facilities for further education of educational staff
  • school guidance and counselling facilities
  • school educational and boarding facilities
  • school facilities for developing personal interests
  • school canteens
  • school facilities for special purposes
  • school facilities for providing institutional education or protective education and preventative educational care

The Facilities for Further Education of Educational Staff provide in-service training, advisory services in methodical issues and management of schools and school facilities. They also disseminate information on directions and procedures in education and coordinate supporting activities for schools and school facilities, coordinate development programmes, and other events (for more details see Continuing Professional Development for Teachers in Early Childhood and School Education).

School Guidance and Counselling Facilities provide information and diagnostic, guidance and methodological services for children, pupils, and students and their statutory representatives and for schools and school facilities, provide pedagogical and specialised pedagogical and psychological services and preventative educational care, and assist in selecting suitable future education and training. School guidance facilities cooperate with authorities in providing social and legal care for children, and also with bodies providing care for young people and families, providers of medical services, or other bodies and institutions. (For more information see Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education.)

School Educational Facilities and Lodging and Boarding Facilities include the domov mládeže for pupils of upper secondary schools (střední škola) and tertiary professional schools (vyšší odborná škola) and internát for pupils of independent schools for persons with disabilities. Both institutions provide whole day education, accommodation and meals, and if necessary education, sport and other leisure activities. A third institution is the škola v přírodě, which provides breaks for children and pupils in a healthy environment without the need to interrupt their education.

School Facilities for Developing Personal Interests provide appropriate educational, training, interest or recreational services and events, as well as cultural activities for pupils, students and educational staff or other persons. They include the školní družina for pupils of the first stage of basic school (základní škola), the školní klub – school club for pupils of the second stage of a basic school (both working at basic school) and the střediska volného času, usually in general organised outside of the school premises. Leisure time centre (středisko volného času) can be a children and youth house (domov dětí a mládeže) which organises activities in several areas of interest education, or a special activity station (stanice zájmových činností) that focuses only on one area of interest education.

Facilities for School Catering (school canteens) provide food for children, pupils and students while at school or a school facility. Founders are obliged to assure food for children of the nursery school (mateřská škola) and pupils of the basic schools and under-age pupils of the upper secondary schools preferably in school canteens (or on the basis of a contract in other entity providing catering), mature pupils and students can also access the service voluntarily.

School Facilities Established for a Special Purpose assist schools and school facilities in their activities. They include the following: service centres for schools, school farms, centres of practical education (střediska praktického vyučování), school libraries and swimming schools. A service centre for schools provides schools and school facilities with technical and material services (supply of textbooks, servicing of teaching equipment, etc.), advisory, information and technical and organisation support. A school farm provides for the vocational training of secondary school pupils of agriculture, horticulture, forestry and fishing, the centres of practical education offers training in other fields (if the school does not provide them itself). A school library provides professional services, services related to study and work, library and information services to children, pupils, students, or pedagogical staff of schools and school facilities. A swimming school provides swimming lessons to pupils of basic schools as part of the compulsory physical education.

School Facilities for Institutional Education, protective education and preventive educational care are described in the section Institutional education in the Chapter 12 Educational Support and Guidance.


Legislation and Bibliography:

Education Act

Decree on Providing Guidance in Schools and School Guidance Facilities

Decree on School Catering

Decree on School Educational and Boarding Facilities, and School Purpose Facilities

Decree on Special Interest Education

Act on Institutional Education and Protective Care in School Facilities and on Preventive Educational Care in School Facilities


Compulsory Education

The compulsory school attendance begins in the age of 6 years and lasts for 9 years (usually to 15 years of age). From 2017/18 school year, the compulsory last year of pre-primary education will be introduced.


Compulsory pre-primary education

Compulsory pre-primary education lasts for 1 year, or for 2 years in case of the postponement of the compulsory school attendance. The obligation applies to a child from the beginning of the school year (September) following the child´s 5th birthday until the commencement of the compulsory school attendance.


Compulsory school attendance

Compulsory school attendance (povinná školní docházka) applies to citizens of the Czech Republic, citizens of member states of the European Union, other foreigners who have permanent residence or permission to stay in the Czech Republic long-term, asylum seekers or persons who enjoy additional protection, and applicants for international protection on the territory of the Czech Republic.

The length of compulsory education is set by the Education Act and is for nine years starting at the beginning of the school year following the day on which the child reaches six years of age. Compulsory education takes place at a basic school (základní škola), or at a special basic school (základní škola speciální) or a special school (speciální škola). Pupils who are admitted to a multi-year general secondary school (gymnázium) or to a multi-year conservatoire in the course of their compulsory education complete their compulsory education at these schools.

The responsibility for compulsory education provided at private and denominational schools lies with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. This means, in practical terms, that the state guarantees education at these schools, provided that they are included in the Register of School and School Facilities (see the section on The School Register administration). The state also recognises education gained at these schools and guarantees that if a private school has any difficulties, its pupils will be able to complete their compulsory schooling in a public basic school.


Rights and duties of parents

Pupils and students and their parents have a right to information on the progress and results of their education. Consultation with parents is generally carried out in regular parent-teacher meetings, usually four times a year and individually if required. Parents are obliged to participate personally in discussing serious matters concerning the education of the child. Possibilities for pupils and their parents to participate on school life are described in the section on Administration and Governance at Institutional Level.

Parents or legal guardians are obliged to register a child for compulsory school attendance (see below) and to ensure their regular and punctual attendance. Failure to do so is considered a misdemeanour, which is punishable by a fine of up to CZK 3 000 (EUR 109; EUR/CZK 27.407 - 26 May 2015). More serious neglect of education may be classified as a criminal act of endangering the moral education of children and young people. The legal guardian is obliged to enrol a child for compulsory school attendance between 15 January and 15 February of the calendar year when the child has to start school. Regulations on the Offences Act and even the Criminal Act can be used if parents do not fulfil their duty to do so.


Commencement of Compulsory School Attendance

The legal guardian of a child is obliged to register the child for compulsory school attendance between 1st April and 30th April of the calendar year during which the child should begin compulsory school attendance (for more see the section on Admission requirements and choice of school in the Chapter 5 on basic education).

The municipalities are obliged to ensure that compulsory schooling takes place (see also Administration and Governance at Local Level).

A pupil satisfies compulsory school attendance in the so called catchment school (spádová škola) (basic school located in the territory where a child has a permanent residence) or – if the legal guardians decide otherwise – in another school. The list of children for whom the given school is the catchment school is provided by the municipality authority of the municipality on which territory is the school district of basic school ahead of sufficient time before the term of registering. The head of the catchment school has to accept preferentially pupils with permanent residence in the relevant school district, up to the number of pupils set in the School Register. If the child is accepted to other than the catchment school according to the act the school head should announce this reality to the head of the catchment school until the end of March of the year in which the child has to start the compulsory school attendance at the latest. Within the transport services on the regional territory the region is obliged to ensure transport to and from the catchment school if the distance of the catchment school from the permanent residence of the pupil exceeds 4 km.

A child, who turns six in the period between September and June of a given school year, can be enrolled in compulsory school attendance early on the request of the legal guardian if the child is sufficiently physically and mentally mature. The precondition for admission is a recommendation of the school guidance facility. In case of children born in the period between January and the end of June also an expert opinion of a specialist (e.g. neurologist, paediatrician) is necessary. 

If on reaching the age of six, the child is not physically or mentally ready and if the legal guardian so requests (by 31 May), the school head may postpone the start of compulsory schooling by one year provided that the request is supplemented by the recommendation of the school guidance facility and a specialist physician or a psychologist. Starting school can be postponed at most to the beginning of the school year when the child turns eight. Together with the decision on postponement the school head can recommend that a child be included in the preparatory class of a basic school (přípravná třída, see Special education needs provision within mainstream education in the Chapter 12 on Educational Support and Guidance) or in the last year of a nursery school (mateřská škola) if it can be assumed that such education shall balance the child’s development. According to the Education Act education staff in nursery schools does not intervene in the process of postponement of school attendance. However, as follows from the 2011 Annual Report of the Czech School Inspectorate, the recommendation for the postponement was provided by the these teachers in more than one half of the cases. Most often the reasons for the postponement are speech and language disorders and disorders in attention and concentration.

In case the pupil during the first half of the first year of school attendance shows an insufficient physical and mental maturity, the school head in the consent with the pupil’s legal representative can additionally postpone the start of the compulsory schooling to next year (this also includes pupils starting their compulsory schooling already after a postponement).


Completion of Compulsory School Attendance

A pupil completes their compulsory education after nine years of schooling. This also applies when the pupil does not complete the ninth year (e.g. he/she may have repeated a year) and thus does not achieve the defined level of education “basic education” (základní vzdělání), or in case he/she acquired basic education in a shorter period – the compulsory education is completed at upper secondary school then. Compulsory school attendance ends at the age of 17, but basic education may be completed either by remaining at school with the consent of a school head on the request of the legal guardian, at most to the end of the school year when the pupil turns 18 or, later on, by attending special courses for this purpose (see General Education Programmes). The school head may, in exceptional cases, permit a disabled pupil to continue basic education until the end of the school year in which the pupil concerned reaches 20 years of age, and in the case of pupils being educated in special schools with the consent of the founder until the end of the school year in which the pupil concerned reaches 26 years of age.

Pupils who cannot attend school, due to their state of health, are offered a form of education by the educational department of the regional authority to enable them to achieve the same level of education as in the normal period of schooling (an exemption from the obligation to attend school).


Special Forms of Compulsory Education

Parents of children at the first stage of basic school (ISCED 1 level) have a possibility to ask the school head for permission to satisfy compulsory school attendance in the form of individual (home) tuition which occurs without the regular participation in instruction in school. For more see the section on Organisation Variations and Alternative Structures in the Chapter 5 on basic education.

For a child with a serious mental disability, who is not able to attend even special basic school (základní škola speciální), the educational department of a regional authority can (on the basis of an expert assessment and with the agreement of the child's legal guardian) provide a substitute form of education that meets the child's needs.


Satisfying Compulsory School Attendance Abroad or in a Foreign School in the Czech Republic

The Education Act allows for special forms of satisfying school attendance enforced by the stay of the pupils abroad or satisfying it in a foreign school on the territory of the Czech Republic. They are as follows:
a) school attendance at a school abroad (outside the Czech Republic);
b) school attendance at a school established at the embassy or consulate of the Czech Republic;
c) school attendance at a foreign school established in the Czech Republic, it means at a foreign school located on the territory of the Czech Republic providing education on the basis of a foreign educational programme which is not included in the School Register and which is established by a foreign state, a natural person or a foreign national but where the Ministry of Education permitted compulsory school attendance in a given school year;
d) school attendance at a European School, it means European Schools working on the basis of the Convention defining the Statute of the European Schools, dedicated mainly to children of personnel of European Communities (institutions of the European Union);
e) individual tuition.

In all mentioned cases a pupil is at the same time a pupil of the school in the catchment area or any other chosen school (so called kmenová školafundamental school).

Pupils who satisfy their compulsory school attendance at a school abroad (a) or in a form of individual tuition (e) can (on the request of their legal guardian) and pupils of a foreign school in the Czech Republic have to take examinations in selected subjects in the catchment school or in the school at embassy of the Czech Republic. Examinations take place in the period of two years maximum. For individual tuition the examinations are taken of all subjects except optional. For other cases examinations are taken:

a) in all years of educational content of educational field Czech Language and Literature;
b) in 4th and 5th year of educational content of the history and geography of the Czech Republic in the educational area People and their world;
c) in 6th–9th year of the educational content relating to the Czech Republic in the educational fields History adn Geography.

Examination results can be substituted by documented results of education (certificate) of “provider of education abroad” who has agreement with the Ministry of Education (according to the Education Act, see also the website of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports). 
If a pupil does not sit for examinations, it is necessary to submit certificate from a school outside the Czech Republic (including the translation into Czech), and statutory declaration of the legal guardian on education of the pupil during the stay abroad. Both documents must cover two years maximum.

Pupils of schools at the embassy or consulate of the Czech Republic (b) and pupils of the European School do not take examinations at all.


Legislation and Bibliography:

Annual Report of the Czech School Inspectorate (2011/2012)

Decree on Basic Education

Convention defining the Statute of the European Schools

Education Act

Framework Educational Programme for Basic Education


Defining Moments in Educational Guidance

The transfer from a basic school (základní škola) to an upper secondary school (střední škola) and the transfer from an upper secondary school to a tertiary professional school (vyšší odborná škola) or higher education institution (vysoká škola) may be seen as the decisive moments in an individual's choice of educational path.

Upon the admission to a basic school or during attendance, it is possible if offered to take up studying of various subjects or subject groups more in depth. A pupil's admission to such classes is decided by the school head with the approval of parents on the basis of a recommendation from his/her teacher or after an assessment of the pupil's individual talent.


The Transfer to a Secondary School

The condition for entering an upper secondary school is the successful completion of compulsory school education, unless the pupil is not admitted to multi-year forms of an upper secondary school during his/her compulsory school attendance.

The transfer to upper secondary school can take place after the fifth or seventh year of the basic school, when pupils can move to a multi-year general secondary school (gymnázium). This was the case for approximately 11 % of the age group of the second stage of a basic school in 2015/16. A very small percentage of pupils are accepted into a dance conservatoire after the 5th year.

Since 2017 standardised tests in Mathematics and its applications and Czech language are a part of the admission procedure to the fields of education completed with school leaving examination (maturitní zkouška).To be admitted to other upper secondary schools, conservatoires and higher professional schools the entrance procedure is held; a part of which may be an entrance examination assigned by the school. In specialised art studies, a pupil has to pass a talent test related to the field of study. This test precedes the general entrance examination. The enrolment proceeding to conservatoires always includes an aptitude test.

After completing compulsory schooling, majority of the population continues studies in non-compulsory education. 94 % of population aged 25-34 years acquires at least upper secondary education (ISCED 3) (2015).

In 2015/16, pupils attended following programmes at the upper secondary level (day form of education, excluding follow-up study and shortened study – nástavbové studium and zkrácené studium):

  • 23.9 % of population attends the secondary general programmes (four-year, eight-year and six-year secondary schools)
  • 48.2 % in four-year vocational courses completed with a school-leaving examination (maturitní zkouška)
  • 24.3 % in two or three-year vocational courses completed with an apprenticeship certificate (výuční list)
  • 0.6 % in secondary education (střední vzdělání)

The data on number of pupils relate to the population aged 15-18.

Transfers at the Tertiary Level

The condition for entering any form of tertiary education is secondary education with a school-leaving examination (střední vzdělání s maturitní zkouškou, ISCED 344 or 354), in general or technical branches, or the absolutorium examination (ISCED 655) from a conservatoire. (The exception can be art courses at a higher education institution; but passing the school-leaving examination (maturitní zkouška) is a precondition for gaining a higher education diploma.)

Transfers at the tertiary level depend on the type of institution: study at a tertiary professional school; (ISCED 655) was not formerly recognised for entrance to a higher education institution. Since 2004, a higher education institution can set specific admission requirements for students or graduates of accredited educational programmes at a tertiary professional school.

The result of the gradual implementation of a three degree structure of study at the higher education institutions is that the entrance examination is also carried out when advancing from Bachelor's to Master's study programmes. An entrance examination for admission to doctoral programmes is a general rule. 73 % of Bachelor’s degree graduates registered into Master’s follow/up programmes, on average, in past few years (note: it is the ratio of firstly enrolled into follow up Master’s study in the particular year to the number of Bachelor’s degree graduates in the same year). However, the changes in methods of higher education funding imply that this trend will change and in the future more students will leave the tertiary education with a Bachelor's degree (see Higher Education Funding).

For those who did not achieve the required level of education during their initial education, the upper secondary schools, tertiary professional schools and higher education institutions also offer different forms of part-time study (see Upper Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education and Higher Education and Adult Education and Training). Even part-time students commonly study the full degree programme and that is why the acquired education is equal to the one acquired in the full-time programme.  Even for admission to other forms of study it is necessary to fulfil the admission requirements, which are identical to those for entrance to full-time study.


Legislation and Bibliography:

Education Act

Higher Education Act

Education at a Glance 2014

Statistical Yearbook – Education 2014/15


Further Education of School-leavers

The leavers of all types of schools who did not succeed in the labour market are offered retraining courses in various branches for individual occupation or the so-called non-specific retraining courses, preparing job applicants for employment thus increasing their employability. The courses focus on computer literacy, management, marketing, accounting, banking, labour relations and preparation for private enterprise in combination with intensive foreign language training.

Secondary school-leavers have a chance to take one-year post-secondary foreign language courses following a school-leaving examination in the day form. These are run by legal and natural persons listed in the supplement to the Decree on Further Study. The courses have the character of post-secondary education (ISCED 454). The students who successfully passed the first school-leaving examination (maturitní zkouška) or graduated from a conservatoire (absolutorium) in the calendar year in which they start the language course continue to have official student status (i.e. they are entitled to tax benefits, student discounts etc). Students are offered foreign language courses at several levels of difficulty and they can take a state or internationally acknowledged exam. Apart from the chosen language, they are often enabled to study the second (subsidiary) language.

Within lifelong learning programmes (sometimes called “Year Zero”), some higher education institutions (e.g. Faculty of Arts or Law Faculty, Charles University) accept applicants who passed an entrance exam but were not admitted to regular courses due to a lack of capacity. These students can take subjects according to the study plan for Year 1 and if they satisfy all prescribed study requirements, they can be excused from the entrance exam for the following academic year and become students of regular courses. The studies have the character of post-secondary education (ISCED 444). The students (before being admitted to regular courses) do not have official student status and thus are not entitled to student benefits. These programmes are paid.

Some higher education institutions and commercial education agencies offer preparatory courses for entrance exams for many fields of study and in a broad scope for those applicants who were not admitted to regular study programmes. Education agencies also organise courses whose content is similar to the first year of higher education (these are sometimes called “Year Zero”). Participants in these courses do not have official student status and cannot enjoy various student benefits. Some education agencies therefore offer courses combining one-year post-secondary foreign language courses and training for entrance exams for the chosen field of study with student status maintained. These courses are paid.