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In the Czech Republic, there is no policy framework or strategy which would apply specifically to social and civic competencies and their development. Only individual, not interconnected initiatives exist – either in formal or non-formal settings.
It is expected that at the central level the process of drafting a new national Strategy should start to support Citizenship Education in the whole society, including formal and non-formal education, youth and also the adult population. The expert committee, however, did not meet until the end of 2018, although it had been established in autumn 2016. In December 2016, the Government of the Czech Republic decided to move the responsibility, and the task of creating a new state Strategy on Citizenship Education was given to the Minister for Human Rights. In July and September 2017 the Minister organised open hearings with experts and relevant stakeholders in order to create a 'Basic framework on citizenship education in the Czech Republic', and as the elections were approaching in October 2017, it was clear that because of the sensitivity of the topic, there would be high interest from experts and civil society, and that there was not enough time and resources to prepare a proper state strategy before the end of the 2013-2017 Government. During the 2018 the proposal was coordinated by the Office of the Government, but in summer the activities were paused by the prime minister and the prepared proposal was not discussed in the Government.
In the Czech Republic (ISCED levels 2 and 3), civic education is integrated into curriculum areas that can be organised into teaching blocks at the discretion of the school. Provision of a separate subject focused on citizenship education at ISCED levels 2 and 3 depends on the given school.
The 2007 Framework Curricula for compulsory and upper secondary education established civic competencies as key competencies that should be addressed through all teaching and learning activities taking place at school. Furthermore, the Framework Curricula established several cross-curricular subjects related to citizenship education:
‘Democratic citizenship’ (ISCED levels 1 and 2)
‘Thinking within a European and global context’
Cross-curricular subjects are defined in terms of thematic areas to be provided as well as knowledge, skills, abilities, attitudes and values that should be developed in students, through subject teaching or in the form of individual projects, seminars, courses and through the general school atmosphere.
The taught time specifically allocated to citizenship themes cannot be clearly identified.
Main learning objectives
The Framework educational programme Human and society in its educational field Citizenship Education defines the main learning objectives as follows:
'It focuses on developing qualities, related to the orientation of students in the social reality and their integration into various social relations and relationships.
It paves the way for realistic self-cognition and discovering personalities of others and to understanding their own behaviour and that of others in the context of various life situations.
It introduces pupils to relationships within the family, society, economic life, and develops their orientation in the world of finance.
It enables pupils to understand the tasks of important political bodies and institutions and shows the possible forms of individual engagement in civic life.
Pupils learn to respect and apply moral principles and rules of social coexistence and to take responsibility for their opinionsand behaviour and the consequences of these.
It develops citizenship and legal consciousness, reinforces their sense of personal and social responsibility, and motivates them to actively participate in democratic society.'
Ongoing policy reforms to strengthen and modernise citizenship education
In December 2014 the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament adopted the Resolution to promote citizenship education.
Based on the Resolution, in 2016 the Ministry of Education Youth and Sports started Systematic support for citizenship education in schools by experimental testing to stabilise the role of pupils' parliaments in the citizenship education.
The main goals of the experimental testing are:
- In pilot schools to verify the system of development of Pupils' parliaments and create consultative centres for support of other schools in the future; 21 schools of all types in the whole country (including socially problematic locations) will join the testing phase;
- To identify themes, activities and tools for setting up calls for applications within the European Social Fund (OP VVV) and other subsidies;
- To check how to best support the teacher who coordinates a pupil parliament at the school, and how to promote these activities to parents and to the local community;
- To develop a system of effective assessment of pupils' parliaments.
The main responsibility for the testing lies with the National Institute for Education (NÚV) and expert and methodical guarantees are provided by the Centre for Citizenship Education (COV) and Centre for democratic learning (CEDU).
The pilot testing was closed in mid-2018 and the outcomes are expected to be discussed and published by the Ministry of Education after their inspection. In December 2018 non-formal presentation of the outcomes took place at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.
The Czech Republic is also active in the pilot testing of the Framework of Competencies for democratic culture, developed by the Council of Europe. Project #COMPETENCES for further elaboration at a national level is run by the Centre for Citizenship Education with the support from the NGO Anticomplex.
Significant discussions about the future of the citizenship education in formal education sphere are held during the national curricula revision process (for details see chapter 6.10).
Participative structures within formal education settings
There are no top-level policy regulations or guidelines requiring or encouraging pupils'/students' participation in decision-making in their educational institution. The only reference exists in the Education Act (Act No. 561/2004 Sb.), which provides for a possibility of pupil participation in the School Boards, however only from the age of 18.
According to § 21, paragraph 1, point c) of the Act, pupils and students have the right to elect and to be elected to the School Board, if of legal age.
§ 21 paragraph 1 point d) of the Education Act also says that 'Pupils and students have the right to form self-governing bodies within the school, to vote and be elected in them, work in them and through them to contact the director of the school, and the school director is obliged to consider the opinions and observations of these bodies.'
In the 2016 reform of the Educational Act, the Rights of pupils were broadened to allow them to contact not only the director but also other bodies, and the director should now provide them with reasonable feedback on the input from those self-governing bodies. This widening was a direct implementation of the country recommendation from the IV. cycle of the EU structured dialogue with youth.
There are no top-level or large-scale programmes aimed at training school staff and pupils to enhance their skills to participate in decision-making structures. The only actors running activities in this field are those actors described in Chapter 5.3.
Measures to encourage student participation in the local community and wider society
- There are no provisions forming part of the national curricula or education regulations/guidelines encouraging or obliging pupils at upper secondary level to take part in activities serving the (local) community outside school; neither are there any recent national or large-scale policy initiatives or programmes giving pupils/students the opportunity to participate in citizenship-related activities/projects outside school.
- Only private NGO national initiatives exist, such as e.g. One World at Schools.
Partnerships between formal education providers, youth organisations and youth work providers
- There is no policy/legal framework for partnerships between formal education providers, youth organisations and youth work providers. However, currently negotiations are running about an ESF project aiming at establishing such partnerships.
Supporting non-formal learning initiatives focusing on social and civic competences
- There are no national/top-level programmes establishing, encouraging or supporting education projects related to the promotion of civic or social competences;
- Sources of public funding available for the development of such projects/youth work initiatives are described in Chapter 5.6.
- Only particular projects by NGOs and Youth NGOs are visible.
- There is no universal system of quality assurance of non-formal learning activities/projects.
- An attempt to introduce a nationwide tool was made by the former National Institute of Children and Youth through its project K2 - an assessment tool called 'Olina'. However, it was too much focused on processes not related to the core of youth work by youth organisations and therefore is not (fully) used.
- Each youth NGO has its own ways to ensure that their work is of quality.
- For example, in 2015, Junák – český skaut (Junak – Czech Scouting) got a high score in the Global Support Assessment Tool, which is a Quality Standard owned by the World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM) that assesses compliance of a National Scout Organisation (NSO) with international best practices in Good Governance and Quality Scouting.
- Asociace učitelů občanské výchovy a společenských věd, z.s. The Association of teachers of civic education and social sciences serves as an inspirational space for the exchange of teaching materials and learning about current opportunities and trends.
- An interesting methodology for youth leaders was developed by the Pionýr (Pioneer) association – it describes how participation can be promoted in a youth group