Education is one of the traditionally strong public policy areas in the Czech Republic which also became one of the widely discussed in last years, because, in international comparison, Czech pupils and students have started to show worse outcomes in some fields than earlier.
At top political level the situation is complicated since the foundation of the Czech Republic in 1993 because theMinisters of Education, Youth and Sports are changing very often. In the period 1993 to 2018, in 24 years, there have been 19 ministers in charge of the Ministry.
The current situation is based on the amended legislation from 2004 at the pre-school, primary and secondary level and on legislation from 1998 at the tertiary level. The evolution of education and reforms toward a modern system guaranteeing quality all across the country could be by some considered as rather slow. Education, as well as the general political development since 1990, went through quite extensive decentralization which brought many good outcomes but also some negative externalities and difficulties in common management. Also, the size of the population was changing significantly and the complex and rich system of educational institutions and facilities was following these trends.
In 2001, a White Paper on the reforms of education was prepared, but its implementation was not fully successful. Since 2014, there is a new complex strategy until 2020 based on an extensive array of evidence which facilitates development in the field. The three main overarching priorities for this period focus on lowering inequalities in education, supporting the quality of education and teachers and on providing responsible and effective management. However, the mid-term evaluation 2018 is rather critical about the implementation.
Focus is put on better access to pre-school quality education, effective inclusion of pupils with special educational needs to the educational mainstream, strengthening common elements in the upper-secondary level and training, maintaining the open approach to the various opportunities at the tertiary education level, facilitating the transition of graduates to the labour market, supporting access and quality of further education, including non-formal and leisure-based education, and enhancing the quality of the counselling system.
Specific challenges are also present on the level of content and its modernization in most fields and subjects, and thus a process of curricular content revisions started in 2017.
Also, the governance structure was re-structuralised after 2010 and thus many processes changed.
This opens up new possibilities and opportunities, as the foundation is rather solid, but definitely, the field is very dynamic and requires adequate funding and resources to reach the goals. In the OECD comparison, the Czech Republic is not the best funder of Education, however, EU structural funds and resources, as well as policies and initiatives, are playing a very important part in all areas of education.