6.1 General context
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Overall changes and trends
Since 2004, the Czech educational system has been based on curricular documents specific to a given school, but with a clear connection to the state curricular documents. The so-called Framework Educational Programmes serve as curricular templates on the nationwide level. The School Educational Programmes of individual schools on all levels of education are processed based on those national templates. A common concept of education is thus assured, as well as a space for school profiling in a certain way and for creative work in the area of individual curricular plans.
In the last decades there have been stable school numbers: roughly 8500 schools within regional education and between 60 and 70 universities constantly between the years 2005/06 and 2015/16 (vyv_b1.xls)
In 2016 the system of university accreditation changed and the National Accreditation Bureau for Higher Education was established.
In 2016 a new systemic support of talented pupils and pupils with special educational needs according to the new Decree number 27/2016 Sb. began to be implemented.
In 2017 started a process of revision of the national Framework Educational Programmes which is supported by the new Educational Strategy 2030+ and should be finalized and fully implemented into schools by 2026.
Since 1st of September 2017 new obligatory preschool year started and the guarantee of a place in the kindergarten for Children older 4 years of age. On elementary schools also the obligatory swimming education started.
Since 1st of September 2018, the novel of the "Nutrition Decree" of the Ministry decreased the requirements for healthy food in schools.
In February 2019 started wide expert and public discussion process initiated by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports in order to create new Education Strategy for the Czech Republic in timeframe 2030+. The strategy was widely consulted with experts as well as the wide public and all interested actors - online as well as in regions, across all levels of education.
By 2021 there is a new Educational Strategy 2030+.
ISCED table below clearly shows the following:
Primary and lower secondary education (6-14 years of age) is compulsory in the Czech Republic
At 14-15 years of age students transfer to the upper secondary education (secondary schools and apprenticeship schools) by on own choice (submitting an application), followed by passing an entrance examination
General education: Upper secondary education concluding with a school-leaving examination for 15-19-year-olds in the general branch is available as secondary education with a school-leaving examination, or general secondary schools (general secondary schools, general secondary schools with sports preparation, bi-lingual general secondary schools; a Framework Educational Programme for general secondary schools is also available in English)
Vocational preparation: Secondary education with an apprenticeship certificate is for 15-17-year-olds or 15-18-year-olds, and following their studies it is possible to attend a two-year follow-up course with the aim of acquiring a secondary education with a school-leaving examination; further school types include conservatoires (8 or 6 years; specialising in art disciplines) and secondary schools with vocational orientation (4 years), both concluded with school-leaving examination; vocational education is divided into several wide groups (group J, group E, group H, group L0 and M)
A school-leaving examination is the basic prerequisite for admission to a university; without passing it, there is no possibility of being accepted at a university
School-leaving-examinations have been centralised and common for all concerned educational institutions in the Czech Republic since 2009
The same centralisation has been in place in the case of the final examination (in the fields with the apprenticeship certificate) for vocational education since 2015
University studies are divided into structured and unstructured programmes in the Czech Republic
Structured programmes include Bachelor’s degrees (3-4 years) and follow-up Master’s degrees (2 years; title of Master)
Unstructured programmes include 5–6 years studies concluded with the title Master or Master of Science, alternatively Doctor of Medicine
Besides university studies there are tertiary professional schools, which provide vocational preparation over 3 or 3.5 years and the title Certified specialist; a requirement for admission is also the successfully passed school-leaving examination
 The only exceptions are eight-year and six-year general secondary schools, which combine lower and upper secondary studies, and if the student is admitted at 10 or 12 years of age, he or she continues until the school-leaving examination without the necessity of further entrance examination. These educational streams often offer a higher than standard number of language courses or other subjects (e.g. French general secondary schools, mathematical general secondary schools, etc.) and they have long been criticised for disproportionate elitism (Straková 2010; Strakova.PDF)
Framework Educational Programme (FEP): the main curricular documents on the state level; they are provided by the authorised organisation of the MEYS (National Institute for Education, NÚV) for all levels and sectors of the Czech regional education.
School Educational Programmes (SEP): documents processed on a school level with the aim of concretisation and specification of teaching at a given facility; it is following the general principles laid out in the FEP.
Disparity is a term used primarily to describe qualitative, but also quantitative, differences in education provision at both regional and individual school level.
Formal education takes place mainly in schools and can lead to the attainment of levels of education (primary and lower secondary education1, basic education, upper secondary education, upper secondary education with an apprenticeship certificate, secondary education with a maturita (school-leaving examination), post-secondary vocational education at a conservatory, post-secondary vocational education, higher education). Pre-school education, primary and lower secondary art education and primary and lower secondary language education also have the characteristics of formal education in the Czech Republic. Its functions, objectives, contents, organisational forms, and methods of evaluation are defined.
Further education, in state educational policy is understood pursuant to Section 2(a) of Act No 179/2006 on the certification and recognition of the results of further education and amending certain acts (the Act on the Recognition of the Results of Further Education). Under that provision, further education is defined as educational activities that do not meet the characteristics of initial education, i.e. formal education in the sense described above.
Informal learning could be interpreted as a process of the spontaneous acquisition of knowledge, skills and competences from everyday experiences and activities at work, within the family and in leisure time. It also includes self-learning where the learner does not have the opportunity to verify their learning outcomes. Informal learning, unlike formal and non-formal learning, is not organised and institutionally coordinated. It is generally unsystematic in nature and lacks the formative influence of a teacher.
Key competences are the competences that everyone needs for personal fulfilment and development, employability, social inclusion, sustainable living, a successful life in peaceful societies, and the ability to cope with life’s demands with an awareness of the importance of health and active citizenship. They are developed within a lifelong learning perspective, from early childhood and throughout adult life, through formal, non-formal and informal learning in all contexts, including the family, school, workplace, neighbourhood and other settings. All key competences are considered equally important; each contributes to a successful life in society. Competences can be applied in many different contexts and in various combinations. Competences overlap and are interrelat-
ed; aspects essential to one area will reinforce competences in another area. Skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork, communication and negotiation skills, analytical skills, creativity and intercultural skills are integral to key competences. The 2018 European Reference Framework includes eight key competences for lifelong learning: 1) communication in the mother tongue; 2) communication in foreign languages; 3) mathematical competence and basic competences in science, technology and engineering; 4) digital competences; 5) personal, social and learning competences; 6) civic competences; 7) entrepreneurial competences; 8) cultural awareness and expression.
Literacy primarily means the ability to apply knowledge practically in a variety of life situations. Improvements in basic literacy skills pave the way for successful lifelong learning, and for learners and young people to succeed at school and in the workplace. We usually relate literacy skills to individual “subjects”. In this respect, we talk of literacy in reading, mathematics and science.
Non-formal education is aimed at the development of knowledge, skills and competences in employers’ establishments, private educational institutions, school facilities (e.g. leisure education, which provides participants with activities during their leisure time that focus on various fields), non-governmental organisations, memory institutions (especially libraries and museums), art and other cultural institutions, science centres and other organisations. Non-formal education includes some organised leisure activities for children, young people and adults, such as courses, retraining, training and lectures. A prerequisite for the provision of non-formal education is the participation of a professional lecturer, teacher, educator, trainer or trained leader. However, it does not normally lead to the attainment of an accepted level of education unless it is subsequently recognised by a competent authority or institution.
Pupils and students with special educational needs
'By a child, pupil and student with special educational needs, it is meant a person, who for the fulfilment of his or her educational possibilities or for the exercise or use of his or her rights on an equal basis with the others needs the provision of supporting measures. By supporting measures it is meant the necessary adjustments in education and educational services corresponding with the physical state, cultural environment or other life conditions of the child, pupil or student. Children, pupils and students with special educational needs have the right to the provision of supporting measures by the school or education facility free of charge.'
'(2) Supporting measures consist in a) advisory help of school and school consulting facility, b) adaptation of the organisation, content, evaluation, forms and methods of education and school services including provision of education of subjects of special pedagogical care and including lengthening of duration of secondary or higher vocational education by up to two years, c) adjustment of conditions of acceptance to education and conclusion of education, d) use of compensation aids, special text books and special didactic tools, use of communication systems for deaf and deaf-blind persons such as braille and supporting or substitute communication systems, e) adaptation of expected outcomes of education within the limits set by the Framework Educational Programmes and accredited educational programmes, f) education according to an individual study plan, g) use of an assistant of the pedagogue, h) use of an additional pedagogical worker, translator of Czech sign language, rewriter for the deaf or the possibility of operation of persons providing the child, pupil or student support according to special legal regulations during his/her stay in school or educational facility, i) providing education or educational services in constructionally or technically adapted spaces.'
Their education and the education of talented pupils is regulated by the Decree number 27/2016 Sb.
Defined in the Concept of Talent Development Support 2014–2020 (pages 4–5): '… exceptionally talented is an individual, whose distribution of abilities reaches extraordinary levels with high creativity in all scopes of activities or in particular intellectual areas, movement, artistic and social skills.'
The concept follows the previous strategic material from the years 2009–2013.
 It is a considerable change, previously there were three types of pupils and students defined according to the Education Act of 2004: 'with health disability (bodily, visual, auditory, mental, autism, speech defects, concurrent disability with several defects, developmental disorders of learning or behaviour); with health disadvantage (health impairment, long term illness and lighter health disorders leading to disorders in learning and behaviour); with social disadvantage (from a family environment with low social-cultural status, endangered by social-pathological phenomena, with ordered institutional care or placed under protective care and pupils with the status of asylum seekers and party to asylum procedure).'