Education system in the Czech Republic
Education at state Primary and Secondary schools and Universities is free of charge if it is in the Czech language. Parents are asked to buy only some learning materials such as brushes, paints, adhesives and notepads, personal school equipment, trips, lunches and possibly also for accommodation.
The Education system in the Czech Republic has a very long tradition and creates many choices and opportunities. The down-to-earth Austro-Habsburg curricula are still partially reflected in the system making sure that the general education is balanced and enables all children from all backgrounds to participate and proceed to higher education. Excellent education traditions date back to the Middle Ages when literacy (otherwise rather rare in Europe) was already quite common, and also to the renaissance when important thinkers and teachers, such as Jan Comenius, were laying the cornerstones of modern and European pedagogy.
The assessment and grading system used in the Czech Schools consists of a scale from 1 (best) to 5 (worst) that is used to evaluate the students’ work. School Reports/Certificates (summary assessment) give grades for each school subject halfway through and at the end of the school year.
Children start with preschool education usually at the age of 3 at the Kindergarten (školka) and continue to the Primary School (= základní škola, ZŠ). It starts at the age of 6 and its first 5 years are called Elementary School. Then the pupils can proceed to the Secondary Education, afterwards there is a choice of the Tertiary or University education, and also there are Post-graduate Education Programmes.
There are various choices of schooling approaches and some schools specialise: there are bilingual schools, Montessori and Waldorf schools, and schools specialising in sports, science or languages. The choice is wide. Private schools are usually paid.
Apart from the mainstream system there are also educational facilities for children with special educational needs due to their physical and/or mental disabilities. Lately, integrating children with special needs has become the main approach and pedagogic assistants are available to integrate children with special needs. Not knowing the language of schooling can also be considered a special need and if this is the case for your child please contact us to discuss the procedures.
- Kindergartens are separate from Primary Schools and before entering Primary School (=základní škola) one year of Kindergarten is compulsory, i.e. children who are 5 years of age by 1st of September have to start attending Kindergarten.
- Age 5: compulsory Kindergarten starts.
- Age 6: compulsory 9-year-long Primary School starts (including Elementary School for the first 5 years).
- Primary School (=Základní škola) covers the age range 6 – 15, but children can proceed to various secondary schools already earlier (at 11 earliest). The Primary Education is compulsory for 9 years (but at a maximum of up to 17 years of age), and it is typically acquired at the so-called Primary School (comprising the 5 years of the Elementary school, the Elementary School is called “1. stupeň ZŠ” in Czech). Children can enter the Secondary Education earliest after fulfilling the 5 years of the Primary School.
- The Secondary Education can last 8, 7, 6, or 4 years when it is finished (typically at the age of 19) with a School Leaving Exam (=Maturitní zkouška), or providing practical vocational training start at the age of 15 and last for 2 or 3 years only (finished by vocational certificate).
- Afterwards there is a choice of the Tertiary or University education, and also there are Post-graduate Education Programmes.