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.
Foreigners staying longer than 90 days must apply their children to school.
We have prepared a video with a general overview by Kate Wroblowská. Please, follow information under the video and also check the presentation “Enrolling Children in Primary School”.
Foreigners must follow the Czech rules if they are staying for longer than 90 days, which means:
- Every child of preschool age must attend kindergarten for at least 1 year.
- Every child older than 6 years old must attend school – it might be a Czech school or a private one (you will have to pay school fees). You also need to make sure that a private school is accredited by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic. If not, it is the parent’s duty to register the pupil for an individual education plan in the accredited school. Usually, non-accredited schools have agreements with accredited schools, on the basis of which children are tested, for example, once every six months.
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. 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.
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.
A detailed description of the education system in the Czech Republic can be found here.
Age 5: compulsory Kindergarten starts.
- Kindergartens are separate from Primary Schools and before entering Primary School 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 6: compulsory 9-year-long Primary School starts (and its first 5 years are called Elementary School).
- 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.
Age 15: Secondary education starts.
- 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).
Age 19: Tertiary/University education starts.
- Afterwards there is a choice of the Tertiary or University education, and also there are Post-graduate Education Programmes.
When the whole family is moving to a different country, one of the main struggles to be faced is a language barrier. No or inadequate knowledge of local language is a significant barrier also for children when entering the education system. Multiple means of support provided by public organizations (like the National Pedagogical Institute or regional authorities) can be used to integrate an expat child to the group of local peers.
One hour of Czech language per week is provided free of charge to children attending kindergarten.
A very similar situation concerns children in primary and secondary schools. Every pupil can get an adaptation coordinator for the first 4 weeks in a Czech school. The coordinator helps to overcome the language barrier (translation, interpretation) and helps with the cultural barrier and inclusion into the class group. To obtain an adaptation coordinator, a child’s legal representative must request this service during the first 5 days of school at the regional office of the National Pedagogical Institute (contacts here).
Every expat pupil/student who meets the statutory requirement for compulsory school attendance can attend free Czech language courses (in the range of 100 or 200 hours) in one of designated regional schools. You can find a list of schools designated for special courses for pupils with a mother tongue other than Czech here. In order for the pupil to be included in the special Czech language courses, a parent (or legal representative) must fill in an official application (download the application here).
The Moravian-Silesian Region also currently supports students in the 8th and 9th grade of primary schools and all secondary schools by organizing language courses during the school year (September – June) and in the summer. Regular (also online) courses during the school year are organized twice a week in 15 schools in the region. The summer course is more intensive – students attend the course 5 days a week. These two language courses are running from September 2021 to August 2023 under the auspices of the project Celé česko čte dětem (Every Czech Reads to Kids). For more information you can contact coordinators of this project directly:
- e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- phone: + 420 774 317 256