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Czech Republic

Overview

The Czech Republic, a small country in Central Europe, was the western part of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic. The Czech Republic is historically divided into three regions—Bohemia, Moravia and a part of Silesia. Prague is the capital. United into a common state after World War I, the Czechs, Moravians and Slovaks remained together for almost 75 years. On January 1, 1993, the two republics split to form two separate states.

Education

Prior to the separation, each country passed the same higher education reform in 1991. The new laws disbanded central authority of the existing ministries and brought autonomy back to the institutional level. This power included the ability to establish curricula, regulate enrollment and establish new faculties.

The academic year lasts from September to August with a long vacation from June 15 to September 1. The language of instruction is Czech, English and German. Currently, Czech Republic's education system is overseen by the Ministerstvo školství, mládeže a tělovýchovy.

Primary and Secondary Education

Education in the Czech Republic is compulsory from ages 6 through 15. Students enter the primary/basic school where there are two stages of learning—first to fifth year and then sixth to ninth year. Secondary education is offered at 3 types of schools—secondary general schools (gymnasium), secondary technical schools and secondary vocational schools.

Gymnasiums prepare students for study at higher education institutions and or professions. The secondary technical schools and four year or three year follow-up courses at vocational schools prepare students for a wide range of professions, as well as for studies at higher education institutions.

Post-Secondary Education

As an outgrowth of the reform, Bachelor degrees were established and an independent accreditation system was created. Progress over the next seven years resulted in significantly higher enrollments, the creation of a non-university higher education sector, which previously did not exist, the establishment of private institutions and a system that now included both bachelors and masters degrees.

Under the 1998 Higher Education Act, post secondary vocational educational institutions were able to apply for accreditation to award degrees at the bachelor level (or higher) either under the institutional name or under the auspices of a university.

Higher Education is offered at university and non-university type institutions. University level higher education programs offer Bachelor, Master and Doctoral study programs. Tertiary professional schools, even though they are not part of higher education belong to tertiary education and offer professional education leading to a diploma, mostly in economics and health care. Higher education institutions can be of university and non-university type.

The non-university higher education institutions usually offer Bachelor studies and, if accredited, master studies. They are not allowed to provide doctoral study programs. University-type higher education institutions offer Bachelor, Master and in most cases also Doctoral study programs. Higher education institutions offer courses in the Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, Engineering, Medicine and Pharmacy, and Theology, as well as in Economics, Veterinary Medicine, and Agriculture, Teacher Training and Arts. They are public, state or private institutions.

Teacher Training

Basic school teachers are trained at Faculties of Education. Teachers of the first stage of primary school follow a four-year course, those for the second stage follow a five-year course combining two subjects. Those specialized in Music Education are usually graduates of four-year or six-year conservatories. Secondary general school and secondary technical school teachers are trained in Faculties of Education, Arts, Philosophy, Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Physics, Physical Education and Sports, as well as in Technical, Economic and Agricultural Faculties. They obtain their qualifications through Master's degree courses.


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