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CZ schools are still taking the concessions from the government

February 06, 2024

Original Article:

The original article requires translation.

"Maybe it's on the right track. But I will take it as a concession from the government when I see it in black and white," said František Dobšík, head of school unions.

Petra Mazancová, head of the Teacher's Platform association, reacted similarly. "I would be happy if we could put it on paper," she told Novinkám a Práva.

The original proposal of the Ministry of Education was to reduce the maximum number of unlearned hours at various types of secondary schools by an average of 15 percent.

This caused panic among the principals, as many would have to cancel electives, the division of classes in some subjects into smaller groups according to skills, and vocational training could also be limited.

They don't have to fire
Jiří Kuhn, director of Nymburk High School, came up with a specific calculation. "Teachers can teach a maximum of 1068 hours with us. We use this option to 97 percent. By reducing the theoretical base by 15 percent, we would reach 908 hours," he described.

Because of this, he would have to stop dividing classes in mathematics and Czech, in pre-matriculation and matriculation years in optional subjects. The game also included laboratory exercises.

At the same time, it would mean the dismissal of five cantors, or a wider reduction in teaching staff. Now his fears are dispelled. Last week, the coalition approved that the maximum number of hours would be cut by only five percent in total.

"We are already able to implement this in such a way that the quality does not drop. For a physics or biology seminar, where the children are already profiled in the direction of university studies, we have three groups of ten, then there will be two of fifteen," he explained to Novinkám a Práva. And he doesn't have to fire.

"Those people will not have extra hours, they will have basic duties," he added.

Also according to the chairman of the Union of School Associations, Jiří Zajíček, the current proposal is acceptable. However, he also has doubts. "That is already acceptable for us, but it is not on paper yet. It probably wouldn't compromise the quality too much. I think most schools would fit in," he told Novinkám a Práv.

"It wouldn't be possible without a strike"
The situation with the Ministry of Education's proposals for the head of the Association of Primary School Principals, Luboš Zajíc, is not very clear. In the case of elementary schools, the maximum number of hours was to be reduced to 94 percent, now it is also at 95 percent.

According to the Minister of Education Mikuláš Bek (STAN), it is calculated that 600 full-time positions from the schools that drew the most will be transferred to the schools that drew the least.

But the hare does not see this maneuver. "It is strange to transfer duties from schools that use or need them to those that do not need them, or do not have the space or personnel capacity for them. I don't really understand the move from active to inactive. We'll see what comes out of it," he told Novinkám a Práva.

It was the threat of lesson cuts that drove a number of schools to strike on Monday. According to Mazancová, it fulfilled its purpose.

"Why would they release the original proposal for a 15 percent reduction at all? I'm afraid if we don't speak up, they'll just do it. And we already proposed the last option with a reduction of a maximum of five percent," she added.

More talks are coming up
In any case, Minister Bek plans to continue negotiating with school principals, associations, the Teachers' Platform and union leaders. He appealed to all sides of the dispute that is taking place in education to show that the school community, whether it is student, teacher or political, is ready to find a way to compromise and agree on how to manage the 2024 budget year.

"Next week we have a meeting of the big tripartite and also the school tripartite. I hope that we will begin to see the outline of some agreement. I will do everything for this, I consider it important that we enter the next year with some basic agreement," stated Bek.

"I think we all realize that there is a need to adjust the funding system for regional education so that it is more targeted and sustainable from a budgetary point of view, and at the same time does not harm the vital interests of schools and the quality of education," added the head of the education department, who on Tuesday discussed, among other things, representatives of the Union of Cities and Municipalities.


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