Czech Republic’s educational context
Students: The Czech Republic performs above the OECD average in science in PISA 2012, with performance in mathematics and reading around average. Performance has remained unchanged in reading and science across PISA cycles and has decreased in mathematics. The impact of socio-economic background on students’ academic performance is around the OECD average, and student performance varies highly between schools. Early childhood and care (ECEC) usually starts at age 4, and efforts to improve equity include improving enrolment in ECEC to reach the OECD average for 3-4 year-olds. Different approaches to student selection, such as school choice, academic streaming and early tracking (at age 11), and differentiation of educational pathways can hamper equity if not managed carefully. Upper secondary attainment rates in the Czech Republic are above the OECD average. Enrolment in upper secondary vocational education and training (VET) is one of the highest among OECD countries, while students in the apprenticeship track do not feel well prepared for the labour market. In addition, tertiary attainment rates are below the OECD average. Literacy skills are high among 16-65 year-olds compared to other countries participating in the Survey of Adult Skills, and even higher among 15-24 year- olds. Unemployment is below the OECD average.
Institutions: Czech compulsory (basic) schools have one of the highest levels of autonomy among OECD countries in allocating resources, such as hiring and dismissing teachers, and in the use of curriculum and assessment. Lower secondary education teachers in the Czech Republic undergo five years of pre-service training. The organisation of a teaching practicum is at the discretion of training institutions. Teaching time is above the OECD average in primary education and below the OECD average in secondary education. Conditions for teachers have been improving, with class size below the OECD average. With the economic crisis, the teaching profession has become a more attractive alternative for tertiary-educated people looking for employment, although teachers still earn less than the OECD average at primary and secondary levels, and about half of the average salary for an individual with tertiary education in the Czech Republic. A lower proportion of teachers in the Czech Republic than the TALIS average consider that the teaching profession is valued in society and would choose to work as teachers if they could decide again. Schools are evaluated through well structured, evidence-driven external inspections.
System: Governance of the education system is shared between central authorities and schools. The government sets priorities and defines national programmes and reforms, while municipalities are responsible for organising pre-primary and compulsory education. At the lower secondary level, schools have great autonomy, with most decisions taken at the school or local level. Fourteen regional governments steer upper secondary and tertiary professional education and its objectives within their region. Expenditure in education is lower than the OECD average, despite spending increases on tertiary education, and the financial crisis has affected education funding, particularly for non- teaching staff in small schools. Expenditure on educational institutions as a percentage of GDP (for all educational levels combined) is one of the lowest among OECD countries, with a higher share of funding from public sources than the OECD average.
Selected indicators compared with the average
Click here to access the underlying dataNote: For each indicator, the absolute performance is standardised (normalised) using a normative score ranging from 0 to 180, where 100 was set at the average, taking into account all OECD countries with available data in each case. See www.oecd.org/edu/policyoutlook.htm for maximum and minimum value countries. Source: The Czech Republic Snapshot was produced combining information from Education Policy Outlook: Australia, (OECD, 2013) with OECD data and the country’s response to the Education Policy Outlook Snapshot Survey (2013). More information on the spider chart and sources is available at www.oecd.org/edu/policyoutlook.htm.
Key issues and goals
Students: The Czech Republic faces the challenge of raising overall student performance and reducing the proportion of those who are underperforming. Almost one in four students underperformed in PISA 2012 and did not achieve the level considered necessary to participate effectively in society (Level 2). To better prepare students for the future, it is key to help students effectively develop the skills needed in the labour market. This requires focusing on improving the quality of the education provided at tertiary level, rather than only increasing enrolment.
Institutions: Progress can also be hampered by a lack of systemic support to ensure the capacity of teachers and school leaders to address diverse student needs and to provide more inclusive education, and also by a lack of clarity to guide schools. Another issue is the introduction of a career progression system for teachers and leaders associated with pay levels, as well as integration of an evaluation and assessment framework including developing national standardised tests, while limiting their undesired effects.
System: The Czech Republic considers its key issues to adopt and implement its strategy for 2020 priorities and making better use of existing information about the impact of policy changes for the improvement of education outputs. Developing professional capacity across the education system (e.g. teaching, leadership, evaluation, and assessment) is also seen as important to foster education quality, along with improving the efficiency of overall school funding and transparency of the system, and promoting better financing of the education of disadvantaged students.
Selected policy responses
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Permanent URL: www.oecd.org/edu/policyoutlook.htm
OECD work on education: www.oecd.org/education