About 500 heads of nursery schools and kindergartens throughout the Czech
Republic have complained in a letter to Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO)
that pre-school education is being neglected.
The letter charges that Minister of Education Robert Plaga (ANO) has failed to invest in kindergartens despite increasing numbers of children being enrolled.
There has been a marked rise in class size after pre-school attendance was made compulsory in order for disadvantaged families to receive certain social benefits.
Pre-school teachers often now have up to 28 children in their classrooms, the headmasters say.
More than 60,000 foreign students studied at Czech universities last year – a record high. Most full-time diploma students are from neighbouring Slovakia, followed by ex-Soviet states such as Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus, with interest from India and China steadily rising. Most exchange students, coming for just a semester, are from the United States.
Teaching trade unions have asked for a meeting with Prime Minister Andrej
Babiš about their planned January salary increase and remain on strike
alert, the Czech News Agency reported on Monday.
The unions originally wanted a 15 percent increase to their salaries as opposed to the government’s planned 10 percent pay rise, but have since agreed to the percentage proposed by the latter. The issue now revolves around how the extra pay should be handed out.
The unions have so far not commented on a new proposal by Education Minister Robert Plaga from the ANO party, which would see a flat pay increase of CZK 2,700 with a further CZK 900 available in bonuses.
The government previously promised to increase teachers’ salaries by 150 percent of their 2017 wages by the end of the current election term.
The ruling coalition has reached agreement on a hike in salaries for public
sector employees in 2020.
All public sector employees will receive an additional 1,500 crowns a month in tariffs; the lowest tariff table, which applies to the lowest-paid professions, such as social services employees, will be abolished.
Negotiations are still underway on a 10 percent hike for teachers.
The head of the Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions Josef Středula welcomed Friday's agreement calling it a good compromise.
“Those who are the worst off will get the biggest hike, and it’s a substantial increase. I think this is a fair deal, ” Středula said.
The ministers of finance and education agreed Monday on a draft budget for
the education sector of 213 billion crowns in 2020, roughly 8 percent more
than this year. That includes an extra1 billion crowns earmarked mainly to
recruit new teachers.
Minister of Education Robert Plaga (ANO) said more teachers will be needed in the coming years due to higher birth rates earlier in this decade.
The draft budget counts on raising teachers’ salaries by 10 percent next year and by 9 percent in 2021, in line with the government’s pledge to raise salaries in the education sector to 150 percent of 2017 levels.
Several top Czech universities have introduced new electronic tools such as
Turnitin to detect plagiarism following high-profile scandals, the daily
Over the past three years, Charles University has rejected the academic theses of nearly 50 students after software flagged their work for plagiarism, triggering a review.
Palacky University in Olomouc and Masaryk University in Brno are among the institutions of higher learning now reviewing past theses submitted over the past decade or so.
Over the past year, two government ministers were pushed to resign over allegations of plagiarism, as was the head of the Institute of World History at Charles University.
Doctoral students in the Czech Republic are complaining that they don’t
receive sufficient financial support from the state, Czech Radio reported
on Sunday. Although the government recently raised the monthly payment to
PhD students by almost 50 percent, up to 11,000 crowns (around 428 euros)
per month, many of them still have to seek extra income.
According to the data released by the Ministry of Education, the drop-out rate among PhD students is around fifty percent. Nearly 10,000 students started their doctoral studies in the Czech Republic in the academic year 2014-2015, but only 4,749 of them graduated in 2017-2018.