Consumer lender Home Credit announced on Thursday it will withdraw from a
controversial partnership agreement with Charles University announced
earlier this week.
A spokesman for the company said Home Credit did not want to be drawn into irrational debates about the nature of the cooperation before it had even begun.
Hundreds of Charles University students and faculty had called on the rectorate to cancel the agreement, accusing the company of lending irresponsibly, thereby adding to the personal debt crisis.
Home Credit is part of the PPF Group controlled by Czech billionaire Petr Kellner. Under the cooperation agreement, the consumer lender was to give Charles University half a million crowns annually, mainly to the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics and the Institute of Economic Studies.
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.
Bullying in Czech schools is on the rise. Although statistics indicate that more than half of Czech primary and secondary school students have either experienced or witnessed bullying, some schools remain in denial, claiming they don’t have a problem. Two years ago, three high school students took the matter into their own hands, setting up a web page where students or victims of bullying can report the abuse and get help.
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.
Thursday marks the European Day of Languages, which is celebrated annually across the continent. It aims to promote the rich linguistic diversity of Europe and raise awareness of the importance of lifelong language learning. Here in the Czech Republic, the European Day of Languages will be marked at Prague’s Campus Hybernská. Visitors can attend exhibitions and lectures as well as special language courses, from Yakut and Yiddish to Faroese and Sarkese.
Most children in the Czech Republic returned to school on Monday following the summer break. Compared to their peers worldwide, however, fewer look forward to being back in the classroom. This stems in part from a lack of positive feedback and individual attention from teachers, but also a lack of support from classmates, various studies show.
Schools around the country reopened for the new school year on Monday,
welcoming over 100,000 first graders.
Traditionally, President Miloš Zeman and a number of ministers attended the ceremony to wish the first-graders well. President Zeman attended the first day of school at a primary school in Třinec, in the Frydek-Mistek region, which has 700 pupils and welcomed 50 first-graders.
In a short address to the children, President Zeman spoke about the importance of curiosity in learning, saying that curiosity would lead them forward since it was behind the world’s greatest inventions and discoveries.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and Finance Minister Alena Schillerová attended the welcoming of first -graders in a school in Rudná, near Prague, while Education Minister Robert Plaga led his own daughter to first- grade at an elementary school in Brno.
Around 107,800 children are set to enter first grade at schools around the
Czech Republic on Monday morning. The total number of pupils at elementary
schools will be roughly 953,500, which is approximately 12,500 more than in
the previous academic year.
Secondary school students will number around 409,000, an increase of roughly 5,000 on the figure this time last year.
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