School attendance in the Czech republic is compulsory from the age from six to fifteen.Most children attend state school, but there are also newly established private and church schools.Education at state schools up to eighteen is free of charge, but students at secondary schools must pay for their textbooks.Private and church schools charge school fees.All schools are coeducational.Students do not wear uniforms.Handicaped children are educated separately.
The school year starts on 1st September and ends on 30th June of the following year.The school year is divided into two terms.The average number of lessons at a secondary school is around thirty a week, primary schools have fewer lessons of course.Classes usualy begin between eight and eight-fifteen.There are usually six lessons in a row followed by a lunch break and then afternoon lessons.Breaks between lessons last from five to twenty minutes.
Pupils and students are evaluated by marks from 1 to 5, 1 is the best, 5 is the worst.Each term they get school report with marks of each subject.Some of us went to creches (for children up to 3 years) and some went to nursery school (for children aged 3 to 6).At 6 they start to go to primary schools and they stay there until 15.At the age of 15 pupils transfer from primary to secondary school.There is another way.Pupil can transfer to grammar school at the age of 11 after they have passed an entrance exam.
At the age of 15 pupils can choose among variety of secondary schools :
a) grammar schools with general and rather academic education with prepare students for university study
b) special schools which include technical colleges, specialized in building, chemistry, engeneering etc., bussines academies, agricultural schools, nursering schools, music and art schools which offer professional education
c) vocational schools training would-be workers for practical jobs
Secondary education usually lasts 4 years and at grammar and specialized schools it is finished with a school-leaving exam, which is required by all universites and colleges.This exam is taken in four subjects.It's different on each school.The exam is held in May and is mostly verbal except Czech in which an essay is writen about a month before.The verbal part of the exam takes about two hours, half an hour for each subject.A student chooses one of 25 to 30 topics by drawing a number and after 15 minutes preparation he (or she) speaks on the topic and solves given tasks.If they are succesfull they got School-Leaving Certificate.Now they can apply for study at universities
Universities and colleges provide tertiary education which lasts from 4 to 6 years.Before he (or she) is accepted they have to pass an entrance exam.The exam consist of a written test and an interview.Our oldest university is Charles univerzity in Prague and it's also most renowned university in our country, but it's renowned also around Europe.Other notible universities are Masaryk University in Brno, Palacký University in Olomouc and Purkynì University.Prague has also one of two technical universities in our country, the other one is in Brno.
Ungraduates can study a variety of subjects such as economics, foreign trade, architekture, law, jurnalism, medicine, engeneering etc.
The university college students can enroll at three-year courses for a Bachelor's Degree or four and five-year courses for Master's Degree.Medicine usually takes 6 years.Doctoral Degrees are awarded after another few years of study, which may be also individual, and completion of another thesis.
Full time university students are expected to bear the expence of their tuition and they must also pay for their accomodation and board.The students from distant places usually lodge at a hall of residence (dormitory / dorm).Only a limited number of students get a grant or a scholarship.
A school and a classroom
School buildings in our country look very similar as an England.They are usually large buildings with a few floors, often with a sportsground attached.In the basement or on the ground floor there are cloakrooms with student's lockers, a boiler room, a workshop, a school canteen, gym and sometimes caretaker's flat.
All classrooms in the Czech republic are almost the same.There are large windows opposite the door, rows of school desks and chairs with two aisles in between, a blackboard and a shelf with coloured and white chalk, a sponge, a cloth, a teacher desk, a bookcase, a notice book, a few pictures and a portrait of the president etc.We also have special classrooms such as chemistry, biology or physics laboratory and there are special equipments.
Now what is a lesson in a Czech school like?After the bell, when the teacher enters the room, the pupils or students stand up to greet him.He makes an entry in the class register, marks absent students and then he starts lesson with revision of the previous lesson.Before the end of the lesson he sums up the topic and sets assignments for the next lesson.The teachers are supposed to follow the curriculum (syllabus), but they are free to choose textbooks for their students.Students also have after-school activities such as sport, art club etc.