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The Czech Republic K-12 Education System

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports formulates the educational policy objectives, and is responsible for the development of the Czech Republic education system. The Education Act regulates the pre-primary, basic, upper secondary and tertiary professional education. 

K-12 Education Levels

Pre-Primary Education (ISCED 0)

The pre-primary education in the Czech Republic is provided by the Nursery schools /pre-schools (mateřske skoly).The pre-primary education in the Czech Republic is regulated by the Framework Educational Programme for pre-primary education.  The pre-schools do not charge any fee and municipalities are responsible for them. These schools prepare children for school learning environment and work towards the child’s development. 
  • Age: 3 -6 years

Primary/Basic Education- Compulsory (ISCED 1 and 2)

In 1774, compulsory education was started in the Czech Republic. This level of education is mandatory to attend and is offered by the elementary schools, split up into 2 parts-primary and secondary schools. It consists of two stages:
  • First stage (ISCED 1): Comprising grade 1-5 and students between the ages 6 and 10 attend this stage
  • Second stage (ISCED 2): Comprising grade 6-9 and students between the ages 11 and 15 attend this stage
The primary education lays the base for learning. It teaches mathematical and literacy needed for further level of studies. Instructions in the following subjects are also given: languages, physics, biology, history, geography, music, physical education, and arts and crafts.
  • Age: 6-15 years
  • Duration: 9 years
  • Certificate Awarded: Primary School Leaving Certificate (Vysvědčeni) 
Some students leave the basic school after grade 5 or 7 to go into multi-year general secondary schools. Some students after completion of the grade 5 may attend 8-year conservatoires. 

Children with disabilities can attend special basic schools. 

Secondary Education (ISCED 3) 

Secondary education in the Czech Republic is provided by the upper secondary schools. Secondary schools are generally public and set up by regions. The education at the public secondary schools is free. But there are also private or denominational secondary schools which charge fees. 

Upper Secondary Education (ISCED 3A)

The admission procedure requires completion of a compulsory education and successfully satisfying the entrance requisites determined by the school. Pupils who wish to attend upper secondary education can select between the following three upper secondary schools:

General Secondary Education (Gymnazium)

The Czech general secondary schools prepare its pupils to attend higher education institutions for professional specializations. 3 kinds of courses are provided
  • 4-year courses for students who have completed their compulsory education
  • 6-year courses for students who have finished the seventh year
  • 8-year courses for students who have finished the fifth year
Along with the general courses, there are 12 fields of study, such as humanities, languages, mathematics, natural science, physical education, and so on. The general education ends with a maturita or maturitni zkouska exam. 
  • Duration: 4 years
  • Ages: 15-19  
  • Credential Awarded: Secondary School Leaving Certificate (Vysvědčeni o maturitni zkousce)

Technical Secondary Education

These schools focus on technical courses of study and are completed by the school-leaving examination- maturitni zkouska. 
  • Duration: 4 years
  • Ages: 15-19  
  • Credential Awarded: Secondary School Leaving Certificate (Vysvědčeni o maturitni zkousce)

Vocational Secondary Education (ISCED 3C)

The vocational secondary education is provided by secondary vocational schools and leads to an apprenticeship certificate. This form of education provides training in a specific vocation or trade. 
  • Duration: 2-3 years
  • Ages: 15-17/18
  • Credential Awarded: Vocational Certificate or Certificate of Apprenticeship (Vyučni list)
Students who leave upper secondary education can go for 1-2 year secondary education programmes.  Students can also go into follow-up and shortened courses that are of 1-2 years duration. 

Conservatory

In the Czech Republic, there are 8-year conservatoires and 6-year conservatoire. The conservatoire emphasize on artistic education- music, drama and dance.  To gain admittance into the conservatoire, students are required to show their talent in the form of an aptitude test. The conservatoire education is completed by passing an absolutorium examination, which awards those leaving “tertiary professional education in conservatoire” (ISCED 5B) with the qualification of a “qualified specialist” (DiS.).

* The absolutorium is a comprehensive professional examination comprising of a theoretical exam in vocational subjects stated in a curricular document, an examination in a foreign language, a dissertation and a performance in one or two principal artistic fields, or an examination in artistic and pedagogical training.

Eight-year conservatoire: These focuses on dance only and the programmes is of 8 years duration
  • Ages: 11-19 
Six-year conservatoire: These focuses on music and drama and the programme lasts for 6 years
  • Ages: 15-21

School Year

The school year in the Czech Republic commences on September 1 and ends on August 31 of the following year. The summer breaks are in July and August.

Grading System

The primary and secondary schools in the Czech Republic use a 5-point grading scale, wherein 1 is the best and 5 is regarded as the worst.

 Grade Grade Description (In Czech) Grade Description (In English) US Grade
 1 Vyborny Excellent A
 2 Chvalitebny Commendable B
 3 Dobry Good C
 4 Dostatečny Sufficient D
 5 Nedostatečny Insufficient F
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