Educational system in Czech Republic
In Czech educational system we could divide education in four main stages. First stage is preschool education. Originally it was from 3 to 6 years old children, and it was not mandatory. Before few years there are two important changes. First change is the fact, that preschool education could attend children from 2 years old. Second change is that last year of preschool education is guaranteed for all children and there is mandatory registration (children should attend this year or they could stay in home, but with the obligation of check in the school, where is the child registered.
Second stage is the elementary education. It is mandatory and could be divided into two main parts: elementary education (grades from 1 to 5, for children from 6 to 11 years old) and the lower secondary education (grades from 6 to 9, for children from 11 to 15 years old). Some schools (especially in small towns and villages have only elementary schools with grades from 1 to 5, that students must change school between 5 and 6 grade. Second possibility of change school is to go to 8years general secondary school (called “gymnasium”), where students must do entry exams, when they would like to use this possibility. About 5 % of children are going to these schools, where is big selection of students.
Third stage is the upper secondary education. In difference between stages, which was mentioned in previous text, this stage is not mandatory. In these schools are grades from 10 to 13 and it is usually for students from 15 to 19 years old. Schools in this stage could be divided into 2 main types:
- Vocational schools with vocational certificate (three years study, sometimes students could continue next two years for maturita exams).
- Secondary schools with final exams called “maturita exams” (four years study)
“Maturita exams” after secondary education is mandatory for possibility to continue study at last stage – tertiary or university education. To sum up it in shorten way, these schools provide education in bachelor, master, and doctoral degree.
Next text will be aimed especially for lower and higher secondary education. Main principles are similar in preschool and elementary education. In tertiary education are bigger differences.
Main outputs of every stage of education are defined in General Education Programme. It is prepared by Ministery of Education for every stage and type of schools. It is mandatory for every school and in this document, we can find basic minimal outputs of the school.
School must prepare School Education Programme, according to General Education Programme. In this must be used minimal outputs from General Education Programme, but every school has big part of autonomy to add extra thinks to its curriculum.
In the School Education Programme are not only main topics for teaching every subject in every year of the study, but as it is called – key competences – in this are described knowledge, skills, attitudes, which student earns during his study at the school. To the key competences we could include these seven competences:
- Learning competence
- Problem-solving competence
- Communication competence
- Personal and social competence
- Civic competence
- Working competence
- Digital competence
The last one, the digital competence, was added to the General Educational Programme in 2022, because of bigger integration of information technology to education in every subject.
General Education Programme provides to school big part of autonomy to make difference between schools. But in the opposite side the Ministery of Education prepares unified exams.
First type of unified exams is the unified entry exam, which is mandatory for students, who would like to continue in secondary schools with maturita exams. These exams are from two subjects – Czech language and Mathematics.
Second type of unified exams are the maturita exams – tests from Czech language and Second language or Mathematics are prepared by the ministery. Oral part of exams is prepared by the school.
All these tests are not evaluated by teachers in school, but by certified raters (teachers from different schools, who have got special certification). These teachers evaluated tests anonymously (they don’t know, which student has written test, which they are evaluating.
Innovation of General Education Programme
One of the greatest actual topics in education in Czech Republic is the innovation of General Education Programme. There are two parts: “Small revision”, which is aimed to digital competence and IT and “Revision”, which is aimed to the content of all subjects.
The area of creativity is in the “Small revision”. All elementary schools must implement it to their School Education Programme till 2023 and secondary schools till 2025. This revision has got two main reasons – first one is to increase number of lessons of Information technology, with the topics of programming, robotics, etc. Second reason is to implement digital competences to all other subjects. To show, that IT could help us to solve problems in everyday life and in every subject and to use IT in practical way.
This revision is offering the place for creativity. Students could use IT for example in languages use text processor to write essays, in natural sciences to measure data in laboratory and process them, or in Math visualize data in Geogebra or other applications.
Examples of using creativity in education
In the topic “statistics” students are exploring the topics as tables, diagrams, average, variability, modus, median, etc. How to use creativity here? This area could relate to the digital competences. Students could design questionaries and prepare it in Google Forms or Microsoft Forms. Then they could make survey in the class or in the school. Then they have prepared data, which they could process, prepare tables, diagram, count average values and other statistical characteristics. Finally they will prepare report.
Next example are online quizzes. They are popular now and teachers are using them in many subjects for fast revision of different topics. Students could use computers in computers rooms, or they could use their own devices – for example mobile phones or tablets.
But where is creativity here? For example, students could prepare revision for their classmates. They could learn the topic by two different ways. First is thinking about the topic, when students make up the questions, second, when they play the quiz.
Examples of quizzes, which could students use are Kahoot, Quizizz, Socrative and lot of others. For example, if you would like to use Kahoot, students couldn’t need the Kahoot account. They could prepare questions and answers in MS Excel or other table processor and send it to teacher, who will import it into the Kahoot system.
Project oriented learning
Other popular area for creativity is project-oriented learning. Teachers could use different school projects, eTwinning projects or Erasmus+ projects.
Erasmus+ projects offer not only travelling but working on different projects on the basis of interconnections between subjects.
Last two projects, at which I have working at our school was two projects. First one was project called “HEREDITAS – HERE Discover International Treasure and Survive”. In this project we have cooperated with schools from Croatia, Germany, Greece, Slovakia, and Spain. Project was aimed on cultural heritage – architecture, music, dances, crafts, or food. Here was good experience of this interconnection between subjects – IT, Languages, History, Art or Music. Outputs of project you could find at www.hereditas.club.
Second, actual, project is called “Colourful numbers”. It is aimed to Math in everyday life. Project is prepared in cooperation with schools in Italy, Poland, Romania and Turkey and again it is good example of creativity, because students are preparing with their teachers many interesting outputs – for example board games, videos, presentation, card games or art. All outputs will be published at www.colourful-numbers.eu.
Other possibilities of using creativity
There are a lot of areas of using creativity – for example preparing puzzles and crosswords, students could prepare topic for their classmates and teach them or preparing videos with students. The last example is very good choice. Students could prepare plot of video, they could record it and cut it. You don’t need any special device for it. Recording video and editing it is now possible on every smart phone, from the cheapest one. And students could improve their creativity and IT skills.
Gymnázium a Jazyková škola s právem státní jazykové zkoušky Zlín