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Czech Republic: public opinion survey on views of education quality

Czech citizens believe that the quality of schools in the Czech Republic is relatively good. In recent years, however, public opinion has been indicating a slight increase in scepticism in relation to all types of education. Vocational schools are usually rated worse than general/academically oriented schools, though over a long period, a strengthening optimistic opinion among the Czechs is that everybody has the opportunity to achieve qualifications corresponding to their abilities. Citizens believe that schools are performing well in developing student knowledge; however, they fail in cultivating moral values and discipline.  

Since 2002, the Public Opinion Research Centre (CVVM) of the Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences has conducted an annual public opinion survey on quality of education provided by the most common types of school.

Czech citizens see the quality of education in selected types of schools in a favourable light. General and academically oriented education are usually rated higher than VET. In 2017, secondary general schools (gymnázia) were the best rated schools (66% of citizens believing that their quality is good), followed by primary and lower secondary schools (64%) and higher education institutions (59%). Secondary technical schools that offer programmes leading to matura exams (maturita) were evaluated as good-quality schools by 54% of respondents, which cannot be regarded as a good result. In some previous surveys (especially in 2002-06), secondary technical schools were seen as better than higher education institutions. In this year’s ranking, secondary technical schools are followed by tertiary professional schools (52%) and secondary vocational schools; only 45% of Czech citizens think that this last group are of good quality).

Positive development in public opinion was recorded on whether everybody in the Czech Republic has the opportunity to acquire qualifications corresponding to their abilities. In 2005, 58% of respondents agreed with the statement (sum of responses ‘definitely yes’ and ‘rather yes’), while in 2017, this share had reached 74%.

Has everybody in the Czech Republic opportunity to achieve qualifications corresponding to their abilities? (%)

Source: Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences (SOÚ AV), Public Opinion Research Centre (CVVM): Public opinion survey on quality of education provided by different types of schoolsSeptember 2017. Press release of 23.10.2017

Czech citizens believe that the school system is most successful in developing students’ knowledge (69% of positive responses), followed by orientation in society (60%), independence and autonomy (60%), teamwork skills (58%), creativity (56%), public appearance skills (54%), and self-confidence (54%). Evaluation was lower for cultivation of moral values (only 31% of respondents believe that schools are developing them successfully) and discipline (26%).

As in many European countries, public opinion of VET tends to be less favourable than for general or academic schools. If compared internationally, however, the Czech view on VET is more positive than the European average; this can be seen in Cedefop´s Opinion survey on VET in 2016. This goes in line with the strong tradition of quality VET, which represents a key stream of upper secondary schooling in the Czech Republic. In recent years, the share of applicants for technical VET fields has been growing again, despite the demographic decline, which attests to the strong position of this segment in the education system and reflects the general perception that it ensures good opportunities in the labour market for its graduates.