In October 2020, the Government adopted the Strategy for education 2030+. It includes reflections on both emerging social and technological challenges, such as fourth industrial revolution, and unsatisfactory aspects of the Czech education system, such as: the long-term declining quality of initial education, employers’ dissatisfaction by school graduates’ skills, an increasing share of early leavers from education, and the growing selectivity of the Czech education system.
Strategy 2030+ sets out two main objectives:
- focusing education more on acquiring the competences needed for an active civic, professional and personal life;
- reducing inequalities in access to quality education and enabling the utmost development of children’s and student’s potential.
Five strategic lines of action were proposed to achieve these goals.
Strategic line 1: Modifications in the content, methods and assessment of education includes a revision of educational programmes. A decrease of the learning content and strengthening of the competence-based approach are expected, particularly key competences, including the competence for lifelong learning. Students’ ability to apply their skills in practice in different contexts and conditions will be fostered.
The objectives for vocational education and training (VET) are to re-evaluate narrow specialisations and eliminate obsolete ones, foster interdisciplinary elements in related fields of education, secure vertical and horizontal permeability through validation of previous education by headmasters, systematic work on each student’s career development, etc. It supports the introduction of a modified dual education system adapted to the Czech context. Other elements foreseen include a larger share of instruction implemented in cooperation with employers, curriculum modularisation, creation of quality standards for company and school workplaces where practical training takes place, etc. More attention will be paid to topics related to digitisation, automation and robotics, and high added-value fields.
Strategic line 2: Equity in access to quality education aims at strengthening each student’s potential and increasing the quality of stage 2 of basic education. It attempts to reduce premature division of educational paths by trying to lower the percentage of students leaving basic schools to continue their studies at six- or eight-year grammar schools (Gymnázia) to 5-10% ,and bringing better-prepared graduates of basic schools to VET.
Strategic line 3: Support for the pedagogical staff seeks to create teachers’ competency profiles, reform the concept of teachers’ continuing education, increase attractiveness of the teaching professions to attract new candidates, and support teachers starting their career by establishing teacher mentors and creating of a comprehensive system of guidance for those entering teaching jobs. The strategy also foresees fostering teachers’ mental well-being and providing stress management options by introducing systematic support for coping with work-related stress.
An interesting innovation to the system is incorporated in the Strategic line 4: Increasing professional capacities, trust and cooperation. It proposes introduction of a centralised support service, with a supportive and coordinating (not decision-making) role to relieve schools of the burden of their current excessive administrative tasks.
Strategic line 5 covers the topics of Increasing the funding and securing its stability.
The Strategy 2030+ is an important step in the conceptualisation of the Czech education system and its investment priorities in the coming years. The key question is to what extent it will be possible to secure its systematic implementation in practice, particularly in terms of adequate sustainable funding in the context of the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Strategie vzdělávací politiky České republiky do roku 2030+ [Strategy for Education Policy of the Czech Republic 2030+]. MŠMT 2020