The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MŠMT) has prepared its reform of regional education funding, which is currently waiting the approval by the Parliament of the Czech Republic. The reform applies to schools governed by regions and municipalities (more than 90% of primary schools, 70% of secondary schools ()), including public VET schools. The reform does not apply to the funding of private and church schools.
() Source: MŠMT: Statistical Yearbook of Education 2015/2016
Past funding of regional education has been derived from the number of students (‘per capita’ method), with financial resources provided from the budget of the governing bodies (mostly regions) and the state budget (MŠMT). This funding system has proved to have multiple issues and deficiencies. In funding staff, the system disregards different levels of teachers’ salaries determined by the length of teaching practice, expertise-dependent financial supplements, or, in the future, the differences that will arise from the career system for teachers (). As a consequence, the system has worked to the disadvantage of schools with higher numbers of teachers qualifying for higher salaries based on their expertise and length of practice. It was impossible to take into account, at national level, specific features of individual regions, such as different sizes of schools, different field structure of secondary and tertiary VET, different participation of students in hobby training or varying financial demands of the support measures provided to students with special needs. The normative funding provided per pupil by the regions differed greatly and was unpredictable, which resulted in unequal conditions for comparable schools in different regions.
The system has had a negative impact on education quality and efficiency. In their effort to acquire higher numbers of students, schools were lowering their quality standards when recruiting new candidates; they also strived to keep in training as long as possible those students who were showing poor probability of success.
The newly proposed funding system specifies that a maximum number of lessons in classroom per field of study will depend on the number of students in the class. This will allow the schools to provide training of the required quality. The proposal also sets the normative parts of teachers’ salaries while taking into account average class repletion and the share of students with special educational needs. The specified coefficients will reflect increasing teacher workload with a growing number of students in the classroom and also with higher participation of students with special educational needs.
The schools will submit data on teaching staff numbers, salary scales and other wage claims to the ministry. Each school defines its own claim for allocation of financial resources from the state budget to ensure its activities. Based on assessment of the applications submitted, the ministry allocates financial resources to schools to cover the salary costs as per the amount defined by the legislation.
The proposed solution introduces equal conditions in each region. It eliminates differences in funding of the same fields of study, inequalities in staff remuneration, and negative impacts on student numbers. This will remove the need for secondary schools to recruit as many new students as possible in order to secure the necessary volume of financial resources to cover their operation, regardless of pupils´ needs and abilities to study the chosen field. The measure is in line with OECD key recommendations for the Czech Republic in funding regional education
() Currently, the implementation of the career system is being prepared. The career system for teachers will define teachers’ career levels and their link to remuneration.