A recent announcement by the Czech government has caused concern among educators. Due to budget cuts, schools are expected to reduce the number of teaching hours, potentially affecting gifted students and those preparing for entrance exams or graduation.
The head of the Association of Primary School Directors, Luboš Zajíc, voiced his concerns. “If the number of teaching hours is reduced, some schools will stop dividing lessons into smaller groups in Czech or mathematics. These things move students forward. It helps to increase chances for admission to secondary schools or those needing more attention,” he said.
However, as the number of funded hours decreases, many primary schools (ZŠ) must cancel their personalized programs. The Ministry of Education distributes money according to the number of taught hours and sets a limit. Savings are expected to come from lowering this limit next school year.
Many schools may be unable to fully utilize the given opportunities due to a lack of space or inability to hire teachers. The extent of funding cuts is still under consideration. Secondary school directors are particularly concerned as the initial proposal from the Ministry of Education aims to cut teaching hours by 15%.
Zajíc’s vocational school, for example, would have to cut teaching German and French. Besides English, other foreign languages are only recommended at secondary schools but are highly sought-after in practice. Gymnasiums could cancel seminars focusing on graduation subjects according to students’ interests.
As co-teaching slowly becomes more prevalent in secondary and primary schools, budget cuts could also potentially impact this method. As one secondary school teacher from Prague described, “Many fun or educational shows are moderated in pairs. It works the same way for students and children.”