Czech Doctors Push for Paperwork Reduction in Schools

Pediatricians in the Czech Republic are calling for changes to the administrative requirements for schoolchildren, saying that many are unnecessary and create a flood of paperwork. In particular, they argue that food hygiene certificates are no longer necessary, as schools are no longer permitted to demand them. Instead, they would like schools to require proof of health, but only when necessary.

“We talked about administrative changes with the Ministry of Health and Education, and we agreed on what is important and what is unnecessary,” said Alena Šebková, head of the Czech Society of Pediatricians. “Schools should not require some things. The same will apply to sports, but that is not yet agreed upon.” The National Sports Agency will work with pediatricians to determine when proof of health for sports is valid and when it is not. However, changes to the law will be necessary.

The push to reduce paperwork will also extend to middle schools in the coming months. Those focused on providing health or social care cannot do without it.

“We plan to negotiate with representatives of pediatricians for children and adolescents and the Ministry of Education on the adjustment of requirements for the evaluation of health suitability for study at secondary schools,” said Šebková. She believes that changes could be made by February.

Schools are also being urged to raise awareness among parents. “The Ministry has asked primary schools to inform students and their legal representatives through educational counselors or career counselors about which field of education does not require confirmation of health suitability,” said the Ministry of Education’s press office. However, according to Šebková, this does not always happen, particularly regarding food hygiene certificates, which have not been mandatory since July.

While schools can ask for proof of health suitability, parents may also provide a certificate issued less than two years ago. For example, this could be a certificate issued by a pediatrician for a summer camp. “When a doctor issues a certificate of eligibility to attend a camp, it often happens that parents submit the original when a copy would suffice,” said Josef Pavlovic, deputy minister of health.

Schools can request proof of health suitability for nature stays longer than five days, but they should not require a new certificate if an existing one is still valid. Parents are responsible for excuse notes, and if a child has a restriction, a pediatrician need only write one letter, which can be used for multiple subjects or clubs.