Without pursuing further education at a high school level, graduates from elementary schools in the Czech Republic face limited options. Employment opportunities for minors are scarce, as reported by agencies. In response, some language schools have opened special daytime study programs for these students. However, the classes quickly fill up, and the schools cannot offer student status to the children.
One such school is the Elvis Language School in Prague, which offers a one-year post-elementary school study program for 38,000 Czech korun. The program consists of 20 hours of classes per week, held daily. The school aims to prepare students for Cambridge exams in English while also providing revision in mathematics and the Czech language. The focus is on preparing students for entrance exams to high schools in the following year. The school plans to open four classes, each accommodating 18 students.
Another language school, Akcent, also offers a similar language study program of 20 hours per week for approximately 38,000 korun annually. However, neither of these language school programs can provide students with the “student status” that exempts them from paying pension and health insurance. This status is crucial, especially for children receiving orphan pensions after the death of a parent. It is required to obtain retirement or be registered as an employment seeker at the labor office.
Alternative options include studying at private schools or even pursuing education abroad. Education agencies offer opportunities for learning at foreign high schools, primarily in the United States. However, these options can be costly for parents, with annual study fees reaching hundreds of thousands of koruna. Some agencies assist in obtaining scholarships, particularly for students involved in sports. The deadline for applying to foreign high schools is usually June 10th.
Private schools also provide alternatives. For example, Scio offers an “Expeditionary Gymnasium” program where students have three weeks of carefully structured distance learning followed by a week of expeditions. Although this option incurs some expenses, it allows students to participate from anywhere. Scio is also developing a Gap Year program, which is not uncommon abroad, allowing young people to take a break between schools. The aim is to combine various available options.
According to Ondřej Šteffl, the director of Scio, a year without school does not necessarily mean a loss. He suggests that children can pack their backpacks and travel across Europe, as they can learn more than in a classroom. He believes that education can be obtained even without traditional schooling, and with the help of artificial intelligence, it can be easier than before. Sometimes, schools may hinder learning by teaching unnecessary subjects that may never be useful.
Helena Marinková, the head of the Career Counseling Department at the National Pedagogical Institute, advises parents to appeal the results of the admission process, even if their child ranks low on the list. There is a possibility that the child may eventually get accepted since some students receive offers from multiple schools but choose only one. Additionally, many places remain vacant after the initial admissions process, especially during the second round.
This year, an exceptionally high number of students have applied to high schools, resulting in a surplus of applicants. The most challenging situation is in Prague and the Central Bohemia region, where even students with excellent academic performance often fail to secure a place in schools.