Prague Education Councilor Claims Sufficient Spots at High Schools

According to Antonín Klecanda, Prague Education Councilor (STAN), there are enough available spots at Prague’s high schools. However, the recent entrance exams and their system have created the opposite impression. Klecanda believes that the primary issue lies in the registration system, where students submit applications to two schools in the first round, resulting in many students being accepted by two schools. Nevertheless, as registration forms are being offered, the situation is gradually improving, with schools discovering available spots and reaching out to students who have submitted appeals and are below the cutoff line.

However, parents of academically strong students who have not secured a place in high school see the situation differently. They criticize the lack of available spots in Prague and the Central Bohemian Region, which was anticipated due to the expected increase in students, resulting in a limited capacity in maternity hospitals, kindergartens, and primary schools.

Bohuslav Svoboda (ODS), the mayor of Prague, acknowledges the severity of the problem. Pavel Klíma (TOP 09), the vice-chairman of the parliamentary education committee, described the situation as “critical” in an interview with Novinky on Thursday.

The admission requirements for Prague’s high schools are higher than other country regions. For instance, an average of 80 out of 100 points is required for admission to a gymnasium, whereas in other regions, the threshold can be significantly lower. This year’s situation was further complicated because only a few schools in the capital city announced a second round of entrance exams. Some of these schools are privately funded, resulting in additional costs for parents. Available spots are predominantly found in specialized schools, and in particular city districts, no schools announced a second round at all.

Mikuláš Bek (STAN), the new Minister of Education, intends to address the issue of insufficient capacity in high schools. Bek plans to construct new schools and reform the entrance exam system. He believes that the current system, in which ninth-grade students submit two applications but have only one registration form, causes unnecessary stress. The number of applications exceeds the number of available spots, and it takes time for students to decide on their preferred school, thereby delaying the allocation of places. According to Bek, this system is outdated and needs to be modernized.

While the entrance exam system has remained unchanged for many years, this year’s situation has proven particularly critical. Renata Schejbalová, chairwoman of the Association of Gymnasium Directors, agrees with Klecanda and Bek, attributing the problems to the entrance exam system. She described her experience contacting parents of students who did not meet the cutoff. She encountered a student who ranked 114th and explained that they accept around 60 students in such cases since not all of them appeal, and not all are interested in joining as they have already enrolled elsewhere.

Klecanda also emphasized that considering the number of students from the Central Bohemian Region applying to schools in Prague, it will be necessary to increase capacity and build new schools. A similar critical situation is evident in primary schools, where the class sizes are currently 30 students, and there is a lack of specialized classrooms and after-school facilities.

To address these issues, the Ministry of Education needs to collaborate with the Prague City Council since the city lacks the resources for building new schools. Additionally, Schejbalová hopes that the necessary digitalization of the entrance exam process will be implemented to help mitigate the current problems. The Association of Gymnasium Directors has