Prague will increase class capacity to 34 pupils, experts are concerned about the deterioration of teaching quality

Prague will increase class capacity to 34 pupils, experts are concerned about the deterioration of teaching quality
Prague will increase class capacity to 34 pupils, experts are concerned about the deterioration of teaching quality

The School Department of the Prague Municipality consults with secondary schools about increasing class capacity to a maximum of 34 pupils and, where possible, schools request it. Antonín Klecanda (STAN), city councilor for education, said this at today’s meeting of Prague representatives.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) together with Minister of Education Mikuláš Bek (STAN) said after a meeting with governors that this year’s problems with the capacities of secondary schools should be solved by increasing the number of pupils in classes.

Accepting a larger number of pupils in the class could lead to a reduction in the quality of teaching. Such filling of classes can also be hindered by the spatial possibilities of school buildings. Therefore, schools do not have to increase class capacity even if their founder calls them to do so. This follows from the statements provided by the president of the Association of Gymnasium Directors Renata Schejbalová and the president of the Union of School Associations of the Czech Republic – CZESHA Jiří Zajíček

In such a number, according to her, it is not possible to work with children individually or assign group work. Zaječek added that it would also be possible to hold further rounds of entrance exams.

It could also be a complication if one of the older pupils had to move to a fully filled lower class. “Such a child, who studies at school for two or three years and then has to interrupt his studies for health reasons, would not be able to be placed in a lower class and the pupil would have to leave school. There would probably not be many such cases, but they can occur,” says Zajíček .

According to Klecanda, the municipality has been dealing with the increase with the schools for several weeks. “The Department of Education is discussing with individual schools if this is possible,” he said. He added that, for example, the Gymnasium at the Libeň Castle increased its capacity for the next school year by an entire class. “If necessary, it can also take place in other schools,” he said.

According to the councilor, there are 17,100 places in secondary schools in Prague, of which 12,533 are in high school graduation courses. There are 11,651 pupils finishing ninth grade in the metropolis this year. Considering the fact that applications are submitted on paper and the admission process is still not completed, there is no accurate information on the admitted children yet. “We don’t really have that specific data at this point because it’s not digitized,” Klecanda said. The situation in the metropolis is also complicated by the fact that, according to the councilor, about 40 percent of children from the Central Bohemian region have submitted at least one application to Prague.

The city wants to enforce the digitization of secondary school enrollments, with the order of schools indicated according to priority, so that children who get into more schools do not block places at those they do not plan to attend. In the current enrollment system, the school that the child chooses as the so-called second and gets into it does not give information about the next one. At a certain moment, the pupils thus have two places in different schools.

Klecanda attended a meeting with Prime Minister Fiala and Minister Bek. According to Fiala, detailed data on the occupancy of individual schools after this year’s admission procedures will be available in a few weeks. According to him, however, it was confirmed that the situation varies greatly depending on the size of the settlements. In some places, the situation is serious, while in some regions, it is hardly affected. At the same time, the non-digital form of management prolongs the uncertainty of pupils and parents, according to the Prime Minister. The government is preparing a proposal for amendments to the admission procedure.

This year, 17,343 applicants applied to study four-year secondary school courses in Prague, which is 2,210 more than last year. Approximately 800 are applicants originally from Ukraine. In 2017, 10,278 applicants applied to the schools, which is an increase of roughly 69 percent this year. This follows from the statistics of the state organization Cermat, which provides uniform entrance exams.

The article is in Czech

Tags: Prague increase class capacity pupils experts concerned deterioration teaching quality


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