“Although the numbers of accepted Ukrainian children have not yet been finalized, the crisis scenarios from the first half of this year, which predicted the arrival of up to 130,000 children, will certainly not be fulfilled,” said Aneta Lednová, spokeswoman for the department.
The latest estimate reckons with 57,000 young refugees in Czech schools. The exact number will be known only in the second half of the month. According to Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS), the admission of these pupils is going smoothly, according to him, the schools have prepared well for the start of the new school year. Those with few places have created special classes and adaptation groups.
At the same time, the share of Ukrainian schoolchildren and children of foreigners in general in primary schools in the Czech Republic was already growing before the Russian invasion. Over the past ten years, it has increased from 1.8 to 3.2 percent. “In kindergartens and elementary schools, the number of children from Ukraine has almost tripled, in secondary schools it has increased by more than 45 percent. Due to the war in Ukraine, a further increase in the number of Ukrainian pupils can be expected,” specified Vendula Kašparová from the Department of Development Statistics of the CZSO.
Schools in agglomerations of large cities, especially in Prague and its surroundings, expect the greatest onslaught. In the Praha-východ district, home to 188,000 inhabitants, 3,423 children were enrolled in the first grades. This is more than in the whole of Ostrava, which has a population of 312,000.
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Outlying regions have the fewest first-year students. Only 330 children go to school in Jesenice for the first time. There are only nine new schoolchildren per thousand inhabitants. Schools in the districts of Hodonín, Bruntál, Karviná, Karlovy Vary, Plzeň-jih, Klatovy and Cheb also have similarly low numbers.
Only one in six goes at the age of seven
Moreover, in these regions, children often do not go to school until the age of seven. In the Jeseník district this year, a quarter of parents requested a one-year postponement of compulsory school attendance for their children. This is half more than the national average, and twice the situation in Prague.
However, postponements are more common across the country today. This year there were over 25 thousand of them, ten years ago only 16 thousand.