The school year started without restrictions due to covid, but in uncertainty due to energy prices

The school year started without restrictions due to covid, but in uncertainty due to energy prices
The school year started without restrictions due to covid, but in uncertainty due to energy prices

Prague – After the two-month summer vacation, the new school year started today. Unlike the previous two years, the return to classes was done without testing, masks and other restrictions against the spread of covid-19, but this time, the sharply rising prices of energy and other goods and services are causing concern. However, according to government politicians, the possible lack of energy will not affect teaching during the school year, they do not count on the so-called coal holidays. The state will ensure sufficient energy for public institutions, Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) said today.

According to the estimates of the Ministry of Education, more than 110,000 first-graders and another 60,000 war refugees from Ukraine sat down in classes today for the first time. Even without Ukrainian children, the number of pupils in primary schools will increase this school year by approximately 400 to 965,000 pupils and in secondary schools by approximately 19,000 to 465,000 students.

In some schools, pupils have traditionally been welcomed by politicians as well. The Minister of Education, Vladimír Balaš (STAN), visited Trmice Primary School and the Higher Vocational Medical School and Secondary Medical School in Ústí nad Labem. He told journalists that 57,000 to 60,000 children from Ukraine entered schools in the Czech Republic. He expected a higher number of high school students. Compared to the original assumption, about a quarter of them signed up.

“This is due to the fact that they have a different education system, they have an eleven-year-old girl,” said the minister. Therefore, a number of children aged 17 did not apply to secondary schools in the Czech Republic because they want to finish school in Ukraine, even though they now have online classes.

Capacities for Ukrainian pupils should be sufficient in most regions. If necessary, Ukrainian classes will also function somewhere, and adaptation groups will also continue.

According to Balaš, there is a lack of secondary schools in the Czech Republic, for example in the vicinity of satellite cities. Subsidy programs can help. About six schools are to be established in the vicinity of Prague. The construction of two facilities should begin in the near future, but they lack building permits.

According to the minister, the energy intended for heating the school will be saved by slightly lowering the temperature, by about two degrees. According to him, each level represents a ten percent saving. He does not expect more radical steps. “We definitely do not plan to close schools due to a lack of energy. I think that there is currently enough energy in the Czech Republic,” he said.

However, universities are considering distance learning. According to the minister, universities do not have the money to cope with high energy prices, so shortening the winter semester and moving the start of the summer semester is a way for them to save on energy.

At the start of the school year, Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) said that the government does not count on declaring so-called coal or energy holidays. “Now we are working on something called a state energy trader. Even if the situation in Europe remains as dramatic as it is now, we are able to guarantee that we will have enough energy for public institutions, critical infrastructure, hospitals and of course for schools , namely energy at affordable prices,” he said.

President Miloš Zeman started the school year – the last time in the highest constitutional position – at the Charlotte Garrigue Masaryková Elementary School in Lány. He reminded the pupils of the words of Jan Amos Komenský that school should be a game, and praised the Lán tradition, according to which ninth-graders are the patrons of first-graders. Even after the end of his mandate, Zeman will be a citizen of this Central Bohemian village, where he had a bungalow built.

Fiala at the Májová Elementary School in Ostrov in the Karlovy Vary Region wished the first-graders to enjoy learning and getting to know each other. “I hope you learn in school how to learn, learn and find out new information, and that you enjoy it. School should lead to that,” Fiala said. According to his own words, as a child he looked forward to learning to read and write at school. As a memory of today, he brought the book Beetles by Jan Karafiát to the students.

The importance of small-class schools was emphasized by Senate President Miloš Vystrčil (ODS) during a visit to a primary school in Urbanov in Jihlavsk. Educating in such a school can be an advantage for children, because the younger ones can easily access information intended for older children, and the older ones can simply repeat the material of previous years, he said.

Ukraine school of energy

The article is in Czech

Tags: school year started restrictions due covid uncertainty due energy prices

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