The educational system in the Czech Republic has been reformed several times. State and religious schools are free; they are financed by the state. Our schools system consists of 4 main grades: the pre-school grade, basic school, general secondary school, and university.
Pre-school education includes crèches, nursery schools, and kindergartens. They are attended by the children at the ages of 2 to 6. This stage is not necessary. Compulsory education for children is between the ages of 6 to 16. Basic education is compulsory for everybody after the age of 6. There is no selection of children entering primary schools. Primary education lasts 9 years and is comprehensive, providing basic knowledge for the pupils. It includes subjects like languages, math, physics, history, geography, biology, music, physical education, and arts and crafts.
Children over 14 - 15 are given secondary education at general secondary schools, or secondary grammar schools, apprentice training centers, trade schools, or art schools. Those who want to attend secondary grammar school must pass the entrance examination. The studies at most schools end with the school’s leaving exams. After finishing a secondary school, one can continue studying at any of the technical, economic, medicinal, natural science, or other colleges. It is possible to choose a Bachelor’s or Master’s program. The last one usually ends with state examinations and the defense of a thesis.
The last step in our educational system is postgraduate studies, where a student improves his ability for independent scientific work under the guidance of an experienced specialist.
A very important person in the development of education was John AmonComenius, Jan Amos Komenský in Czech (1592 - 1670). He was a Moravian churchman and educator, and the last bishop of the Moravian Church. Comenius advocated relating education to everyday life by emphasizing contact with objects in the environment and systematizing all knowledge. He did not regard religion and science as incompatible. Teaching was to be in the vernacular rather than in Latin, and languages were to be learned by the conversational method. He worked for a universal system of education offering equal opportunities to women. His “Didactica Magna” contains an exposition of these principles. He also wrote “Janua linguarum reserata” and “Orbis Sensualium Pictus”, one of the earliest illustrated books for children. His collected works were first published in 1867.