The Czech education system operates on three levels: primary, secondary and tertiary. Students in the Czech Republic usually don´t have to wear the uniforms to school and for the primary and secondary levels, the school year starts on the 1st of September and ends on June 30th.
At the age of six, Czech children have to enter a nine-year elementary school because school attendance is compulsory. By law, the school-leaving age is 15. Most schools are financed by the state, but there are also some private schools. Primary school is divided into two stages. Children in the first five grades are mostly taught by one or two teachers. Older children (grades 6 – 9) have more teachers who specialize in various subjects. After the 5th, 7th or 9th grade, children try to pass entrance exams and continue their studies at a secondary school.
A traditional secondary school is grammar school. This school prepares students for universities and lasts 4, 6, or even 8 years if the students have enrolled earlier from elementary school. The studies may be focused more on humanities as well as science. The school-leaving exam consists of 4 subjects: Czech and a foreign language (usually English or German) are compulsory and two others are optional (e.g. History, Geography, or Art) Secondary technical schools train students for various branches: chemistry or glassmaking. For the talented, there are conservatories, where you can study art, music, or dance. Economics can be studied at business colleges. Most of the courses last 4 years and then the students can apply to a university or go to work. Another option are secondary vocational schools, which train young people for the jobs of bakers, mechanics, or waiters. These courses usually last 3 years and students have to pass some practical exam and then they get their vocational certificates.
In order to study at a university, students have to pass demanding entrance exams. University education is provided from 3 to 6 years and most of the universities are financed by the state, so education is free of charge. The universities offer three-year-bachelor programs and five-year-master programs which finish with a final state exam. The well known universities of the Republic are Charles University in Prague and Masaryk University in Brno. Every year hundreds of students try to take entrance exams to these universities and they can study humanities, medicine, or law there.