The Success of Education in the Czech Republic


SEATTLE — Primary and secondary education in the Czech Republic have been protected rights since 1774, and its upper-secondary completion rate is the highest in the world. The first nine years of every citizen’s education is paid for, and twice as many people choose to pursue tertiary than in the US. The Czech embassy says that vocational schools may be to thank for the increase in education.

When students finish the compulsory nine years of base schooling, education in the Czech Republic branches into three variations. One is general, emphasizing preparation for university education, and about 25 percent of the students who go on in their education choose this route. Just more than one-third of students choose to go to secondary technical school, preparing for one of about 260 different occupations. About 45 percent of students choose to attend a secondary vocational school for up to three years, placing students in apprenticeships that qualify them for skilled work after graduation.

The school enrollment rate is 91.3 percent for women and 90.1 percent for men aged 15 through 19 — among the highest in all of the OECD. Comparable countries include Denmark, Norway and Sweden, and all of those countries are also leaders in employment rates. In the Czech Republic, 73.1 of the working age population (age 15 to 64) is employed.

The same countries share another statistic: some of the world’s lowest poverty rates. Measured as the ratio of the number of people below the poverty line, the Czech Republic’s rate is 0.059 overall. The U.S. rate is nearly three times as high.

Education is often cited as one of the most critical goals toward ending poverty and improving the quality of life for people around the world. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports maintains the constitutional protection of education in the Czech Republic for every citizen. Requiring a foundational education and encouraging further studies has proved successful in lowering poverty and unemployment, making the Czech Republic a model for other nations.

Brooke Clayton

Photo: Flickr


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