Overpressure in kindergartens. In Prague, it will be difficult to find places for Ukrainian children

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Chomutov City Hall offered sixty vacant kindergarten places for Ukrainian children. But the parents immediately took the floor, whose children had no more places this school year.

“Of course, places are only in kindergartens, which are not so popular with parents. The capacity of the most in demand is then really exhausted, “explains Deputy Mayor of Education Milan Märc (New North).

This is one of the problems that the Czech Republic has been solving for many years, and with the arrival of refugees from Ukraine it will only deepen – the filled capacities of kindergartens. For example, there are still vacant places in Chomutov, but there are no more places for other three-year-olds in other cities. The biggest problem is in Prague and the villages in its ring.

According to data from the Ministry of Education, this year, Prague school principals rejected 21% of requests from parents of three-year-old children for placement in kindergarten. At this age, they are legally entitled to a place in a public kindergarten. In the region of Central Bohemia, it is almost 10%. However, parents can submit an unlimited number of applications, so that even for children whose applications have been rejected, a place can eventually be found.

“Prague 2 does not have catchment areas per street, but one for the whole city district. Therefore, parents apply for more kindergartens and also try it in our country. In the first phase , when deciding on admission, I can usually take a maximum of children from April and May,” says Dana Moravcová, director of the kindergartens on Římská and Londýnská streets in Prague. during the summer months must therefore try their luck at another kindergarten.

We try to inform that in Prague there is a problem with the inclusion of their children in kindergartens and schools. The Embassy of Ukraine also recommends that women, if they want to have children in school and kindergarten, leave Prague aside and think that they will live here.

Petr Gazdík, STAN, Minister of Education

However, with the arrival of war refugees from Ukraine, the pressure on kindergartens may increase. Most of them head to Prague or the Central Bohemian region.

“We are trying to inform that in Prague there is a problem with the inclusion of their children in kindergartens and schools. The Embassy of Ukraine also recommends to women, if they want to have children in school and kindergarten, to leave out Prague and think that they will live here,” said Education Minister Petr Gazdík (STAN).

At the same time, the head of the Ministry of Education reassures Czech parents so that they are not afraid that there will be no place for their offspring in kindergartens. The ministry wants to give founders opportunities such that they can accept more children or form groups of children. The State would contribute to their operation.

Free in Jihlava, occupied in Brno

However, the situation varies greatly from region to region. For example, in Zlín, some kindergartens manage to admit children under the age of three. It is the same in Jihlava.

“We have placed all three-year-old catchment children for the year 2021/2022 in last year’s registration, we have also managed to place children born before December 2021,” describes Radovan Daněk, door- word of the town hall of Jihlava.

On the other hand, Brno does not get places similar to the capital, so the town hall does not even expect to include Ukrainian children in regular schools.

“There are no capacities for the admission of Ukrainian children to kindergartens in Brno, so we want to follow the path of children’s groups. The city and private institutions will set them up for children We are currently inspecting areas where children’s groups could be created,” says Brno city spokesman Filip Poňuchálek.

Other children’s groups, non-profit organizations and even businesses also organize special children’s groups or various childcare services for children of Ukrainian refugees. But overpressure may occur in the next school year. Kindergarten registration opens in May. According to the current wording of the Education Act, the same rules apply to the admission of Czech children and foreigners with temporary or permanent residence – principals prefer to admit older children to the relevant school district. If nothing changes, it will be the same next school year.

“From September, I think capacity will be an issue. The only criteria for me is place of residence and age when deciding admissions. I have already applied to candidates, whom I have had to reject for reasons of capacity, but of course they can come and enroll. Older children will then be accepted”, explains Andrea Benešová, director of the Paculova kindergarten in Prague.

Vaccinate children, advise vaccinologists

However, during the current school year, principals are not obliged to admit a child to kindergarten. Among other things, also for health reasons. Many children cannot prove their vaccination card or do not have the compulsory vaccination at all. However, with the exception of preschoolers, all younger children must fulfill this requirement to attend kindergarten.

The Czech Society of Vaccinology therefore recommends that not only children be vaccinated, but also adults who do not have proof of compulsory vaccination.

“In the past, outbreaks of measles occurred in Ukraine, and imports into the Czech Republic were made through Ukrainian communities. The incidence of tuberculosis is several times higher in Ukraine. That is why we consider that ‘it is important that vaccinations are checked and, if necessary, applied to all new arrivals,’ recommends Roman Chlíbek, president of the Czech Vaccine Society of the Czech Medical Association JEP.

There are no capacities for the admission of Ukrainian children to kindergartens in Brno, therefore we want to go the way of children’s groups. The city and private institutions will set them up for Ukrainian children. We are currently investigating areas where groups of children could form.

Filip Poňuchálek, spokesperson for the city of Brno

The rate of vaccination against diseases included in the current vaccination schedule is lower among Ukrainians than in the Czech Republic. In 2020, only about 82% of Ukrainian children were vaccinated against measles, rubella and mumps, about 81% against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, and about 80% against poliomyelitis or poliomyelitis in 2021.

According to the head of the Czech Society of Vaccinology, the current refugee crisis is also a challenge for Czech parents whose children have not undergone compulsory vaccination. Some serious illnesses may be affected by waves of refugees more often than in the first few months.

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