The Czech school system is faced with the difficult integration of tens of thousands of Ukrainian children. On the one hand, the language barrier in particular is an obstacle, and on the other hand, there is a lot of concern about the capacity of the schools. Especially from teachers or assistants. Ukrainian children fleeing Russian aggression have the same right to compulsory school attendance, and the Ministry of Education expects them to be involved, especially from the next school year.
The entry of Ukrainian children into schools is already underway, the government has consecrated the possibility of increasing the capacity of the classroom, but a more systematic solution is still lacking due to the crisis situation. If in some places the capacities make it possible to include children in the classes, in some cases, for example, special classes are set up. Not only Czech teachers are involved, but also, for example, teachers who also come from Ukraine.
For example, according to the Teachers’ Platform, an organization representing more than a thousand educators in all schools, the ministry needs to address a number of systemic issues by September. According to the president Petra Mazancová, it will be necessary to increase considerably the financing and especially the pedagogical capacity in the schools. “What scares me a bit is that we have buildings, but we don’t have people, teachers, assistants, I don’t know where to take them. We are already short of teachers in the ‘market’ already like this,” Mazancová told the daily.
Although she now recognizes that this is a crisis situation, she said the integration legislation should be more comprehensive by September. “Data on the structure of children is missing, it is not known how many will be left. Many Ukrainian schools also continue remotely, so some children continue to teach online,” Mazancová added, adding that it is now necessary to collect information.What he fears, however, is above all the situation in the kindergartens.
“If we have a teaching base in education, it’s a complete disaster for kindergartens, we’re just saying everything is still there,” Mazancová said, adding that capacity has been an issue in many places for a long time even before the crisis. However, the situation varies across the region, while the management of Zlín ensures, for example, that there are plenty of places in kindergartens in the current situation, the governor of the Moravian-Silesian region Ivo Vondrák Education Minister Petr Gazdík (STAN) also recommended Ukrainian parents not to fight for the inclusion of children in schools and kindergartens in and around Prague, where there is a plus huge capacity problem.
In case of difficulties, according to the Ministry of Education, parents can apply themselves to recruiting schools or to the municipal or municipal authorities where they have a registered domicile. However, they cannot always rely on the nearest location, it will depend on the circumstances. “It will not always be possible to arrange a school directly at the place of residence. In any case, the place of residence will be taken into account when looking for vacancies, as stipulated by law. Alternatively, it is possible that the children will be transported to a school further away. Accommodation capacities do not always correspond to capacities in schools,” ministry spokeswoman Lubomír Černá told Echo24 daily.
Ukrainian children with a temporary protection visa are subject to the same rights and obligations as other children in the Czech Republic, including compulsory education. “We assume that after the necessary adaptation phase, children will be involved in education in our schools from September 2022,” Černá added. One of the important elements of adaptation will undoubtedly be overcoming the language barrier.
According to psychologist Filip Smolík from the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, the speed of learning Czech by Ukrainian children will depend on the age and abilities of the individuals. Kindergarten or primary school children should have no big problems learning the language, it will be individual for older people. According to Smolík, about a year can be enough for children to adapt their language in the first grade.