The debate was sparked by the petition “Together for voluntary homework in schools” by teacher Helena Zitková from the Faculty of Arts of the University of Pardubice, teacher Martina Hezká from ZŠ Pardubice – Benešovo náměstí, founder of the Help for English portal Marek Vít and professor of pedagogy at the University of Pardubice Karl Rýdl.
The petition calls for a regulation from the ministry that would clearly state that schools do not have the right to require homework. Around 1,500 people have signed the text so far.
With the challenge, the authors want to point out the “unsatisfactory situation in our education regarding the lack of clarity and ambiguity in the approach to compulsory homework”.
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Science and schools
In addition, according to the authors of the petition, compulsory homework is “an instrument of power and does not promote intrinsic motivation”.
Homework is also discriminatory, according to them, because “the school cannot provide and guarantee equal conditions for pupils in their home environment for completing homework”. They also mentioned the legal analysis against their enforcement.
|From the petition we select:|
|“There is no legal regulation in the Czech legislative system that would allow the school to interfere with the free time of the pupil and his legal representatives.”|
|“If the completed homework is classified with a grade, it cannot be demonstrably documented that the level of knowledge and skills of a particular student is assessed. The homework could have been prepared by another person, possibly with the help of another person.’|
|“Compulsory homework is also often enforced under the threat of being given a five for not completing it. According to the Education Act and Decree 48/2005 Coll. but the teacher should evaluate the results of the pupils’ education in relation to the achievement of the educational goals. (…) If the student does not hand in the homework, the teacher has no basis for evaluation, and therefore cannot demonstrably evaluate the degree of mastery of the subject matter.”|
But the call should not be directed primarily against homework as such. “Homework can be a useful tool for meaningful learning if we replace the word ‘obligatory’ with the word ‘voluntary’ in thinking about it and let children choose what makes sense for them,” the authors concluded.
Tasks should not transfer responsibility to parents
The Ministry of Education wants to help schools solve the situation and send them various recommendations – including regarding the grading of assignments.
“The Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports will send basic information on the topic to schools during this month, it will be a basic summary of what currently applies and how schools can proceed so that homework is not misused, for example, to overload pupils. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, and Science will continue to work on the topic and inform schools as well,” said Aneta Lednová, press spokesperson of the ministry.
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Science and schools
The Ministry points out that the pupil’s obligations are regulated by the Education Act, according to which the pupil is obliged, among other things, to get a proper education. “The pupil’s home preparation is inextricably linked to education, when in his spare time he prepares for exams, completes seminar and other work or even completes homework if the school assigns it,” explained the representatives of the office.
According to the Ministry of Education, the assignment of homework is within the competence of individual schools. It can be recommended that they adjust this issue in their school regulations, because it is a document with which both teachers, parents and students are introduced.
“However, assigning homework is possible regardless of whether the school rules mention it. It is true that the range of assigned homework must be adequate and must not be a tool to transfer responsibility for education to the family,” added Lednová, referring to the publication of the Czech School Inspection.
It is also written there that no legal regulation deals with the issue of assigning and evaluating homework, as it is not a legal issue, but primarily a pedagogical one.
What is your opinion on homework?
They should definitely be mandatory and evaluated.
At least the occasional mandatory homework won’t hurt, but it’s not necessary to grade all assignments strictly.
Homework should be voluntary or none at all. Children should work in school, not in their free time.
A total of 128 readers voted.
Grades and report cards
At the same time, the Ministry of Education is currently working on the plan to cancel the grades on the report cards of pupils in the 1st to 3rd grades of primary schools.
According to the Ministry, evaluation by grade complicates or even makes impossible the consistent monitoring of the individual progress of the pupil. Marking is especially demotivating for first-graders and is probably related to frequent postponements of school attendance, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science stated in a document on the development of education until 2027.
This is also a topic around which there are discussions. For example, according to education expert Peter Hopfinger from the Učitel naživo organization, replacing grades with verbal or criterion evaluations only on the report cards of schoolchildren, when grades are normally graded during the year, would be unsystematic.
Replacing grades with other evaluations based only on the report card is unsystematic, warns the expert
Science and schools
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