The presidents of the associations, who are also school principals themselves, reacted with some skepticism to the state’s intention to solve the lack of secondary school capacity by making full use of the maximum class capacity.
Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) and Minister of Education Mikuláš Bek (STAN) presented the plan to increase capacity on Thursday in connection with the strong population year of applicants for studies – as a short-term solution.
That day, they discussed with the governors the current problems in secondary school admission procedures. According to them, the situation differs in different parts of the country, with Prague and Central Bohemia the worst. According to the prime minister and the minister, full use of the maximum class capacity would help solve problems with the capacity of places in popular fields.
Fiala and Bek discussed admissions to secondary schools with the governors
According to the legislation, there can be no more than 30 pupils in a secondary school class, and the founder can allow an exception to increase by another four, provided that this does not harm the quality of education and the conditions of safety and health protection are met. According to Bek, some regions, such as Liberecký, have already ordered an increase in class capacities. For example, the school department of the Prague municipality consults with schools on increasing class capacity.
According to Schejbalová, schools do not have to increase class capacity, even though the founder, i.e. in the case of secondary schools, the region, invites them to do so. If one of the principals now decided to enroll 34 pupils in one class, he could, according to the chairperson of the association and the principal of the Prague Grammar School Nad Štólou, accept pupils who failed the first round of admissions and appealed against the decision not to accept.
Zaječek added that it would also be possible to hold further rounds of entrance exams.
However, according to Schejbalová, teaching 34 students in a class would threaten the quality of teaching. In such a number, according to her, it is not possible to work with children individually or assign group work. According to Zajíček, the spatial possibilities of buildings can also be a problem for accepting a larger number of children. In some classes, more desks cannot be placed, difficulties could arise even with the amount of necessary technology for teaching informatics or languages.
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Science and schools
It could also be a complication if one of the older pupils had to move to a fully filled lower class. “Such a child who studies at school for two or three years and then has to interrupt his studies due to health reasons, it would not be possible to place him in a lower class and the student would have to leave school. There probably wouldn’t be many such cases, but they can happen,” Zajíček judges.
At the same time, representatives of school organizations agreed that due to the high number of applicants, it is necessary to accept higher numbers of future freshmen this year. According to them, school principals who have the conditions to do so are already doing it. Many take 32 children to a class, even though they used to take fewer children.
Will digitization come?
Schools are now continuing to accept applicants who were rejected in the first round of admissions and for whom they now have a place available because a more successful student has decided to join another school. According to them, the problems with the overpressure of those interested in secondary education are caused by the form of registration for studies and the form of the admission procedure for secondary school subjects with a high school diploma.
This is also why politicians have singled out the digitization of the admissions system as a long-term goal. The obligation to submit an enrollment card could be removed, which prolongs the period of stress and lack of transparency of free capacities at schools.
“I see the biggest problem on the part of the Ministry of Education and Culture in the neglected digitization of the entire process of submitting applications and their processing. Here, secondary education lagged behind universities by whole decades. Now I cannot guarantee that everything will be done in a year, but we will do absolutely everything to make the process faster and less stressful for the pupils and their parents,” stated the new Minister Bek.
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