There are few university students in the Czech Republic. According to the Prosperity Index, data project of Česká spořitelna, analysis portal Europe in data and research agency Ipsos, only Italy and Romania have a lower representation of people with higher education in their population.
The need for people with a diploma is manifested both in the case of older people and in the case of young people. As far as adult education is concerned, only 7.8 percent of the adult population participates in educational courses or study programs, which ranks us 19th in the EU comparison. In the age group of 25 to 34 years, only about a third of the population in the Czech Republic has a university degree.
“Compared to the rest of the EU, this is the fifth lowest result,” revealed Tomáš Odstrčil, an analyst at the Europe in Data organization.
It turns out that Czech the higher education system often does not sufficiently reflect the needs of the labor market. And almost half of those who start university studies in the Czech Republic do not finish their studies.
“Often because the content of the study does not meet their expectations,” warns Česká spořitelna analyst Tereza Hrtúsová.
Another reason for the unsatisfactory state may be the fact that the system in which domestic universities exist is not very flexible. “We are among the states that practically do not allow the study of shorter study programs, which are often more effective in terms of preparing the student for future employment,” says Hrtúsová.
While within the OECD countries, the share of students who have a degree from an abbreviated university study is on average 16 percent, in the Czech Republic it is only around one percent. To give an idea: in Austria, Spain or the USA it is more than 40 percent.
Prosperity index of the Czech Republic
Joint research by Česká spořitelna and the data portal Europe in Data measures and analyzes the prosperity of the Czech Republic and compares it with other European countries. The index considers prosperity in a broad socio-economic framework and measures not only the performance of the economy, but also factors such as quality of life, education, health or housing.
The index is based on an analysis of public data sources (Eurostat, OECD, etc.) and analytical data of Česká spořitelna. It follows the project of the same name from last year.
- State of the economy – read more HERE
- Environment – read more HERE
- Digitization and infrastructure – read more HERE
- Quality of the labor market – HERE
- Education and research
According to European data, the Czech Republic invests more than five percent of GDP in education, which is a better average on a European scale. In the prestigious THE World University Rankings, however, Czech universities have rather stagnated in recent years.
As the independent information portal vedavyzkum.cz informs, this year only made it into the first thousand of the world’s best schools three. Charles University has long been the best-rated Czech university, ranking 501st-600th. bar, similar to, for example, the British University of Greenwich, the French University of Lille or the Austrian Johannes Kepler University in Linz.
They are in second place in the Czech comparison Masaryk University and the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, both are ranked 801-1000 in the world ranking. place.
“It must be said that it is not easy for Czech universities to even defend their positions in world rankings. Almost all developed countries today invest more in higher education than we do, but the real income of Czech universities from the state budget has been falling since 2007. Even in a number of poorer countries, state support for higher education and research is more generous. In such conditions, it is very difficult to retain quality employees and it is even more difficult to attract such scientists and pedagogues to us from around the world,” Petr Sklenička, Rector of the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, described the situation for the Science and Research portal. The Czech University of Life Sciences belongs in the current world comparison 1001–1200 place.
A record number appeared in THE World University Rankings 2023 1799 universities of more than 104 countries of the world.
The words of Rector Petr Sklenicka are also confirmed by the recent protests against the low salaries of academics in the fields of humanities and social sciences, in which universities from all over the country participated.
According to Jakub Izdný, secretary of the Institute of Czech History at the Faculty of Arts of the UK, the outflow of capable teachers due to low salaries is no longer just a risk, but a reality. “Salaries in the entire higher education sector have long been uncompetitive, so the best potential teachers, who do not have any personal reason to ‘forgive’ this disadvantage of Czech universities, are already in other parts of the public sector – in lower education or in offices where salaries are valued, in the private sector or abroad. And this applies to all types of fields,” points out Izdný.
The lack of money also affects the quality of the “service” that universities can provide for academic work, because they do not have enough money for non-academic workers, which diverts brains and projects from the Czech Republic. According to Jakub Izdný, both school management and bodies such as the Czech Rectors’ Conference point to this.
Times change, so must schools
According to the latest available results of the PISA survey, Czech children are performing above average so far. PISA is the OECD’s program for international student assessment, measuring the ability of 15-year-old children to use their knowledge and skills in reading, mathematics and science to meet real-life challenges. The new results will be known at the end of the year.
However, according to Dana Brandenburg, chairwoman of the board of directors of the Česká spořitelna Foundation, the Czech education system will still face problems.
“Education should primarily depend on the development of competences, i.e. not only knowledge, but also their practical application and building the right attitudes towards various problems of today. In some schools, they are aware of this and educate schoolchildren in this spirit, but there is a need for a society-wide consensus on the necessity of quality education for the youngest generation.”
In connection with this, she pointed to the initiative We are changing the curriculum, which brings awareness in this area and points to the development of key competences.
According to Brandenburg, it is necessary that education is aimed at acquiring the competencies needed for an active civic, professional and personal life. And also on reducing inequalities so that every child in every school can reach their potential and experience success.
“Of course, professional training at the faculties of education and the development of school principals aimed at strengthening their leadership are also related to this,” he points out. And he adds that the lack of teachers in some regions, the need to build quality management and the support of schools in the regions can be a big problem.
The Prosperity Index of Česká spořitelna assesses the field of education comprehensively, and in addition to the quality of schools and the functionality of the education system, the comparison of EU member countries also includes, for example, research support or the potential for the growth of innovation.
According to the Global Innovation Index, the innovation potential in the Czech Republic dropped significantly in the last monitored period. Small investments, low added value of work, insufficient digitization of the state administration or a large administrative burden on companies are cited as the cause of the decline.
The figures provided by the data and analysis portal Europe in Data reveal that the Czech Republic supports the field of research with two percent of GDP, which is the 10th highest figure in the EU. However, according to Markéta Kryková from the company Ennovation, the connection between academia and business is significantly lagging in the country.
“Effective setting of cooperation between companies and the research sphere is absolutely essential. Both institutional on own projects, but also within the framework of qualifications and harmonization of requirements for graduates. Even though there is an effort to improve this setting, we still have great reserves in connecting research with business – both structural and financial,” explained Kryková.