The Czech education system is based on a long tradition beginning in 1774, when compulsory school attendance was instituted. Currently, there are all types of education – starting with preschool, through elementary, secondary, university and postgraduate and ongoing education.
This level of education is served by crèches and nursery schools. These institutions are intended to raise elementary habits of learning and also provide social contact among children. Both are important for children's smooth transition to elementary school.
Elementary education (age of 6–15)
Compulsory school attendance takes nine years. However, children may receive this level of education at various types of schools that can also utilize different types of educational programs.
Secondary education (age of 15–17/18)
Pupils who have fulfilled the nine-year compulsory school attendance can apply for study at a secondary school. Secondary education is either specialised or general. Students of specialised high (secondary) schools obtain either a vocational certificate (after 2 or 3 years of study at vocational school) or they pass a school-leaving exam (after 4 years) consisting of several small exams from different subjects. Students of general high schools (e.g. grammar schools) get a report on school-leaving exam after 4 years of study.
Tertiary education (age of 18 and more)
The highest level of education is accessible for those who have successfully passed a school-leaving exam. It consists of higher vocational courses and universities.
Higher vocational education
is aimed to deepen general and professional knowledge. It usually takes three years and is finished by exam on selected subjects, practical exam and defence of a thesis. Graduates receive a title DiS. meaning certified specialist. Students of higher vocational colleges must always pay a tuition fee which range from several thousand Czech crowns per year to several tens of thousands.
are available for all the students who have passed school-leaving exam and succeeded in entrance exams run by most of the universities. Requirements for entrance exams differ according to study subjects and students’ demand.
Most of the universities provide education on three-level degree basis:
Bachelor – 3 years study course. Students complete the program by passing an exam after which they can continue to master degree program.
Master – organized usually as a 2 years program following a bachelor degree. During the course, students gain both a basic survey of highly specialized subjects and a certain grade of specialization. The program is finished by state leaving exams and defence of a diploma thesis.
Doctorate – lasts usually 3 years and involves condition of scientific activities and publication work.
Obligation of paying a tuition fee applies to students of private universities only. Study at majority of universities is free.
Update: NICM, 02/2012