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Lower house postpones school financing reform until 2020

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Prague, June 29 (CTK) – The launch of a reform of the Czech school system financing, which should enable to finance region-operated schools based on the number of taught lessons and no longer of students, will be postponed by one year until September 2019, the Chamber of Deputies decided on Friday.

The postponement, approved within an amendment to the school law and still requiring approval from the upper house of parliament, is to facilitate the switch to the new system.

Within the amendment, the lawmakers also scrapped the duty of kindergartens to admit two-year-old children. It should be up to kindergarten head teachers to decide whether to accept children under three, since not all kindergartens have capacities for two-year-olds and their extension in this respect would excessively burden municipalities.

The changes were supported by Education Minister Robert Plaga (for ANO), who, however, stood up against a longer postponement of the school financing reform, as proposed by the opposition Civic Democrats (ODS). He said the reform is necessary to make schools financing juster.

The draft amendment was supported by 142 out of 154 deputies present.

Plaga said kindergartens’ duty to accept two-year-old children would require the enlargement of their capacities worth 283,000 crowns per child, which would be over 11 billion crowns in a situation involving 40,000 such kids. However, the ministry could earmark only 300 million crowns for this purpose this year.

The ODS also proposed to abolish the compulsory kindergarten attendance for five-year-old children, but the Chamber of Deputies rejected the proposal, together with other partial proposals made mainly by the opposition.

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