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President Zeman vetoes amendment to school law

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Prague, May 4 (CTK) – Czech President Milos Zeman has vetoed an amendment to the school law that introduces a compulsory school-leaving examination from mathematics and places in kindergartens for two-year children, presidential spokesman Jiri Ovcacek told CTK on Wednesday.

Zeman did so on the basis of a letter of recommendation from the Union of Towns and Municipalities of the Czech Republic.

The Chamber of Deputies can outvote the veto.

Zeman is against the introduction of the eligibility for kindergartens at the age of two and the delineation of kindergarten catchment areas as it may burden the local authorities.

Zeman explained his decision to veto the bill in a letter he sent to the Chamber of Deputies chairman Jan Hamacek (Social Democrats, CSSD).

In it, he recommends that the Chamber of Deputies should not pass the bill and that it should redraft it.

He cited two arguments from the letter from the Union of Towns and Municipalities.

First, it is the duty to delineate the kindergarten catchment areas.

Zeman is of the view that the measure would have a negative impact on the towns with a large number of kindergartens for financial, organisational and administrative reasons.

“This will afflict the municipalities that have built the capacities of kindergartens to meet the needs of their residents. Now they will have to enlarge the capacities to the benefit of the surrounding municipalities that will be artificially included in their catchment areas,” Zeman said.

Second, Zeman is of the view that the measure introducing kindergartens for two-year children as of 2020 will be inordinately costly for their operators.

They will only learn in May 2020 how many children will be enrolled, due to which they will not have enough time to adapt their capacities to this.

At present, mostly three-year-old children are admitted to kindergartens.

The lowering of the age is to facilitate mothers’ return to work.

The legislation also enacts a compulsory school-leaving examination from maths in five years. Due to this, secondary school entrance exams are to be unified as of next year.

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