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Senate approves reform of school funding

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Prague, March 8 (CTK) – The Senate, the upper house of Czech parliament, approved a reform of the primary and secondary schools funding without changes yesterday, including the obligatory school-leaving exam in mathematics that was subject to stormy debates.
The bill is yet to be signed by President Milos Zeman into law.
Education Minister Katerina Valachova (senior government Social Democrats, CSSD) welcomed the upper house’s decision.
She said the introduction of obligatory secondary school-leaving exams in mathematics and a foreign language, along with the Czech language, was a common standard.
“We are working and will keep working on the improvement of education in mathematical skills,” Valachova said.
She reacted to the fears of senators who pointed to disputes about the maths school-leaving exam.
It will be obligatory for grammar-school students as of 2021 and for other secondary-school students as of 2022.
Senators did not restrict the directive on healthy diet at schools either, which only allows for low-fat and low-sugar products to be sold at schools. Its critics point out that it leads to the closing of school buffets.
Valachova admitted that the directive alone would not solve the problem of children’s healthy diet.
Under the bill, the state will newly finance schools on the basis of the number of teaching hours according to educational programmes and not only based on the number of students.
At present, the payment level per student in a particular field and type of school varies region by region. The Education Ministry will newly decide how much money a particular school will get.
The funding of private and church shools will remain unchanged.

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