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LN: More young Czechs fail to complete elementary school

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Prague, Feb 20 (CTK) – The number of people who are without an elementary education is increasing in the Czech Republic, especially the Karlovy Vary Region and Usti Region, daily Lidove noviny (LN) reported on Tuesday, referring to a employment strategy outlook issued by the Labour and Social Affairs Ministry.

Apart from northwestern Bohemia, another industrial region, Moravia-Silesia in northern Moravia, suffers from this problem, too.

At the end of 2017, more than 11,000 people without completed elementary education applied for jobs.

In the Czech Republic, every child must go to school for at least nine years. However, if children fail at school and must repeat a grade, it may happen that they leave the school after nine years of attendance but do not complete it, Zuzana Ramajzlova, from the People in Need humanitarian organisation, told the paper.

Moreover, up to 2000 students leave elementary school before entering the last ninth grade every year, said Daniel Hule, from People in Need.

The incomplete elementary education limits young people in the jobs available to them and it is also a financial threat. “Unemployment is combined with low education, insufficient financial literacy, minimum work practice, problematic family background, housing problems or debts,” Czech Caritas organisation head Lukas Curylo said.

Education Ministry spokeswoman Jarmila Balazova said incomplete elementary education is 13 times more frequent among children from social ghettos in northwest Bohemia than is the average in the country.

Most of these children never return to school, although there are opportunities to complete one’s education.

If students fail at school because they miss classes often and do not have a suitable environment for study at home, their parents may face punishment of up to five years in prison.

Hule said students who are threatened with leaving elementary school prematurely mostly missed many classes.

He said schools in segregated areas mainly deal with the rule that students may repeat a grade only twice during their elementary school attendance, once within the first degree, which means from the first to the fifth grades, and once from the second degree, or from the sixth to the ninth grades.

Hule said a lot of children use this opportunity already in the first and sixth grades.

According to the Labour Ministry, the group of job seekers with only elementary education shrank by 60,000 over the past three years.

However, young people with incomplete education have less and less opportunities to find jobs in the problematic regions.

“Employers are most interested in labourers, warehouse assistants, cleaners and truck drivers,” said Robert Herak, from the Government agency for social inclusion. He said these professions offer demanding work conditions and relatively low wages, which does not sufficiently motivate people who commute or face a distraint.

Various NGOs operate in the socially excluded areas which try to stop the trend of children not finishing elementary school. “We try to prevent the children from entering the stage of being unsuccessful. We have services focusing on small children,” Ramajzlova said.

The compulsory education lasts ten years in the country now that the last year of kindergarten has become obligatory as well.

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