Czech Ministry of Education calls for more funds to integrate Ukrainian refugees

According to Czech Education Minister Petr Gazdík, the estimated sum of CZK 5.2 billion is based on the current average cost per pupil. It is also based on the assumption that around 120,000 refugees will enter Czech schools by the end of the school year.

The funds will be needed to provide more teachers and other staff, but also for adaptation courses and Czech language courses. The Ministry of Education is currently negotiating with the Ministry of Finance to allocate more funds to the education sector.

The Ministry of Education considers knowledge of Czech to be essential for the further education of Ukrainian children in the Czech school system. According to Gazdík, he is currently working on a series of measures that would help Ukrainian students learn the language:

Petr Gazdik |  Photo: Roman Verner, Czech Radio

“Schools have various options for teaching Czech, from special language courses to the involvement of inclusive education, which has been used successfully with other foreign children.

“So far, Czech schools have handled the situation very positively. They treat the students very individually. I myself try to go around the schools as often as possible to see what the situation is on the ground.

Even before the influx of Ukrainian refugees, many kindergartens and schools in the Czech Republic, especially in Prague, were struggling with a shortage of places.

Ukrainian refugees were therefore advised to seek education outside the Czech capital and its immediate surroundings, Gazdík explains:

“We advise Ukrainian mothers that if they want their child to go to school, they should choose a region where there are more places in schools and kindergartens.

“In addition, there is also the so-called Lex Ukraine, which allows schools to increase their capacity without respecting sanitary conditions, such as the number of toilets, etc.

“We are simply in a state of war here, so we have to adapt the situation according to the actual place and time. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.”

Despite the unexpected cost of covering the integration of Ukrainian refugees in Czech schools, Gazdík says the government’s priority is still to keep teachers’ salaries at 130% of the average salary:

“This is one of this government’s top priorities. We are aware of the importance of education for the future prosperity of the Czech Republic.

“Today marks the 430th birthday of Jan Amos Comenius, who had to leave his homeland several times because of wars, and it’s a shame that people are still going through the same thing in the 21st century.”