Some schools will be closed and others will operate on a limited basis. Credit: Freepik.

More Than 60% of Czech Schools To Join Monday’s Strike

Trade unions estimate that more than 60% of primary, secondary and kindergarten schools in the Czech Republic will take part in Monday’s strike, Jana Kasparova, a spokeswoman for the school unions, told CTK yesterday.

Schools will be affected by the strike to varying degrees; some will be closed and others will operate on a limited basis. School unions have announced a day-long warning strike of primary, secondary and kindergarten schools for 27 November.

“The current estimate of primary, secondary and kindergarten schools is over 60%,” said Kasparova.

The striking unions are demanding, among other things, more money for education. They also criticise the planned 2% reduction in funding for the salaries of non-teaching staff in the education sector, such as cooks, school housekeepers and economists, school psychologists and IT workers. At the same time, they also oppose the government’s draft regulation, which would reduce the maximum number of teaching hours financed from the state budget.

According to the Ministry of Education’s yearbook, there are more than 4,200 primary schools, almost 1,300 secondary schools and about 5,400 kindergartens in the Czech Republic. Most of the primary schools are established by municipalities, about 300 are private and less than 50 are established by churches. Municipalities also establish the majority of kindergartens, with over 400 private and 50 church-run schools. 

In the case of secondary schools, they are mostly operated by the regions. There are about 300 private secondary schools and less than 50 church-run schools in the Czech Republic. Some schools are also established by the Ministry of Education or other ministries.

The demands of regional education are symbolically supported by the entire university union. According to the chairman of the Higher Education Workers’ Trade Union (VOS), Petr Baierl, 13 university faculties, including the Faculty of Arts of Charles University, will also support the demands. Members of the strike committee and an unspecified number of other employees will strike.

The strike committee of the Faculty of Arts at Palacky University in Olomouc is also proposing to support the strike, according to an email to students seen by CTK. The lecturers themselves will decide on the form of their participation.

The strike is also supported by educators who work in children’s and youth homes or educational institutes, and by some secondary school students. The Students for Education initiative will hold a protest in Prague on Monday, planning to march to the Education Ministry, where they will symbolically hand over student letters addressed to Education Minister Mikulas Bek (STAN).

According to the union, the lack of money in schools would cause a significant drop in the number of hours devoted to teaching and limit the ability of schools to divide classes into groups in which education is more effective. Meanwhile, the number of pupils in classes would increase, schools would limit elective subjects, and the existence of small classes would be threatened. The strike is also intended to prevent a drop in the salaries of non-teaching staff and other employees such as teachers, teaching assistants and school psychologists.

According to the proposed budget, the Ministry of Education is expected to have CZK 269 billion to spend next year, CZK 3.9 billion more than this year. Bek said after a meeting with education union chief Frantisek Dobsik on Tuesday that the Czech education budget for next year will not be increased. He reiterated that the government is ready to consider transferring CZK 4 billion to the education budget from the budget reserve, but only at the beginning of next year, after the balance of this year’s state budget and the drawdown of European funds. The money should be ready when the budgets of individual schools are drawn up at the end of January.

More Than 60% of Czech Schools To Join Monday’s Strike
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