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ERIC Number: EJ990210
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1478-8497
Equality in Education: The Czech Context
Polechova, Pavla
International Journal on School Disaffection, v1 n1 p26-29 2003
Before the second world war, pupils in Czechoslovakia were expected to conform to discipline and to accept the teacher's style of teaching. Selection was accepted, with the highest attaining pupils siphoned off at age 11 to academic schools. After 1945, the countries of the Soviet bloc adopted the Soviet system of single-stream comprehensive school. In such an education system, all children were expected to conform not only to teachers' speed and level of teaching but also to their opinions. Children with special needs were not taught in mainstream schools. Following the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1989, it was evident--not only in the Czech Republic but also in the whole former communist bloc--that major changes for society in general and for education in particular had to be made. In the education system, some changes were relatively fast and easy, such as changing civics textbooks in line with constitutional reform. But some changes that required deeper analysis were instead dealt with quickly and superficially. For instance, it was considered very progressive to return to the selective approaches used before the war. While the schools of the past were implicitly exclusive, the Czech schools of today are explicitly exclusive. By and large, inclusion is being misinterpreted as a return to the communist-era practice of so-called egalitarianism. While equality per se is to be welcomed, when it is being used within a context where the more academic children are segregated from the less able, it is cynical and hypocritical. In international comparisons, the Czech Republic ranks high in its utilisation of special schools. Special schooling is particularly linked to the education of ethnic minorities. The vast majority of Roma (gypsy) children, who currently represent 75% of the total intake in special schools, are diagnosed "mentally weak or handicapped". The expected level of knowledge and skills is much lower in these schools than in mainstream. In a comparative study of provision for children with special needs in OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries for "Education at a Glance: OECD Indicators 2001," the Czech Republic has the highest proportion of children taught in separate provision (4.9%) as opposed to being supported in mainstream classes. According to the OECD survey, the Czech Republic's selectiveness is extraordinary. Teachers do not on the whole take an individual approach to enable children to reach their potential. A number of educationalists are calling for more selective elements to be dropped from the system and for the adoption of a more individualised approach. (Contains 7 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Czech Republic