- Download our Moving to the Czech Republic Guide (PDF)
The education and schools sector in the Czech Republic is in a healthy state. Even better news for expat parents is that their children can attend public school at no cost, provided that they are EU nationals or legal residents. This is the case from pre-primary school up to and including university. But, seeing as the language of instruction in public schools is Czech, most expat parents choose to enrol their children in private or international schools.
Public schools in the Czech Republic
Teaching in the Czech Republic's public schools is conducted entirely in the Czech language, with either English or German taught as a second language. Some expat parents are discouraged by this, but there are advantages to expat children being taught in Czech, the biggest of which is that it's a good way for them to learn the language and subsequently assimilate into the culture more easily. This is especially essential for expats planning a long stay in the country. Some schools take difficulties with the language into account when assessing students in subjects such as the Czech language and literature.
Schooling is compulsory from the ages of 6 to 15; this is known as elementary school. Elementary school is divided into two stages: primary (grades 1 to 5) and the lower secondary stage (grades 5 to 9). Children can choose to enrol in six or eight-year gymnasiums or conservatories after grade 5 or 7. These schools allow children to specialise in a specific area of study, such as science, music or dance.
Students who do not attend a gymnasium or conservatory can move on to general or vocational upper secondary school. This stage is usually four years, but most students attending an upper secondary school will typically attend a vocational school and begin their career after their final year. Most students will enrol in the gymnasium or conservatories that go all the way up to Year 13.
It's always a good idea for parents to visit schools of interest before enrolling their children. This can be done on official open days or may be arranged by request. Conditions in public schools may vary widely, and some are more amenable to and equipped for having international students than others. The school year in the Czech Republic runs from early September to late June.
- The Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports has more information on the national education system and its schools.
Private schools in the Czech Republic
Private schools in the Czech Republic are partly funded by the state and partly funded by tuition. Some of these schools are bilingual, teaching in both Czech and English or sometimes Czech and German. Expat parents who can't quite fit international school fees into their budget but are still concerned about their children having difficulties with the Czech language may find these schools to be an ideal solution.
International schools in the Czech Republic
Most international schools teach in English and are perhaps most useful for expats planning to reside in the country for a relatively short period of time, as the continuity in curriculum minimises disruption in the child's education. Common curricula offered by international schools include the International Baccalaureate (IB), the American curriculum and the British curriculum (English National Curriculum, IGCSE and AS-Levels). Prague in particular has a high concentration of international schools.
International schools can be expensive, so if moving to the Czech Republic as part of an international relocation package, it is worth negotiating for school fees as part of the relocation contract.
International schools can vary widely in ethos, curriculum, quality and size. Although there are a number of schools to choose from, space may be limited, and parents are advised to start the application process as soon as possible.
Special-needs education in the Czech Republic
The Czech government implemented a system of inclusion for children with special needs. This means that all children can be educated in mainstream schools, no matter the level of their learning difficulties, unless a parent specifically wants their child to be educated at a special-needs school. In some mainstream schools, there are also classes for special needs children if they would like to be taught separately.
All schools have the necessary facilities, staff and support provisions available to assist children with disabilities, and a counselling system has been developed to help the integration process into mainstream schools. The different needs of all children have also been regarded, and individualised forms of education have been developed to meet these needs.
- The Pedagogic Psychology Advisory Centre evaluates children's preparedness for school attendance and makes recommendations while also providing free counselling to all educational actors.
- The National Pedagogical Institute of the Czech Republic offers support to children and schools educating children with special needs.
Tutors in the Czech Republic
Tutors are extremely helpful in assisting expat children to adjust to their new school and curriculum, as well as the language of instruction, if different from home. Both Czech and English tutors are widely available, as well as those for other subjects, such as maths, and can provide school support where needed.
There are websites and tutor companies that advertise at-home or online private tutoring services, which include websites such as Apprentus and Tutoroo. Expats in Prague can also benefit from the many language schools in the city. These can assist expats and expat children to learn Czech.
- Expats can visit My Tutor to search for a tutor across the Czech Republic.
►For information on medical care in the country, read Healthcare in Czech Republic
What do expats say about Czech schools?
"Some expats prefer to put their children into private foreign schools. While this gives them the option to have their children educated in a language other than Czech, such schools have the reputation of being very expensive." See what else Kevan, a Canadian expat, has to say about life in the Czech Republic in his interview.
"It’s definitely better to choose schools with mixed classrooms of foreign kids and Czechs so your child can blend in easier." Find out more about Juris, a Latvian expat, and his move to the Czech Republic in his interview.
Image Credit: Children in a classroom by the CDC from Unsplash.
Are you an expat living in Czech Republic?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Czech Republic. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
Cigna Global Health Insurance.
Medical insurance specifically designed for expats. With Cigna, you won't have to rely on foreign public health care systems, which may not meet your needs. Cigna allows you to speak to a doctor on demand, for consultations or instant advice, wherever you are in the world. They also offer full cancer care across all levels of cover, and settle the cost of treatments directly with the provider.
International Movers. Get Quotes. Compare Prices.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.