Some Czech schools don't teach enough about democracy
One-third of primary and one-fifth of secondary schools in the Czech Republic are neglecting the instruction of subjects that are supposed to be priorities and are crucial to involving pupils in a democratic society. Such topics include an active approach to human rights, development of a general overview and civic competencies, prevention of extremism, respect for cultural differences, and support for democratic values.
Those are the findings of an analysis of how the schools dedicate themselves to civic education undertaken by the Czech School Inspectorate (Česká školní inspekce - ČŠI). More than 90 % of primary schools were found to teach children about a responsible approach to the environment, give them information about a healthy lifestyle, or work with them to prevent bullying and crime.
At high schools, the three most frequently-taught subjects are ecology, prevention of bullying, and responsible financial management. The Inspectorate, during the first half of 2016, conducted both an online survey and personal visits to the schools.
The Inspectorate expressed appreciation for the fact that most primary and secondary schools include civic education as a cross-cutting theme in more than one subject. The authority also discovered that teachers who expose pupils to these topics are especially experienced and professionally gifted.
That fact is testified to, among other things, by the fact that these instructors are frequently the chairs of the curriculum committees for these subjects, or work as school prevention methodologists, the Inspectorate reports. The authority recommends teachers work more with primary sources in class like the Constitution of the Czech Republic or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
That recommendation is mainly for primary schools through ninth grade, because such instruction materials are used by just 56.4 % of those schools, while primary sources are worked with by 86.5 % of secondary schools. Principals and those who teach civics in the Czech Republic complained of a lack of appropriate methodological materials, programs, teaching aids and textbooks.
The Inspectorate believes they could take more advantage of the instructional materials produced by nonprofit organizations and public institutions, because in recent years many such materials have been created thanks to EU subsidies. Instruction in high schools is oriented more toward factographic knowledge of the topic.
"Just about half of the secondary schools focused on the specific civic skills of their pupils, which should be the logical culmination of the educational process," the Inspectorate reports. High school principals should make sure to dedicate enough attention to civics, especially because of the growth in extremist tendencies and other negative phenomena in society, according to the Inspectorate.
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