OECD publishes report on how resources are managed in the Czech education system
The OECD has published a report about the situation in the Czech schools when it comes to the management of various resources - financial, human, material, etc. - so that equality in access to education and the quality of education generally can be increased. The assessment was implemented by a team of professionals, both expert staff at the OECD and external consultants.
The study can be used, among other things, as a source of information for designing strategic decisions by the central authorities, especialy the Education Ministry, that aim to improve the situation in the area of providing the necessary resources to increase the quality of education in the Czech schools. The study confirms that inequality has long been a trait of the Czech education system.
In addition to the repeatedly confirmed, strong relationship between educational outcomes for Czech pupils and the socioeconomic status of their parents, the study also warns that there are big differences between regions and that the current normative financing, based on per capita enrollments, is not effectively ameliorating those differences. In addition to describing this state of affairs, the study makes concrete recommendations on how to gradually improve the situation.
The OECD recommends, among other things, better strategic management of education at the level of the municipalities and Regional Authorities. For example, the organization recommends that Regional Authorities undertake better-quality assessments of the aims they set as part of their long-term plans to develop education.
The information discovered through such assessments should be more effectively used by the Regional Authorities to implement their existing measures and planned changes to the regionally-administered components of the education system. The study confirms the generally low capacity of municipalities and Regional Authorities when it comes to strategic planning, although exceptions to this do exist that are decidedly examples of good practice.
Recommendations in the area of central financing aim, for example, toward changing the system of regionally-managed schools so that more parameters are established for the awarding of financing to individual schools than just the number of pupils enrolled. In this area, it is possible to anticipate concrete changes, as the transformation of the financing of regionally-administered schools is currently being designed which, among other things, counts on taking into consideration more factors when establishing the amount of salary funding available to each school.
One factor will be, according to the available information, the demand placed on the pedagogical staff in each school, demand which is expected to increase the more pupils with special educational needs there are in a school, as well as with high enrollment numbers in general. Schools experiencing more demanding conditions would receive more funding for teachers' salaries.
The recommendations in the area of human resources, as expected, focus on introducing regulations for a career as an educator, the outcome of which should be a society-wide increase in the prestige of the teaching profession. Other recommendations in this area appeal to tightening the conditions for accepting candidates for study in education departments and at other departments training pedagogues.
In addition to academic requirements and knowledge of a particular subject, the OECD recommends assessing other qualities of the candidates for the education profession, e.g., their motivation and personality traits. The implementation of this measure currently seems less realistic, as from the perspective of teacher training programs in the Czech Republic, the most burning problem is primarily a lack of interest among candidates in teaching particular subjects, especially chemistry, mathematics and physics.
The state will have to adopt measures soon to aid in reversing that trend. The OECD study contains a great deal of interesting data about the demographic and economic context of the Czech education system and a description of possible approaches for improving the management of resources in order to increase equality in access to education and the quality of the education system in general.
The full study is available to read HERE.
Source: Shewbridge, C., et al. (2016), OECD Reviews of School Resources: Czech Republic 2016, OECD Publishing, Paris.
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