School, classroom – illustrative photo.
Prague – According to EDUin, the high percentage of delays among Czech preschoolers is related to the fact that children's readiness for education is assessed in the Czech Republic according to an outdated concept. According to the organization, the idea that a child should be ready for school persists in the Czech Republic, and if this is not the case, then it is necessary to let him mature. In contrast, new methods want to adapt school education to the child. EDUin expert Kateřina Lánská stated this in the analysis. Every fifth child in the Czech Republic now has a deferral, which is a significantly higher proportion of children than in other countries. In addition, the number of children with deferred compulsory school attendance is gradually increasing.
“The traditional approach understands school readiness as a one-way process, i.e. the child should be ready and the school is unchanging. The new concept speaks of school readiness as a long-term process that concerns both the child and his family, as well as the conditions for his education at school. From this point of view, it is important to cooperate with the child and his family and at the same time adjust the educational environment and conditions in schools so that every child can learn in them,” says Lánská.
The expert said that skills and behaviors have not been used as an aspect of school readiness to determine school readiness in many education systems abroad for several decades. She mentioned that research does not confirm the positive impact of postponements on pupils' results and their future school success.
In order to reduce the number of postponements, therefore, according to EDUin, teaching in schools should be individualized according to the needs of individual pupils. Teachers should focus on developing children's strengths and use so-called formative assessment to assess young schoolchildren and preschoolers in order to reduce pressure on children's performance.
According to Lánská, educational diagnostics should be used more in schools. Its main idea is an individual approach to education, when it is necessary to find out what the child already knows and controls, and to set a path to progress accordingly. Thus, teachers should assign tasks to children not only according to age, but should take into account the different needs and abilities of individuals, she said. Referring to the findings of the Czech School Inspection (ČŠI), EDUin stated that many kindergartens do not know how to use diagnostics correctly. “It would be necessary to set up the sharing and functional use of the results of pedagogical diagnostics between kindergartens and primary schools to set up support for the child in the first grade,” said the researcher.
According to school inspectors, counseling centers in the Czech Republic grant children deferment most often due to the immaturity of the child. The ČŠI writes in the thematic report that 90 percent of pedagogical and psychological counseling services will comply with more than half of requests for postponement. About half of the special counseling centers accommodate everyone. According to education experts, postponement should only be an exceptional measure that could affect about two percent of children.
In the 2021/2022 school year, according to the inspection, about 21.2 percent of the 360,490 preschoolers were older than six years, i.e. similar to the year before. The number of postponements has been growing for a long time, according to EDUin, it increased by 34 percent from 2012 to last year. The director of the Department of Basic Education at the Ministry of Education, Michal Černý, previously stated that postponements make the education system more expensive. According to him, the aim of the department is therefore, among other things, to increase the quality of preschool education and reduce the number of postponements.