City backs Czech language lessons

Courses are for foreign middle and elementary school students

Children whose native language is not Czech will have help available to prepare them for graduation exams.

The Prague City Council voted to support a new project for teaching Czech language in middle school. It was proposed by Irena Ropková (ČSSD), the city councilor for education and European funds.

The project is called “Czech Language Teaching for Secondary School Students with a Different Mother Tongue” (Výuka českého jazyka pro žáky středních škol s odlišným mateřským jazykem).

It will be implemented, free of charge, as of September this year under the supervision of the state-run language school that has the right to hold of state language examinations in Prague.

“The aim of the whole project is to prevent failure in school [exams] by pupils with a different mother tongue, which is largely due to the lack of knowledge of Czech, and to help these pupils with a successful graduation exam (maturitní zkouška),” Ropková said.

“This is one of the basic ways to achieve the successful integration of these pupils into the majority society and to make full use of their potential,” she added.

Students will be able to choose from three courses divided by their time range. These are a six-month course with a weekly subsidy for four teaching hours, a two-year course with the same hourly subsidy, and a four-year course where the pupil has two hours of instruction per week.

“The four-year course is designed for pupils of foreigners entering the first year of secondary school, the two-year [course] is for students in the second and third year and the six month [course] for those pupils who need intensive language preparation for the maturitní zkouška,” she said.

By the end of the year, the city will spend Kč 172,000 for foreign language courses for secondary school students. For the next calendar year, councilor Ropková will propose Kč 507,000 in the municipal budget to extend the program.

The city at the same time supports intensive Czech language courses of the elementary schools level. In addition, to support that has been running since 2016 at 22 Prague schools where the Czech language is taught as a foreign language, the city will also set up an intensive Czech language course at the Marjánka Elementary School in Prague 6. This starts next year and is for incoming pupils from all over Prague who in practice do not know the Czech language.

The free course will last for three months and offers four hours of intensive individualized lessons. Altogether, up to 30 pupils per school year could go through this language class.

In September the Prague City Council is expected to approve a Kč 550,000 subsidy for this intensive course. “This amount will be used to cover the wages of teachers teaching Czech language, as well as the purchase of equipment necessary for teaching,” Ropková said.

The move to improve teaching Czech to foreign students comes ahead of municipal elections scheduled to take place at the beginning of October and is one of several recent initiatives to improve life in the city.

Citizens of other EU countries with legal residence in the Czech Republic can vote in local elections, but they must request to be registered at their local administrative office before the elections take place.

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