Campaigns and activities
Since 1989 there has been a progressive process of change in the Czech education system. All these changes have increased the individualisation of educational possibilities. The most important changes deal with the group of children with special educational needs, who had a narrow or even restrictive access to education before. New educational philosophy, which responded to the tendency and trends of the society's democratic development and orientation, was formulated in the National Programme of Education Development in the Czech Republic (White Book) by The Ministry of Education in 2001.
For pupils who have not acquired the level of basic education there is a possibility to attend courses set up to reach the level of basic education and/or bases of education.
Besides schools, other educational bodies offer a broad range of courses and follow-up education reflecting the needs of pupils to lead independent lives and gain access to employment.
Compulsory education is organised within the system of basic schools in the Czech Republic which covers primary (1st – 5th grade) and secondary (6th – 9th grade).
The decision about the form of education of a pupil with special needs is the responsibility of the head teacher, taking into consideration the wishes of parents and counselling centres recommendations. A pupil with special needs has the right to be educated at a mainstream school (preferably with regards to the special needs of the pupil), and/or at a special class/unit within the mainstream school and/or at a basic school for children with special needs (‘special school').
Basic schools for children with special needs provide education for pupils whose special educational needs cannot be fully met within the mainstream provisions and facilities, and also for those whose parents prefer such schools. The number of pupils in a class is much lower in comparison to a mainstream class. It ranges from 4 to 14 pupils relating to the type of school. A mainstream class consists on average, of 22, 5 pupils, and no more than 30 pupils.
In addition to the regular teaching subjects each special educational programme provides so called subjects of special provision, such as speech and communication therapy, mobility and orientation training, sensory stimulation, using special IT, music and musical instrument playing, etc.,.
Recently, the role of special schools has been changing. In addition to their educational role, they have become resource centres developing new pedagogical methods and approaches and providing a wide range of advice and support services both to pupils, their parents and mainstream teachers. They usually include different levels of education.
An important resource is the Secondary School, Elementary School, and Pre-school for the Visually Impaired, in Brno. The main purpose and mission of the school is the education and training of students with specific education needs, in the areas of pre-school education, as well as elementary and secondary education.
Current issues: computer literacy, inter-institutional relations, project instruction, prevention of pathological social phenomena, environmental education, values and life-skills education; orientation and mobility of visually-impaired, specific learning disabilities, music therapy and rehabilitation of children with serious handicap, strengthening self-confidence of pupils and students with low self-esteem, creation of textbooks for the visually-impaired, knowledge-testing for students, founding a virtual firm under CEFIF - increased employability.
A limited number of special schools (11) remain even after the decentralisation under the direct management of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. From a political point of view it was important to give a clear signal to parents of pupils with special needs that the Ministry of Education is securing this educational alternative for their children, even though the main trend in policy is towards inclusion. These schools co-operate closely with the ministry and research institutes and with mainstream schools in developing new methods, provisions and approaches to meet the diversity in needs of all pupils.
All schools that are offering education specifically to pupils with special needs are entitled to provide education to pupils without special needs as well, as a certain kind of “vice versa integration”. The number of these pupils is limited to 25% of the total number of pupils in a class/school.
The Association for Early Intervention runs seven centres for early intervention and a Methodology Centre. It provided early intervention services to the parents and families of
The Early Intervention Centre provides services to parents in the form of: regular home visits from counsellors, centre-based services like vision stimulation or rehabilitation, recommending and lending suitable toys and special aids, organising day-long lectures on various subjects, week-long courses for whole families, lending specialised literature, producing the bulletin "ROLNICKA" - "Jingle bell", parents groups and meetings, support of mainstreaming, finding kindergarten or day care centres, of the psychological assistance, accompanying parents when asking for allowances or visiting institutions.
TEREZA, is a center supporting independent study of visual impaired at university in Prague. It is specialised in information and technological support, particularly special computer technology and know how, how to use this technology effectively and how to teach others to use it. The main aims are:
Current topics: Support during the study of sciences, cataloguing of digitalized documents, processing relief graphic readouts, training of rehabilitation workers in information technology.