|HOME SCHOOLING / INTERNATIONAL|
Homeschool Improvements on the Horizon
By Radim Ucháč
At the moment, homeschoolers in the Czech Republic are negotiating with Members of Parliament (MPs) regarding a bill that should eliminate unnecessary state requirements and stipulate that officials are only to oversee education results, not monitor progress.
More and more Czech families are choosing to homeschool
Currently, homeschooling is legal for the first five years of education. Parents may choose any school they want and seek permission from the headmaster homeschool. Permission often depends directly on the headmaster and what rules he creates. Accordingly, there are schools that require frequent oversight and force families to implement a school regime. On the other hand, there are schools that are only interested in the results from the exams that homeschooled students are required to take twice a year. The school headmaster is also the one who decides the form and substance of these exams. Some schools use a university-type examination, which examines all education content from the past six months. At other schools, the pupil demonstrates what work he/she did in the form of notebooks, essays, presentations, concert tickets, etc, and is only tested on cumulative subjects, for example, mathematics or languages. The schools are interested in only what the pupil has to know according to the school curriculum. If the pupil learns something extra—say an extra language—no documentation is made of that.
When seeking permission to homeschool, the law requires that a family provide a serious reason (considered subjectively by the headmaster), a psychologist’s report (there are no specifications here) and the parent’s secondary-school graduation certificate.
Homeschooling for the second level of education, from the 6th to 9th year, is currently running as an experiment in the Czech Republic. The requirements are the same, except the parent must have at least a bachelor’s level university degree.
The goal of the proposed bill is fourfold: to allow 2nd-level homeschooling permanently by law; to change the requirement of the headmaster’s consent to merely informing the headmaster; to remove the requirements of providing a serious reason, the psychologist’s report, and the parent’s level of education; and to define that the parents are responsible for the form of education and the headmaster merely re-examines the results, so as to avoid unclarity.
The Czech homeschool organization, Asociace pro Domácí Vzdělávání (ADV), is leading negotiations with the MPs. ADV has a positive opinion from Minister of Education Josef Dobeš and from a number of MPs. However, we are also actively lobbying the opposition party, the Socialists, as we would like to have the support of some of their MPs as well.
We ask, please, for prayer. Please pray for our lobbying efforts, for favor with the MPs, and for perseverance for homeschoolers in the Czech Republic to preserve their parental rights and to improve conditions.
Radim Ucháč is a homeschool father involved in the leadership of Asociace pro Domácí Vzdělávání.
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Learn more by visiting HSLDA’s Czech Republic page.