Czechia’s New School Year Anticipates Increase in Secondary Students Despite Drop in Primary Pupils

Czechia’s upcoming academic year is projected to observe a surge in the total number of students, particularly in secondary schools, although primary schools are likely to experience a slight decline in enrollment, according to a report by the Education Ministry released a week before the commencement of the new school year.

The 2023-2024 academic year anticipates a rise in secondary school enrollment, with an estimated 488,100 students expected to attend, marking an increase of approximately 25,000 compared to the previous academic year. This growth is attributed to factors such as a notable population of children born around 2008, which is now transitioning to secondary education. Additionally, the presence of Ukrainian asylum seekers among the student population also contributes to these figures. Since the spring of 2022, around 3,368 Ukrainian refugees have been studying in Czech secondary schools.

In contrast, the primary school sector is predicted to observe a modest reduction in the number of pupils. The Ministry expects a decrease of 2,378 pupils compared to the previous record-high enrollment of 1,007,778 pupils during the last academic year. This shift, however, follows a trend of cyclical fluctuations in primary school enrollments over the past few years.

The influx of Ukrainian asylum seekers arriving in Czechia due to the conflict in their homeland has played a significant role in boosting primary school enrollment figures. During the previous academic year, nearly 40,000 Ukrainian refugee children were enrolled in primary schools, further contributing to the historical milestone of surpassing one million students in Czech primary schools.

This academic year also highlights the anticipated enrollment of around 169,300 new students in the first year of secondary schools, including multi-year grammar schools and boarding schools. While the exact figures will be known in the autumn, the Education Ministry plans to conduct a comprehensive statistical survey in schools by September 30, 2023, which will provide accurate data on student numbers and their nationalities.

The changing demographics and the inclusion of Ukrainian asylum seekers in the education system underscore the multifaceted dynamics shaping Czechia’s educational landscape. The anticipated shifts in enrollment patterns hold implications for the education sector’s development and response to evolving societal needs.

Article by Prague Forum

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