Czech Republic

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Source: EURES The European Job Mobility Portal. For up-to-date information visit the Living and Working Conditions section about Czech Republic on the EURES Portal.

How to find a job

EURES

The EURES portal allows you not only to search for jobs imported from databases of the Czech Republic Labour Office, but also to open a My EURES account. You can also visit the Czech EURES portal on the website of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, where you may utilise the filters to search for vacancies offered by foreign employers in individual countries; there is also a link entitled ‘Hledáte práci v EU/EHP’ (Looking for work in the EU/EEA).

You may also visit one of the EURES advisors at the Czech Republic Labour Offices.

Czech Republic Labour Office

The Czech Republic Labour Office offers you several options on how to improve your position in the search for new employment. The basic possibility is to browse (staff can help you with this if you wish) a database of vacancies. In addition, the Czech Republic Labour Office offers, for instance, advice on choosing a profession or retraining opportunities.

Private employment agencies

When looking for a job through an agency you should check whether the agency holds the relevant employment agency licence. You will find a list of all the licensed agencies on the portal of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. Most of these agencies have websites, where you can find out more about them. Employment agencies are not authorised to charge for their services.

Mass media and the internet

Web portals constitute a major source of job vacancies. Not only you can search for offers posted directly by employers or agencies, but you can often also upload your CV into the database so that it can be viewed by employers searching for workers. In most Czech national newspapers, there is a section that focuses on job vacancies. Social networks are another possible tool that can be used to search for job vacancies.

Direct contact

In certain situations, it is better to contact an employer directly, particularly if you are applying for seasonal or casual work in rural areas. Of course, you can also address other employers directly, either through their websites or their human resources departments. The overwhelming majority of employers require a knowledge of Czech.

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How to apply for a job

The most common way of applying for a job is to send a CV accompanied by a cover letter. However, this is not always the best approach. If you are looking for manual work, it is better to go and see the employer in person.

Most employers require an active knowledge of Czech; therefore, your application should be drafted accordingly. You may also ask in advance about the employer's language preferences.

Cover letter

This letter should be brief and to the point, focusing on the job. You should indicate the reason why you are applying for the job and what you can offer the employer. Larger companies use a pre-printed questionnaire instead of a cover letter, focusing on issues relevant for the employer.

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

A curriculum vitae should usually be in a structured form. It should contain the following particulars:

Personal data – name and surname, address, telephone number, email, date of birth, nationality

Education – information about your education (secondary school and above)

Professional experience – the most important part, this section should indicate the positions held, brief job descriptions, the length of time you worked in each position (graduates may include seasonal work or short periods of work experience) and references

Other skills – languages, computer literacy, driving licence, other certificates or completed training

References – names and contact details for previous employers who may confirm your professional experience or provide other information about you

Selection procedure

If you are invited to a selection procedure or to an interview, you should take your curriculum vitae and copies of all certificates with you as your portfolio. Since selection procedures are rather formal occasions in the Czech Republic, it is important to dress appropriately. In some cases, an interview may be accompanied by a psychological test.

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Finding accommodation

The availability of accommodation and rents depends on location. Lettings in larger cities are much more expensive than those in smaller towns or rural areas.

Flat rentals are common in bigger towns, where the rent depends on the size of the flat, the location, furnishings, and the age of the building. Prices in Prague are several times higher than in the rest of the Czech Republic. Relatively high prices are also becoming more common in all the regional capitals. Young people often rent only one room in a flat or a house, mostly to facilitate commuting to work or to school and to save on housing costs (see the server ‘Spolubydlo').

More information about these issues can be obtained from the municipal authorities or estate agencies in the place where you are looking for accommodation (a list of links can be found under links).

Rent is usually paid monthly and a security deposit equal to at least one month’s rent often has to be paid in advance. As a general rule, properties for rent and sale can be also found on specialised websites. You may also place a small ad asking for accommodation matching your requirements or use advertising newspapers (Avizo, Annonce) or social networks.

An EU/EEA citizen who wishes to buy property in the Czech Republic (a flat or a house) must have a residence permit as issued to European Union citizens.

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Recognition of diplomas and qualifications

The importance of transparency and mutual recognition of diplomas as a crucial complement to the free movement of workers

The possibility of obtaining recognition of one’s qualifications and competences can play a vital role in the decision to take up work in another EU country. It is therefore necessary to develop a European system that will guarantee the mutual acceptance of professional competences in different Member States. Only such a system will ensure that a lack of recognition of professional qualifications will become an obstacle to workers’ mobility within the EU.

Main principles for the recognition of professional qualifications in the EU

As a basic principle, any EU citizen should be able to freely practice their profession in any Member State. Unfortunately the practical implementation of this principle is often hindered by national requirements for access to certain professions in the host country.

For the purpose of overcoming these differences, the EU has set up a system for the recognition of professional qualifications. Within the terms of this system, a distinction is made between regulated professions (professions for which certain qualifications are legally required) and professions that are not legally regulated in the host Member State.

Steps towards a transparency of qualifications in Europe

The European Union has taken important steps towards the objective of achieving transparency of qualifications in Europe:

Going beyond the differences in education and training systems throughout the EU

Education and training systems in the EU Member States still show substantial differences. The last enlargements of the EU, with different educational traditions, have further increased this diversity. This calls for a need to set up common rules to guarantee recognition of competences.

In order to overcome this diversity of national qualification standards, educational methods and training structures, the European Commission has put forward a series of instruments, aimed at ensuring better transparency and recognition of qualifications both for academic and professional purposes.

  1. The European Qualifications Framework

The European Qualifications Framework is a key priority for the European Commission in the process of recognition of professional competences. The main objective of the framework is to create links between the different national qualification systems and guarantee a smooth transfer and recognition of diplomas.

  1. The National Academic Recognition Information Centres (NARICs)

A network of National Academic Recognition Information Centres was established in 1984 at the initiative of the European Commission. The NARICs provide advice on the academic recognition of periods of study abroad. Located in all EU Member States as well as in the countries of the European Economic Area, NARICs play a vital role the process of recognition of qualifications in the EU.

  1. The European Credit Transfer System (ECTS)

The European Credit Transfer System aims at facilitating the recognition of periods of study abroad. Introduced in 1989, it functions by describing an education programme and attaching credits to its components. It is a key complement to the highly acclaimed student mobility programme Erasmus.

  1. Europass

Europass is an instrument for ensuring the transparency of professional skills. It is composed of five standardised documents

The Europass system makes skills and qualifications clearly and easily understood in the different parts of Europe. In every country of the European Union and the European Economic Area, national Europass centres have been established as the primary contact points for people seeking for information about the Europass system.

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Kinds of employment

Persons over the age of 15 who have completed compulsory schooling may become an employee. In recent years the use of temporary employment contracts has increased significantly. The duration of a fixed-term contract may not exceed 3 years, and may be repeated no more than twice. The most common type of employment is full-time employment and part-time employment.

The following types of employment exist:

Seasonal and casual work

Having a part-time job or seasonal work is very common in the Czech Republic. There are working opportunities, especially in tourism and services in major cities and tourist areas. These sectors have been seriously affected by COVID-19 measures. Number of job vacancies suitable for EU/EEA citizens is also limited due to the fact that most jobs require fluency or good command of Czech language. Other possibilities are seasonal jobs in agriculture, forestry or construction.

For seasonal jobs are typical, apart from standard fixed-term employment contracts, agreements on work performed outside employment – agreement to complete a job (dohoda o provedení práce) and agreement to perform work (dohoda o pracovní činnosti). An agreement to complete a job can be concluded only when range of work not exceed 300 hours in a calendar year for one employer. Employees only pay social and health insurance contributions if their monthly income is higher than 10 000 CZK and only in months in which this income treshold is exceed. The agreement to perform work does not allow the performance of work in excess of half the set weekly working hours (usually 20 hours). Compliance with the agreed maximum weekly working hours is assessed for the entire period of work but not longer than 52 weeks. Employees pay contributions only in case their earnings exceed 3 000 CZK per month.

Voluntary work

Voluntary work may be performed by a person over the age of 15 if it is carried out in the territory of the Czech Republic and by a person over the age of 18 if carried out abroad. A volunteer performs voluntary service under a contract concluded with the dispatching organisation.

Employment through an agency

Under labour law, an agency employee is contracted to the agency, which seconds him/her to its clients/users to carry out work on a temporary basis. The employee must have an employment contract or an agreement on work activities with the agency. In principle, the employment agency may not second the employee to the same client for more than 12 calendar months. This does not apply if the employee requests it or the secondment concerns replacing someone on maternity or parental leave. An employment agency may not temporarily assign employees to work for a client if they have been issued with a green or a blue card or a work permit, or are disabled.

There are also agreements on work performed without an employment contract, namely agreements on performance of work and agreements on work activities.

An agreement on performance of work may be concluded if the envisaged scope of work does not exceed 300 hours a year. Such agreements may be concluded only with respect to a single and integrated work task. On the other hand, an agreement on work activities may also be concluded for generically defined work. Such agreements must always be in writing.

An agreement on work activities may be concluded by the employer if the envisaged scope of work does not exceed 300 hours in the same year. At the same time, the agreed scope of work may not exceed, in principle, one half of the set weekly working time. Such activities are of a repetitive nature (e.g. cleaning). The agreement must always be in writing.

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Employment contracts

The employment relationship between an employer and employee is established solely by means of an employment contract, or by appointment (selection by the competent authority) only for managers, pursuant to specific legislation, and in the case of organisational units of the state, agency, state enterprise or state fund.

Prior to the conclusion of an employment contract, the employer is obliged to inform the employee of his/her rights and obligations.

Mandatory particulars to be specified in an employment contract are as follows:

An employment contract must always be concluded in writing and the employee must receive a copy; the employer retains a second copy. If the contract does not specify the employee's rights and obligations, the employee must be informed about them in writing within one month of the start of the employment. If the employee fails to turn up for work on the agreed date and fails to notify the employer within one week of the reason for not having done so, the employer may terminate the employment contract.

Rights and obligations should specify:

The employment relationship is established as of the date which has been agreed in the employment contract as the starting date. The agreed content of the employment contract can be changed only by agreement between the employer and the employee. Any such change must always be made in writing. An employment relationship may be terminated by agreement, by giving notice, by immediate termination or by termination during the probationary period, but always in accordance with statutory provisions.

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Working time

The weekly working time may not exceed 40 hours.

The weekly working time of employees:

   1. working underground in the extraction of coal, ore or non-ore minerals, in mining construction and at geological exploration mining facilities may not exceed 37.5 hours;

   2. working in three-shift and uninterrupted working regimes may not exceed 37.5 hours;

   3. working in two-shift regimes may not exceed 38.75 hours.

For employees of below the age of 18, the length of individual daily shifts may not exceed 8 hours. The aggregate length of the weekly working time of an employee below the age of 18 who has two or more jobs may not exceed 40 hours.

In the Czech Republic the 40-hour week is divided into five working days with an eight-hour daily working time. The lunch break is not included in working time. Working hours in government institutions usually differ from those in private companies.
Larger companies in the Czech Republic have collective agreements that can, for example, govern working time, overtime pay, time in lieu, various contributions for holidays, pensions, the setting up of company crèches, and improved occupational safety.

Annual leave

In the Czech Republic, the basic holiday entitlement is four weeks per year. Longer holiday entitlements may be agreed in collective agreements. Of course, you may not work for the same employer for a whole year. If, however, your employment lasts longer than 60 days, you have a right to a certain part of the entitlement. For every full month worked, you will receive one-twelfth of the holiday entitlement for the whole year.

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Leave (annual leave, parental leave etc.)

In the Czech Republic, the regular holiday entitlement of employees working under an employment contract is 4 weeks per year. Generally, longer holiday entitlements may be agreed in collective agreements. Certain groups of employees (in public administration and autonomous public bodies and contributory organisations) are entitled to 5 weeks, other groups (teachers and academic staff) to 8 weeks.

Employees become entitled to take a holiday after having worked for 60 days; however, if the employee works for a shorter time, he/she can take 1/12 of the total annual leave entitlement.

The period when holiday may be taken is determined by the employer as agreed with the trade union or the employee. Every employee is entitled to take at least 2 consecutive weeks of holiday.

Other types of holiday and leave from work:

Paid maternity leave – In connection with childbirth and the care of a newborn child, the maternity leave entitlement is 28 weeks; in the case of multiple births, the entitlement is 37 weeks. If the mother has worked at least 270 days in the last 2 years, she is entitled to a maternity benefit, which is paid at least 6 weeks before the birth (not earlier than 8 weeks before the birth) within 6 months of the child's birth. 

Paternity leave (paternal postnatal care) – the father is entitled to this if his name is stated on the birth certificate. Paternity leave corresponds to 7 days in relation to the care of a new-born child. The paternity allowance can only be granted on the condition that paternity leave is taken within 6 weeks from the date of birth of the child or from the date on which the child was taken into care. The date on which the father starts his paternity leave can be determined by each individual.

Parental leave – this type of leave may be granted, upon request, to a mother or father after the end of maternity leave or upon taking a child into his/her care and until the child reaches the age of 4. The employer is obliged to provide this leave under the Labour Code, but not after the child reaches the age of 3 years.

Additional holiday – employees performing extremely hard work or work that is harmful to their health are entitled to an additional week’s holiday per year

Time off to develop or gain qualifications needed for one’s job 

National holidays

Working during national holidays is intended to ensure the continuity of the operations of individual organisations and companies. If you work during a national holiday, you will be entitled to extra pay in accordance with the law.

State holidays and periods of leave for the year 2020

1 January – anniversary of the re-establishment of the independent Czech State, New Year’s Day

10 April – Good Friday

13 April – Easter Monday

1 May – Labour Day

8 May – Victory Day

5 July – day commemorating the Slavic apostles Cyril and Methodius

6 July – anniversary of Jan Hus being burnt at the stake

28 September – Czech Statehood Day

28 October – anniversary of the establishment of the independent Czechoslovak State

17 November – Day of Struggle for Freedom and Democracy

24 December – Christmas Eve

25 December – Christmas Day

26 December – Boxing Day 

An employee working on a holiday is entitled to extra pay under the law.

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Remuneration

Minimum wage

The minimum wage is the lowest wage an employer can pay. The minimum wage is set at both an hourly rate and a monthly salary. The minimum wage applies to all employees in employment or legal relationships based on work contracts outside the employment relationship (agreement on performance of work and agreement on work activities). No distinction is made as to whether the employment is for a fixed or indefinite period or for simultaneous employment.

The level is regulated by the Labour Code and may be changed every year in line with the economic situation. The minimum wage is currently CZK 14 600 gross or 87.30 CZK/hour (as of 1 January 2020).

Gross and net wage

Certain deductions are made from the gross wage of every employee (further information about wage deductions can be found in the taxation and labour costs section). These deductions are made up of health and social insurance on the one hand and income tax on the other, the latter in the form of advance tax payments (there is an annual tax settlement at the end of the year). After these deductions have been made, the balance is the net wage. Other individual deductions may also be made from an employee's wage, for the repayment of loans, savings, etc.

If employees do not carry out their work duties for a certain period of time for reasons set out in the Labour Code and are, for example, on holiday or on sick leave, they do not receive their normal pay but instead get ‘compensation’ pay. In certain cases compensation pay will correspond to the average net wage of the employee but in other cases it will be lower or will only be paid for a certain number of days.

Methods of payments of wages

Wages are normally paid on a fixed pay date by transfer to a bank account or directly to the employee in cash. The wage is payable for work carried out and is payable at the latest during the following month. Advance payments may also be agreed which can be paid to the employee before the fixed pay date.

Wages can also be paid in a foreign currency if there is a current exchange rate fixed by the Czech National Bank.

On the monthly salary payment date, the employer is obliged to issue to the employee a written document including information about individual salary components and deductions. Upon the employee's request, all documents used to calculate the wage must be presented by the employer to the employee.

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Ending employment

Employment may be terminated in the Czech Republic by the employer or the employee in several ways:

By agreement – concluded between the employer and the employee as of a fixed date

By notice – in writing presented by the employer (giving a reason provided for by law) or by the employee (no reason need be given)

By immediate termination – on the part of the employee, employer. Exceptionally, the employer may terminate the employment of the employee immediately, e.g. on the grounds of gross misconduct. The employee may terminate the employment relationship immediately, for example for health reasons (more in §55 of the Labour Code).

Termination during the probationary period – by either the employer or the employee; no reason need be given

Upon expiry of the agreed term in the case of work agreed for a limited period of time

Upon the employee's death

The Czech pension system is made up of two parts: mandatory basic pension insurance and voluntary additional pension insurance.

The pension entitlement, the amount of the pension and its payment is determined by the Czech Social Security Administration.

All types of pensions consist of the basic pension, which is uniform, and the percentage assessment, which is determined in accordance with the length of time the recipient has been in the scheme. If you fulfil simultaneously the conditions for obtaining more than one pension, you will be paid only one of these pensions – the higher one.

Pension types:

Retirement pension – anyone reaching retirement age who has paid in to the scheme for a sufficient number of years is entitled to a retirement pension The retirement age for women is reduced proportionally in line with the number of children they have raised (not for women born after 1977).

Early retirement pension – entitlement to this kind of pension is conditional upon having paid in to the scheme for the required length of time and having reached 60 years of age.

Disability pension – may be granted on the basis of a medical assessment by the physician of the Czech Social Security Administration (ČSSZ) only if the insured has: 1) become disabled and has been insured for the required time, or 2) become disabled due to a work injury or occupational illness. Persons receiving disability pension may receive income from gainful activities.

Widow’s and widower’s pension – the spouse of a deceased person who was in receipt of a pension or who had been insured for the necessary number of years for entitlement to a full retirement pension, or who died as a result of a work injury, is entitled to such a pension.

Orphan’s pension – a dependent child whose parent (or adoptive parent) or guardian has died, where the latter 1) was in receipt at the time of his/her death of a retirement or full or partial disability pension or 2) had been insured at the time of his/her death for the number of years necessary for a retirement pension and/or 3) died as a result of work injury, is entitled to such a pension.

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The health system

In the Czech Republic, there are state and non-state health facilities. Nearly all of them have concluded a contract on the provision of healthcare and the reimbursement of the costs thereof with a health insurance company, and provide health care to insured patients for a symbolic charge.

In case of illness, a patient usually turns first to a primary care physician (general practitioner, dentist, gynaecologist). You should check whether the physician, with whom you first have to register, has concluded a contract with the insurance company where you are insured. 

You may visit a specialist in the Czech Republic without a referral from a primary care physician. 

Necessary medical care in the case of sudden illness outside the surgery hours of the attending physician is provided, depending on local circumstances, by an after-hours medical service.

The medical emergency services, whose telephone number is 155, provide medical care in the case of sudden illness or injury, when a patient cannot get to a doctor by his or her own means.

An administrative fee of CZK 90 has been introduced in the Czech Republic in the interests of regulation and to reduce waste and the abuse of medical services. This fee is payable for emergency medical treatment, which is deemed to be treatment between 17.00 and 7.00 on working days, and at weekends.

Health care in the Czech Republic is provided mostly on the basis of mandatory public health insurance. Private health insurance is complementary. Entitlement to public health insurance arises under the law for persons who reside permanently in the Czech Republic or for employees of an employer with his or her registered office in the Czech Republic. Participation in public health insurance is prescribed by law and does not require a contract with an insurance company. However, you may elect a health insurance company with which you wish to be insured. Individuals who do not meet the conditions for participation in public health insurance may take out private health insurance. This type of health insurance may be taken out with only six insurance companies (VZP ČR (General Health Insurance Company), Axa Assistance, ERGO, Maxima, Slavia and UNIQA).

If you move around the EU you should only be insured in one Member State. This is usually the Member State where you work. If you work at the same time in two or more Member States and reside in one of them, you are insured in the state where you reside. If you are an employee deployed to the Czech Republic by another Member State, you remain insured there. It is necessary to present at all times the form issued by the health insurance company in your country. You have to apply for the relevant form before travelling to the Czech Republic. The same applies in respect of family members. This form has to be presented either directly to the physician or hospital, or to a local health insurance authority. Persons participating in public or private health insurance are obliged to pay regularly insurance premiums. These are due as of the starting date of the insurance.

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Incomes and taxation

In the fourth quarter of 2019, nominal gross monthly earnings (taking into account the number of people working in the national economy) were CZK 36 144. (Source: Czech Statistical Office https://www.czso.cz/csu/czso/cri/prumerne-mzdy-4-ctvrtleti-2019).

·         Average gross monthly earnings by sector 

Sector:

Average gross monthly earnings

 (in CZK)*: 

Construction

31 606

Mining and quarrying

40 101

Education

41 674

Financial and insurance activities

57 550

Accommodation and food services

20 639

Administrative and support services

23 129

Arts, entertainment and recreation

33 008

* Average gross monthly earnings taking into account the number of people in work

Zdroj: https://www.czso.cz/csu/czso/cri/prumerne-mzdy-4-ctvrtleti-2019

Income tax

If you are liable to pay tax in the Czech Republic (e.g. on the basis of an employment contract with a Czech employer), you may, under legally stipulated circumstances, claim non-taxable amounts.

Your employer will pay a tax advance on your behalf every month. The monthly rate is one twelfth of the above amounts. As an employee, you may apply for an annual tax calculation at the beginning of the following year, or submit a tax return for the preceding year to your local tax office. Any overpaid tax will be refunded to you.

Income tax is calculated on the basis of the super-gross salary (= gross salary of the employee + social and health insurance contributions paid by the employer). The unified tax rate for 2019 and 2020 is set at 15% for all natural persons. 

Contributions for health and social insurance from gross pay

The employee pays - 4.5 % for health insurance

The employer pays 9% and 25% of the amount of gross salaries for health insurance and social security respectively for all its employees. 

Value added tax

The basic rate for 2020 is 21%, but some goods and services are subject to reduced rates of 15% (e.g. food, accommodation services) and 10 % (applicable only to goods and services listed in the relevant annex to the VAT Act. These include catering, some craft and professional services, as well as water and sewage. Furthermore, rates of 10% have also been unified for books, e-books and audiobooks.

Excise duty

Excise duty applies to propellants, fuels, spirits, beer, cigarettes and wine and is payable by the importer or manufacturer. Small quantities of these goods may be imported for personal consumption – see section 2.1. Movement of goods and capital.

Other taxes that may be payable under specific circumstances include road tax, real estate transfer tax, real estate tax and environmental taxes.

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The educational system

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MŠMT) is the central state administration authority responsible for preschool facilities, primary and secondary schools and universities.

The education system in the Czech Republic has a long tradition dating back to 1774, when compulsory schooling was introduced. Today, the Czech Republic has all types of education, beginning with preschool, through to primary, secondary, university, postgraduate and continuous education. 

Preschool facilities

Nursery schools are part of the school system and are designed for children from 3 to 6 years of age. At most nurseries schooling is free. Parents contribute to the running costs. There is a huge range of both publicly run and private nursery schools in the Czech Republic. Preschool education is compulsory for a child of up to five years by the beginning of the school year. This obligation was introduced in the 2017/2018 school year.

Primary schools

Compulsory education lasts for 9 years, normally from the age of 6 to 15. In most cases it is provided by primary schools. Even though there are defined catchment areas, there is no restriction on the choice of school. 

Primary school has nine grades, divided into the lower level with the first five years and the higher level with four years. The school year begins on 1 September and ends on 31 August of the following year. Pupils are assessed on the basis of written and oral examinations and given marks ranging from 1 to 5. Continuous assessment is summarised in the report issued at the end of each six-month period. Lessons last 45 minutes. Children may complete their compulsory schooling in a eight-year or six-year study programme at a grammar school. Disabled children can be integrated into regular classes or taught in special primary school classes. They can also attend special schools.

Secondary schools

Grammar schools provide complete general secondary education. They prepare students for post-secondary education. They have four-year, six-year and eight-year programmes. At the end of their studies students take a school-leaving examination. 

Secondary vocational schools provide complete vocational secondary education, studies last for 4 or 5 years and at the end of their studies students take a vocational examination. 

Secondary technical schools usually offer three-year apprenticeship courses, which end with a school leaving examination and the award of a certificate of apprenticeship. They prepare students for skilled worker occupations. 

Conservatoires provide specific secondary education and prepare students for teaching and artistic professions. Study programmes last for six to eight years. At the end of their studies students take a school-leaving examination or prepare a graduation performance.

Higher technical colleges

These provide necessary technical education and practical preparation necessary for technical jobs. There are two-year and three-year programmes. At the end of their studies students take a theoretical or practical leaving examination.

Universities

Universities provide Bachelor’s degree (undergraduate) programmes, Master’s programmes (graduate) and postgraduate studies. Programmes in technical and economic fields lead to an ‘engineering’ (‘Ing’) degree. 

Public post-secondary institutions are divided into universities and ‘vysoké školy‘ (literally: ‘high schools’).

Universities, which represent the predominant form of public higher education, also have to engage in research, scientific and development activities, as well as teaching.

Studies conducted in Czech at public and state-owned universities are free of charge.

In addition to the public universities, there are also private universities in the Czech Republic. Like departments at public universities, accreditation from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports is required for the establishment of a private university. 

Continuing adult education

Adult education and professional training is provided by schools, employers and private educational institutions, and through retraining programmes organised by labour offices.  

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Cultural and social life

Cultural and social life in the Czech Republic is extremely diverse and has a long tradition.

Among the most prominent characters who have fundamentally influenced the history and subsequent development of cultural and social life in Bohemia, we should remember the father of the nation, Charles IV, who led the Czech kingdom to its greatest glory. We should also remember the great reformer of the Catholic Church, Jan Hus, and František Palacký, the historian, politician and leading figure in the Czech National Renaissance, a man also known as the father of the nation.

As regards modern history, we should not forget Thomáš Garrigue Masaryk – the first president of independent Czechoslovakia, and Václav Havel – the first president elected democratically after the fall of Communism.

Just as the nation has changed and developed, so has the national character. The greatest changes took place after 1989 when the Communist regime was overthrown and democracy was installed. The Czechs are a creative people, masters of improvisation and possess a very broad general outlook. They regard themselves as an inventive people, if rather non-assertive, lacking in self-confidence and having a tendency to criticise.

Foreign visitors have a high regard for Czech historic monuments, the Czech countryside, Czech beer and the capital city of Prague. The leisure activities of most young people include mainly sport, studying languages and having fun, while older sections of the population prefer watching television, housework, looking after their children, practising various hobbies or spending time at their weekend cottages. In their early days, the latter were a continuation of the old tradition of hiking but restricted opportunities for travel have also played a part.

The Czech Republic can also provide numerous other possibilities for cultural enjoyment. A favourite way of spending one’s free time is to go to the theatre or the cinema. Czechs enjoy visiting historic monuments such as castles, stately homes and churches, and natural monuments and sites such as national parks, protected landscape areas and caves, etc. Visiting spas is also popular, thanks to an abundance of curative springs in the country. Ice hockey and football are popular sports, tennis has a rich tradition, and cycling is another favourite; hiking, downhill and cross-country skiing, biathlon and volleyball, as well as sports such as archery, sports shooting and mountain-climbing, are also popular.

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