Classes for language preparation

  • What is...?

Classes for language preparation:These provide for the preparation of foreign pupils from the countries of the European Union for their incorporation into the education system of the Czech Republic, free of charge. This free preparation includes training in Czech in accordance with section 20 paragraph 5 of Act 561/2004 Coll., on pre-school, junior, senior, and higher specialist and other education (the Education Act), and in accordance with sections 10 and 11 of Decree No. 48/2005 Coll., on basic education and several matters relating to the obligation to attend school, as amended.

The stipulation of schools with language preparation classes is organised by the regional authorities in cooperation with the founders and management of these schools. A list of such schools is published by the regional authorities on their websites, and is also available at the education departments of the individual regional authorities. The language preparation classes are established by the headmasters/mistresses of the appropriate schools.

  • Topic

Pupils meeting the requirements for inclusion in a language preparation class
Pupils meeting the requirements of the Education Act for inclusion in a language preparation class must come from countries of the European Union. Under the terms of Act 326/1999 Coll., citizens of Switzerland, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway enjoy the same status as citizens of the EU in respect of the rules applying to residency within the territory of member countries of the EU, and thus in respect of their entitlement for inclusion in language preparation classes.

Applicants for inclusion in language preparation classes may corroborate their citizenship of the EU using only travel documents (travel, diplomatic, business and official passport) or by means of an ID card, since as of 1 May 2004, EU citizens do not need any document, visa, nor permission to reside in the Czech Republic.

The procedure when including a pupil meeting the requirements of the Education Act in a language preparation class Details on free language tuition are specified by Decree No. 48/2005 Coll., on pre-school, junior, senior, and higher specialist and other education, which came into force on 25 January 2005.

1) The headmasters/mistresses of the school in which a foreign pupil meets their statutory school attendance obligation (their statutory school), informs the statutory guardian of this pupil within one week of their acceptance at the school of the possibility of attendance in language preparation classes. The headmaster/mistress also provides information regarding the method of including the pupil in this class, the duty to submit an application, and the schools where such classes are available in the region. 2) The statutory guardian of the foreign pupil submits a written application to the management of the school with a language preparation class for free language preparation for incorporation in basic education. It is up to the statutory guardian what basic school with a language preparation class they choose. Their decision might be influenced, for example, by ease of transport (usually there will be a maximum of one such school in the district). 3) The headmaster/mistress of a basic school with a language preparation class includes the foreign pupil in such a class within 30 days at the latest of an application being submitted.

A pupil may be included in a language preparation class any time during the school year.

Methodical assistance when filling out the application form by the statutory guardian of the foreign pupil for inclusion in a language preparation class
Re: Application to include the pupil …… (name) in a language preparation class in order to prepare them, free of charge, for incorporation into basic education

Information required on the application form:
- pupil’s name
- nationality
- maternal language
- day, month and year of birth
- residence
- statutory basic school in the CR (i.e. the school at which the foreign pupil meets their statutory school attendance obligation)
- statutory basic school in the EU (i.e. the school which the foreign pupil attends in the EU)
- date the pupil applied for the statutory basic school in the Czech Republic
- the pupil is in year / class …… in the statutory basic school in the CR
- number of years the statutory school attendance obligation has been met
- signature of the statutory guardian of the foreign pupil

The application must be accompanied by a copy of a travel document (i.e. a travel, diplomatic, business or official passport) of the pupil or their ID pass.

Details of language preparation
The content of the training provided in Czech is specified by the anticipated outputs of the Foreign Language Education Department stipulated by the Framework Curriculum for Basic Education. The specific contents and methods of education take into account the requirements of individual pupils. Language preparation classes also support as much as possible training in the maternal language of the foreign children and the culture of their country of origin.

The maximum number of pupils in a language preparation class is 10, and there is no minimum number specified by the law. This means that language preparation classes may be opened upon the first application being submitted. Pupils included in a language preparation class are not pupils of the school at which they attend the language preparation class. Passing the language preparation class is recorded in the documentation of the pupil’s statutory school, i.e. the school in which the foreign pupil met their statutory school attendance obligation. The pupil receives a language preparation certificate from the school where they attended the language preparation class.

The duration of the education provided in the classes is at least 70 educational hours over a period of a maximum of 6 consecutive months. The generally recommended educational model in these classes is 70 teaching hours each half year.

  • Stories and examples

“I was invited to an introductory meeting of the headmasters/mistresses of schools in which our regional authorities were proposing to establish language preparation classes. I went there feeling really enthusiastic and with a good feeling that young foreigners, who struggle with Czech in our schools because there is no money for teaching them, would finally be well looked after.

However, my hopes were dashed pretty quickly. The very introductory words brought me right down to earth again. We could offer free language preparation only to children from EU countries! Only they would receive free tuition in Czech at certain schools. We would not be establishing similar classes for the rest, who did not have the luck to be born in one of the countries of the EU and for whom in many cases the journey to Europe had involved considerable suffering. As a teacher, how do I explain to small children why one of them can and the other can’t? And how do I claim to their parents, my colleagues and the general public in our town that our school is doing its best to ensure equal access to education for all children without regard for the colour of their skin, their religion or the country of their origin?

The rest of the participants at the meeting also did not hide their surprise and suddenly the conversation was all about the real needs of young foreigners in our schools. It became clear that only one headmaster of the twelve representatives of schools invited had a pupil from a country of the European Union in their school, whose well-off family were paying for courses in Czech in Prague. On the other hand, all the others have young Asians, pupils from the former Soviet Union and, to a lesser extent, young Africans. These young foreign children come to school with almost zero knowledge of Czech, and in the pupil-teacher and teacher-pupil relationship both parties learn to communicate by trial and error during regular classes with the rest of the school.

And so, while families coming to the CR from the richer countries of the West can apply for free language preparation for their children, many poorer children from the East are left to their fate in Czech schools and, in the best case, to the self-sacrificing care of their Czech teachers, who, free of charge and in their own time, tutor these children, because their conscience will not allow them to do otherwise.

Our entry into the EU requires us to look after the young citizens of countries of the European Union. The duty was met under the law. Will our lawmakers and school authorities continue to rely on the self-sacrifice, unselfishness and sympathy of Czech teachers, each of whom, sooner or later, will find themselves teaching a foreigner who is not from the EU?”

  • Sources

Acts, decrees:

§ 20 zákona č. 561/2004 Sb., o předškolním, základním, středním, vyšším odborném a jiném vzdělávání (školský zákon). Ustanovení § 20 upravuje podmínky, za nichž je poskytováno vzdělávání a školské služby podle zákona osobám, které nejsou občany České republiky. Ustanovení dále upřesňuje postup ze strany ředitele školy při přijímání cizinců ke studiu.

§ 9, § 10 a § 11 vyhlášky č. 48/2005 Sb., o základním vzdělávání a některých náležitostech plnění povinné školní docházky, v úplném znění. Příslušná ustanovení řeší vzdělávání ve třídách pro jazykovou přípravu.

Právní výklady (text aktualizovaný k právnímu stavu od 1. ledna 2005):

Internet and references:

Studium cizinců ve školách a školských zařízení v České republice: str. 13 – 18

Metodická pomoc při výuce češtiny jako cizího jazyka:Asociace učitelů češtiny jako cizího jazyka (

Projekt Varianty (

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