Improving equal opportunities in education
The Czech Republic belongs among developed countries with the greatest influence of economic, social and cultural family status on the children's educational outcomes. This means, for example, there is a significantly lower chance of graduating from a university for a child if neither of their parents passed the Maturita examination. At the same time, there are one of the biggest differences in educational outcome among regions and even among individual schools. Some regions have a high proportion of students who achieve a very low level of basic literacy (over 30%) or who complete primary education maximally (up to 17%). The Czech education system and related services are limited in their ability to react on socioeconomic and socio-psychological risk factors. We consider widening inequalities in approach to education being a fundamental and growing problem of Czech education and our society as a whole.
Why it is important
Countries with higher uneven chances and selectivity in education achieve worse educational outcomes. Dividing children into different educational streams according to their socioeconomic background or ethnicity results in varying quality of education which is provided to the individual groups. This directly jeopardises social cohesion. Access to education is an enshrined constitutional value. High-quality education contributes to the development of the potential of all children and students. Moreover, it is a crucial element to economic prosperity - if the productivity of future employees will increase, the money for social benefits, public services and medical costs will be saved and the crime rate will be reduced as well.
What we strive for
We strive for success and results of the children being less dependent on which family they are born to - if their parents support them or not or even if they have a place to live. Our vision is that children from various backgrounds will go to schools of similar quality, where they will receive education of similar quality. Czech education system will not select children by their intellect, social background, ethnicity or any other criteria. As a result, schools will become a significant social cohesion of the Czech society.
As for goals of Česká spořitelna Foundation, we want to support the increase the success of students, whose family, socioeconomic (poor housing quality etc.) or socio-psychological (divorces, addictions and others) issues prevent them from fulfilling their educational potential. We make every effort to reduce the number of students who achieve the lowest level of literacy or terminate their education prematurely (without secondary education). We wish to contribute to increase the school readiness of the socially disadvantaged, including the support of children at pre-school age, and to improve the quality of teaching at low-quality schools and in legging regions in the Czech Republic.
Increasing equal chances means to us supporting high-quality education in the following ways:
- Purposive increase of equal chances through supporting problematic regions and changes resulting in reducing the selectivity of the education system
- Increasing attendance of the number of children threatened by failure at high-quality pre-school institutions
- Assuring support for children by a sufficient amount of high-quality pedagogical assistants
- Intensifying, connecting and increasing of support structures around schools (Pedagogical and psychological counselling centres, parent-child play centres, family centres, community centres, general paediatricians, emergency healthcare workers, authorities of social and legal protection of children (OSPOD), child psychiatrist, paediatric clinical psychologists, social workers, social welfare organizations, guard services, police etc.)
We support all activities mentioned above only in case that they stand a chance to bring a sustainable improvement at minimum regional, preferably at the national level.