Decline in Czech university student numbers ends after a decade as a new generation starts to enroll

While the 1990s saw a drop in births, that trend reversed by 2000 and those children have now reached university age.


Written by ČTK Published on 03.08.2021 15:53:00 (updated on 03.08.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague, Aug 3 (ČTK) - The decline in the number of students at Czech universities and colleges, lasting for 10 years from 2011, ended last year when their total number rose 3.7 percent to reach 299,400, according to the Education Ministry's annual report released to ČTK

In 2020, some 7.5 percent more students enrolled for the first year of studies at universities compared to 2019.

The reason for this change is the demographic development in the Czech Republic where the generation born after 2000 has started graduating from secondary schools and entering tertiary education facilities. The Education Ministry expects their number to continually rise in the years to come.

The decrease in the number of first-year students stopped in 2017 when 53,389 enrolled at universities, 200 fewer compared to the previous year. It began to increase as of 2018, when the number of first-year students rose by 564, and in 2019, by 3,080, while last year, it increased by 4,314 as against the year before.

The trend of a drop in the total number of university students has changed, too. The ministry expects its rise in the following years.

"The cause is that the large groups of the new generation of 'baby boomers' reached the age of 18 to 20 when people start university studies most often," the ministry explained.

The ministry's statistical data show that the highest number of students at universities in the Czech Republic was in 2010, with 395,982 in total. In the following year, young people born in the 1990s when the birth rate was not so high, started entering universities and colleges, so the number of students dropped by some 27 percent to 288,608 by 2019. Last year, the total number of university students increased to 299,396, which meant a 3.7 percent rise.

Most students are enrolled at public universities. It was 91 percent last year.

As of the end of 2020, there were 61 universities and colleges in the Czech Republic, including 26 public ones, two state ones, and 33 private tertiary education institutions. Two private schools did not offer any courses then.


The number of foreigners at Czech universities and colleges kept rising last year when 50,121 foreigners studied there, 3,680 more than a year before.

"In 2020, foreign students made up 16.7 percent of all students, which was about 0.5 percent rise as against the year before. The share of self-payers among them was roughly 18 percent, a year-on-year rise by 1 percent," the ministry said.

At the same time, the number of Czech students at foreign universities and colleges or their branches in the Czech Republic has been gradually rising. In 2019, 2,465 Czechs studied at them compared to 3,700 in 2020.

Czech Rectors Conference chairman Martin Bareš, the rector of Masaryk University in Brno, told ČTK recently that the tertiary education budget would have to be raised in connection with the expected steep rise in the number of applicants for studies. However, next year, universities and colleges are to get CZK 1 billion crowns as projected in the budget outlooks last year, but their budget rise should be higher in the years to come, he noted.

This year, CZK 28.4 billion was earmarked for tertiary education in the Czech Republic.

Number of students at Czech universities, colleges:

2020299 39661 35262 914
2019288 60857 03864 243
2018289 66653 95368 574
2017298 67953 38972 086
2016311 06253 58977 382
2015326 43955 64582 040
2014346 81159 34088 257
2013367 77067 73191 693
2012380 89372 16394 090
2011392 03875 95293 105
2010395 98281 61388 075

Source: Czech Ministry of Education

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