City of Prague pledges better language learning for children of immigrants

A new project is aimed at helping secondary and vocational school pupils whose mother language isn’t Czech.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 16.11.2021 14:52 (updated on 18.11.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague City Hall is supporting the integration of school children whose mother tongue is not Czech. The city has signed a draft memorandum of understanding with the civic organization META for language training in secondary schools. The project developed in Prague will eventually be spread to two other Czech regions.

“Prague has been supporting the education of children with different mother tongues in pre-school, primary, and secondary education for many years. It provides over CZK 2 million a year for these activities,” City Councilor Vít Šimral, responsible for education, said in a press release.

“With this amount, for example, we support intensive courses in Czech as a second language at the Marjánka Primary School in Prague 6 and at the Lyčkovo náměstí Primary School and Kindergarten in Prague 8, or courses for secondary school students run by the language school for state language exams in Prague,” Šimral added.

Under the new memorandum of understanding, from Aug. 1, 2022, to Aug. 31, 2027, META will carry out a project aimed at integrating young people with different mother tongues in secondary vocational education. The organization will also support secondary school teachers in educating pupils who don’t speak Czech as their native language.

The new project follows on previous efforts called “Click with School” and “Don't Give Up,” which were aimed at developing systemic language training and support for young people with different mother tongues so that they can fulfill their educational potential, complete secondary school, and subsequently enter the labor market.

Three Czech regions will be involved in the new project – the Plzeň region, the South Moravia region, and Prague. The model for preparing pupils with different mother tongues for entering secondary school and supporting them during their studies has been developed in Prague over the course of five years. The Prague model will be gradually transferred to the other two regions.

The project covers six basic activities: improving language courses, processing teaching materials, networking and advocacy activities, creating a network of coordinators, training, and counseling for teachers, project coordination, and PR activities.

“In addition, a new system of financing language education for foreigners in kindergartens and primary schools from the reserve of the regional office has come into force in the Czech Republic since the beginning of this year,” Šimral said, adding that some CZK 10 million had been allocated for this year.

META is a Prague-based civic organization that offers a range of services to immigrants and their families, including free counseling in the field of education, comprehensive support for families with children, Czech as a second language courses, leisure activities, and tutoring.

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