New Czech education minister pushes for later school starting time

Beginning the school day at 9 a.m. is among the proposed changes from the newly appointed education minister. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 26.07.2022 13:02:00 (updated on 27.07.2022) Reading time: 1 minute

Minister of Education Vladimír Balaš received weak support at the STAN movement's assembly in Hradec Králové with a proposal to start school classes at 9:00 a.m. instead of the current 8:00 a.m. 

To gauge interest, he put the idea to a vote, and roughly a third of the delegates raised their hands, the Czech News Agency (ČTK) reports

According to Balaš, this happened because not all of those who voted are parents of adolescent children who would greatly benefit from the proposed change.

“Nine o'clock is great for adolescent youth. There are studies that say that when children go to school later, they demonstrably perform better," Minister Balaš said.

Would you prefer the classes at Czech schools to start at 9 a.m.?

Yes! 75 %
No, 8 a.m. is fine as as it is. 23 %
Neutral. 2 %
278 readers voted on this poll. Voting is open

Balaš took over the ministry about a month ago. He replaced Petr Gazdík who resigned due to his association with the accused lobbyist Michal Redl. 

He also said at the STAN assembly that he definitely does not want to cancel multi-year gymnasiums. 

An expert in constitutional and international law with experience as a university teacher, Balaš said that children who remain in elementary school after some of their classmates leave lose motivation, while students of multi-year grammar schools lose social skills. According to him, it would therefore be appropriate to review the differences between students of multi-year grammar schools.

The pros and cons of multi-year gymnasiums have been debated among experts for many years. According to their supporters, they help in the development of gifted children. Opponents believe they deepen inequalities in education, and it is more appropriate to support the development of four-year gymnasiums.

Balaš previously promised to increase the capacity of four-year gymnasiums in Prague by up to 2,000 places in the future. In addition, grammar school classes should be established at vocational secondary schools in Prague.

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