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EDUCATION PROGRAM FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE

High quality and inclusive education is seen by the Open Society Fund Prague as an essential foundation for a democratic and open society. Our vision is an educational system in which all children can be educated without distinction together and which enables each child to fully fulfill his/her educational potential, to fully develop his/her personality and to participate positively in society. In our work, among other things, we are guided by the Salamanca Statement, according to which:
“Children and pupils with special educational needs must have access to regular schools which should be able to accommodate them by meeting these needs within a child-centered pedagogical approach (…) Regular schools with an inclusive orientation are the most effective means for combating various discriminatory attitudes, helping build an open society and achieving education for all.”

Although education in the Czech Republic has a rich tradition, it is currently unable to fully guarantee equal access to all children, especially to pupils of Roma origin and pupils with special educational needs. In Europe, we are among the countries with the highest number of children outside of regular or mainstream schools. In essence, many children and their parents do not really have a choice when it comes to choosing between a regular and a special school.
In the case of Romani children, there is still excessive and incorrect placement in special education facilities. Approximately one third of pupils with a diagnosis of mild mental disability are pupils of Roma origin, although the Roma generally make up less than four percent of children in Czech elementary schools. There are also over eighty segregated schools in the Czech Republic, where more than half of pupils are Roma.

In line with the Salamanca Statement, other international agreements, scientific studies, and the practices of many high-quality schools in the Czech Republic, we believe that inclusive schools are the best place for the vast majority of pupils to fully develop their qualities.

 

We support quality laws and an inclusive educational system

A quality education system must be built on laws that are based on the principles of inclusive education. Such laws and sufficient funding are the basis for further steps towards improving the situation of pupils with special educational needs (SEN) and Roma pupils. Together with parents, schools, professionals and non-profit organizations, we advocate for better laws and monitor their implementation.

We support pre-school education for disadvantaged children

The development of children’s skills and knowledge in pre-school years predetermines their success in elementary school classrooms and significantly influences the subsequent trajectory of their lives. The majority children receive this “skill set” in their family and kindergarten settings. However, there is long-term inequality in the Czech Republic in the participation of Roma and non-Roma children in pre-school education. It is precisely this unequal approach that we are trying to change, by supporting kindergartens and non-profit organizations and by cooperating with the public administration. 

We encourage schools to create inclusive conditionsk

Most pupils with disabilities are already educated in mainstream schools, and inclusive education is a reality for many of them. And it is exactly inclusive schools in the Czech Republic that are an important inspiration on how to work with all children based on their needs. Therefore, OSF Prague supports the League of Community Schools (LCS) in their reciprocal visits, the sharing of experiences, the dissemination of good practices, the financing of further education courses and the organization of study tours abroad. 

We support the Parents for Inclusion Alliance

The voice of parents of children with special educational needs, as well as the voice of Romani parents, is extremely important in the debate on education. At OSF Prague, we believe that parents should be the ones who will be the main advocates of their children’s interests with our support. For this reason, we support the Parents for Inclusion Alliance, to whom other parents can join or direct their questions.

We provide grants, we support networking and expert discussions, and we bring inspiration from experiences abroad

Inclusive education and its implementation is a theme all over the world. Because in many countries people are faced with similar obstacles, the OSF Prague supports visits by foreign guests to the Czech Republic. Experience from abroad is a valuable source of inspiration. Equally important is having good professional knowledge of the functioning of education in the Czech Republic. That is why we support organizations that bring specific methods and approaches to schools on how to work with all children. Likewise, organizations that are devoted to developing inclusive education, both in public debates and in the development of school policy and laws, have our support.

We provide scholarships to high school and college students

NEWS

1.2.2016

Young Czech student starting Roma projects internship at Canadian Embassy

Adriana Trejtnarova, a young Czech university student from the north Bohemian town of Broumov, is starting her three-month internship at the Canadian Embassy in Prague today. The young student of …

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28.1.2016

Czech parent group in favor of inclusion says the state’s approach is the biggest obstacle

In the Czech Republic, the Alliance of Parents for Inclusion (Aliance Rodiče za inkluzi) has been striving for more than a year to bolster the role played by parents in …

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