DIVERSIFYING PRESCHOOL EDUCATION IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC
Masaryk University (CZECH REPUBLIC)
About this paper:
Conference name: 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2016
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:The paper will address the current diversification of early childhood education and care in the Czech Republic and discuss potential implications of this process on the reproduction of social inequalities.
The public system of pre-school education in the Czech Republic provides financially accessible care within a common legislative framework and is therefore believed to be egalitarian. The current situation, however, is characterized by a considerable lack of places in public institutions, which are moreover guaranteed only in the year before the child starts primary school, that is, usually for children at the age of five. These capacity limits are being mainly compensated for by the establishment of private facilities, which provide not only significantly more expensive services, but also a wide range of different educational programs comprising different conceptions of children’s needs and capabilities. While this phenomenon is rather new in the Czech Republic, studies from abroad stress that educational inequalities start already at the preschool level (Magnuson et al. 2004) and that the system of education has an early significant impact on a child’s life opportunities (Duncan, Brooks-Gunn, Klebanov 1994; Ramey, Ramey 2004).
The aim of the paper is to map the diversity of preschool facilities in Brno (the second largest city of the Czech Republic) with regards to different approaches to early childhood education and care and discuss potential implications of this emerging diversity for parents and children. To do so, the paper will draw mainly on data about the demand for kindergarten places as well as admission procedures, fees and educational programs of private and public preschool facilities in Brno.