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Czech Republic: Rising number of young migrants outside the education system (Unofficial translation)

Although the number of migrants in the Czech Republic is steadily increasing, their representation in secondary schools is stagnating. There is, therefore, a disproportionately large number of young migrants in the population who do not continue to secondary education after finishing primary school, and remain outside the education system. The exclusion of groups from mainstream education may lead to catastrophic and long-term consequences for Czech society. This problem has been highlighted by the META Association, an NGO helping migrant parents and children with social and educational orientation and integration in the Czech Republic.

Analysis of education ministry data shows that of the population of foreigners who were approximately 17 years old in September 2020, almost one third were outside the education system (compared with approximately 5% of native Czechs). For foreigners aged 18, this figure was more than half (compared with 10% of Czechs aged 18).

(image source: META ASSOCIATION 2021)

A big problem is the transition from primary to secondary school. There is a lack of sufficient Czech language training for migrant children in primary school, and many migrant pupils therefore leave primary school early, with fewer opportunities for further study and employment than their native Czech counterparts. Insufficient knowledge of the Czech language limits the transition to secondary school for foreign pupils - entrance exams are not adapted for pupils with insufficient knowledge of Czech. Graduation exams also do not sufficiently take into account students who are not fluent in Czech, and this puts them at a disadvantage.

(image source: META ASSOCIATION 2021)

The lack of an adequate language training system is a growing problem in view of the increasing number of migrants in the Czech Republic, and is at odds with the declared priorities of the country's integration and education policy. Last but not least, the wasted potential of young people may also have a significant economic impact. The situation therefore requires a systemic solution, and the META Association made a proposal for such a solution earlier this year. Find out more about this here.