Administration, Finance, & Educational Research
Government Education Organizations & Agencies: Education policy during the 1990s and at the start of the new millennium was set by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, the government arm primarily responsible for preprimary, primary, secondary, and tertiary school facilities and programs as of the late 1990s, except for certain matters falling under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Economy (and in the case of vocational training, of select other ministries such as the Ministry of Agriculture). The Ministry of Education also oversaw teacher training, scientific policy-making and technological development, advanced research (including educational and other social-science research), international cooperation in research and teaching, state-sponsored care of children and youth, physical education and sports, and tourism. The semi-autonomous Czech School Inspectorship, a subordinate, semi-autonomous entity attached to the Ministry, was charged with the tasks of improving education and educational management, ensuring the efficient utilization of educational resources, and supporting school compliance with education regulations. Beginning in 2001 new regional administrative arrangements involving the 14 regions established in 1998 were to be set in place to oversee educational administration in the Czech Republic, a significant step toward the greater decentralization of decision-making authority in the state. With the new regional administrations assuming their administrative responsibilities, the previously created school offices at the district level attached to the Ministry of Education were to be gradually eliminated. Ideally, this new arrangement would facilitate a more-coordinated network of entities charged with educational administrative tasks, since at the turn of the millennium educational administration in the Czech Republic had become increasingly complex and convoluted, involving arms and offices attached to the ministries, the 6,200 selfgoverning municipalities, school councils established by some schools after the 1995 Education Act to indirectly assist in school decision-making at the local level, school-based principals, and other educational administrators.
Educational Budgets & Expenditures: In 1997 the Czech Republic spent about 4.7 percent of the national budget on education. Financial responsibility for education mainly fell to the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports, which in 2001 was in charge of distributing most of the 80 billion Czech crowns allocated by the national government for education. The Ministry of Finance in 2001 distributed about 1 billion Czech crowns to the municipalities for education costs. The municipalities were responsible for covering 34 percent of investment and operating costs of kindergartens and 37 percent of primary-school expenditures, drawing upon the subsidies received from the Ministry of Finance and on tax shares. Local revenues cover only a very small percentage of expenditures on education. Municipal contributions for education constitute about 20 percent of the entire budget for education. During the 1990s the municipal share of funding for schools decreased as direct funding from the state has increased. In 1997 about 82.5 percent of the expenditures on education came from the state budget while 17.5 percent came from municipal budgets. Municipalities are rarely responsible for funding secondary schools, which for the most part are established by and receive funding from the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports.
As already noted, the public budget also provides a certain measure of funding for non-state schools established by private or denominational legal entities. The national state pays private and denominational schools about 60 to 90 percent of the per-pupil subsidies received by state schools, based on the level of education provided, the type of school established, and other formal criteria. Owners of non-state schools must provide the full capital investment needed to establish their schools but are free to set the wage scales for their educational staff, including teachers. In public schools salaries are determined according to a state salary table. Non-state schools also are permitted to collect tuition fees, something public schools are not allowed to do.
In the late 1990s the need for greater funds for capital expenditures on schools was readily apparent. Although the school-age population was declining in size and no major need existed for new-school construction, many of the existing facilities needed renovations and repairs. As Grootings observed in 1999, in the Czech Republic's vocational education and training system approximately three-quarters of non-investment expenditures went to salaries and social insurance for teachers and other educational staff, leaving little for building renovations or the purchase of equipment and teaching materials. The 1998 state budget for education allocated about 5 percent for capital expenditures, 55 percent for personnel expenses (including about 3 percent for staff subsidies for nonstate schools), and 40 percent for per-pupil expenditures to pay for textbooks, educational supplies, school meals, boarding fees, utilities and heating costs, and building maintenance. As a World Bank study published in 1999 pointed out, "These figures are more a consequence of the low share of salaries, because of low remuneration levels of teachers, than an over-generous provision of services to schools. The low salary level, especially at the entry point, is a deterrent to the recruitment and retention of young teachers. The teaching force, which is about 75 percent female, is predominantly middle-aged, with a majority trained in the pre-1989 system."
Research Centers & Institutes: Between 1953 and 1992 the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences was responsible for research and post-graduate (i.e., beyond the Bachelor's level) education. Additionally, research institutes belonging to various ministries and state-owned enterprises offered training opportunities as well as locations for professional research. In 1989 some 140 industrial research institutes were in existence in Czechoslovakia and the Czech part of the national budget spent 2.2 percent of the GDP on research and developing, providing jobs for 140,000 people. At the same time, research facilities were often overstaffed and poorly equipped, making research an expensive state enterprise.
Over the 10-year period between 1989 and 1999, substantial efforts were made to improve the research environment in the Czech Republic. Twenty-two research institutes were closed, and the new Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, begun in 1992, oversaw about 60 research institutes but assumed a lesser role in postgraduate education. Universities became increasingly involved in the provision of research training at the postgraduate level, employing instructional staff who could fulfill the roles of both professors and researchers. About 100 laboratories formerly attached to institutes were shifted to the universities, where research became more financially productive. A government-sponsored Research and Development Council was established in 1992 to provide oversight for the funding of activities in the areas of research and development, providing grants for specific research projects and programs as well as capital support and operating support for the institutions where research and development functions were carried out.
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