Education Minister Bek Proposes Repayable Grants For University Students

Before his appointment as education minister, Bek was the Minister for European affairs. Photo credit: Mikulas Bek, via Facebook.

Prague, May 16 (CTK) – New Czech Education Minister Mikulas Bek (STAN) said today that he wants to open a discussion on the introduction of repayable grants for university students, so that all students are financially able to attend university. He made the comments during a press conference to outline his priorities.

He said the crisis of the Czech education system is in the inability to balance social differences, in extreme decentralisation, the postponed start of primary school attendance, and the setting of the entrance exams.

Bek said he would like to negotiate about the extension of compulsory school attendance, in order to get students who do not even try to apply for secondary school into the education system. 

He did not rule out in this context that the ninth grade of primary schools could be abolished. This was proposed by the senior government Civic Democrats (ODS), but the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) were opposed.

Bek said he is prepared to discuss his plans for changing the education system over ten years with other ruling coalition parties and the opposition parties.

To this end, he is willing to convene a “national convention for education,” including experts and politicians of all levels, following the example of negotiations at the European level. This convention should meet once a month, he said, adding that this idea was supported by senior constitutional officials.

Bek also said he would like to complete the bills on changes to the education system by this autumn, for the government to be able to push them through before its election term ends in late 2025.

Before his appointment as education minister, Bek was the Minister for European affairs.

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