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Challenges and tendencies - Czech Republic

The new School Act is based on meeting the individual needs of each pupil and on improving the differentiate content of the education. This is easy to say but hard to implement into practice. It is always difficult for teachers to deal with differences and to find appropriate ways in how to formulate adequate demands, how to find and continue with appropriate ways of assessment taking into consideration pupils´ individual predisposition.

There are many good examples of differentiated approach to pupils with special needs in mainstream and/or special settings. Such a positive individual approach provides a pupil with special needs, with a fair feed back and supports him/her on his/her educational career. It also helps a pupil towards independent living and social inclusion.

On the other hand there are some bad examples when a teacher underestimates the pupil’s abilities and is less demanding with regards to the amount of knowledge and competences the pupil is supposed to acquire. Then the understanding of special needs is not appropriate even though a pupil continues his/her education without any problems. The problem can appear later.

The discussion among professionals in the Czech Republic is focusing the implementation of the curricular reform into practice. There is one National programme for primary education that should be followed by all pupils; it includes pupils with and without special educational needs and also includes pupils with mental disorders. One chapter of this National Educational Programme deals with pupils with special needs. It contains provisions that are to be implemented into the process of education of pupils with special needs.

Pupils with severe mental impairment and complex special needs are to follow the National Educational Programme tailored especially for this target group. The new School Act requires that each school shall develop its own school programme based on the approved National Educational Programme as from 2007 to reflect the whole structure of pupils. This means that the school educational programme should cover a broad range of pupils and their educational needs – from gifted pupils to those with special needs.

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