Czech nurseries’ capacities short of 20,000 places for toddlers

Czech kindergartens and nurseries are short of some 20,000 places for children under three

Prague, Feb 6 (CTK) – Czech kindergartens and nurseries are short of some 20,000 places for children under three, and their services are thus unaccessible to three in ten toddlers whose parents would need it, according to the Labour and Social Affairs Ministry’s analysis of access to pre-school childcare.

The relevant law guarantees places in kindergartens for children over the age of three. The nurseries’ insufficient capacity is partly compensated by child groups.

At the end of 2018, child groups were attended by 11,000 children under three, while 35,000 of such children attended kindergartens and 4,000 nurseries.

“The Czech Republic provides places for about 50,000 children under three. Compared with the conservative estimate of the 70,000 places needed, some 20,000 places are still lacking in pre-school facilities,” the analysis says.

Access to nursery care is decisive, apart from the parents’ will to place their offspring there. The situation is optimal, with children’s admission not being limited by the nurseries’ capacities, only in 10 percent of regions, the analysis says.

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According to the latest EC report in this respect, the Czech Republic is one of the EU’s states with the worst accessible childcare facilities, and its offer of care for children under three is even the second worst in the EU.

Already in 2002, the EC outlined the Barcelona goals, according to which kindergartens and nurseries should be accessible to 90 percent of European children above three and to one third of children under three.

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To meet the plan, Czech kindergartens, nurseries and child groups would have to secure as many as 113,000 places for children in this age category, the ministry’s analysis says.

As for the accessibility, there are big differences between individual Czech regions. The number of kindergartens is mainly insufficient in cities and their surroundings.

The analysis says that in Prague, some 3,200 children under three attended nurseries in 2018, while admission was sought by 9,400, and based on the Barcelona goals, Prague should offer as many as 15,100 such places.

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Almost 2,100 children attended child groups in Prague, the analysis says.

No kindergarten, nursery or child group operates in 45 percent of Czech municipalities. This is 2,826 of all municipalties, in which, however, only 6 percent of the country’s inhabitants live.

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