Number of students in Czech elementary schools is up by 20% over the past decade

The increase is related to a small baby boom between 2002 and 2008, with student numbers expected to decline over the next few years

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 25.08.2020 15:35 (updated on 25.08.2020)

Prague, Aug 25 (CTK) – The number of elementary schoolchildren in the Czech Republic has risen by one fifth in the past decade, but the number of pupils in the 1st-5th grades has stopped rising now that a strong population wave has advanced to the higher grades, data from the Czech Statistical Office (CSU) shows.

About 953,000 students attended Czech elementary schools in the 2019-2020 school year. The number of students now heading for the 6th-9th grades has risen by 65,000 in the past five years, but can be expected to start decreasing over the next few years, CSU experts told a press conference today.

The number of 1st graders declined for the third year in a row. Despite this, the overall number of elementary school pupils has been steadily rising since 2010-2011.

In the last school year, there were 99,000 more of them than in the mid-2010s.

Last September, about 107,000 first graders, i.e. children aged 6-7, started their school attendance, compared with 117,000 five years ago. The pupils born within the stronger population wave have been gradually advancing to the 6th-9th grades for children aged approximately from 11 to 15.

“In a few years, the number of 6th-9th graders can be expected to stop rising as well, which would relieve school principals of the problem of the permanent need to extend [their schools’] capacity,” Helena Chodounska, from the CSU, said.

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She said the current increase in the number of schoolchildren is linked to a baby boom between 2002 and 2008. However, overall birth rate has been declining in the Czech Republic since 2011, which is palpable in the recent declining number of children admitted to kindergartens, she said.

Children from the strong baby boom wave will gradually advance from elementary to secondary schools and then to universities, Chodounska said.

The Education Ministry estimates the number of kids attending elementary and secondary schools in the new school year, which starts on September 1, at 1.4 million, about 18,200 more than a year ago.