Representatives of the Ministry of Education held talks on Monday with the
director of the Czech counterintelligence service BIS, Michal Koudelka, on
reviewing the way modern history is taught in the country’s schools.
In an annual report published last month, BIS said that the current Czech system of modern history teaching is modelled on a Soviet narrative, which may make some students more susceptible to Russian propaganda. A ministry official said the meeting with Mr. Koudelka had confirmed that in a period of hybrid threats it was more important than ever to devote due attention to ensuring balanced teaching of history.
The Minister of Education, ANO appointee Robert Plaga, said he would launch a debate on revising education plans, which set the parameters for content, later this month.
After months of debate, the coalition government has agreed in principle to provide free school lunches to children from the “neediest” families enrolled in nursery and primary. But the ANO and Social Democrat parties have yet to agree which families are “poor” enough to qualify, or when to implement the change.
The Ministry of Education has fined six foreign universities or branches of
them on Czech territory, Czech Radio’s iRozhlas news site reported on
Tuesday. The universities lack the required licenses to teach in this
country. The ministry is not permitted to reveal their names.
Officials have also filed criminal complaints against two third-level institutions for failing to return admission fees paid by people who never started courses. Administrative proceedings are also being conducted with five schools.
Sixteen foreign universities have fulfilled all legal requirements to offer services in the Czech Republic and passed Ministry of Education checks.
Former German President Joachim Gauck has been awarded the Charles IV
Prize, a distinction bestowed by the city of Prague and Charles University
to persons known for their outstanding contribution to culture, politics or
Gauck is the seventh person to receive this award since its inception in 1993, which includes an honorary diploma. He should officially receive this distinction on 21 January in Prague.
Now 78, Gauck served as Germany’s head of state between 2012 and 2017. In that capacity, he made numerous visits to the Czech Republic.
The head of the Institute of World History at Charles University is stepping down in the wake of accusations of plagiarism, lodged by three doctoral students at the philosophical faculty. Professor Martin Kovář – who denies any wrongdoing – will also be resigning his position as vice rector, in what is seen as an extraordinary case of students holding a prominent academic to account.
A Charles University vice-rector is being investigated for plagiarism
following a complaint by several graduate students, the investigative
weekly Respekt reports.
The students charge that Prof. Martin Kovář, who heads the Institute of World History at the university’s philosophical faculty, drew heavily on the work of the late British historian Barry Coward without proper citation.
Specifically, they say that Kovář’s book on the history of Stuart England copies the thematic structure of Coward’s book on the subject, uses passages from it and cites many of the same original sources yet is passed off as stemming from original research.
The doctoral students point to similar problems in two other books by Kovář, who rejects the charges.
This year two government ministers were forced to resign over accusations of plagiarism: Taťána Malá (ANO), who briefly served as Minister of Justice, and Petr Krčál (Social Democrats), who served as Minister of Labour and Social Affairs.
Despite the Czech school system maintaining a relatively strong position in international testing, the ratio of what the country’s teachers earn in comparison to other university graduates is among the lowest in the OECD. The government’s manifesto promises to increase the amount of investment in schooling, but it will likely be a long time before the effects become evident.
Lecturers and students at Masaryk University in Brno have developed an interactive game that focuses on teaching the ability to distinguish between disinformation and trustworthy news. The length of one game is especially taylored to fit into an hour of teaching at school and its developers hope that it will be implemented by schools, orphanages and old age homes.
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