"Teach us finally what we need to learn"

The Czech newspaper Hospodářské noviny published an article wrote by two students from two different basic schools. Ema Pohlová is from a private school and she is 15 years old. Anna Marie Pešková is from a state school and she is 14. These two girls have experienced two different kinds of the educational systems. They wrote the article, which they summarised their opinions on what are the problems of the state educational system. The name of the article can be translated as ''Teach us finally what we need: Modern history instead of prehistory, argumentation instead of memorising. And treat the kids as individuals.“

Anna Marie and Emma think the problems are:

The school kids are nowadays learning the same things that the previous generations were learning in the times of communism. Communism did not allow the teachers to talk about the current political situation and reflect on that. The situation is the same in most of the schools now. The kids are learning three times about the prehistoric times during their studies, but the modern history is often skipped.

Another problem was the grading system in schools. The grade that the kids get tends to be more important than the knowledge the kids have. There is a lot of pressure on the kids from the side of the teachers, but also from the side of the parents, and that makes the kids stressed. If the kids got a written evaluation, they would be aware of what to do better the next time. They would also be more confident knowing exactly what they have done well.

The kids' opinions are not taken seriously in many state schools, and the kids are often scared to share their opinions. They are nervous that their opinion is wrong, or that it will be rejected. According to them, not only that kids should be supported in sharing their opinions, but they should be also taught how to share them.

Another issue was the lack of individual treatment in the state schools. Emma and Anna Marie were aware that there is not enough of teachers and they did not understand why the teachers have so low salary when their job is so important. They think the environment should be less formal than it is today in the state schools. The private schools promote the informal way of education, and the teachers still have the kids‘ respect.

The kids at the state schools are learning too much information and the system tends to make everyone have the same knowledge without consideration of their interests and talents. Everyone should learn the basics, and then it should be up to the kids to decide to learn what they want to know more about. The teachers and the parents usually do not trust the kids enough to let them be responsible for what they will learn, which is not completely right. The school kids‘ abilities should also be cultivated to evaluate what they have done wrong and what they have done right.