Mailbox

In this week's Mailbox, we look at the number of foreign students at Czech primary schools, review the results of the Krystof 004 road safety campaign, and introduce a new stamp collection as part of 2004- the Year of Czech Music. Listener quoted this week are Tomas Pokorny and Christopher Harret.

We start with a question from Tomas Pokorny, who I believe lives in the USA. I can't tell where exactly from your e-mail - please let us know next time. Mr Pokorny writes:

"Both my wife and I have Czech forefathers and we're thinking of moving to Prague or its surroundings for a few years. We have a young boy and would like to know whether it will be difficult for him to adapt to Czech primary schools and learn the language."

In the last school year, there were about 13,000 students in Czech primary schools, who were of a different nationality. Most of them, some 4,000 are from Vietnam. Around 1,500 are from Slovakia and over 250 are from EU countries. I'm afraid the education ministry was not able to tell us how many Czech-Americans are in primary schools. According to officials from the Czech School Inspection, most schools try to help new students from abroad get accustomed to their new surroundings by giving them special attention. Teachers give them personal attention and more time to understand the learning material in Czech. The students finding it most difficult to adapt, are of course those who are here for only a short while, so your child, Mr Pokorny, should not find it difficult to live here.

Christopher Harret listens to us in the UK and asks:

"You mentioned in your news that your police have launched a road safety campaign named Christopher. I did not know that the patron saint of travellers was called Christopher, which is coincidentally also my name. That must explain why I have never before had a road accident. Was the police campaign successful?"

The campaign certainly did manage to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities. From April 13-16, several thousand police officers stopped to check over 200,000 drivers. In comparison to the average number of accidents, the police recorded 212 less accidents in the operation. The number of deaths was also lower than usual, with the exception of Friday, when six people died.

And before moving on to our competitions, which both focus on 2004 - the Year of Czech Music, allow me to inform you that the Czech Postal Service is also contributing to the celebrations by releasing a new series of stamps featuring Czech music personalities such as Bedrich Smetana, Antonin Dvorak, and Leos Janacek. They will be available as of next month.


...and we've come to our competitions. The question for the month of April is:

"On May first, the Czech Republic becomes an EU member. What other big event will Czechs celebrate as part of the Year of Czech Music? "

Send your answers to the Radio Prague English Section, 120 99 Prague 2, the Czech Republic or by e-mail to english@radio.cz. They should get to us by April 30.

... and of course, there's the annual competition where all you have to do to enter is send us a few lines on what Czech music means to you. The main prize is one week in the Czech capital. There will also be a number of attractive runner-up prizes. Please get your answers to us by June 15.