OECD: Czech children have problems speaking Czech

Czech school students - compared to pupils from other OECD countries - cannot use their mother tongue properly. Or at least that's what a new OECD survey seems to suggest. More than a quarter of a million 15-year -olds in 32 countries were included in the survey. When it comes to literacy the Czech Republic is in 19th place, which is below the average among the monitored countries. According to the survey, Finnish students are the best in reading literacy, while Japan and Korea are the best in mathematics and science. Compared to these countries, a higher proportion of Czech students approaching the end of compulsory education apparently do not have the knowledge and skills needed for full participation in society. Some experts say the Czech children have been losing the ability to communicate in their own language and their vocabulary is rather limited. Radio Prague´s Lucie Mouckova spoke with teacher Eva Perglerova - who teaches both Czech and English - to find out what was her point of view:

"I haven´t seen the question has answered anything. It´s difficult to say my opinion about it. But of course the children can have some problem with understanding texts because they don´t read books a lot. I think they used to read more because now the life is very fast and they spend a lot of time playing computer games and watching TV, they have a lot of hobbies, they play a lot of sports and they haven´t got enough time for reading books. I think it´s the same problem for us, for adults. We haven´t got much time for reading books. It´s worse that some 10 years ago."

So you don´t think it´s only a problem with school children?

"No. I think it´s the same problem with adult people. Maybe it can be one of the reasons, I don´t know. We talk about books during our lessons of Czech language and the children often talk about books they like, so they read. But I think they don´t have enough time to read. We try to work with texts and I hope that at least some of them like reading books but it depends on the family, too."

Is it possible to compare the literacy in different countries? I mean, mathematics and science is everywhere the same, but languages can be easier or more difficult. So, you as an English and Czech teacher, can you say whether it´s more difficult maybe for English students to learn English or for Czech students to learn Czech or is it the other way round?

"I think the Czech language is complicated, it is difficult but it´s the mother tongue for the children so I think it´s the same as for English children the English language."

Lucie Mouckova there speaking with Eva Perglerova from a Prague high-school.

Author: Lucie Moučková
run audio