Fernando Galindo / BD

Czech Republic Drops To 15th Place in EU Education & Research Ranking

The Czech Republic ranks around average for European countries in almost every category. Credit: FG/BD.

Prague, Dec 18 (CTK) – The quality of education and research in the Czech Republic is not improving; the country ranked 13th in the EU in this pillar of the 2022 Prosperity and Financial Health Index, and dropped to joint 15th position this year.

The index was issued this week by Europe in Data, the Ceska Sporitelna savings bank, and the Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences.

The Nordic countries still lead the index, together with the Netherlands, excelling in the quality of education as well as science and research. Sweden, for example, which leads the index by a relatively large margin over second-placed Finland, boasts the highest education spending, the second highest research spending, the widest innovation potential, and the highest participation of adults in education.

At the other end of the list are the Balkan countries, with Greece, Bulgaria and Romania ranking last in almost every indicator of this pillar.

The Czech Republic ranks around average for European countries in almost every category, in none of them significantly better or worse than other EU countries. Its best result is in research spending – 2% of GDP – where it ranks 10th.

On the other hand, the Czech Republic fares worst in the category of the share of young people with tertiary education, where it ranks 23rd.

“The higher education system in the Czech Republic is not flexible enough and often does not reflect the needs of the labour market,” said Ceska sporitelna’s analyst Tereza Hrtusova. “We are one of the countries that practically do not allow the study of shorter study programs, which are often more effective in terms of preparing students for future employment.” 

The biggest problem in Czech education and research remains the relatively low representation of young university students aged 25 to 34, who represent roughly a third of the population. “Compared to the rest of the EU, this is the fifth lowest result, and even more serious is the proportion of university students to the total population. Only three EU countries have a smaller share of the population with university education,” said Europe in Data analyst Tomas Odstrcil.

The Czech Republic also lags behind in adult participation in education, with 7.8% of the adult population attending courses or study programs, 19th among EU states.

Of all the eleven indicators covered by the education and research pillar, the Czech Republic has seen the most deterioration in terms of innovation potential. The decline by five positions to 17th place in this respect is mainly due to low investment, low added value, insufficient digitization of the state administration and a high red tape burden faced by companies, the authors of the index said.

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