The consultation group of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, which consists of representatives of schools, opposed Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’s criticism of the plan to partially return children to schools from April 12.
According to the group, the plan was discussed, among other things, by the Government Council for Health Risks, which Babiš personally participated in.
April 11 is likely to mark the final day of the state of emergency in the Czech Republic. All schools, with the exception of schools for children of paramedics, firefighters, or police officers, have been closed in the country since March 1.
From April 12, however, children from the first grade of primary schools will return to offline learning, and preschoolers will go to kindergartens. During the first weeks, primary school pupils should expect rotational learning: they will learn distantly and at schools alternately every week.
Prime Minister Babiš told in an interview with Český rozhlas on Friday that he did not comprehend why only a part of children would return to schools and kindergartens. He also criticized the proposal of the expert group under the Ministry of Health to open schools according to the pandemic situation in individual districts.
The consultation group of the Ministry of Education opposed his criticism, stating that the proposed procedure was discussed by the Ministry of Education with the Department of Health and the Government Council for Health Risks with the personal participation of the Prime Minister.
The procedure at its current state is supported by the chief hygienist Pavla Svrčinová as well as by the interdisciplinary group under the Ministry of Health, headed by epidemiologist Petr Smejkal.
According to the group, although the plan for the return of children to schools is operationally demanding and will not be easy to secure, there was a clear consensus during its discussion. “That is why we do not understand the criticism and comments made by the Prime Minister on Český rozhlas on April 2 and oppose them,” the group claimed.
Members of the group point out that Babiš once again challenges the actions and conclusions of Robert Plaga, minister of education. They fear that political motives may meddle with matters of education. “There are rising concerns that the intention of the Prime Minister is to replace him [Plaga] as minister of education and assign a new one, who will be more accommodating to the ideas of Babiš,” the group members wrote.