The Czech Education Ministry wants, in cooperation with the League of Open Men (LOM), to attract more male teachers to Czech schools by supporting various projects aimed at achieving this goal, Vaclav Sneberger from the LOM told journalists Tuesday.
The ministry and the LOM want to support a public discussion on the role of men in education and increase social prestige of male teachers, Snebrger said.
There are only 27 male teachers in Czech kindergartens compared to 22,000 female teachers working there. The number of male teachers grows in the higher level schools. For instance, male teachers make up 16 percent of all teachers at elementary schools and 41 percent at higher schools, according to the Czech Statistical Office.
The number of male and female lecturers is equal at arts schools while male lecturers make up 65 percent of all teachers at universities.
“Having an equal proportion of female and male teachers is necessary for the optimal development of children and for achieving the best quality of education as at such schools the pupils see a positive model of male and female roles,” Klara Laurencikova from the Education Ministry said.
According to Sneberger, it is not only lower wages in education that prevent the employment of a larger number of male teachers. Men feel lonely at schools and in addition they have no opportunity for career growth.
“When I tell someone that I work at school I have to explain at length or rather prove that I am a normal person,” Sneberger quoted from complaints raised by many male teachers.
The Czech Education Ministry sees the situation in Scotland as an inspiration for the improvement of equal gender opportunities at schools. The local Men in Childcare organisations has managed to attract more male teachers to schools thanks to short training courses that were designed only for men.
According to Kenny Spence who has taught at a nursery school for 18 years, the courses facilitate men’s access to university programmes on childcare. He said that the Men in Childcare organises regular meetings and supports male students.
The LOM intends to follow its example and it offers supportive groups for male teachers and an information portal within the Men to Schools project.
The Education Ministry intends to cooperate with non-profit organisations on the projects promoting this topic and it plans to organise various seminars and conferences.
The organisers intend to draws money from European funds to finance their activities.