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Brain drain aggravates problems of the market

Schools in the Czech Republic are being forced to compete for a decreasing number of pupils in a new educational "market".

Six years after the end of communist rule they are being buffeted by the decentralising reforms that other countries have experienced. But unlike other countries they are having to contend with a brain drain caused by low teachers' salaries and are struggling to improve unsatisfactory home-school relationships.

Milada Rabusicov and Milan Pol of Masaryk University said that their survey of schools in Brno had revealed that many parents were too busy trying to earn a living to support their children's teachers, but others seemed to be "still taking time off after decades of an obligatory participation in the ideologised work of the school".

There were grounds for some optimism, however, as schools had started to produce newsletters, organise open days and invite parents into the classroom.

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