Around a third of Czech pupils failed the easier version of school leaving exams during pilot tests, Education Minister Josef Dobeš said on Czech Television on Sunday. The failure rate for the maths exam climbed to 48 percent, was 40 percent for German, 34 percent for English and 22 percent for Czech. Minister Dobeš said he expected the final failure rate not to exceed 20 percent when uniform school leaving exams are phased in next year. He said students would have more time to prepare and would be better motivated.
The Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas and Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg have sought to repair a rift between them. The rift occurred ahead of the recent two day summit of EU heads of government in Brussels when the foreign minister complained that the prime minister had not told him what policy positions over the EU had been taken in a meeting with President Václav Klaus. The prime minister said he was under no obligation to tell him everything. A joint statement released by the government spokesman to the Czech News Agency said the prime minister and foreign minister had lined up their EU positions in pre-summit meetings and shared the same views.
The National Gallery In Prague is mulling the temporary closure of some of its permanent exhibitions and reducing the number of temporary ones in order to save money. Czech Radio said the option of closing some exhibitions is being weighed up as the gallery seeks to meet a 15 percent cut in its budget next year. The gallery’s spokeswoman said more details on the savings would be given in December. The gallery already moved in October to end free late afternoon admission to galleries.
Health Minister Leoš Heger said on Sunday that he had no fear of a mass exodus of Czech doctors abroad. German and Austrian hospitals last week sought to sign up local health workers at a jobs fair in Prague promising more pay and better conditions. The move comes with around a quarter of Czech hospital doctors having signed a petition stating their desire to work abroad and doctors’ unions calling for pay rises of up to 150 percent. Mr. Heger said smaller hospitals would have to close and staff transferred to larger ones if the exodus took place. Fewer doctors would work longer hours, have less time for patients but get better pay, he added.
The prize for the best Czech documentary film at the 14th Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival was awarded to Martin Dušek and Ondřej Provazník. Their film “Ženy SHR” recounts the tale of two women in the struggle over plans to start mining coal at the town of Horní Jiřetín in north Bohemia. The world cinema prize was awarded to Czech documentary maker Karel Vacek. Festival attendees voted Martin Mareček’s film “Auto*Mat” about the problems of a cycling activist as the best documentary over the last decade.
President Václav Klaus begins a three day state visit to the oil and gas rich state of Kuwait on Sunday. He is due to meet the Gulf state’s ruler, the sultan, head of the national assembly, prime minister and members of the cabinet. The visit has an overwhelmingly economic and business dimension with the president accompanied by a large Czech delegation seeking to boost ties and land contracts. The Czech delegation includes representatives from engineering, rubber, optics, arms and wood processing companies.
Czech speed skater Martina Sáblíková won her second race of the new season on Sunday. She won the 1500 metres event being staged in Berlin with a time of 1.58,25, a personal best for the new season. Fellow Czech Karolína Erbanová took second place. The 18-year-old was also second in the 500 metres sprint event.
The Czech women’s volleyball team has won its first match in the women’s world championships being played in Japan. The Czech team won 3:0 against Puerto Rica on Sunday after suffering defeats from the Netherlands and Brazil in the opening two group games. The Czech now face Italy on Tuesday with the final match in the initial group against Kenya.
Czech tennis player Květa Peschke and Slovenian partner Katarina Srebotnik play in the WTA Championships doubles final in Doha on Sunday. The number two seeds will take on the top seeded Argentinian-Italian pairing of Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta. Peschke and Srebotnik beat US player Lisa Raymond and Australian Reanne Stubbs 7:6, 6:3 in the semi-finals.
In football, Sparta Prague have closed to gap on league leaders Viktoria Plzeň to nine points after a narrow 1:0 home win in the derby match against Bohemians 1905 on Saturday night. The win takes Sparta to second in the table. Sigma Olomouc failed to overtake Sparta, going down 0:1 against mid-table Hradec Králové on Sunday.