Secondary schools – part 4: gymnázium
For decades, the most sought-after type of secondary school in our country has been the gymnázium. Gymnáziums offers general education and most graduates are well-prepared for studying at universities and colleges. The education at a gymnázium is closed by the maturita exam.
Pupils can choose from three types of gymnáziums – four-, six- or eight-year long courses. The latter is based on the historical roots of gymnázium education in the Czech Republic. Every year, the number of pupils applying for admission exceeds the capacity of the schools by a great deal. The lucky ones who are accepted (the entrance exams are regularly held in April) start studying at the gymnázium after finishing the fifth year of primary school. Traditionally, the Latin names are used for the years at this type of gymnázium: prima, sekunda, tercie, kvarta, kvinta, sexta, septima and oktáva. The six-year-long gymnáziums were established later than the four- and eight-year ones, and pupils start study there after the seventh year of primary education. For the four-year gymnáziums, pupils apply in the ninth year of their primary education.
After the so-called Velvet Revolution in 1989
, catholic gymnáziums were opened in Bohemia and Moravia. The first school of this type was the Biskupské gymnázium (the Episcopal gymnázium) in Brno where pupils began studying in September 1990.
Bilingual gymnáziums and gymnáziums with extended language education are also very popular in our country. In the bilingual gymnáziums some of the subjects are taught in a foreign language; the students in gymnáziums with extended language education have more lessons in foreign languages. There are also mathematical, science-oriented, humanistic and sports gymnáziums available.
The Mensa gymnázium in Prague is a specific type of gymnázium. No other secondary school in our country is designed for talented pupils. Moreover, none of the national groups of Mensa in the world has its own gymnázium. The premise for being accepted to this eight-year gymnázium is passing the intelligence test with a result over 130.