THE CZECH SYSTEM OF EDUCATION DURING THE COMMUNIST REGIME: THE CZECH SYSTEM OF EDUCATION DURING THE COMMUNIST REGIME: SPECIAL DAY AT OPEN GATE PRIMARY SCHOOL

In this article, I will briefly provide my personal understanding of the Czech education during the communist period. In addition, I will draw comparisons between the aforementioned system of education, and the Mozambican education system through the experience I gained during my school years. The understanding of the communist period that will be described in this paper was gained through the experience from the special day – a simulation of the education at schools in the Czech Republic all through the communist era. Due to the set word limit (page limit) of this article, I will primarily focus on aspects that caught my attention during the simulation; namely foreign language classes, breaks, and lunch.I. Foreign Language Classes On the special day at Open Gate Primary school, I had an opportunity to observe a simulation of language classes during the communist period. Overall, the foreign language teaching then was entirely based on grammar translation method tenets, and the teacher was a figure of authority in the classroom whose commands should be followed, and the students learned by rote. When the teacher enters the classroom, the students were supposed to stand up to greet him/her. This practice was not new to me, for during the period when I was in primary and secondary school in Mozambique, I had to do the very same thing, and if a student failed to stand up and greet the teacher when s/he enters, the learner would be labelled as being disrespectful. The teacher played the role of a controller, and he was in charge of all activities taking place in the classroom. In addition, the teacher viewed his job as the transmission of the knowledge or language skills from himself to the students. Furthermore, the teacher did not give the students an opportunity to access their own experiential learning for everything that happened in the classroom was focused only on the teacher, and the teacher did not give students any opportunity to use the language in the classroom.The use of the grammar translation method was common in Mozambique during the past few years.  However, things have been improving lately.  II. The break The control that the teacher exercised over the students did not end once the students stepped out of the classroom. At least, in Mozambique when I was a student, we enjoyed some freedom as the teachers did not dictate how we were supposed to play in the playground, therefore even students who had authoritarian teachers had their freedom during the break time.According to the simulation, the learners were supposed to walk in a circle silently throughout the break. It was a little bit awkward for me because as I saw it, such an imposition completely limits the students’ freedom everywhere. It is hard to believe that people had to endure those learning conditions.  III. The lunch All the learners had to eat the same kind of food, and they were supposed to eat up all the food that was given to them. This practice was similar to the one followed in Mozambican schools where we all had the same meal. However, the Mozambican authorities alleged that the lack of funds was the reasons behind the practice. Taking the aforementioned fact into consideration, I view the lunch policy acceptable in places or schools with financial difficulties, but unacceptable in school with good conditions. For instance, it seems to me that students in the former Czech schools had to take the same meals not because of the shortage of funds, but for ideological reasons.