How did you come up with the idea to create an online school?
• I have 20 years of teaching experience, which led me to reflect on the real needs of students. This led me to the conclusion that there is a lack of educational institutions in the Czech environment that would adapt their teaching system to students. Initially, it was about the student not being limited by the start and end of studies as determined by the school. My thoughts were accelerated by the Covid era, when most institutions had to conduct classes online, and it turned out that this mode of teaching was perfectly suitable for students.
In the Czech environment, there is traditionally a distrust of new trends. Did you have to face something similar? Do you encounter students preferring traditional classroom teaching?
• Yes, I encounter this problem quite often. There is distrust among the Czech population. As soon as a student cannot sit in a classroom, they doubt the quality of education. But here a paradox arises, the moment students start studying at any school with a physical building, they begin to have opposite tendencies. Where possible, 80% of students eventually seek distance learning and only go to school for exams. This is because they somewhat overestimate their abilities. Specifically, online education is chosen by employed students who need to integrate school with their current profession or family life. They often come to the conclusion that they simply cannot combine both with regular attendance at school.
More and more fraudulent organizations pretending to be schools are appearing in the Czech Republic. A serious school should have authorized programs. Are your programs authorized?
• Yes, all our study programs are accredited or authorized, for example, by the Ministry of Education or the Ministry of Industry and Trade. All university courses are internationally accredited. Unfortunately, in our field, we also encounter dishonest providers, and we have already identified about ten. We try to educate the public through our articles, informing them how to recognize such fraudsters and not be deceived. Ultimately, these institutions cast a shadow over us as well. We must strive to create a trustworthy climate by meeting students personally in our classrooms and conducting practical training there. This transparent approach helps build trust among students. They do not have to worry that even though the teaching is online, it is impossible to find out who is really behind it.
Isn't online learning at the expense of quality? Is there a difference compared to traditional teaching based on direct interaction between student and teacher?
• Online teaching is definitely not at the expense of quality. This is because, in addition to self-study, each of our students has access to online lectures led by university lecturers with years of experience. These are experts who are not only theoretical but have a rich career in the field. Each student also has the opportunity to schedule regular personal consultations, which take place in our classrooms.
What is the interest in your school?
• The interest is currently enormous, which I must admit, surprised me. In 2023 alone, more than 600 students enrolled in various programs.
What are your plans for further development?
• At this moment, we have ambitions to penetrate the foreign market. In addition to this, we are also developing our school internally, with ongoing research and publishing activities. The main theme currently is the exploration and utilization of artificial intelligence, which we are successfully applying in research and development of the school.
editorial team European Academy of education
Principal, Dr. Pavel Bartoš