art of Czechoslovakia until the “velvet divorce” in January 1993, the Czech Republic has a robust democratic tradition, a highly-developed economy, and a rich cultural heritage.
It emerged from over 40 years of Communist rule in 1990, and was the first former Eastern Bloc state to acquire the status of a developed economy. It joined the European Union in 2004.
Communist rule had lasted since 1948, when the restored pre-war democratic system was overthrown in a Soviet-backed coup. The “Prague Spring” of 1968, when Communist leader Alexander Dubcek tried to bring in liberal reforms, was crushed by Warsaw Pact tanks.
The belfry of St Nicholas church has a sinister history – it was used by the secret police in Communist times to keep an eye on Prague.
At a glance
- Politics: The appointment of a Social Democrat-led government in January 2014 brought to an end a seven-month long power vacuum caused by the collapse of the previous centre-right government over a sleaze scandal
- Economy: The country underwent its longest-ever recession from the end of 2011 to the spring of 2013
- International: The Czech Republic joined the EU in 2004 but is outside the eurozone. Czech soldiers have taken part in coalition operations in Afghanistan
In 1989, as the curtain was coming down on communism in the Kremlin, the dissident playwright Vaclav Havel emerged as the figurehead of the country’s “velvet revolution” and became the first president of post-communist Czechoslovakia.
An era ended in February 2003 when he stepped down as president. It had been interrupted for only a few months at the time of the separation of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, with Mr Havel becoming first president of the former.
Mr Havel saw the ghost of former Soviet military influence exorcised in 1999 when the country was granted full membership of Nato. He left office having led it to the threshold of the EU. His old rival and successor as president, Vaclav Klaus, oversaw accession to the union, despite harbouring strong reservations over the benefits of EU membership.
However, the Czech Republic never set a target date for adopting the euro, and the eurozone crisis that erupted in 2009 did little to boost Czech support for the single currency.
A quarter of a century on from the Velvet Revolution of 1989, some critics question whether the ideals promoted by Mr Havel and his fellow dissident reformers have retained their validity, while others ask if the country has come to take its freedoms and its membership of international organisations such as the EU for granted.
In addition to its developed industrial economy, the Czech Republic now attracts tourists to some of the finest Baroque, Art Nouveau and Cubist buildings in Europe.
Make things happen and study in the Czech Republic!
Today, over 42,000 foreign students are studying in the Czech Republic. It is an increasingly popular destination for international studies and the EU statistics released in 2014 listed the Czech Republic as the 12th most popular destination for Erasmus students in Europe. There are certainly many reasons for choosing the Czech Republic as a study destination: universities with long-standing reputations, unique conception and interesting specializations, affordable tuition fees and living costs, and last but not least, a vibrant and colorful cultural life in the heart of Europe.
As in any other country that boasts of better educational facilities strive to attract students from other countries, not just in the region, but also from across other parts of the world, it is imperative to have unique features that can help the students to partake not just a quality education to enhance what they have already studied but also to give them the right balance that will enable them to return with an enhanced level of knowledge gained as well as a better perspective on the world around them. The following are some of the features that students opting for higher studies in the Czech Republic can look forward to.
• The Czech republic has a long tradition of providing quality education. This is evident from one of the oldest universities in the country being established in 1348.
• A Czech Republic University offers a diverse range of study programs, which enable students to choose subjects that they prefer and have an affinity to.
• At present there are over 35000 students who have chosen to study in the Czech Republic and the number keeps increasing because of the open arms policy towards conducting programs in foreign languages, especially in English.
• The Czech republic is situated in the heart of Europe. This provides opportunities for students arriving here to enjoy not just Czech culture, but also to travel to other neighboring countries and assimilate their cultures.
• Furthermore, since the Czech culture is an amalgamation of various cultures like Slavonic, Jewish and German or rather Austrian influence, students can experience these cultures when they get their periodic breaks between studies.
• Overall a healthy picture of educational institutions numbering to 70 including various levels and more than 400,000 students studying in these institutions.
With such rich and diverse exposure to cross cultural experiences offered on a platter and involuntarily, students coming to the Czech Republic whether they choose to study literature, history or enroll for higher degree in engineering and nursing studies in the Czech Republic, they are ensured of a wider perspective when they go back as a full rounded citizen of the world.