A massive reform of the education system called Framework Education Programme was implemented in the Czech Republic between 2005- 2008. The main idea behind the reform was to make schools more independent from the central administration. The main aim was to allow teachers own initiative to develop a richer variety of teaching approaches with the emphasis on constructivist methods. As a consequence the reform should also strive for bigger competitiveness of different schools and programmes. At the beginning the implementation of the reform was hindered by major problems. First of all teachers’ resistance to change was underestimated and the budget allocated for the reform was not appropriate. The lack of support, mainly a lack of communication explaining campaign, was the reason why many schools faced great difficulties when defining their own educational plan and introducing the plan into everyday praxis.
In the given situation there was an evident need to establish a service for teachers explaining and helping them with the implementation of the reform. The launch of a specialized portal accommodated with up to date tools and continuous secure services was seen as the best solution. The Methodical Portal (http://rvp.cz/) has been running already for 3 years under the supervision of The Research Institute of Education in Prague (VUP) and The National Institution of Technical and Vocational Education (NUOV). The portal is financially supported by the European Social Fund.
The portal is a place where everyone interested in the Framework Education Programme can find all the necessary information, official documents and counselling. Counselling is done in the form of carefully selected pedagogical articles giving teachers the necessary knowledge how to implement changes announced by the reform in their own work. All visitors, including not registered ones, have free access to these articles and to an accompanied repository of digital learning materials (DUM). This repository contains about 3000 learning materials created by teachers mostly for their own use. Each of the resources is first reviewed and approved by an expert before it is published on the portal.
At present the portal has more than 5000 registered users (of about 150.000 Czech teachers) and it offers such services as personal blog (Blogy), portfolio (Digifolio), active participation in thematically organized forums (Diskuze) or jointly developed Wiki pages containing elementary pedagogic materials (e.g. lexicon, ideas, activities, ...). There is also one additional independent but very important component of the RVP.cz portal. The E-learning module offers teachers courses connected to the ongoing reform (e.g. development of the key competencies of pupils, designing and realisation individual learning plans etc.).
It would be exaggerated to say that RVP.cz portal saved the Czech education reform, but it definitely helps teachers to understand what they are supposed to do and to guide them in the implementation.