Unlike universities and departmental research institutions, the Czech Academy of Sciences cannot use money from its budget to run children’s groups. Public funds are intended for scientific and research activities only, so money to cover the operating costs of such groups must be sought elsewhere.
"Support from the IOCB Tech Foundation is absolutely essential in this regard and will allow us to help scientists with children under the age of four to find full-fledged care and a program for their little ones. Unfortunately, there is still a general shortage of places for young children of parents who want to work," says Eva Zažímalová, president of the Czech Academy of Sciences.
Among other things, the foundation’s mission is to aid the further development of science, and that includes improving the working conditions of scientists in the Czech Republic. This is one of the reasons the foundation has decided to support the children’s groups of the Czech Academy of Sciences over the next three years with 15 million crowns.
"In our projects, we focus on areas lacking in sufficient financial support from society, such as ensuring good working conditions for scientists, both women and men, as they start families while also trying to establish themselves in the very competitive world of science, a time when they can’t afford to take several years of parental leave. We believe it’s important that the children's groups of the Czech Academy of Sciences can continue to provide their beneficial services," says Barbara Eignerová, chairwoman of the IOCB Tech Foundation Managing Board.
The Academy of Sciences currently runs six children’s groups in Prague and also provides subsidized places in Brno for children 12 months and older. Last year, the groups were attended by over 180 children.
"My daughter was enrolled in a children’s group at 18 months, an age that is particularly demanding of mothers, since it’s still too soon for kindergarten, and private daycare is expensive and has rigid scheduling. Our children’s group is just a few steps from my workplace," says a scientist with the Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences.
To learn more about how children’s groups help scientists, go to detskeskupiny.avcr.cz.