The Institute for Language and Preparatory Studies, Charles University (ILPS CU) is a scientific-educational workplace and is one of the many parts of Charles University.
Since September 1981, ILPS CU has been working as a facility of Charles University for the organization and methodology of preparing foreign students for study at Czech universities and for teaching other foreigners.
The increased number of foreign scholarship holders in the 1980s (700 a year on average, in some years 900 and more) led to the establishment of further study centres. In 1986, the Institute's activities were expanded to include foreign language teaching. The INTEX department, originally intended for the language preparation of Czechoslovak experts, was attached to ILPS CU, with a workplace in Poděbrady and later in Prague.
The focus and activities of the Institute in the first half of the 1990s were influenced by new conditions. The political and social changes in November 1989 caused increased interest in the Czech Republic and Czech language. The number of Czech language experts, students, and specialists from other fields increased. Our compatriots abroad, employees of foreign companies, and foreign entrepreneurs operating in the Czech Republic showed their interest in Czech. ILPS CU responded to this interest by organizing new types of Czech language courses.
Since the academic year 1989/90, in addition to year-round and semester courses, it has organized intensive short-term courses. Completely new activities have been individual courses, summer Czech courses, courses for expatriates, students of American universities (CIEE, ISA, USAC) and others. Thanks to the high level of these courses and their promotion, the number of participants has increased every year. ILPS CU also participates in international programmes PHARE, TEMPUS, ERASMUS, and SOCRATES. Since the academic year 1991/92, ILPS CU has also organized preparation of foreigners to study at medical faculties and at universities with technical and economic specialization in English. A year later, the study centres started with post-secondary courses of foreign languages.
ILPS CU has developed over sixty years of tradition of teaching Czech as a foreign language and is the only institution in the Czech Republic that prepares foreigners – scholarship holders of the Government of the Czech Republic for studying at Czech universities. It also organizes various Czech courses for all those interested in the Czech language and Czech culture. Foreign language courses and post-secondary courses of various specializations for Czech citizens have a tradition at ILPS CU. Teaching is provided by study centres, which also provide students with accommodation and meals.
Apart from Prague (Albertov, Hostivař, Krystal), the study centres are also in Liberec, Mariánské Lázně, and Poděbrady. The oldest centre is in Mariánské Lázně, which has maintained a continuity of foreigners' preparation since the mid-1950s.
Methodological and research activities of the Institute are connected with teaching. The theoretical and research work of the ILPS CU teachers focuses on teaching Czech as a foreign language and teaching vocational subjects for foreigners in Czech, many of which are part of international projects and grants.
For the entire existence of ILPS CU, its teachers have been involved in teaching Czech abroad as Czech language teachers under international and inter-university agreements. For teaching Czech at foreign lectorates, the ILPS CU team of teachers prepared a special Czech textbook. ILPS CU also provides teaching foreign languages at the Faculty of Science, Charles University.
In the 1990s, regular publishing of a methodological journal for ILPS CU teachers was resumed, as was the tradition of methodological seminars, which take place with the participation of teachers from other workplaces and faculties of Charles University.
To meet the needs of the Czech public in the field of foreign language teaching, ILPS CU offers a wide range of language courses of various intensity and character. For foreigners, it offers a large number of intensive daily and non-intensive morning/evening Czech courses, a number of summer courses, online Czech courses, a Czech course for doctors, and a preparatory course for secondary school study.
Every year, the largest number of students at ILPS CU study on year-long preparatory courses (the courses include not only general Czech, but also Czech for special purposes and subjects according to the applicant's specialization). The ILPS CU preparatory courses are very intensive (35 hours a week). For Czechs, ILPS CU offers post-secondary courses (preparation for medical and natural science fields with or without studying English), online English courses, many language courses (currently seven foreign languages), and a summer English course. Successful development of "turnkey" language courses for employees and top management of companies operating on the Czech market are of great importance for ILPS CU.
The ILPS CU team is an exclusive member of ALTE (The Association of Language Testers in Europe) in the Czech Republic. It has developed an internationally recognized Czech Language Certificate Exam (CCE). The exam can be taken at levels A1-C1.
At ILPS CU, it is also possible to take the Czech language examination for granting permanent residence, and it is the only institution in the Czech Republic that offers the opportunity to take the Czech language examination for granting Czech citizenship.