The Czech Republic is situated in Central Europe. The Czech Republic can be rightly called the crossroads of European civilizations. Due to its position in the heart of central Europe it boats a unique natural and cultural wealth. The country is surrounded by extensive mountain ranges which form most of its borderlines. Twelve important historical sights feature on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List. The country is historically divided into three regions: Bohemia, Moravia and part of Silesia. The Czech Republic shares borders with Poland in the north, Austria in the south, Germany in the west, and Slovakia in the east. The country has 10.3 million inhabitants and the official language is Czech. The capital of the country is Prague. The Czech Republic is an advanced Central European country with increasing standards of living. Its rich history has left a significant historical legacy, spectacular architecture and beautiful cultural works. Personalities of past and present times remain a source of pride for the Czech Republic. Many Czechs have received worldwide recognition in different branches of the sciences, arts and sports.
The Czech Republic awards scholarships for study programmes at the Language and Foundation Studies Centre of Charles University and for Bachelor's, Master's and Doctor's programmes at public higher educational institutions. Regarding Doctor's study programmes, preferences are given to the graduates of Czech higher educational institutions. A foreign national who applies for a Czech Republic government scholarship to study at a public institution of higher education and has no knowledge of the Czech language can receive a scholarship for a special one-year language and foundation studies course at the Institute of Language and Foundations Studies of Charles University. At the end of the language and foundation study course, the student is required to successfully pass the entrance examination, in which the scope and contents are designed by the respective faculty or higher educational institution. The faculty or higher educational institution itself publishes basic information about admission procedures in advance.
At present, there are 62 institutions in the Czech higher education system. There are 24 public institutions, 4 state higher educational institutions (three military schools and one Police Academy) and 34 private higher educational institutions. The Charles University, the Palacky University, Olomuc and the Masaryk University in Brno are traditional multi-disciplinary universities with a combination of humanities, natural sciences, theology and medicine. About 38% of students now study in Prague and 21% in Brno, while other students go to regional centres such as Ceske Budejovice, Cheb, Ostrava, Pardubice, Plzen and others. In the Czech Republic, the higher education system is organised into three levels: bachelor, master and doctorate.