The pilot model of tiered VET programmes has been carried out since 2012. The model allows learners to gain two qualifications: learners can take the final examination upon the conclusion of their third year of studies and obtain their vocational certificate, and subsequently take the Maturita exam at the end of the fourth year. In case they do not take the Maturita exam or fail it, learners however still have their vocational certificate, which officially qualifies them for a job in the labour market.
The possibility to gain two qualifications at different EQF levels through one programme, increased the attractiveness of upper secondary VET programmes. Over time, the number of schools participating in the pilot model, grew from the original 7 to 64 secondary VET schools. Also the number of paired fields of study being piloted grew from the original 9 to 28 in the final phase. In addition to 64 schools involved in the pilot, there are another 135 schools whose educational offer, in line with the Government Regulation, includes complementary fields of education. This new model assures permeability to the labour market and is offered mostly in VET programmes which include a large proportion of work-based learning — such programmes are generally highly valued by the employers.
The initial fears that learners would tend to walk away from their studies after passing the final examination and obtaining the vocational certificate (EQF level 3) to find employment, turned out to be unjustified. Most of them continued their studies. However, they performed slightly worse in the Maturita exam than the learners of regular Maturita study fields.
Following the completion and positive final evaluation of this pilot programme, the relevant legislation is adopted. The Government Regulation No. 211/2010 Coll., on the system of study fields in basic, upper secondary and tertiary professional education, established the so-called complementary fields of education providing upper-secondary qualifications with vocational certificate and upper-secondary qualifications with Maturita certificate, effective from 1 September 2021.
The Regulation specified 28 complementary fields of education, which offer from now onwards the possibility to gain qualifications at EQF level 3 and EQF level 4. So, for example, at the end of their third year of studies, learners of:
- automotive diagnostic technician (EQF level 4) can acquire the vocational certificate of automotive electrician (EQF level 3);
- mechanic machine setter (EQF level 4) can acquire the vocational certificate of metal worker (EQF level 3),
- gastronomy field (EQF level 4) can acquire the vocational certificate of cook-waiter (EQF level 3).
Learners have the assurance to gain a qualification even if they only do succeed in one of the examinations: if learners fail in the final examination of the third year, to acquire the vocational certificate, they do not need to terminate their studies but can continue towards the Maturita exam. Vice versa in case they gain the vocational certificate but do not succeed in the Maturita exam, they still can leave their studies with a certificate at EQF level 3, allowing them to find a job.
The Government Regulation No. 211/2010 Coll. on the system of study fields in basic, upper secondary and tertiary professional education
Guidelines of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports: