Regional Vocational Scholarship Programmes
The period varies depending on particular regional authority conditions. In some regions these schemes were launched in 2009, some regions launched them more recently.
Most of existing regional scholarship programmes are designed to motivate children to enrol for specific vocational education (secondary level).
The key problem that the instrument aims to address is a low number of pupils/students studying specific fields of secondary education (especially technical/vocational fields). In many regions, there is a long track record of a low number of students studying technical fields at the secondary education level, because many children (and their parents) prefer general or administration/business fields of education. This results in the shortage of a qualified workforce for particular sectors and also causes the outflow of qualified training staff from vocational schools, which could be a threat for vocational education in the future.
The decision made by regional authorities is based on the evidence showing the lack of graduates with vocational education, declared by regional employers.
Aim of policy instrument
Decisions of Regional Authorities (Krajský úřad).
Main responsible body
Regional Authorities (Krajský úřad)
Funding for these regional schemes is provided by the regional authority budgets, as regional authorities are responsible for the running and performance of the secondary level of education. The amount of finance allocated differs from region to region, depending on the size of the region and the number of fields of education eligible for the support. The total finance for the scholarship schemes varies between 1.5-3 million CZK per year and per region.
The beneficiaries are students of selected vocational training. The list of supported fields of secondary education differs depending on the specific regional need.
Use of labour market intelligence
Regional vocational scholarship programmes (available now in most of the 14 NUTS3 regions in the Czech Republic) were designed upon the data of long-term vacancies opened and difficult to fill in with graduates or workers with relevant skills. Discussions and surveys among employers were also used to select particular vocations to be supported by the scholarship schemes.
Most of the scholarships have two parts:
a) a motivation part - usually paid monthly to all attendants of particular field of vocational education (specific condition must be accomplished by student )
b) a performance part - depending on grades attained during school year
Frequency of updates
Results of the scheme are monitored regularly (each year) by regional authorities and adjusted/modified upon findings.
In some regions this instrument has been available for a longer time (from 2009). Usually, the conditions and list of supported field of education are modified annually to tackle the actual or short-term needs.
Political will of the regional councils.
Key indicators are a) numbers of pupils enrolled in the specific field of vocational education b) decreased not-attendance by pupils c) increased performance / better grades received. These indicators are monitored by the regional authority and reported by vocational schools.
Probably not exclusively innovative, but quite effective and not too much bureaucratic finance stages to motivate some groups of children to attend vocational education.
Evidence of effectiveness
In general, the benefits have been as expected. The number of students from vocational schools supported via the scheme varies region by region depending on the a) number of supported branches b) conditions and finances allocated c) population of the region. The number varies between 800-1,500 secondary vocational students getting the scholarship per region each year.
Engagement of stakeholders
It is quite a cheap, but effective instrument and appreciated by local enterprises. No special regulation is needed, scholarships only depends on the political will of regional councils.
This incentive tool is probably offered in many countries or regions and requires only evidence of needs and political will to make funding available on a regional level.
These regional schemes will probably continue in the future. More and more regions have joined the vocational scholarship programmes recently, based on the results of regions with a longer history of these schemes.