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General themes

VET in the Czechia comprises the following main features:

  • The highest share (72.4% in 2017 ([1]Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs01, educ_uoe_enrs04 and educ_uoe_enrs07 [extracted 9.5.2019].)) of initial VET learners at upper-secondary level (ISCED 3) in EU;
  • For a long time there has been a decline in interest for vocational secondary education and a rise in the interest in general secondary education. While the number of young people decreases, the capacity of secondary general schools (gymnázia) remains the same, which results in a declining share of students in vocational education; 
  • The second lowest share in EU of population aged 25-64 with low education level (6.1% ([2]Source: Eurostat, lfsa_pgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].));
  • In 2018, the unemployment rate for all education levels, including most VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4) was lower than in the pre-crisis years.

Distinctive features ([3]Adopted from Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on vocational education and training in the Czechia. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/publications/8098
):

Early tracking: pupils choose between general and vocational upper secondary educational pathways at age 15. By age 17 to 19, most VET students have acquired a vocational qualification recognised on the labour market.

General subjects are a strong component in all types of VET programme. Their proportion varies depending on the programme, representing 30% to 70% of instruction time.

VET is mainly school-based. It contains periods of work placements. Their length depends on the type of study programme. Students don´t have work contracts and are not regarded as employees of the companies ([4]I.e. there is no apprenticeship scheme according to commonly used EU definition; see
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/4106_en.pdf
).

Early leaving from education and training is very low (6.2% in 2018), partly due to a wide choice of education pathways and various education programmes combined with a high level of permeability.

Tertiary education attainment in the 30 to 34 age group is quite low (33.7% compared to 40.7% in 2018 in the EU-28 as a whole). In the past decade, the share of young people entering tertiary education has grown significantly (from 13% in 2005 to 28 % in 2014). The introduction of bachelor studies is driving this trend.

Any adult can study any VET programme in the formal school system. Many programmes are designed to be combined with working life, but the overall adult participation is low. The wide variety of continuing VET (CVET) programmes provided outside the formal system is not generally regulated but subject to the free market; nevertheless, a system of validation of non-formal and informal learning outcomes has been gradually developing since 2007, when the law on validation and recognition of CVET outcomes came into force.

Demographic developments have led to a decreasing number of young learners; IVET schools have become more active in providing CVET programmes for the general public. This not only provides school teachers with an opportunity to develop their skills in teaching adults, but also helps increase young and adult learners’ awareness of CVET as an integral part of life.

One of the main challenges in VET is to improve the quality and attractiveness of secondary VET by encouraging practical training and work placement in companies, supporting the school-to-work transition of graduates.

Several measures adopted after 2014 have aided cooperation between schools and employers, including tax incentives, developing VET examinations in cooperation with employers, and legislative amendments to enable experts from the business world to be employed in schools.

Linking VET programmes with qualifications in the National Register of Qualifications (NSK) is also expected to increase responsiveness to labour market needs. Revision of national upper secondary VET curricula is currently being prepared as is reform in financing schools, with the State budget being discussed to promote quality as the main criterion as opposed to the current per capita financing principle.

A crucial challenge is ageing of the pedagogical staff and the generally low attractiveness of teaching jobs up to tertiary level as the teaching profession is considered undervalued. This is caused mainly by low average salaries compared to other high-skilled professionals and limited opportunities for career development. Adopting the framework for career development for teachers has been debated for many years without result. Supporting high-quality teaching and teachers as a prerequisite for such teaching is among three priorities of the Education Strategy until 2020.

Better matching of skills supply and labour market demand is another challenge, especially in recent years when there is extremely low unemployment rate and skill shortages became one of the main limitations of national economy development. Twenty nine sector councils (established gradually since 2005) monitor the coverage of their sectors by qualification, identify new skill trends and propose new qualifications. Several projects targeting better skills matching have been introduced but a system at national level is still missing. A project aiming at its establishment has been launched in 2017 under the purview of labour ministry.

Creating CVET options catering to the needs of the low-skilled and socially disadvantaged segments of the population requires more attention.

The Act on VNFIL ([5]The Act No 179/2006 on the verification and recognition of further education results.) serves as a support to CVET and a quality assurance mechanism. It is linked to active employment policy instruments such as retraining courses.

Data from VET in Czechia Spotlight 2016 ([6]Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on vocational education and training in the Czechia. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/publications/8098
)

Population in 2018: 10 610 055 ([7]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

Since 2013, population increased by 0.9% mainly due to the positive net migration rate (dominantly from Ukraine and Slovakia) ([8]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted on 16.5.2019].). There has been also a slight natural population increase.

As in many other EU countries, the population is ageing.

An old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 27 in 2015 to 56 in 2060 ([9]Old-age-dependency ratio is defined as the ratio between the number of persons aged 65 and more over the number of working-age persons (15-64). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).).

 

Population forecast by age group and old-age-dependency ratio

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Demographic changes have an impact on VET.

The role of adult education and training will increase considerably and schools (especially basic and secondary) have already faced a decreasing number of young learners. Secondary VET schools are supported by national and regional authorities and by the European structural funds to develop their capabilities for adult education.

Czechia is ethnically homogenous country. Majority of citizens are Czechs and speak the Czech language. The largest ethnic minority are Roma with estimated population representing about 2.2 % of total population (2017) ([9a]The number is an expert estimation. Many Roma declare Czech nationality in census and there are methodological as well as ethical problems related to determining exact number of ethnic minority members. Source: https://www.vlada.cz/assets/ppov/zalezitosti-romske-komunity/dokumenty/Zprava-o-stavu-romske-mensiny-2017.pdf 
). Most Roma speak Czech as their first language or are bilingual (speak Roma as well as Czech). Other ethnic minorities include Slovaks (1.4 %), Ukrainians, Poles and others (each under 1 % ([9b]Source: https://www.czso.cz/documents/10180/20551765/170223-14.pdf 
)). There were about 4.8 % foreigners living in the country in 2016 ([9c]Source: https://www.czso.cz/documents/11292/27320905/c01R01_2017.pdf/8e9515a6-e078-484a-b6fd-6eee9e929c1e?version=1.0  
).

Ethnic minorities have right to be taught in their native language after reaching a pre-defined numbers of students in the a given locality. Currently, there is only one secondary (general) school teaching in the Polish language and several schools are bilingual.

Most companies are micro-sized in 2016 ([10]Source: Eurostat table, sbs_sc_sca_r, [extracted 30.4.2019]; calculations done by NÚV.):

96.1% micro-sized (0-9 persons)

3.1% small-sized (10-49 persons)

0.7% medium-sized (50-249 persons)

0.2% large (250 persons or more)

Economic sectors by employment share in 2018 ([11]Source: Eurostat. Employment by sex, age and economic activity (LFS, table lfsa_egan2):
http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/products-datasets/-/lfsa_egan2 [extracted 13.5.2019].
):

  • manufacturing (e.g. metal products, machinery, automotive, repair and installation): 27.9%
  • business and other services: 21.4%
  • non-marketed services: 19.9%
  • distribution and transport: 17.9%
  • construction: 7.3%
  • primary sector and utilities: 5.5%

Export comprises mainly cars and car components, machines and machine components, computers and other ICT components, electronic and optical equipment, chemical substances, leather and rubber products, etc.

Access to most vocational occupations is not legally defined with several exceptions, as for example mandatory certificates for electricians and welders. However, employers usually ask for relevant formal VET qualification. Informal non-mandatory requirements for individual occupations are defined in the National System of Occupations ([12]www.nsp.cz).

Entry to some occupations is more specifically regulated for the self-employed; in some occupations ([13]Defined in the Trade Licensing Act.) formal qualification is required to become an entrepreneur. Self-employed (usually craftsmen occupations) require a formal qualification although it can be partly substituted by proof of work experience.

Total unemployment ([14]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) (2018): 2.0% (6.0% in EU28); it decreased by 1.9 percentage points since 2008 ([15]Eurostat table une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019].).

 

Unemployment rate (aged 15-24 and 25-64) by education attainment level in 2008-18

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series; low reliability for ISCED 5-8, age 15-24.
ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education. ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education. ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_urgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Unemployment is distributed unevenly between those with low- and high-level qualifications. The gap has increased during the crisis as unskilled workers, particularly younger people, are more vulnerable to unemployment. The crisis had no effect on the employment rates of those with tertiary education levels.

Since 2012 unemployment rate is decreasing. In 2018, the unemployment rate of people with low and medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4) is lower than in the pre-crisis years.

The economy shows almost full employment in recent years and skills shortages are one of most important limits of further economy growth.

Employment rate of 20 to 34-year-old VET graduates increased from 78.9% in 2014 to 83.5% in 2018 ([16]Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

 

Employment rate of VET graduates (20 to 34 years old, ISCED levels 3 and 4)

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

The increase (+4.6 pp) in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates in 2014-18 almost equals increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates (+4.7 pp) in the same period in the Czechia ([17]NB: Break in series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019]).

The highest share of the population aged up to 64 in the Czechia (69.6%) has upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education. The share of those with low or without a qualification is the second lowest in the EU, following Lithuania.

 

Population (aged 25 to 64) by highest education level attained in 2018

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011. Low reliability for ‘No response’ in Czechia, Iceland, Latvia, and Poland. ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_pgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

0.6%

72.4%

11.3%

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011. Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs01, educ_uoe_enrs04 and educ_uoe_enrs07 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Share of initial VET learners from total learners at upper-secondary level (ISCED level 3), 2017

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011.
Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs04 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Traditionally, there are more males in VET (55%).

Males prefer industrial fields (such as mechanical engineering, electrotechnics), construction, ICT, while females opt more often for healthcare, pedagogy, business or arts.

The share of early leavers from education and training has increased from 5.4% in 2009 to 6.2% in 2018, partly also due to the introduction of state maturita in 2011. It is for part of students more demanding than the previous school-based exam. The common, state part of maturita exam is now same both for general and VET schools. The share of early leavers is above the national target for 2020 of not more than 5.5 % and below the EU-28 average of 10.6% in 2018.

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_14 [extracted 16.5.2019] and European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/info/2018-european-semester-national-reform-programmes-and-stability-convergence-programmes_en
[accessed 14.11.2018].

 

Dropout rate is not monitored centrally.

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

NB: Share of adult population aged 25 to 64 participating in education and training.
Source: Eurostat, trng_lfse_01 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Participation in lifelong learning in the Czechia has been relatively stable since 2015. With a share of 8.5% in 2018, it is 2.6 percentage points below the EU-28 average. In the Strategy for Education Policy of the Czechia until 2020 the goal of at least 15% inhabitants at the age of 25-64 participating in lifelong learning has been set.

 

Secondary education learners* by age group

(*) All secondary education learners (i.e. VET as well as general) are included.

 

The share of adults (25+) in IVET is the highest in two years of follow-up programmes and in one/two years shortened programmes, however, in these programmes their number has also decreased significantly between 2010/11 and 2018/19.

The education and training system comprises:

  • preschool education
  • primary and lower secondary education (ISCED level 1 and 2), most of it is integrated
  • upper secondary education (ISCED level 3);
  • tertiary education (ISCED levels 5, 6, 7 and 8).

Pre - school education is provided for children from 2 to 6 years mostly in public (founders are municipalities) or private (e.g. company) kindergartens (mateřská škola). For five years old children (the last year before entering the basic school) is the attendance compulsory.

Compulsory education lasts nine years. Learners either attend nine years of basic school (from 6 to 15 years of age), or they transfer to gymnázia at the age of 10 or 12 to programmes that last 6 or 8 years and integrate lower secondary (compulsory) and upper secondary general education.

At the age of 15, learners finishing the basic school choose between general education (four year gymnázium programme) and IVET. IVET is not a ‘dead end’ path. After upper secondary education (either general or IVET) almost all graduates can choose an appropriate path to proceed to higher levels.

At upper secondary level IVET is provided by VET schools offering three years study programmes/courses with vocational certificate and four years study programmes/courses with Maturita exam ([18]At the age of 15, student/learners finishing their basic school have to choose the type of secondary school – general (Gymnázia),orvocational schools (střední odborná učiliště – SOU ) or střední odborné školy – SOŠ). .); at tertiary level by tertiary professional schools (VOŠ – vyšší odborné školy) and higher education institutions (VŠ – vysoké školy).

Higher education institutions (VŠ) constitute a self-governed system regulated by the Higher Education Act. Secondary vocational and technical schools are often integrated within one legal entity (a school), thus providing more diverse study opportunities under ‘one roof’. Tertiary professional schools (VOŠ) are often integrated with secondary schools.

A less common study path is provided by conservatoires which provide education in the field of arts (music, dance or drama) at lower and upper secondary level and tertiary professional school level.

IVET in public schools (the majority) is provided for free, while private and church schools may collect tuition fees.

Secondary schools may provide education for pupils with special educational needs depending on the type of disability. Such IVET programmes (ISCED 253) are aimed at learners over 15 years old with learning difficulties.

There is no apprenticeship system (or ‘dual system’) in the country. IVET is mostly school-based. However, mandatory practical work-based training and work placement in the real working environment or at least in school facilities are integrated into IVET curricula.

IVET is provided within formal school system. It leads to qualifications from EQF level 2 to level 6. Formal education from nursery to tertiary professional VET is governed by the Education Act (2004).

IVET is mainly school based with mandatory practical training/workplace training usually an in-company or in school workshops or school facilities. National curricula (Framework educational programmes) are centrally processed documents issued and approved by the education ministry.

They define conditions under which education in the given field can take place, binding educational requirements for individual levels and fields of education, forms of education, content of education and a minimum range of lessons for each educational area.

CVET can be provided:

  • within formal school system (adults can study at formal schools with no age or other formal restrictions);
  • in the framework of active labour market policies (so-called retraining);
  • in companies (either obligatory training set by the law or not-regulated training based on company policy);
  • based on individual demand (there is wide free market of training providers).

Continuing VET is partly regulated by the Act No. 179/2006 on the Verification and Recognition of Further Education Results (the act on VNFIL). In the National Register of Qualifications (NSK) By May 2019 there have been 182 complete vocational qualifications in the National Register of Qualifications (NSK) which enabled to get the access to the IVET qualification without attending the IVET (formal) study program in school.

Except the most frequented full-time study, schools also offer other forms, suitable especially for employed adults (e.g. distance form) where shorter (mostly weekend) presence in school is combined with consultations and various methods of distance study, such as self-study, e-learning etc.). These courses usually last one extra year in comparison to full-time programmes. Only 7.5% ([19]MŠMT data, NÚV´s calculation includes all upper and lower secondary and tertiary professional, follow-up and shortened programmes (i.e. all VET types).) of all VET learners attend other (not full time) forms of study.

There is no apprenticeship system (or ‘dual system’) in the country. IVET is mostly school-based. However, mandatory practical work-based training and work placement are integrated into IVET curricula.

The main body holding executive powers in the field of education (IVET and CVET) at the national level is the education ministry (Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports Ministerstvo školství, mládeže a tělovýchovy – MŠMT). The key responsibilities of the education ministry include the development of the national education strategy and priorities; development of curricular policy and care for the quality of education for and in accordance with the objectives and content of education; coordination of public administration and funding in the area of education.

The education ministry holds the main responsibility for administration and establishing the rules for higher education (HE) institutions, which, however, have broad academic autonomy.

The labour ministry (Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs Ministerstvo práce a sociálních věcí - MPSV) is responsible for retraining under the auspices of the public employment service. The Ministry of Health is responsible for training of health staff; the Ministry of Interior Affairs is responsible for the accreditation of public administration staff training courses, etc.).

At the regional level, self-governing bodies – the regional assembly and regional council (zastupitelstvo kraje, rada kraje) – are directly responsible for establishing public VET schools at upper secondary and tertiary professional levels. The regional assembly has decision-making and consulting powers on the number, structure, provision, quality and funding of schools. The regional council (9-11 members) is elected by the assembly and holds executive powers. It forms expert advisory commissions in various fields, including education.

A regional body of state administration is a regional authority (krajský úřad). It is responsible for the development of a regional long-term plan for the development of education and for a report on education in the region. It also allocates resources from the state budget to schools which cover pedagogical staff wages and direct educational costs.

The Regional Councils for Human Resource Development perform a consultative function for regional councils.

All schools (including VET) have a relatively high level of autonomy. School directors hold significant powers. They are responsible for the preparation and implementation of school curricula based on approved national curricula, for the quality of pedagogical work and human resources policy, and for educational management and efficient use of financial resources. School councils are established at schools as a consultative body. The councils include representatives of the school founding body, pedagogical staff, parents and sometimes students.

Social partners can influence vocational education at national and regional levels particularly through co-operation on the preparation of curricula. Participation of their representatives in the final exam committees of upper secondary vocational programmes (ISCED 353) and in the absolutorium ([20]Absolutorium is a final examination at tertiary professional schools consisting of the theory of vocational subjects, a foreign language, a graduate thesis and its defence. Upon successful passing of the absolutorium, the graduate attains a tertiary professional qualification and the title of a specialist with a diploma (diplomovaný specialista, DiS).) committees of tertiary professional programmes (ISCED 655) is mandatory and is embedded in the School Act. They also cooperate on the newly introduced standardised assignments for final examinations (ISCED 353), and profile (vocational) parts of maturita exams (ISCED 354), while their participation at the maturita examination committee is not mandatory, but highly appreciated. Enhancing the role of employers and increasing their participation in VET is one of the current national priorities.

There are three different systems of regular public funding of VET.

  • the first system is regulated by the Schools Act and finances the upper secondary and tertiary professional schools;
  • the second system finances higher education institutions and is governed by the Higher Education Act;
  • the third system covers the Public Employment Service training and is governed by the Employment Act.

Upper secondary and tertiary professional education

The responsibility for funding schools at the primary, secondary and tertiary professional level is shared between the education ministry ([21]Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (Ministerstvo školství, mládeže a tělovýchovy – MŠMT).) and those responsible for establishing schools, i.e. regional authorities or in some cases private entities, churches and ministries. Regions administer approximately 71% of upper secondary VET schools and approximately 66% ([22]Source:
Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports:
http://toiler.uiv.cz/rocenka/rocenka.asp, [extracted 15.5.2019].
) of tertiary professional schools.

Government expenditure per student, 2017

 

Primary education

Lower and upper secondary education

Tertiary education

% of GDP per capita

14.9

23.7

21.0

Source: World development indicators. World Bank Open Data: http://data.worldbank.org/ and http://wdi.worldbank.org/table/2.7

[extracted 2.5.2019].

The education ministry provides most of the education budget, covering direct costs, except investments. School founders cover operational and investment costs. Funding from the public budget (for direct and operational costs) is per-capita and depends on school type and educational field.

In 2016, a reform of regional school funding has been proposed. It introduces new criteria to determine the level of funding, such as the number of lessons taught, the number of children with special needs in the class etc. It also transfers the main responsibility for school funding to the MŠMT. The new regulations will be gradually implemented in coming years.

Schools may also receive resources from the MŠMT budget for development programmes. The content and the aim of these programmes are announced by the MŠMT for each fiscal year; the resources allocated to these programmes represent only about 0.5% out of the total budget. In addition, some individual subsidies (e.g. capital investments) may be determined during the process of the budget´s approval by the Parliament.

The MŠMT budget also provides financial resources to private schools and schools set up by registered churches or religious societies, which are included in the register of schools. The subsidy is set as a percentage of the per-capita funding of a comparable programme in public education.

Another source of funding of private secondary VET schools and public Tertiary Professional Schools (VOŠ) is that of fees. The maximum limit of fees for public VOŠ is set by legislation and differs depending on the field of study. Generally, fees are low, ranging from the equivalent of EUR 97 to 195 per year. The level of tuition fees for private schools is not regulated.

 

Financial flows in upper secondary and tertiary professional education

Source: ReferNet Czech Republic.

 

Higher education institutions (VŠ)

Each public VŠ is entitled to a contribution from the state budget. The level of the contribution depends on the number of students, type of accredited study and lifelong learning programmes and on the basis of several qualitative indicators (i.e. research results, professional structure of academic staff, foreign students, financial resources owned, unemployment rate of graduates, the extent of student mobility).

Public VŠ programmes are generally free for students. Fees ([23]The education ministry sets the limits for each year.) are collected for extending the standard length of studies by more than one year (min. ca. equivalent of EUR 150 per semester) and approaching the second bachelor or master programme (min. ca. equivalent of EUR 100 per year). Fees may be collected also for admission proceedings (max. ca. equivalent of EUR 20) or for studying in a foreign language (no limit set). The rector may exempt socially disadvantaged students from paying the fees.

Private VŠ must assure financial resources for the implementation of the activities by their own means, for example by collecting fees.

 

Financial flows in public higher education institutions (VŠ)

Source: ReferNet Czech Republic.

 

Retraining in the framework of active labour market policies

Retraining in the framework of the active labour market policies (ALMP) is funded from the budget of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (Ministerstvo práce a sociálních věcí - MPSV). The financial resources are transferred to the Labour Office (ÚP) which then distributes them further to its regional branches. The ÚP branches cover the course fees for the participants but may also contribute to other retraining-related costs.

In upper secondary VET, there are:

  • general subject teachers;
  • vocational theoretical subject teachers;
  • vocational training teachers (in EQF 2 and 3 VET programmes with vocational certificate);
  • teachers of practicum (only in EQF 4 VET programmes with maturita examination).

Qualification and competence requirements for all teaching professionals, their working hours, continuing professional development (CPD) and career scheme are regulated by the Act on pedagogical staff and relating regulations.

In addition to the achieved formal qualification in the respective field, upper secondary VET teachers (i.e. teachers of general subjects, teachers of vocational theoretical subjects, teachers of vocational training and teachers of practicum) need to acquire also the pedagogical qualification, If the pedagogical qualification is not the part of their Master programme, teachers have to acquire it as follows: through a Bachelor’s degree in pedagogical sciences or in the field of pedagogical sciences within the accredited LLL programme provided by a higher education institution in the scope of at least 250 hours of instruction. For teachers of vocational theoretical subjects at secondary VET schools, teachers of practicum and vocational training at VET secondary schools the regulation to the Act on Pedagogical Staff stipulates ([24]But also for teachers of artistic vocational subjects at elementary artistic schools, secondary schools and conservatoires and the teachers at language schools authorised to organise state language examinations.) the scope of pedagogical studies of at least 120 hours of instruction.

Some teachers complete the required qualification in pedagogy within the framework of further education.

Trainers, called “practical training instructors” are exclusively employees of the company; the Act on Pedagogical Staff does not recognise them as pedagogues. Therefore, they do not need to have pedagogical training. Cooperating VET schools often provide them with necessary competences (some organise courses), instructors may also pass the professional qualification within the NSK ([25]Národní soustava kvalifikací (National register of qualifications).).

The attractiveness of teaching jobs up to the tertiary level is generally very low as the teaching profession is considered undervalued. This is caused mainly by low average salaries compared to other high-skilled professionals and limited opportunities for career development. From the other point of view, this does not attract professionals (experts from companies and other institutions) to enter schools. Since 2015 legislation amendments made it possible for directors of schools to employ practitioners -experts from the world of business, non-profit organisations or state administration for part-time education (20 hours/week) without having the required pedagogical qualification.

All teachers are obliged to participate in continuing education (CPD). Its contents or time scope are not centrally prescribed; CPD plan is required by law, it is managed individually by every school and belongs to the responsibilities of the director. Teachers also have right to an educational leave up to 12 days per academic year, the CPD may have form of courses or internship in a company.

A uniform standard of professional competences for teachers at all levels of education (from pre-school education to tertiary education) of all types of schools and subjects is being prepared. Mentoring is not part of the support currently being provided to teachers within the school structure.

In the 2014 approved Strategy for Education Policy of the Czechia until 2020, teachers and trainers are among the three key priorities. The strategy is promoting the quality of teaching and teachers, particularly in the sense of supporting the development of a career scheme for teachers, improving their work conditions and modernising the pre-service training of teachers.

So far, teachers can only choose a career path to pursue specialized school activities (e.g. preventist ([26]A teacher with special education/courses who is able to prevent and if necessary also effectively solve problematic behaviour or situations that may appear in class or school (drugs, cyber bullying, etc.)), educational counsellor, etc.) or lead to a leadership position. The amendment to the Act on Pedagogical Staff suggesting a new career path of professional competence development has not been approved yet.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers ([27]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers).

 

 

There is no coherent system for forecasting skill needs in the Czechia.

Over the course of the years, various initiatives have been developed, especially at the research level, that aim at creating solid methods and individual tools for early identification of skill needs. They took the form of single projects which were not inter-related, and their results did not serve as a regular source of information. Projects were contracted mostly by the labour ministry ([28]Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (Ministerstvo práce a sociálních věcí – MPSV).) (MPSV) and the education ministry ([29]Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (Ministerstvo školství, mládeže a tělovýchovy – MŠMT).) (MŠMT) or social partners.

In addition to this, there are projects of various other institutions which are not directly concerned with forecasting skill needs but which carry out certain partial activities within this area. The National Institute for Education (Národní ústav pro vzdělávání – NÚV) has developed an Information System on the Situation of Graduates in the Labour Market (ISA+) ([30]Available at
www.infoabsolvent.cz
). Short information about future labour market prospects within economic sectors until 2025 was included ([31]https://www.infoabsolvent.cz/Temata/ClanekAbsolventi/4-4-02/Charakteristiky-a-perspektivy-odvetvi-ekonomiky-v-/34).

In 2017, a new initiative (project KOMPAS) was launched by the labour ministry that aims to establish a system of labour market forecasting while interlinking central and regional approaches by 2020. National Training Fund (Národní vzdělávací fond – NVF and Research Institute of Labour and Social Affairs (Výzkumný ústav práce a sociálních věcí – VÚPSV) and newly established regional platforms are key partners of the labour ministry within the project.

The system will collect the available statistical data as well as qualitative information on the future regional and national developments, important changes and technology trends. A system of statistical forecasting models (national as well as regional) is being developed. The outcomes are expected to inform education providers and counsellors (IVET as well as CVET), the public employment service (responsible for retraining), regional authorities (responsible for IVET), employers, ministries as well as the general public via a comprehensive website.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([32]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European Skills Index ([33]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index)

In the past decade, important steps have been taken in the area of defining and updating qualifications, and in their systematic linking to the labour market and VET curricula. Key parts of the system have been developed mostly through individual projects. The work on the full integration of the system is not finished yet.

National Register of Qualifications

National Register of Qualifications (Národní soustava kvalifikací – NSK) was introduced in 2007 ([34]Act No179/2006 on verification and recognition of further education results and on changes to other laws.). NSK contains descriptions of qualifications in the form of standards for the so called:

  • vocational;
  • complete vocational qualifications

which have been gradually developed. As of May 2019, there were 1300 standards of qualifications publicly accessible in the register. All approved standards and related information are published in the NSK information system ([35]www.narodnikvalifikace.cz) in the Czech and English languages.

Labour market requirements described in the qualification standards are taken into account during the creation and revision of the initial (vocational) education curricula.

Curricula development (up to the upper secondary level)

Within the formal school system, curricula up to the upper secondary level are developed at two levels. The National Curricula (RVP – Rámcové vzdělávací programy) under the responsibility of the education ministry (MŠMT) contain the minimum requirements for education stipulated by the State. 281 VET programmes have been developed, one for each individual field of education. They are focused mainly on learning outcomes and key competences.

In May 2017, MŠMT adopted the overall concept of the National Curricula revision and the time schedule. Revisions will be prepared and coordinated by the National Institute for Education (NÚV). Revision at the upper secondary VET level focuses on the following main principles:

  • Permeability – vertical as well as horizontal, without dead-end paths; a student may resume the studies at any point and continue to achieve a higher level including the recognition of the previous learning.
  • Flexibility – diversification of education paths related to possibilities of finding various jobs; flexible organisation of the instruction such as modularization; flexible reaction on the varying needs of the labour market.
  • Quality – education giving prerequisites for life-long learning and providing good chances for the graduates to find an employment.

The revision of the curricular documents is among the national priorities until 2020. The new curricula will reflect the Strategy for Education until 2030 which preparation started in 2019. Based on the National Curricula, upper secondary schools design their own school curricula ( školní vzdělávací programy). The objective is to allow for a more flexible shaping of graduate profiles in line with regional needs, the development of the relevant field and the interests and capacities of students. At the same time, the system demands a strong methodical guidance for teachers who develop the curricula.

Study programmes at tertiary level

At the tertiary level, the content of study programmes is developed by the institutions (Tertiary Professional Schools –VOŠ ([36]In Czech language: Vyšší odborné školy.) and Higher Education Institutions - VŠ [37]In Czech language: Vysoké školy.) themselves.

For tertiary professional schools (VOŠ) the education ministry (MŠMT) approves the programmes based on a recommendation issued by the Accreditation commission Commission for tertiary Tertiary professional Professional education Education (AK VOV). The commission is set up by the Government.

For higher education institutions (VŠ) the National Accreditation Bureau for Higher Education (an independent body established by the law in 2016) decides on accreditation of degree programmes, institutional accreditation and accreditation of the habilitation procedure and procedure for appointment of professors. It also carries out audits and external evaluations of higher education institutions. Before 2016 there was a commission similar to the one for tertiary professional schools (see above). The new Bureau holds significantly more autonomy and does not need to submit their decisions to the MŠMT. If a VŠ is deemed to have an advanced and reliable internal evaluation system, the Bureau can newly award it with an institutional accreditation lasting 10 years. The VŠ then does not have to have each of their study programmes accredited externally and performs only internal accreditation. The aim of the institutional accreditation is to enable quality VŠs react autonomously and flexibly on the changing labour market needs.

CVET programmes

Continuing (vocational) education programmes provided outside of the formal school system usually respond directly to the demand of the market. When developing the programmes, existing national registers may be consulted, e.g. the National System of Occupations ([38]www.nsp.cz) or the National Register of Qualifications ([39]www.narodnikvalifikace.cz). Since 2009, the providers of the retraining programmes (accredited within the active labour market policy) must link the content of these courses to the National Register of Qualifications. Thus, the successful participants can get a nationally recognised certificate.

Actors involved in the process

There are 25 so called field groups consisting of experts from the area of education, labour market and occupations. The field groups have been working for more than twenty years with the support of the education ministry) to foster the creation of the National Curricula with objectives and contents in line with the labour market needs. Their expertise covers the full spectrum of potential applicability of VET graduates. The field groups support continuous development of VET curricula and implementation of the European tools – ECVET ([40]European credit transfer in vocational education and training. ), EQAVET ([41]European quality assurance in vocational education and training.) and assignment of qualifications’ levels to EQF ([42]European qualification framework.) levels.

Another type of entity, the sector councils (sektorové rady - SR), has been operating over the recent ten years nationwide, primarily in the process of defining occupations and qualifications. They bring together representatives of key stakeholders, especially employers, in particular fields. Gradually established since 2006, the number of sector councils is increasing. Currently there are 29 sector councils consisting of the 350 representatives of employers, educators and ministries working on skill needs analysis of the labour market in sectors and on the development of qualification and assessment standards of vocational qualifications in relation to occupations defined in the National System of Occupations ([43]www.nsp.cz).

The National Institute of Education (NÚV) is in charge of coordination and of the methodological accuracy of the curricula developed for upper secondary education. The NÚV submits the proposals of the developed qualification standards to authorising bodies for a feedback (there are 16 authorising bodies, usually ministries). The final approval of standards is in the responsibility of the MŠMT.

In 2016, the MŠMT initiated and agreement between the key representatives of the employers (Czech Chamber of Commerce, Confederation of Industry of the Czechia, Czech Agrarian Chamber and Confederation of Employers' and Entrepreneurs' Associations of the Czechia) on the allocation of responsibility for individual areas of initial vocational education. The aforementioned stakeholders have divided responsibilities among themselves for particular fields of education.

Quality assurance mechanisms of secondary schools and tertiary professional schools

Evaluation of schools and assurance of the quality of education are carried out by means of;

  • external evaluation;
  • self-evaluation.

In addition to this, each newly established school is evaluated by the education ministry, based on which the school is included in the official register.

External evaluation

The Czech School Inspectorate (Česká školní inspekce – ČŠI) is the independent national evaluation authority. It identifies and evaluates provision and outcomes of education, their compliance with school-based curricula and links to the national curricula. The evaluation of the education processes conducted by the ČŠI and the feedback provided is of a more practical nature than in the past. In 2015, the ČŠI defined the model of a quality school. It includes criteria and methodology for inspections in all types and levels of schools. For every school year a set of specific indicators for schools is published. At the beginning of 2016, the National Institute for Education (NÚV) was appointed by the MŠMT to the role of National Reference Point for Quality Assurance in VET (NRP EQAVET-CZ). Activities of the European Quality Assurance Reference Framework (EQAVET) are performed in cooperation with the ČŠI, the former national reference point.

School self-evaluation

The Education Act defines that outcomes of self-evaluation of schools shall be a basis for the development of an annual report on the school’s activities. Since 2011 the schools were granted more autonomy in terms of self-evaluation. The self-evaluation report is not any more used for observations by the Czech School Inspectorate. The obligation of schools to respect the structure (criteria) of the self-evaluation report as well as the frequency and dates of its submission has been cancelled. The majority of schools prepare the self-evaluation report as an internal document of the school.

Quality assurance mechanisms of higher education institutions

The quality assurance of the higher education institutions takes the form of an accreditation process. The institutions must submit their educational programmes for evaluation to the Accreditation Commission set up by the Government and based on successful assessment, the accreditation is awarded or renewed.

A system of recognition and validation of learning outcomes has been developing during the past years. The legislative framework was created by the Act on Verification and Recognition of Further Education Results (Zákon o uznávání výsledků dalšího vzdělávání). Any person who has gained certain skills and knowledge in some vocational field may, after meeting the relevant requirements, acquire a nationally valid certificate of qualification that is generally recognised by employers. Distinction is made between vocational and complete vocational qualifications.

Vocational qualification (profesní kvalifikace) is defined as an ‘ability of a person to duly perform a task or a set of tasks within an occupation’. It corresponds to certain activities (e.g. furniture assembly, installation of lifts, manufacture of upholstered seats, sports massage, flower arrangement, cold dishes catering, production of ice cream, etc.) but does not cover the whole occupation. As of May 2019, 1300 qualification standards) were approved and included into the National Register of Qualifications.

Complete vocational qualification (úplná profesní kvalifikace) is defined as a ‘professional competence to duly perform all the tasks within an occupation’ (e.g. pastry chef, hairdresser, plumber, economist, engineering technician, etc.). It can be acquired either by a standard completing of an IVET programme or by the recognition of prior learning.

 

National Register of Qualifications

Source: National Training Fund (NVF).

 

To obtain a vocational qualification, the applicant needs to demonstrate all competences listed in the qualification standard of the National Register of Qualifications. Verification is carried out by means of an examination implemented by the so-called authorised persons (mostly adult education providers and VET schools) ([44]Authorised persons are licenced by the so called awarding bodies, which are organisations of state administration relevant to the given field (ministries or the Czech National Bank). In 2016 there were 1216 authorised persons in the Czechia.). The exam is provided for a fee that can be deducted from an individual’s taxable income. An adult over the age of 18 who has completed at least the obligatory basic education can register for the exam. Upon passing, the individual receives a nationally recognised certificate of a vocational qualification. The above described process was launched in 2009. By May 2019, over 209 000 exams have been administered.

Acquiring complete vocational qualifications ([45]There are182 complete vocational qualifications in the NSK.), which are equivalent to those acquired within the formal schools system, is a more demanding process. If a person wants to obtain a qualification level identical to one awarded within formal IVET, she/he must pass an examination required for the field of study within IVET (certified by the maturita or vocational certificate) at school. It is a rare but possible way of acquiring the complete qualification.

Policies to promote the system and enhance awareness and increase the number of applicants are being implemented. A significant step towards connecting the Czech qualifications and the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) was the approval of the National Referencing Report by the Czech Government in July 2011. As a direct consequence, all qualification standards for vocational qualifications submitted for approval to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports are in both Czech and English.

 

Processes of recognition and validation of learning outcomes

Source: National Training Fund (NVF).

 

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database ([46]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/european-database-on-validation-of-non-formal-and-informal-learning).

There is no comprehensive system of financial incentives for VET participation. Nevertheless, there are several mechanisms through which limited financial support for VET can be obtained under certain conditions.

Scholarships

Most regions provide scholarships or other benefits for students of less popular secondary level programmes which are highly demanded by the labour market. The goal is to attract and/or motivate students to complete the programme. Regular school attendance, excellent learning results and good behaviour are usually prerequisites for receiving a scholarship. The scholarship programmes may slightly differ between the regions. A student can mostly obtain a total amount of about EUR 1 000 per three years of study (the monthly amount derives in particular from the grade of study). Some fields have recorded an increase in interest; however, in others student interest continues to decline.

Tax deduction

CVET learners can deduct the costs for exams in line with the Act on Verification and Recognition of Further Education Results from their tax base.

Tax incentives

Tax incentives for employers promoting IVET were introduced at the end of 2014. Direct and indirect funding of secondary and tertiary vocational education by employers is deemed as a tax-deductible expense:

  • a deductible amount of approximately EUR 7 (200 CZK) per hour of practical training or internship provided to a learner in the tax-payer’s premises;
  • 50% or 110% of the costs of assets acquired and at least partially used for the purposes of vocational training;
  • corporate scholarships are tax deductible (to the limit of 5 000 CZK (EUR 192) for upper secondary VET and tertiary professional level students 10 000 CZK (EUR 384) for HE students).

The main objective of the measure is to compensate part of entrepreneurs’ costs and motivate new companies to commence cooperation with the schools. There are certain conditions to be fulfilled: the tax-payer – an individual or a legal person – has to conclude with the school an agreement on the contents and scope of practical training and on whose premises is the practical training or a part of accredited study programme implemented, provided that they are authorised to perform activities related to a given field of study or study programme. The other condition is that the individual or legal person must not be reporting financial loss. They also have to prove the attendance of students (class books or attendance sheets).

As regards CVET, costs for employees’ training are deemed as a part of the overall business costs for taxation purposes.

Enhanced possibility for upper secondary VET schools to finance instructors from companies has been fostered by the amendment to the School Act of 2009. The schools may use part of the per capita labour costs to pay the employee of the company leading the practical training. By means of this measure, the schools shall be able to acquire the companies to implement practical training and to function as contractual partners more easily, and they may check on its quality more effectively.

Public grants for training of employees

Employers can apply for public grants to support the training of their employees upon meeting defined conditions. There are several programmes operated by the state and funded from the state budget or from EU funds.

The co-funding principle is applied. The programmes are:

  • Active employment policy schemes. A company can apply for contribution for (re)training their employees.
  • Investment incentives (according to the Act on Investment Incentives). Investors in regions with high unemployment can receive support for training their employees.
  • Operational programmes co-funded by the EU. Companies can draft projects that include training and receive co-funding if they meet the criteria set by the programmes. For example, in the period 2015-20, a programme called POVEZ II (Support to Vocational Education of Employees), administered by the Labour office regional branches, offers subsidies to companies and entrepreneurs for the training of employees.

There are two main guidance and counselling system:

Guidance and counselling for initial education students are under the responsibility of education ministry (MŠMT). Guidance and counselling for adults within the LM policies are under the responsibility of labour ministry (MPSV) ([49]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/events-and-projects/networks/refernet/thematic-perspectives/guidance-outreach). In 2010, the National Guidance Forum, the advisory body of the MŠMT and MŠMT in a lifelong perspective was established.

The MŠMT regulates career counselling services provided at schools. These services are available to all learners in lower secondary programmes (ISCED 244) facing the problems when they make their first choice.

The National Institute for Education (NÚV) is an important actor at the national level, as it focuses on research, methodology and dissemination of information related to career counselling, and supports the teaching of subjects dealing with labour market issues. The NÚV provides specific training focused on counselling services and the development and introduction of new methods of diagnostics in the area. It also pursues the development of an integrated information system (ISA) and the related website www.infoabsolvent.cz ([50]The system
www.infoabsolvent.cz was developed under the national systemic project VIP Kariéra, which was completed in 2009 and was co-financed from the ESF. This system collects information essential for career decision-making (of pupils, students and adults) and the success of graduates on the labour market. The system continues operating and has been evaluated as very beneficial by the OECD.
) which gathers information about the employment of school leavers on the labour market and is a useful source of information for career decisions of students, counsellors and adults.

Three qualifications ( employment career counsellor, career counsellor for educational and professional career and career counsellor for endangered, risk and disadvantaged groups) for the occupation ‘career counsellor’ have been included in the National Register of Qualifications – NSK.

At the regional/local level, there are around 80 Pedagogical-psychological guidance centres and around 120 Centres for special pedagogy (for children with health, mental and combined disabilities and communication disorders). Career services provided are derived from a pedagogical-psychological diagnosis of the pupil’s capacities, personal qualities, interests and other personal characteristics.

All basic and secondary schools are obliged by law to establish the position of educational counsellor (often the counsellors are recruited from the teachers of the school and therefore their professional capacity is rather limited due to the teaching duties). They address the issues related to education and professional orientation of the students. Each school also employs a school methodologist concerned with the prevention of socio-pathological disorders, and there may also be a school psychologist and a special pedagogue.

Since 2010/11, the curricula for upper secondary schools have included the subject ‘Introduction to the world of work’. Lower secondary education has introduced a subject ‘Career path selection’ where a significant focus is placed on the support of career management skills of the pupils. In addition, pupils may attend various educational fairs, open door days at schools, job brokering events, etc.

Please see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 6

Higher VET

programmes

WBL 45-55%

ISCED 655

Higher VET programmes leading to EQF level 6, ISCED 655 (vyšší odborné vzdělání)
EQF level
6
ISCED-P 2011 level

655

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

19 and older

Usual completion age

21and older

Length of a programme (years)

3 to 3.5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

N

([62]Regardless if the school is public or private.)

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

 

At the tertiary level, the ECTS system is used by tertiary professional schools. For the final absolutorium exam typically 180 credits are necessary.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • IVET (most learners): School-based learning complemented with practical training at school and/or practical training at companies and institutions.
  • CVET (not frequent): mostly other forms of learning where shorter (mostly weekend) presence in school is combined with consultations and various methods of distance study, such as self-study, e-learning etc.)
Main providers

Tertiary professional schools (vyšší odborné školy – VOŠ)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

45-55%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • Practical training in school or school facilities
  • At least three months of work placement in companies
Main target groups

Adults, aged 19 or older

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Applicants must have completed their upper secondary education with the maturita. The school director may decide whether an entrance examination should be part of admission proceedings, and should decide on its content - it may depending on the study programme consist of the talent exam and presentation of own´ s work.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The studies are completed by the absolutorium. It is a vocational examination consisting of the theory of vocational subjects, a foreign language, a graduate thesis and its defence.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Upon successful passing of the absolutorium, the graduate attains a tertiary professional qualification and the title of a specialist with a diploma (diplomovaný specialista, DiS).

Examples of qualifications

Nutritionist, dental assistant, graphic designer, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates from tertiary professional programmes may enrol tertiary academic education with the same conditions as upper secondary graduates with maturita exams. Some forms of prior learning (subjects) may be recognised by the higher education institution.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

The programmes comprise about 60% of general education subjects, two thirds of which are related to vocational field.

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

5.8% in 2018/19([63]Data of the Ministry of Education; calculations done by NÚV on 15.5.2019.)

Post-secondary

Programme Types
Not available

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 2

Programmes mainly

for SEN learners,

WBL 13-60%

ISCED 253

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 2, ISCED 253. Programmes titled Praktická škola jednoletá, Praktická škola dvouletá) and Programmes with lower requirements for students with SEN (dvouleté obory s výučním listem s nižšími nároky na žáky)
EQF level
2
ISCED-P 2011 level

253

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

11

Usual entry age

16 or older

Usual completion age

17-18 or older

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

It can be studied as CVET, but it is rare.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

The Czechia does not use the credit system at the secondary education level.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

School based learning in full time form only

Main providers

Upper secondary schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

30-50%, but these are simple practical activities in the meaning of performing professional tasks

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

School based learning with practical training in school workshops or in sheltered workshops, usually not in companies

This programme enables students to complete and broaden their general education and acquire the basic work skills, habits and workflows needed in everyday and future working life. It provides the fundamentals of vocational education and manual skills leading to performance of easy practical activities in the area of services and production.

Main target groups

Learners with mental disabilities of various severities, or other disadvantaged students who attended nine years of compulsory school and have had learning difficulties.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

There are no minimum entry requirements, except for the interview with entrants.

Assessment of learning outcomes

At the end of the Praktická škola programme students take final examination and obtain a certificate of a final examination.

In programme titled Dvouleté obory s výučním listem s nižšími nároky na žáky students take final examination and obtain a VET certificate (výuční list).

Diplomas/certificates provided

Certificate of a final examination or VET certificate (výuční list) depending on the type of programme.

Examples of qualifications

Depending on personal capabilities and individual abilities, the graduates may perform appropriate easy auxiliary works in public catering, health care, social care and services, manufacturing businesses, or in sheltered workplaces.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can enter the labour market and/or continue their studies at EQF 3 level.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

0.8% in 2018/19 ([51]Data of the Ministry of Education; calculations done by NÚV on 15.5.2019.)

EQF 3

School-based VET,

WBL 40-65%

ISCED 353

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 353 (střední odborné vzdělání s výučním listem)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

353

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

3 ([52]Or 1-2 (those who already obtained a qualification at the ISCED 353 level or higher, can opt for the so called shortened courses).)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

([53]For majority of learners.)

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

It is free of charge at public schools, private school may have tuition

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

The Czechia does not use the credit system at the secondary level.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • IVET (most learners): School-based learning combined with practical training (takes place in the real work environment or at school training facilities, kitchens, workshops or laboratories)
  • CVET (rare): mostly other forms of learning where shorter (mostly weekend) presence in school is combined with consultations and various methods of distance study, such as self-study, e-learning etc.)
Main providers

Secondary vocational schools (střední odborné učiliště – SOU)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

34-45%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

School based with WBL elements

Practical trainings are mandatory part of the study programme and takes very often only a form of practical training in a company or depending on circumstances (availability of appropriate companies at the local or regional level) at specially designed school training facilities or workshops or laboratories.

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

There are no minimum entry requirements; the principal condition for admission is completed basic education. The director may take into account the study results if there are too many applicants.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a final examination.

The standardised final examination has been embedded in the legislation since 2014/15. There is a uniform content for each study programme and assignments are developed jointly by vocational school teachers and experts with practical experience and are regularly updated. The exam consists of theoretical vocational and of a practical part, which may take place in companies. Participation of an expert from business at the final examination is obligatory.

The exams are taken in the end of the final year of the study. If the learner fails, he or she has a possibility of two other attempts within a period of five years.

Diplomas/certificates provided

After successful passing of final examination, the graduate obtains VET certificate (výuční list). It is a national-wide recognized formal certificate that proves formal level and field of qualification. It is often required by employers for performing relevant jobs.

Examples of qualifications

Bricklayer, hairdresser, gardener, baker.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates may enter the labour market or enrol in a two-year follow-up programme (ISCED 54) to pass the maturita examination and continue to higher education.

Graduates or learners also have an option to acquire a (second) qualification (VET certificate) in another field in shortened programmes. Shortened courses are practically oriented, last one-two years and are suitable for adults.

Destination of graduates

In 2018/19, about 24% of graduates of upper secondary three-year vocational programmes entered a follow-up course ([54]Source: NÚV (2019). Vývoj vzdělanostní a oborové struktury žáků a studentů ve středním a vyšším odborném vzdělávání v ČR a v krajích ČR a postavení mladých lidí na trhu práce ve srovnání se stavem v Evropské unii 2018/19/16 [Development of education and field structure of pupils and students in upper secondary and tertiary professional education in the CR and situation of young people at the labour market in comparison with the EU 2018/19].
https://www.infoabsolvent.cz/Temata/PublikaceAbsolventi?Stranka=9-0-157&NazevSeo=Vyvoj-vzdelanostni-a-oborove-struktury-zaku-a-
) to obtain maturita certificate. The rest of them entered the labour market.

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

When passing the exam leading to professional certificate on complete qualification within the National Register of Qualifications it is possible to acquire the vocational certificate of the formal educational pathway via passing the additional exam – same as the regular final examination. If the authorised person is not a school with the formal study programme, the applicant has to pass the additional exam leading to vocational certificate in a school.

General education subjects

Y

30-35% of the programme

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

27.7% in 2018/19 ([55]Data of the Ministry of Education; calculations done by NÚV on 15.5.2019.)

EQF 4

Technical and

lyceum programmes

WBL 3-37%

ISCED 354

Technical and lyceum VET programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 and 344 (střední odborné vzdělání s maturitou).
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354 (technical VET programmes)

344 (lyceum programmes at the secondary technical schools)

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

19

Length of a programme (years)

4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

It is offered free of charge at public schools, private school may have tuition.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

No credit system is used at the secondary education level.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • IVET (most learners): School-based learning complemented with practical training at school and/or practical training in companies and other institutions.
  • CVET (not frequent): mostly other forms of learning where shorter (mostly weekend) presence in school is combined with consultations and various methods of distance study, such as self-study, e-learning etc.)
Main providers

Secondary VET schools (střední odborná škola – SOŠ)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

3-37%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • Practical training at school
  • Practical training in companies or institutions minimum 4 weeks (in some programmes six to eight weeks on average , in agriculture programmes even twelve weeks-) per programme
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Upper secondary education is generally open to all applicants who, in addition to their completed compulsory education ([56]Compulsory education is defined as nine years of school attendance, regardless of grade.) meet the admission criteria.

Since 2017, there have been standardised admission tests from Czech language, literature and mathematics for four year upper secondary programmes. The result of the standardised admission tests are of higher importance and make a 60% in the overall candidate´s assessment. Besides the standardised admission exams the school directors may declare own admission criteria.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a maturita examination. It comprises common and profiling/vocational parts. Common exam includes Czech language and a foreign language as obligatory subjects ([57]Obligatory exam in mathematics should most probably enter into force since 2021/22 for general programmes (gymnázium) and also for lyceum programmes, since 2022/23 for other secondary programmes with the exception of health care, social care and art programmes) and at least two other optional subjects. The education ministry is responsible for the preparation of the standardised exam. The profiling/vocational part is designed by individual schools.

The exams are taken in the end of the final year of the study. If the learner fails, he or she has a possibility of two other attempts within a period of five years.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Maturita certificate that acknowledges the mid-level technical qualification. It is a national-wide recognized formal prestigious certificate that proves formal level and field of qualification. It is often required by employers for performing relevant jobs and it opens up a path to higher education.

Examples of qualifications

Civil engineering technician, travel agent, chemical technician, veterinary technician, social worker (in technical VET programmes), mid-level occupations such as, web designer in lyceum programmes, which primarily prepare their graduates for tertiary education,

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

A successful graduate can enter labour market or continue their studies at tertiary education. Graduates can also enter in a so called one-two years shortened courses and acquire a second qualification with VET certificate or maturita certificate in a different field.

Lyceum programmes are specifically targeted at preparing their graduates for continuing in the relevant HE programmes, but they can enter the labour market as well.

Destination of graduates

In total, 62% graduates of technical VET programmes continue after passing the maturita exam in tertiary education – of which 55% at higher education institutions and 10% at tertiary professional schools. Around 38% of technical VET programmes graduates enter directly to the labour market.

74 % of lyceum programme graduates continue in higher education and 8% in tertiary professional education (VOŠ). 20% of lyceum graduates enter the labour market ([58]Vojtěch, J; Kleňha, D. (2018). Přechod absolventů středních škol do terciárního vzdělávání – 2017/18Transition of secondary school graduates to tertiary education - 2017/18. Prague: NÚV.
http://www.nuv.cz/file/3639
).

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

When passing the exam leading to professional certificate on complete qualification within the National Register of Qualifications it is possible to acquire the vocational certificate of the formal educational pathway via passing the additional exam - same as the regular final examination.

If the authorised person is not a school with the formal study programme, the applicant has to pass the additional exam leading to vocational certificate in a school.

General education subjects

Y

On average 45% for the technical programmes and 70% for lyceum programmes.

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

59.7% in 2018/19 ([59]Data of the Ministry of Education; calculations done by NÚV on 15.5.2019.)

EQF 4

Follow-up programmes,

WBL 3-13%

ISCED 354

Follow-up VET programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (nástavbové studium)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

18-19 and older

Usual completion age

20-21 or older

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

The credit system is not used at the secondary education level.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • IVET (most learners): School-based learning complemented with practical training at school and/or practical training at companies and institutions.
  • CVET (not frequent): mostly other forms of learning where shorter (mostly weekend) presence in school is combined with consultations and various methods of distance study, such as self-study, e-learning etc.)
Main providers

Secondary VET schools (střední odborné školy – SOŠ)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

3-13%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • Practical training at school
  • Practical training in companies or institutions (minimum two weeks per programme)
Main target groups

Mostly young people, but also adults who want to complement their education to obtain maturita certificate.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Since 2017 there have been standardised admission tests from Czech language, literature and mathematics for four year upper secondary programmes. The result of the standardised admission tests are of higher importance and make a 60% in the overall candidate´s assessment. Besides the standardised admission exams the school directors may declare own admission criteria.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a maturita examination. It comprises common and profiling/vocational parts. Common exam includes Czech language and a foreign language as obligatory subjects and at least two other optional subjects. The education ministry is responsible for the preparation of the standardised exam.

The profiling/vocational part is designed by schools.

The exams are taken in the end of the final year of the study. If the learner fails, he or she has a possibility of two other attempts within a period of five years.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Maturita certificate that acknowledges the mid-level technical qualification. It is a national-wide recognized formal prestigious certificate that proves formal level and field of qualification. It is often required by employers for performing relevant jobs and it opens up a path to higher education.

Examples of qualifications

Civil engineering technician, travel agent.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

A successful graduate can enter the labour market or continue their studies at tertiary education (tertiary professional school or higher education).

Destination of graduates

35% of graduates continue in tertiary education, but their failure rate is high- 60%.

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

when passing the exam leading to professional certificate on complete qualification within the National Register of Qualifications it is possible to acquire the vocational certificate of the formal educational pathway via passing the additional exam - same as the regular final examination. If the authorised person is not a school with the formal study programme, the applicant has to pass the additional exam leading to vocational certificate in a school.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

4.7% in 2018/19 ([60]Data of the Ministry of Education; calculations done by NÚV on 15.5.2019.)

EQF 4, 6

Performing arts

programmes

ISCED 554

Performing arts programmes leading to EQF level 6, ISCED 554. Learners have the option to take the maturita exams during their studies and acquire qualification at EQF level 4, ISCED 354. (vyšší odborné vzdělání v konzervatoři)
EQF level
4, 6
ISCED-P 2011 level

354, 554

Usual entry grade

7 or 9

Usual completion grade

15

Usual entry age

12 or 15

Usual completion age

21

Length of a programme (years)

6 or 8

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

(the 8 years lasting dance programme is designed for those who complete the 6th year of basic school; thus, in the first three years of the conservatoire students also undergo compulsory schooling)

N

(music and drama programmes)

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Credit system is not used at the secondary education level, but at the tertiary level. At the tertiary level, the ECTS system is used. For the final absolutorium exam typically 180 ECTS are necessary.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • IVET (most learners): School-based learning complemented with practical training of art performance
  • CVET (not frequent): mostly other forms of learning where shorter (mostly weekend) presence in school is combined with consultations and various methods of distance study, such as self-study, e-learning etc.)
Main providers

Conservatoires (specific type of secondary school)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

At least 2 weeks per study for art practice and 30 lessons of pedagogical practice

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

Practical training at school and in other facilities (e.g. basic art schools, etc.)

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people especially talented in an art field, but also to adults.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

For programmes of conservatoires, always a talent exam is a main prerequisite. Applicants must pass stringent entrance examinations, often held in several elimination rounds, show talent for the selected subject, overall musical talent as well as physical and psychological dispositions for their selected subject. Applicants also have to pass an entrance exam as some of these study programmes also lead to maturita examination after 4 years. Completion of particular grades of the basic schools is also among entrance requirements.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners have the option to take the maturita exams during their studies and acquire qualification at EQF level 4, ISCED 354. Maturita consists of the common, state part and the profiling/vocational part. The director of conservatoire decides about compulsory and non - compulsory subjects that the profiling/vocational part consists of.

To complete a programme (tertiary level, EQF level 6) learners need to pass final examination called absolutorium. It includes theoretical vocational subjects, foreign language, graduate thesis and an art performance. It must include also Czech language exam if the learner haven´t opted for maturita exam during studies.

The exams are taken in the end of the final year of the study. If the learner fails, he or she has a possibility of two other attempts within a period of five years.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Maturita certificate (optional). It is a national-wide recognized formal prestigious certificate that proves formal level and field of qualification.

Absolutorium certificate is a national-wide recognized formal certificate of tertiary professional education.

Examples of qualifications

Art performer (e.g. actor, musician, singer) but due to a pedagogical qualification acquired, they may also work as teachers of arts e.g. at the basic art school or at other types of schools

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can continue to the labour market. Those who passed an optional maturita examination can progress to higher education studies.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

1.2% in 2018/19 ([61]Data of the Ministry of Education; calculations done by NÚV on 15.5.2019.)

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available

General themes

VET in Iceland comprises the following main features:

  • almost all VET is offered at upper secondary level;
  • almost all initial VET in Iceland comprises certified trades and is built on an apprentice system, where most of the education takes place at school, but workplace training is also necessary;
  • social partners play an important role in shaping VET policies;
  • participation in lifelong learning (and its VET component) is at 23.6% for 25 to 64 year olds, which is above the EU-28 average and the equivalent European education and training 2020 benchmark of 15%.

Distinctive features ([1]As there’s no Spotlight on VET for Iceland prior to 2018 and the distinctive features section is not a feature of the 2018 spotlights, distinctive features were identified as such by ReferNet Iceland.)

Study programmes vary in length from one school year to four years of combined school and workplace training.

The participation rate of young people in VET aged 15 to 24 is among the lowest in Europe at 23.8%. Looking at all upper secondary learners, however, the proportion is around 30% vis-à-vis general studies, reflecting the higher average age of VET learners, many of whom had enrolled in general studies before switching to VET programmes.

Most learners in workplace training receive salaries, at an increasing percentage of fully qualified workers’ salaries. Enterprises training learners can apply to the education ministry for a subsidy to fund the training.

Learners can finish upper secondary school with a vocational and a general degree (matriculation exam), which is the prerequisite for higher education.

In 2014, the education ministry published the White Paper on Education Reform ([2]Ministry of Education and Culture, Iceland (2014). White paper on education reform. https://www.stjornarradid.is/media/menntamalaraduneyti-media/media/frett...). Concerning VET, the following measures were emphasised by the ministry:

  • restructuring VET with simpler basic studies, with study programmes built on different steps and learning outcomes as well as cutting study time;
  • all VET should include workplace learning, but the quality assessments, responsibilities and financing should be revised;
  • the legal and institutional framework for VET after upper secondary school should be revised and it should be investigated whether a special VET university ([3]Fagháskóli.) should be established;
  • the governance and administration of VET should be improved by evaluating the functions of committees and councils and defining the roles of each of them;
  • guidance and counselling should be enhanced, both in the last classes of compulsory schools and the first in upper secondary schools, and more students should be encouraged to choose VET.

Work is underway within the education ministry to simplify the governance and administration of VET and school counselling has been strengthened, not least with a view to draw more learners’ attention to VET. However, the proportion of learners choosing VET has not risen ([4]As there’s no Spotlight on VET for Iceland prior to 2018 and the distinctive features section is not a feature of the 2018 spotlights, distinctive features were identified as such by ReferNet Iceland.).

Population in 2018: 348 450 ([5]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It increased since 2013 by 8.3% due to immigration. According to national data the proportion of foreign citizens was 12.2% of the entire population in late 2018 ([6]NB: data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

The average age of the nation is increasing, from 36.4 years in 2010 to 38.1 years on 1 January 2019 ([7]Source: Statistics Iceland. No data available on the population forecast by Eurostat for Iceland.).

Icelandic VET participation rates have for many years been low compared to European rates and the proportion has been slowly decreasing in recent years, as well as the total number of learners at upper secondary level. The average age of the nation is increasing (from 36.4 years in 2010 to 38.1 years on 1 January 2019) ([8]Adapted by ReferNet Iceland from Statistics Iceland.) but the number of inhabitants has also been increasing for over a hundred years, with the exception of 2009 (due to emigration in an economic crisis). This may suggest a demographic impact on numbers of learners at upper secondary level, but does not explain the low ratio of learners choosing VET.

 

Most companies are small- and medium-sized (less than 250 employees). They constitute 99% of all companies in the country ([9]Data from Statistics Iceland.).

Main economic sectors.

In terms of export revenues the main economic sectors are:

  • tourism (39%);
  • manufacturing industry (24%);
  • fisheries (18%).

These sectors are all heavily dependent upon labour with VET qualifications, such as chefs, electricians and marine captains.

The labour market is considered flexible in terms of labour mobility.

The Icelandic economy can be defined as small but open with a well-established and regulated system of cooperation between social partners and the government, with the social partners negotiating through collective bargaining to control wage levels and influence prices.

Holding a VET qualification is highly valued by the labour market. However, a certificate is legally necessary only for certified trades such as electricians, masons, builders, plumbers etc.

Total unemployment ([10]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) (2018): 2.1% (6% in EU-28). It has increased by 0.2 percentage points since 2008 ([11]Source: Eurostat, une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019].).

 

Unemployment rate (aged 15-24 and 25-64) by education attainment level in 2008-18

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series; low reliability for ISCED 3-4, age 15-24 and ISCED 5-8, both age groups.
ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_urgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

The gap in employment between those with low and medium qualifications is small. Unemployment rates are only slightly higher than in the pre-crisis period. For people with medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4), it is 0.6 percentage points higher in 2018 compared to 2008.

Despite this, the ever growing demand for more qualified personnel will have an impact not only on people with low qualifications but also on VET graduates as they will need to upgrade their skills.

Employment rate of 20 to 34 year-old VET graduates increased from 90.8% in 2014 to 96.8% in 2017.

 

Employment rate of VET graduates (20 to 34 years old, ISCED levels 3 and 4)

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

The increase (+6.0 pp) in employment of 20 to 34 year-old VET graduates in 2014-2017 was lower compared to the increase in employment of all 20 to 34 year-old graduates (+6.6 pp) in the same period in Iceland ([12]NB: Break in series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 23.1.2019]. No data for VET graduates for the period 2014-18. The employment rate of all 20-34 year old graduates for the period 2014-18 increased by 4.9 percentage points.).

The share of the population aged up to 64 with higher education (43.8%) is higher than the EU-28 average, and the share of people with a low qualification or without a qualification is among the highest in the EU. The share of people with a medium qualification (ISCED levels 3 and 4), including those in VET, is one of the lowest in the EU.

 

Population (aged 25 to 64) by highest education level attained in 2018

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011. Low reliability for ‘No response’ in Czechia, Iceland, Latvia and Poland.
ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_pgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

not applicable

29.9%

98.6%

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011.

Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs01, educ_uoe_enrs04 and educ_uoe_enrs07 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Share of initial VET learners from total learners at upper secondary level (ISCED level 3), 2017

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011.
Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs04 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Almost two-thirds (63.9%) of those who choose VET are males, dominating many of the most popular study programmes, such as for various electrical, building and mechanical studies. Females, on the other hand, dominate popular study programmes such as for social service and health care assistants, as well as hair styling and cosmetology.

The share of early leavers from education and training has increased from 21.3% in 2009 to 21.5% in 2018. It is worse than the EU-28 average of 10.6%.

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

NB: Share of the population aged 18 to 24 with at most lower secondary education and not in further education or training; break in series. Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_14 [extracted 16.5.2019] and European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/info/2018-european-semester-national-reform-programmes-and-stability-convergence-programmes_en [accessed 14.11.2018].

 

Dropout rate from VET (%)

In 2016, the dropout rate from VET was a staggering 37.5% ([13]Source: Statistics Iceland.). No doubt a part of this group will return and finish their study programmes at some point, as the average graduation age in VET is around 27 years old.

Lifelong learning offers training opportunities for adults, either employed or unemployed.

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

NB: Share of adult population aged 25 to 64 participating in education and training.
Source: Eurostat, trng_lfse_01 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Participation in lifelong learning is high and above the EU-28 average but has slightly decreased since 2014.

An important feature in terms of upgrading the skills of employees (and, therefore, of participation in lifelong learning) is that in 2017 35% of employees received some kind of training ([14]Source: Statistics Iceland.).

Information from Statistics Iceland on VET learners by age is mostly focused on the age of first-year learners, but the average graduation age is around 27 years old. As can be seen from the graph below, first-year learners are predominantly in the age group 19 years old and younger. In fact, 70-74% of first-year learners are normally aged 16 but the dropout rate is very high, a staggering 37.5%.

 

First-year VET learners by age group

NB: Data from Statistics Iceland.

 

The education and training system comprises:

  • preschool education (ISCED level 0);
  • integrated primary and lower secondary education (EQF levels 1-2, ISCED levels 244) (hereafter basic/compulsory education);
  • upper secondary education (EQF 4, ISCED levels 344, 351, 353);
  • post-secondary non-tertiary education (EQF 5, ISCED levels 453, 454);
  • higher education (EQF levels 6, 7, 8, ISCED levels 554, 665, 766, 768, 864).

Compulsory education starts at the age of 6 and includes ten years of basic education (or until June of the year a learner reaches the age of 16).

Integrated primary and lower secondary education is the responsibility of the municipalities.

Upper secondary education (either general or vocational) is steered by the State. Only a few of the 37 upper secondary schools do not offer VET programmes.

Post-secondary non-tertiary education is offered for limited specialties (e.g. tour guides and masters of crafts).

Higher education is in line with the Bologna process offering three-year bachelor, two-year master and three-year PhD programmes.

Almost all initial VET in Iceland is in certified trades and built on an apprentice system, where most of the education takes place in school, but workplace training is also necessary. The duration of the time spent in school and the time spent at the workplace varies between programmes and branches. In addition, there are a small number of VET programmes where all the education and training takes place in school and are not certified trades, such as in computer technology and various arts.

The most common duration of VET studies in certified trades is four years. An example would be the electrician programmes, which are either six semesters in school and 48 weeks in apprenticeship, or seven semesters in school and 30 weeks in apprenticeship, after which time the pupil is ready to complete a journeyman’s examination. An example of a shorter programme is a cook programme with two semesters in school and 34 weeks in work-based training, or a social care assistant programme comprising five semesters, of which the last 2 to 3 take place in work-based training.

VET at post-secondary non-tertiary level is mostly composed of master of crafts’ programmes where a journeyman’s certificate (in the relevant study programme such as electrical, building or mechanical studies) is a prerequisite for enrolment.

Certified tradesmen (with a journeyman’s examination) can also enter (90 ECTS) diploma studies in construction, mechanical or electrical engineering at tertiary level, earning them the professional title of a certified technician.

Continuing VET (CVET) programmes are available for adults and are usually offered by:

  • institutions ([15]There are two main institutions: the IDAN VET training centre (the largest continuing VET institution in Iceland) which offers continuing VET programmes in a variety of sectors (e.g. food and catering, metal and machines, building and construction,  printing technology, auto mechanics, computer supported design and hair styling) and the Retraining and Technical Training Centre (Rafiðnaðarskólinn) for electric and electronic technicians.
    ) owned by social partners. Courses offered are aimed at upgrading skills. These courses are usually of short duration. People in the labour market with VET qualifications can get financial support from the social partners’ training funds for these courses;
  • other continuing VET centres ([16]These are: the private company Sýni Research Centre which offers various job-related courses for people working in the food industry and the Icelandic Innovation Centre which is a public institution under the Ministry of Industries and Innovation offering courses in project management or personal leadership.
    ), which are much smaller than the social partners’ institutions and offer more specialised training.

Workplace training is also offered to employees mainly on security, environmental protection, new working techniques, etc.

According to the framework legislation on upper secondary schooling, a prerequisite for doing qualified VET workplace training is having a contract with a company that is willing and able to offer training in a VET subject. Many prerequisites for such a contract to be signed must be met, including that of the workplace having a certified master in the trade in question.

Two types of contracts are possible:

  • a contract between the school and the company, in which the training content must be made as per regulation issued by the education minister, and which contains detailed provision concerning contracts for on-the-job training;
  • a traditional apprenticeship contract between the company and the learner, stipulating the rights and obligations of the workplace and the learner respectively, as well as the objective of the training, quality control and the handling of possible disputes. The learner becomes an employee and receives a marginal salary during the training, in line with labour market agreements where the number of working hours is also set.

For several trades, the education ministry has allocated the overall management of the training contracts to a common education centre portal hosted by IDAN education centre ([17]In Icelandic: IÐAN fræðslusetur.), which offers continuous education for several VET sectors, where contracts have been streamlined and modularised and guidelines issued to workplaces. Still in production in summer 2019 is a digital VET logbook where the student in question, as well as the trainer, record all details of the teaching process and the knowledge, skills and competences acquired for the job at the workplace. The digital logbook system will be launched in autumn 2019 for several trades. In the end, the teacher or the institution must certify each step of the teaching process and that specific competences have been achieved.

The length of the workplace training varies from 3 to 126 weeks, depending on the VET study programme. The reasons for this difference are first and foremost: the overall length of the programme on the one hand, and the tradition in each sector on the other. Similar training takes place for professionals in electricity and electronics at Rafmennt VET centre, i.e. the VET centre which specialises in training for electricians.

Learn more about apprenticeships in the national context from the European database on apprenticeship schemes by Cedefop: http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/apprenticeship-schemes/scheme-fiches

Education is steered centrally by the education ministry. The ministry oversees and provides curriculum for all school levels, including VET.

All upper secondary schools have ’school curricula‘ where education aims, intended learning outcomes, assessment, content and the connections between these elements are listed.

New VET study programmes are proposed by the upper secondary schools, in cooperation with the occupational councils (which are composed of representatives of the relevant social partners, i.e. trade unions and employers’ associations and professional associations). The initiative is often that of the occupational councils, which also define the quality, competences, skills and knowledge requirements and work descriptions. The directorate of education liaises between the two and the education ministry, which confirms new study programmes.

The main principle for funding the upper secondary school system and VET is that the education ministry makes a contract with each school concerning the number of enrolled students and then pays a certain amount, based on a formula that considers the actual cost per learner in the relevant subject per year. The amount differs between study programmes and is higher for VET learners in comparison to general education learners. This applies both to public and private schools.

According to the education ministry, the average cost per VET learner is IKR 1 300 000 (approximately EUR 9 600) per year. The number of VET students at upper secondary level was 7 070 in 2017 making the total amount around IKR 9.2 billion (approximately EUR 67.5 million), or 0.6% of GDP and 1.1% of government spending.

On-the-job training is funded by the companies which train learners, but they can apply for a subsidy from a state-financed workplace training fund ([18]See more information on the fund here at Rannis’ website:
https://www.rannis.is/sjodir/menntun/vinnustadanamssjodur/
). The fund was founded in 2012 and supports companies with a particular amount per learner per week. In 2018, the fund supported companies with IKR 14 000 (approximately EUR 104) per learner per week, supporting in total 15.328 learner-weeks with IKR 199.3 million (approximately EUR 1.48 million).

All apprentices are entitled to salaries during their training periods, albeit much lower than those of the fully qualified staff. In the certified trades, the minimum wage for apprentices ranges from IKR 253 000 to IKR 278 000 (around EUR 2 060) per month, or IKR 1 500 to 1 600 (around EUR 12) per hour (in regular daytime work, otherwise higher), the amount increasing gradually for more weeks at the workplace ([19]See the relevant information here at (trade union) Samidn‘s website:
http://www.samidn.is/forsida/kjarasamningar/launataxtar-idnnema-lagmarkslaun
).

Continuing VET (CVET) programmes are usually short in duration and funded either by the relevant workplaces, by social partners, by the state or a combination of two or three of the above to varying degrees.

In VET, there are:

  • general subject teachers;
  • teachers of vocational subjects;
  • trainers at the workplace.

General subject teachers must have a master degree in education from a university.

Teachers of vocational subjects must be masters of craft in the relevant profession and have taken a minimum of 60 ECTS ([20]European credit transfer and accumulation system (ECTS). is a credit system designed to make it easier for students to move between different countries. Since they are based on the learning achievements and workload of a course, a student can transfer their credits from one university to another so they are added up to contribute to an individual's degree programme or training. It helps to make learning more student-centred. It is a central tool in the Bologna process, which aims to make national systems more compatible and was adopted into Icelandic legislation with the law on universities No 63/2006 (Parliament,
www.althingi.is). It also helps with the planning, delivery and evaluation of study programmes, and makes them more transparent. European credit transfer and accumulation system credits represent the workload and defined learning outcomes (‘what the individual knows understands and is able to do’) of a given course or programme. 60 credits are the equivalent of a full school year of study or work, or two full semesters. In a standard academic year, 60 credits would usually be broken down into several smaller components.
A typical ‘first cycle’ (or bachelor) degree, would consist of 180 or 240 credits, whereas a typical ‘second cycle’ (or master) degree, would consist of 90 or 120 credits, with at least 60 credits at second cycle level. The use of European credit transfer and accumulation system at the ‘third cycle’ (or Ph.D. level) varies. European credit transfer and accumulation system has been adopted by most of the countries in the European higher education area (EHEA), and is increasingly used elsewhere. More information on the European credit transfer and accumulation system available at:
https://ec.europa.eu/education/resources-and-tools/european-credit-transfer-and-accumulation-system-ects_en . More information on Bologna process and the European higher education area available at: https://ec.europa.eu/education/policies/higher-education/bologna-process...
) in pedagogy at a university.

Trainers at the workplace must be masters of craft in the relevant profession.

Although salaries for VET teachers have increased, the teacher population is ageing. Attracting young people to the profession remains a challenge.

Teachers can receive various scholarships to finance further university studies and for work, school visits at home or abroad, conference fees, study leave etc. The official funds are financed by the schools/employers but managed by the teachers’ unions. Teachers can apply to the education ministry for up to a year’s study leave on full salary, but most teachers are not granted this more than once and then usually only after more than 20 years at work.

Various other options are available, such as scholarships to finance part-time studies or shorter periods of study leave. Teachers are also expected to spend two weeks per year in continuous education, outside the school year; they have access to various other funds and options for continuous education on the basis of their wage agreements with the state. Choosing the relevant study programmes, conferences etc. is mostly up to the teachers and trainers themselves, and the programmes and training are provided by lifelong learning institutions (e.g. in the electricity sector) and universities, among others, and via study visits at home or abroad.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers ([21]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers).

The role of the Occupational Council is (among other duties) to advise the Minister of Education, Science and Culture, and to provide opinion on the categorisation and division of occupations between the twelve Occupational Councils.

Due to the small size of the labour market, most trades are based on a broad level of competences, so that graduates have a wider possibility of employment. The exams at the end of each study validates whether this is indeed the case. Thus, the studies can rather be termed output based than input based, even though studies are defined in the hours it takes to complete them.

When assessing future skills needs, the twelve occupational councils are the strongest link between the education ministry and industry. The councils operate under the responsibility of the ministry and are composed of representatives of the relevant social partners and trade associations for different vocational trades. Each council has the role to define the needs of a particular trade in respect to the knowledge and ability required, the aims and structure of the education and the curriculum guidelines. The councils often initiate or suggest new VET study programmes or changes to existing ones, but it is up to the upper secondary schools to propose such programmes and the Directorate of Education to liaise between the two, while it is up to the education ministry to confirm new study programmes.

Unlike many countries, no authority in Iceland has made systematic estimates or forecasts regarding skills anticipation and needs in the labour market or for certain trades. At the time of writing the minister for labour affairs is considering ways to change this situation, following a report written for the ministry in 2018 by a group of experts from social partners, statistics Iceland and the directorate of labour. The occupational councils sometimes attempt to estimate future demand but not in a coordinated and systemic manner, as have certain social partners, education institutions and public institutions on a mostly ad hoc basis for particular trades and industries, but not in a systematic manner.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([22]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European skills index ([23]Information for Iceland is not available.).

Due to the small size of the labour market, most trades are based on a broad level of competences, so that graduates have a wider possibility of employment. The examinations at the end of each study validate whether this is, indeed, the case. Thus, the studies can rather be termed output- based than input-based, even though studies are defined by the hours it takes to complete them.

According to the education ministry’s national curriculum guide for upper secondary schools ([24]https://www.government.is/library/01-Ministries/Ministry-of-Education/Curriculum/adskr_frsk_ens_2012.pdf), the education institutions may develop new study programmes, although subject to approval and validation by the ministry after consultation with the relevant occupational council, in the case of a VET programme. All upper secondary schools have a school curriculum where education aims, intended learning outcomes, assessment, content and the connections between these elements are listed. Individual schools are responsible for all study programmes they offer but can use study programmes from other schools as well.

Once approved by the education ministry, new study programmes become part of the curricula for upper secondary schools when published in the legislator’s legal journal.

The twelve occupational councils, composed of representatives of the relevant social partners and professional associations for different vocational trades, discuss the demand for new study programmes and the need for updating existing ones in terms of: qualifications demands, basic structure, competences, skills and knowledge requirements of work descriptions, which they define and gradually update. Typically, they report the need for new study programmes or updates to existing ones to individual schools or to the directorate for education. The upper secondary schools do, however, have the task of proposing new study programmes or updating them, including the curricula, often at the initiative of the occupational councils but sometimes also at their own initiative based on their estimate of existing demand. The schools’ ideas are then put before the relevant occupational council to discuss the desirable qualification demands and structure, and the directorate of education liaises between the two before the education ministry finally approves the study programme.

This process can vary, in terms of processes, initiatives and procedures, between schools, occupational councils, individual teachers/trainers and study programmes. It is, however, always a result of a liaison between the schools and the occupational councils, always developed within the framework of the national curriculum guide and always subject to approval of the education ministry.

The education ministry validates the study programmes for all upper secondary education and training, which become part of the curricula for upper secondary schools when published in the legislator’s legal journal.

The VET study programmes for all trades are developed in cooperation with members of each occupation’s association through twelve occupational councils. Job descriptions, knowledge, skills and competences are gradually revised by the occupational councils.

All upper secondary schools are subject to a quality evaluation performed by outside parties once every five years. The quality criteria are defined by the education ministry. The schools are requested to report on their performance according to the ministry’s quality criteria (internal evaluation) and the directorate of education hires independent consultants to perform a quality evaluation based on the same criteria. The independent consultants’ reports are published openly on the directorate of education’s website, but prior to that the schools are given a chance to respond to a draft report and the consultants may adjust their report accordingly. Follow-up to the evaluation reports is the responsibility of the education ministry and of course the schools themselves.

Training providers must be formally accredited by the directorate of education, on behalf of the education ministry, to obtain a licence to teach courses for adults giving credits that can be used for further training at upper secondary schools.

The accreditation is based on the evaluation of the following:

  • teaching and learning facilities;
  • organisation and supervision of studies;
  • curricula or course descriptions;
  • the competences of adult education providers, with regard to their knowledge and experience;
  • financial issues and insurance;
  • the existence of a quality control system focused on adult education.

The accreditation does not entail commitment for public funding to the education provider in question or responsibility for the education and training provider’s liabilities.

For several trades, the education ministry has allocated the overall management of the training contracts to a common education centre portal hosted by IDAN education centre ([25]IDAN (in Icelandic: IÐAN) is a non-profit education and training provider supported by the federation of employees and unions; a provider of continuing education offering diverse in house- and company courses including accredited programs for qualified professionals in the crafts and trades. Companies have also access to career and vocational counselling through skills assessment, analysis of educational needs and planning and implementation of in-house educational pathways. IÐAN has been heavily involved with the implementation of validation of prior learning in Iceland. IÐAN provides assessment of non-Icelandic professional qualifications and work experience. In addition, a provider of various services for the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture and are involved in creating both national and international partnerships, embracing innovation and meeting new challenges to support the labour market. More information available at: http://viskaproject.eu/about-us/idan/), which offers continuous education for several VET sectors, where contracts have been streamlined and modularised and guidelines issued to the workplaces.

A VET logbook is gradually being made digital in 2019. The student in question, as well as the trainer, record in the logbook all details of the teaching process and the knowledge, skills and competences acquired for the job at the workplace. In the end, the teacher or the institution must certify each step of the teaching process and that the specific competences have been achieved.

Real competence validation/accreditation of prior learning ([26]In Icelandic: Raunfærnimat.) is a system organised by the social partners and the education ministry to validate non-formal and informal learning. People who have acquired some skills at workplaces, for example, can get them validated through a formal process, which may shorten their study periods towards. a journeyman’s examination in a trade, for example. They also get valuable assistance (counselling and study aid) if they have dyslexia, for example, or other learning problems. Real competence validations are available in several trades. Social partners and the education ministry are working on expanding the offers.

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database ([27]https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/2016_validate_IS.pdf).

  • The Icelandic study loan fund offers subsistence loans with subsidised interest rates to VET students after the first two years of studies, while students of general education at this level are not entitled to such loans. The basic amount (for 2018-19) is ISK 492 900 (approximately EUR 3 650) per semester, but additional amounts are granted based on, for example, their housing situation and their number of dependants.
  • In recent years, increased emphasis has been put on vocational and education counselling to help students choose their study paths, and thus drawing their attention to often less visible VET study and training options where applicable.

On-the-job training is funded by the companies which train learners, but they can apply for a subsidy from a state-financed workplace training fund. The fund was founded in 2012 and supports companies with a particular amount per learner per week. In 2018, the fund supported companies with IKR 14 000 (approximately EUR 104) per learner per week, altogether supporting 15 328 learner-weeks with IKR 199.3 million (approximately EUR 1.48 million). This makes a big difference, especially for small companies which would otherwise not be able to afford training costs.

The education ministry has an ongoing contract with skills Iceland ([28]In Icelandic: Verkiðn:
http://verkidn.is/
), charging this organization with the responsibility of supervising the Icelandic Skills Competition every other year, as well as to enable participation of VET learners in Euro Skills.

In recent years, increased emphasis has been put on vocational and education counselling to help students choose their study paths. For example, at grammar school level VET subjects were introduced in an attempt to increase VET attractiveness. Work is in progress to enhance VET counselling and guidance.

Please see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 6

Mainly school-based

programme

ISCED 554

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 6, ISCED level 554 (iðnfræði)
EQF level
6
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

14+ ([51]In Iceland grades are usually associated with the compulsory school levels which are 10 grades. The upper secondary level can be said to constitute grades 11-14 but at post-secondary level there is no talk of grades.)

Usual completion grade

14+ ([52]In Iceland grades are usually associated with the compulsory school levels which are 10 grades. The upper secondary level can be said to constitute grades 11-14 but at post-secondary level there is no talk of grades.)

Usual entry age

20+

Usual completion age

23+

Length of a programme (years)

1.5 or 3 in part-time study along with labour market participation.

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Primary and lower secondary education are compulsory

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Practical tertiary level studies available i.e. for learners with a VET background

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Fees apply, IKR 204 000 (approximately EUR 1 500) per term.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

90 ECTS ([53]European credit transfer and accumulation system (ECTS). is a credit system designed to make it easier for students to move between different countries. Since they are based on the learning achievements and workload of a course, a student can transfer their credits from one university to another so they are added up to contribute to an individual's degree programme or training. It helps to make learning more student-centred. It is a central tool in the Bologna process, which aims to make national systems more compatible and was adopted into Icelandic legislation with the law on universities No 63/2006 (Parliament,
www.althingi.is). It also helps with the planning, delivery and evaluation of study programmes, and makes them more transparent. European credit transfer and accumulation system credits represent the workload and defined learning outcomes (‘what the individual knows understands and is able to do’) of a given course or programme. 60 credits are the equivalent of a full school year of study or work, or two full semesters. In a standard academic year, 60 credits would usually be broken down into several smaller components.
)

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

Distance learning with two weekends’ school-based sessions per term.

Main providers

Reykjavik University

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=15% (several practical assignments, including one 12 ECTS assignment, usually in-company).

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

In-company practical assignments.

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and adults but mainly targeted at people with a journeyman’s certificate.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

A journeyman’s certificate, or at least having completed its general studies’ part, or a matriculation exam. In the former case, some bridging courses may apply, in mathematics, physics, Icelandic and English.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations, essays, practical assignments etc., at the end of or during each course.

Diplomas/certificates provided

A diploma as a certified technician, plus the right to practice as a Master of Crafts in the relevant trade.

Examples of qualifications

Mechanical technician, electrical technician, construction technician ([54]As described in national context.).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Learners can progress to the next level of tertiary education, i.e. to EQF level 6 B.Sc. studies in science and engineering.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Courses include management, law and accounting.

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

<1%

([55]2018)

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

Mainly school-based

programmes

ISCED 453, 454

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 5, ISCED levels 453, 454 (iðnmeistari, píanóleikari etc.)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

453, 454

Usual entry grade

14+ ([45]In Iceland grades are usually associated with the compulsory school levels which are 10 grades. The upper secondary level can be said to constitute grades 11-14 but at post-secondary level there is no talk of grades.)

Usual completion grade

14+ ([46]In Iceland grades are usually associated with the compulsory school levels which are 10 grades. The upper secondary level can be said to constitute grades 11-14 but at post-secondary level there is no talk of grades.)

Usual entry age

20+

Usual completion age

30+

Length of a programme (years)

From 1 to 2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education is up to lower secondary level. This level is post-secondary.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

These programmes are designed for people who have already completed VET studies at upper secondary level.

Is it continuing VET?

Y

These programmes are designed for people who have already completed VET studies at upper secondary level.

Is it offered free of charge?

N

The costs vary between schools, but at post-secondary level learners can be expected to pay up to 1/3 of the direct programme costs, which can be around ISK 40 000 (approximately EUR 300) per term, plus study materials (books, etc.). Other schools only charge an ISK 20 000 (approximately EUR 150) registration fee, per term.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Around 40 upper secondary school credits ([47]One secondary school credit equals 18 to 24 hours of work and full-time study equals 60 secondary school credis per school year, or 30 credits per term.).

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

Mostly part-time distance learning with several in-school sessions per term.

Main providers

Schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=10% ([48]These are mostly Master of Craft programmes, based partly on practical assignments but mostly on general studies of management, accounting, security affairs, etc.)

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • Practical assignments at schools
  • Practical assignments in distance-learning
Main target groups

Programmes are available for people who have already completed VET studies at upper secondary level, typically a journeyman’s exam or certain levels in art programmes.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Completion of VET studies at upper secondary level, most often a journeyman’s exam, plus a certain basic knowledge of relevant computer software (such as Excel, Word and sometimes AutoCAD). Also relevant upper secondary level in the case of various art programmes.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Each course or practical assignment finishes with some sort of an assessment, either theoretical or hands-on.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Mostly Master of Craft certificates (iðnmeistari) in the relevant trade (plumbers, electricians, hair stylists etc.). Also e.g. upper secondary examination at various fine and applied art levels (e.g. music at levels 6 and 7) (6. og 7. stig í tónlist), marine engineers (vélstjórar), marine captains (skipstjórar).

Examples of qualifications

Master of plumbing, master of building, pianist, textile artist ([49]As described in national context.)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Access to VET taught at post-secondary non-tertiary level depends on the completion of an upper secondary level certificate in the relevant subject and requires work experience, the length of which differs much.

Prerequisite for admission to higher education is to pass matriculation exams.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

Validation of prior learning is not available at this post-secondary VET level.

General education subjects

Y

The Master of Craft programmes e.g. are largely based on subjects like management, accounting etc.

Key competences

Y

Key competences like sustainability and participation in a democratic society are parts of the curriculum guide.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

>=10% ([50]2017)

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

Specialised programmes

for SEN learners

ISCED 343

Initial VET (and general education) programmes for people with disabilities leading to EQF level 2, ISCED 343 (Sérdeildir fatlaðra)
EQF level
2
ISCED-P 2011 level

343

Usual entry grade

10 ([31]For this type of programme 10th grade means that the learner has entered a special programme within an upper secondary school but in a programmes which initially involves carrying on with subjects and at levels comparable to 10th grade in the compulsory school system.)

Usual completion grade

12-14 ([32]In Iceland the grade concept is used only for compulsory school, with 10th grade being the final and highest one. But as a number for years in E&T the numbering is from 10 onwards.)

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

18-20

Length of a programme (years)

from 2 to 4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

The programmes start at compulsory school level for most learners, as they still need some preparation for the upper secondary school level.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

The programmes are adapted to each individual’s skills and needs and are generally a combination of general and vocational studies.

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Learners pay a minor registration charge of IKR 20 000 (approximately EUR 150) per term.

Is it available for adults?

Y

For general studies the regular (daytime) upper secondary school programmes are available for learners up to 25 years of age but that limit does not apply to VET nor to this particular course.

ECVET or other credits

Up to 240 credits ([33]One secondary school credit equals 18 to 24 hours of work and full-time study equals 60 secondary school credis per school year, or 30 credits per term.)

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

The programmes are adapted to each individual’s skills and needs and are generally a combination of general and vocational studies.

Main providers

Upper secondary schools.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available ([34]The programmes are adapted to each individual’s skills and needs and are generally a combination of general and vocational studies, school based and in-company practice.).

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

The programmes are adapted to each individual’s skills and needs and are generally a combination of general and vocational studies, school-based and in-company practice.

Main target groups

Programmes are available for people with special education needs as well as young people and adults, but are especially meant to provide opportunities for young people with special education needs.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Compulsory education and an official confirmation (provided by a health authority) of a special needs’ status.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The learners’ status is subject to assessment – by formal (such as by examination) or informal means, i.e. via continuous evaluation by teachers of progress made by the learner – throughout his or her study time.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Learners finishing this programme receive an upper secondary school diploma of competence (hæfnipróf á framhaldsskólastigi). The composition between general studies and VET varies between individual learners. The diploma is recognised by all relevant authorities but does not entail a professional qualification.

Examples of qualifications

Not applicable ([35]These diplomas do not entail professional qualifications.).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

These diplomas can entail the potential for the learners to continue their education, at EQF level 4. However, continuation of studies is subject to various forms of assessment.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

The programmes are adapted to each individual’s skills and needs and are generally a combination of general and vocational studies, school-based and in-company practice.

Key competences

Y

The national curriculum guide for upper secondary schools ([36]https://www.government.is/library/01-Ministries/Ministry-of-Education/Curriculum/adskr_frsk_ens_2012.pdf) defines the fundamental pillars of education as literacy, sustainability, democracy and human rights, health and welfare and creativity. These pillars are represented in all curricula, to a varying degree.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The curricula are defined with respect to competences, maturity and knowledge.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

<1%

([37]2014/15)

EQF 4

Mainly school- based

programmes,

ISCED levels 351, 353

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED levels 351, 353 (Rafvirkjun, hársnyrting, vélstjórn etc.)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

351, 353

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

13-14

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

From 2.5 to 4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Primary and lower secondary education are compulsory. The duration of primary and lower secondary studies is 10- years.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

All programmes at upper secondary level. Master of trades e.g. is at post-secondary non-tertiary level and lifelong learning courses are available outside this system.

Is it continuing VET?

N

These programmes are all at upper secondary level. However, master of trades e.g. is at post-secondary non-tertiary level and lifelong learning courses are available outside this system.

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Learners normally pay a minor registration charge of IKR 20 000 (approximately EUR 150) per term. In some programmes learners also pay a minor material fee, a maximum amount of IKR 50 000 (approximately EUR 370), varying between types of programme (e.g. goldsmiths pay more than bakers).

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

154 to 290 credits ([38]One secondary school credit equals 18 to 24 hours of work and full-time study equals 60 secondary school credis per school year, or 30 credits per term.), depending on the programme. A journeyman’s exam in a certified trade such as an electrician is typically 260 credits (in 4 years), automobile painting is 154 credits (2.5 years) but some food processing trades (e.g. meat processing and baking) are 290 credits (4 years, with 200 credits out of 290 in WBL).

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning;
  • apprenticeships;
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);

The most common form is a mixture of school-based learning and apprenticeships. Usually a majority of the studies is school based (e.g. 180 credits versus 80 credits in WBL for electricians) but in food processing trades the majority is usually WBL (200 out of 290 credits).

Main providers
  • Schools
  • enterprises
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=70%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and adults. The total dropout rate at upper secondary school level is very high but many learners return to VET programmes having started and left general studies earlier.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Completion of compulsory education (primary and lower secondary) is required for admission (entry is also allowed through validation of adult prior learning).

Assessment of learning outcomes

Each course or workplace training module finishes with some sort of an assessment, either theoretical or hands-on. Students complete their overall studies with a VET exam. They can also opt for a path toward Matriculation exam, in which case the studies may take longer, because they must add general subjects to their list of VET courses.

Diplomas/certificates provided

The most common diplomas are certified trades´ school diplomas (burtfararpróf) and journeyman’s diplomas (sveinspróf), granting certain professional rights and rights to further VET studies. Other examples from a vast array of terms used include those of a health care assistant (sjúkraliði) and marine engineer (vélstjóri), also granting professional rights and rights for further studies post-secondary non-tertiary level.

Examples of qualifications

Mason, hair stylist, health care assistant ([39]As described in national context.).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Access to VET taught at post-secondary non-tertiary level depends on the completion of an upper secondary level certificate in the relevant subject and requires work experience, the length of which differs much.

Prerequisite for admission to higher education is to pass matriculation exams or possibly have one’s experience and prior learning validated towards possible missing parts of the formal matriculation exam.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

People who have acquired some skills at e.g. workplaces can get them validated through a formal process, partly operated by education centres run by social partners, which may shorten their study periods towards e.g. a journeyman’s exam in a trade. Real competence validations are available in several trades and social partners and the education ministry are gradually expanding the offers.

General education subjects

Y

At least the Icelandic language, English and mathematics form a part of all study programmes, to a varying degree between programmes.

Key competences

Y

The national curriculum guide for upper secondary schools ([40]https://www.government.is/library/01-Ministries/Ministry-of-Education/Curriculum/adskr_frsk_ens_2012.pdf) defines the fundamental pillars of education as literacy, sustainability, democracy and human rights, health and welfare and creativity. These pillars are represented in all curricula, to a varying degree.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The programmes are based on the occupational councils´ definition of competences, skills and knowledge.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

>75% ([41]2014/15)

EQF 4

Mainly school-based

programmes,

duration and WBL % vary

ISCED 351, 353

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED levels 254, 351, 353.
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

351, 353

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

13-14

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

18-19

Length of a programme (years)

4 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Completion of compulsory education (primary and lower secondary) is required for admission (entry is also allowed through validation of adult prior learning).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

All programmes begin and end at upper secondary level.

Is it continuing VET?

N

Initial VET programmes often leading to rights to further VET studies.

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Learners normally pay a minor registration charge of IKR 20 000 (approximately EUR 150) per term. In some programmes learners also pay a minor material fee, a maximum amount of IKR 50 000 (approximately EUR 370), varying between types of programme.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

120-260 credits, depending on the nature of the programme ([42]One secondary school credit equals 18 to 24 hours of work and full-time study equals 60 secondary school credis per school year, or 30 credits per term.).

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school -based learning
  • work practice (practical training at school)
Main providers
  • Schools
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and adults.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Learners must hold a compulsory education certificate.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Each course or training module finishes with some sort of an assessment, either theoretical or hands-on. Students complete their overall studies with a VET exam. They can also opt for a path toward Matriculation exam, in which case the studies may take longer, because they must add general subjects to their list of VET courses.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Upper secondary level certificate in the relevant subject (framhaldsskólapróf), not granting professional rights but often granting rights for further VET studies.

Examples of qualifications

Film maker, painter, sculpturist ([43]As described in national context.)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Access to VET taught at post-secondary non-tertiary level depends on the completion of an upper secondary level certificate in the relevant subject.

Prerequisite for admission to higher education is to pass matriculation exams.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

The system of validation of prior learning is mostly connected with workplace / labour market experience and thus not as relevant in these programmes as e.g. in the certified trades.

General education subjects

Y

At least the Icelandic language, English and mathematics form a part of all study programmes, to a varying degree between programmes.

Key competences

Y

The national curriculum guide for upper secondary schools ([44]https://www.government.is/library/01-Ministries/Ministry-of-Education/Curriculum/adskr_frsk_ens_2012.pdf) defines the fundamental pillars of education as literacy, sustainability, democracy and human rights, health and welfare and creativity. These pillars are represented in all curricula, to a varying degree.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

<5%

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available