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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 Slovakia comprises the following main features:

  • Employment rate of 20- to 34-year-old VET graduates has increased since 2014
  • Almost 7 out of 10 upper secondary learners are in VET programmes
  • The share of early leavers from education and training has significantly increased during the last decade
  • Dual VET was introduced in 2015/16 and it is gradually expanding
  • Participation in lifelong learning is well below the EU-28 average.

Distinctive features ([1]Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Slovakia. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8102_en.pdf
):

IVET is strongly State-regulated, predominantly school-based, combining provision of general education and developing key competences with vocational skills. A broad variety of upper secondary programmes contributes to high youth education attainment and, despite a negative trend, still low early leaving from education and training (8.6% in 2018).

Ties between VET schools and the business world loosened during the early period of economic transformation in the 1990s. Since then, with new legislation, involvement of social partners in VET has been increasing in programming, curriculum design and qualification award. Since 2015, social partners have been also more actively involved in VET governance.

Stronger engagement of the business world in informing VET schools about skill needs via sectoral (skills) councils ([2]Sectoral (skills) councils are a voluntary independent association of employers' representatives, trade union representatives, education institutions, state administration and self-government authorities regulated by the Act on Employment Services 5/2004.) should help IVET better adjust to a rapidly changing labour market.

Deterioration in many international indicators calls for action:

  • decreasing performance in reading, mathematics and science, visible from PISA ([3]In mathematics, from 492 in 2006 to 475 in 2015. In science, from 488 in 2006 to 461 in 2015. In reading, from 466 in 2006 to 453 in 2015. 2015 PISA overall results are on average 463 points, far below the OECD average (492) and well below the national target of 505 percentage points set by the government.), negatively affects participation in mechanical and electrical engineering VET programmes, leading to shortage of supply of technically skilled graduates in the national economy;
  • early leaving from education and training data of Eastern Slovakia deteriorated extremely, being in a long-term over the EU 2020 target;
  • participation in lifelong learning is well below the EU-28 average (4.0% compared to 11.1% in 2018).

The 2012 European Council country-specific recommendations have identified three areas for action:

  • strengthening labour market relevance of education and vocational training;
  • improving education of vulnerable groups, including Roma;
  • ensuring labour market reintegration of adults.

They are still relevant: ESF projects have had some impact, but more time is needed to address them fully. In spite of substantial progress in reforming VET since 2008, systemic changes, including additional investments, are needed to:

  • secure up-to-date equipment in VET schools to improve training quality;
  • increase the attractiveness of the VET teacher and trainer profession and improve their in-service training substantially;
  • strengthen VET research and labour market analysis, focusing on graduate tracking and identification of transferable skills, to improve understanding of labour market and skill needs;
  • support more systematically the mobility of learners, VET staff and experts, and learn from international expertise and experiences to mainstream activities;
  • bridge the worlds of learning and work by ensuring that experts with a business background can inform VET schools on emerging skill needs, particularly by reinforcing the position and role of sectoral (skills) councils;
  • make the qualification system more flexible through continuous revision (linked to the work on the Slovak qualifications framework) and development of validation procedures for non-formal and informal learning.

Information based on VET in Slovakia Spotlight 2016 ([4]Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Slovakia. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8102_en.pdf
).

Population in 2018: 5 443 120 ([5]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It increased by 0.6% since 2013 ([6]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 6.5.2019].).

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

An old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 20 in 2015 to 59 in 2060 ([7]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].

 

Life-births decreased severely from 73 256 in 1993 to 50 841 in 2002, followed by a slight increase up to 57 639 in 2018. Population decline resulted in a surplus of places in schools and caused intensifying competition among education providers. The number of secondary VET schools decreased from 506 in 2008/09 to 444 in 2018/19 (performing arts schools excluded).

Furthermore, a shift towards ISCED 354 programmes, entitling to apply for higher education, to the detriment of ISCED 353 programmes leads to a lack of skilled workers in some professions, and craftsmen in particular: only 22% of upper secondary VET graduates completed ISCED 353 programmes, while 78% completed ISCED 354 programmes in 2017.

The population is composed of Slovaks (80.7%), Hungarians (8.5%), Roma (2%) and other minorities (less than 1% each) ([8]Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic (2011). Collecting statistical data based on ethnicity is forbidden. According to estimations by experts, only 25% of ethnic Roma declared themselves as belonging to the Roma nationality.). About three quarters of ethnic Roma declared other than Roma nationality. Hungarian minority is served by schools with Hungarian as the language of instruction from kindergartens to higher education; provision of VET is limited compared to general education. In 2018, there were 444 VET schools, of which 392 had Slovak as the language of instruction, 25 had Hungarian and Slovak, 12 had Hungarian, 13 had English and Slovak and 2 had German and Slovak.

203 092 out of the 219 466 companies registered in Slovakia as of 31 December 2017 were micro-sized (0-9 employees).

26.2% are employed in large enterprises, while 73.8% in other enterprises; 44.7% of employees are working in micro companies, 13% in small companies and 15.1% with medium-sized companies ([9]Slovak Business Agency (2018). Malé a stredné podnikanie v číslach v roku 2017 [Small and medium-sized enterprises in numbers in 2017]. Bratislava: SBA.
http://www.sbagency.sk/sites/default/files/msp_v_cislach_v_roku_2017_infograf_sep2018.pdf
).

Main economic sectors:

  • manufacturing;
  • wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles;
  • construction;
  • health and social work activities;
  • transportation and storage.

The Slovak economy is among the most open economies in the EU heavily depending on exporting industry products, mostly automotive; the country is a world leader in manufacturing of cars per capita.

The two faster growing sectors are professional, scientific and technical activities (+28.8%) and health sector and social work activities (+21.3%).

There are 290 professions in Slovakia, according to the EU regulated professions database ([10]http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/regprof/index.cfm?action=regprofs&id_country=25&quid=1&mode=asc&maxRows=*#top).

Trade Licencing Act (455/1991) is very relevant for secondary VET, as it stipulates preconditions for starting a business via listing the crafts requiring a certificate of apprenticeship (or fulfilling other prescribed requirements) and a list of trades requiring a variety of certificates of proficiency, often in addition to formal education certificates.

Furthermore, there is a variety of sectoral legislation prescribing requirements for entering respective working positions, sometimes set in cooperation with professional organisations.

A full list of regulated professions is available (in Slovak) at the education ministry portal ([11]http://www.minedu.sk/data/files/8184_7711_6972_5996_revizia_zoznam-rp-2018-secure-08012018.xls).

 

Total unemployment ([12]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) (2018): 5.9% (6.0% in EU28); it decreased by 2.6 percentage points since 2008 ([13]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. Unemployment of low-qualified has been in decrease since 2015. The crisis influenced medium- and high-qualified young people more than low-qualified.

In 2018, the unemployment rate of people with medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4) was lower than in the pre-crisis years. Furthermore, the unemployment rate of people with medium-level qualifications aged 15 to 24 is significantly lower than the unemployment rate of tertiary education graduated aged 15 to 24.

Many low-skilled Roma living in segregated communities of low living standard can hardly escape the poverty trap without specific interventions. Emerging social enterprises is one of policy tools that are now targeting disadvantaged groups.

Employment rate of 20- to 34-year-old VET graduates increased from 73.8% in 2014 to 82.1% in 2018.

 

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 (+8.3 pp) in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates in 2014-18 was higher compared to the increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates, from 69.1% to 76.3% (+7.2 pp) in the same period ([14]NB: Breaks in time series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].). Employment rate is negatively affected by the low employment rate of people without at least lower secondary education.

Eurostat data show that in Slovakia the share of medium-level educated population in the age group 25 to 64 is the second highest in EU (67.1% compared to 45.7% in EU28), while the share of low educated is the fourth lowest (8.3% compared to 21.8% in EU28). When it comes to high educated, Slovakia however performs below the average of EU (24.6% compared to 32.2% in EU28), despite substantial growth in the share of young tertiary educated people (37.7% compared to 37.1% in EU28 in the age group 30 to 34 in 2018) ([15]Source: Eurostat, table t2020_41 [extracted 10.5.2019].).

 

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

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; low reliability for ‘No response’ in Czech Republic, Iceland, Poland, and Latvia.
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 2013-17

 

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

2013

1.5%

68.1%

100.0%

2017

2.6%

68.9%

100.0%

Change 2013-2017

+1.1 pp

+0.8 pp

-

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

 

In 2018/19, in full-time programmes 45% of VET learners were females, while in part-time programmes females were 66% ([16]Organised as evening classes for adults.).

In textile and clothing and teacher training (including child and social care) full-time programmes more than 90% of learners are females, while in healthcare and veterinary females are more than 80%. In technical studies, such as mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, wood-processing and ICT more than 90% of learners are males, while in construction more than 80% are males.

60% of part-time learners participate in healthcare, teacher training and economics and organisation programmes, which are programmes that females chose more often. Professions related to these studies are also more strictly regulated compared to others.

The share of early leavers from education and training has increased from 4.9% in 2009 to 8.6% in 2018. Although it is still better than the EU-28 average of 10.6%, it is well above the national target for 2020 of not more than 6.0%.

 

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].

 

Moreover in 2017, the share of female early leavers from education and training was for the first time in history above the EU 2020 target of not more than 10%, increasing from below 5% in 2008-2012 to 10.3% in 2017 ([17]Eurostat LFS edat_lfse_14 [extracted 16.5.2019].). Severe regional disparities are visible from 14.7% of early leavers in NUTS 2 region – Eastern Slovakia.

 

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 Slovakia has remained stable, but very low in the past decade. In 2018, it reached 4.0%, still well below the EU-28 average (11.1%).

Share of ISCED 2 to 5 VET learners by age groups (%)

Age group

2012/13

2013/14

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

%

%

%

%

%

0-19

44.8

31.4

31.2

30.9

30.2

20-24

94.0

95.4

94.6

93.8

94.2

25+

95.3

97.1

96.8

96.4

96.9

Source: Slovak Centre of Scientific and Technical Information data, tabled by ReferNet Slovakia.

While the share of VET learners in the youngest age cohort decreases, it is only slightly changing in other age cohorts. Comparably high influenced by post-secondary programme structure, within which only VET programmes are offered. Adults prefer VET over general education, or enter tertiary education.

The education and training system comprises:

  • pre-school education (ISCED 0);
  • integrated primary (four years, ISCED 1; EQF 1) and lower secondary general education (five years, ISCED 2; EQF 2), nationally referred to as basic education);
  • lower secondary VET (ISCED 2; EQF 2-3);
  • upper secondary general education (ISCED 3; EQF 4);
  • upper secondary VET (ISCED 3; EQF 3 and 4);
  • post-secondary non-tertiary VET (ISCED 4 and 5; EQF 4 and 5);
  • academic higher (tertiary) education (ISCED 6 to 8; EQF 6 to 8).

Pre-school education starts at the age of three.

Compulsory education starts at the age of six and includes nine years of basic education (integrating four-year primary and five-year lower secondary education) and at least one year of upper secondary education. This mechanism is intended to prevent leaving education early, as learners usually stay at upper secondary education after the mandatory first year.

Upper secondary general education can take the form of either an eight-year programme starting after completing grade five of basic education ([18]From 2019/20, only 5% of respective age cohort will be allowed to enter this programme. Shares may differ among regions based on a decision of the education ministry.) or of a four-year programme after completing basic education (bilingual programmes are five years). Upper secondary general education graduates receive the maturita school leaving certificate allowing access to higher education.

Higher (tertiary) education comprises bachelor, master (or integrated bachelor and master) and PhD programmes. Labour market oriented bachelor programmes emerged, supported by the ESF. Professional bachelor studies in mechanical engineering started in 2017/18. Tertiary educational attainment in the age group 30-34 is in steep increase, it has almost tripled since entering the EU: from 12.9% in 2004 to 37.7% in 2018.

Special programmes cater for learners with special education needs.

The Slovak education and training system is still based on the 1970s model aimed at providing all learners with at least upper-secondary education, mainly through school-based VET. In addition to work-based learning backed by school-company contracts, ‘dual’ VET providing work-based learning in companies based on contracts with individual learners was introduced in 2015 ([19]Act on VET 61/2015 amended in 2018.
https://www.slov-lex.sk/pravne-predpisy/SK/ZZ/2015/61/20180901
).

VET at lower, upper and post-secondary levels is delivered by secondary VET schools (SOŠ, stredná odborná škola). VET schools, similarly to general education schools, are highly regulated through legislation and detailed curricula, although they are legal entities and are also obliged to adjust their curricula within the limits set by the national curricula. Most VET schools are public.

VET can be currently offered as:

  • school-based programmes with practical training (mainly) in school workshops;
  • dual VET, where learners (or their parents) have contracts with enterprises for provision of in-company training, while companies and schools have agreements on provision of dual VET specifying in detail duties of both partners;
  • mixed scheme, with school-based learning along with training provided by a company within the framework of school-company contract specifying numbers of trainees and a share of training performed by the company.

Most VET programmes are provided at upper secondary level. The strong majority of secondary VET graduates receive the maturita school leaving certificate allowing access to higher education. There are programmes with extended component of practice that offer the maturita school leaving certificate and a certificate of apprenticeship.

Three-year VET programmes, regardless whether school-based or offered in cooperation with companies offer a VET qualification (nationally referred to as certificate of apprenticeship). Graduates of these programmes can enter a two-year programme to receive a maturita school leaving certificate.

Participation in lower secondary VET and post-secondary programmes is low.

Dual VET was introduced in 2015/16. Companies can sign individual training contracts with learners for in-company practical training, complemented with an institutional contract between secondary VET schools (SOŠ) and companies. Learners are considered VET students and not employees. Training in dual VET is offered by company instructors in specific company training premises, but can be complemented also by training in school workshops or other companies’ premises.

Four-year (occasionally five-year) and three-year (occasionally four-year) upper-secondary programmes (ISCED 354 and 353 respectively) can be offered as school-based or ‘dual VET’. From 2018/19 school-based and ‘dual VET’ will be based on the same national curricula. Companies participating in dual VET are expected to contribute to respective school educational programme development. Although enrolment in dual VET has been gradually increasing, its overall share is still (at the time of reporting) less than 3% of all learners starting upper secondary level ([20]See information about introduced changes in: Slovakia: making dual VET more attractive. Cedefop news on VET.http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/news-and-press/news/slovakia-making-dual-vet-more-attractive).

Institutions of VET governance

A new VET governance architecture was created in 2009 and revised in 2015 and 2018 ([21]Act on VET 184/2009 and Act on VET 61/2015 as amended.). It consists of the following coordinating and advisory bodies:

  • National VET Council is the coordinating body affiliated to the government ([22]http://radavladyovp.sk/) that discusses VET policy, such as regional and sectoral strategies. 18 working groups covering selected study fields support adjustments in VET programmes better matching them to labour market needs. A working group for the verification of labour market needs focuses on assessing self-governing regions activities related to secondary VET regulation;
  • Regional VET Councils are composed of representatives of state, self-government, employers and employees. They are advisory bodies to the heads of the eight self-governing regions; they prepare regional VET policy documents, discuss number of places to be offered in respective schools and programmes, etc.;
  • Sectoral (skills) councils ([23]Sectoral (skills) councils are a voluntary independent association of employers' representatives, trade union representatives, education institutions, state administration and self-government authorities regulated by the Act on Employment Services(5/2004.They were originally established as working groups participating in creation of the National System of Occupations.) are voluntary independent associations of employers' representatives, trade union representatives, education institutions, state administration and self-government authorities regulated by the Act on Employment Services (5/2004). The Alliance of Sectoral Councils’ is their umbrella organisation ([24]https://www.sustavapovolani.sk/aliancia_sr). Sectoral (skills) councils provide expertise to policy-makers concerning labour market needs in terms of knowledge, skills and competences required in occupations and cater for delivery of occupational standards for labour sector-driven information system on the labour market ([25]www.istp.sk), and support the creation of a national qualifications system (NQS) ([26]Responsibility for NQS and Slovak qualifications framework lies with the education ministry.);
  • Sectoral assignees (institutions of the world of work selected from chambers and employers’ associations) represent employers’ interests in each VET study field as professional counterparts to education authorities and experts. Sectoral assignees should play a prominent role in adjusting VET to labour market needs and in assuring its quality. The Employer Council for Dual VET ([27]The Employer Council for Dual VET is set by the Act on VET 61/2015:
    http://www.rzsdv.sk/wordpress/
    ) encompassing sectoral assignees involved in dual VET, coordinates their activities;
  • Expert groups and ad hoc working groups affiliated to the State Institute of Vocational Education covering respective fields of study focus on diverse curricula issues and conditions of provision of VET (material, spatial and equipment-related requirements).

Schools are headed by directors appointed by school establishers for a five-year term, based on a tender organised by a school board (rada školy). School board can also have impact on development plans of schools and can also suggest dismissing of the director. School board is as a rule composed of 11 members representing school staff, parents, school establisher, students, and, if requested, also sectoral assignee. School director is not a member of school board.

In 2018, there were 444 VET schools, out of which 87 private and 17 church-affiliated. The rest of schools are established by self-governing regions with few exemptions of schools established by the state.

Since 2009, the influence of employers on VET policy has been gradually increased also concerning school-based VET. VET schools must submit their school educational programmes (autonomously elaborated school curricula reflecting and adjusting national curricula to local/regional needs) to sectoral assignees unless they were elaborated in cooperation with companies participating in dual VET or discussed with companies offering practical training within the mixed scheme ([28]VET can be also offered as a mixed scheme of school-based learning along with training provided by a company within the framework of school-company contract specifying numbers of trainees and a share of training performed by the company.). In 2017/18, sectoral assignees for the first time checked assignments related to school leaving examinations. There is also a strong engagement of sectoral assignees in dual VET in assessment and certification of companies offering practical training and in training of in-company trainers (instructors).

Regulation of secondary VET

Self-governing regions are responsible for maintaining public secondary VET schools and for regulating inflow of learners into schools in their territory. VET programmes and numbers of students are strictly regulated to address regional labour market needs, based on macroeconomic forecasting data and opinion of regional stakeholders. The education ministry supports schools by providing regulations for content, pedagogy, qualification of staff, etc. Some VET schools are under the responsibility of the interior and health ministries.

In relative terms, total public expenditure on education in Slovakia is lower than in EU28. Furthermore, substantial inflow comes from the European structural and investment funds.

 

General government expenditure on education in Slovakia and EU28

Source: Education ministry, finance ministry; Eurostat, table gov_10a_exp; last update: 17.8.2018 [extracted 23.8.2018].

 

Expenditure on secondary education including secondary VET (0.8% of GDP) is substantially lower than the EU28 average (1.9% of GDP). Despite more generous support for dual VET, financing secondary education and in particular VET remains critically low.

Initial VET

Initial VET, regardless of ownership, is subsidised from the state budget. In 2019, per capita contribution varied between EUR 1 917.68 to EUR 3 657.65 depending on school category ([29]Detailed data on financing of schools in respective 15 categories are available at
http://www.minedu.sk/data/att/12740.pdf
). This type of financing often forces VET schools to attract learners regardless of their capabilities and personal aspirations. Capital expenditures are covered by bodies that establish schools (and by the State in case of emergency). Schools must attract additional funding to complement state subsidy. Private schools can collect fees. Church-affiliated VET schools can benefit from parish community donations.

Continuing VET

Continuing VET is funded by learners, employers, public finances and EU funds. Cost per person is substantially lower compared to EU-28.

 

Cost of CVET courses (EUR)

NB: (b) = break in time series.
Source: Eurostat Continuing Vocational Training Survey (CVTS) [trng_cvt_17s], last update: 14.6.2018, [trng_cvt_18s], last update: 14.6.2018 [extracted 5.9.2018].

 

Labour market training

Labour market training for unemployed and employed job seekers heavily depends on ESF funding.

 

Trends in training expenditure within labour market polices (million EUR)

(*) Expenditures on training per person wanting to work in purchasing power standard (PPS).
NB: mill. = million; LMP = labour market expenditure.
Source: Eurostat, [lmp_expme_sk], [lmp_ind_exp] [extracted 5.9.2018].

 

In VET, there are:

  • general subject teachers;
  • vocational subject teachers;
  • trainers in school (nationally referred to as ‘masters of practical training’);
  • in-company trainers (nationally referred to as ‘instructors’); from 2018, also head instructors can be employed by companies).

 

Teachers and trainers in VET schools in 2010/11, 2015/16 and 2017/18

NB: Full-time teachers only, including (deputy) directors. Data on in-company trainers are not available.
Source: Slovak Centre of Scientific and Technical Information.

 

The number of in-company trainers has been in gradual increase, though still limited, as the share of dual learners is less than 3% of all first-year learners in upper secondary education. Companies often employ trainers from schools in the case of lack of own employees able to serve as in-company trainers.

General and vocational subject teachers are university graduates. Graduates from non-pedagogical programmes need to also complete pedagogical studies to obtain a full VET teacher qualification.

General subject teachers are trained and also fully qualified for the general education stream. They are adjusted to the VET learner needs within their continuing professional development and in-service training.

Trainers in VET schools are formally required to have a maturita school leaving certificate or completed pedagogical studies. However many of them have a Bachelor’s degree, as it provides better remuneration.

The 2015 legislation amending the 2009 Pedagogical Staff Act has made qualification requirements more flexible to attract (more) people from business and industry to teaching and make it easier to change subject areas/positions:

  • specialists in occupation-oriented areas are not required to comply with qualification requirements in pedagogy provided that they teach at most 10 hours per week; ensuring/assessing their teaching competences is the school directors’ task;
  • those who would like to move to other areas/positions, would only need to do the pedagogy part required for the new position.

In-company trainers are not considered pedagogical staff. Since the introduction of dual VET in 2015, in-company trainers are required to:

  • have at least a certificate of apprenticeship in the respective study field;
  • have three-year experience as a fully qualified worker in the respective occupation;
  • have completed an ‘instructor training’ offered by sectoral assignees ([30]Institutions of the world of work selected from chambers and employers’ associations to represent employers’ interests as professional counterparts to education authorities and experts.) within one year of their first appointment.

Responsibility for teachers’ continuing professional development (CPD) is with school directors and is based on annual plans. Provision of in-service training is very sensitive to ESF sources. Traditionally, most of the training is provided by the Methodological-Pedagogical Centre much of it focuses on pedagogy and general issues. There is a lack of training aimed at innovations and changes in the business world. Although it is not their responsibility, professional and employer organisations also provide CPD for teachers. Some offer places in courses for business and industry professionals for reduced fees or for free. Eligibility for public funding is linked to competence development in areas covered by the respective professional standards.

The Act on Pedagogical and Professional Staff (317/2009) specified four career levels of teachers/trainers: beginner, independent teacher and attested teacher (first and second (advanced) level attestation); it also defined the professional standards of each level and introduced credits in continuing training. In April 2019, a fully new Act on Pedagogical and Professional Staff (138/2019) was approved abolishing both a heavy criticised credit system and the Accreditation Board responsible for accreditation of continuing training programmes. Instead of this, the new legislation speaks about professional development and financial bonus for completion of training specified by the law or passing the state examination in foreign languages. In fact, CPD has been again reduced to traditional in-service training, as also visible from renaming in-service teacher trainers to trainers of professional development.

Pre-service training of teachers and trainers also faces changes due to the transformation of higher education already in progress ([31]See Act on Quality Assurance in Higher Education (269/2018) that came into force on 1 November 2018,
https://www.slov-lex.sk/pravne-predpisy/SK/ZZ/2018/269/20181101
). New accreditation procedures interlinked with assessment of internal quality assurance system by a newly established independent Slovak Accreditation Agency for Higher Education are in the pipeline.

 

 

Responsibility for analysing and forecasting labour market development lies with the central labour office according to the Act on employment services (5/2004). In initial VET, as stipulated by the VET Act (61/2015), chambers and/or employer representatives, empowered as sectoral assignees ([32]Institutions of the world of work selected from chambers and employers’ associations and defined by law (Decree 251/2018) to represent employers’ interests as professional counterparts to education authorities and experts, see more in Cedefop (2016). Vocational education and training in Slovakia: short description. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2801/831200
), should support the central labour office in analysing and forecasting labour market development ([33]Act on VET 61/2018, § 32,
https://www.slov-lex.sk/pravne-predpisy/SK/ZZ/2015/61/20180901.
).

There are two models of macroeconomic forecasting available ([34]Developed by (a) the Institute of Economic Research of the Slovak Academy of Sciences (2014) and (b) Trexima Bratislava and supervised by the labour ministry.). The supervised by the labour ministry model forecasts additional labour market needs by ISCO ([35]International standard classification of occupations.) groups. The forecasting data are transformed into estimation of ceilings for each programme and each school, and used for further negotiation on regulation of the inflow of new entrants into secondary schools and secondary programmes.

Furthermore, analyses of job vacancy data from online job portals ([36]https://www.profesia.sk/ and
https://www.istp.sk/
) and information on regional players can also influence decisions of self-governing regions’ heads on VET entrants and, subsequently, graduate supply.

Forecasts have been used by national authorities to enforce stronger regulation of secondary VET in response to employer criticism of secondary school graduate supply. The central labour office regularly presents information to all VET governance players based on forecasting and analysis of registered unemployed data. Self-governing regions and individual schools are also offered data about graduate unemployment rates and their transition to the labour market between September and May. These indicators should inform families and lower secondary students about their chances on the labour market. However, they are only proxies as administrative data on employment of graduates are lacking.

In February 2019, the labour ministry also launched a new portal ([37]www.trendyprace.sk) to offer detailed data on graduates of respective programmes (average wages, employment and unemployment rates, and estimation of prospects) regionally and nationally. It is expected that these data will inform students, education counsellors and career guidance counsellors about prospects of respective professions and fields of study.

Additionally, new lists of jobs have been developed by the labour ministry to indicate professions lacking labour force in all eight regions in Slovakia ([38]https://www.upsvr.gov.sk/sluzby-zamestnanosti/zamestnavanie-cudzincov/zoznam-zamestnani-s-nedostatkom-pracovnej-sily.html?page_id=806803). This also indicates what kind of graduates from secondary VET and what kind of labour market training for the unemployed is needed.

About 150 jobs were identified in total nationwide. In districts with very low unemployment, short-track procedures for employment of foreign labour force in relevant professions have been introduced.

 

Occupations requirement in main sectors until 2020

NB: ISCO-08 categories; Statistical Classification of Economic Activities in the European Community (NACE Rev.2) sectors in the legend.
Source: Central Office of Labour, Social Affairs and Family, 2015, based on Trexima Ltd. data.

 

The most significant employment growth is forecasted in manufacturing and wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles sectors, and in the education sector.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([39]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European Skills Index ([40]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index).

Three sets of standards are under development and/or further refinement:

  • educational;
  • occupational; and
  • qualification.

Educational standards were developed backed by the 2008 Education Act (245/2008). These educational standards were developed under the lead of the State Institute of Vocational Education and National Institute for Education (both directly managed by the education ministry) and predominantly driven by educators’ experience. Educational standards are composed of so-called content and performance standards, as stipulated by the Education Act (245/2008). Performance standards can be seen as learning outcomes that students are supposed to achieve during their studies and demonstrate when completing them. Assessment standards are considered a tool to help evaluate whether learners have achieved the performance standards. Assessment standards are to be developed by schools and set within school educational programmes (school curricula) specifying criteria and assessment procedures for achieving performance standards corresponding to respective school environment.

Occupational standards were developed by the sectoral (skills) councils ([41]Sectoral (skills) councils are a voluntary independent association of employers' representatives, trade union representatives, education institutions, state administration and self-government authorities regulated by the Act on Employment Services 5/2004.). Their development was initiated by the labour ministry, backed by the Act on Employment Services (5/2004) ([42]https://www.sustavapovolani.sk/vz_domov). Development of occupational standards has been significantly affected by employers’ representatives active in sectoral (skills) councils. Occupational standards have an important information function and contributed also to improved information of job seekers within the information system on the labour market managed by the labour sector ([43]https://www.istp.sk/kartoteka-zamestnani). However, occupational standards have no normative power for recognition of qualifications.

Qualification standards started to be developed under the supervision of the education ministry backed by the Lifelong Learning Act (568/2009) and supported by the ESF project ‘Creation of the national qualifications system’. Within this project an online qualification register ([44]https://www.kvalifikacie.sk/kartoteka-kariet-kvalifikacii#/) and the Slovak Qualifications Framework (SKKR) have been created.

Qualification standards in the register should inform the education sector and in particular schools in updating their school educational programmes.

Curricula development

Since 2008, curricula development has been decentralised. The state is responsible for developing national curricula, officially titled as ‘state educational programme’ (štátny vzdelávací program). These contain educational standards. Subsequently, schools prepare their own school curricula, officially titled as ‘school educational programme’ (školský vzdelávací program) based on a respective ‘state educational programme’. School educational programmes must be discussed with sectoral assignees and representatives of companies offering practical training. In the case of dual VET, companies offering practical training directly participate as co-authors of respective school educational programme.

Currently there are 28 state educational programmes ([45]See the website of State Institute of Vocational Education at
http://siov.sk/vzdelavanie/odborne-vzdelavanie-a-priprava/ containing also performing arts programmes and newly emerging sports school programmes.
). These documents are prepared by the State Institute of Vocational Education in cooperation with expert commissions containing experienced practitioners from the world of education and the world of work ([46]State educational programmes explicitly state names of all authors and institutions they represent.). They are also discussed with sectoral assignees. A draft document is submitted for discussion to the respective tripartite working group of the National VET Council. Thus, state educational programmes are commented by representatives of social partners specified by law ([47]Act on VET 61/2015, § 28 (2).) before submitting for final approval and issuing by the education ministry. These programmes cover all major VET fields under the responsibility of the education ministry and contain specific framework requirements for all relevant ISCED levels and educational standards for individual programmes. The ministries of health and interior are autonomous in programming initial VET under their responsibility.

State educational programmes also reflect all key competences set by the European reference framework ([48]See European Parliament; Council of the European Union (2006). Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning. Official Journal of the European Union, L 394, pp.10-18.
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A32006H0962.
). Originally, they reflected all individual competences separately, from 2013/14, only three overarching key competences are set and subsequently also reflected in school educational programmes:

  • act independently in a social and working life;
  • use interactively knowledge, information communications technology (ICT), communicate in Slovak, mother tongue and foreign language;
  • work in heterogeneous groups.

To cover general education requirements in VET, the National Institute for Education responsible for national curricula for general education also develops educational standards for all relevant general subjects for VET programmes by ISCED levels ([49]See the website of State Institute of Vocational Education at
http://siov.sk/statne-vzdelavacie-programy/ containing educational standards for general subjects.
). In the case of foreign languages, standards are set in compliance with the respective levels (A1 to C1) of Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

Since 2015, developing curricula for dual VET has been in progress based on requirements from chambers and employers’ representatives. From 2019, the same curricula documents apply for school-based and dual VET.

The so far applied national/regional quality assurance approaches are traditional in terms of governance and methodology. The European quality assurance in VET (EQAVET) principles have not yet been implemented.

Regional schooling including VET schools

The State School Inspectorate is a main stakeholder that checks VET quality. It is an independent state administration body headed by the chief school inspector appointed for a five-year period by the education minister; its evaluation work is based on annual plans and resulting in yearly reports presented to the parliament.

According to the Act on State Administration and Self-governance (596/2003), directors are responsible for the quality of their schools’ performance. They can be replaced by a self-governing region upon the chief school inspector’s request based on justified severe failures.

The National Institute for Certified Educational Measurements is responsible for developing national testing instruments and implementing national and international testing. It informs about results and suggests improvements. It is responsible for monitoring and assessing quality of education, as stipulated by the Education Act (245/2008). The institute develops, on an annual basis, tests in mathematics and languages that are used in maturita school leaving exams in grammar schools and ISCED 354 programmes of VET schools.

However, both institutions predominantly focus on general education subjects. Despite envisaged expansion of national testing and quality checking, both institutions would require extra staff to cover respective VET fields. This is why employer representatives are expected to help more to check the quality of VET. They are however not assigned the ultimate responsibility for quality assurance in practical training and achieving qualification standards by individual learners due to lacking personal and financial capacities. Currently, sectoral assignees ([50]Institutions of the world of work selected from chambers and employers’ associations to represent employers’ interests as professional counterparts to education authorities and experts.) focus primarily on input and process, e.g. on certifying company premises established for provision of practical training within dual VET, certifying instructors and head instructors responsible for practical training within dual VET, awarding a title VET centre to outstanding VET schools according to their criteria ([51]VET school complying with quality requirements in terms of learning environment, equipment, staff and school-businesses cooperation is identified based on approval establisher, Regional VET Council and final decision of sectoral assignee.). Sectoral assignees only assist a) the State School Inspectorate in quality checking of practice-oriented training provided by companies within dual VET and b) schools in quality checking within final examinations.

According to the law, schools are still responsible for quality of their graduates in both theory and practice, but with an increasing share of training in companies they have no sufficient control to guarantee it.

It is important to improve financial and personal capacities of sectoral assignees and enhance responsibility of training companies for the results of training.

Continuing VET and adult learning

Detailed accreditation of further education programmes and authorised institutions for examinations are stipulated by the Lifelong Learning Act (568/2009). Despite addressing quality in its recent amendments, this legislation focuses predominantly on ‘input’ assessment. Evaluation processes are still under development. Assessing course provision by graduates’ rating was suggested by the education ministry, however not put in place so far. New legislation is needed to address quality assurance in more detail and in the full range, as the current Lifelong Learning Act applies to programmes provided by the education sector only. Quality assurance in other sectors depends on sectoral authorities and is regulated in various ways.

There is no genuine and appropriately developed national model for validation of non-formal and informal learning. The Lifelong Learning Act (568/2009) created some preconditions for gradual progress but it in fact refers only to certification of the ability to run a business originally restricted to certificate of apprenticeship holders.

The following are data indicating the trend in issuing certificates ‘verifying professional competences’, entitling people without a certificate of apprenticeship (required by the Trade Licensing Act) to start a business.

 

Number of certificates of professional competences in 2013-2017

NB: (*) Except 2 387 certificates issued by the National Lifelong Learning Institute within the ESF project targeting employed job seekers.
Source: Education ministry.

 

Certificates verifying ‘professional competence’ are not equivalent to those from formal education. They substitute a ‘certificate of apprenticeship’ for the purpose of starting a business only. These certificate holders are entitled to start a craft regulated by the Trade Licensing Act (455/1991), but they are not allowed to progress within formal education based on these certificates, as they do not certify the respective education level.

The following incentives for learners are in place:

  • performance-based state-funded motivation scholarships for learners in programmes related to occupations that are in high demand on the labour market. These equal 25%, 45% and 65% of the national subsistence minimum, depending on their school performance;
  • company scholarships amounting up to four times the national subsistence minimum;
  • remuneration for productive work during training which has no ceiling to allow companies to better value quality performance of learners;
  • state scholarships for socially disadvantaged learners who perform well to support completion of secondary VET.

The Government will create Individual learning accounts in amount of EUR 200 annually for adults and fiscal incentives in support of employees’ training. In total, EUR 15 640 000 is to be allocated between 2020 and 2027 in support of adult learning and CVET.

Incentives for unemployed learners (covering travel costs, meals, childcare during participation) can be currently also offered by public employment services. Currently, the most attractive and successful retraining schemes for the unemployed (RE-PAS and KOMPAS) can be considered as a sort of learning vouchers. Requalification Passport (RE-PAS) scheme entitles an unemployed person to attend a retraining course of his/her choice for free. The choice of training can be drawn from a list of accredited or some specific non-accredited courses (e.g. ICT related) offered by public or private providers. The cost of the selected course must be approved by the labour office. The administrative burden lies with training providers who actively attract unemployed and not individual learners. The ‘KOMPAS’ (abbreviation stands for competence passport) scheme focuses on provision of courses aimed at strengthening key competences important for transition into the labour market. Both schemes are supported by the ESF under the responsibility of public employment services and currently operated as RE-PAS+ and KOMPAS+ schemes indicating further improvement of the original schemes.

Since 2015, the new Act on VET (61/2015) has introduced corporate tax reliefs for enterprises involved in dual VET; additional stimuli were introduced by the amendment of this act in 2018:

  • a tax exemption for certified companies that train VET learners reduces training costs by 21%;
  • companies also receive a ‘tax bonus’ of EUR 1 600 or 3 200 for each learner depending on the hours (200 or 400) of training provided per year;
  • the remuneration for learners for productive work is also exempted from levies (up to 100% of a minimum wage);
  • companies that offer 200 to 400 hours of training per year will receive direct per capita payment EUR 300, and those offering more than 400 hours will receive EUR 700. SMEs qualify for EUR 1 000.

Non-financial incentives were also introduced simplifying administrative procedures or expanding the period for entering dual VET.

According to the Education Act (245/2008) guidance and counselling in the education sector is provided by

  • centres of educational and psychological counselling and prevention;
  • centres of special education guidance and counselling;
  • individuals directly employed in schools.

The services are provided by educational counsellors, school psychologists, school special pedagogues, therapeutic pedagogues, social pedagogues and prevention coordinators. They address learners at primary and secondary schools. Educational counsellors are regular teachers with specialisation gained through continuing training. Nevertheless, they can offer just information and some guidance, but not a genuine counselling, as they are not professional psychologists. Positions of educational counsellors and specialised career counsellors were newly stipulated by law ([52]Act on Pedagogical and Professional Staff 138/2019:
https://www.slov-lex.sk/pravne-predpisy/SK/ZZ/2019/138/20190901.
).

In the labour sector, offices of labour, social affairs and family offer career guidance and counselling for job seekers. Currently, there are over 150 labour office counsellors nationwide retrained to work with personal portfolios. Furthermore, external counsellors are involved in the portfolio initiative for the unemployed.

Two institutions capitalise on international networking and guidance experience. Euroguidance Slovakia ([53]http://web.saaic.sk/nrcg_new/_main.cfm?clanok=2&menu=2&open=1&jazyk=sk) focuses on guidance practitioners and policy-makers from both the education and employment sectors. The Association for Career Guidance and Career Development ([54]https://rozvojkariery.sk/) has developed into an important professional body commenting and influencing policies.

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Programme Types
Not available

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 4

Follow-up

programmes

ISCED 454

Follow-up programmes leading to EQF 4, ISCED 454 (nadstavbové štúdium)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

454

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

14

Usual entry age

18 to 19

Usual completion age

20

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?

It depends on an individual learner. In the case of immediate continuing in this programme after completion of ISCED 353 programme it is sometimes seen as initial VET. Legislation does not address this issue.

Is it continuing VET?

It depends on an individual learner. In the case of a break after completion of ISCED 353 programme it is seen as continuing VET. Legislation does not address this issue.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

In public schools it is for free, but private and church-affiliated schools can collect fees. Church-affiliated schools do not make use of this option.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

N

([73]ECVET credits are only used within the geographical mobility.)

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

These programmes are school-based; they focus on VET theory, as learners already possess the certificate of apprenticeship (výučný list),

Part-time (evening and distance) forms are envisaged and described within state educational programmes (national curricula). It is up to individual schools and learners demand whether these forms are opened. Data about part-time studies are collected, however, data on a distance form are not distinguished.

Main providers

Secondary VET schools (stredná odborná škola)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

These are usually school-based programmes. All these programmes have a prescribed minimum coverage of 2 112 hours, of which a share of general education is 34.85%, VET theory 22.73%, VET practice 12.12% and 30.30% are left on a decision of schools. These ‘free’ hours can be used for general education, VET theory or VET practice.

Thus, the share of VET practice differs depending on school educational programme (school curricula). Internships or provision of some practice in companies can be agreed based on the school decision.

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

As a rule, practical training is offered in school. It is possible to agree some in-company practice depending on the school decision.

Main target groups

These programmes are designed for graduates of ISCED 353 upper secondary VET programmes (učebný odbor) who originally received a certificate of apprenticeship and wanted to deepen their theoretical studies in order to increase their employability and/or to open the option to apply for higher education.

Some programmes are also offered for special education needs learners within a special schools stream (e.g. wood and furniture manufacturing, entrepreneurship in crafts and services). Some might be slightly adjusted to take into account their challenges.

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

Learners should have graduated from ISCED 353 upper secondary VET programmes (učebný odbor) with a similar professional orientation.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a maturita school leaving examination. It is composed of external testing organised by the National Institute for Certified Measurements (in foreign languages; language of instruction and literature; and the Slovak language and Slovak literature in case the language of instruction differs) and internal examination comprising general component (two subjects ([74]In schools with other language of instruction in three subjects.)) and vocational component (theoretical and practical part).

For the practical part up to 15 topics and for the theoretical part and general component subjects 25 topics are prepared, approved by the school director.

Legislation only prescribes to assess relevant knowledge within theoretical part and skills and abilities within practical part. It is left up to the examination commission (and partly also to examination topics) to what extent standards in state and school educational programmes (school and national curricula) are followed and to what detail they are reflected.

The practical part of vocational component lasts for a maximum of 24 hours (33 hours in two specific cases), and, if required by the nature of the exam, it can take up to four weeks.

Theoretical part of vocational component is open to public.

Those who fail in examination can repeat the examination within a time period stated by law.

Diplomas/certificates provided

These programmes lead to a maturita school leaving certificate (vysvedčenie o maturitnej skúške).

These certificates are officially recognised.

Examples of qualifications

Within this segment of VET, qualifications only rarely address one specific profession. They usually certify the ability to perform professional activities related to the respective field of study.

Qualifications indicate areas of performance rather than specific professions: catering, entrepreneurship in crafts and services, electrical engineering – manufacturing and operation of machinery and equipment.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete these programmes can enter the labour market or continue their studies at post-secondary programmes leading to a (second) VET qualification, specialising programmes or higher professional programmes; they can also progress to higher education programmes.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

General subjects represent 34.85% of study time. In addition, there are 30.30% of study time left on a decision of school. Thus, general education can be expanded, if considered relevant.

Key competences

Y

State educational programmes (national curricula) also reflect all key competences set by the European reference framework ([75]See European Parliament; Council of the European Union (2006). Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning. Official Journal of the European Union, L 394, pp.10-18.
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A32006H0962.
) within three groups of key competences:

  • act independently in a social and working life;
  • use interactively knowledge, information communications technology (ICT), communicate in Slovak, mother tongue and foreign language;
  • work in heterogeneous groups.

These are adjusted to this education level and further detailed within individual school educational programmes (school curricula).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

National authorities consider both state educational programmes (national curricula) and school educational programmes (school curricula) as learning outcome based. Educational standards (in particular its component ‘performance standards’) in both national and school curricula are seen as prescribing learning outcomes.

National curricula address key competences, vocational competences and personal competences for the field of study (group of similar programmes) at this level. Educational standards (composed of performance and content standards) universal for the field of study at this level and specific for each programme are set in the national curricula and addressed in school curricula. The State School Inspectorate is responsible for assessing compliance of school curricula with national curricula.

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

Learners of ISCED 454 follow-up programmes account for 5.2% of all secondary and post-secondary VET learners ([76]2017/18. ISCED 2 to 5 full-time and part-time VET learners including performing arts and special education needs learners; except schools of interior ministry and practical schools.).

EQF 4

Programmes leading

to a (2nd)

VET qualification

ISCED 454

Programmes leading to a (second) VET qualification (also called ‘qualifying programmes’) leading to EQF 4, ISCED 454 (pomaturitné kvalifikačné štúdium)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

454

Usual entry grade

14+

Usual completion grade

15+

Usual entry age

19+

Usual completion age

21+

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?

Legislation does not address this issue.

Is it continuing VET?

Legislation does not address this issue. In practice it is often considered CVET.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

In public schools it is for free, but private and church-affiliated schools can collect fees. Church-affiliated schools do not make use of this option.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

N

([77]ECVET credits are only used within the geographical mobility.)

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

These programmes are as a rule school-based and as a rule of two types: one focusing on theory and one containing also a solid part of practical training that can be offered also in a company.

Part-time (evening and distance) forms are envisaged and described within state educational programmes (national curricula). It is up to individual schools and learners demand whether these forms are opened. Data about part-time studies are collected, however, data on a distance form are not distinguished.

 

Main providers

Secondary VET schools (stredná odborná škola)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Predominantly theory-focused two-year VET programmes have a prescribed minimum coverage of 2 112 hours, of which a share of VET theory 33.33%, VET practice 21.21% and 45.45% are left on a decision of schools. These ‘free’ hours can be used for theory or practice.

Two-year VET programmes with extended practical training, offering also a certificate of apprenticeship, have a prescribed minimum coverage of 2176 hours, of which a share of VET theory 32.35%, VET practice 64.71% and 2.94% are left on a decision of schools.

Thus, the share of VET practice differs depending on school educational programme (school curricula). As a rule, no work-based learning is offered, unless internships or provision of some practice in companies is agreed based on the school decision.

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

A share of work-based learning depends on individual school’s decision. It is as a rule higher in programmes offering both a maturita school leaving certificate and a certificate of apprenticeship. It can be offered in school workshops/labs, but also combined with in-company training.

Main target groups

Programmes are available for graduates of at least upper secondary (general or VET) programmes with the maturita school leaving certificate who want to obtain a VET qualification or other VET qualification than previously studied.

Some programmes are also offered for special education needs learners within a special schools stream (e.g. social legal activities, textile manufacturing, public administration).

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

Maturita school leaving certificate is the only requirement, unless specific health requirements apply. Thus, learners should have graduated from an upper secondary general or vocational education programme, a performing arts programme or a follow up programme.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a final examination that is composed of vocational component (theoretical and practical part) of the maturita school leaving examination.

For the practical part up to 15 topics and for the theoretical part 25 topics are prepared, approved by the school director.

Legislation only prescribes to assess relevant knowledge within theoretical part and skills and abilities within the practical part. It is left up to the examination commission (and partly also to examination topics) to what extent standards in state and school educational programmes (school and national curricula) are followed and to what detail they are reflected.

The practical part of vocational component lasts for a maximum of 24 hours and, if required by the nature of the exam, it can take up to four weeks.

Theoretical part of vocational component is open to public.

Those who fail in examination can repeat the examination within a time period stated by law.

Diplomas/certificates provided

These programmes lead to a school leaving certificate indicating a specific maturita vocational component (vysvedčenie o maturitnej skúške). Some of these programmes also offer a ‘certificate of apprenticeship’ (výučný list), provided they include at least 1 400 hours of practice oriented training.

These certificates are officially recognised.

Examples of qualifications

Some qualifications offered indicate a particular profession, such as dental technician, some indicate the ability to perform professional activities related to the respective field of study, such as economic informatics, social-legal activities or security service – basic police training.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete these programmes can enter the labour market or continue their studies at specialising programmes or higher professional programmes; they can also progress to higher education programmes.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

State educational programmes (national curricula) also reflect all key competences set by the European reference framework ([78]See European Parliament; Council of the European Union (2006). Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning. Official Journal of the European Union, L 394, pp.10-18.
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A32006H0962.
) within three groups of key competences:

  • act independently in a social and working life;
  • use interactively knowledge, information communications technology (ICT), communicate in Slovak, mother tongue and foreign language;
  • work in heterogeneous groups.

These are adjusted to this education level and further detailed within individual school educational programmes (school curricula).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

National authorities consider both state educational programmes (national curricula) and school educational programmes (school curricula) as learning outcome based. Educational standards (in particular its component ‘performance standards’) in both national and school curricula are seen as prescribing learning outcomes.

National curricula address key competences, vocational competences and personal competences for the field of study (group of similar programmes) at this level. Educational standards (composed of performance and content standards) universal for the field of study at this level and specific for each programme are set in the national curricula and addressed in school curricula. The State School Inspectorate is responsible for assessing compliance of school curricula with national curricula.

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

Learners of ISCED 454 programmes leading to a (second) VET qualification account for 3.3% of all secondary and post-secondary VET learners ([79]2017/18. ISCED 2 to 5 full-time and part-time VET learners including performing arts and special education needs learners; except schools of interior ministry and practical schools.).

EQF 5

Higher professional

programmes

ISCED 554

Higher professional programmes leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 554 (vyššie odborné štúdium)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

14+

Usual completion grade

16+

Usual entry age

19+

Usual completion age

22+

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Legislation does not address this issue.

Is it continuing VET?

Legislation does not address this issue. In practice it is often considered CVET.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

In public schools it is for free, but private and church-affiliated schools can collect fees. Church-affiliated schools do not make use of this option.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

N

([80]ECVET credits are only used within the geographical mobility.)

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

These programmes can be offered in dual form or as school-based with internships or parts of in-company training.

Part-time (evening and distance) forms are envisaged and described within state educational programmes (national curricula). It is up to individual schools and learners demand whether these forms are opened. Data about part-time studies are collected, however, data on a distance form are not distinguished.

Main providers

Secondary VET schools (stredná odborná škola) ([81]Similarly to conservatories, art education schools (škola umeleckého priemyslu) and sport schools are not subsumed under the term secondary VET schools to indicated their specificity newly backed by legislation.)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

These programmes have a prescribed minimum coverage of 3 168 hours, of which a share of VET theory 26.26%, VET practice 26.26% and 40.40% are left on a decision of schools. These ‘free’ hours can be used for theory or practice.

Thus, the share of VET practice differs depending on school educational programme (school curricula).

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

A share of work-based learning differs across fields of study and individual schools.

In the case of dual, training is offered by company instructors in a specific contracted company, but can be complemented also by training in school workshops or other companies’ premises.

Main target groups

These programmes target secondary graduates with the maturita school leaving certificate who prefer further studies outside higher education offering attractive training required by the labour market.

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

The maturita school leaving certificate is the only requirement, unless specific health requirements apply.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass an exam (absolventská skúška), consisting of defending a written paper and a comprehensive examination corresponding to a respective field; in the case of healthcare programmes corresponding to the respective profession.

Examination is open to public.

Those who fail in examination can repeat the examination within a time period stated by law.

Diplomas/certificates provided

These programmes lead to certificate on passing examination (vysvedčenie o absolventskej skúške), documenting attaining a higher professional education level, and to a non-university diploma (absolventský diplom) certifying the achieved qualification, with the right to use the title Diploma Specialist – DiS. (diplomovaný špecialista).

These certificates are officially recognised.

Examples of qualifications

Some qualifications offered indicate a particular profession, such as diploma optometrist, some indicate the ability to perform professional activities related to the respective field of study, such as computing systems, hotel and travel agency management, international business, rural tourism.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete these programmes can enter the labour market or progress to higher education programmes based on the maturita school-leaving certificate they received after completion of their previous studies.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

State educational programmes (national curricula) also reflect all key competences set by the European reference framework ([82]See European Parliament; Council of the European Union (2006). Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning. Official Journal of the European Union, L 394, pp.10-18.
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A32006H0962.
) within three groups of key competences:

  • act independently in a social and working life;
  • use interactively knowledge, information communications technology (ICT), communicate in Slovak, mother tongue and foreign language;
  • work in heterogeneous groups.

These are adjusted to this education level and further detailed within individual school educational programmes (school curricula).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

National authorities consider both state educational programmes (national curricula) and school educational programmes (school curricula) as learning outcome based. Educational standards (in particular its component ‘performance standards’) in both national and school curricula are seen as prescribing learning outcomes.

National curricula address key competences, vocational competences and personal competences for the field of study (group of similar programmes) at this level. Educational standards (composed of performance and content standards) universal for the field of study at this level and specific for each programme are set in the national curricula and addressed in school curricula. The State School Inspectorate is responsible for assessing compliance of school curricula with national curricula.

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

Learners of ISCED 554 higher professional programmes account for 0.99% of all secondary and post-secondary VET learners ([83]2017/18. ISCED 2 to 5 full-time and part-time VET learners including performing arts and special education needs learners; except schools of interior ministry and practical schools.).

EQF 5

Specialising

programmes

ISCED 554

Specialising programmes leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 554 (pomaturitné špecializačné štúdium)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

14+

Usual completion grade

15+

Usual entry age

19+

Usual completion age

21+

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?

Legislation does not address this issue.

Is it continuing VET?

Legislation does not address this issue. In practice it is often considered CVET.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

In public schools it is for free, but private and church-affiliated schools can collect fees. Church-affiliated schools do not make use of this option.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

N

([84]ECVET credits are only used within the geographical mobility.)

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

These programmes are currently offered as school-based, with internships or parts of in-company training as set by school educational programmes (school curricula) of individual schools.

Part-time (evening and distance) forms are envisaged and described within state educational programmes (national curricula). It is up to individual schools and learners demand whether these forms are opened. Data about part-time studies are collected, however, data on a distance form are not distinguished.

Main providers

Secondary VET schools (stredná odborná škola) ([85]Similarly to conservatories, art education schools (škola umeleckého priemyslu) and sport schools are not subsumed under the term secondary VET schools to indicated their specificity newly backed by legislation.)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

These programmes have a prescribed minimum coverage of 2 112 hours, of which a share of VET theory 34.85%, VET practice 22.73% and 42.42% are left on a decision of schools. These ‘free’ hours can be used for theory or practice.

Thus, the share of VET practice differs depending on school educational programme (school curricula).

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

The share of work-based learning differs across fields of study and individual schools.

Main target groups

These programmes target secondary graduates with a maturita school leaving certificate in need of further specialisation in the field, for which tertiary education is not needed.

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

The maturita school leaving certificate in the relevant field is the only requirement. Learners can only enter a programme in a field related to their previous studies.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete this programme, learners need to pass an exam (absolventská skúška), consisting of defending a written paper and a comprehensive examination corresponding to the respective field.

Examination is open to public.

Those who fail in examination can repeat the examination within a time period stated by law.

Diplomas/certificates provided

These programmes lead to a certificate of passing examination (vysvedčenie o absolventskej skúške), documenting attaining a higher professional education level, and to a non-university diploma (absolventský diplom) certifying the achieved qualification, with the right to use the title Diploma Specialist – DiS (diplomovaný špecialista).

These certificates are officially recognised.

Examples of qualifications

These qualifications indicate the ability to perform professional activities related to the respective field of study, such as quality management in chemical laboratory, special pedagogy, tax services.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete these programmes can enter the labour market or progress to higher education programmes based on the maturita school-leaving certificate they received after completion of their previous studies.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

State educational programmes (national curricula) also reflect all key competences set by the European reference framework ([86]See European Parliament; Council of the European Union (2006). Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning. Official Journal of the European Union, L 394, pp.10-18.
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A32006H0962.
) within three groups of key competences:

  • act independently in a social and working life;
  • use interactively knowledge, information communications technology (ICT), communicate in Slovak, mother tongue and foreign language;
  • work in heterogeneous groups.

These are adjusted to this education level and further detailed within individual school educational programmes (school curricula).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

National authorities consider both state educational programmes (national curricula) and school educational programmes (school curricula) as learning outcome based. Educational standards (in particular its component ‘performance standards’) in both national and school curricula are seen as prescribing learning outcomes.

National curricula address key competences, vocational competences and personal competences for the field of study (group of similar programmes) at this level. Educational standards (composed of performance and content standards) universal for the field of study at this level and specific for each programme are set in the national curricula and addressed in school curricula. The State School Inspectorate is responsible for assessing compliance of school curricula with national curricula.

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

Learners of ISCED 554 specialising programmes account for 0.23% of all secondary and post-secondary VET learners ([87]2017/18. ISCED 2 to 5 full-time and part-time VET learners including performing arts and special education needs learners; except schools of interior ministry and practical schools.).

EQF 4

Refresher

programmes

ISCED 454

Refresher programmes leading to ISCED 454 (pomaturitné inovačné štúdium, pomaturitné zdokonaľovacie štúdium)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

454

Usual entry grade

14+

Usual completion grade

14+

Usual entry age

19+

Usual completion age

19+

Length of a programme (years)

Depends of the school decision

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

In public schools it is for free, but private and church-affiliated schools can collect fees. Church-affiliated schools do not make use of this option.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

N

([88]ECVET credits are only used within the geographical mobility.)

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

It fully depends of the school decision, they can be part-time (evening or distance).

Main providers

Secondary VET schools (stredná odborná škola)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

It fully depends on the school decision.

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

It fully depends on the school decision.

Main target groups

Learners interested in innovation within their field of study or in better mastering profession or respective professional skills. Legislation speaks about post-maturita innovative study (pomaturitné inovačné štúdium) and post-maturita improvement study (pomaturitné zdokonaľovacie štúdium),

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

Learners should have a maturita school leaving certificate in the respective field of study, as this study builds on previous education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete these programmes learners have to pass a final examination specified as final post-maturita examination by law.

Diplomas/certificates provided

A certificate on final post-maturita examination (vysvedčenie o pomaturitnej záverečnej skúške)

These certificates are officially recognised.

Examples of qualifications

Certification does not specify a profession. This certification is a certificate on attendance and meeting examination requirements rather than explicit qualification requirements. It indicates which study programme it relates to. The content of the study can be visible from the certificate supplement indicating details of the study.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

These programmes aim to update learners’ knowledge and skills.

Destination of graduates

Data on these programmes are not collected and there are therefore no data on potential graduates.

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

N

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

It depends on schools. There are no requirements stipulated by law concerning the design of these programmes.

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

<1% ([89]Data on these programmes are not collected. This is just an option based on tradition, however, in severe decline, as schools are not motivate this kind of programme and learners prefer alternatives.)

EQF 5

Performing arts

Programmes

ISCED 254, 354, 554

Performing arts programmes covering: eight-year ISCED 554 programme leading to EQF 5 qualification in dance conservatory (tanečné konzervatórium); six-year ISCED 554 programmes leading to EQF 5 qualification in music and drama conservatory (hudobné a dramatické konzervatórium).
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

554 ([90]Spanning 254+354+554 in dance conservatory and 354+554 in music and drama conservatory.)

Usual entry grade

6 (dance conservatory)

10 (music and drama conservatory)

Usual completion grade

13 (dance conservatory)

15 (music and drama conservatory)

Usual entry age

11 to 12 (dance conservatory)

15 to 16 (music and drama conservatory)

Usual completion age

19 (dance conservatory)

21 (music and drama conservatory)

Length of a programme (years)

8 (dance conservatory)

6 (music and drama conservatory)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education starts at the age of six and includes nine years of basic education and at least one year of upper secondary education. Thus, as a rule the fifth year in dance conservatory and the first year in music and drama conservatory (both 16 years of age) belong to compulsory education.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

In public schools it is for free with no age limit, but private and church-affiliated schools can collect fees. Church-affiliated schools do not make use of this option.

Is it available for adults?

Y

adults with no age limit can enter full-time programmes

ECVET or other credits

N

([91]ECVET credits are only used within the geographical mobility.)

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

No part-time (evening and distance) studies are possible, according to law. An extraordinary form for extremely talented children combining a mainstream education programme with selected parts of a programme in conservatory (in drama or music) is possible ([92]Education Act 245/2008, § 103 (9) and education ministry Decree 65/2015, § 8.).

Main providers

Dance conservatory

Music and drama conservatory

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Not applicable.

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

Not applicable. Performing arts related training is regulated by individual schools, composed of training in school premises complemented by training through organised performance in school or agreed between schools and other players.

Main target groups

Children and young people talented and interested in performing arts.

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

Passing entrance examination including talent assessment

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete these programmes, learners need to pass an exam (absolventská skúška), consisting ([93]See information of State Institute of Vocational Education on music and drama conservatries at
http://siov.sk/vzdelavanie/konzervatorium/hudobne-a-dramaticke-konzervatorium/ and dance conservatories at
http://siov.sk/vzdelavanie/konzervatorium/tanecne-konzervatorium/.
) of

  • artistic performance corresponding to specialisation at music and drama conservatory or dance conservatory;
  • defending a written paper related to specialisation at music and drama conservatory;
  • comprehensive examination in pedagogy corresponding to specialisation at music and drama conservatory or dance conservatory. ([94]To fulfil qualification requirements for teaching in specific performing arts programmes.)

Examination is open to public.

Those who fail in examination can repeat the examination within a time period stated by law.

In diverse music and drama conservatory programmes, students pass maturita school leaving examination after first four years of a six-year programme.

It is composed of external testing organised by the National Institute for Certified Measurements (in foreign languages; language of instruction and literature; and the Slovak language and Slovak literature in case the language of instruction differs) and internal examination comprising general (two subjects ([95]In schools with other language of instruction in three subjects.)) and vocational component (theoretical and practical part).

For the theoretical part of vocational component and for general component subjects, 25 topics are prepared approved by the school director. Practical part of vocational component contains prescribed artistic performance.

Those who fail in examination can repeat the examination within a time period stated by law.

Similarly, learners in dance conservatory pass maturita school leaving examination in the final year of an eight-year programme. To allow participants of this programme to enter other upper secondary schools, e.g. due to the health problems, a lower secondary education certificate ([96]Although the first phase of this programme is labelled ISCED 254, learners receive the certificate equivalent to ISCED 244, according to Law 245/2008.) is offered after completion of the fourth year to all learners.

Diplomas/certificates provided

These programmes lead to a certificate on passing examination (vysvedčenie o absolventskej skúške), documenting attaining a higher professional education level, and to a non-university diploma (absolventský diplom) certifying the achieved qualification, with the right to use the title Diploma Specialist in Arts - DiS.art (diplomovaný špecialista umenia). They also certify qualifications for teaching in specific performing arts programmes.

In music and drama conservatory, learners receive a maturita school leaving certificate (vysvedčenie o maturitnej skúške) after first four years.

In dance conservatory, learners receive a maturita school leaving certificate (vysvedčenie o maturitnej skúške), also in the final year, and a lower secondary education certificate (vysvedčenie) after the fourth year.

These certificates are officially recognised.

Examples of qualifications

A dance conservatory programme offers three specialisations (classical, modern and folk dance) after four years of the first phase (ISCED 254).

Performing arts studies at music and drama conservatory offer 18 programmes in total in four fields – music and drama, dance, singing, music (e.g., composition, conducting, playing the piano).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can enter higher education, teach in specific performing arts programmes and/or be active in performing arts.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

as specified in respective state educational programmes (national curricula) ([97]See Section A, Part 7, for music and drama conservatory and Section B, Part 7, for dance conservatory at
http://siov.sk/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Statny-vzdelavaci-program-Konzervatoria.pdf
)

Key competences

Y

Key competences are reflected in a specific way in state educational programmes (national curricula) and further in school educational programmes (school curricula) of individual schools, not necessarily corresponding to the European reference framework ([98]See European Parliament; Council of the European Union (2006). Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning. Official Journal of the European Union, L 394, pp.10-18.
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A32006H0962.
), adjusted to respective conservatory programme needs.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Learning outcomes are formulated in state educational programmes (national curricula).

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

Learners of eight-year dance programmes account for 0.15% and learners of six-year performing arts programmes (singing, music, dance, music and drama) account for 1.96% of all secondary and post-secondary learners ([99]2017/18. ISCED 2 to 5 full-time and part-time VET learners including performing arts and special education needs learners; except schools of interior ministry and practical schools.).

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 2-3

Lower secondary

Programmes,

WBL =/> 86.6%

2-3 years

ISCED 253

Lower secondary VET programmes leading to EQF level 2 and 3, ISCED 253 (učebný odbor na získanie nižšieho stredného odborného vzdelania)
EQF level
2-3
ISCED-P 2011 level

253

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

11-12

Usual entry age

15+

Usual completion age

17+ or 18+

Length of a programme (years)

2-3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

but it depends on an individual learner track.

Compulsory education starts at the age of six and as a rule includes nine years of basic education and at least one year of upper secondary education. Thus, a learner can be in his/her 10th year or a higher year (inter alia due to repetition of classes at basic school). In the first case it is a part of compulsory education, in the latter case it is not.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

No credits applied

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

According to law, these programmes can be offered as:

  • school-based; with practical training in own workshops or facilities;
  • school-based; with contracted segments of practical training in companies; or
  • dual VET.

In practice, it is school-based due to a specific target group, often not attractive for companies.

Part-time (evening) and distance forms are envisaged and described within state educational programmes (national curricula).

Main providers

Secondary VET schools (stredná odborná škola)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=86.6%

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

Currently, practical training is offered predominantly in schools. It can also be offered within a mixed scheme, with school-based learning complemented by training provided by a company based on a school-company contract specifying numbers of trainees and a share of training hours performed in the company.

Main target groups

These programmes target low achievers, who haven’t completed lower secondary education.

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

Some programmes are also offered for special education needs learners within a special schools stream (e.g. technical services in car repair shops, textile manufacturing).

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

Incomplete lower secondary (basic) education due to repeating grades or insufficient performance in the final year of basic school. There are no age limits.

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

  • a written part;
  • a practical part; and
  • an oral part.

Those who fail in examination can repeat the examination within a time period stated by law.

Diplomas/certificates provided

These programmes offer qualifications that allow performing simple tasks.

In individual cases a certificate of apprenticeship (výučný list) is awarded.

These certificates are officially recognised.

Examples of qualifications

Certificates as a rule do not indicate a specific profession. Thus, qualifications relate to performing simple tasks in respective sectors of economy of study fields.

For girls the most popular qualification is garment worker, while for boys the most popular qualification is construction worker.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Learners can also enrol in a one-year bridging programme (ISCED 244) which gives access to upper secondary education that is often also offered simultaneously. They can also enter the labour market without completion of this bridging programme.

Destination of graduates

There are no data about graduates. They are often targeted by public employment services or outreach programmes, as they are classified as early leavers from education and training.

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

General subjects represent 8.33% of study time in two-year programmes and 6.67% in three-year programmes. In addition, there are 8.33% and 6.67% of study time, respectively, left on a decision of school.

Key competences

Y

State educational programmes (national curricula) also reflect all key competences set by the European reference framework ([55]See European Parliament; Council of the European Union (2006). Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning. Official Journal of the European Union, L 394, pp.10-18.
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A32006H0962.
) within three groups of key competences:

  • act independently in a social and working life;
  • use interactively knowledge, information communications technology (ICT), communicate in Slovak, mother tongue and foreign language;
  • work in heterogeneous groups.

These are adjusted to this education level and further detailed within individual school educational programmes (school curricula).

Application of learning outcomes approach

National authorities consider both state educational programmes (national curricula) and school educational programmes (school curricula) as learning outcome based. Educational standards (in particular its component ‘performance standards’) in both national and school curricula are seen as prescribing learning outcomes.

National curricula address key competences, vocational competences and personal competences for the field of study (group of similar programmes) at this level. Educational standards (composed of performance and content standards) universal for the field of study at this level and specific for each programme are set in the national curricula and addressed in school curricula. The State School Inspectorate is responsible for assessing compliance of school curricula with national curricula.

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

ISCED 253 learners account for 3.1% out of all secondary and post-secondary VET learners ([56]2017/18. ISCED 2 to 5 full-time and part-time VET learners including performing arts and special education needs learners; except schools of interior ministry and practical schools.).

EQF 3

School-based

Programmes,

WBL =/> 50.5%

3-4 years

ISCED 353

Three- and four-year upper secondary VET programmes leading to EQF 3, ISCED 353 (učebný odbor na získanie stredného odborného vzdelania)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

353

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12 or 13

Usual entry age

15 to 16

Usual completion age

18 or 19

Length of a programme (years)

3 or 4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education starts at the age of six and includes nine years of basic education and at least one year of upper secondary education. Thus, as a rule the first year of this programme (16 years of age) belongs to compulsory education to facilitate transition from lower secondary to upper secondary education.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

In individual cases it could be considered CVET provided these learners progress in training that is content-related linked to previous training and follows the period of working in a relevant working position. Legislation does not make a strong difference between initial and continuing VET.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

In public schools it is for free, but private and church-affiliated schools can collect fees. Church-affiliated schools do not make use of this option.

Is it available for adults?

Y

Adults usually apply for part-time (evening and distance) forms.

ECVET or other credits

N

([57]ECVET credits are only used within the geographical mobility.)

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

These programmes can be offered as:

  • school-based; with practical training in own workshops or facilities;
  • school-based; with contracted segments of practical training in companies; or
  • dual VET.

Since dual VET was introduced in 2015/16, it has allowed companies to sign individual training contracts with learners for in-company practical training, complemented with an institutional contract between schools and companies. Learners in dual are VET students and not employees. Final responsibility for assessment and certification lies with schools concerning both theory and practice.

Part-time (evening and distance) forms are envisaged and described within state educational programmes (national curricula). Part-time forms are only offered as school-based.

The so-called ‘shortened studies’ were introduced from 2015/16. Based on the mainstream three-year programmes, they focus on occupation-related areas and last either one or two years. The two-year study leads to a certificate of apprenticeship; participants of the one-year study are attendance and exam certified.

Main providers

Secondary VET schools (stredná odborná škola)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>= 50.5%, depending on individual schools, in a dual form it is as a rule over 60%

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

Training in school-based programmes can be offered in school workshops/labs, but also combined with in-company training based on a school-company contract. Training in dual VET is offered by company instructors in specific company training premises, but can also be complemented by training in school workshops or other companies’ facilities.

Main target groups

Programmes are available for learners who have completed lower secondary education and also for adults who want to acquire an attractive qualification in the labour market.

Some programmes are also offered for special education needs learners within a special schools stream (e.g. machinery mechanic). Some might be slightly adjusted to take into account their challenges.

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

Completion of lower secondary (general) education (grade 9 of basic school equal to ISCED 244) and in some cases, specific requirements for skills or a state of health may apply.

Drop-outs from lower secondary (general) education qualify after completion of a one-year bridging programme.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete this programme, learners need to pass a final examination composed of

  • a written part, where the knowledge of a topic drawn from up to 10 topics is assessed;
  • a practical part, where the student's skills and abilities are assessed in a topic drawn from up to 15 topics; and
  • an oral part, within which knowledge of a topic drawn from at least 25 topics is assessed.

Topics for the written part and the oral part of the final exam are elaborated by teachers of vocational subjects in cooperation with trainers.

Topics for the practical part of the final exam are elaborated by trainers in cooperation with the teachers of vocational subjects, all must be approved by the school director. Topics are discussed with sectoral assignees.

The written part of the final exam lasts from 45 minutes to 120 minutes. The practical part lasts for a maximum of 24 hours and, if requires by the nature of the exam, it can take up to four weeks. The oral exam lasts for no more than 15 minutes.

Practical and oral examination is open to public and an officially nominated employer representative can actively assess learners.

Those who fail in examination can repeat the examination within a time period stated by law.

Diplomas/certificates provided

These programmes lead to a VET qualification (nationally referred to as certificate of apprenticeship) and to a school-leaving certificate.

The certificate of apprenticeship (výučný list) attests that graduates are qualified to work in the respective occupation, while the school-leaving certificate (vysvedčenie o záverečnej skúške) is considered as attesting the level of education entitling graduates to progress to subsequent formal education programmes.

These certificates are officially recognised.

Examples of qualifications

Carpenter, cook, gardener, hairdresser, metal worker, motor vehicle repairer – automotive electrician, plumber, shop sales assistant

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete these programmes can enter the labour market or continue their studies at post-secondary follow up programmes (EQF 4, ISCED 454).

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

Validation of non-formal and informal learning procedure does not allow for receiving a certificate of apprenticeship. It however allows for receiving a certificate verifying ‘professional competence’ (osvedčenie o odbornej spôsobilosti) ([58]Act on Lifelong Learning 568/2009.). This certificate is not equivalent to a certificate of apprenticeship, but it is an equivalent substitute for a specific reason: entitling to run a business requiring a certificate of apprenticeship.

General education subjects

Y

General subjects represent 22.22% of study time in three-year programmes and 18.56% in four-year programmes. In addition, there are 11.62% and 9.47% of study time, respectively, left on a decision of school. Thus, general education can be expanded, if considered relevant.

Key competences

Y

State educational programmes (national curricula) also reflect all key competences set by the European reference framework ([59]See European Parliament; Council of the European Union (2006). Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning. Official Journal of the European Union, L 394, pp.10-18.
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A32006H0962.
) within three groups of key competences:

  • act independently in a social and working life;
  • use interactively knowledge, information communications technology (ICT), communicate in Slovak, mother tongue and foreign language;
  • work in heterogeneous groups.

These are adjusted to this education level and further detailed within individual school educational programmes (school curricula).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

National authorities consider both state educational programmes (national curricula) and school educational programmes (school curricula) as learning outcome based. Educational standards (in particular its component ‘performance standards’) in both national and school curricula are seen as prescribing learning outcomes.

National curricula address key competences, vocational competences and personal competences for the field of study (group of similar programmes) at this level. Educational standards (composed of performance and content standards) universal for the field of study at this level and specific for each programme are set in the national curricula and addressed in school curricula. The State School Inspectorate is responsible for assessing compliance of school curricula with national curricula.

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

ISCED 353 learners account for 15.9% of all secondary and post-secondary VET learners ([60]2017/18. ISCED 2 to 5 full-time and part-time VET learners including performing arts and special education needs learners; except schools of interior ministry and practical schools.).

EQF 3 or 4

School-based programmes,

WBL =/> 36.4%

4-5 years

ISCED 354

Practice-oriented four- and five-year upper secondary VET programmes leading to EQF 3 or 4, ISCED 354 (študijný odbor s praktickým vyučovaním formou odborného výcviku)
EQF level
3 or 4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

13 or 14

Usual entry age

15 to 16

Usual completion age

19 or 20

Length of a programme (years)

4 or 5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education starts at the age of six and includes nine years of basic education and at least one year of upper secondary education. Thus, as a rule the first year of this programme (16 years of age) belongs to compulsory education to facilitate transition from lower secondary to upper secondary education.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

In individual cases it could be considered CVET provided these learners progress in training that is content-related linked to previous training and follows the period of working in a relevant working position. Legislation does not make a strong difference between initial and continuing VET.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

In public schools it is for free, but private and church-affiliated schools can collect fees. Church-affiliated schools do not make use of this option.

Is it available for adults?

Y

Adults usually apply for part-time (evening and distance) forms.

ECVET or other credits

N

([61]ECVET credits are only used within the geographical mobility.)

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

These programmes can be offered as:

  • school-based; with practical training in own workshops or facilities;
  • school-based; with contracted segments of practical training in companies; or
  • dual VET.

Since dual VET was introduced in 2015/16, it has allowed companies to sign individual training contracts with learners for in-company practical training, complemented with an institutional contract between school and companies. Learners in dual are VET students and not employees. Final responsibility for assessment and certification lies with schools concerning both theory and practice.

Part-time (evening) and distance forms are envisaged and described within state educational programmes (national curricula). Part-time forms are only offered as school-based.

Main providers

Secondary VET schools (stredná odborná škola)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=36.4%, depending on individual schools, in a dual form it is as a rule over 50%

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

Training in school-based programmes can be offered in school workshops/labs, but also combined with in-company training based on school-company contract. Training in dual VET is offered by company instructors in specific company training premises, but can also be complemented by training in school workshops or other companies’ facilities.

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults who have completed lower secondary education.

Some programmes are also offered for special education needs learners within a special schools stream (e.g. computer network mechanic, digital media graphic designer, beautician). Some might be slightly adjusted to take into account their challenges.

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

Completion of lower secondary (general) education (grade 9 of basic school equal to ISCED 244) and in some cases specific requirements for skills or a state of health may apply.

Drop-outs from lower secondary (general) education qualify after completion of a one-year bridging programme.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a maturita school leaving examination. It is composed of external testing organised by the National Institute for Certified Measurements (in foreign languages; language of instruction and literature; and the Slovak language and Slovak literature in case the language of instruction differs) and internal examination comprising general component (two subjects) ([62]In schools with other language of instruction in three subjects.) and vocational component (theoretical and practical part). For the practical part up to 15 topics and for the theoretical part and general component subjects 25 topics are prepared, approved by the school director.

Legislation only prescribes to assess relevant knowledge within theoretical part and skills and abilities within practical part. It is left up to the examination commission (and partly also to examination topics) to what extent standards in state and school educational programmes (school and national curricula) are followed and to what detail they are reflected.

The topics for theoretical part and practical part of vocational component of the examination are discussed with sectoral assignees. An officially nominated employer representative can actively assess learners.

The practical part of vocational component lasts for a maximum of 24 hours (33 hours in two specific cases), and, if required by the nature of the exam, it can take up to four weeks.

Theoretical part of vocational component is open to public.

Those who fail in examination can repeat the examination within a time period stated by law.

Diplomas/certificates provided

These programmes lead to a VET qualification, certified by a maturita school leaving certificate (vysvedčenie o maturitnej skúške), and to a certificate of apprenticeship (výučný list), provided that they include at least 1 400 hours of practice oriented training (odborný výcvik).

The maturita school leaving certificate is considered as certifying both level of education and qualification. In this case ‘qualification’ refers to the ability to perform professional activities covered by the curriculum; it is often called ‘wider’ qualification. The certificate of apprenticeship offers a more specific qualification related to an occupation in addition to the wider qualification.

These certificates are officially recognised.

Examples of qualifications

Beautician, bookseller, computer network mechanic, operation and economics of transport operator, plant and equipment mechanic, pharmaceutical production operator.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete these programmes can enter the labour market or continue their studies at post-secondary programmes leading to a (second) VET qualification, specialising programmes or higher professional programmes; they can also progress to higher education programmes.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Validation of non-formal and informal learning procedure does not allow for receiving a certificate of apprenticeship. It however allows for receiving a certificate verifying ‘professional competence’ (osvedčenie o odbornej spôsobilosti) ([63]Act on Lifelong Learning 568/2009.). This certificate is not equivalent to a certificate of apprenticeship, but it is an equivalent substitute for a specific reason: entitling to run a business requiring a certificate of apprenticeship.

General education subjects

Y

General subjects represent 34.85% of study time in four-year programmes and 35.15% in five-year programmes. In addition, there are 18.18% and 20% of study time, respectively, left on a decision of school. Thus, general education can be expanded, if considered relevant.

Key competences

Y

State educational programmes (national curricula) also reflect all key competences set by the European reference framework ([64]See European Parliament; Council of the European Union (2006). Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning. Official Journal of the European Union, L 394, pp.10-18.
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A32006H0962.
) within three groups of key competences:

  • act independently in a social and working life;
  • use interactively knowledge, information communications technology (ICT), communicate in Slovak, mother tongue and foreign language;
  • work in heterogeneous groups.

These are adjusted to this education level and further detailed within individual school educational programmes (school curricula).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

National authorities consider both state educational programmes (national curricula) and school educational programmes (school curricula) as learning outcome based. Educational standards (in particular its component ‘performance standards’) in both national and school curricula are seen as prescribing learning outcomes.

National curricula address key competences, vocational competences and personal competences for the field of study (group of similar programmes) at this level. Educational standards (composed of performance and content standards) universal for the field of study at this level and specific for each programme are set in the national curricula and addressed in school curricula. The State School Inspectorate is responsible for assessing compliance of school curricula with national curricula.

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

Learners of ISCED 354 programmes with extended practical training account for 24.0% of all secondary and post-secondary VET learners ([65]2017/18. ISCED 2 to 5 full-time and part-time VET learners including performing arts and special education needs learners; except schools of interior ministry and practical schools.).

EQF 4

School-based

Programmes,

4 (5*) years

ISCED 354

Theory-focused school-based four- and five-year VET programmes leading to EQF 4, ISCED 354. (študijný odbor s praktickým vyučovaním formou odbornej praxe) ( [66]); changes apply for arts programmes and sport education
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

13 or 14

Usual entry age

15 to 16

Usual completion age

19 or 20

Length of a programme (years)

4 or 5 (in case of bilingual programmes); up to five years also in the case of special schools serving special education needs learners

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education starts at the age of six and includes nine years of basic education and at least one year of upper secondary education. Thus, as a rule the first year of this programme (16 years of age) belongs to compulsory education to facilitate transition from lower secondary to upper secondary education.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

In individual cases it could be considered CVET provided these learners progress in training that is content-related linked to previous training and follows the period of working in a relevant working position. Legislation does not make a strong difference between initial and continuing VET.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

In public schools it is for free, but private and church-affiliated schools can collect fees. Church-affiliated schools do not make use of this option.

Is it available for adults?

Y

Adults usually apply for part-time (evening and distance) forms.

ECVET or other credits

N

([67]ECVET credits are only used within the geographical mobility.)

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

These programmes are school-based; they focus on VET theory and have a lower share of work-based learning, for example, in school labs, workshops and short-term internships.

Expanding dual into this segment of VET is envisaged from the 2019/20 school year. ([68]This is in fact about efforts to strengthen work-based learning rather than about genuine dual, as a share of VET practice in these programmes is comparably low.)

Part-time (evening and distance) forms are envisaged and described within state educational programmes (national curricula). It is up to individual schools and learners demand whether these forms are opened. Data about part-time studies are collected, however, data on a distance form are not distinguished.

Main providers

Secondary VET schools (stredná odborná škola) ([69]Similarly to conservatories, art education schools (škola umeleckého priemyslu) and sport schools are not subsumed under the term secondary VET schools to indicated their specificity newly backed by legislation.)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

These (non-bilingual) programmes have a prescribed minimum coverage of 4 224 hours, of which a share of general education is 36.36%, VET theory 22.73%, VET practice 19.70% and 21.21% are left on a decision of school. These ‘free’ hours can be used for general education, VET theory or VET practice.

VET practice is composed of hours of working in labs in schools or companies and internships. Lengths of internship differs across fields of study and the total VET practice depends on individual schools (and the decision of schools about ‘free’ hours).

Thus, the share of work-based learning also differs depending on school educational programme (school curricula).

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

Usually work-based learning takes the form of short-term individual internships in companies. Practical training in groups in companies can be agreed, but practical training in school (in school labs, specialised classrooms and workshops) is more typical and cannot be considered a genuine work-based learning.

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adult graduates of lower secondary education.

Some programmes are also offered for special education needs learners within a special schools stream (e.g. promotional graphics, social-educational worker, commercial academy), or exclusively for these learners (masseur for the visually impaired). Some might be slightly adjusted to take into account their challenges.

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

Completion of lower secondary (general) education (grade 9 of basic school equal to ISCED 244) and in some cases specific requirements for skills or a state of health may apply.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a maturita school leaving examination. It is composed of external testing organised by the National Institute for Certified Measurements (in foreign languages; language of instruction and literature; and the Slovak language and Slovak literature in case the language of instruction differs) and internal examination comprising general component (two subjects ([70]In schools with other language of instruction in three subjects.)) and vocational component (theoretical and practical part).

For the practical part up to 15 topics and for the theoretical part and general component subjects 25 topics are prepared, approved by the school director.

Legislation only prescribes to assess relevant knowledge within theoretical part and skills and abilities within practical part. It is left up to the examination commission (and partly also to examination topics) to what extent standards in state and school educational programmes (school and national curricula) are followed and to what detail they are reflected.

The practical part of vocational component lasts for a maximum of 24 hours (33 hours in two specific cases), and, if required by the nature of the exam, it can take up to four weeks.

Theoretical part of vocational component is open to public.

Those who fail in examination can repeat the examination within a time period stated by law.

Diplomas/certificates provided

These programmes lead to a maturita school leaving certificate (vysvedčenie o maturitnej skúške) confirming level of education and VET qualifications attained.

These certificates are officially recognised.

Examples of qualifications

In these programmes, qualifications only rarely address one specific profession. They as a rule certify the ability to perform professional activities related to the respective studies in fields, such as agriculture, forestry and rural development, food-processing; mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, economics and organisation, retail and services, healthcare, etc.

There are qualifications naming respective professions, such as healthcare assistant, and there are qualifications indicating rather areas of performance, such as mechatronics, tourism services, agribusiness – farming.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete these programmes can enter the labour market or continue their studies at post-secondary programmes leading to a (second) VET qualification, specialising programmes or higher professional programmes; they can also progress to higher education programmes.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

General subjects represent 36.36% of study time in four-year programmes and 54.55% (of which two thirds Slovak and foreign languages) in five-year bilingual programmes. In addition, there are 21.21% and 16.36% of study time, respectively, left on a decision of school.

Key competences

Y

State educational programmes (national curricula) also reflect all key competences set by the European reference framework ([71]See European Parliament; Council of the European Union (2006). Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning. Official Journal of the European Union, L 394, pp.10-18.
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A32006H0962.
) within three groups of key competences:

  • act independently in a social and working life;
  • use interactively knowledge, information communications technology (ICT), communicate in Slovak, mother tongue and foreign language;
  • work in heterogeneous groups.

These are adjusted to this education level and further detailed within individual school educational programmes (school curricula).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

National authorities consider both state educational programmes (national curricula) and school educational programmes (school curricula) as learning outcome based. Educational standards (in particular its component ‘performance standards’) in both national and school curricula are seen as prescribing learning outcomes.

National curricula address key competences, vocational competences and personal competences for the field of study (group of similar programmes) at this level. Educational standards (composed of performance and content standards) universal for the field of study at this level and specific for each programme are set in the national curricula and addressed in school curricula. The State School Inspectorate is responsible for assessing compliance of school curricula with national curricula.

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

Learners of school-based ISCED 354 programmes account for 42.8% of all secondary and post-secondary VET learners ([72]2017/18. ISCED 2 to 5 full-time and part-time VET learners including performing arts and special education needs learners; except schools of interior ministry and practical schools.).

EQF 1-3

VET programmes

For SEN learners

ISCED 352

Lower secondary VET programmes leading to EQF level 1 to 3, ISCED 352 ( [100]) (učebný odbor odborného učilišťa)
EQF level
1-3
ISCED-P 2011 level

352

Usual entry grade

10+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

16+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

These learners are served regardless of their age and years of schooling, thus also after the end of compulsory education (10 years), to achieve a maximum of their potential. This programme can be seen as not belonging to compulsory education, but this has no implications on attendance provided learners and families are interested in participation. Legislation explicitly indicates that learners should be accepted even after completion of compulsory education.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

In public schools it is for free, but private and church-affiliated schools can collect fees. Church-affiliated schools do not make use of this option.

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

No credits applied

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

School-based with practical training at school or sheltered workshops

Main providers

Vocational school (odborné učilište) for special education needs learners, a component of special schools stream

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Depends of individual learners and individual schools

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

Mentally-challenged children that are expected to at least partly meet standards set for achieving lower secondary vocational education entitling them to perform simple tasks or work under supervision.

Children with other challenges enter regular VET programmes slightly adjusted to their needs. Children and adults with severe mental challenges enter practical school programmes (praktická škola) ([101]There were 1 211 learners in this programme in 2017/18.).

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

Completion of the last of year of basic school in any age.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a final examination. Performance in practical component results in receiving different certificates and qualifications. Three levels of meeting requirements are officially recognised by law (zaškolenie, zaučenie, vyučenie) and specified in school educational programmes (school curricula). All levels indicate qualifications, however, only the highest level leads to a certificate of apprenticeship

Diplomas/certificates provided

There are four certificates and three qualifications an individual can obtain depending on a level of fulfilment of requirements

  • certificate on completing some part of the programme (that is further specified) (osvedčenie o absolvovaní časti vzdelávacieho programu);
  • certificate on acquiring some skills (that are further specified) (osvedčenie o zaškolení);
  • certificate on achieving some vocational level (that is further specified) (osvedčenie o zaučení);
  • certificate of apprenticeship (výučný list).

These certificates are officially recognised.

Examples of qualifications

Auxiliary works in several areas: preparing meals, gardening, bricklaying, painting, pastry

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete this programme with a certificate of apprenticeship can enter the labour market and be employed in the companies informed about their challenges. Others can enter the labour market and be employed in the companies informed about their limits.

Sheltered workshop are usually the best for their long-term employment.

Destination of graduates

There are no individualised data about graduates. These graduates do not progress in education to achieve a higher level of education, but they can participate in diverse trainings.

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

State educational programmes (national curricula) ([102]National curricula for special education needs learners are prepared by the National Institute for Education; see
http://www.statpedu.sk/sk/deti-ziaci-so-svvp/deti-ziaci-so-zdravotnym-znevyhodnenim-vseobecnym-intelektovym-nadanim/vzdelavacie-programy/vzdelavacie-programy-ziakov-so-zdravotnym-znevyhodnenim-vseobecnym-intelektovym-nadanim/stredne-vzdelavanie-nizsie-stredne-odborne-vzd.html.
) also reflect all key competences set by the European reference framework ([103]See European Parliament; Council of the European Union (2006). Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning. Official Journal of the European Union, L 394, pp.10-18.
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A32006H0962.
) within three groups of key competences:

  • act independently in a social and working life;
  • use interactively knowledge, information communications technology (ICT), communicate in Slovak, mother tongue and foreign language;
  • work in heterogeneous groups.

These are adjusted to special needs of mentally challenged learners and reflected within individual school educational programmes (school curricula).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Learning outcomes are embedded into assessment criteria or learner profiles in school educational programmes (school curricula) used for description of three performance levels of learners (zaškolenie, zaučenie, vyučenie).

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

ISCED 352 special education needs learners account for 2.4% of all secondary and post-secondary VET learners ([104]2017/18. ISCED 2 to 5 full-time and part-time VET learners including performing arts and special education needs learners; except schools of interior ministry and practical schools.). Children who are mentally challenged to the extent that they do not qualify for entering this programme can enter practical schools (praktická škola)

There are also learners with special needs in regular VET programmes that are only slightly adjusted to their needs that are therefore subsumed in the shares of respective regular programmes.

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available