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General themes

VET in Finland comprises the following main features:

  • competence-based approach;
  • personal competence development plan for each learner charting and recognising previously acquired skills;
  • VET teacher profession is attractive;
  • early leaving from education and training is low and decreasing; leaving VET early is still more common than in general education;
  • participation in lifelong learning is high, also due to VET participation.

Distinctive features ([1]Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Finland. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8100_en.pdf
):

National qualification requirements have been based on a competence-based approach since the early 1990s. Flexibility of vocational qualifications has increased, for example by diversifying opportunities to include modules from other vocational qualifications (including further and specialist vocational qualifications) or university of applied sciences degrees. More flexibility will allow students to create individual learning paths and increase their motivation for completing their studies. It is also meant to give education providers an opportunity to meet regional and local labour market demands more effectively. Studies in upper secondary VET are based on individual study plans, comprising both compulsory and optional study modules. Modularisation allows for a degree of individualisation of qualifications:

  • a clearer range of qualifications that better meets the needs of working life;
  • a single competence-based method of completing qualifications;
  • competence-based and individual study paths for all.

The Finnish National Agency for Education reformed all 43 initial, 65 further and 56 specialist vocational qualifications in 2017-18. The fundamental goal of this reform was to reduce the number of qualification titles from 360 to 164 and offer broader programmes, strengthen the competence-based approach of vocational qualification requirements and the modular structure of qualifications. This supports building flexible and individual learning paths and promotes validation of prior learning.

A career as a VET teacher is generally considered attractive, reflected in the high number of applications to enrol in vocational teacher training programmes that invariably exceed intake. While up to a third of the applicants are admitted annually, there are major variations between different fields.

There is growing concern over the risk of social exclusion of young people. In 2018, among 20 to 24 year-olds, 11.8% were neither in employment nor in education and training. Youth unemployment is on the increase; the rate for 15 to 24 year-olds was 20% in 2014, 21.4% in 2016 and 20.4% in 2019. Both rates have improved in recent years ([2]Source: Statistics Finland.).

The government introduced the youth guarantee programme from the beginning of 2013. This offers everyone under 25, as well as recent graduates under 30, a job, on-the-job training, a study place or rehabilitation within three months of becoming unemployed.

Dropout from vocational education and training is far more common than from general upper secondary education, although it is not high in European terms (7.4% in the 2016/17 school year). Prevention of both dropout from education and exclusion from society is a policy priority: every individual who drops out of education and the labour market is seen as being both a personal tragedy and a significant cost to society. A programme was set up in 2012 to develop anticipatory and individualised procedures in guidance and counselling and create pedagogical solutions and practices supporting completion of studies, as well as work-centred learning environments and opportunities. There is also emphasis on creating practices to recognise prior learning more effectively. An additional EUR 4 million has been allocated to this programme. The results of these projects will be seen in 2020 at the earliest.

A new Act on VET was adopted in June 2017 and entered into force on 1 January 2018. Its objective has been to renew VET legislation, the financing system and create a more competence-based and customer-oriented system.

Data from VET in Finland Spotlight 2016 ([3]Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Finland. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8100_en.pdf
), updated in May 2019.

 

 

Population in 2018: 5 513 130 ([4]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It increased by 1.6% since 2013 mainly due to immigration ([5]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

As in many other EU countries, the population is ageing, but the share of young people remains slightly above the EU-28 due to immigration. Since 2000, annual immigration to the country has more than doubled, reaching 249 500 or 4.5% of the population in 2017. This is also due to the increased number of asylum seekers in 2015-16 ([6]Statistics Finland:
www.tilastokeskus.fi/tup/maahanmuutto/maahanmuuttajat-vaestossa/ulkomaan-kansalaiset_en.html#tab1483972171375_1
).

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 31 in 2015 to 50 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 years). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).). This will also force the retirement age to increase, reaching 62.4 years in 2025 ([8]In 2017 it was 61.2 years. Source: Finnish Centre for Pensions:
www.etk.fi/en/statistics-2/statistics/effective-retirement-age/
).

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

According to population forecasts, the proportion of those aged over 65 is increasing faster than the EU average. This is mostly due to the ‘baby-boomer’ generations, born after World War II, reaching pensionable age.

Demographic challenges will impact the availability of the labour force, growth of the economy and, thus, provision of welfare services. The changing population structure will also require improving attainment, preventing early leaving from education and training, facilitating young people’s transition to further education and making flexible learning paths for completing qualifications.

Because of the demographic challenges, e.g. ageing population, the demand for labour in social and welfare services will grow in the future. According to the National Agency for Education ([9]https://www.oph.fi/julkaisut/2011/koulutus_ja_tyovoiman_kysynta_2025), demand for new employees in health care and social services will be nearly 120 000 in the period from 2008 to 2025. This has an impact on VET as, for example, practical nurses and dental assistants receive VET qualifications.

The country has two official languages, Finnish and Swedish.

Education and training institutions teach in Finnish and Swedish, but bilingual providers also exist, providing education in some foreign languages, mostly in English. In the Sámi language regions VET is also provided in a Sámi language.

The language of instruction for initial and continuing VET is decided in the licence for VET provision, granted by the education ministry.

Most companies are small- and medium-sized.

The highest share of the labour force is in human health and social work, manufacturing and in wholesale and retail trade.

 

Employees (age 15 to 74) by economic sector in 2018

Source: Statistics Finland. https://www.tilastokeskus.fi/tup/suoluk/suoluk_tyoelama_en.html

 

The main export sectors are ([10]Source:
https://atlas.media.mit.edu/en/profile/country/fin/ [accessed 2.4.2019].
):

  • machines (23%) ([11]E.g. broadcasting equipment, electrical transformers.);
  • paper goods (16%) ([12]E.g. coated paper, wood pulp.);
  • metals (14%) ([13]E.g. stainless steel, raw zinc.);
  • transportation goods (11%) ([14]E.g. cars, ships.).

Relatively few professions require a specific type of education. Education requirements mainly exist in health care, teaching, rescue and security jobs. Also the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church requires its employees to have education in the field. Such professions usually require a higher education degree.

A few regulated professions require a vocational qualification. Examples are nurses, prison and security guards, construction divers and chimney sweeps.

The labour market is, therefore, considered flexible.

Total unemployment ([15]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) (2018): 6.1% (6.0% in EU-28); it increased by 1.2 percentage points since 2008 ([16]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. In Finland, the financial crisis had less impact on unemployment than in other European countries.

During the crisis there was only a slight increase in unemployment, and the difference between the unemployment rates of the three categories above remained quite stable.

Young people (15-24) with low qualifications (ISCED 0-2) are much more exposed to unemployment than older people who have more working experience. Higher level qualifications also mean less unemployment for young people.

The employment rate of VET graduates (age 20-34, ISCED levels 3 and 4) has increased since 2014 by 2.2 percentage points and reached 79.8% 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].

 

This increase was slower compared with the increase in employment for the same age group graduates of all education types (+2.5pp) in the same period ([17]NB: Breaks in time series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

For more information about the external drivers influencing VET developments in Finland please see the case study from Cedefop's changing nature and role of VET in Europe project [17a]Cedefop (2018). The changing nature and role of vocational education and training in Europe. Volume 3: the responsiveness of European VET systems to external change (1995-2015). Case study focusing in Finland. Cedefop research paper; No 67. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/finland_cedefop_changing_nature_of_vet_-_case_study.pdf

Completion of both upper secondary and tertiary studies is one of the objectives of national education policy. Finland has one of the highest shares of 25-64 year old people with higher education qualifications (43.7%) and one of the lowest shares with low qualifications (11.7%) in the EU.

 

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

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

 

Attainment of Finns aged 25 to 64 has increased significantly since 2000 and slightly more rapidly than in the EU-28 on average ([18]https://findikaattori.fi/en/). Since the 1990s the expansion of adult education and training, as well as the creation of the competence-based qualifications system, offered many ‘baby-boomers’ born after World War II an opportunity to complete a VET qualification.

For more information about VET in higher education in Finland please see the case study from Cedefop's changing nature and role of VET in Europe projectt [18a]Cedefop (2019). The changing nature and role of vocational education and training in Europe. Volume 6: vocationally oriented education and training at higher education level. Expansion and diversification in European countries. Case study focusing on Finland. Cedefop research paper; No 70. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/finland_cedefop_changing_nature_of_vet_-_case_study_0.pdf

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower- secondary

upper -secondary

post-secondary

not applicable

71.6%

100%

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].

 

The male/female share in vocational upper secondary programmes is equal. In further qualification programmes, there are more females.

In 2017, 43% of all male VET students studied in one particular field, i.e. engineering, manufacturing and construction. Business and administration and services both accounted for 17% of all male VET students. Around one-third (31%) of women were enrolled in health and welfare, 20% in services and 25% in business, administration and law.

The share of early leavers from education and training was 8.3% in 2018. The share has decreased since 2009 by 1.6 percentage points (-3.6 percentage points in the EU) and it is very close to the national 2020 target of not more than 8%.

 

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.
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].

 

The overall duration of education and training is influenced by delays at transition points ([19]For example, young graduates from upper secondary education at age of 19 cannot always enter higher education due to limited places available; they often apply several years in a row in order to enrol.) and the overall time spent in each programme. The latter is now being addressed by the new financing mechanism that gives more weight to the effectiveness of studies and is pushing towards timely acquisition of qualifications.

Lifelong learning offers training opportunities for adults, including early leavers from education.

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

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

 

Participation in lifelong learning is traditionally high in Finland. It has increased by 3.4 percentage points since 2014, reaching 28.5% in 2018. It is almost three times higher than the EU-28 average (11.1% in 2018).

VET is an important form of adult education. In 2016 almost 70% of those completing vocational upper secondary qualifications in Finland were under 25. Almost half of those taking further vocational qualifications completed their studies under the age of 35, and over half of those taking specialist vocational qualifications were over 40.

 

VET learners by age group in 2010-17

Source: Statistics Finland (Vipunen). https://vipunen.fi/

 

The share of adults (aged 25 and above) in initial and continuing VET has been increasing both in absolute numbers and proportionally. In the programme aiming for upper secondary vocational qualification the share of adults has been increasing and was 36% in 2017. In further qualification the share has varied between 81-86% and in specialist qualification it has remained roughly the same at 95%.

The education and training system comprises:

  • early childhood education and care (ISCED level 0);
  • pre-primary education (ISCED level 0);
  • primary education and lower secondary education; (ISCED levels 1 and 2), also called basic education;
  • optional additional year (ISCED level 2) (age 16);
  • Upper secondary education (ISCED level 3 and 4);
  • Tertiary education (ISCED levels 6, 7, and 8).

Early childhood education and care (varhaiskasvatus, småbarnsfostran) is not compulsory and participation requires the payment of a small fee. It is provided to children up to age six.

Pre-primary education (esiopetus, förskoleundervisning) is compulsory and it is provided to learners aged 6 years old.

Basic education (perusopetus, grundläggande utbildning) is compulsory. It is divided into primary education, provided in grades 1 to 6, to learners aged 7 to 12, and into lower secondary education, provided in grades 7 to 9, to students aged 13 to 16 years old.

The optional additional year is provided to students at age 16. Its purpose is to improve grades and to prepare for vocational education or familiarisation with the working life.

After basic education students can complete training preparing them for VET (ammatilliseen koulutukseen valmentava koulutus, utbildning som handleder för yrkesutbildning). This preparatory education and training provides students with capabilities for applying to VET, leading to qualifications, and fosters their preconditions for

completing qualifications. Preparatory education and

training for work and independent living (työhön ja itsenäiseen elämään valmentava koulutus, utbildning som handleder för arbete och ett självständigt liv) is available for those who need special support due to illness or injury. It provides students with instruction and guidance according to their personal goals and capabilities.

Upper secondary education (toisen asteen koulutus, utbildning på andra stadiet) is provided in grades 10 to 12, to students aged 17 to 19 years old. It is divided into general (lukiokoulutus, gymnasieutbildning), and vocational (ammatillinen koulutus, yrkesutbildning).

Tertiary education (korkeakoulutus, högskola) is provided by universities (yliopisto, universitet) and by universities of applied sciences (ammattikorkeakoulu, yrkeshögskola).

Promoting employment and self-employment are key elements of VET. Guided and goal-oriented studying at the

workplace is an essential part of VET. Studying at the workplace is either based on apprenticeship or on training agreement. Both can be flexibly combined. Learning at the workplace can be used to acquire competence in all vocational qualifications as well as promoting further training or supplementing vocational skills. Studying at the workplace can cover an entire degree, a module or a smaller part of the studies.

Initial VET (for young people) and continuing VET (for adults) are organised under the same legislation and principles ([20]https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/alkup/2017/20170531).

Initial VET (vocational upper secondary programmes) provides learners with vocational skills they need for entry- level jobs. It also supports learners’ growth into good and balanced individuals and members of society, and it provides them with the knowledge and skills needed for further studies and for the development of their personalities. A holder of a vocational upper secondary qualification has broad-based, basic vocational skills to work in different tasks in the chosen field, as well as more specialised competence and the vocational skills required for work in at least one section of the chosen field.

Continuing VET (further and specialist programmes) provides more comprehensive and specialised competences and requires labour market experience. They are mainly acquired by adults in employment with an IVET qualification; however, this is not a precondition for the taking of the qualification. A holder of a further vocational qualification has the vocational skills that meet work needs and that are more advanced or more specialised than what is required in the vocational upper secondary qualification. A holder of a specialist vocational qualification has vocational skills that meet work needs and that are highly advanced or multidisciplinary.

All programmes are competence-based. This means that completing a qualification does not depend on where and how competences have been acquired. All learners who have completed basic education may enrol in VET, but each provider decides the selection criteria. In some regions there is a competition for potential learners between general upper secondary and VET schools. VET often attracts more applicants than there are places available, especially in programmes in social services, health and sports, vehicle and transport technology, business and administration, electrical and automation engineering, and beauty care.

Study units (also known as modules)

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational units:

• compulsory;

• optional.

In addition to the above, all initial vocational qualification programmes include units that consist of common, rather than specific, vocational competence:

• communication and interaction competence;

• mathematics and science competence;

• citizenship and working life competence.

The common units may be included in further and specialist qualifications but only if this is seen as necessary when making the personal competence development plan.

Key competences

Key competences help students to keep up with the changes in society and working life. In the wake of the 2018 VET reform (Vocational Education and Training Act 531, adopted in 2017 and in force since 2018), key competences are no longer addressed as a separate part of vocational competences. They have been modified so that key competences are included in all vocational skills requirements and assessment criteria. The key competences for lifelong learning are: digital and technological competence; mathematics and science competence; competence development; communication and interaction competence; competence for sustainable development; cultural competence; social and citizenship competence; and entrepreneurial competence.

Personal competence development plan

At the beginning of VET studies objectives for competence development are recorded in a personal competence development plan for each learner. A teacher draws up the plan together with a learner. An employer or another representative of a workplace or other cooperation partner may also participate in the preparation of the personal competence development plan, when required. The plan includes information on, for example, identification and recognition of prior learning, acquisition of missing skills, demonstrations of competence and of other skills, and the guidance and support needed. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The learner can also include units from general upper secondary curriculum, other vocational qualifications (incl. further vocational qualifications and specialist vocational qualifications) or degrees of universities of applied sciences in his personal competence development plan. The plan can be up-dated during the studies whenever necessary.

Work-based learning

Work-based learning (WBL) is provided mainly in real work environments (companies). If this is not possible, it can also be organised in school facilities.

The 2018 reform aimed to increase the share of work-based learning in VET by offering more flexibility in its organisation. All learners take part in WBL and any form of WBL (training agreement or apprenticeship training) may be taken by learners in any qualification programme. WBL may be provided during the whole programme duration and cover the whole qualification, a module/unit, or a smaller part of the programme. The most suitable method for a learner is agreed in the personal competence development plan.

The legislation does not stipulate a maximum or minimum amount of work-based learning but it strongly recommends that VET providers organise at least part of the learning at the workplace. The form of WBL may vary during the studies. A learner may transfer flexibly from a training agreement to apprenticeship training when the prerequisites for concluding an apprenticeship agreement are met (see Section 2.5.2). Work-based learning is guided and goal-oriented training at a workplace, allowing learners to acquire parts of the practical vocational skills included in the desired qualification.

Training agreement

This type of WBL can be offered in all initial and continuing VET programmes. At the very beginning of the training, the personal competence development plan shall be designed by the teacher/guidance counsellor, working life representative and the learner. The WBL periods are defined in this plan.

Learners are not in an employment relationship with the training company. They do not receive salary and employers do not receive any training compensation. But companies gladly recruit people with work experience. Within this system, the learners acquire some experience during their studies and the learner and the company get to know each other. It is possible to change from a training agreement to an apprenticeship training contract, if prerequisites for concluding an apprenticeship agreement are met.

A training agreement period can also be conducted abroad, as an exchange period, e.g. within the Erasmus+ programme or through other programmes or individual arrangements.

Apprenticeship training contract

Any qualification can be acquired through apprenticeship training – a work-based form of VET that is based on a written fixed-term employment contract (apprenticeship contract) between an employer and an apprentice, who must be at least 15 years old. Working hours are at least 25 hours per week. Apprenticeships have been used mainly in further and specialist vocational education. Since the 2018 reform, there is no indication in the legislation where the theoretical part should be acquired. In fact, the word ‘theory’ is no longer in use. Instead, ‘learning in the working place’ and ‘learning in other environments’ terminology applies. If the company is able to cover all the training needs, there is no need for the learner to attend a school venue at all. Learners themselves find work places for the training. The employer has no obligation to keep the apprentice employed after the training period is completed.

VET providers are responsible for initiating the contract. The demand and supply of contracts/work places are not always in balance. There are regional and field-specific differences but usually there are not enough apprenticeship places in companies.

Apprenticeship training is based on the requirements of the relevant qualification, according to which the learner’s personal competence development plan is drawn up. It considers the needs and requirements of the workplace and the learner. Approximately 70-80% of the time used for learning takes place in the workplace where the apprenticeship contract is concluded. Periods of theory and in-company training alternate but a common pattern does not exist; it is agreed in the personal competence development plan.

The employer pays the apprentice’s wages according to the relevant collective agreement for the period of workplace training. For the period of theoretical studies, learners receive social benefits, such as a daily allowance and allowances for accommodation and travel expenses. The education provider pays compensation to cover the costs of training provided in the workplace. The employer and VET institution agree on the amount of compensation before the training takes place; a separate contract is prepared for each learner.

At national level, the general goals for VET and the qualifications structure ([21]Qualification structure is a system of qualifications. It defines how many there are initial, further and specialist VET qualifications: their share, titles and competence points (total and for common units; their division within the qualification is decided by the Finnish National Agency for Education).) are determined by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The ministry also grants the licences for education provision. The Finnish National Agency for Education decides the national requirements of qualifications, detailing the goals and core content of each vocational qualification.

 

Main VET stakeholders

Source: Finnish National Agency for Education.

 

Vocational qualification requirements are developed in broad-based cooperation with stakeholders. The national qualification requirements have been based on a learning-outcomes approach since the early 1990s. Consequently, close cooperation with the world of work has been essential.

Cooperation with the world of work and other key stakeholders is carried out in order to ensure that qualifications support is flexible and promotes efficient transition to the labour market, as well as occupational development and career change. In addition to the needs of the world of work, development of VET and qualifications takes into account consolidation of lifelong learning skills, as well as the individuals’ needs and opportunities to complete qualifications flexibly to suit their own circumstances.

The Ministry of Education and Culture grants authorisations to VET providers, determining the fields of education in which they are allowed to provide education and training and their total learner numbers. VET providers determine which vocational qualifications and which study programmes within the specified fields of education will be organised at their vocational institutions.

To enhance the service capacity of VET providers, they have been encouraged to merge into regional or other strong entities. Across Finland, education providers cover all VET services and development activities. Thus, vocational institutions offer initial and continuing training both for young people and adult learners. Vocational institutions work in close cooperation with the labour market. Their role is to develop their own provision in cooperation with the labour market on the one hand, and to support competence development within small and medium-sized enterprises on the other. This strategy for vocational institutions has been a necessary means of ensuring and increasing the flexibility of education and training. Consequently, larger vocational institutions can offer enough vocational modules to ensure that learners can customise their programmes and choose studies that match changing needs for competences.

Vocational institutions can organise their activities freely, according to the requirements of their fields or their regions, and decide on their institutional networks and other services.

VET providers

Around 70% of VET providers are privately owned and 24% are owned by joint municipal authorities (Figure 10). There are 145 VET providers in total (Figure 10); this is considerably fewer than in 2006 as they have been strongly encouraged to merge. This cost-efficiency trend in education has been apparent since the mid-1990s. The ministry encourages VET providers towards voluntary mergers to ensure that all education providers have sufficient professional and financial resources to provide education.

 

VET providers by ownership

NB: Data as of 30 April 2019. In addition, there were 16 private VET providers who did not receive the licence, but can continue providing VET for a transitional period.
Source: Education Statistics Finland (Vipunen): https://vipunen.fi/

 

The most common types of VET provider are vocational institutions (owned by municipalities, industry and the service sector) ([22]Some VET providers are foundations or limited companies; they are categorised as ‘private’ but municipalities usually have shares in such companies/foundations.). They provide education and training to more than 75% of initial VET learners. Specialised (usually owned by one private company or association, e.g. car manufacturers) and special needs (usually owned by municipalities and associations, e.g. Organisation for Respiratory Health) vocational institutions, fire, police and security service institutions (national) and folk high schools, sports institutions, music schools and colleges (local) account for less than 10% of learners in initial VET. Vocational adult education centres (public and regional) mostly provide further and specialist VET.

Private vocational institutions operating under the 2018 VET Act are supervised by the Ministry of Education and Culture. Similar to public VET providers, they receive government subsidies and have the right to award official qualification certificates.

Out of 145 VET providers in total, there are 26 specialised vocational institutions, which are generally maintained by manufacturing and service sector enterprises. They are national private institutions, also referred to as ‘government dependent private institutions’, which provide training for their own needs outside the national qualifications structure described above, and which mainly focus on continuing training for their own staff. The specialised vocational institutions (also national private institutions) have been authorised by the Ministry of Education and Culture to provide education and training. Although these institutions receive state funding, most of the costs are covered by the owners of these enterprises (or by the enterprises responsible for them).

Current financing system

Education is publicly funded through public tax revenue at all levels. This has been perceived in Finland as being a means of guaranteeing equal education opportunities for the entire population irrespective of social or ethnic background, gender and place of residence. Funding criteria for receiving state funding are uniform for public and private VET providers.

Private funding only accounts for 2.6% of all education expenditure. Its share is slightly higher in upper secondary VET and higher education, but still remains below 5%.

Public funding is mainly provided by the State (30%) and local authorities (municipalities) (70%). VET providers decide on the use of all funds granted. In upper secondary VET, operating costs per learner vary between EUR 6 488 for all apprenticeships (companies cover most of the costs) to EUR 27 956 in special needs VET ([23]The most recent available data of 2017.).

In VET (excluding apprenticeships and special needs), funding varies by study field. Total VET funding is 1.5% from government spending and 13% from the spending of the Ministry of Education and Culture (2019).

 

Operating costs per learner in upper secondary VET by study field in 2012, 2014, 2017 (euros)

Source: Education Statistics Finland (Vipunen): https://vipunen.fi/

 

At the beginning of 2018, the unit price of apprenticeship training was increased to the same level as that of institution-based training. This is expected to encourage education providers to increase their offer of apprenticeship training. In addition, if the apprentice is a long-term unemployed jobseeker, lacks professional skills, or is disabled, the employer may also receive a state-funded pay subsidy.

The 2022 financing system for better performance

With the amendment to the Act on the Financing of the Provision of Education and Culture (532/2017) that entered into force at the beginning of 2018, a single coherent funding system was established for all VET programmes. The Act includes one uniform funding system for the provision of VET covering vocational upper secondary education and training, vocational further education and training, apprenticeship training and labour market training leading to a qualification (see Section 2.9.3). Funding criteria are uniform irrespective of the type of education provider.

The new system of funding is moving away from the current model of core funding and a very small element of performance funding (5%), towards one based on funding divided into core, performance and effectiveness and strategy.

 

Share of VET funding elements from 2022

Source: Ministry of Education and Culture; Finnish National Agency for Education (2018). Finnish VET in a nutshell. ISBN: 978-952-263-592-1.

 

  • 50% core funding is based on the number of students; it is important for forward planning and ensuring future provision of VET in all fields and for all students;
  • 35% performance funding is based on the number of completed qualifications and qualification units; it is meant to steer education providers to target education and qualifications in accordance with competence needs and to intensify study processes;
  • 15% effectiveness funding is based on students’ access to employment, pursuit of further education and feedback from both students and the labour market ([24]VET providers must collect these data. The system is not fully operational yet as the new financing system will be ready in 2022.); it aims to encourage education providers to redirect education to fields where labour is needed to ensure that education corresponds to the needs of the working life and that it is of high quality and provides the students with the competence to study further;
  • in addition, a relatively small amount of strategy funding (decided by parliament) will be made available; it is meant to support development and actions that are important from the education policy standpoint. It could be used, for example, for VET national development projects, skills competitions and developing education provider networks (e.g. mergers).

The new funding system will gradually be introduced and will be fully operational in 2022.

 

VET funding elements 2018-22 (%)

Source: Ministry of Education and Culture.

 

In VET, there are:

  • teachers of vocational units, teachers of common units, special needs teachers;
  • trainers.

Teaching is a popular profession in Finland. The popularity of vocational teacher education has been consistent over many years, largely because of the flexible arrangements for completing studies. While up to a third of the applicants are admitted annually, there are major variations between different fields.

Those who apply for a place in vocational teacher education are, on average, older than applicants of other forms of teacher education. This is because applicants are required to have prior work experience in their own field. The average age of applicants and those admitted as learners is approximately 40 years.

The proportion of women among applicants and teacher training learners has increased noticeably in recent years. Unlike in other teacher education programmes, it is more difficult for women than for men to gain a place in vocational teacher education. Regarding salaries and terms and conditions of employment, there are no remarkable differences between teachers in general education and VET.

Although there are no official data for trainers ([25]In-company trainers (nationally referred to as workplace instructors) are responsible for supervising learners during their on-the-job learning periods or apprenticeship training in enterprises.) on the attractiveness of their profession, the general impression is that trainers are generally satisfied with their training tasks. In many cases, they perceive more responsibilities and autonomy as recognition of their professionalism; time spent with young learners away from normal routine is also considered to be a reward. Trainers participate in the competence demonstrations involving trainers in learner assessment at the workplace. This assessment plays a significant role on learners’ final qualification certificates.

 

Teacher and trainer qualifications

Source: https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/ajantasa/1998/19980986#L5

 

First, teachers of vocational units must have an appropriate higher education degree in their own vocational sector. If such a degree does not exist, it can also be supplemented by the highest possible other qualification in the sector. One specific challenge has been to find qualified teachers in some fields. Another challenge is the sometimes limited shop floor experience of teachers with a university degree. In some fields, therefore now possible to acquire teaching qualifications by completing a specialist vocational qualification (ISCED 4) or some other qualification or training that provides solid competence in the field concerned.

Second, they have a pedagogical teacher training qualification with 60 ECTS credit points, and third, they need relevant work experience in their own field. Teachers of vocational units take teacher’s pedagogical studies at five vocational teacher education institutions (universities of applied sciences) while teachers of common units (such as languages and mathematics) generally complete them at universities.

The content of teacher training is updated continuously by vocational teacher education colleges. Teacher education institutions enjoy wide autonomy in deciding on their curricula and training arrangements. Legislation sets the qualification requirements, but only at a very general level.

Requirements for trainers

Trainers are generally experienced foremen and skilled workers. They frequently have a vocational or professional qualification but hold no pedagogical qualifications.

There are no formal qualifications requirements for trainers in Finland. Their participation in continuing professional development is also left completely up to them and their employers.

There are, however, training programmes available for trainers that follow national guidelines (as recommended by the Finnish National Agency for Education). According to the guidelines, training for trainers comprises three modules, providing participants with the capabilities required in order to: plan training at the workplace; provide vocational competence demonstrations; instruct VET learners and assess their learning; and impart vocational skills. The Finnish National Agency for Education recommends that, where possible, people acting as workplace trainers should participate in the training of trainers. VET education providers are responsible for providing the training.

There is also plenty of autonomy for continuing professional development (CPD) for VET teachers. The CPD obligation of teaching staff is defined partly in legislation and partly in the collective agreement negotiated between the Trade Union of Education in Finland and the employers’ organisation.

Most continuing training is provided free of charge and teachers enjoy full salary benefits during their participation. Funding responsibility rests with teachers’ employers, mainly local authorities. Training content is decided by individual employers and the teachers themselves.

The Parasta osaamista project set up a network for improving VET teacher’s CPD. It started in 2016 and is coordinated by Jyväskylä university. The aim of the project is to support education staff during the implementation of the 2017-2018 VET reform. Emphasis is put on developing coherent practices; unifying quality criteria; promoting competence-based and customer-oriented VET in cooperation with the world of work; mapping the competence needs of VET staff; developing tools and operational models for workplace learning; and the induction of workplace instructors.

The 2016 teacher education development programme (Opettajankoulutuksen kehittämisohjelma) also aims to adopt a systematic and coherent structure for teachers’ competence development during their careers. It is recommended that education institutions prepare competence development plans, which will be underpinned by strategic plans and evaluations of competence by education providers. Particular attention is being paid to building up the vocational skills of young teachers and their opportunities for receiving support. CPD, promoting the integration of Finnish language learning into the vocational studies, language awareness focused teaching and collaborative instruction, is being organised.

VET schools offer short courses/events to upskill workplace instructors in relation to various themes, such as how to guide special needs learners at the workplace. The Parasta osaamista project also offers support for workplace instructors.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers ([26]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers).

 

 

Skills anticipation activities are well established and linked to policy-making. For more than a decade, socio-economic factors such as the effects of the economic recession, the gradually decreasing labour force, and the ageing population have increased the need to improve the match between supply and demand skills. As a result, significant investment in skills anticipation has been undertaken by the government and its partners. The aim is to steer the education system – both VET and higher education – to meet the needs of the labour market.

At national level, the Finnish National Agency for Education, which operates under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and Culture, produces long-term (10+ years) national forecasts ([27]https://beta.oph.fi/fi/tilastot-ja-julkaisut/julkaisut/osaaminen-2035) on the demand for labour and education needs in support of decision-making. It is supported by the skills anticipation forum, established in early 2017. The Ministry of Education and Culture decides on study places by field of education (around 10). At regional level, councils anticipate skills needs in the municipalities in the region. The forecasting data is also used for guidance and employment counselling to provide information regarding future employment opportunities. The Finnish National Agency for Education also supports regional forecasting efforts, which are carried out under the supervision of regional councils. The goal is to steer the number of learner places in education and training provision to ensure that it matches developments in the demand for labour as closely as possible.

In general, there is a high degree of stakeholder involvement in skills anticipation activities. Major trade unions, employers, regional councils, and representatives of education institutions are involved in anticipation exercises. The responsibility of education providers for anticipating and responding to labour market changes has increased, as operational targeting and steering powers ([28]It means among other things that VET providers can decide within the limits of the licence received from Ministry of Education and Culture what qualifications and training programmes to offer.) have been devolved to universities, universities of applied sciences, and VET providers. Providers are required to play an active role in addressing the national/regional labour market skills needs.

In addition, a wide range of national and regional EU-funded anticipation and forecast projects are carried out by organisations such as research institutions, labour market and industry organisations, VET providers, universities and universities of applied sciences. In particular, regional anticipation activities have developed rapidly in the past decade. Key players in these activities include regional councils, the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres), VET providers, and higher education institutions.

Governance and funding of the relevant exercises are the remit of three ministries (Education and Culture, Finance, Economic Affairs and Employment). These ministries engage in a variety of skills anticipation exercises, taking advantage of the long-term baseline forecasts of economic development produced by the Institute for Economic Research (Valtion Taloudellinen Tutkimuskeskus), a specialised state institution under the Ministry of Finance. The first regional anticipation projects were launched at the beginning of the 2000s. The ministries mostly finance development prognoses of branches, which also include the demand for labour.

Skills anticipation influences government policies on VET, higher education and adult education. Forecasts of future skills demand have an impact on decisions about education supply. Skills anticipation also has an impact on curriculum planning in VET and higher education institutions.

Dissemination of the data generated by skills anticipation exercises is an important element of the anticipation activity. The aim is to make the output from anticipation exercises accessible to a wide audience (policy-makers, employers, jobseekers and young people, etc.) through a range of channels including reports, workshops and online publications. Despite the focus on dissemination of skills anticipation data, there is a need to improve the user friendliness of the existing database to improve information for learners, job seekers and employers ([29]This section is based on Cedefop’s Skills Panorama (2017). Skills anticipation in Finland. Analytical highlights series.
http://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/analytical_highlights/skills-anticipation-finland
).

Quantitative anticipation

The Finnish National Agency for Education is responsible for quantitative anticipation. It has developed the Mitenna model for anticipating long-term demand for labour and educational needs. The model provides long-term data on changes in the demand for labour, natural wastage of labour ([30]A reduction in the number of employees, which is achieved by not replacing those who leave.), demand for skilled labour and educational needs. Quantitative anticipation is used to provide information on quantitative needs for vocationally and professionally oriented education and training in upper secondary vocational education and training, university of applied sciences education and university education. The focus is on anticipating the demand for labour over a period of circa 15 years ([31]Growth in competencies for Finland: proposed objectives for degrees and qualifications for the 2020s (Suomi osaamisen kasvu-uralle. Ehdotus tutkintotavoitteista 2020-luvulle).
http://julkaisut.valtioneuvosto.fi/handle/10024/75163
).

Qualitative anticipation

The Finnish National Agency for Education coordinated a project on future competences and skills, known as the VOSE project, between 2008 and 2012. The aim of this project was to create a process model for anticipating vocational competence and skills needs for the future (looking 10 to 15 years ahead).

The knowledge produced through the model serves different levels of education, including vocational, university of applied sciences and university education. Anticipatory knowledge may be utilised, for example, in the national core curriculum, in curriculum planning and the development of the content of education.

The development of the anticipation model has involved social partners representing the piloted sectors (the real estate and building sectors, the social, welfare and health care sectors and the tourism and catering sectors), representatives of research institutions and of various fields of education, as well as other experts in the sectors in question.

The anticipation model created in the VOSE project is now used in the qualitative anticipation of education and training. The model is used to anticipate the skills needs in 2 to 3 fields every year ([32]https://www.oph.fi/english/education_development/anticipation).

National forum for skills anticipation

The National Forum for Skills Anticipation (Osaamisen ennakointifoorumi) serves as a joint expert body in educational anticipation for the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish National Agency for Education. The system consists of a steering group, anticipation groups and a network of experts. The task is to analyse changing competence and skills needs; their impact on the development of education on the basis of the anticipation data; and to promote the interaction of education and training with working life in cooperation with the Ministry and Finnish National Agency for Education. Anticipation groups consist of representatives of employers, employees, education providers, educational administrators, teaching staff and researchers in each field. Anticipation groups are involved in both qualitative and quantitative anticipation work. There are nine anticipation groups representing the following fields:

• natural resources, food production and the environment;

• business and administration;

• education, culture and communications;

• transport and logistics;

• hospitality services;

• built environment;

• social, health and welfare services;

• technology industry and services;

• process industry and production.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([33]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European Skills Index ([34]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index)

The VET curriculum system consists of the:

  • national qualification requirements;
  • education provider´s competence assessment plan;
  • learner`s personal competence development plan.

 

Designing VET qualifications

Source: Finnish National Agency for Education.

 

National qualification requirements

Before the 2018 reform, the national qualification requirements for different qualifications were often updated every five to 10 years on average or whenever necessary, either partially or completely. Since 2018, updating the qualifications became a continuous process based on the changing needs in the world of work and the results of anticipation of skill needs.

The starting point for updating a qualification may be changes in the skills needs in the labour market. These changes can lead to a change of the qualification requirements, or even the qualification structure, of initial, further and specialist vocational qualifications. Changes to the qualification structure also require qualification requirements to be renewed. The process of preparing a qualification requirements document usually takes one to two years.

Within the national qualifications framework (NQF), the Finnish National Agency for Education has placed upper secondary vocational qualifications and further vocational qualifications at level 4 (referenced to level 4 of the EQF) and specialist vocational qualifications at level 5. The ECVET system ([35]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/events-and-projects/projects/european-credit-system-vocational-education-and-training-ecvet) was put into practice in Finland in 2014 and from the beginning of August 2018, in accordance with ECVET recommendations, vocational upper secondary qualifications have covered 180 credit points; further vocational qualifications 120, 150 or 180 credit points; and specialist vocational qualifications 160, 180 or 210 credit points. One year of full-time study corresponds to 60 credit points.

The qualification requirements are drawn up under the leadership of the Finnish National Agency for Education in tripartite cooperation with employers, employees and the education sector. Self-employed people are also represented in the preparation of qualification requirements in fields where self-employment is prevalent. The qualification requirements determine: the units included in the qualification; any possible specialisations made up of different units; selection of optional units in addition to compulsory ones; the vocational skills required for each qualification unit; the guidelines for assessment (targets and criteria of assessment); and the ways of demonstrating vocational skills.

The qualification requirements and the vocational competences form the basis for identifying the types of occupational work processes in which vocational skills for a specific qualification can be demonstrated and assessed.

When an update is initiated, the Finnish National Agency for Education sets up a qualification project, inviting experts representing employees, employers and teachers in the field to participate. In the course of its work, the expert group must also consult other experts in the world of work. Once the expert group has completed a draft version of the new qualification requirements, the document will be sent to representatives of unions, organisations, the world of work and VET providers for a broad consultation process. Following this process, the Finnish National Agency for Education adopts the qualification requirements as a nationally binding regulation.

The Finnish National Agency for Education determines the working life committee under which the specific qualification will fall, or establishes a new working life committee for the new qualification. Working life committees are tripartite bodies consisting of employers and employees’ representatives, teachers and self-employed people. They play a key role in the quality assurance of VET. They ensure the quality of the implementation of competence demonstrations and competence assessment and develop the VET qualifications structure and qualification requirements.

Vocational qualifications are structured in a modular way. These modules comprise units of work or activities found in the world of work. Each vocational qualification unit is a specific occupational area, which can be separated into an independent and assessable component. The vocational skills requirements determined for each qualification unit focus on the core functions of the occupation, mastery of operating processes and the occupational practices of the field in question. These also include skills generally required in working life, such as social skills and key competences for lifelong learning. All qualification requirements share a common structure.

The targets of assessment defined in the qualification requirements indicate those areas of competence on which special attention is focused during assessment. The criteria for assessment have been derived from the vocational skills requirements. The assessment criteria determine the grades awarded for units in upper secondary vocational qualifications and the standard of an acceptable performance in further and specialist qualifications. The section entitled ‘Ways of demonstrating vocational skills’ describes how candidates are to demonstrate their vocational skills in vocational demonstrations.

The qualifications requirements adopted by the Finnish National Agency for Education are published in electronic form on the Finnish National Agency for Education website.

Competence assessment plans

Competence assessment plans are prepared by the respective education provider for each training programme or qualification. The plan details the guidelines and procedures adopted by the education provider regarding the implementation of competence assessment. The plan includes how the following aspects are to be carried out (who does what, how, where it is registered and how the student, staff and stakeholders ([36]Teachers, guidance and counselling staff and assessors of competence.) are informed): recognition of prior learning; demonstration of competence; skills assurance before the demonstration of competence; assessment; certification; preparatory programme planning; and monitoring the implementation of the plan itself.

The competence assessment plan is used by teachers, guidance personnel and assessors of competence. The feasibility of the plan is self-monitored and self-assessed by VET providers as part of their quality assurance system. The plan is attached to the application for a licence to provide VET.

Learner personal competence development plan

At the beginning of VET studies objectives for competence development are recorded in a personal competence development plan for each learner. A teacher draws up the plan together with a learner. An employer or another representative of a workplace or other cooperation partner may also participate in the preparation of the personal competence development plan, when required. The plan includes information on, for example, identification and recognition of prior learning, acquisition of missing skills, competence demonstrations and other demonstration of skills, and the guidance and support needed. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The learner can also include units from general upper secondary curriculum, other vocational qualifications (incl. further vocational qualifications and specialist vocational qualifications) or degrees of universities of applied sciences in their personal competence development plan. The plan can be up-dated during the studies whenever necessary.

Involvement of the world of work in developing qualification requirements and quality in VET

The representatives of the world of work participate in the anticipation of skills and education needs both nationally and regionally, for example through anticipation groups, advisory committees and through consultation processes. They participate in drawing up the qualification requirements at national level and they are represented in working life committees.

At regional level the representatives from enterprises participate in the organisation and planning of training and skills demonstrations, regional committees as well as assessment of skills demonstrations. This allows continuous feedback from the world of work.

In 2017, the former 30 national education and training committees were replaced by nine anticipating groups representing different vocational fields (see Section 3.1.3). Members of these groups are representatives of employers, employees and self-employed entrepreneurs, as well as VET providers, higher education institutions, teaching staff, researchers and educational administration. The anticipating groups are appointed until 2020. Their tasks include:

• analysing changing and new competence and skills needs of working life and their implications for different levels of education;

• offering recommendations for the development of VET programmes;

• strengthening cooperation between upper secondary VET and higher education;

  • providing public authorities with recommendations on new development needs and cooperation between the world of work and education.

Continuous improvement of VET quality is a key priority in Finland. The following activities are essential when assuring that vocational education and training meets the requirements of the world of work.

 

Stakeholder roles in assuring VET quality

Source: Finnish National Agency for Education.

 

The quality assurance of VET consists of VET provider´s own quality management, national VET steering and external evaluation.

VET legislation sets the frame for VET providers’ operations. The law requires that the VET provider is responsible for the quality of qualifications and programmes offered and for their constant improvement. VET providers have to have a functional quality assurance system in place. According to the law, they must evaluate the quality, effectiveness (employability, pursuit of further education and feedback from learners and working life) and ‘profitability’ (i.e. how well the operations have met the needs of the learner and the world of work, and have the resources been used in an optimal way) of the qualifications, programmes and other operations. The purpose of VET provider self-evaluation is to recognise strengths and targets to be developed. The ministry offers non-compulsory criteria for self-evaluation to support the process.

The national VET steering includes legislation and regulations related to financing and qualification requirements. It also includes quality strategy, quality award competition, government subsidies for quality improvement, supporting materials produced by the ministry and the agency and criteria for self- and peer evaluation.

According to the VET legislation, VET providers also have to participate regularly in external evaluations of their operations and quality management systems and publish the main results of those evaluations. External evaluation includes the quality assurance of competence demonstrations and competence assessment made by the working life committees and evaluations made by the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre.

Supervision of qualifications

Working life committees are responsible for the supervision of qualifications. Their aim is to ensure the quality and working life orientation of VET. They are statutory bodies of elected officials, appointed by the Finnish National Agency for Education to manage a public duty.

The committees’ duties are:

• ensuring the quality of the implementation of competence demonstrations and assessment;

• participating in the development of qualification structure and vocational qualifications;

• processing learners’ rectification requests concerning competence assessments.

Working life committee members handle these tasks for three years, in addition to their regular duties. A maximum of nine members may be appointed to each working life committee. They must represent employers, employees, teachers and, if self-employment is common within the sector in question, self-employed professionals. There are 39 working life committees. Each working life committee is responsible for one or more qualifications. Working life committees participate in developing the qualification structure and in designing the qualification requirements. They also participate in quality assurance of skills demonstrations and assessment through national feedback, follow-up and evaluation data, and may also visit the skills demonstrations events, when necessary. Finally, they handle the requests related to the rectification of assessment.

Quality assurance of VET providers

The legislation on VET gives education providers a great deal of freedom in deciding on the measures concerning their education provision, use of public funding and quality management. The legislation obliges the providers to evaluate their training provision and its effectiveness as well as to participate in external evaluations. This means that the education providers need to have their own operating system that contains relevant and functional quality management measures (selected by VET providers).

Self-evaluation and external evaluation supports VET providers’ continuous improvement and results-oriented performance. Through evaluation, providers obtain information about major strengths and development needs. VET providers monitor, assess and analyse results achieved systematically through means such as surveys, quantitative indicators and self-evaluation. In VET, data and information are most often collected through queries ([37]VET provider collects feedback from learners twice: at the beginning of studies and at the end.) and assessments of learning outcomes. The VET provider collects the feedback from learners and saves the learners´ answers in the online system that has been developed for this purpose. The Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish National Agency for Education have access to the results.

External evaluation of training is frequently ([38]The term used in the legislation.) carried out, for example, by the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre. Internal audits, benchmarking and peer reviews are other methods employed in evaluation.

Learner feedback

Starting from 2020, one sixth of effectiveness-based funding will be granted to VET providers based on the feedback from learners. The feedback is collected via a centrally designed questionnaire which learners answer twice: at the beginning of the studies and at the end, once the learner has demonstrated all the skills and competences needed for the qualification. Learner feedback and its collection are regulated in the legislation.

In the questionnaire, the learners respond to statements rating them on a five-point scale from one (strongly disagree) to five (strongly agree). At the beginning of their studies learners are required to rate statements relating to the following themes: flexibility of starting time of studies and content of the individual programme; accreditation of prior learning; and support and guidance needed. At the end of their studies, learners give feedback concerning the following themes: flexibility in studies; the ways in which teaching facilities and the learning environment supported studies; receiving support and guidance during studies; equity between learners and workers at the workplace; opportunities to study and learn in the workplace; gaining of entrepreneurial competence; and assessment of their individual competence and readiness for the working life and further studies.

New quality assurance guidelines

The new quality assurance guidelines are currently being discussed by stakeholders to be published by the end of 2019. Since 2011, VET quality strategy has been in place, drawn up by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The 2018 reformed system has increased the significance of the quality management, together with the providers’ role in managing VET. The new strategy is supposed to cover all parts of the national quality assurance system:

• VET providers’ quality management;

• national steering of VET;

• external evaluation of VET;

except the method that VET providers may select themselves.

Validation of non-formal and informal learning has relatively long and established roots in Finland and the legislation and policies are well developed and detailed. However, there is no one single law for this; laws and regulations for each field of education define validation separately. These fields include general upper secondary education, vocational education and training (including continuing VET), and higher education. The core message of the legislation is that validation of non-formal and informal learning is a subjective right of the individual and the competences of an individual should be validated regardless of when and where they have been acquired. Validation is based either on:

• documentation presented; or

• competence demonstration.

The Vocational Upper Secondary Education and Training Decree (673/2017) defines the principles for recognising prior learning. Each student´s personal competence development plan must include recognition of prior learning. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The recognition of prior learning must be done in all VET qualifications: in vocational, further and specialist qualifications.

Equal opportunities are a long-standing fundamental principle of the Finnish education policy. The background of learners, including their financial circumstances, should not be a barrier to participation in education. Most education provision is publicly funded and free for learners from pre- primary to higher education levels. In addition, financial support for learners of all ages is available.

Financial support for full-time learners

Financial support is available for full-time VET learners. The main forms of support are study grants, housing supplements with transport subsidy and government guarantees for student loans. The first two of these are government-financed monthly benefits, while student loans are granted by banks.

Study grants

A study grant is available as soon as eligibility for child benefit finishes at the age of 17. The monthly amount before tax ([39]Learners pay taxes from their allowances if they receive income from other source(s).) is between EUR 38.50 and 249.01 depending on the age, marital status and type of accommodation.

Housing supplement and transport subsidy

The housing supplement covers 80% of the rent, but may not exceed EUR 201.60 per month. In addition, school transport subsidy is available when the distance between home and school exceeds 10 km and the monthly cost of travel is at least 54 euro.

Government guarantees for student loans

The government guarantees that student loans (with some exceptions) are available to learners who are receiving a study grant. A loan guarantee can, however, also be granted to learners, who are not receiving a study grant, if they live with their parent and they are 18–19 years of age and attend a secondary level education institution, or if they are under 17 and live alone.

Student loans are available from banks operating in Finland. The lending bank will check the loan guarantee details with the social insurance institution of Finland (Kansaneläkelaitos or Kela) when granting a loan. Interest, repayment and other terms and conditions applying to the loan are agreed between the bank and the learner. The amount of the loan is EUR 300 per month (in secondary education for learners under age 18) or EUR 650 per month (in secondary education for learners of age 18 or older )

Learning material supplement

Although upper secondary education is free of charge, learners are required to buy their own learning materials (for instance, books, toolsets and any other materials). A learning material supplement of EUR 46.80 per month (equal to approximately EUR 1 400 for three semesters) is to be granted from August 2019 onwards for VET learners if they are:

  • between age 17 and 19 and living with their parents/guardians;
  • 17 years old and living on their own; or
  • under age 17 and their parents’ annual income is less than EUR 41 100.

Study leave for employees

All employees in a contractual and public service employment relationship are entitled to study leave when the full-time employment relationship with the same employer has lasted for at least one year ([40]In one or multiple periods.). The maximum length of study leave with the same employer is two years over a period of five years. If the employment has lasted for less than a year, but for at least three months, the maximum length of study leave is five days.

The studies must be subject to public supervision. The study leave is unpaid unless otherwise agreed with the employer.

Employment Fund support for adult learners

The Employment Fund administered by social partners of the Finnish labour market supports employees’ professional development leading to a qualification. In 2015, the Employment Fund granted EUR 157 million in adult education allowances and scholarships for qualified employees.

Adult education allowance

An adult education allowance is available to employees and self-employed people who wish to go on a study leave for at least two months. The allowance is a legal right and can be granted to an applicant who has a working history of at least eight years (or at least five years by 31 July 2010), and who has been working for the same employer for at least one year. To qualify for the allowance, the applicant must participate in studies leading to a qualification or in further vocational training organised by a Finnish education institution under public supervision. The duration of the allowance is determined on the basis of the applicant’s working history and ranges from 2 to 15 months. Since 1 August 2010, the amount of the allowance has been equal to the amount of the earnings-related unemployment allowance. For example, in 2019, on the basis of a monthly salary of EUR 2 000, a learner will receive a gross education allowance of EUR 1 185.34 ([41]https://www.tyollisyysrahasto.fi/en/benefits-for-adult-students/full-adult-education-allowance/).

Scholarships for qualified employees

A scholarship is available for those who have completed a vocational, further or specialist qualification. The amount of the one-time scholarship is EUR 390 and it is tax-free. The scholarship must be applied for within a year after completing the qualification.

Depending on the agreement between employer and employee, an employer who takes on an apprentice may receive training compensation to cover the costs of training provided at the workplace. The amount of compensation to be paid to the employer is agreed separately with employer and VET provider as part of each apprenticeship contract. Average training compensation varies between EUR 100-200 per month for initial VET qualification and EUR 10-100 per month for continuing VET. It is funded by the municipal funds and is paid either by the local apprenticeship centre or the education institution providing apprenticeship training.

Guidance and counselling start at the beginning of basic education and continue through all education levels. The guidance and counselling provided within the education system are complemented by guidance services offered by public employment offices.

In upper secondary VET, guidance counsellors play a key role in coordinating, planning and implementing guidance and counselling. VET learners have a right to receive guidance and every VET provider has a guidance counsellor available (providers can share this service).

Teachers also play a big role in giving guidance for learners. But guidance is also an integral part of the work of all teachers. A teacher’s task is to guide and motivate the learners to complete their qualifications, support them in the planning of their further studies, help them to find their strengths and develop their learning skills. Guidance and counselling should enable all pupils to reach the best results possible for them. In the workplace, guidance is coordinated by a qualified trainer.

Teachers working as guidance counsellors in Finnish schools must have a teacher training qualification at Master’s level, supplemented by studies in guidance and counselling.

The topics covered by guidance and counselling include different education and training options and the development of learners’ capabilities to make choices and solutions concerning education, training and future career. Educational support and guidance also covers areas such as support for learning according to the individual capacity of the learners, school attendance and learner welfare.

There have been few major changes in guidance and counselling in recent years but, within the 2018 VET reform, the role of guidance and counselling has been emphasised. VET was made more individual and flexible for learners.

Learners’ individual needs and existing competences are taken into account in all vocational studies. A personal competence development plan is prepared for each learner. The plan is drawn up by the teacher or guidance counsellor together with the learner and, when applicable, a representative from the world of work. The plan identifies and recognises the skills previously acquired by the learner and outlines what kind of competences the learner needs and how they will be acquired in different learning environments.

In addition to guidance and counselling related to learning methods and practices, the personal competence development plan includes information on necessary supportive measures. The support received by a learner may include special teaching and study arrangements due to learning difficulties, injury or illness, or studies supporting learning abilities.

Please also see:

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 5

Specialist VET,

WBL varies

ISCED 454

Work-based specialist VET, tailored individually, leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 454 (Erikoisammattitutkinto)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

454

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

19+

Usual completion age

19+

Length of a programme (years)

The duration depends on a person´s prior learning; usually it is less than 2 years ([59]Duration depends on the prior learning of the student, especially in the case of further and specialist vocational programmes, and is defined in the personal competence development plan of each learner.)

  
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?

It is possible to collect moderate student fees; on average 15% of the costs of the training.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • training agreement;
  • apprenticeship;
  • programmes that comprise work-based learning but are not apprenticeships or fall under a training agreement category.
Main providers

The most common type of VET providers is vocational institutions (owned by municipalities, industry and service sector) ([61]Some VET providers are foundations or limited companies; they are categorised as ‘private’ but municipalities usually have shares in such companies/foundations.). They provide education and training to more than 75% of initial VET learners. Specialised (usually owned by one private company or association, e.g. a car manufacturer) and special needs (usually owned by municipalities and associations, e.g. Organisation for Respiratory Health) vocational institutions, fire, police and security service institutions (national) and folk high schools, sports institutions, music schools and colleges (local) account for less than 10% of learners in initial VET. Vocational adult education centres (public and regional) mostly provide further and specialist VET.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

The share of work-based learning (WBL) is individually planned for each learner in the personal competence development plan.

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • training agreement;
  • apprenticeship training contract.
Main target groups

Specialist vocational qualifications (continuing VET) are for adults who usually have work experience or other prior learning.

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

Admission to further vocational qualifications is decided on a case-by-case basis, taking work experience into consideration. However, work experience or prior qualifications are not a precondition for enrolling.

Assessment of learning outcomes

No final examinations exist in VET. Once learners successfully complete all the studies included in their personal competence development plans, the VET provider grants a certificate for the entire qualification or for one or more units of the qualification. All VET programmes ensure eligibility for higher education studies.

Diplomas/certificates provided

The national qualification requirements define the required vocational competence, principles of assessment and how the competence is demonstrated. They are drawn up by the Finnish National Agency for Education in cooperation with working life partners ([62]Representatives of the employees/self-employed and employers (altogether called ‘working life’ in Finland).).

Each qualification has a number of competence points:

  • 180 for initial/upper secondary vocational qualifications;
  • 120/150/180 for further vocational qualifications;
  • 160/180/210 specialist vocational qualifications.
Examples of qualifications

Specialist vocational qualification in horse care and management ([63]The specialist vocational qualification in horse care and management comprises four competence areas and qualification titles (in parentheses):
- managing horse stables operations (head groom);
- working as a specialist in farriery (farrier (SQ));
- equestrian sports management (equestrian sports manager);
- riding instruction (riding instructor (SQ)).
)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • enter the labour market
    • employed full time
    • employed and in education;
  • continue with further education.
Destination of graduates

NB: 2016 data (most recent).
Source: Education Statistics Finland (Vipunen): https://vipunen.fi/

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The Vocational Upper Secondary Education and Training Decree (673/2017([64]https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/alkup/2017/20170673)) defines the principles for recognising prior learning. Each student´s personal competence development plan must include recognition of prior learning. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The recognition of prior learning must be done in all VET qualifications: in vocational, further and specialist qualifications.

General education subjects

N

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational study units:

  • basic and field-specific study unit(s) (compulsory);
  • specialised study units (compulsory and optional);
  • communication and interaction competence;
  • mathematics and science competence;
  • citizenship and working life competence.

The common units may be included in further and specialist qualifications but only if this is seen as necessary when making the personal competence development plan.

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 4

Initial VET programmes

WBL varies

ISCED 354

Mainly school-based VET programmes (also available as apprenticeship) leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (Ammatillinen perustutkinto)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

19

Length of a programme (years)

3 ([44]Duration depends on the prior learning of the student, especially in the case of further and specialist vocational programmes, and is defined in the personal competence development plan of each learner.)

  
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?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • training agreement;
  • apprenticeship;
  • programmes that comprise work-based learning but are not apprenticeships or fall under training agreement category.
Main providers

The most common type of VET provider is vocational institutions (owned by municipalities, industry and service sector) ([46]Some VET providers are foundations or limited companies; they are categorised as ‘private’ but municipalities usually have shares in such companies/foundations.). They provide education and training to more than 75% of initial VET learners. Specialised (usually owned by one private company or association, e.g. a car manufacturer) and special needs (usually owned by municipalities and associations, e.g. Organisation for Respiratory Health) vocational institutions, fire, police and security service institutions (national) and folk high schools, sports institutions, music schools and colleges (local) account for less than 10% of learners in initial VET. Vocational adult education centres (public and regional) mostly provide further and specialist VET.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

=70-80% ([47]The share of work-based learning (WBL) is individually planned for each learner in the personal competence development plan.)

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • training agreement;
  • apprenticeship training contract.
Main target groups

A vocational upper secondary qualification (initial VET) is designed for young people who may not have any work experience and for adults who, for example, don´t have any formal qualification or who want to change their profession.

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

Admission to initial VET programmes requires a basic education graduation certificate.

Assessment of learning outcomes

No final examinations exist in VET. Once learners successfully complete all the studies included in their personal competence development plans, the VET provider grants a certificate for the entire qualification or for one or more units of the qualification. All VET programmes ensure eligibility for higher education studies.

Diplomas/certificates provided

The national qualification requirements define the required vocational competence, principles of assessment and how the competence is demonstrated. They are drawn up by the Finnish National Agency for Education in cooperation with working life ([48]Representatives of the employees/self-employed and employers (altogether called ‘working life’ in Finland).).

Each qualification has a number of competence points:

  • 180 for initial/upper secondary vocational qualifications;
  • 120/150/180 for further vocational qualifications;
  • 160/180/210 for specialist vocational qualifications.
Examples of qualifications

Initial vocational qualification in horse care and management ([49]Qualification holders manage daily stable maintenance and horse care tasks and are able to carry out the essential maintenance tasks associated with horse care, such as care of hooves and tack. In addition to basic competence in the field, qualification holders have specialist skills to work either as a groom or a riding instructor in various sectors of the horse industry.The qualification titles produced by the vocational qualification in horse care and management are groom and riding instructor.)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • enter the labour market
    • employed full-time
    • employed and in education;
  • continue with further education.
Destination of graduates

NB: 2016 data (most recent).
Source: Education Statistics Finland (Vipunen): https://vipunen.fi/

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The Vocational Upper Secondary Education and Training Decree (673/2017([50]https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/alkup/2017/20170673)) defines the principles for recognising prior learning. Each student´s personal competence development plan must include recognition of prior learning. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The recognition of prior learning must be done in all VET qualifications: in vocational, further and specialist qualifications.

General education subjects

Y

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational study units:

  • basic and field-specific study unit(s) (compulsory);
  • specialised study units (compulsory and optional).

In addition to the above, all initial vocational qualification programmes include study units that consist of common rather than specific vocational competence:

  • communication and interaction competence;
  • mathematics and science competence;
  • citizenship and working life competence.

The common units may be included in further and specialist qualifications but only if this is seen as necessary when making the personal competence development plan.

Key competences

Y

Key competences help students to keep up with the changes in society and working life. In the wake of the 2018 VET reform, key competences are no longer addressed as a separate part of vocational competence. They have been modified so that key competences are included in all vocational skills requirements and assessment criteria.

The key competences for lifelong learning are: digital and technological competence; mathematics and science competence; competence development; communication and interaction competence; competence for sustainable development; cultural competence; social and citizenship competence; and entrepreneurial competence.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

The share of vocational upper secondary (IVET) learners in 2017 was 73% of all VET learners ([51]https://vipunen.fi/en-gb/_layouts/15/xlviewer.aspx?id=/en-gb/Reports/Ammatillinen%20koulutus%20-%20opiskelijat%20-%20aikasarja_EN.xlsb).

EQF 4

Further VET,

WBL varies

ISCED 354

Work-based further VET, tailored individually, leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (ammattitutkinto)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

19+

Usual completion age

19+

Length of a programme (years)

The duration depends on a person´s prior learning; usually it is less than 2 years ([52]Duration depends on the prior learning of the student, especially in the case of further and specialist vocational programmes, and is defined in the personal competence development plan of each learner.)

  
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?

It is possible to collect moderate student fees; on average 15% of the costs of the training.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • training agreement;
  • apprenticeship;
  • programmes that comprise work-based learning but are not apprenticeships or fall under a training agreement category.
Main providers

The most common type of VET providers is vocational institutions (owned by municipalities, industry and service sector) ([54]Some VET providers are foundations or limited companies; they are categorised as ‘private’ but municipalities usually have shares in such companies/foundations.). They provide education and training to more than 75% of initial VET learners. Specialised (usually owned by one private company or association, e.g. a car manufacturer) and special needs (usually owned by municipalities and associations, e.g. Organisation for Respiratory Health) vocational institutions, fire, police and security service institutions (national) and folk high schools, sports institutions, music schools and colleges (local) account for less than 10% of learners in initial VET. Vocational adult education centres (public and regional) mostly provide further and specialist VET.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

The share of work-based learning (WBL) is individually planned for each learner in the personal competence development plan.

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • training agreement;
  • apprenticeship training contract.
Main target groups

Further vocational qualifications (continuing VET) are for adults who usually have work experience or other prior learning.

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

Admission to further vocational qualifications is decided on a case-by-case basis, taking work experience into consideration. However, work experience or prior qualifications are not a precondition for enrolling.

Assessment of learning outcomes

No final examinations exist in VET. Once learners successfully complete all the studies included in their personal competence development plans, the VET provider grants a certificate for the entire qualification or for one or more units of the qualification. All VET programmes ensure eligibility for higher education studies.

Diplomas/certificates provided

The national qualification requirements define the required vocational competence, principles of assessment and how the competence is demonstrated. They are drawn up by the Finnish National Agency for Education in cooperation with working life ([55]Representatives of the employees/self-employed and employers (altogether called ‘working life’ in Finland)).

Each qualification has a number of competence points:

  • 180 for initial/upper secondary vocational qualifications;
  • 120/150/180 for further vocational qualifications;
  • 160/ 180/210 specialist vocational qualifications.
Examples of qualifications

Further vocational qualification in horse care and management ([56]The further vocational qualification in horse care and management comprises eight competence areas and seven qualification titles (in parentheses): provision of equine-assisted services (provider of equine services); provision of horse breeding service (same as previous); provision of equine massage services (horse massage therapist); farriery (farrier); tack-making (tack-maker); riding instruction (riding instructor (FQ) ); training and coaching riding horses (trainer of young riding horses); provision of training services in harness racing (trainer of trotters).)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • enter the labour market
    • employed full time
    • employed and in education;
  • continue with further education.
Destination of graduates

NB: 2016 data (most recent).
Source: Education Statistics Finland (Vipunen): https://vipunen.fi/

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The Vocational Upper Secondary Education and Training Decree (673/2017([57]https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/alkup/2017/20170673)) defines the principles for recognising prior learning. Each student´s personal competence development plan must include recognition of prior learning. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The recognition of prior learning must be done in all VET qualifications: in vocational, further and specialist qualifications.

General education subjects

N

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational study units:

  • basic and field-specific study unit(s) (compulsory);
  • specialised study units (compulsory and optional);
  • communication and interaction competence;
  • mathematics and science competence;
  • citizenship and working life competence.

The common units may be included in further and specialist qualifications but only if this is seen as necessary when making the personal competence development plan.

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available

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