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General themes

VET ([1]In the education system and policy of Latvia VET is referred to as ‘vocational education’ (in Latvian: ‘profesionālā izglītība’). The term ‘training’ is not commonly used in the national context.) in Latvia comprises the following main features:

  • VET attractiveness is increasing, especially for early leavers from education;
  • to increase the quality and efficiency of vocational education, many small providers were merged into regional vocational education competence centres offering a wide range of qualifications and other services;
  • there are more females in post-secondary and higher VET;
  • the share of early leavers from education and training has fallen substantially, in line with the national target;
  • apprenticeship-type schemes have become more common and accessible;
  • the introduction of modular vocational education programmes, new occupational standards, sectoral qualifications frameworks supports the use of learning outcomes.

Distinctive features ([2]Cedefop (2017). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Latvia. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8107_en.pdf
)

Initial VET is centralised and highly regulated by the State. Most vocational schools are owned and run by the State; two-thirds have the status of vocational education competence centre and were modernised (infrastructure and equipment) with the support of EU funds in 2007-15. In addition to provision of vocational programmes, they validate non-formal and informal learning and offer lifelong learning and continuing teacher training.

CVET providers are mainly private.

Most vocational education learners (83%) are at upper secondary level. The distribution of students between general and vocational upper secondary education is 61:39 in favour of general education.

VET provides learning opportunities for young adults and early leavers from education. With more investment in infrastructure and the development/implementation of new programmes, VET attractiveness is increasing. More young people use ISCED-P 453 programmes for fast access to labour market than before. These programmes are jointly financed by the Youth guarantee and the European Social Fund.

The national qualifications framework was established in 2010 and referenced to the European qualifications framework (EQF) in 2011. It includes all formal qualifications.

A validation system for professional competences acquired outside formal education has existed since 2011, allowing direct acquisition of professional qualifications at EQF levels 2 to 4. Procedures for assessment and criteria for validation of prior learning were set up for higher education in 2012.

Reforming VET and adult learning are national policy priorities. Recent reforms aim at:

  • promoting VET quality;
  • ensuring its relevance to labour market needs;
  • efficient use of resources to raise VET attractiveness.

Policy strives for a balanced (equal) distribution of students choosing vocational and general education after completing basic education, and for a threefold increase in adult participation in learning.

By 2015, several projects jointly financed by EU Structural Funds had raised VET attractiveness and quality. The projects covered modern infrastructure, equipment and programmes (introducing modules), social partner participation in designing and implementing education policy, introducing sectoral qualifications frameworks, drafting occupational standards for key professions, and raising VET teachers’ competences. Modularisation of vocational education programmes has acquired a legal basis. Content for modular programmes is developed and they are gradually being implemented in vocational education. By 2019/20 all vocational education providers (State and private) have to ensure modular (if applicable) vocational education programmes according to the new occupational standards.

Since 2015, ‘work-based learning’ has been a form of VET implementation. It includes flexible curricula (according to occupation characteristics) and promotes sharing responsibilities of teaching and training between school and enterprises. Vocational education institutions develop the curricula and participate in ensuring the acquisition of theoretical knowledge and practical skills in workshops. Companies provide both theoretical and practical training in a real workplace environment and pay an allowance or a wage to students.

Ensuring access to guidance and counselling for young people, and putting in place ECVET and EQAVET systems for better quality and permeability, are challenges that need aligning stakeholder opinions and extensive promotion. Other challenges include motivating employers to cooperate with VET providers, for example, by offering training at the workplace and promoting continuing training for employees.

The 2014-20 education strategy addresses issues mentioned above and other challenges by continuing reforms (supported by EU funds) including introduction of new EU-level instruments.

Another challenge is to increase adult participation in learning by strengthening the role of the State in adult education. The implementation plan for a new adult education governance model (2016) supports a sustainable adult education system with shared responsibilities between stakeholders, including VET that provides programmes for adults.

Data from VET in Latvia Spotlight 2017 ([3]Cedefop (2017). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Latvia. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8107_en.pdf
), updated in May 2019

Population in 2018: 1 934 379 ([4]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It decreased by 4.4% since 2013 due to negative natural growth and emigration of people in search of employment abroad ([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.

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 30 in 2015 to 66 in 2060 ([6]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 vocational education and have led to rearrangement of the vocational education institutions network: the number of State governed vocational schools has reduced from 58 in 2010 to 21 in 2018.

To increase the quality and efficiency of vocational education, many small providers were merged into regional vocational education competence centres offering a wide range of qualifications and other services. Several providers were merged by local governments into integrated general and vocational education institutions.

The country has a multicultural community. At the beginning of 2018, 62.2% of the population were Latvians and 25.2% were ethnic Russians; 3.2% were Belarusians, 2.2% were Ukrainians, 2.1% were Poles and 5.1% other nationalities.

State vocational school programmes are in Latvian, while some private providers use Russian or both Latvian and Russian. By 2020 all providers will provide vocational programmes in Latvian only.

Most companies are micro and small-sized.

Main economic sectors:

  • wood-processing;
  • production of chemical products;
  • electrical and optical equipment;
  • manufacture of basic metals;
  • machinery and equipment manufacturing;
  • manufacture of transport and equipment.

Since 2010, the export of Latvian goods and services has grown very quickly, and it is the main driver of economic development.

Domestic demand-oriented industries contributed the most to GDP growth in recent years.

Requirements for non-regulated professions are determined by employers. The Law on Regulated Professions and Recognition of Professional Qualifications and relevant government regulations stipulate special requirements for education programmes, recertification or recognition of qualifications in regulated professions.

The number of regulated professions acquired in secondary vocational education is very limited.

The labour market is generally considered flexible.

Total unemployment ([7]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) in 2018: 7.1% (6.0% in EU28); it increased by 0.2 percentage points since 2008 ([8]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 0-2 and 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 and has been steady since then. In 2018, there are stark differences between the different ISCED levels. The unemployment rate of people with medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4), is almost three times higher than that of people with high-level qualifications (ISCED 5-8), and almost double that of the pre-crisis years. It is also higher compared to the total unemployment rate ([9]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) in Latvia (7.1%).

The employment rate of 20 to 34 year-old VET graduates increased from 78.0% in 2014 to 83.3% in 2018 ([10]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 in employment of 20 to 34 year-old VET graduates at ISCED levels 3 and 4 in 2014-18 (+5.3 pp) was similar to the increase in employment of all 20 to 34 year-old graduates (+5.5 pp) in the same period in Latvia ([11]NB: Breaks in time series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

Education attainment in Latvia is traditionally high. In 2018, the share of population aged 25 to 64 with upper secondary education including vocational education (ISCED levels 3 and 4) was 56.7%.

The share of people with tertiary education (33.9%) is higher than EU-28 average (32.2%). The share of those with low or without a qualification is the fifth lowest in the EU, following Lithuania, Czechia, Poland and Slovakia.

 

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%

38.6%

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].

 

Traditionally, there are more males in VET (58.8% in upper-secondary education), except at post-secondary level ([12]Source: Eurostat tables educ_uoe_enrs01, educ_uoe_enrs04 and educ_uoe_enrs07 [accessed 18.2.2019].).

The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased from 14.3% in 2009 to 8.3% in 2018. It is below the national objective for 2020 of not more than 10% and the EU-28 average of 10.6%.

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

NB: Share of the population aged 18 to 24 with at most lower secondary education and not in further education or training.
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].

 

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 on 16.5.2019]

 

Participation in lifelong learning in Latvia has increased from 5.6% in 2014 to 6.7% in 2018. It is still below the EU average and far below the national objective (15%) for 2020.

 

VET learners by age group

Source: National data.

 

The share of adults (aged 25 and above) in vocational education has doubled since 2011/12 and reached 12% of the total VET population in 2017/18. This reflects changing labour market needs and the variety of education opportunities for people aged 25+, supported by ESF funds.

The education system comprises:

  • pre-school education (ISCED level 0);
  • integrated primary and lower secondary education (ISCED levels 1 and 2) (hereafter, basic education);
  • upper secondary education (ISCED levels 3 and 4) (hereafter, secondary education);
  • higher (tertiary) education (ISCED levels 5, 6, 7 and 8).

Pre-school education for five to six year-old children is compulsory.

Basic education is mainly general, it is compulsory, and lasts for nine years. Vocational education is mainly offered for learners with mental disabilities or without completed basic education.

Secondary education can be acquired through general or vocational programmes. It is non-compulsory. General programmes last for three years and vocational programmes for four years (after completed basic education).

Higher (tertiary) education includes both academic and professional study programmes.

The Vocational Education Law ([13]Saeima (1999). Profesionālās izglītības likums [Vocational education law]. Last amended 22.6.2017. http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=20244 
) provides legal regulations and defines three VET levels:

  • basic vocational education;
  • secondary vocational education;
  • professional higher education.

 

Vocational education programmes are mainly school-based, with practical learning periods at schools or enterprises. Since 2015, vocational education can also take the form of an apprenticeship type scheme (nationally called ‘work-based learning’) with flexible curricula implementation taking place alternately at school and enterprise. To acquire a professional qualification (at EQF levels 2 to 4), learners have to undergo qualification practice and take a State qualification exam at the end of the programme.

Basic vocational education

Basic vocational education programmes leading to EQF level 2 (ISCED 254)

These programmes last from one to three years and are part of formal education. The main target groups are learners with intellectual disability and early leavers from compulsory basic education. They lead to a certificate of basic vocational education with a professional qualification at EQF level 2 (such as cook’s assistant, carpenter's assistant).

Vocational education at secondary level

There are four types of secondary vocational education programme.

1) Vocational education programmes (arodizglītība) leading to EQF level 3 (ISCED 353).

These programmes last for three years. They are part of formal education, and they target young people who are at least 15 and have completed basic education. They include general subjects, but not sufficiently to allow access to higher education. To access higher education programmes, students must attend a one-year bridging course.

2) Secondary vocational education programmes leading to EQF level 4 (ISCED 354).

These programmes last for four years. They are part of formal education, and they target young people with completed basic education. They include general subjects; at the end of programme students take four State centralised exams in general subjects. After completion of the programme, learners can enter the labour market or higher education.

3) One-year vocational education programmes leading to EQF level 3 (ISCED 351 or 453)

These programmes last for one year. They are part of formal education, and they target young people who are at least 17 and have completed general basic education. They do not include general subjects. After completion of the programme, learners can enter the labour market.

4) One and a half to three-year vocational secondary education programmes leading to EQF level 4 (ISCED 453)

These programmes last for one and a half to three years. They are part of formal education, and they target young people with secondary education. They do not include general subjects. After completion of the programme, learners can enter the labour market.

Professional higher education

Higher education programmes can be academic (lead to a degree) and professional (lead to a degree and/or professional qualification).

Adult learning programmes

There are two types of adult learning programme:

1) Continuing vocational education

These programmes enable adults with previous education/work experience to acquire a professional qualification ([14]Saeima (1999). Profesionālās izglītības likums [Vocational education Law]. Last amended 22.6.2017.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=20244
) in 480 to 1280 hours. Continuing vocational education and initial vocational education have the same legal and governance framework. Similar to initial vocational education, students of continuing vocational education take a final qualification exam in accordance with procedures approved by the government ([15]Cabinet of Ministers (2011). Profesionālās kvalifikācijas eksāmenu norises kārtība akreditētās profesionālās izglītības programmās [Procedure of professional qualification examinations in accredited vocational education programmes]. Regulation No 662 (last amended 18.12.2012, No 918).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=235206
).

2) Professional development programmes

These programmes (of at least 160 hours) enable people to master systematised professional knowledge and skills corresponding to labour market requirements. They do not have age, previous education, or professional qualification requirements. They do not lead to a formal qualification, but to a certificate of professional development education (profesionālās pilnveides izglītības apliecība) ([16]Cabinet of Ministers (2005b). Kārtība, kādā izsniedzami profesionālās pilnveides un profesionālās ievirzes izglītību apliecinoši dokumenti [Procedures by which documents certifying professional development and professionally oriented education are issued]. Regulation No 902. Last amended 13.12.2016, No 777.
https://likumi.lv/doc.php?mode=DOC&id=122686
).

Other forms of learning

Work-related knowledge, skills and competences can also be acquired through non-formal learning (short courses), or craftsmanship (apprenticeship programmes).

Vocational education programmes are mainly school-based, with practical learning periods at schools or enterprises. Since 2015, vocational education can also take the form of an apprenticeship-type scheme (nationally called ‘work-based learning’) with flexible curricula taking place alternately at school and enterprise. To acquire a qualification (at EQF levels 2 to 4), learners have to undergo qualification practice and take a State exam at the end of the programme.

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

Most vocational education providers are governed by the Ministry of Education and Science. Others are under the responsibility of the ministries of culture, welfare and interior. There are also vocational education institutions established (or taken over from the State) by local government and private ones.

The vocational education system is governed by the following institutions:

  • The Cabinet of Ministers (Ministru kabinets) defines policies and strategies for vocational education and sets procedures for the development of occupational standards, the organisation of work placements/apprenticeship-type scheme, and professional qualification exams. It regulates mandatory documents for vocational education provision, a list of mandatory occupational standards, activities of sectoral expert councils, and the quality assurance of the examination centre. It sets the criteria for issuing State-recognised qualifications, and recognising foreign qualifications.

It sets the price list for validation of informal and non-formal learning, it grants the status of ‘vocational education competence centre’ to providers, and it sets the procedure for distributing the State budget subsidies earmarked for teachers’ salaries.

  • The Ministry of Education and Science (MoES) ([17]Izglītības un zinātnes ministrija
    ) develops the framework regulations for vocational education. It proposes allocation of funds from the State budget and finances the vocational education providers it has established. The ministry also organises the implementation of career education, ensures validation of informal and non-formal learning, approves regulations and appoints heads of vocational education institutions under its responsibility.
  • Other ministries (culture, welfare and interior) propose the allocation of funds for vocational schools under their responsibility, and organise continuing professional development for teachers. The ministries also organise continuing vocational education for adults, and professional development and training for the unemployed. They cooperate with MoES on designing occupational standards, ensuring quality assurance and other issues.
  • The National Centre for Education ([18]Valsts izglītības satura centrs (VISC).) is under the supervision of MoES. It develops the content of basic, secondary and continuing vocational education, professional development and vocationally oriented education. It develops the content and procedures for State exams and coordinates development of study materials in line with the State vocational education standards. The centre also coordinates the development of occupational standards and the professional development of vocational teachers.
  • The State Education Quality Service ([19]Izglītības kvalitātes valsts dienests (IKVD).) is under the supervision of MoES. It licenses general and vocational education programmes (at EQF level 1-4). It also ensures quality assurance of vocational education (except professional higher), coordinates validation of informal and non-formal learning (at EQF level 2-4); since 2013 it has coordinated the implementation of the common European quality assurance for VET (EQAVET) in Latvia.
  • The State Education Development Agency ([20]Valsts izglītības attīstības aģentūra (VIAA).) is under the supervision of MoES. It manages and monitors EU funds ex-post, it introduces EU programmes, it supports the development of career education policy, arranges national-level professional skills competitions and ensures participation in international competitions.
  • The Ministry of Welfare ([21]Labklājības ministrija (Ministry of Welfare).) develops labour market policies, including training interventions.
  • The State Employment Agency ([22]Nodarbinātības valsts aģentūra (NVA).) is under the supervision of the Ministry of Welfare. It implements labour market policies, including programmes for the unemployed.
  • Local governments participate in the implementation of vocational education by managing their own schools. They promote business development in their territory, cooperate with employer organisations and help students find work placements.

Social dialogue and strategic cooperation are arranged through the following institutions:

  • the National Tripartite Subcouncil for Cooperation in Vocational Education and Employment ([23]Profesionālās izglītības un nodarbinātības trīspusējās sadarbības apakšpadome. It was founded in 2000 by the ministries of welfare, economy, finance, justice, agriculture, education and science, regional development and local government affairs, the Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia and the Employers’ Confederation of Latvia.) reviews policy proposals and drafts legal norms for vocational education, human resource development and employment; it evaluates and proposes changes in management, funding and implementation of vocational education; it endorses occupational standards; it endorses annual student enrolment plans prepared by sectoral expert councils.
  • 12 sectoral expert councils (Nozaru ekspertu padomes) propose solutions for long-term human resources development in their respective sectors and ensure that vocational education provision is in line with labour market needs. This includes participation in development of sectoral qualifications frameworks (SQFs), occupational standards, education programmes, quality assessment procedures, work placements, and apprenticeship-type schemes;
  • collegial advisory bodies (conventions) exist in each vocational education institution. Employers or representatives of employers’ organisations, representatives from local government, and representatives from supervising ministries form these conventions. They help shape the development strategy of the education institution, and they contribute to its cooperation with local enterprises, to ensure students’ work placements outside school and apprenticeship-type scheme opportunities ([24]Saeima (1999). Profesionālās izglītības likums [Vocational education law]. Last amended 22.06.2017.
    http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=20244
    ).

According to Eurostat data, the education budget has decreased from 6.7% of GDP in 2009 to 5.5% in 2016, with a slight increase to 5.8% in 2017 ([25]Eurostat table gov_10a_exp. Last update: 16.5.2018.). The budget for vocational education institutions under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and Science increased from EUR 54.07 million in 2011 to EUR 70.36 million in 2018 ([26]Saeima (2017). Par valsts budžetu 2018.gadam [Law on State budget for 2018].
https://likumi.lv/ta/id/295569-par-valsts-budzetu-2018-gadam
).

Other resources (including EU funds) have also been allocated to development of the vocational education system. For example, during 2009 to 2015, EUR 163.6 million was invested in the modernisation of equipment and infrastructure. For the same objective, EUR 89.07 million is being invested over 2016 to 2023. Schools also use their own revenues to finance their activities.

Procedures for financing vocational education are stipulated by the Education and Vocational Education Laws ([27]Saeima (1998). Izglītības likums [Education law]. Last amended 20. 9.2018.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=50759; Saeima (1999). Profesionālās izglītības likums [Vocational Education Law]. Last amended 22.6.2017.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=20244
). Education institutions are financed from the State budget, local government budget or private funding according to their ownership. State budget allocations for vocational education programmes are calculated per student.

Salaries of teachers in State and local government education institutions (including pre-schools) are paid from the State budget. Local governments may supplement salaries of teachers. For private schools implementing accredited basic, secondary and higher education programmes the State can also finance salaries of teachers.

The government covers fixed and non-fixed costs ([28]Cabinet of Ministers (2007). Noteikumi par profesionālās izglītības programmu īstenošanas izmaksu minimumu uz vienu izglītojamo [Regulations on expenditures minimum per one student for implementing vocational education programmes]. Regulation No 655 (last amended 3.1.2017, No 4).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=164266
):

  • allowances (scholarships);
  • student residence maintenance;
  • rehabilitation and catering services for students with special needs;
  • culture education and sports activities;
  • practical training in enterprises;
  • accident insurance for practical training in enterprises;
  • salary of employees (wages and employer's State social insurance contributions).

In higher education, the State covers fees for a certain number of negotiated study places for students with good grades. Local governments may charge a fee in municipal sports and music vocational schools. Education institutions may simultaneously implement education programmes funded from different sources.

According to the Education Law ([29]Saeima (1998). Izglītības likums [Education law]. Last amended 20.9.2018.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=50759
), adult education may be financed from the State and local government budgets, employers’ resources, students’ fees, donations and other sources. Some local governments allocate a fixed percentage to adult education from their budget.

Important sources of funding are EU, Norwegian, and Swiss financial assistance instruments, including Structural Funds and Erasmus+ that have helped by creating more learning opportunities for adults through various projects.

In vocational education there are:

  • general subject teachers
  • vocational teachers

The term ‘trainer’ is not used in Latvian vocational education. Teachers provide both theory and practical learning at school. Every vocational education teacher can work in initial and continuing vocational education at basic and secondary education levels.

General subject teachers must have a minimum of either:

  • tertiary education in education and a teaching qualification in the particular subject, or master/doctor degree in education;
  • tertiary education in the relevant field and either a teaching qualification in a particular subject (may be in the process of completing) or working under the supervision of a teacher-mentor for no longer than one year at one school (until 2022).

Vocational teachers must have a professional qualification minimum of either tertiary education in a relevant field (such as engineering) or may be in the process of completing studies (have acquired at least 240 hours), vocational secondary education (EQF level 4), or master of crafts qualification.

Their professional qualification must be complemented by teaching competences acquired in:

  • tertiary teacher education;
  • a teaching-competence development course (72 hours offered by a higher education institution);
  • courses in pedagogy of at least 80 hours in their tertiary education programme.

The requirement for teaching competences does not apply to vocational subject teachers with fewer than 360 teaching hours per year.

Vocational education teachers:

  • implement education programmes according to State vocational education standards, and occupational standards and foster creativity and independence of learners;
  • develop syllabi (to be approved by heads of vocational education institutions);
  • apply new ideas, technologies and methods in the learning process;
  • assess knowledge and skills of learners.

In-company trainers involved in providing an apprenticeship-type scheme must have (as of January 2019) a master of crafts qualification, vocational education or at least three years of relevant work experience. They must also have acquired a 72-hour teaching competence-development course (for teaching in schools) or a special 32-hour teaching competence-development course for in-company trainers of apprenticeships ([30]Cabinet of Ministers (2016). Kārtība, kādā organizē un īsteno darba vidē balstītas mācības [Procedure for organization and implementation of work-based learning]. Regulation No 484. Last amended 12.9.2017.
http://likumi.lv/ta/id/283680-kartiba-kada-organize-un-isteno-darba-vide-balstitas-macibas
).

With the decrease in vocational education institutions since 2010/11, the number of vocational education teachers has decreased by 12%. At the same time, the share of teachers with tertiary education increased from 91% to 93% ([31]For more information see: Daija, Z.; Kinta, G.; Ramina, B. (2016). Supporting teachers and trainers for successful reforms and quality of vocational education and training: mapping their professional development in the EU – Latvia. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_LV_TT.pdf).

The regulations on teachers’ education and professional competences development ([32]Cabinet of Ministers (2018). Ministru kabineta noteikumi Nr.569, 2018.gada 11.septembrī ‘Noteikumi par pedagogiem nepieciešamo izglītību un profesionālo kvalifikāciju un pedagogu profesionālās kompetences pilnveides kārtību’ [Regulations on required teachers’ education and professional qualification and procedure of teachers’ professional competences development].
https://likumi.lv/ta/id/301572-noteikumi-par-pedagogiem-nepieciesamo-izglitibu-un-profesionalo-kvalifikaciju-un-pedagogu-profesionalas-kompetences-pilnveides-...
), adopted in 2014, determine that vocational education teachers should regularly improve their competence through continuing professional development.

Teachers are required to undertake at least 36 hours of continuing professional development every three years. Education institutions register teachers’ continuing professional development in the database of the State Education Information System (hosted by the Ministry of Education and Science).

The Cabinet Regulations ([33]Cabinet of Ministers (2018). Ministru kabineta noteikumi Nr.569, 2018.gada 11.septembrī ‘Noteikumi par pedagogiem nepieciešamo izglītību un profesionālo kvalifikāciju un pedagogu profesionālās kompetences pilnveides kārtību’ [Regulations on required teachers’ education and professional qualification and procedure of teachers’ professional competences development].
https://likumi.lv/ta/id/301572-noteikumi-par-pedagogiem-nepieciesamo-izglitibu-un-profesionalo-kvalifikaciju-un-pedagogu-profesionalas-kompetences-pilnveides-...
) set the framework of two types of competence development programme:

  • 72-hour programmes which award a certificate in pedagogy, teacher career consultant certificate or right to implement a vocational education subject module.
  • 160-hour programmes which award a teacher's certificate for another subject.

Professional competence development of vocational education teachers is mainly provided by the National Centre for Education ([34]Valsts izglītības satura centrs (VISC).), which is subordinated to the Ministry of Education and Science.

There is no evidence on the attractiveness of teaching as an occupation; however, ageing of teachers is observed.

Responsibility for providing labour market forecasts rests with the Ministry of Economics ([35]Ekonomikas ministrija.), which updates reports every other year and the State Employment Agency that updates reports anually ([36]Nodarbinātības valsts aģentūra (NVA).).

The Ministry of Economics produces annual medium- and long-term forecasts. It set up an advisory council for labour market forecasting ([37]Darba tirgus prognozēšanas konsultatīvā padome.), i.e. a platform for dialogue between representatives of the State, employers, employees and local governments.

The annual report with medium- and long-term labour market forecasts ([38]Ministry of Economics (2018). Informatīvais ziņojums ar darba tirgus vidēja un ilgtermiņa prognozēm [Informative report on medium- and long-term labour market forecasts].
https://www.em.gov.lv/files/attachments/DarbaTirgusPrognozes_2018_06_27.pdf and
https://www.em.gov.lv/files/tautsaimniecibas_attistiba/dsp/EMZino_06072018_full.pdf
) includes an overview of labour supply and demand, and education areas, levels and progression routes of the labour force (including vocational education). The Ministry of Education and Science uses the data as well as annual proposals of sectoral expert councils to plan vocational education provision, including numbers of potential students and types of programmes.

The State Employment Agency carries out short-term labour market forecasts and has created a corresponding online tool ([39]https://cvvp.nva.gov.lv/#/pub/pakalpojumi/prognozes/). It also conducts employer express surveys once a year to anticipate changes in the structure of the labour force. The surveys aim at clarifying reasons for changes in demand and supply for occupations. Their results are used to adjust the education offer for the unemployed.

In 2016, the State Employment Agency, in cooperation with the Ministry of Economics, started a national level ESF project Development of labour market forecasting system (2016-21). The system will provide information on skills and professions in the short-, medium- and long-term, as well as information on learning opportunities. Active labour market policy measures will be evaluated and the offer of vocational education programmes will be based on the outcomes of skills forecasts. Currently, work is under way to develop guidelines for the interpretation and practical use of medium and long-term job forecasts. The guidelines’ main target audience is career advisors and education providers, and their development is based on the needs of forecasting users.

The Central Statistical Bureau ([40]Centrālā statistikas pārvalde (CSB).) conducts a labour force survey four times per year and collects data on education levels, employment by type of economic activity and occupation. Data on higher education institutions’ and vocational education provider graduates is collected by the institutions themselves and submitted to the Ministry of Education and Science and to the Central Statistical Bureau for further analysis and publication.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([41]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European skills index ([42]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index)

Vocational education programmes are designed in line with the State education and occupational standards or qualification requirements (if the occupation does not have a standard), and sectoral qualifications frameworks.

The content of vocational education programmes is defined by State vocational education standards ([43]Cabinet of Ministers (2000). Noteikumi par valsts profesionālās vidējās izglītības standartu un valsts arodizglītības standartu [Regulations on the State vocational secondary education standard and the State vocational education standard]. Regulation No 211 (last amended 19. 9.2017, No 564).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=8533
). The standards include strategic aims, basic principles, mandatory content, ratio of theory and practice and evaluation procedures. Vocational education providers also ensure that specific skills and competences required in the occupational standards/professional qualification requirements are included in the programmes they offer.

Occupational standards and professional qualification requirements are elaborated by designated working groups comprising representatives of ministries, local governments, employers, employees, chamber of commerce and industry, NGOs and vocational education providers. The standards are endorsed by the National Tripartite Subcouncil for Cooperation in Vocational Education and Employment. They are reviewed at least once every five years ([44]Cabinet of Ministers (2016). Profesijas standarta, profesionālās kvalifikācijas prasību (ja profesijai neapstiprina profesijas standartu) un nozares kvalifikāciju struktūras izstrādes kārtība [Procedure for the development of occupational standard, professional qualification requirements (if occupational standard is not approved for an occupation) and sectoral qualifications framework]. Regulation No 633.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=285032
).

Since 2007, occupational standards have to include necessary professional competences, skills, and knowledge to perform professional activities. In 2010-15, key occupational standards in 14 sectors were aligned with recent labour market needs and this process is continuing in 2016-21 using ESF support.

In April 2018, 15 sectoral qualifications frameworks were officially approved, marking an agreement between educators and employers on qualifications required by labour market ([45]Cedefop (2018). Latvia: sectoral qualifications frameworks support vocational education development.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/news-and-press/news/latvia-sectoral-qualifications-frameworks-support-vocational-education-development [accessed 10.8.2018].
). The sectoral qualifications frameworks serve as guidelines for developing occupational standards and implementing vocational education programmes, including modules leading to specialisations.

The new modular approach for vocational education programmes ([46]Cedefop (2013). Latvia – modularisation of VET and work-based learning.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/news-and-press/news/latvia-modularisation-vet-and-work-based-learning
) includes use of learning outcomes, relevant teaching/learning methods and indicators of achievement. In 2017, the amendments to the Vocational Education Law ([47]Saeima (1999). Profesionālās izglītības likums [Vocational education law]. Last amended 22.6.2017.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=20244
) set the legal framework for the modularisation of vocational education programmes. Modules are defined as parts of professional qualifications and are based on learning outcomes as an assessed and approved set of knowledge, skills and competences. Modular vocational education programmes lead to qualifications at EQF levels 2-4 and their professional content consists of a set of modules. After completing one or several modules recognisable in the labour market, but not proving acquisition of a qualification, vocational schools will have to issue a new type of certificate indicating the programme, module(s), achieved learning outcomes and their assessment. In 2017, modules have been included in the State vocational education standards ([48]Cabinet of Ministers (2000). Noteikumi par valsts profesionālās vidējās izglītības standartu un valsts arodizglītības standartu [Regulations on the State vocational secondary education standard and the State vocational education standard]. Regulation No 211 (last amended 19.9.2017, No 564).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=8533
).

Qualification exams ([49]Cabinet of Ministers (2011c). Profesionālās kvalifikācijas eksāmenu norises kārtība akreditētās profesionālās izglītības programmās [Procedure of professional qualification examinations in accredited vocational education programmes]. Regulation No 662 (last amended 18.12.2012, No 918).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=235206
) that consist of theoretical and practical parts are designed in line with both occupational and State vocational education standards. Representatives from relevant sectoral organisations participate in the examination process.

The Ministry of Education and Science is responsible for policies and strategies to ensure accessibility and quality of education.

Quality is assured through:

  • elaboration of education policy;
  • registration and accreditation of education providers;
  • licensing and accreditation of education programmes;
  • supervising the education process.

The further development of the quality monitoring system is among the priorities of vocational education policy. A principle of accreditation ensures that each programme’s content meets required standards of vocational education provided by public (State, local government) and private institutions ([50]Cabinet of Ministers (2016e). Noteikumi Nr. 831 ‘Kārtība, kādā akreditē izglītības iestādes, eksaminācijas centrus un citas Izglītības likumā noteiktās institūcijas, vispārējās un profesionālās izglītības programmas un novērtē valsts augstskolu vidējās izglītības iestāžu, valsts un pašvaldību izglītības iestāžu vadītāju profesionālo darbību’ [Procedure for accrediting education institutions and examination centres, accrediting general and vocational education programmes, and evaluating professional work of heads of public education institutions]. Regulation No 831. Last amended 18.9.2018.
http://likumi.lv/ta/id/287602-kartiba-kada-akredite-izglitibas-iestades-eksaminacijas-centrus-un-citas-izglitibas-likuma-noteiktas-institucijas
). It also increases the transparency of education provision, and fosters recognition of Latvian qualifications abroad.

The State Education Quality Service ([51]Izglītības kvalitātes valsts dienests (IKVD).) organises licensing and accreditation of vocational education programmes, and accreditation of vocational education providers and examination centres ([52]Examination centre is an accredited commercial company or association in arranging professional qualification exams, which does not implement education programmes.) of State, local government and private entities. A licence is a permission to implement a particular programme that meets all requirements of State education and occupational standards or professional qualification requirements. Providers must ensure proper infrastructure and equipment and, if necessary, obtain an agreement from the relevant professional association. The State Education Quality Service issues a licence for an indefinite period.

Accreditation is the evaluation of the performance of the relevant education provider and/or the quality of implementation of the education programme. As a result of accreditation, an education provider obtains a right for two to six years to issue a State recognised qualification for a particular programme. During the accreditation process, the quality of the implementation of an education programme is evaluated against criteria aligned to EQAVET. For example, when accrediting vocational education programmes (EQF levels 2-4), the following areas of criteria are assessed:

  • content of education – education programmes implemented by institution;
  • teaching and learning;
  • learners’ achievements;
  • support to learners;
  • environment of institution;
  • resources of institution;
  • work organisation, management and quality assurance of institution.

All public continuing vocational education programmes (480 hours or more) and professional development programmes (160 hours or more) must be licensed and accredited by the State Education Quality Service. Providers of professional development programmes (159 hours or less) must obtain a licence from local government. Public providers can offer non-formal learning programmes without a licence.

During the licensing or accreditation process, the State Education Quality Service hires external experts and representatives of sectoral NGOs and employers to evaluate programme compliance with State education standards, occupational standards or professional qualification requirements and other regulations. All experts have specific knowledge of the accreditation process.

The National Centre for Education ([53]Valsts izglītības satura centrs (VISC).) ensures the development of content for vocational education (except higher education) in compliance with the State vocational education standards. It also ensures development and implementation of uniform content for vocational education State examinations, coordinates development of teaching/learning aids complying with State general and vocational education standards, and coordinates teachers’ professional development.

The Higher Education Council ([54]Augstākās izglītības padome.) is responsible for quality assurance of higher (including professional) education. The council takes decisions on accreditation of higher education institutions in general and submits them to the Ministry of Education and Science for approval.

Since 2012, study fields (including all programmes of the same field) undergo joint quality assurance. From 2015, quality assurance of higher education institutions/colleges and study fields, and licensing of study programmes is organised by Higher Education Quality Agency ([55]Augstākās izglītības kvalitātes aģentūra (AIKA).), a department within the Academic Information Centre ([56]Akadēmiskās informācijas centrs (AIC).).

The Academic Information Centre develops and complies with the methodologies and procedures for external quality assessment of higher education institutions/colleges and study fields in line with the standards and guidelines developed by the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education ([57]ENQA). The decision on the accreditation of the study field is taken by the study accreditation committee.

The Academic Information Centre maintains the register of study fields, a public portal ([58]http://svr.aic.lv/Form.aspx?id=contacts) that includes information on higher education programmes and quality assurance of institutions and study fields.

A system for validation of prior learning (EQF levels 2-4) was launched in 2011 after amendments to the Vocational Education Law ([59]Saeima (1999). Profesionālās izglītības likums [Vocational education law]. Last amended 22.6.2017.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=20244
). Accredited education providers and examination centres with a permit from the State Education Quality Service ([60]Izglītības kvalitātes valsts dienests (IKVD).) carry out the validation process according to government regulations ([61]Cabinet of Ministers (2011). Kārtība, kādā novērtē ārpus formālās izglītības sistēmas apgūto profesionālo kompetenci [Procedure how professional competences obtained outside formal education system are assessed]. Regulation No 146 (last amended 30.8.2011, No 663)].
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=226788
).

The validation procedure includes the following steps:

  • submission of application;
  • consultation (free of charge) on requirements of relevant occupational standard or professional qualification requirements and the exam procedure;
  • professional qualification exam (for a fee);
  • certification of professional qualification.

Since 2017, ESF support has been used to compensate the cost of the qualification exam both for the unemployed and employed. After successfully passing the exam, a certificate of a professional qualification (EQF level 2-4) is issued according to government regulations ([62]Cabinet of Ministers (2011). Profesionālās kvalifikācijas eksāmenu norises kārtība akreditētās profesionālās izglītības programmās [Procedure of professional qualification examinations in accredited vocational education programmes]. Regulation No 662 (last amended 18.12.2012, No 918).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=235206
). The qualification gives access to labour market.

The validation procedure and criteria for higher education were approved in 2012, following amendments of 2011 to the Law on Higher Education Institutions ([63]Saeima (1995). Augstskolu likums [Law on higher education institutions ]. Last amended 18.10.2018.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=37967
). Knowledge, skills and competences acquired in previous learning may be validated according to learning outcomes of the study course or module (for regulated professions only in a theoretical course or module). Learning outcomes acquired through professional experience may only be recognised in a practical course or module of the study programme ([64]Cabinet of Ministers (2018a). Ārpus formālās izglītības apgūto vai profesionālajā pieredzē iegūto kompetenču un iepriekšējā izglītībā sasniegtu studiju rezultātu atzīšanas noteikumi [Regulations for validation of competences acquired outside formal education or during professional experience and for recognising learning outcomes acquired in previous education]. Regulations No 505.
https://likumi.lv/ta/id/301013-arpus-formalas-izglitibas-apguto-vai-profesionalaja-pieredze-ieguto-kompetencu-un-iepriekseja-izglitiba-sasniegtu
).

An overview of the development and implementation of the system for validation of non-formal and informal learning outcomes (EQF levels 2-7) is provided in the report Implementation of validation of non-formal and informal learning outcomes in Latvia prepared by the Academic Information Centre in 2018.

National policy priorities include increasing the attractiveness of initial vocational education and reduction of early leaving from education.

The education development guidelines 2014-20 ([65]Saeima (2014). Saeimas paziņojums 2014.gada 22.maijā: par Izglītības attīstības pamatnostādņu 2014.-20.gadam apstiprināšanu [Education development guidelines for 2014-20].
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=266406
) foresee preventive and compensatory actions, including:

  • promoting youth involvement in leisure and extracurricular activities that increase interest in practical areas and support skills development;
  • providing scholarships for vocational education students;
  • conducting a study on reasons for leaving education early;
  • implementing initial vocational education programmes in the Youth guarantee initiative framework;
  • identifying young NEETs and involving them in education.

Monthly scholarships

Unlike general education students, vocational education students receive monthly scholarships according to government regulations on scholarships ([66]Cabinet of Ministers (2004). Noteikumi par stipendijām [Regulations on scholarships]. Regulation No 740 (last amended 5.12.2017, No706).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=93004
). Students in public vocational education programmes receive a State scholarship of between EUR 10 and 150 per month depending on performance. Orphans/children without parental care (not in care institutions or foster families) and best performers in studies or school social activities receive a higher scholarship.

Scholarships and tax incentives for students of short programmes

17 to 29 year-old students of short programmes in the youth guarantee initiative may receive ESF part-financed scholarship per month up to EUR 70-115.

Tax incentives for individuals are also available and regulated by the Law on Personal Income Tax ([67]Saeima (1993). Par iedzīvotāju ienākuma nodokli [Law on personal income tax]. Last amended 31.5.2018.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=56880
). The Law was amended to introduce, as of January 2017, a tax exemption for apprenticeship scholarships not exceeding EUR 280 per month.

Reduction of taxable income

Individuals may request the State Revenue Service ([68]Valsts ieņēmumu dienests.) to reduce their taxable income by the amount of their education (and medical) expenses up to a maximum of EUR 600 per year (increased in 2018), including expenses paid for brothers/sisters/children under 24 years of age ([69]Saeima (1993). Par iedzīvotāju ienākuma nodokli [Law on personal income tax]. Last amended 31.5.2018.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=56880
). The revenue service is also responsible for monitoring the use of tax incentives. Recent statistics, however, do not include all claims, as expenses may be claimed up to three years after they have been incurred.

For taxation purposes ‘education’ is understood as participation in:

  • accredited education programmes (including higher and vocational education);
  • EU/European economic area occupational learning;
  • skills or qualification development;
  • interest education for children under 18 years of age.

Study loans for tertiary education

Tertiary (including professional) education students can apply for two types of study loan to cover tuition fees and costs of living. Loans are offered by selected banks (or other credit institutions) and are guaranteed by the State ([70]Saeima (1995). Augstskolu likums [Law on higher education institutions]. Last amended 18.10.2018.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=37967
).

Financial support for apprenticeships

The Employers’ Confederation of Latvia started a national level ESF project (2017-23) on vocational education students’ involvement in apprenticeship and work placements. Enterprises, vocational schools and students receive financial support for the project.

Financial support for apprenticeships

The Employers’ Confederation of Latvia started a national level ESF project (2017-23) on vocational education student involvement in apprenticeship and work placements. Enterprises, vocational schools and students receive financial support while part of the project.

The main incentives for companies to provide apprenticeships are:

  • opportunity to prepare the employees they need in a timely manner;
  • to create a positive image of the company in society;
  • to receive financing from the ESF project in this process;
  • an opportunity to pay a student motivational apprenticeship scholarship without paying taxes.

The project is a good support tool to provide additional funding for an employee who trains a student. It provides work safety tools, the opportunity to cover student insurance from the project funds, and purchase a mandatory health check; the project has also provided funding to cover travel costs for learner to get to the company where apprenticeship takes place.

The Education Law ([71]Saeima (1998). Izglītības likums [Education law]. Last amended 20.9.2018. http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=50759
) stipulates local governments’ responsibility for provision of career education for children and the young; students’ right to receive career guidance and counselling; and responsibilities of heads of education institutions for ensuring access to career development services. The Vocational Education Law ([72]Saeima (1999a). Profesionālās izglītības likums [Vocational education law]. Last amended 22.6.2017. http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=20244
) determines the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and Science for introducing guidance and counselling in vocational education.

The present career development support system has been in place since 2006. It was launched by a Ministry of Welfare policy paper on improving career guidance ([73]Cabinet of Ministers (2006a). Par Koncepciju Karjeras attīstības atbalsta sistēmas pilnveidošana [White paper on improvement of the career guidance system]. Cabinet Order No 214. http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=132990
). The paper covers all aspects of lifelong guidance including the mechanisms to ensure better cooperation and coordination between key stakeholders at different levels. The development of career education and widening access to individual career services in a lifelong learning context is also one of policy priorities set by the education development guidelines 2014-20 ([74]Saeima (2014). Saeimas paziņojums 2014.gada 22.maijā: par Izglītības attīstības pamatnostādņu 2014.-20.gadam apstiprināšanu [Education development guidelines for 2014-20]. http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=266406
) and is implemented with support from public and EU funds.

In 2007, the national guidance and counselling forum (Karjeras attīstības atbalsta sistēmas sadarbības padome) was established. This gathers policy-makers from the relevant ministries, guidance providers, social partners and users. The forum proposes changes at national and local levels, contributing to development of guidance and counselling policy and system. It also cooperates with the Latvian delegation to the European lifelong guidance policy network.

The provision of career education is one of the criteria for assessing quality in general and vocational education schools ([75]Cabinet of Ministers (2016e). Noteikumi Nr. 831 ‘Kārtība, kādā akreditē izglītības iestādes, eksaminācijas centrus un citas Izglītības likumā noteiktās institūcijas, vispārējās un profesionālās izglītības programmas un novērtē valsts augstskolu vidējās izglītības iestāžu, valsts un pašvaldību izglītības iestāžu vadītāju profesionālo darbību’ [Procedure for accrediting education institutions and examination centres, accrediting general and vocational education programmes, and evaluating professional work of heads of public education institutions]. Regulation No 831. Last amended 18.9.2018.
http://likumi.lv/ta/id/287602-kartiba-kada-akredite-izglitibas-iestades-eksaminacijas-centrus-un-citas-izglitibas-likuma-noteiktas-institucijas
). Vocational education competence centres should provide individual career counselling and support measures for career education to help students acquire career management skills ([76]Cabinet of Ministers (2013a). Profesionālās izglītības kompetences centra statusa piešķiršanas un anulēšanas kārtība [Procedure for allocation and nullification of vocational education competence centre status]. Regulation No 144.Last amended 25.8.2015.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=255589
).

The State Education Development Agency (VIAA) represents Latvia in the Euroguidance network and supports implementation of career education policy within the education sector.

The agency develops methodological materials for career guidance practitioners working at schools and guidance materials for young people and adults. VIAA also organises seminars for practitioners, since 2012, including a ‘career week’ in big cities for young people that offers visits to enterprises and meetings with representatives of different occupations; it organises participation of young professionals in international level competitions – EuroSkills and WordSkills – in which Latvian teams have competed successfully since 2010 and 2011 respectively, and, since 2017, has organised SkillsLatvia, the largest national professional skills competition for vocational education learners. The agency also maintains and updates an education opportunities database ([77]See
www.niid.lv [accessed 17.8.2018].
) with information about general, vocational and higher education providers and programmes, as well as about non-formal learning opportunities. VIAA also offers a website ([78]See
www.profesijupasaule.lv [accessed 17.8.2018].
) with information about the world of work.

According to the Support Law for Unemployed Persons and Persons Seeking Employment (Saeima, 2002), the State Employment Agency’s (NVA) functions include ensuring free career advice for the unemployed, job-seekers or other persons and developing career counselling methods and career guidance information.

NVA provides group and individual career consultations. Counselling methods depend on the client’s needs. The first meeting in an individual career consultation is devoted to clarifying the aims of the consultation and selecting the most appropriate working method, which may be focused on exploring professional interests, vocational aptitude, or exploring clients’ knowledge, skills/competences and values. If need be, psychological support is offered, in the form of a client resource assessment to show their strengths for a successful future life planning. The NVA web portal www.nva.gov.lv section Career services ([79]See Karjeras pakalpojumi:
http://www.nva.gov.lv/karjera [accessed 18.7.2018].
) has information on job searching and career decision making, with descriptions of occupations, education opportunities, and self-assessment tests.

According to the Law on Higher Education Institutions ([80]Saeima (1995). Augstskolu likums [Law on institutions of higher education]. Last amended 21.6.2018.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=37967
), students have a right to receive information on issues regarding their studies and potential careers. Higher education institutions have designated career centres that provide information on education and career opportunities.

In the private and NGO sectors, provision of guidance services is underdeveloped, but there are some promising initiatives. An example is the youth consultation web portal ([81]See
www.prakse.lv [accessed 18.7.2018].
) (since 2008), which is considered the largest in Latvia covering career and education issues.

Please also see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

College VET

programme

2-3 years

ISCED 554

First level higher professional education (college education) (pirmā līmeņa profesionālā augstākā izglītība (koledžas izglītība)) programme leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 554
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

19+

Usual completion age

21+

Length of a programme (years)

2 to 3

  
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

a certain number of study places in many programmes are financed by the State.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

120-180 ECTS credit points.

Since 2004, Latvia has had a well-established national credit point system. One Latvian credit point corresponds to the workload of one week full-time studies (40 points per academic year). Recalculating in ECTS credits, the amount of Latvian credit points has to be multiplied by 1.5.

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

Higher education institutions, including colleges (koledža) provide full-time, part-time and distance studies at all levels.

Main providers
  • Higher education institutions (including universities, university colleges, academies, institutes)
  • Colleges
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

=30%

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

Entry requirement is secondary education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners need to pass a final qualification examination which also includes defence of a qualification paper.

If a learner fails a qualification examination, they are entitled to take a second examination in the following academic year but must cover the costs.

Diplomas/certificates provided

First level professional higher education diploma (pirmā līmeņa profesionālās augstākās izglītības diploms) at EQF level 5.

Examples of qualifications

Accountant, insurance specialist, fitness trainer.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation
  • labour market
  • professional higher education studies (graduates may have shorter duration of further studies at EQF level 6 if they continue in the same field)
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

Learning outcomes are validated based on knowledge, skills, and competences acquired in previous learning or professional experience, as well as learning outcomes achieved in previous learning, with the expected learning outcomes in the respective college study programme by awarding the respective amount of credits.

General education subjects

Y, general education subjects take up at least 17% of the curriculum.

Key competences

Y

The compulsory content includes a module for the development of professional competences in entrepreneurship.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

13% learners of all higher education study programmes.

EQF 6

Professional bachelor

programme,

4 years

ISCED 655

Professional bachelor (profesionālais bakalaurs) programme leading to EQF level 6, ISCED 655
EQF level
6
ISCED-P 2011 level

655

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

19+

Usual completion age

23+

Length of a programme (years)

Minimum 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?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

a certain number of study places in many programmes are financed by the State.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

At least 240 ECTS credit points.

Since 2004, Latvia has had a well-established national credit point system. One Latvian credit point corresponds to the workload of one week full-time studies (40 points per academic year). Recalculating in ECTS credits, the amount of Latvian credit points has to be multiplied by 1.5.

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

Higher education institutions provide full-time, part-time and distance studies at all levels.

Main providers

Higher education institutions (including universities, university colleges, academies, institutes)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=12.5%

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

Entry requirement is secondary education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners need to pass a State examination and defend a final thesis. Study programmes are learning-outcomes based.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional Bachelor’s diploma (profesionālā bakalaura diploms)

Examples of qualifications

Lawyer, social worker, civil engineer.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation
  • labour market
  • second level professional higher education studies
  • master studies
Destination of graduates

information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

Learning outcomes are validated based on the knowledge, skills, and competences acquired in previous learning or professional experience, as well as learning outcomes achieved in previous learning, with the learning outcomes to be achieved in the respective study programme of the higher education institution by awarding the respective amount of credits.

General education subjects

Y

general education subjects take up 17% of the curriculum

Key competences

Y

Compulsory content includes humanitarian and social sciences study courses, including courses that develop social, communicative and organisational skills, as well as information technology courses. The study courses must include a module for the development of professional competence in entrepreneurship.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

34% learners of all higher education study programmes (academic and professional) including ISCED 655 and 657.

EQF 6 or 7

Professional

higher education programme

(e.g. medical studies),

4-6 years

ISCED 655, 656, 756

Second level higher professional education programme after secondary education (otrā līmeņa profesionālās augstākās izglītības programmas pēc vidējās izglītības) leading to EQF level 6 or 7, ISCED 655, 656 or 756
EQF level
6 or 7
ISCED-P 2011 level

655, 656 or 756

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

23-25+

Usual completion age

27+

Length of a programme (years)

4 for ISCED 655, more than 4 for ISCED 656, 5 minimum for ISCED 756

  
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

a certain number of study places in many programmes are financed by the State.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

240-360 ECTS credit points.

Since 2004, Latvia has had a well-established national credit point system. One Latvian credit point corresponds to the workload of one week full-time studies (40 points per academic year). Recalculating in ECTS credits, the amount of Latvian credit points has to be multiplied by 1.5.

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

Higher education institutions provide full-time, part-time and distance studies at all levels.

Main providers

Higher education institutions (including universities, university colleges, academies, institutes)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=12.5%

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

Entry requirement is secondary education for ISCED 655, 656 and 756.

Entry requirement can be first level professional higher education (college programme) for ISCED 655.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners need to pass a State examination and defend a final thesis. Study programmes are based on learning outcomes.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional higher education diploma, diploma of higher professional qualification (profesionālās augstākās izglītības diploms, augstākās profesionālās kvalifikācijas diploms) (at least four years of full time studies for EQF level 6 and at least five years of full time studies for EQF level 7)

Examples of qualifications

Cardiac surgeon, dietitian, occupational health physician

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation
  • labour market
  • master programmes for ISCED 655 and 656
  • doctoral programmes for ISCED 756
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

Learning outcomes are validated based on the knowledge, skills, and competences acquired in previous learning or professional experience, as well as learning outcomes achieved in previous learning, with the learning outcomes to be achieved in the respective study programme of the higher education institution by awarding the respective amount of credits.

General education subjects

Y

general education subjects take up 12.5% of the curriculum

Key competences

Y

Compulsory content includes humanitarian and social sciences study courses, including courses that develop social, communicative and organisational skills, as well as information technology courses. The study courses must include a module for the development of professional competence in entrepreneurship (if it was not acquired in lower level study courses).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

7% learners of all higher education study programmes.

EQF 6

Professional

Higher education programme,

1-2 years

ISCED 657

Second level higher professional education programme after bachelor level studies (otrā līmeņa profesionālā augstākās izglītības programma pēc bakalaura līmeņa studijām) leading to EQF level 6 ISCED 657
EQF level
6
ISCED-P 2011 level

657

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

23+

Usual completion age

24+

Length of a programme (years)

1 to 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?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

a certain number of study places in many programmes are financed by the State.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

60-120 ECTS credit points.

Since 2004, Latvia has had a well-established national credit point system. One Latvian credit point corresponds to the workload of one week full-time studies (40 points per academic year). Recalculating in ECTS credits, the amount of Latvian credit points has to be multiplied by 1.5.

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

Higher education institutions provide full-time, part-time and distance studies at all levels.

Main providers

Higher education institutions (including universities, university colleges, academies, institutes).

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

=50%

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

Entry requirement is a bachelor degree or professional bachelor degree, second level higher professional education (after secondary education)

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners need to pass a State examination and defend a final thesis. Study programmes are based on learning outcomes.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional higher education diploma, diploma of higher professional qualification (profesionālās augstākās izglītības diploms, augstākās profesionālās kvalifikācijas diploms)

Examples of qualifications

Fire safety and civil protection engineer, translator, lawyer

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can enter the labour market

Destination of graduates

information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

Learning outcomes are validated based on the knowledge, skills, and competences acquired in previous learning or professional experience, as well as learning outcomes achieved in previous learning, with the learning outcomes to be achieved in the respective study programme of the higher education institution by awarding the respective amount of credits.

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Compulsory content includes humanitarian and social sciences study courses, including courses that develop social, communicative and organisational skills, as well as information technology courses. The study courses must include a module for the development of professional competence in entrepreneurship (if it was not acquired in lower level study courses).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

Information not available

EQF 7

Professional master

programme

min 1 year

ISCED 757

Professional master (profesionālais maģistrs) programme leading to EQF level 7, ISCED 757
EQF level
7
ISCED-P 2011 level

757

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

22+

Usual completion age

23+

Length of a programme (years)

Minimum 1

  
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

a certain number of study places in many programmes are financed by the State.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

60 to 120 ECTS, depending on the previous education and field.

Since 2004, Latvia has had a well-established national credit point system. One Latvian credit point corresponds to the workload of one week full-time studies (40 points per academic year). Recalculating in ECTS credits, the amount of Latvian credit points has to be multiplied by 1.5.

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

Higher education institutions provide full-time, part-time and distance studies at all levels.

Main providers

Higher education institutions (including universities, university colleges, academies, institutes)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

65%

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

Entry requirement is a bachelor’s degree or professional bachelor’s degree, second level higher professional education (after secondary education)

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners need to pass a State examination and defend a final thesis. Study programmes are based on learning outcomes.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional master’s diploma (profesionālā maģistra diploms)

Examples of qualifications

Economist, electrical engineer, quality manager

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can enter:

  • labour market
  • doctoral studies
Destination of graduates

information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

Learning outcomes are validated based on the knowledge, skills, and competences acquired in previous learning or professional experience, as well as learning outcomes achieved in previous learning, with the learning outcomes to be achieved in the respective study programme of the higher education institution by awarding the respective amount of credits.

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Compulsory content must include study courses which develop professional competences in entrepreneurship (if it was not acquired in lower level study courses).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

13% learners of all higher education study programmes (academic and professional).

Post-secondary

Programme Types
Not available

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 2

Mainly

school-based VET,

WBL 65%

ISCED 254

Basic vocational education (profesionālā pamatizglītība) programmes leading to EQF level 2, ISCED 254
EQF level
2
ISCED-P 2011 level

254

Usual entry grade

8

Usual completion grade

9

Usual entry age

15+

Usual completion age

16+

Length of a programme (years)

1-3

  
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

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning
  • workshops at school
Main providers

Special education institutions/development centres or vocational education institutions

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=65%

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

The main target groups are learners with intellectual disability and early leavers from compulsory basic education.

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

There are no minimum entry requirements, but learners must be at least 15 years old to enrol.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners need to pass a professional qualification examination and qualification practice. The professional qualification examination ([84]Cabinet of Ministers (2011c). Profesionālās kvalifikācijas eksāmenu norises kārtība akreditētās profesionālās izglītības programmās [Procedure of professional qualification examinations in accredited vocational education programmes]. Regulation No 662 (last amended 18.12.2012, No 918).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=235206
) includes both theoretical and practical parts, designed in line with both occupational and State vocational education standards and organised according to government regulations. Representatives from relevant sectoral organisations participate in the examination process.

A learner who fails a qualification examination is entitled to take a second examination in the following academic year, but must covering the costs.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Certificate of basic vocational education (apliecība par profesionālo pamatizglītību), with professional qualification at EQF level 2.

Examples of qualifications

Cook’s assistant, carpenter's assistant

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • enter the labour market
  • progress to secondary level (vocational) education
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% ([85]2017)

EQF 3

Mainly

School-based secondary VET,

WBL 65%,

3 years

ISCED 353

Vocational education (arodizglītība) programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 353
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

353

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

19

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

Vocational education programmes are mainly school-based, with practical learning periods at schools or enterprises. Since 2015, vocational education can also take the form of an apprenticeship-type scheme (nationally called ‘work-based learning’) with flexible curricula taking place alternately at school and enterprise.

The learning form of this programme type is contact studies which can also be implemented as an apprenticeship-type scheme.

Main providers

Vocational schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=65%

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

The main target group is young people after completion of basic education.

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

Entry requirements are 15 years and basic education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners need to pass a professional qualification examination and qualification practice. The professional qualification examination ([86]Cabinet of Ministers (2011c). Profesionālās kvalifikācijas eksāmenu norises kārtība akreditētās profesionālās izglītības programmās [Procedure of professional qualification examinations in accredited vocational education programmes]. Regulation No 662 (last amended 18.12.2012, No 918).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=235206
) includes both theoretical and practical parts, designed in line with both occupational and State vocational education standards and organised according to the government regulations. Representatives from relevant sectoral organisations participate in the examination process.

A learner who fails a qualification examination is entitled to take a second examination in the following academic year but must cover the costs.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Certificate of vocational education (atestāts par arodizglītību) with professional qualification at EQF level 3

Examples of qualifications

Cook, carpenter, gardener

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • enter vocational secondary education
  • enter the labour market

For admission to higher education, a one-year intermediate general secondary education ‘bridge programme’ must be followed.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

The share of theory is 60%.

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The content of these education programmes, which are elaborated by providers, is defined by the State vocational education standards ([87]Cabinet of Ministers (2000). Noteikumi par valsts profesionālās vidējās izglītības standartu un valsts arodizglītības standartu [Regulations on the State vocational secondary education standard and the State vocational education standard]. Regulation No 211 (last amended 19.9.2017, No 564).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=8533
) and occupational standards ([88]Since 2016, in parallel to the occupational standards, Cabinet Regulations stipulate qualifications requirements and sectoral qualifications framework (SQF) descriptions. In further text, the term ‘occupational standards’ includes all the mentioned documents.) ([89]Cabinet of Ministers (2016). Profesijas standarta, profesionālās kvalifikācijas prasību (ja profesijai neapstiprina profesijas standartu) un nozares kvalifikāciju struktūras izstrādes kārtība [Procedure for the development of occupational standard, professional qualification requirements (if occupational standard is not approved for an occupation) and sectoral qualifications framework]. Regulation No 633.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=285032
) and is based on learning outcomes.

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

5% ([90]2017)

EQF 4

Mainly

school-based secondary VET

WBL 50%,

4 years

ISCED 354

Vocational secondary education (profesionālā vidējā izglītība) programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

20

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?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

Vocational education programmes are mainly school-based, with practical learning periods at schools or enterprises. Since 2015, vocational education can also take the form of an apprenticeship-type scheme (nationally called ‘work-based learning’) with flexible curricula taking place alternately at school and enterprise.

Main providers

The main providers are vocational schools and some colleges.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50%

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

The main target group is young people after completing basic education.

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

Entry requirements are basic education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a vocational education programme, learners need to pass a final professional qualification examination and qualification practice. The professional qualification examination ([91]Cabinet of Ministers (2011c). Profesionālās kvalifikācijas eksāmenu norises kārtība akreditētās profesionālās izglītības programmās [Procedure of professional qualification examinations in accredited vocational education programmes]. Regulation No 662 (last amended 18.12.2012, No 918).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=235206
) includes both theoretical and practical parts, designed in line with both occupational and State vocational education standards and organised according to government regulations. Representatives from relevant sectoral organisations participate in the examination process.

Vocational secondary education students must also take State centralised exams in the following general study subjects: Latvian, mathematics, foreign language and one subject selected by the student.

A learner who fails a qualification examination is entitled to take a second examination in the following academic year but must cover the costs.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Vocational secondary education programmes lead to a diploma of vocational secondary education (diploms par profesionālo vidējo izglītību) with professional qualification at EQF level 4.

The State centralised exams in four general subjects provide students with a certificate of general secondary education (vispārējās vidējās izglītības sertifikāts) and the right to enter higher education.

Examples of qualifications

Car mechanic, electronic technician, mechanical engineering technician

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • enter the labour market
  • continue in higher education after passing the State centralised exams in general study subjects
Destination of graduates

information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

The share of theory is 60%.

Key competences

Y

Key competences are acquired according to the State education standard.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The content of these programmes, which are elaborated by providers, is defined by the State vocational education standards ([92]Cabinet of Ministers (2000). Noteikumi par valsts profesionālās vidējās izglītības standartu un valsts arodizglītības standartu [Regulations on the State vocational secondary education standard and the State vocational education standard]. Regulation No 211 (last amended 19.9.2017, No 564).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=8533
), occupational standards ([93]Cabinet of Ministers (2016). Profesijas standarta, profesionālās kvalifikācijas prasību (ja profesijai neapstiprina profesijas standartu) un nozares kvalifikāciju struktūras izstrādes kārtība [Procedure for the development of occupational standard, professional qualification requirements (if occupational standard is not approved for an occupation) and sectoral qualifications framework]. Regulation No 633.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=285032
), and is based on learning outcomes.

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

71% ([94]2017)

EQF 3

Mainly

school-based VET,

WBL 65%

up to 2 years

ISCED 351,453

One year vocational education (viengadīgā arodizglītība) programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 351 or 453
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

351 or 453

Usual entry grade

10+

Usual completion grade

11+

Usual entry age

17+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

1

  
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

Not applicable

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

Vocational education programmes are mainly school-based, with practical learning periods at schools or enterprises. Since 2015, vocational education can also take the form of an apprenticeship-type scheme (nationally called ‘work-based learning’) with flexible curricula taking place alternately at school and enterprise.

At the end of the learning process there is at least 560 hours of qualification practice, followed by a final qualification examination.

The learning form of this programme type is mainly contact studies which can also be implemented as an apprenticeship-type scheme; however, some programmes are offered in part-time form.

Main providers

The main providers are vocational schools.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=65%

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

The main target group is young people. Since 2014/15, these programmes have been offered to 17 to 29 year-olds with basic or secondary education in the Youth guarantee initiative using ESF support.

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

Entry requirements are age 17 and basic education (for programmes of ISCED 351) or secondary education (for programmes of ISCED 453 ([95]In Latvia, post-secondary education programmes, in contrast to what their name suggests, belong to secondary education level.)).

Assessment of learning outcomes

At the end of the programme learners must pass a final professional qualification examination.

If a learner fails a qualification examination, they are entitled to take a second examination in the following academic year but must cover the costs.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Certificate of professional qualification (profesionālās kvalifikācijas apliecība) (EQF level 3)

Examples of qualifications

Carer, carpenter, gardener

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can enter the labour market

Destination of graduates

information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

It is possible to acquire a certificate of professional qualification (EQF level 3) through validation of prior learning.

General education subjects

N

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The content of these programmes, which are elaborated by providers, is defined by the State vocational education standards ([96]Cabinet of Ministers (2000). Noteikumi par valsts profesionālās vidējās izglītības standartu un valsts arodizglītības standartu [Regulations on the State vocational secondary education standard and the State vocational education standard]. Regulation No 211 (last amended 19.9.2017, No 564).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=8533
), occupational standards ([97]Cabinet of Ministers (2016). Profesijas standarta, profesionālās kvalifikācijas prasību (ja profesijai neapstiprina profesijas standartu) un nozares kvalifikāciju struktūras izstrādes kārtība [Procedure for the development of occupational standard, professional qualification requirements (if occupational standard is not approved for an occupation) and sectoral qualifications framework]. Regulation No 633.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=285032
), and is based on learning outcomes.

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

9% ([98]2017)

EQF 4

Mainly

school-based VET,

WBL 65%

up to 2 years

ISCED 351, 453

One and a half to three-year vocational secondary education after general secondary education (profesionālā vidējā izglītība pēc vispārējās vidējās izglītības) programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 453
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

453

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

19

Usual completion age

20+

Length of a programme (years)

1.5-3

  
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

Since 2014/15, these programmes have been offered in the Youth guarantee initiative using ESF support.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

Vocational education programmes are mainly school-based, with practical learning periods at schools or enterprises. Since 2015, vocational education can also take the form of an apprenticeship-type scheme (nationally called ‘work-based learning’) with flexible curricula taking place alternately at school and enterprise.

At the end of the learning process there is at least 560 hours of qualification practice, which is followed by a qualification examination.

The learning form of this programme type is mainly contact studies which can be implemented also as an apprenticeship-type scheme. However, several programmes are offered in part-time or distance learning form.

Main providers

The main providers are vocational schools.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50%

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

The main target group is young people. Since 2014/15, programmes mainly of one and a half years have been offered to 17 to 29 year-olds with secondary education in the Youth guarantee initiative using ESF support.

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

Entry requirement is secondary education

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners need to pass a final professional qualification examination.

If a learner fails a qualification examination, they are entitled to take a second examination in the following academic year but must cover the costs.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Short vocational secondary education programmes (ISCED-P 453) lead to a diploma of vocational secondary education (diploms par profesionālo vidējo izglītību) with professional qualification at EQF level 4.

Examples of qualifications

Car mechanic, book-keeper, dental technician

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can enter the labour market

Destination of graduates

information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The content of these programmes, which are elaborated by providers, is defined by the State vocational education standards ([99]Cabinet of Ministers (2000). Noteikumi par valsts profesionālās vidējās izglītības standartu un valsts arodizglītības standartu [Regulations on the State vocational secondary education standard and the State vocational education standard]. Regulation No 211 (last amended 19.9.2017, No 564).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=8533
), occupational standards ([100]Cabinet of Ministers (2016). Profesijas standarta, profesionālās kvalifikācijas prasību (ja profesijai neapstiprina profesijas standartu) un nozares kvalifikāciju struktūras izstrādes kārtība [Procedure for the development of occupational standard, professional qualification requirements (if occupational standard is not approved for an occupation) and sectoral qualifications framework]. Regulation No 633.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=285032
), and is based on learning outcomes.

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

14% ([101]2017)

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