Two surveys of Czech upper secondary and tertiary professional schools (SŠ and VOŠ) have been carried out as part of Support of Action Planning project 2016-21 (PKAP). In 2018, a total of 1 293 schools (96%) participated, compared to 1 365 (98%) during the first round in 2015/16. Both surveys indicate that VET schools rank cooperation with employers as one of their top priorities after school infrastructure development (refurbishment of school facilities and equipment).
The most common activities carried out in cooperation with employers are lectures and other forms of involving experts from the world of work in instructing students (76% of schools compared to 67% in 2015/16), and the provision of practical training in a real work environment, which remains stable at 68%. Schools increasingly offer internship opportunities for teachers and educators at workplaces and state-of-the-art employers’ premises (40% compared to 26% previously). More emphasis is placed on career guidance implemented in cooperation with employers (nine percentage points increase). Employers’ involvement in final examinations slightly increases to 38% of schools (two percentage points increase).
Rising employer interest in cooperation
Schools also observe fewer obstacles to cooperation compared to 2015/16. Previously, 39% of schools reported a lack of employer interest in cooperation; this has fallen significantly to 28%. High costs for medical examinations and health insurance required for students before entering workplaces have also fallen (from 39% to 34%).
A slight drop is recorded in the motivation of students to learn in real work environments, the availability of suitable companies, and a lack of employer interest in being involved in final examinations. The most common obstacle for schools in 2018 is that companies are unable to adapt to the educational needs of students (37%, a one percentage point increase compared to 2015/16).
Schools see the most desirable form of cooperation in the participation of experts in lectures and similar forms of instruction (nine percentage points increase to 58%). However, they seem less interested in partnership contracts for school, company and student (nine percentage points fall to 32%) or securing funds for students’ practical training (seven percentage points fall to 47%). Despite a slight reduction, 52% of schools still welcome internships for students in foreign companies and a similar share is interested in funding for administration costs, teaching equipment, insurance fees and costs related to commuting to employer workplaces. Vocational training or practical training for students in the workplace is seen as desirable by 51% of schools.
The goal of the PKAP project is to integrate long-term planning into school practice as a tool for quality management and to align educational policy at school, regional and national levels. In 2019, schools submit evaluated questionnaire responses as a prerequisite to applying for project calls by the Ministry of Education.