A pilot project Mistrovská zkouška (master craftsman examination) was launched by the National Institute for Education in November 2017 and will continue until 2021. The project will set the overall master craftsman examination model and prepare the comprehensive expertise needed for its implementation. Elements of the master exam system will be developed and reviewed for the different master qualifications: qualification and assessment standards, frameworks for the assignments of the master exams, training programme curricula, and textbooks. The project will develop the necessary methodologies and design the processes for organising the exams.
The master craftsman represents a new type of qualification, as well as a new tool for CVET and recognition of advanced craftsmanship in vocational fields. While graduates of four-year secondary VET programmes (ISCED 354) can continue to develop their professional skills in tertiary professional schools or in higher education, craftsmen do not have this option. Typically they are graduates from three-year VET programmes with the vocational certificate (ISCED 353, EQF 3) which does not directly lead to tertiary education. The master craftsman opens up new perspectives as it leads to EQF 5 level.
Increases in master craftsman attributes are additional aims: the overall quality of craftsmanship; society’s perception of the prestige of crafts; the interest of young people (and their parents) in education in craft industries; and holders’ chances of succeeding abroad as the qualification is made compatible within the EU. The project is jointly financed by European Union funds. The Chamber of Commerce will have the ‘umbrella’ role, with the involvement of VET schools, professional associations and crafts.