Czech legislation and corresponding implementation practice does not provide any formal barriers as to access to employment with regard to particular type and profile of EQF 6-8 qualifications. This approach is also supported by official government schemes such as the National System of Qualifications and the National System of Employment, which namely declare equivalence of diplomas awarded by professional tertiary schools (vyšší odborné školy, VOŠ) No formal differentiation between PHE and other HE degrees in respect of employability); and corresponding higher education (bachelor) degrees. Also in important regulated professions sectors such as healthcare and education, for some professions (type of positions) alternative path to qualification is supported, and provided for, by the relevant legislation.
What was the challenge intended to be addressed? Why? What did work well? What did not work well? What have been the main achievements? How did you evaluate its success? What has been the change brought by this good practice?
Although distinction between professional (vocation) and academic (general) education is largely recognized in the Czech Republic, and plays a significant role in the segmentation of the whole educational system at all its levels, it is very vaguely rooted in the legislation. Furthermore, National System of Qualifications, implemented under Further Education Qualifications Act (Nr 179/2006), provides an overarching framework to bridge over various sectors of education system. This provides for flexibility of learning paths as well as in access to employment. Equivalence between dedicated professional educational institutions' awarded qualifications (such as those from professional tertiary schools - vyšší odborné školy) and qualifications awarded by higher education institutions is generally ensured.
What are the enabling conditions (e.g. institutional, economic, social/cultural, regulatory) that needed to be in place or played a facilitating role for the good practice to be successful?
As part of reforms of the Czech educational system in 1990s, professional tertiary schools (vyšší odborné školy) were established as institutionally adjacent to upper secondary education under a policy aim that these would later become higher education institutions. However, this has never happened. Instead, the sector of professional higher educations has, in terms of institutions, evolved separately following adoption of higher education law (Nr 111/1998). This gradual development and coexistence of various types of institutions across the same qualifications levels therefore instigated a flexibility of legal and recognition framework. In consequence, professional higher education sector operates under no formal limitation, be it to enter provision of educational courses previously carried out by the older type of professional tertiary schools, or with respect to admission of graduates to further study or employment.
What are the challenges, barriers or limiting factors encountered? How have they been addressed?
However, professional higher education may face challenges with respect to access to students, whereas students from professionally-oriented upper secondary school may consider continuing studies at the same institution (within professional tertiary school adjacent to a secondary school) and location instead of seeking admission into higher education institution. With respect to employment, informally some employers may prefer to hire holders of qualifications from professional tertiary schools for fear that professional higher education graduates may be still too academically oriented, and seeking higher salary.
Feasibility & Sustainability
What are the elements that need to be put into place for the good practice to be sustainable (institutionally, socially, economically, etc.)? If applicable, indicate the total costs incurred for the implementation of the practice. What are the benefits compared to total costs?
Awareness needs to be further raised about content and equivalence of relevant qualifications, namely through the spread of the concept of National System of Qualifications and National System of Employment. Namely, the National System of Employment, which is designed to inform the world of work, on the basis of demand and feedback by employers and their associations, on the qualifications standard typically to be asked for a type of positions, needs to be updated to better reflect full realities of current educational systems and qualifications that it provides.
What would have facilitated an earlier and/or bigger impact? What are the key features that should be kept in mind if this would have to be implemented again? What would you do differently if you could go back in time? What could have been done better?
Gradual, incremental development of the traditional system of vocational qualifications blended with new types of qualifications emerging in higher education sector since the 1990s, melted into quite a flexible qualifications system and their recognition, when supported by overarching schemes inspired by European educational policy initiatives (e.g. qualifications frameworks).