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CZ
 Study branches 
Discussion (>Conclusions) (>Topic)
National dissemination events: Czech Republic

Anna Konopasková & Petr Viceník
Research Institute of Technical and Vocational Education (VÚOŠ)

April 2000

Introduction
Workshop
Conclusion

Reference to national case study on CZ: Study branches.
Reference to topic study (CZ/ FI) on: concept of qualifications.


Introduction

A National Programme for development of the education in the Czech Republic has been discussed since the beginning of 2000. The programme is intended to solve some important topics, e.g. autonomy of schools, teacher training, research and evaluation of quality of schools and outcomes of their work. Naturally the programme covers also the schools, which offer VET programmes with dual orientation. Besides the conference that dealt with the results of the Leonardo programmes in general (Prague, 2 and 3 March 2000) a major dissemination event was the workshop titled “Development of the Scope of Qualifications Provided by Vocational Education and Training”, held in Prague, from 24 to 25 February 2000. The main aim of the latter was to inform participants of the workshop on the results of the project Leonardo da Vinci DUOQOAL and to discuss relevant issues and problems. The useful background for the discussions was produced by the conclusions of comparisons made within the DUOQUAL programme. Sabine Manning, the Project co-ordinator, made the audience familiar with them at the beginning of the workshop. A detailed overview of reform activities in Finland was later presented by Maarit Virolainen, the Finnish partner from the University of Jyväskylä.

Workshop

The workshop provided a good opportunity for bringing together researchers, officials and practitioners from the field of technical and vocational education as well as from business in the Czech Republic.
The main discussed topics were as follows:
(1)
Status of graduates from upper secondary technical/vocational schools in comparison with those from general upper secondary schools (gymnázia). Prospects as regards the labour market position and/or higher education enrolment.
    The current status of VET in the Czech Republic has resulted from a long tradition. Upper secondary technical/vocational schools have established as providers of technical/vocational as well as general education during the past decades. The graduates with good achievement have the same chance to be enrolled  in universities and other higher education institutions as the ones from general upper secondary schools. From this point of view involving of vocational modules into general education programmes, which is one of the reform activities in some countries cannot be useful in our country. The previous attempts from the 1980s were refused by employers and also by society as a whole. 
(2)
Development of the labour market in the Czech Republic and its comparison with developments in the EU Member States labour markets, principal branches of technical and vocational education – declared by the Czech Statistical Office in 1998.
    Since 1989 the new political situation has exposed our country to strong influences from the world or global economy. Despite of the lack of reliable information the numbers of graduates with different qualifications follow general trends in structural changes of national economy. However, the data shows some falling behind the developed EU countries, especially in comparison of persons involved into production and services. It seems quite clear that graduates will need to change their professions in future and they will have to be prepared for it. 
(3)
Investigation of qualification requirements and their including into curricula of technical and vocational education, follow the trends in the development of occupations and qualifications. 
    The qualification requirements arising from a rapid development of technology as well as from changes in work organisation have the great impact on curriculum development. The main challenges in this field are:
- To investigate (or if possible to foreseen) qualification requirements;
- To shorten the delay in implementing the new elements into VET curricula;
- To find means of a smooth  transition of the graduates from schools to labour market. 
(4)
Conception and development of curricula for VET in the Czech Republic. The educational programme analyses in respect of the employability of graduates. Involvement of key skills to the study programmes. 
(5)
Key skills and their including into curricula of technical and vocational education. The important role of key skills in enhancing the employability of the graduates.
    The presented framework of the VET curricula development is in agreement with the presupposed solution given by National programme of development. It gives a partial autonomy to schools, makes them more responsible for results of their work but it constitutes a relatively stable and comparable standard for the same or relative qualifications as well as for qualifications at the same level of education.
    An important part of work must be done in the field of teacher training. Teachers should to be able: 
- To equip students with key skills (communication skills, problem solutions, working in teams, etc.);
- To increase student awareness of environmental issues together with sound knowledge of this matter;
- To realise that every schooling is at the same time a part of lifelong learning and to teach students how to learn.
    Some difficulties in the VET area rise from a tendency to prefer inspection and evaluation of educational process at its end. It is easier to compare results of general education than vocational education. The standards, which have been developed for general subjects, do not follow assessment of  key skills. A stress put on the standards can lead to underestimating of vocational contents, which is important mainly for labour market and not to the same extent for admission into higher education.

Conclusion

As regards the equality of status of technical/vocational secondary education and general secondary education there is a great difference between the Czech Republic on the one side and the others DUOQUAL countries on the other side. While the latter are struggling for above-mentioned equality, the Czech Republic would endeavour not to lose it. 
    Participants of the workshop appreciated a broader context given by the outcomes of comparative analyses and by the overview of reform activities in Finland. The contextual point of view provided a possibility to see national situation from the more distinct and/or objective angles than it is enabled by everyday practice with its routine. 

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