VET and HRD research in European countries > Overview 

Czech Republic  [1]  Context of national VET/HRD policies

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Research carried out in the VET/HRD area affects the implementation of national policies to a varying degree. Policymaking and reforms are directly influenced by the work of research institutions set up for this purpose by the relevant ministries – i.e. the Ministry of Education (NÚOV, ÚIV, VÚP, CSVŠ) and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (VUPSV) (for explanation of acronyms – see section 4). Additional research is conducted as part of grant funding for which research institutions compete. This concerns either projects on very specific issues (i.e. research for the needs of state administration) or research dealing with broad theme areas. 
Key strategic documents in the field of education (Long-Term Plan of Education and Development of Education System) are based on numerous analyses conducted by research institutions of the Ministry of Education (see above). The analyses aim to assess the match between the educational supply and the demand for education at various levels in the regions. They also elaborate on the priorities set as part of on-going reforms in education.

Long-term research and pilot projects are implemented by the NTF in the area of HRD and continuing education. They resulted in the adoption of the Human Resources Development Strategy. Based on this Strategy the Council for HRD was set up as an advisory body to the national government, and Regional Councils for HRD were formed at the level of regional self-administration. Research work in this area is focused on the development of instruments for strategic management of HRD at national and regional levels.
The new Schools law stipulates new principles for curricula development (framework curricula and school curricula). Framework curricula, which are binding nation-wide for specific levels and branches of education, are gradually introduced from 2006. Framework VET curricula are developed by NÚOV, which also provides methodological assistance to schools. The development of curricular documents is supported by so-called “branch groups” (representatives of schools and social partners). Several pilot projects are aiming to test both framework and school curricula. 

In recent years considerable attention has been paid to the transparency of qualifications as part of lifelong learning and to quality assurance in education. A law has been passed on the recognition of the outcomes of continuing education which, when signed by the President of the CR, should come into effect on 1 August 2007. The law envisages the establishment of a National Qualifications System including professional as well as evaluation standards. The System is being developed by NÚOV as part of a systemic research project. Some other pilot measures are aiming to develop a system of occupational standards. Reform is also underway as regards the transparency of qualifications in initial education. Many years of research have resulted in a reformed “maturita” examination, which is being prepared by the Centre for Identification of Learning Outcomes. The Centre is also developing instruments for evaluation in education and is involved in the evaluation of results obtained via application of these instruments. 

One important priority of education policy is the development of tertiary education and the reform of higher education. The existing reform policy has been updated and a document entitled "Long-Term Plan for Educational, Research and Development, Artistic and other Creative Activities in Higher Education until 2010" has been adopted. The development of the Plan and the reform policy is supported by research carried out by CSVŠ. Research is primarily focused on capacity and quality of tertiary education. As a part of the long-term plan a comprehensive system for monitoring and evaluating HE institutions is being developed. The quality of tertiary education providers and their links to the business sector are being tested by specific research projects. As part of the higher education reform, the issues of funding of tertiary education are being discussed too. These are also the subject of research conducted by various institutions and universities. 

In the field of employment and social policy, several strategic documents were adopted (National Employment Action Plan 2004-06 and National Programme concerned with Preparation for Population Ageing for 2003-2007). Research into labour market issues responds, to a large degree, to the needs for employment policy development and programme priorities of action plans concerned with employment and social development. Various projects examine the links between labour market requirements and their effects on social and family areas, and the establishment of conditions for social inclusion. When analysing the employment policy considerable attention is devoted to the causes of and solutions to problems related to the continuing high rate of unemployment and population ageing. Some studies assess the existing and possible future consequences of the CR’s accession to the EU (including labour forces mobility). Most research projects also include analyses of qualification requirements and the conditions concerning access to education as one of the main ways of increasing the employability and flexibility of individuals in the labour market. 

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Source: Cedefop - National Research Report Czech Republic (details see Bibliography)
Editor: Sabine Manning  © WIFO