Career Colleges and Vocational Schools in Czech Republic
About Career Colleges and Vocational Schools in Czech Republic
Vocational education and training is a major part of the educational system in the Czech Republic. As early as age 15 students in this country have the opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills leading directly to specific vocations—training that then qualifies them for entry-level career positions upon graduation. Below we will take a closer look at the vocational schools and training opportunities in the Czech Republic, including those at both the secondary and post-secondary level.
Vocational Education in the Czech Republic: Secondary Schools
In the Czech Republic, once a student completes the 9 years of compulsory education that comprises the primary and junior secondary school years (age 6-15), that student has the option of attending either a general or vocational upper secondary school. In the general education school, students study a purely academic track, usually in preparation for university enrollment, while at the vocational school they will be exposed to an educational track that is more mixed in nature.
Vocational education at the secondary school level is provided in 3-year programs that lead to a vocational certificate, or 4-year programs that culminate with a “maturita,” or diploma examination. The unique feature about both of these programs is that in addition to the vocational education students receive, they also receive instruction in general academic subjects, education accounting for 30 percent of the overall curriculum in the three year programs and 45 percent of the total at the 4-year schools.
The 4-year secondary educational schools are very popular among Czech students, largely because it presents them with a number of options upon graduation. This is because the 4-year programs are viewed in much the same way as the general academic schools, in that graduates earn a diploma upon graduation and may continue their studies at one of the post-secondary vocational schools or at the university. In the latest figures gathered by the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, the breakdown percentage of students attending secondary vocational schools as opposed to general education schools is 80-20 percent, which only makes sense given the wide number of opportunities it affords them.
Vocational Education in the Czech Republic: Post-Secondary Opportunities
Post-secondary education in the Czech Republic became very popular and much more organized after the introduction of higher professional schools (HPS) in 1996. In short, the objective of these programs is to provide advanced vocational and technical education and training that is relevant to demanding professional vocations. Programs at higher professional schools typically span between three and three-and-a-half years, culminating with an “absolutorium,” or exit examination that tests a student comprehension in the specific field of study, along with a graduate thesis and its defense, the latter usually consisting of a rigorous test involving the correct performance of practical, hands-on skills in the vocation for which the student seeks qualification.
Students who complete all these steps and successfully graduate from one of the higher professional schools generally go on to fill important career positions relevant to the Czech economy, including those that require advanced knowledge in today’s current technologies and information systems.