Vocational Training and Life Long Learning

Vocational training
The vocational education system covers initial and continuing vocational education and training

Initial Vocational Education and Training (IVET) can start at the age 14 (fifth year of Basic education). The duration of the first programmes can be either two or three years depending on the level of the audience. The duration of studies for students who have already obtained secondary education is 1 to 1.5 years. It grants a certificate of basic education. The student can then pursue into vocational upper secondary education, that also lasts 2 or 3 years and ends on a "matura" examination. In order to join tertiary education (university or college), vocational students have to follow an extra "post-secondary education" program (1 or 2 years).

The training programme consists of two parts. The first part is common to all schools in the country and defines fields of professional activities, competencies, teaching goals, and assessment provisions. The second part is optional and covers teaching methods, subject programmes, teaching aids, etc. The programme must include the subjects or modules of Entrepreneurship, Civil Protection, Ecology, Information Technologies, and Foreign Language for Specific Purposes. 60-70 percent of the total time allocated to vocational subjects should be devoted to practical training. Usually, practical training is conducted at the school or in a company. Training can also be performed under exchange programmes.

Initial vocational training is financed through the state budget. Vocational training providers receive financing by applying the methodology of the pupil's voucher, i.e. calculation of teaching funds per pupil. The same principle is applied when allocating utility funds. Most of vocational school pupils receive grants. Continuing education is usually conducted through the funds of companies, institutions, the Employment Fund, other funds, or personal funds of pupils. Requirements for vocational training programmes are set out by the General Requirements and Standards for Vocational Training of the Ministry of Education and Science. Vocational training programmes are developed by vocational training providers in cooperation with employers.

Continuing Vocational Education and Training (CVET) targets learners older than 18. It consists of programmes, usually short (a year or less), mainly dedicated to practical training (60 to 80% of the programme). They can lead to a vocational qualification, to an additional vocational qualification, or to a competence to perform jobs or functions regulated by law.

Adult education
Once students have reached 18 years of age, they are offered a variety of opportunities for further education. It is possible to continue one's education in general education schools and centres for adults, by taking various courses or just using the Internet, reading books, or being interested in special literature.

Adults can obtain primary, basic or secondary education in adult schools, education centres, and general education schools with forms established for adults. General education of adults is organised by approx. 60 institutions in all municipalities of the country, which number about 12 thousand adults. These schools also provide non-formal adult education services.

The scope and subjects of study programmes for adults are adapted according to the needs. Adults who study under general education and non-formal education programmes can choose a flexible learning form that is most suitable for them -- modular education, independent education, extramural education, or distance education. These forms allow adults choosing suitable time for their studies and a study programme, as well as planning their learning process on their own.

The modular learning method creates opportunities to study single subjects and complete the selected education programme within acceptable time frames as well as study for the purposes of self-education. Extramural students arrive to the adult school only for consultations and to take credit tests. Part of consultations under the correspondence and individual programmes (and all consultations for disabled people) can be provided distantly, by communicating with teachers with the help of information communication technologies -- Internet sites, e-mail, or Internet Telephony Programs.

Adults study not only in order to obtain formal education, but also for self-expression, improvement of their skills, or communication with other people. On non-formal adult education courses and seminars adults tend mostly like to study foreign languages, Basics of Law and Business, Psychology, Computer Literacy as well as Arts, Literature, and Philosophy. Improvement of competencies in citizenship, traffic safety, and career management is also important. Non-formal adult education is organized by approx. 700 public and private institutions. Adult learning also takes place in the workplace and is organized by the employers taking into account their business demands.

Improvement of teacher's skills
During an academic year, teachers shall allocate 5 days for improvement of their skills. Every municipality has a teacher education centre, in which teachers can improve their qualification. These services are also provided by various private institutions.

There is a system implemented for the appraisal of teachers. The Regulations of the Appraisal of Teachers specify four teacher qualification categories: teacher, senior teacher, teacher-supervisor, and teacher-expert. Teachers or specialists in assisting the student can undergo appraisal at their own choice and in accordance with the procedure established in the Regulations, and pursue acquisition of any qualification category in one or several subjects (education fields, vocational training programmes).

Since 2010, students who enter pedagogical studies shall take a motivation test. The motivation test allows selecting the mostly motivated students. Future pedagogues with the best achievements receive an incentive - an additional target grant.