This page was last modified on 17 August 2015, at 09:39.

Czech-Republic:Higher Education

From Eurydice

Jump to: navigation, search


Overview of Tertiary Education

Tertiary education sector is divided into higher education (ISCED 645, 7 and 8) and tertiary professional education (ISCED 655). The term tertiary education is not defined in present legislation but is used in official documents. Higher education and tertiary professional education applicants qualify for entry if they have completed secondary education with a school-leaving examination (maturitní zkouška, ISCED 344 or 354) and met the admission requirements stipulated by a relevant institution.

Higher education is realised at higher education institutions (vysoké školy) which form the highest level of the Czech education system. Higher education consists of three cycles:  

  • Bachelor’s degree programme (ISCED 645), lasting 3–4 years;
  • Master’s degree programme (ISCED 7), lasting 1–3 years (ISCED 747), or 4–6 years in case of programmes not following bachelor’s programmes – non-structured study programme (ISCED 746);
  • Doctoral degree programme (ISCED 844) lasting, 3–4 years.

Higher education institutions are public, state and private. Under the Higher Education Act, they are classified as university type (24 public, 2 state and 3 private) which offer study programmes at all three levels of higher education and non-university type (2 public and 41 private, one of them started its activities only in 2014) which offer mainly Bachelor’s programmes but may also provide Master’s programmes.

Completed secondary education with a school-leaving examination is the basic prerequisite for entry into Bachelor’s and non-structured Master’s programmes. Detailed admission requirements are set by a relevant higher education institution and usually include an entrance examination. Higher education can take forms of full-time courses, distance-learning courses or a combination of both. Students have to follow a study plan within an accredited degree programme; accreditation is awarded by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports on the basis of a recommendation of the Accreditation commission (Akreditační komise). Study programmes at higher education institutions cover almost all areas of science and arts. They are usually subdivided into study fields which are, depending upon their content, included in the so-called basic study fields (see also the part Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure). Creation and provision of study programmes is one of the recognised academic rights and freedoms of higher education institutions (see Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level), so their number and prevailing orientation changes in years.

Studies are duly completed if students obtain their qualification through:

  • a Bachelor’s degree programme which ends with the final state examination, part of which is usually the defence of a thesis, graduates are awarded the academic title Bachelor (Bc.), in the field of art, Bachelor of Arts (BcA.);
  • a Master’s degree programme which ends with the final state examination or rigorózní zkouška, part of which is the defence of a thesis, graduates mostly obtain the academic title Master (Mgr.) or Engineer (Ing.);
  • a Doctoral degree programme which ends with the state doctoral examination, graduates mostly obtain the academic title Doctor (Ph.D.).

In 2014 academic year, the overall number of higher education students was 347 339. There were 60% of all higher education students in Bachelor’s degree programmes, 25% in the follow-up Master’s degree programmes, 9% in Long-cycle Master’s degree programmes and 7% in Doctoral degree programmes (full-time courses, distance-learning courses or a combination of both is the basis for calculating the number of studies). Apart from this, another 28 332 students studied in tertiary professional education in 2013/2014. (Source: Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.)

Tertiary professional education (ISCED 655) is provided  at tertiary professional schools (vyšší odborné školy).

Tertiary professional schools are public, state, private or denominational. Upper secondary education with a school-leaving examination is the prerequisite for admission. Admission procedure details are set by the school head and can include an entrance examination. The courses usually include both a theoretical and a practical part. They can take a form of full-time, evening, distance, or combined studies (for more information, see the chapter Adult Education and Training, Vocational education, section Teaching Methods and Forms). The number of students in a study group is between 10 and 40 students. Educational programme is subject to accreditation from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports that is awarded on the basis of a recommendation of the Accreditation Commission for Tertiary Professional Education.

Education ends with a graduate examination (absolutorium), an examination consisting of a theoretical part in vocational subjects, an exam in a foreign language and a defence of a thesis. Graduates obtain graduate examination certificates, a diploma and the title “specialist with a diploma“ (DiS).

School-leavers from tertiary professional education do not have access to Master’s degree programmes (following Bachelor's programmes). Some higher education institutions, however, offer the possibility to acknowledge the subjects studied within a tertiary professional school programme and thus enabling the school-leavers to complete a Bachelor’s degree programme in a shorter period of time.

Tertiary professional education in conservatoire (ISCED 554) is acquired through successful completion of a six-year or eight-year educational programme. As the studies proceed continuously involving also secondary level of education, and because of the possibility to receive upper secondary education with a school-leaving examination (ISCED 354), the education is included in chapter Upper Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education.

Bachelor’s degree programmes are described in The First Cycle Programmes, Master’s degree programmes following the Bachelor’s degree programmes in The Second Cycle Programmes, for non-structured Master’s degree programmes, see the relevant section and information on Doctoral programmes can be found in The Third Cycle Programmes.

Education at tertiary professional schools is described in Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure, at conservatoires in the chapter Upper Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education.

Administration and governance of tertiary education at national, regional, local and institutional level is provided separately in the chapter Organisation and Governance.

Information on private higher education institutions and tertiary professional schools is dealt with separately in Organisation of Private Education.

General Objectives

Higher education institutions (vysoké školy) are supreme centres of education, independent knowledge and creative activity. The general goal of higher education is to provide students with adequate professional qualifications, prepare them for engagement in research and participating in life-long learning, make them contribute to the development of civic society and international, particularly European cooperation. They attain this goal by linking instruction with scholarly, research, developmental, artistic and other creative activities.

Tertiary professional education (vyšší odborné školydevelops and promotes knowledge and skills students acquired in secondary education and provides general education and vocational training for them to perform demanding professional activities. It is understood to be professional training.

Legislation and bibliography:

Education Act

Higher Education Act

Legislative Framework

Tertiary education field is regulated by two laws:

  • Higher Education Act
  • Education Act which regulates tertiary professional education in one part and in another one regulates education in conservatoires

Higher education institutions

The Higher Education Act of 1998 (with more than twenty amendments) sets forth the mission of higher education institutions (vysoké školy), the academic community and academic freedom. It defines the position of public, state and private higher education institutions, their bodies or structure; for public schools it sets out rules for asset management. It also describes types of study programmes, accreditation rules and bodies, conditions under which an institution applying for the status of a private higher education institution can gain state approval. It regulates admission to a study programme, its course and completion, sets out the rules and duties for students and the policy for awarding academic titles. It regulates the position of academic staff and the relationship between higher education institutions and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. Furthermore, it regulates recognition of qualifications and their parts acquired abroad. In a supplement to this Act, public and state higher education institutions are listed in detail.

Activities of higher education institutions are also governed by their internal regulations that follow on from the Act and are subject of registration to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. For each higher education institution, eight internal regulations are mandatory and further regulations may be required by the school’s statutes.

Admission proceedings are regulated in detail by the Decree on Procedure and Conditions for Publishing Details about Admission Proceedings at Higher Education Institutions. The content of an application for accreditation of a study programme is regulated by Decree on the Application Content for Accreditation of a Study Programme.

Tertiary professional schools

The Education Act defines the goal and the level of tertiary professional education (vyšší odborné školy), its organisation and admission requirements, course and completion of study programmes, attained qualification and the manner in which accreditation of study programmes is granted.

Further particulars about types of tertiary professional schools, organisation of study, course of study and its completion, tuition and accreditation of study programmes are specified by a decree of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. The system of tertiary professional education courses is governed by a government regulation.

Legislation and bibliography:

Education Act

Decree on tertiary professional education

Government regulation on the system of fields of studies in basic, upper secondary and tertiary professional education

Higher Education Act

Decree on procedure and conditions of publication of results of admission procedure at higher education institutions

Decree on the content of study programme application

Strategic Objectives

The Higher Education Act sets out duties for the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports to draft, to update annually and to publish the The Strategic Plan for the Scholarly, Scientific, Research, Development, Innovation, Artistic and Other Creative Activities of Higher Education Institutions for 2011-2015. The current document defines the priorities and major actions for higher education policy between 2016 and 2020. It follows a series of conceptual documents at the national level, especially the strategic plan for higher education (2011-2015), Strategy for Education Policy in the Czech Republic until 2020 ("Strategy 2020 '), Higher Education Development Framework for 2020 and the International Competitiveness Strategy 2012-2020.The document takes also into account international, especially European developments within the EU policy - European Higher Education Area under the Bologna process, the Europe 2020 Strategy, the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training - Education and Training 2020 (ET 2020) and the ensuing reform plans of the Ministry.

The objectives following from the above mentioned strategic documents which concern tertiary professional schools (vyšší odborné školy), especially the direction in which they are moving, are a subject of discussion among experts representing interests of these schools and representatives of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and other experts.

For information on reforms in the area of tertiary education, see National Reforms in Higher Education.

Legislation and bibliography:

The Strategic Plan for Higher Education Institutions (2011-2015)

The Strategic Plan for Higher Education Institutions (2016-2020)

Strategy for Education Policy in the Czech Republic until 2020

International Competitiveness Strategy 2012-2020

The Europe 2020 Strategy

Higher Education Development Framework for 2020

Bologna Declaration

Strategic Framework of Hiher Education Policy

Organisation of the School and Academic Year

Organisation of studies differs between tertiary professional schools (vyšší odborné školy) and higher education institutions (vysoké školy).

Higher education institutions

Higher education can take forms of full-time courses, distance-learning courses or a combination of both. The academic year lasts 12 months; the beginning is set by the Rector (rektor) usually for September or October. Studies are usually split into semesters, years or teaching blocks which cover periods of teaching activity, examinations and holidays. Most commonly, the academic year is split into semesters which have 14 weeks of teaching activity followed by a period of examinations. Summer holidays are in July and August, usually followed by an extended period of examinations. Details are stipulated in internal regulations of a relevant institution.

Tertiary professional schools

The school year starts on 1 September and ends on 31 August covering the period of instruction and a summer holiday. The teaching activity period lasts 40 weeks (32 hours of instruction, 6 hours of self-study and assessment and 2 weeks of time reserve) and is split into a winter term (1 September to 31 January) and a summer term (1 February to 31 August). The last period of the educational programme instruction lasts at least 14 weeks. During a summer holiday, schools can offer compulsory courses, professional practice, or examinations, however, students should have at least 4 weeks of free time. Details on organisation of the school year are set by the school head in accordance with the accredited programme of study.

Legislation and bibliography:

Higher Education Act

Education Act

Decree on tertiary professional education

Decree on organisation of school year