Public administration in education is characterised by a considerable degree of decentralisation; different levels of administration and the schools have a high degree of autonomy.
The State Administration of Education under the Education Act (all schools except of the higher education institutions) is carried out:
- at central level by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, or in specified cases by other central government bodies – the Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Justice, and alternatively Ministry of Foreign Affairs – in the case of schools and school facilities founded by them and by the Czech School Inspectorate
- regional authorities at a regional level
- municipal authorities of municipalities with extended responsibilities at a local level
- heads of schools and school facilities at an institutional level
In the case of higher education institutions (vysoké školy), the administrative body is represented by the Ministry of Education. Apart from the areas mentioned in its title, the Ministry of Education also has science within its purview. State schools are, except for the Ministry of Education, administered by their organising bodies – the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of the Interior.
Self-government in education is performed by school councils, municipalities, and regions. Higher education institutions are self-governing institutions.
Administration and governance at central level
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports is responsible for state administration in education to the extent defined by the Education Act and for the state, concept, and development of the education system. This means that it is authorised to define the state's educational policy and the strategy for the development of education and the education system. It is also responsible for the concept of educational content and the necessary conditions for its realisation, the financing of education, and labour relations. Its responsibilities also include lifelong learning, science, research and development, including international cooperation in this area, and issues concerning scientific degrees, institutional education, leisure time, interest-based learning and non-formal education, support of talents, as well as physical education and sport. In the area of funding, the Ministry of Education is responsible for state funding policy in education. In view of the high level of decentralisation of administration and high level of institutional autonomy, financial instruments represent a significant element of the administration of the education system. The Ministry of Education prepares legislation relating to administrative and educational activities.
The Ministry of Education was established by the Act on the Establishment of Ministries and Other Administrative Bodies. The responsibilities of the Ministry of Education in so called regional education (including provisions from the nursery schools to tertiary professional schools and school facilities) are laid down by the Education Act, Act on Education Staff, or by the Act on the Recognition of Professional Qualifications. Responsibilities in the sphere of higher education are regulated by the Higher Education Act.
The Organisational Structure of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports is divided into offices directly managed by the Minister (inc. Department of the Office of the National Accreditation Bureau), a State Secretary Section and other five sections (as of 15 January 2023):
- I. Economic and Legislation Section
- II. Education and Youth Section
- III. Higher Education, Science and Research Section (it also includes e.g. the ENIC/NARIC Centre)
- IV. International Relations, EU and ESIF Section
- V. Inofrmatics, Statistics and Analysis Section
The diagram of the actual structure is available on the website of the Ministry.
The practical operation of many administrative tasks has been transferred to regional body – the regional authority.
Institutions set up by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports
The Ministry of Education sets up various other institutions to perform its functions. These include special-purpose professional establishments, which are usually led by the Deputy Minister responsible for the relevant area (so called directly managed organisations). They have the form of subsidy organisations or public research institutions. The most important of these are the following:
- National Pedagogical Institute of the Czech Republic (Národní pedagogický institut České republiky), which deals with the issues of pre-primary, basic, upper secondary and tertiary professional education, basic art education, language education, non-formal education, interest-based learning and further education (including the continuing professional development (CPD) of education staff). It establishes regional workplaces, which provide methodological support to teachers, schools and their organising bodies, and the targeted CPD of education staff. Main activities of the institute include, for example:
- creating curriculum and curricular documents, their monitoring and evaluation in selected schools, creating methodological materials, preparing or assessing of textbooks and other teaching documents);
- preparing and carrying out educational programmes of CPD of educational staff;
- systematic and methodological support for school and school facilities management staff in the area of strategic planning and development at local, regional and regional levels;
- methodological support in the area of preventive, pedagogical-psychological, special pedagogical care and in the area of institutional and protective education;
- the support and the development of career guidance in lifelong and further education, the Czech Euroguidance Centre is a part of the institute;
- managing the National Qualifications System;
- supporting the work with youth in interest-based and non-formal education;
- supporting the work with gifted pupils, organising competitions and exhibitions, coordinating the Regional Network for Talent Support;
- supporting the education of foreign pupils (operating the regional support centres, ensuring the adaptation coordinators and interpreters);
- ensuring methodological and professional cooperation concerning examinations (see below);
- analytic, research and evaluation activities, international cooperation.
- The Centre for Evaluation of Educational Achievements (Centrum pro zjišťování výsledků vzdělávání), which prepares evaluation instruments for the standardised part of the Maturita examination (maturitní zkouška), the standardised assignments of examinations for most fields completed with VET final examination (závěrečná zkouška) and standardised admission examinations for the study fields of upper secondary schools (střední školy) completed with Maturita examination and supports pupil evaluation at basic schools (základní školy).
- Czech National Agency for International Education and Research (Dům zahraniční spolupráce), which administers international activities in the area of education. Ensures the operation of Erasmus+ programme and other programmes and networks as are the ACA (Academic Cooperation Association), AIA (Academic Information Agency), AKTION Austria – Czechia, Barrande Fellowship Programme, CEEPUS, CZELO, ECVET, English teachers, EPALE, eTwinning, Eurodesk, European Schoolnet, European Language Label Award, European Solidarity Corps, EEA Grants, the Programme to support the Czech cultural heritage abroad, Study Opportunities for Foreigners in the CR (Governmental programmes), Study in Czechia, Teachers of European schools and the Czech Eurydice Unit.
- National Pedagogical Museum and Library of J. A. Comenius.
- The Centre for Higher Education Studies (Centrum pro studium vysokého školství), which prepares studies on policy and strategy for the development of higher education, and which is involved in the system of distance education (National Centre for Distance Education).
- Fulbright Commission (Fulbrightova komise), which was established on the basis of an agreement between the governments of Czechia and the USA with the aim of supporting mutual understanding through educational, scientific, and cultural exchanges on the basis of scholarships and guidance and information services.
- Pedagogical Centre for Polish Minority Schools in Český Těšín (Pedagogické centrum pro polské národnostní školství v Českém Těšíně), established to meet the needs of schools with Polish as the medium of instruction in Czechia, is based on the identity and specific nature of the Těšínské Slezsko – Śląsk Cieszyński Euroregion, focusing on the further development of education staff in the region.
- National Technical Library, Czech Anti-Doping Committee, VICTORIA Higher Education Sport Centre of the MEYS.
Other top-level organisations
Some organisations operating in the area of education are independently established directly by law or according to the law e.g.:
- Czech School Inspectorate (Česká školní inspekce – an administrative authority with nationwide powers and an organisational unit of the state) prepares the conceptual aims of inspection activity and the system of evaluation of the education system; it carries out inspection activities at schools and school facilities according to the Education Act, but not at higher education institutions (vysoké školy). The Inspectorate also acts as a guarantor for the international surveys PISA, PIRLS and TIMSS, and PIAAC and TALIS.
- Accreditation Commission for Tertiary Professional Education (Akreditační komise pro vyšší odborné vzdělávání) operates on the basis of the Education Act, and the statute issued by the Ministry of Education. It issues statements on the educational programmes of tertiary professional schools (vyšší odborné školy) as part of the accreditation procedure, and also assesses other matters related to tertiary professional education that are presented to it by the minister.
- National Accreditation Bureau for Higher Education (Národní akreditační úřad pro vysoké školství) is an independent body established by the Higher Education Act. It grants the accreditation (accreditation of study programmes and of institutional accreditation in the area of education), monitors compliance with legal regulations and carries out the external evaluations of activities of higher education institutions.
- In the field of higher education, the Council of Higher Education Institutions (Rada vysokých škol) and Czech Rectors' Conference (Česká konference rektorů) act as national representatives of higher education institutions established according to the Higher Education Act.
One of the important organisation in the area of education is also the National Training Fund (Národní vzdělávací fond, o. p. s. – a non-profit organisation), established by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. Its aim is to promote the development and restructuring of human resources in accordance with the requirements of economic and social reforms in Czechia.
Central administration and governance in early childhood and school education
The education from nursery schools (mateřské školy) to tertiary professional schools (vyšší odborné školy) and school services are covered by the Education Act and related decrees, the conditions of qualification and further education of education staff, then a separate law – the Act on Education Staff. However, the education provided by tertiary professional schools corresponds already to the tertiary level (ISCED 655).
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports ensures that proper legislation is enacted concerning all the issues that it is responsible for. It has primarily administrative functions:
- prepares a Long-term Plan for Education and Development of the Education System of the Czech Republic and the Annual Report on the State and Development of the Education System of the Czech Republic;
- administers data from the Register of Pupils (školní matrika), i.e. records of children/pupils/students from individual schools and school facilities for statistical purpose;
- sets out the requirements for the establishment of schools and school facilities and the conditions for deciding on their merging, splitting or closure, some schools and school facilities are established by the Ministry itself;
- sets procedure for the registration of schools and school facilities in the School Register and their deletion from it and keeps record on most schools and some school facilities;
- sets the main organisational and content essentials of individual segments of the education system and of the corresponding fields of education, issues the framework education programmes for individual fields of education (prepared by the National Pedagogical Institute) and sets the condition for the creation of school education programmes;
- accredits education programmes of tertiary professional schools, based on the opinion of the Accreditation Commission for Tertiary Professional Education;
- sets the principal prerequisites for the admission of pupils to individual types of schools, in case of standardised admission examination to fields of education completed with the Maturita examination (maturitní zkouška), most tasks are provided by the Centre for Evaluation of Educational Achievements;
- sets the rules for the assessment of pupils, the details are provided by the School Code;
- sets out the rules for the certification of the outcomes of education that has been attained and the details of the Maturita examination (maturitní zkouška) and VET final examination (závěrečná zkouška); for the standardised part of the Maturita examination or when preparing standardised assignments for the VET final examination, it delegates most of the tasks to Centre for Evaluation of Educational Achievements;
- sets the details of equity and conditions for the recognition of certificates issued by foreign schools;
- sets the rights and duties of schools, pupils, and their legal representative;
- sets the details of obligatory school documentation (e.g. the requirements for school reports and other school forms);
- sets the organisation of the school year;
- determines the rules for financing schools and school facilities, provides funds from its budget for the so-called direct costs of education, especially salaries; in the case of nursery schools, basic and upper secondary schools, breaks down a specific amount for individual schools, in other cases determines national per capita amounts, on the basis of which the regions set regional per capita amounts;
- prescribes qualification requirements for educational staff, regulates their further education and some details about working hours.
Some competences in the field of education are entrusted to other central authorities:
- The system of fields of education is determined by the Government in the regulation.
- The evaluation of schools and school facilities is performed by the Czech School Inspectorate.
- Some specialised schools and school facilities defined by law are established by other Ministries, which also exercise most administrative competences towards them.
- Selected methodological, research, professional, guidance, international, evaluation and other activities are performed by subsidised organisations established by the Ministry of Education.
Conceptual role of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports in early childhood and school education
The conceptual role of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports was emphasised as a result of the 2020 decentralisation of executive power in education and in property legal rights. The Education Act requests the Ministry to regularly issue the long-term plans (see below) and annual reports. In addition, the Ministry issues other relevant strategic documents (or cooperate on their creation).
Long-term Plan for Education and the Development of the Education System of the Czech Republic
The integrated state educational policy is preserved by formulating long-term plans for education and the development of the education system. Long-term plan was created for the first time in 2002, then again under the new Education Act in 2005, again in 2007, and after that in 2011. Currently, the Long-term Plan for the period 2019–2023 is in force. The former two-year periodicity of long-term plans was modified in 2009 to a four-year periodicity.
The long-term plan for education and the development of the education system is submitted by the Ministry of Education to the Government for approval after negotiations with relevant central trade unions, employers' organisations, and regions. The Government submits it to the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. The long-term plan is disclosed in a manner enabling remote access.
The structure and content of the Long-term Plan are determined by the Decree which Sets the Requisites of Long-term Plans, Annual Reports, and Self-evaluation of Schools.
The long-term plan for education and the development of the education system consists of:
- analysis of economic and demographic developments in recent years and of estimated development in the future in connection with the development of education at the national and international levels
- analysis of developments on individual levels of education from pre-primary to tertiary professional education and priority areas such as the optimisation of the range of education courses on offer or support for education staff
- the strategy for the development of education and the education system (priorities and planned measures for the relevant period) and the method to be used for their implementation and support
- description of trends in the financing of regional education
The long-term plan is based on documents on the state budget, regional development, employment, the development of human resources, socio-economic development, and sustainable development, the common goals of European processes in education accepted by the Government, the annual reports of the Czech School Inspectorate, and finally on the evaluation of the current long-term plan and its implementation.
Regions prepare their own long-term plans on this basis. The Ministry of Education provides methodological guidance and co-ordination.
A further component of the long-term policy at all levels is the economic balance, including the costs of development programmes and programmes supporting education which are covered by EU funds.
Establishment of system of educational fields and curricular documents for early childhood and school education
The system of fields of education in basic, upper secondary and tertiary professional education is determined by the Government in the Government Regulation on the System of Fields of Studies in Basic, Upper Secondary and Tertiary Professional Education, after consultation with the relevant central trade union bodies, employers' organisations and the regions. The last Government regulation from 2010 significantly reduced the total number of upper secondary school fields (e.g. the original 90 fields focused on individual aspects of entrepreneurship and management or various economic sectors were replaced by a single field of Economics and Entrepreneurship). This reduction took into account the link between the fields on the labour market and also the National Qualifications Framework. The system is still updated as needed.
The reform of the system of fields was connected with a new system of educational documents, which are created at two levels - national and school levels. The national level is represented by framework education programmes (FEP) issued for individual levels and fields of education up to the level of upper secondary schools (střední školy) and conservatoires (konzervatoře). Based on these documents, schools create their own school education programmes (SEP). It can be used for profiling a school or in given fields of education various specialisation can be created.
The framework education programmes are issued by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, for medical disciplines after consultation with the Ministry of Health. For schools under the jurisdiction of other Ministries (Defence, Interior and Justice), they are issued by the relevant ministries in agreement with the Ministry of Education. The preparation and revision of the FEP is provided by authorised subsidised organisations. The first versions of the FEPs were created by the Research Institute of Education in Prague for pre-primary education (2004), basic education (2007), upper secondary general education (2007) and basic art education (2010), and by the National Institute of Technical and Vocational Education for upper secondary vocational education and conservatoires (2007–10). In 2011, both institutes, together with several other institutions, were merged into the National Institute for Education, which continued to create further and revise existing FEPs. In 2020, the National Institute for Education became part of the newly established National Pedagogical Institute, which continues to revise and amend the curricula. The FEP sets objectives, forms, duration and compulsory content of education, its organisation, the professional profile of a graduate, the conditions of education and the completion of education, principles for creating school education programmes based on framework programmes and conditions for the education of pupils with special education needs.
Another model of creating educational programmes exists for tertiary professional education. Individual tertiary professional schools (vyšší odborné školy) prepare their own educational programmes, which are then accredited by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports on the basis of the opinion of the Accreditation Commission for Tertiary Professional Education; if necessary, with the consent of other relevant ministry.
The administration of the School Register
The institutions constituting the school system are recorded in the School Register, which is a public list composed of two parts, the Register of Schools and School Facilities and the Register of School Legal Entities.
Register of Schools and School Facilities
The Register of Schools and School Facilities records all school institutions. Once a school or school facility is recorded, it has a right to provide educational and school services and to issue documents stipulated by the Education Act (e.g. certificates). Registration is also a precondition for the allocation of public funding. The Register of Schools and School Facilities is available at rejskol.msmt.cz (in Czech).
Two administrative bodies decide on the recording of schools and school facilities in the Register of Schools and School Facilities – the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and regional authorities.
The regional authority administers data on nursery schools (mateřské školy) and school facilities (with the exception of those mentioned in the next point) in the Register of Schools and School Facilities.
The Ministry of Education administers data:
- on nursery school and school facilities run by the Ministry of Education and churches and on nursery schools and their school canteens established by the ministries or organisational units of the state
- on all other schools
- on school facilities for the further education of teachers, school guidance facilities, school facilities for institutional and protective education or protective educational care, and school-specific facilities in which practical training is organised
In addition to the identification of the school (kind and, in the case of school facilities, also type, name, and legal form), the Register of Schools and School Facilities also records:
- the list of fields of education, including the forms of education (the list of school services in the case of school facilities)
- the maximum permitted number of children/pupils/students at schools and school facilities (in the case of school facilities of other units e.g. number of beds)
- the maximum permitted number of pupils and students in individual fields and forms of education in the school
- the date of record and the date of the commencement of its activities
During the process of registration, the Ministry of Education sets the maximum number of pupils in a school/school facility and after that the region sets the maximum number of pupils in the different fields of study and forms of education, except for schools established by the Ministry of Education and denominational schools, which are decided on in this respect by the Ministry of Education. Other judgements are made on material, staff, and financial conditions for the school's activities. The opinion of the municipality and the region on recording it in the Register is also important in cases where the school is on their territory but is not run by them. The criteria for assessment are in accordance with the long-term policy objectives of education and the development of the education system in Czechia and in the relevant region. By recording schools in the Register of Schools and School Facilities, the Ministry of Education and the region retain the power to regulate the educational offer.
The removal of a school or school facility from the Register can be executed by the body responsible for the Register. If the deletion concerns pupils fulfilling the compulsory school attendance requirement, the municipality ensures the continuation of compulsory school attendance and the school or its founder ensures the delivery of the assessment results of pupils and, in the case of upper secondary schools, the opportunity to continue in the same or similar field of study.
Register of School Legal Entities
The Register of School Legal Entities only keeps a record of institutions that have adopted this legal form for providing education (introduced in 2005) and has a similar function to the Register of Companies for companies, i.e. a constitutive significance. Denominational schools are mainly those having this legal form. Organising the Register is fully under the competence of the Ministry of Education. It is available at rejspo.msmt.cz (in Czech).
The role of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport as an organising body in early childhood and school education
Since 2001 the role of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports in running schools has been very limited, most types of schools and school facilities are established by municipalities and regions, or private and church entities. According to the Education Act, the Ministry of Education only runs establishments (as subsidised organisations) for institutional or preventive care and institutions for the in-service training of education staff. It establishes schools and school facilities offering schooling in languages other than Czech if these have not been founded by a region or municipality and other schools and school facilities in special cases (e.g. schools for pupils with disabilities).
Responsibility of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports for labour relations in early childhood and school education
- defines the roles of individual education staff members;
- sets out the conditions for the functioning of education staff and school heads;
- sets out the ways in which the individual categories of education staff can obtain their qualifications;
- requires open competitive recruitment for heads of schools and school facilities, which have the form of a subsidised organisations (public institutions), organisational units of the state (state institutions) or school legal entities (especially church schools);
- appoints and removes heads of institutions which are directly established by the Ministry of Education and also the Chief School Inspector.
Regarding the education staff in schools and school facilities established by the Ministry of Education, regions or municipalities, the Ministry determines some other areas (for other school, it is the responsibility of their organising bodies):
- duties for education staff to further educate themselves, the form of in-service training and certification, and institutions which provide in-service training or individual programmes, the career progression and the rules for this (the Act on Education Staff and the Decree on In-service Training of Education Staff, Accreditation Commission and Career Scheme of Educational Staff);
- direct educational activity (the Government Regulation on Determination of Direct Educational, Special Needs, and Educational and Psychological Activities of Educational Staff);
- details on the working hours (in the Work rules),
- salaries (the Government Regulation on the Salaries of Employees in Public Services and Administration).
Some working conditions, such as the length of leave or some allowances, are defined in the Labour Code.
The responsibilities of other Ministries in early childhood and school education
Some other Ministries can establish (generally as an organisational unit of the state) schools which provide education for the needs of their departments:
- The Ministry of Defence runs military upper secondary schools (střední školy) and tertiary professional schools (vyšší odborné školy), both including school facilities serving them.
- The Ministry of the Interior runs police and fire protection upper secondary schools, tertiary professional schools and school facilities.
- The Ministry of Justice runs upper secondary schools for the Prison Services, school facilities serving them, and schools and school facilities for persons in custody or in prison
The Ministries exercise most administrative competences towards their schools (analogous to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports), ensure their funding, and issue the framework education programmes for them in agreement with the Ministry of Education.
Central administration and governance in tertiary education
Tertiary education is provided by tertiary professional schools and higher education institutions. The responsibility of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports towards these two sectors of education is different.
Central administration and governance in tertiary professional education
The responsibility of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports towards tertiary professional schools (vyšší odborné školy) set by the Education Act and is similar to competences for upper secondary schools (střední školy). The difference from upper secondary schools and the similarity to higher education institutions (vysoké školy) lies in the fact that there are no central education programmes, but schools create their own education programmes, which are then accredited. In the case of tertiary professional schools, accreditation is granted by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports on the basis of the opinion of the Accreditation Commission for Tertiary Professional Education.
Central administration and governance in higher education
The powers of administrative bodies at higher education institutions (vysoké školy) vary depending on whether they are public, private or state institutions. The public higher education institutions are independent legal entities established under the Higher Education Act. Private higher education institutions are legal entities that have obtained state approval to operate. Public and private higher institutions both fall within the competence of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, which governs these institutions through a group for science and higher education headed by a deputy minister. State higher education institutions – the University of Defence and the Police Academy – are established by separate laws and are not independent legal entities. They are governed by the Ministry of Defence or Ministry of the Interior in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. The role of the Ministry of Education in school management is indirect, depending mainly on higher education funding.
Other parties participating in formulating the national higher education policy are parliamentary committees, representatives of higher education institutions (including students), research institutes, and representatives of employers and trade unions.
Quality assurance also plays a strong role in the management of the system, particularly the accreditation of study programmes, and the institutional accreditation. Accreditation is granted to the higher education institutions by the National Accreditation Authority for Higher Education. Accreditation is granted within the areas of education, the more precise definition of which is set by a government regulation.
The policy and funding rules of educational activity in Czechia are set by the Ministry of Education, and in the field of science and research by the Council for Science, Developments, and Innovation, which is a Government advisory body.
Responsibility of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports in higher education
The conceptual responsibility of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports is especially evident in the preparation and publication of a Strategic Plan for the Scholarly, Scientific, Research, Development, Innovation, Artistic, and Other Creative Activities of Higher Education Institutions (currently the Strategic Plan for the period from 2021), and an annual plan for its implementation. The implementation plan also includes development programmes to support the state priorities subsidised by the Ministry of Education. The Ministry of Education discusses and evaluates strategic plans for individual public and private higher education institutions and their annual implementation plans. It prepares and publishes an Annual Report on the State and Development of Education, which covers education from pre-primary to higher education levels, and presents it to the Government.
In the case of private higher education institutions, the ministry influences their network by awarding the state consent and if the ministry grants this consent, the higher education institution must still gain accreditation for its study programmes from the National Accreditation Bureau for Higher Education.
The ministry allocates funds to the public higher education institutions from the education chapter of the state budget and checks their use. The private higher education institutions can obtain funds from the state budget only to a very limited extent.
The Ministry of Education provides higher education institutions with methodological assistance:
- when creating their status and other internal regulations; the internal regulations govern the affairs that fall within its competence. This includes a number of labour-legal regulations. The internal regulations come into effect only after having been registered by the Ministry. By the registration of internal regulations the Ministry confirms they are in accordance with the Higher Education Act or other legislation;
- in matters of students' record keeping, statistical reporting, librarianship, information systems, and foreign contacts.
The Ministry gathers and uses information on applicants for admission to study, on participants in and graduates of long-life education and information from the students' register in accordance with particular regulations, and aggregated data on university staff and their remuneration.
The Ministry keeps:
- a register of artistic outputs
- a public register of higher education institutions and ongoing programmes
- a register of senior lecturers, professors, and associate professors of higher education institutions
- a register of procedures for the recognition of foreign higher education and qualifications
The Ministry also:
- recognises foreign higher education and qualifications;
- awards scholarships paid from the state budget;
- makes material and financial provision for the National Accreditation Authority's activity;
- grants material and financial appraisal for outstanding achievements in study and creative work;
- on demand, provides the National Accreditation Authority with information needed for its activity;
- on the basis of documents from the National Accreditation Authority, informs recognition bodies about the awarding of accreditation of a study programme for a regulated profession;
- provides targeted supports from European funds on the basis of a public tender;
- grants permission for foreign higher education institutions to operate in Czechia and controls compliance with the relevant legislation.
The Minister of Education, Youth and Sports appoints and dismisses the members of the boards of trustees of higher education institutions and submits to the President of the Republic the proposals of Academic Senates for the appointment of rectors and the proposals of Academic Boards for the appointment of professors.
At the higher education level, there is much greater autonomy than at lower educational levels governed by the Education Act. The Ministry of Education influences or manages various procedures through financial instruments.
The responsibilities of other Ministries in higher education
The responsibilities of the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of the Interior for their higher education institutions (University of Defence and the Police Academy) are similar to those of the Ministry of Education. However, in the case of state institutions, these two ministries have responsibilities which, in public institutions, are held by self-governing bodies, for example, to decide on the setting up, merging, splitting, or closure of faculties. The relevant Minister (Defence or Interior) has the responsibilities which, in the case of public schools, are discharged by the Minister of Education.
Representation of higher education institutions
The higher education institutions are represented at the national level by the Council of Higher Education Institutions (Rada vysokých škol) and by the Czech Rectors' Conference (Česká konference rektorů). The range of activities of both bodies is provided for in the Higher Education Act.
The Council of Higher Education Institutions is a body consisting of members of the academic community nominated by the Academic Senates of all higher education institutions. It is headed by an elected chairperson and vice-chairpersons. The functioning of the Council and its structural parts (board, commission, working groups, etc.) are set out in its statute. According to the statute, each HEI may delegate two student representatives – one delegate and his/her deputy. These are delegated by the Academic Senate of a public or state HEI or by a representative academic body of a private HEI. These students are at the same time members of the Student Chamber of the Council of the Higher Education Institutions – one of the bodies of the Council of Higher Education Institutions which represents all students of the higher education institutions in Czechia.
The Czech Rectors' Conference is a body consisting of representatives of the higher education institutions (rectors, presidents, directors, etc.). It is headed by an elected chairperson and a chancellor and its procedures are laid down in its statute.
Both bodies representing higher education at the national level negotiate with the Minister of Education on proposals and measures which significantly concern the higher education institutions. These include, for example, changes to higher education legislation, higher education policy principles, priorities in the development of higher education, and the rules for the allocation of state subsidies to individual higher education institutions.
There are also several other external bodies that influence the functioning and development of higher education. Most importantly, there is the Club of the Quaestors (Klub kvestorů), which is a voluntary organisation seeking to establish cooperation between higher education institutions in the areas of finance and administration.
For more see the introduction to the section on Administration and governance at central level.
Central administration and governance in lifelong learning
The overall responsibility for education has been entrusted to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. It cooperates with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in areas relating to the labour market. It coordinates the activities of other ministries, other central bodies of the state administration, and professional chambers in the recognition of qualifications and other competences of citizens of other member states of the European Union.
Regarding the adult education organised by schools and leading to a defined educational level according to the Education Act, the competences of the Ministry of Education are similar that for the full-time study. The Ministry primarily determines the curriculum, length, and organisation of the study.
At higher education institutions (vysoké školy) the curriculum, length, and organisation of the study in lifelong education programmes fall within the competence of these institutions. The higher education institution can provide lifelong learning programmes free of charge or for a fee. The programmes focus on professions or interests. The higher education institution gives its students certificates, but the graduates do not acquire a higher education qualification. The students of lifelong learning do not have the legal status of a student according to the Higher Education Act. More details can be found in the internal regulations of higher education institutions.
The Ministry of Education's responsibilities in further education are stipulated by the Act on the Verification and Recognition of Further Education Outcomes, issued in 2006. The Act enables them to certify professional qualifications, i.e. those necessary for carrying out certain activities within an occupation. The Ministry of Education coordinates the activities performed by central administrative authorities under the Act.
Retraining is mainly intended for the unemployed and is controlled by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs through the Labour Office. It may only be supplied by educational institutions with study programmes accredited by the Ministry of Education.
The education of the employees of enterprises and organisations is managed by the enterprises themselves.
There is a wide range of commercial lifelong learning courses, which are not subject to state control.
For more on the programmes, see Chapter 8 Adult Education and Training.
Communication with partners and society at the central level
At the governmental level there are a number of different advisory bodies. Some of them operate in the educational and scientific spheres and their members or the members of their teams are representatives of the educational sector or higher education institutions.
The Council of Economic and Social Agreement (Rada hospodářské a sociální dohody), is an institutionalised platform for social dialogue between the Government, trade unions, and employers. It has seven representatives from the Government, from unions, and from employers. It includes a Working Group for Education and Human Resources, chaired by a Deputy Minister of Education, Youth and Sports.
The Government Research, Development, and Innovation Council (Rada pro výzkum, vývoj a inovace) develops trends in this area and its members are also representatives of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. The Council has 17 members, including representatives of the higher education institutions.
The Government Council for Sustainable Development (Rada pro udržitelný rozvoj) deals with the strategic aspects of development. It has 28 members, including a representative of the Ministry of Education.
The National Council for Qualifications is an advisory body of the Ministry of Education with supra-departmental importance. The council's task is to discuss the problems of the National Qualifications System, monitor the labour market and requirements of employers, and to ensure that these requirements are reflected in the definition of both qualifications and fields of study.
Since 2014 the role of the mediator dealing with the problems and complaints in the area of education has been within the competence of the School Ombudsman. Focusing primarily on interpersonal relationships and the school environment, the Ombudsman is officially employed by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, together with an assistant with a legal background. Strictly speaking, he/she executes no powers and reports directly to (and is held responsible by) the Minister. See also the website of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.
The system of fields of study is stipulated by the Government in the Government Regulation on the System of Fields of Studies in Basic, Upper Secondary and Tertiary Professional Education after consultations with relevant central trade union bodies, relevant employers' organisations with nationwide competence, and the regions.
The Framework Education Programmes are issued by the Ministry of Education after consultation with relevant ministries. The Ministry of Education also discusses the Framework Education Programmes with relevant central trade union bodies, relevant employers' organisations with nationwide, local, or sectoral competence, and the regions prior to their publication.
Social partners have become increasingly interested in the relevance of education to the labour market. Their interest is focused on vocational and technical education (including vocational training) and lifelong learning. Among the associations of employers, the Association of Industry and Transport of the Czech Republic (Svaz průmyslu a dopravy České republiky) has taken the most active approach; this is the largest employers' organisation, with both collective and individual members, and represents nearly 1400 bodies, followed by the Union of Employers' Unions (Unie zaměstnaneckých svazů), and the Economic Chamber of the Czech Republic (Hospodářská komora České republiky).
Among trade unions there is the Bohemian and Moravian Chamber of Trade Unions (Českomoravská konfederace odborových svazů) – the biggest trade union centre in the country – it participates in tripartite negotiations. Also under this centre is the Bohemian-Moravian Trade Union of Education Workers (Českomoravský odborový svaz pracovníků školství). Its objective is defending the rights of its members and improving their working and living conditions. It provides legal assistance and counselling and works out various analyses. In legislative procedures this trade union tries to promote proposals aimed at achieving its goals. Members of the Trade Union Confederation also include the Higher Education Trade Union (Vysokoškolský odborový svaz), Union of School Associations of the Czech Republic – CZESHA (Unie školských asociací ČR), and the Permanent Conference of Associations in Education – SKAV (Stálá konference asociací ve vzdělávání). They defend the interests of teachers and pupils and present their opinions on the school system and its work. CZESHA and another 64 school associations are at the same time members of the Union of Employers' Associations.
The co-ordination of education and the world of work is carried out through partnership between the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the Ministry of Education. Its role is traditionally the harmonisation of qualification requirements and the content and levels of education. The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, which is responsible for employment policy, is the founder of the Labour Office. All of these have Information, Advice, and Guidance Centres aimed mostly at preventing unemployment.
Administration and governance at the regional level
Czechia is divided into 14 regions. Regional boards and councils and regional authorities play a significant role in the administration of the so-called regional education, i.e. schools from nursery to tertiary professional schools, and school facilities (see the Regional administration and governance in early childhood and school education). They cooperate with higher education institutions, but they have no administrative authority over them (see the Regional administration and governance in tertiary education).
The regions have a twofold responsibility:
- autonomous responsibility as self-governing bodies
- the administrative responsibilities of the central state administration
Regional administration and governance in early childhood and school education
At the level of pre-primary to tertiary professional education and in school facilities, the regions, or the regional authorities, are given a number of administrative competences. The region has autonomous responsibility as self-governing bodies, the state administration is transferred to the regional authorities from centre. For more details, see below.
Autonomous responsibilities of the region
A region is obliged to ensure conditions for secondary and tertiary professional education; the education of disabled children, pupils, and students, as well as those who are disadvantaged by their health; conditions for language education; basic artistic education; education developing personal interests, and, to some extent, conditions for providing institutional education.
The region establishes:
- upper secondary schools (střední školy)
- tertiary professional schools (vyšší odborné školy)
- nursery schools (mateřské školy), basic schools (základní školy) and upper secondary schools and school facilities for children, pupils and students with mental, physical, visual, or hearing handicaps, with severe developmental learning or behavioural disorders, concomitant multiple defects, or autism
- basic special schools (základní školy speciální)
- schools at health facilities
- school educational and boarding facilities and school canteens for pupils of schools established by the region
- upper secondary schools with instruction in the language of a national minority
- language schools (jazykové školy) authorised to organise state language examinations
- basic art schools (základní umělecké školy)
- children's homes (dětské domovy)
- school facilities for developing personal interests
A region administers the schools and school facilities run by it.
Basic duties and responsibilities of the region:
- From its own budget, it finances investment expenditure and common expenses for schools and school facilities that it establishes, except those covered by the state. It may, however, contribute to costs covered by the state, according to the actual needs and possibilities.
- It cares for harmony between the development of education and school services and the interests of the citizens of the region, the needs of the labour market, its demographic development and the development of its territory, and for the accessibility of education and school services according to local conditions.
- It appoints and dismisses the heads of schools that it establishes; this is done by the Regional Council.
- It establishes school councils in the schools run by it, and nominates one third of their members; thus it is involved in some decision-making processes in the school.
- On the basis of the results of the inspection activities of the Czech School Inspectorate, it decides on measures in the schools and school facilities run by it.
The region can establish councils to implement its initiatives and provide supervision, one of which is always a Council for Education and Employment, with at least five members. This council:
- assesses schools and school facilities and academic and vocational courses in relation to demographic developments and changes in employment, and expresses its opinion on their changes in the region;
- presents proposals for improving the quality of care provided by schools and school facilities or pre-school facilities run by the region;
- gives its opinion on the proposed subsidies in the sphere of youth and sports;
- considers reports on the educational attainment of the schools and school facilities run by the region;
- performs additional tasks in education commissioned by the municipal board.
State administration ensured by regional authorities
At the regional level, state administration is implemented by the regional authority under transferred responsibility. To ensure the convergence of central and self-governing administrations, the administrative responsibilities of municipalities were delegated to intermediary bodies – municipalities with extended competences.
The regional authority establishes a department of education or a department that is responsible for education and related areas (e.g. youth, sport, culture) to control the school agenda. The head is appointed and dismissed by the regional council on the proposal of the head of the regional office.
In the area of educational policy, regional authority prepares the long-term policy plan and the annual report in the structure laid down by a decree. It prepares and publishes and once every four years updates the long term plan for education and the development of the education system in its area, submits it to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports for comment, the part concerning schools and school facilities established by the region is approved by the board. The long-term plan is published remotely and evaluated after four years. It is based on the Long-term Plan for Education and Development of the Education System of the Czech Republic, the demographic development of the region, the specific regional characteristics of the development of the economy and labour market, and the further development policy of the region. It sets the objectives and targets for the respective educational areas, especially the structures of courses, types of schools and school facilities, and their capacity, and also proposes their financing. The regional authority prepares an annual report on the state and development of the educational system in the region every year, submits it to the regional board and the Ministry of Education and publishes it remotely.
- is superior administrative bodies of heads of schools and school facilities in the area of state administration;
- acts as an appeal authority in cases of an appeal against a decision made by a school head or municipality;
- in matters of compulsory school attendance, decides on other ways of educating pupils with serious mental disabilities;
- appoints and dismisses chairpersons of examination boards for the VET final examinations (závěrečná zkouška) and Maturita examinations (maturitní zkouška);
- performs tasks related to the organisation of the standardised part of the Maturita examination and decides on the revision of the course and results of the Maturita examination;
- decides on the recognition of certificates issued by foreign schools.
In the area of keeping the Register of Schools and School Facilities, regional authorities:
- enter nursery schools (mateřské školy) and school facilities in the Register of Schools and School Facilities (with some exceptions);
- submit applications for incorporating those schools and school facilities established by the region itself or by other bodies into the Register to the Ministry of Education.
In the area of labour relations and salaries, regional authorities monitor adherence to labour regulations.
Content of education
Regions do not have a direct influence on the content of education. Framework education programmes are prepared by the subsidised organisations of the Ministry of Education and issued by the Ministry; the regions may comment on them within the framework of an external comment procedure. School education programmes are published by school heads. The regions express their opinion on them through school councils, where they have their representatives, this concerns the schools they establish, i.e. especially upper secondary and tertiary professional schools.
In the area of financing direct costs for education and school services, the regional authority sets regional per capita amounts for tertiary professional schools, basic art schools and most school facilities (regardless of whether it is their organising body or not). For nursery, basic and upper secondary schools, conservatoires and in the case of pedagogical work in after-school centre, funds are broken down by the Ministry of Education and transferred to school accounts through the regional office (the regional office may increase the amount only to a limited extent from the financial reserve). The situation is different for operational and capital expenditures, which are paid by the organising body within the scope of its self-governance; this is usually the case for upper secondary schools, conservatoires and tertiary professional schools.
Regional administration and governance in tertiary education
The regions are the organising bodies for the tertiary professional schools (vyšší odborné školy). The autonomous and transferred responsibility of regions for the tertiary professional schools is the same as the responsibility for upper secondary schools.
In the area of higher education, the regions have no administrative competences but as follows from the Higher Education Act, the representatives of regional self-governing bodies are usually represented on the boards of directors/trustees of public higher education institutions (vysoké školy). The preamble to the Higher Education Act states that the higher education institutions "contribute to development at the national and regional levels and collaborate with the state administration and self-governing bodies of different stages and the business and cultural spheres. The regions support higher education institutions on their territory through various grant titles; the area of higher education is usually included in the strategic documents for regional development. Regions try to support study programmes that promote their development.
Communication with partners and society at the regional level
At the secondary and especially secondary technical and vocational education level, the regions are beginning to have more conceptual and practical influence on the optimisation of the network of schools and their educational offer regarding the demographic development and technological profile of the region which they govern. The field of specialisation of regional catchment schools and support for their cooperation with hi-tech manufacturing organisations facilitates the required improvement of the technical and didactic equipment of schools, especially the quality of practical education. District and regional Economic Chambers and companies are gaining increasing influence.
The common interests of the regions are represented by the Associations of Regions of the Czech Republic (Asociace krajů České republiky) and the Union of Towns and Municipalities of the Czech Republic (Svaz měst a obcí České republiky), which is very active in education.
Social partners at the regional level are also responsible for lifelong learning. Regional Councils for the Development of Human Resources (Regionální rady pro rozvoj lidských zdrojů) have gradually been established. They are formed from the representatives of regions and social partners, employment services, educational institutions, schools, companies, and regional agencies.