Main funding principles
Further education is funded from the state budget if it is offered at schools and leads to a recognised educational qualification (the funding mechanisms in school education and higher education differ). Otherwise, further education is funded by departments or companies or must be paid for by the student.
Lifelong learning at higher education institutions (vysoké školy), which does not provide a recognised level of qualifications, is regulated by the section on Lifelong Learning in the Higher Education Act. Lifelong learning courses (profession-oriented courses and special interest courses) are either paid or are free-of-charge. Public higher education institution can also use public contributions for funding lifelong learning programmes. This legislative option is used in the case of the education of seniors: part of the contribution to be granted at the request of a public higher education institution for the university of the third age is for covering the costs associated with the implementation of lifelong learning programmes aimed at seniors' education through the university of the third age, as well as for the costs associated with the preparation and development of new programmes (including the cost of their material and technical support or ensuring teaching aids). The amount of the contribution depends on the size of the study group and type of education, i.e., whether it is in the form of virtual teaching or lecturing, and if classrooms equipped with IT equipment or laboratories are needed.
The funding of educational activities at the institutional level is up to the employer. Total company expenditure on training is assessed by a sample survey.
Retraining is financed from various sources. The Labour Office of the Czech Republic may recommend a registered job seeker for suitable retraining and conclude a written agreement with him before the start of the retraining course. The Labour Office then pays for the course. It can also cover the costs of transport, accommodation, and meals, from funds allocated from the state budget for active employment policy. Other participants can bear the cost for retraining themselves. If an institution organises retraining sessions for its employees, the costs are covered by the employer, and if there is an agreement with the Labour Office, the Office can share the costs.
Some financial resources for further education are provided from abroad, in period 2021–2027 mostly from the Operational Programme Employment Plus.
Fees paid by learners
For adults who study under the Education Act, a course of study which leads to a specific qualification (including the follow-up courses – nástavbové studium, shorten courses – zkrácené studium, and courses for gaining the basic education – základní vzdělání) is free of charge at public schools (except for tertiary professional school). The tuition fees at public tertiary professional schools (vyšší odborné školy) are limited by the decree. At private schools, the tuition fees are paid, the amount of which is not regulated.
Tuition fees are paid at language schools (jazykové školy), including public ones, even in the case of one-year full-time foreign language courses.
There are also various further education courses which do not lead to a defined level of education offered by schools as supplementary paid services, to earn income.
The courses within the lifelong learning at higher education institutions can be provided either for free or fee-based.
Retraining courses for job seekers or interested persons registered at the Labour Office of the Czech Republic are reimbursed in full under certain conditions, set by the Act on Employment and the Decree on Retraining of Job-seekers and Employees. Individual unregistered candidates can pay for retraining courses themselves. If the retraining is organized by the company for its own employees, the costs are paid by the employer. The Labour Office of the Czech Republic may, if the specified conditions are met and on the basis of a written agreement, fully or partially participate in its financing.
Examinations (leading to professional qualification) organised under the Act on Verification and Recognition of Further Education Outcomes are paid for by an amount equal to the sum of the lump compensation necessary for material, space, technical, information personal and administrative expenses of the authorised person, if need be, of the examination board members, and an appropriate bonus for the authorised person (examination board members).
The cost of further vocational training of employees under the Labour Code is generally paid by employers. They often even co-finance education which goes beyond their requirements.
Other types of further education – either vocational training or personal development education – are fully financed by the participants and the prices are set by the free market. Nevertheless, some educational activities may be paid for by the employer if it is in his interest.
Financial support for adult learners
People studying on one-year full-time language courses are considered as students (i.e., they have an official student status) in the case they successfully passed the first Maturita examination (maturitní zkouška) or graduated from a conservatoire (absolutorium) in the calendar year in which they start the one-year language course. These participants are entitled to tax benefits, student discounts, e.g., for public transportation, etc.
Participants of lifelong learning courses at higher education institutions (vysoké školy) do not have an official student status and, thus, are not entitled to student benefits.
For certain job seekers who are registered at the Labour Office of the Czech Republic, the Office pays not only the price of the provided retraining under certain conditions, but may also cover the costs of transport, accommodation and meals, possibly accident insurance for the period of retraining, from funds allocated from the state budget for active employment policy or from European sources. The participant in the provided retraining is entitled to support, which amounts to 60 % of the average monthly net earnings in the last job, but not more than 0.65 of the average wage. If the retrainee has not yet worked or cannot prove his income, the aid is 0.14 times the average wage. If retraining is carried out at the initiative of the employer, it provides the employee with statutory reliefs and wage compensation. The funding provided by the Labour Offices is governed by the Act on Employment and the Decree on Retraining of Job-seekers and Employees.
An independent entrepreneur can include the costs of the examinations (leading to professional qualification) organised under the Act on Verification and Recognition of Further Education Outcomes into expenses, in the maximum amount of CZK 10 000 (EUR 395; EUR/CZK 25.295 – 20 September 2021). A tax-payer with an income from an employment can deduce it from the tax base, in the maximum amount of CZK 10 000.
Subsidies for private providers
The provision of educational services by private institutions on a commercial basis is not subject to any governing body. The only exceptions are institutions that offer retraining (which apply to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports for accreditation), those providing recognised further vocational training in specific professions (which request accreditation from an authorising body of the relevant sector) and institutions providing language education considered as studies (which require accreditation from the Ministry of Education). This group of private educational institutions works without state contributions. They provide their services to both individuals and firms, or to the public administration and its bodies, e.g., Labour Office of the Czech Republic.
Another group of private educational institutions consists of private schools providing education according to the Education Act (basic schools – základní školy, upper secondary schools – střední školy, tertiary professional schools – vyšší odborné školy, or basic art schools – základní umělecké školy). They can receive certain state contributions but only for initial education and further education leading to a defined level of education, not for courses of further education.
Further education courses at private schools are paid by participants themselves or the courses are paid for them, partly or fully, by their employer.