Every employer must take care of the professional development of his/her employees, including the broadening and increasing of their qualification. An employer is entitled to require an employee to participate in an education improving professional qualification, which might even include possible work outside of the regular working hours or participation in education outside of the working hours.
For the childcare staff in children's groups (dětské skupiny), the obligatory continuing professional development applies as of October 2021.
According to the Education Act, binding for education staff at schools up to the level of the tertiary vocational schools, the school head provides in-service training of education staff. The obligation for the education staff of public schools and schools established by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports to participate in in-service training for renewing, strengthening, and supplementing their qualifications during their educational activity is explicitly set by the Act on Education Staff. They can also participate in further education to increase their qualifications. In-service training of education staff is organised by a school head in accordance with a plan of in-service training which is developed after negotiations with a relevant trade union (if there is one at the workplace). The school head must take into account the study interests of a teacher, the school needs and its budget. Completing the plan for the education staff's in-service training is under the autonomy of every school/ school head.
CHILDCARE STAFF IN CHILDREN'S GROUPS
According to the amendment to the Act on Children's Group in force since October 2021, the care provider in children's group is obliged to provide the childcare staff with further education of at least 8 hours per calendar year (incl. a first aid course focused on childhood once every 2 years). The chidcare worker must prove the completion of further education. Various courses and workshops are offered, for example, within the project Support for the Implementation of Children's Groups, prepared by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.
EDUCATION STAFF IN SCHOOLS
The obligation for the education staff of public schools and schools established by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports to participate in in-service training for renewing, strengthening, and supplementing their qualifications during their educational activity is explicitly set by the Act on Education Staff. The Ministry of Education determines the types and conditions for the in-service training of education staff and the ways in which it may be completed in the Decree on In-service Training of Education Staff. (The Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Defence determines the types and conditions for the in-service training of education staff of the schools in their responsibilities.)
Completing an in-service training course may be a part of the further qualification requirements needed for a certain career grade.
Forms of in-service training
In-service training of education staff can take place:
at higher education institutions (vysoké školy)
at institutions for in-service training of education staff and at other facilities on the basis of accreditation granted by the Ministry of Education
- through self-study
Types of in-service training
The regulation lists three types of in-service training:
Details on the individual courses can be seen in separate sections. The Ministry of Education issued standards and methodological recommendations for some types of courses.
The decree sets the duration of the individual types of the in-service training. Courses aimed at gaining the required qualifications and courses aimed at meeting further qualification requirements are completed by the final examination and usually also by the defence of the thesis. Successful participants of the in-service training receive a certificate issued by the institution providing the education.
Institutions providing in-service training of education staff
The number of organisations which offer in-service training is very high.
Some programmes of further teacher education may only be held at higher education institutions within their lifelong learning programmes (see more in individual sections on different types of training).
In-service training of education staff is providing also by school facility for further education of education staff (zařízení pro další vzdělávání pedagogických pracovníků) registered in the School Register (školský rejstřík). They are established mainly by regions, but also by municipalities, ministries and private and religious subjects. In 2023 there were 62 of them registered.
The greatest number of in-service training courses are offered by the National Pedagogical Institute of the Czech Republic (Národní pedagogický institut České republiky; NPI) established by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (formerly the National Institute for Education and the National Institute for Further Education). The National Pedagogical Institute of the Czech Republic has 13 regional workplaces, each of which offers a number of educational programmes in their region. NPI provides for the planning and organisation of educational programmes, prepares national projects which are covered by resources from the European Social Fund, and is the institution responsible for government priorities in in-service training of education staff. Besides practical training and implementations of educational programmes, NPI also concentrates on analyses of CPD (continuing professional development) needs and on its own conception work in this area. The full range of teacher training programmes is available on the NPI website.
All types of the educational programmes are currently financially supported from the European Structural and Investment Funds (Operational Programme Jan Amos Komensky).
In-service training of education staff provides also other educational institutions accredited by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. Accreditation is granted according to the Act on Education Staff on the basis of an application from a natural person or a legal entity. The Accreditation Comission acts as an advisory body. The accreditation of an educational institution is granted for 6 years and accreditation of an educational programme is granted for 3 years. The Ministry of Education controls the activities of the accredited programmes and keeps a list of all accredited educational institutions and programmes.
Courses aimed at gaining the required qualifications
study of pedagogy – 120 lessons for teachers of vocational subjects, practical education or practical training at upper secondary school (střední škola), for teachers of arts subjects and teachers of language schools; 80 hours for childcare educational staff (vychovatelé) and teacher's assistants (asistenti pedagoga), 40 or 120 lessons for teacher responsible for leisure activities
study leading to the extension of professional qualifications: lifelong learning courses at higher education institution, ending by a defence of a thesis a final examination in front of a commission, the leaver gets a certificate – 200 lessons for direct educational activity at a different type or a stage of a school, 250 lessons for teaching further subjects or for teaching children, pupils or students with a disability other than for which the teacher is qualified (lifelong learning courses at a higher education institution);
additional study leading to the extension of a professional qualification: lifelong learning courses at higher education institution, ending by a defence of a thesis and a final examination in front of a commission, the leaver gets a certificate – 60 lessons for direct educational activity at a different type or a stage of a school, or 350 lessons for performance of activities of SEN specialist;
courses for heads of schools and of school facilities: 100 lessons, ending by a final examination in front of a commission, the leaver gets a certificate; equivalent of this study is also a study intended for management education staff.
This type of education is equal to the preparatory education described in Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education and for school heads in Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education in Chapter 10.
Courses aimed at meeting further qualification requirements
courses for educational management staff – school heads and their deputies: 350 lessons in lifelong learning courses at a higher education institution (vysoká škola), ending by a defence of a thesis and a final examination in front of a commission, the leaver gets a certificate
courses for the school counsellor (výchovný poradce): 250 lessons in lifelong learning courses at a higher education institution, ending by a defence of a thesis and a final examination in front of a commission, the leaver gets a certificate
courses aimed at gaining the required qualifications for the performance of specialised activities: 250 lessons, ending by a defence of a thesis and a final examination in front of a commission, the leaver gets a certificate; specialized activities include:
coordination in the area of information and communication technologies
elaboration and subsequent coordination of school education programmes and educational programmes of the tertiary professional schools (vyšší odborné školy)
prevention of socially pathological phenomena
specialised activities in the field of environmental education
specialised activities of SEN specialist in school speech therapy
specialised activities related to the spatial orientation of visually disabled children and pupils
The content of these studies is specified in certain methodical documents from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.
Courses aimed at perfecting professional qualifications
Teachers may improve their professional qualification in continuous education which focuses on the theoretical and practical issues related to the process of education and training. The content is mainly shaped by new information in general pedagogy, educational and school psychology, general teaching methodology and teaching methodologies of individual subjects. It may also include new findings from various fields of science, technologies and arts, from the prevention of socially pathological phenomena, and health and safety protection. Continuous education may further include language education for education staff. Continuous education generally takes the form of a course or a seminar, which lasts at least 4 lessons.
Incentives for participation in continuing professional development (CPD) activities
The incentives for participation in the continuing professional development activities are based on general statements concerning the professional development of employees which are described in the Labour Code. The law strictly distinguishes between the study perfecting the professional qualification and studies leading to improved knowledge entitling an employee to a valid claim for time off work with wage compensation for working hours lost.
The improvement of the qualification means continuously updating the qualification by which the core nature of an employee's qualification does not change and which enables him/her to carry out an agreed type of work; it also refers to maintaining and refreshing the qualification. According to the Labour Code, an employee is obliged to improve his qualification for performance of an agreed type of work. For the purpose of improvement of an employee's qualification, the employer may require him/her to take part in a course of training or studies, or to require him/her to take part in a training course provided by a legal entity or a natural person. According to the Labour Code, an employee is entitled to receive pay according to the pay regulations valid for the employer for any education aimed at improving their professional qualification. By law, participation in such training is treated as work. The employer shall bear the costs for the improvement of his employees' qualifications. Where an employee requests to take part in the improvement of his qualification of a more financially demanding form, he may contribute to part of the costs.
Qualification upgrading means a change in the level of qualification. Qualification upgrading is: studies, education, training and other forms of education for the purpose of attaining a higher-level education (qualification) provided that this conforms with the relevant employer's needs. An employee who upgrades his/her qualification is entitled to time off (relief from work) with compensatory pay (if higher rights do not specify otherwise):
within the necessary scope to attend lessons, courses of instruction or schooling (training);
two working days to read and sit every examination within a study (course) curriculum of the higher education institution (vysoká škola) or the tertiary professional school (vyšší odborná škola);
5 working days to learn (read) and sit a VET final examination (závěrečná zkouška), a Maturita examination (maturitní zkouška), or graduate examination (absolutorium);
10 working days to write and defend his/her closing paper (absolventská práce), Bachelor's thesis (bakalářská práce), Master's thesis (diplomová práce) or dissertation thesis (disertační práce);
- 40 working days to read and sit orals for the final state exam (státní závěrečná zkouška), the advance state examination (státní rigorózní zkouška) or doctoral state examination (státní doktorská zkouška).
An employee is also entitled to time off in the necessary scope to sit an entry examination. As regards time off granted for sitting an entry examination, re-sitting a certain examination, attending a graduation etc., the employee concerned is not entitled to compensatory pay. In connection with qualification upgrading or improving, the so called qualification agreement can be concluded between the employer and the employee. This agreement includes the employer's commitment to enable this employee qualification upgrading and the employee's undertaking to remain in employment with this employer for an agreed period, however, for no longer than 5 years (otherwise, he/she must reimburse the employer for the appropriate cost).
Some other provisions are specific to the education staff
Teachers' continuing professional development is furthermore supported from the European Structural and Investment Fund calls (Operational Programme Jan Amos Komensky).