Higher education and education at tertiary professional schools is regulated by different acts and regulations. The guidance and counselling for tertiary professional education (vyšší odborné školy) is organised by the same bodies and institutions and in the same way as the guidance and counselling at secondary schools. Only guidance and counselling at higher education institutions (vysoké školy) will be mentioned in this chapter.
Study departments of higher education institutions
Study departments of higher education institutions are the main information source for applicants for study at a higher education institution (vysoké školy) and provide study support. The study affairs at the higher education institution level are dealt with by a Rector's office (vice-rector for study affairs) and at the faculty level by a Dean’s Office (vice-dean for study affairs). Study Departments are their entity.
Academic guidance service centres
In addition, some higher education institutions boast academic guidance service centres (akademické poradny). The legislative basis for these was laid down by the Higher Education Act passed in 1998, according to which the public higher education institutions are obliged to offer information and guidance/counselling services connected with the study and future work placement of graduates of study programmes (similar guidance/counselling services are usually also provided by private higher education institutions) to applicants, students and other persons. There are dozens of information and guidance and counselling workplaces at higher education institutions. Their list can be found on the website of the Association of University Guidance Counsellors.
They provide educational guidance, and psychological counselling or vocational/career guidance, possibly legal advice, social counselling or spiritual counselling. The specialisation of the centre is based on the specialisation of staff, who work in the centre, and especially on the status of guidance and counselling in the structure of the higher education institution. Professionally, the most diversified guidance, counselling and other services are offered by the rector' office guidance centres. The most frequent is psychological counselling, followed by career and educational guidance and counselling for all students in all forms of study.
Educational guidance is provided to applicants before and during the first months of study at a higher education institution. The centres help students to choose or to change their branch of study according to their personal interests and abilities, to work out their study plan, to develop study skills they may lack, etc. The centres can set and evaluate tests of study skills or other tests of special abilities. Under the educational guidance, the priority topics of the higher education institutions such as student mobility (in the form of regular seminars for students about opportunities for studying abroad or the processing of information publications on the subject) are supported.
Information on study offer
Higher education institutions organise Open Days during which the prospective students find out about the institutions and the way the studies are organised.
Applicants may also get valuable information from an annual fair of post-secondary education options called GAUDEAMUS.
The Information Portal – www.infoabsolvent.cz – the Information System on School Leavers' Success in the Labour Market (ISA) (see Career Guidance in early childhood and school education) contains the information on higher education programmes: information on higher education institutions which offer certain courses, on the types, form and length of studies, on the numbers of students admitted and on the success of the applicants in the previous year. For more comprehensive information about the higher education institutions, see the relevant websites, for example www.vysokeskoly.cz, www.atlasskolstvi.cz or www.kampomaturite.cz.
Academic guidance service centres (akademické poradny) are concerned with various types of support, help, guidance and counselling, provide guidance services to applicants and to students throughout the studies focused on help to solve study related problems and personal ones. The centres offer social and psychological counselling and vocational/career guidance, as well as specific guidance to students and applicants with special educational needs. Psychological counselling services and psychotherapy are provided by qualified teachers – psychologists, who are engaged in some of the centres for students usually beyond the scope of their work activities at the higher education institution.
The importance of career guidance and counselling is increasing due to the rapid growth in the number of graduates of higher education institutions (vysoké školy) and as a result of the accelerated changes in the labour market. It proceeds through information provision, the searching and maintaining contacts with potential employers of graduates; at some higher education institutions through practical training, which is part of the teaching.
Professional and career guidance and counselling takes various shapes and forms. Some higher education institutions organise job fairs within this activity, some others organise "career management skills" courses.
Academic guidance service centres (akademické poradny) provide students with contacts of future employers, give advice on finding a job, how to plan and shape a professional career, etc. The centres are also often contact points for students and employers while searching for suitable topics, eventually real working environments for realisation of bachelor’s and master’s final theses. Upon the request of the school management, they monitor the participation and success of graduates in the labour market and the employers’ demands.
In order to assure the best prospects of graduates in the labour market, the cooperation of higher education institutions and social partners is supported and is continuously growing.