Support to Ukrainian students and scientists 2023
The amendment to the Act No. 67/2022 of January 2023 extended the validity of all measures for applicants/students who have been granted temporary protection until August 2024, for more on the measures, see also the year 2022 – support to Ukrainian students.
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports has once again expressed its support for the study of Ukrainian students at Czech public higher education institutions (HEIs) by announcing the Podnět k předkládání žádostí v rámci Fondu vzdělávací politiky na podporu studia ukrajinských studentů v roce 2023 (Invitation to Submit Applications under the Educational Policy Fund to Support the Study of Ukrainian Students in 2023) . The total allocation is CZK 200 million / EUR 8.17 M (CZK/EUR = 24.47, 8 September 2023). There are maximum allocations for each public HEI, based on the amount received by the institution in 2022 and the number of students with refugee status at the institution. Again, this is to support students who cannot or are now afraid to study in Ukraine.
Measures to support Ukrainian scientists continue in 2023. For more, see the same section from 2022.
From September 2023, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports continues to support language education for foreigners – Ukrainian migrants with a tolerance visa or temporary protection in the Czech Republic through courses at public higher education institutions (HEIs). Public HEIs can apply for funding through the call "Language as a Gateway: Continuous language education for Ukrainian migrants towards their tertiary education in the Czech language" if they have provided language and vocational training for foreigners in Czech-language study programmes for at least 6 months over the last three years. The amount earmarked for this training is CZK 12 million / EUR 0.49 M (CZK/EUR = 24.47, 8 September 2023).
For information on tertiary professional schools, see Education of Ukrainian pupils in 2023/24.
Centralised Development Programme for Public HEIs in 2023
As in previous years, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports announced a Centralised Development Programme for Public HEIs for 2023 (Centralizovaný rozvojový program pro veřejné vysoké školy pro rok 2023). Its aim is to contribute to the fulfilment of priorities set out in the Strategic Plan of the Ministry for Higher Education for the Period from 2021 and the Plan for the implementation of the Strategic Plan for the Area of Higher Education institutions for 2023 (Plánu realizace Strategického záměru pro oblast vysokých škol pro rok 2023) and related goals of individual HEIs. The programme supports capacity sharing and networking of HEIs in Czechia; each project must be carried out in cooperation of at least two HEIs (except for project on development of guidance and counselling).
The priority topics are divided into projects with a pre-allocated subsidy in the total amount of CZK 87 million / EUR 3.7 M (CZK/EUR = 23.66, 23 March 2023) (points 1 to 5) and projects without an allocated subsidy (points 6 to 11). Some topics follow on from the previous year, topics 5 to 8 and 11 have been newly included.
Supported topics include:
- implementing and developing an effective system of academic and psychological counselling (incl. mental health care);
- supporting activities to achieve sustainable goals;
- fulfilling legislative and administrative requirements;
- organising festivals, shows, exhibitions and other similar activities;
- supporting student activities within the framework of studies at higher education institutions (among other things, development of measures leading to greater integration of new students into HEIs’ studies, development of competences and professional skills of student representatives in HEIs’ bodies, raising awareness of academic self-governance);
- developing methods for evaluating the quality of educational activities of academic staff;
- supporting the development of activities of Internal Evaluation Board at HEIs without institutional accreditation;
- developing the recognition of the results of previous non-formal education in standard studies (especially with regard to the recognition of volunteer or humanitarian activities of students);
- strengthening ethical principles in the environment of HEIs (including measures protecting from the discrimination against various groups of people and the sexual harassment; increasing the relevance of awareness of gender issues among students and employees and the management of higher education institutions);
- teaching in so-called small, strategically and geopolitically important study programmes/fields;
- increasing cyber security of digital environment.
Johannes Amos Comenius Programme for the higher education sector
In June 2022, the European Commission approved the Johannes Amos Comenius Operational Programme (OP JAC), within which CZK 19 billion (EUR 0.8 billion; CZK/EUR 24.54 – 9 September 2022) was earmarked for the higher education sector. The priorities of the programme for the higher education area are as follows:
- Improving equal access to inclusive and quality education through the development of accessible infrastructure (modernisation of the infrastructural facilities of universities – makerspaces, simulators, field workplaces, facilities for practical training, equipment, electronic resources or spaces where students can meet to work on team projects)
- Internationalisation in higher education studies - the main objectives of teaching and learning should include strengthening the language competences of children, pupils, students and workers, as well as supporting the mobility of all groups interested in education. Specifically, for the HE sector, it is planned to strengthen the offer of study programmes and subjects taught in a foreign language and to implement study programmes in cooperation with foreign entities.
- Supporting disadvantaged groups and promoting equal access to education. Interventions will aim to support children, pupils and students with special educational needs, not only those with various forms of disadvantage, but also the gifted. A prerequisite for this is an increase in the professional competence of pedagogical and academic staff for working with heterogeneous groups.
- Promoting the socio-economic integration of marginalised communities such as the Roma
- Strengthening lifelong learning at higher education institution, especially in the sphere of citizenship education, media and digital literacy.
Support to Ukrainian students and scientists
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports supports study of Ukrainian students at Czech higher education institutions. As of 1 March 2022, it announced the Podnět k předkládání žádostí v rámci Fondu vzdělávací politiky na podporu studia ukrajinských studentů v roce 2022 (Initiative to Submit Applications under the Education Policy Fund to Support the Study of Ukrainian Students in 2022). It is a financial support for Ukrainian students who began their study at Czech public higher education institutions after 24 February. The support is intended both for students newly admitted to the entire study programme and for students coming for short-term study stays. The total allocation for this purpose is CZK 150 million (EUR 5.9 m; EUR/CZK 25.465, 1 March 2022) and higher education institution can obtain up to CZK 150 000 (EUR 5 890) per student from this programme for 2022 calendar year. The financial means will be used, for example, for students who are afraid to continue their studies in the current situation in Ukraine, but also for those who have been prevented from studying there. A higher education institution itself decides whether the applicants fall into these categories.
The offer of assistance directly from Czech higher education institutions in the form of various assistance activities, scholarships and job offers to Ukrainian students, academics, scientists and their families is available at studyin.cz/ukraine administered by the Study in Czechia initiative which operates within the Czech National Agency for International Education and Research (DZS). The website also refers to the Science For Ukraine, which provides opportunities for students and researchers at the institutional, the national and the international level.
The Czech Academy of Sciences will also support researchers and doctoral students within the Researchers at Risk Fellowship programme. By the end of 2023, it plans to support at least 40 applicants from Ukraine in the form of internships; in the future, the programme should also be extended to scientists from other countries who are at risk of war or persecution. A subsidy of approximately CZK 45 000 (EUR 1 767) per month for one job created in this way is expected.
From 21 March 2022 to 31 March 2023 a new specific Act no. 67/2022 is valid which sets temporary measures in education. For students/applicants, who have been granted temporary protection, following exceptions are in place, e.g.: Higher education institution or faculty may lay down conditions for admission to studies of these persons which differ from those for other applicants. When proving previous education, the relevant document can be replaced with a solemn declaration. Applicants are also exempt from nostrification fees. These persons but also other citizens of Ukraine may be exempt from the fee for the admission procedure or any fees associated with the study.
September 2022 update
In June 2022, an amendment to Act No. 67/2022 entered into force, which extended the validity of all measures until 31 August 2023.
The Ministry announced a call for Czech language courses for students and teaching staff from Ukraine (Kurzy českého jazyka pro studenty a pedagogické pracovníky z Ukrajiny) for public higher education institutions, financed by the EEA and Norway Grants. It is intended to support courses implemented in the period July–October 2022. The courses should support the development of skills in the Czech language as a foreign language among current, future or potential students and teaching staff in order to facilitate the integration of these persons into Czech society and into the workplace market.
For information on tertiary professional schools, see Education of Ukrainian pupils in 2022/23.
The National Recovery Plan to support the transformation of higher education
At the end of 2021, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MEYS) announced the Call for Project Proposals under the National Recovery Plan for the Higher Education area in 2022–2024 (Výzva k předkládání návrhů projektů v rámci Národního plánu obnovy pro oblast vysokých škol pro roky 2022–2024). The transformation of higher education will be supported by an amount of CZK 3 billion (EUR 116 m; EUR/CZK 25.735, 4 March 2022). The main goal of the reform is to transform the forms and content of higher education, to reflect new trends in the structure of study programmes and to adapt them to the changing needs of the labour market, especially in connection with the developments in digital technologies.
Funds from the National Recovery Plan (NRP) should contribute to accelerating the transition of public higher education institutions (HEIs) to new forms of teaching, especially the digital ones, and thus increase the share of blended and distance learning at individual HEIs. Great emphasis is also placed on increasing the competencies of academic staff in the use of information technology and innovative approaches in teaching.
One of the trends is the support in creating new professionally oriented study programmes as well as new study programmes in progressive fields focused primarily on digital technologies, modern technologies and engineering, environmental quality, landscape planning, waste management, energy, construction, innovation in the area of mobility or healthcare and social care.
At the same time, the reform joins the European trend in lifelong learning, responding to current and future labour market needs. The NRP will support the creation of courses aimed at extending skills (so-called upskilling and reskilling). These will be courses aimed at qualified people who need to extend their portfolio with specific knowledge or competencies, in areas where HEIs have a high added value. The NRP also aims to support the issuing of so-called micro-credentials, enabling the graduates of these courses to transparently prove the completion of courses or parts of standard studies, even at the international level.
The MEYS will significantly support the joint projects of public HEIs aimed at fulfilling the goals in the field of digitisation and grasp methodologically the issue of micro-certificates, the implementation of which requires the cooperation of all HEIs.
Programme to Support the Strategic Management of HEIs for the Years 2022–2025
In 2020, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports approved the Programme to Support the Strategic Management of Higher Education Institutions for the Years 2022–2025 (Program na podporu strategického řízení vysokých škol pro roky 2022–2025). The aim is to contribute to the fulfilment of the objectives of the submitted strategic plans of public HEIs, which are based on the Strategic Plan of the Ministry for Higher Education for the Period from 2021. The programme is designed to support the main strategic measures in the field of educational activities, management, internal processes and, to a lesser extent, the so-called third role. The maximum amount of the contribution in individual years of the programming period was determined in advance for individual HEIs. The total allocation of the programme for a period of four years is CZK 4.94 billion (EUR 192 million; CZK/EUR 25.735 – 4 March 2022).
Centralised Development Programme for Public HEIs in 2022
As in previous years, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports announced a Centralised Development Programme for Public HEIs for 2022 (Centralizovaný rozvojový program pro veřejné vysoké školy pro rok 2022). Its aim is to contribute to the fulfilment of individual priorities set out in the Strategic Plan of the Ministry for Higher Education for the Period from 2021 and the Plan for the implementation of the Strategic Plan for the Area of Higher Education institutions for 2022 (Plánu realizace Strategického záměru pro oblast vysokých škol pro rok 2022) and related goals of individual HEIs. The programme supports capacity sharing and networking of HEIs in Czechia; each project must be carried out in cooperation of at least two HEIs.
Supported topics include:
- the development of distance learning methods (including blended learning, the collection of data on students and graduates or the development of measures to reduce academic failure)
- evaluation of the quality of study programmes (with emphasis on the professional profile)
- electronic agenda
- setting up an effective system of academic and psychological counselling (incl. mental health care)
- strengthening ethical principles in the environment of the HEIs (including anti-discrimination measures), gender issues
- development of internationalisation (especially virtual or blended activities, digitisation, and sustainable goals)
- electronic exchange of information on studies, recognition of credits from study mobility, in particular implementation of the European Commission's Erasmus Without Paper initiative, European Student Card, EMREX
- foreign accreditation/evaluation of study programmes
- compliance with legislative and administrative requirements (including cyber security)
- organisation of festivals, shows, exhibitions, etc.
- activities within the framework of the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2022
- activities to achieve sustainable goals
- teaching in so-called small, strategically, and geopolitically important study programmes; (fields).
Special authorisation of the higher education institution in emergency situations
In January 2021, the amendment to the Higher Education Act (No. 495/2020) came into force, which includes a special authorisation for a higher education institution (HEI) in emergency situations. Under certain circumstances, the amendment allows HEIs to adjust the announced conditions of admission to study, to set a different date and the methods of verifying the conditions for admission, or a different form, framework content or criteria for evaluating the entrance examination. At the same time, higher education institutions may decide, together with the decision on admission to study, that the condition of proving the attainment of previous education will be met later (no later than 90 days from the date of enrolment in studies). If the personal presence of students in education is limited, it is then possible to shorten or extend the academic year, use distance communication in teaching, checking the study procedure, or exams, regardless of the form of study, even in the case of a state exam (provided that an audio visual recording is made, which the school will keep for 5 years).