European, global and intercultural dimension in curriculum development
TERTIARY PROFESSIONAL SCHOOLS
Education at tertiary professional schools (vyšší odborné školy) falls within the tertiary, non-university education. Tertiary professional education in each individual tertiary professional school is carried out according to an accredited educational programme, which also determines the educational content. Accreditation is granted by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports on the basis of the approval of the Accreditation Commission for Tertiary Professional Schools. In the case of health or security fields, the consent of other relevant ministries is necessary and for the fields leading to the regulated professions the opinion of the recognition body is required. Similarly, to higher education institutions (vysoké školy), tertiary professional schools are also free to form the study content.
HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS
In 1998, Czechia joined the Parisian “Joint declaration on harmonisation of the architecture of the European higher education system” (the Sorbonne Declaration), and in June 1999 Czechia – together with 29 other European states – signed the Bologna Declaration. It aims to create a European Higher Education Area and to promote the attractiveness of European higher education in the world. Ministerial conferences became the milestones of further development. The process of the implementation of the Bologna process in all EHEA countries is monitored in the “Implementation Report”.
In line with the Bologna process, most degree programmes have been restructured, all students receive a Diploma Supplement. The European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) is also used in Czechia.
The content of study programmes and curriculum development at higher education institutions are covered by academic freedoms and, as such, fall within the purview of individual higher education institutions and their faculties. An amendment to the Higher Education Act introduced e.g. new accreditation rules, including the establishment of an independent National Accreditation Bureau and the possibility of institutional accreditation, and a new system for evaluating the quality of higher education institutions.
The international dimension is strongly accented in the new Strategic Plan of the Ministry for Higher Education for the period from 2021. An example might be the operational objective “Strengthen the international dimension of higher education” mentioned under the priority objective 1. It emphasises the key role of the internationalisation of higher education for the competences of students, the benefits of mobility, but also the internationalisation of the entire HEI environment by means of foreign students and staff. The annex to the strategic plan is the strategic document The Internationalisation of Higher Education Strategy for the period from 2021, which defines the goals and measures for strengthening the international dimension of HEI activities:
- Developing global competences of HEI students and staff
- The internationalisation of HEI study programmes
- Simplifying the process for recognising education abroad
- Creating an international environment at HEIs and promotion abroad
- Strengthening the strategic management of internationalisation
- Internationalisation activities of the National Accreditation Bureau
A key part of the internationalisation of higher education is internationalisation at the level of study programmes. It can take place through the implementation of study programmes in a foreign language, the development of joint study programmes - "joint", "double" or "multiple degree" and the creation of study plans that will take into account in advance the outgoing of students.
Partnerships and networks
TERTIARY PROFESSIONAL SCHOOLS
For partnerships at the level of tertiary professional education, see Partnerships and networks in early childhood and school education. Tertiary professional schools (vyšší odborné školy) can participate in other activities e.g. within cross/border bilateral cooperation and Czech-German Youth Exchange Tandem.
HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS
In order to raise awareness about national higher education systems (to facilitate the process of mutual recognition of higher education), the network of ENIC-NARIC national centres has been established. European National Information Centre (ENIC) is a network of information centres focusing on mobility at the level of higher education and recognition of education and qualifications. National Academic Recognition Information Centre (NARIC) is a national information centre dealing with the equivalence of foreign documents of education and qualifications. The Czech ENIC-NARIC Centre is part of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.
Jean Monnet Programme
The Jean Monnet Programme, which is part of the Erasmus+ programme, is carried out directly by the Executive Agency (EACEA) in Brussels (it is a ‘centralised activity’). The purpose of the activities of the Jean Monnet Programme is to promote – at a global scale – high standards in teaching and research in the field of European integration studies. The activities also promote a political debate and exchanges between the academic sector and policy-makers, in line with the political priorities of the European Union. Within this programme, departments and permanent courses have been established at higher education institutions (vysoké školy) focusing on teaching European integration issues, or short-term study programmes called ‘European modules’.
European Documentation Centres
European Documentation Centres have been established at several higher education institutions. Their main purpose is to promote research, teaching and studies of European integration issues by providing access to European Union documents. European Documentation Centres are part of the EUROPE DIRECT information network. Presently, there are seven centres.
CEEPUS – The Central European Exchange Programme for University Studies is a programme supporting regional cooperation in higher education. Members of the network are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Czechia, Croatia, Hungary, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Serbia, while universities in Pristina, Prizren, and Peja – Kosovo also cooperate. The main objective of the programme is to set up a Central European university network that is composed of the programme's individual sub-networks (the preferred method of cooperation). The network is composed of at least three higher education institutions, at least two of which have to be from different countries that are parties to the agreement. Higher education institutions involved in the network implement thematic projects. One of the higher education institutions coordinates the project while the others are in a position of partner higher education institutions. Implementation usually takes place in the form of the placement of students and academic staff abroad. The emphasis is on using the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) for the mutual recognition of qualifications and periods of study, a joint programme e.g. in the form of joint supervision of final theses, teaching in a foreign language or promoting e-learning. The central office of the programme is located in Vienna and there is a national office in every participating country. In the Czech Republic the programme is operated by a National CEEPUS Office, which is part of the Czech National Agency for International Education and Research (Dům zahraniční spolupráce).
The importance of the Visegrad Group (V4) is in regional cooperation. It consists of Czechia, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary. Regular contacts have been gradually established among some ministries. Information on the development of the Visegrad Group and on current meetings of the representatives of V4 countries is available on the Visegrad Group website.
The International Visegrad Fund (IVF) has been established within the Visegrad Group. The Fund aims to contribute to the development of closer cooperation among signatory countries (Czechia, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia), to strengthen and develop existing ties among these countries by supporting joint cultural, scientific and educational projects, youth mobility, cross-border cooperation and tourism. The governing bodies of the IVF are the Council of Ambassadors and the Conference of Ministers of Foreign Affairs. The executive body of the fund is the Director, who performs his duties at IVF headquarters in Bratislava.
All countries of the Visegrad Group, as well as some other countries outside the Group such as Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States, contribute to the Fund budget. Within the Fund the funding is earmarked for grants and mobility.
Visegrad grants are intended to support cooperation projects between at least 3 organisations of the V4 countries or cross-border cooperation of at least two organisations from neighbouring V4 countries. The projects objective must be at least one of the seven target areas of the grant.
Visegrad grants+ are intended to support cooperation projects between at least 3 V4 countries and at least one entity from the Eastern Partnership region or the Western Balkan countries. Other possibility is the cross-border cooperation of at least two organisations from neighbouring V4 countries. The projects objective must be at least one of the seven target areas of the grant.
Strategic grants are intended for the implementation of projects focusing on V4 annual strategic priorities, they are announced by a country which presides V4.
The former Visegrad University Studies Grant has been merged with the Visegrad grants.
For information on mobility (scholarships) supported by the International Visegrad Fund, see Visegrad Scholarships in part Mobility in Higher Education.
Bilateral intergovernmental agreements also cover scientific and technical cooperation. One example of such cooperation is AKTION, a joint programme of the ministries of education of Czechia and Austria. Established in 1992, the AKTION programme aims to promote cooperation in education and science in the tertiary sector. In May 1997, the Programme of scientific and technical cooperation between Czechia and Austria was added to the AKTION programme. The AKTION programme seeks to develop long-term bilateral cooperation in research and education in all scientific disciplines. The support mainly focuses on projects that are relevant to the current development of both countries and their historical roots, as well as projects that cannot be financed from other sources. The AKTION programme supports exchanges of students and young scientists by providing scholarships for study and research stays in the other country and institutional support for cooperation projects.
Within the framework of cross-border cooperation, cooperation is developed both between institutions providing tertiary edcuattion and upper secondary schools (střední školy). An example of one type of cross-border cooperation is the Neisse University, which is the result of cooperation between higher education institutions in Liberec, Wroclaw and Zittau. The choice and implementation of activities is up to the different regions, which provide information about the activities on their websites, at various events and in the press.