Tertiary education is realised in two main types of institutions:
- Higher education institutions (vysoké školy) provide higher education (Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral degree programmes) regulated by the Higher Education Act.
- Tertiary professional schools (vyšší odborné školy) provide tertiary professional education regulated by the Education Act.
Due to the different nature of institutions, tertiary professional schools and higher education institutions are described separately.
The last two of tertiary professional education at conservatoires (konzervatoře) are also classified as tertiary education. It is described in Chapter 6 on Upper Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education.
Higher education institutions
In terms of the founder, higher education institutions (vysoké školy) can be:
- public institutions (legally established)
- private institutions, existing on the basis of the state approval
- state-run institutions (only in the case of military and police academies), legally established under the control of the relevant ministries.
From the Study on Tertiary Education: “Public higher education institutions are established by law and have the status of a legal entity. They are self-governing organisations and own a property passed on them by the state. State higher education institutions are also established by law and governed by the relevant ministries as organisational units of the state. The foundation of private higher education institutions was made possible by the 1998 Higher Education Act. Prior to the establishment, the legal entity that establishes a private education institution is required to have an approval from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. Conditions for its bestowment are clearly set by the law. Public and state higher education institutions are funded from the state budget, private higher education institutions receive funds from other sources. They can receive a subsidy from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports only if they have the status of a public benefit legal entity (previously the public benefit corporation).”
Study programmes are subject to accreditation awarded by the National Accreditation Bureau for Higher Education (Accreditation Bureau) or are approved within the internal process by the higher education institution itself – this is the case when the higher education institution obtains institutional accreditation for the particular educational area/areas. Study programmes approved by the higher education institution are considered according to the Higher Education Act as accredited.
In terms of the study programmes, the Higher Education Act distinguishes:
- higher education institutions of the university type
- higher education institutions of the non-university type
The type of a higher education institution is included in its statutes in accordance with the opinion of the Accreditation Bureau (previously the Accreditation Commission).
Higher education institutions of the university type
Universities may offer all three types of study programmes and carry out scientific, research, developmental, artistic or other creative activities connected with these. Only higher education institutions of the university type can have the word university (univerzita) or its derivations in their name.
Public higher education institutions of the university type can have the following parts:
- academic institutions;
- other workplaces focused on educational, academic, research, developmental, artistic or other creative activity, or workplaces providing information services;
- specialised facilities for cultural and sports activities, housing and board, particularly for members of the academic community and facilities supporting operation of the institution.
(For more details, see Institutional administration and governance in higher education in Chapter 2.)
Almost all public higher education institutions with the exception of two are the university type of institutions. Most of them offer study programmes from several educational areas, their faculties carry out research activities in various scientific fields.
Both state higher education institutions: the University of Defence (Univerzita obrany) and the Police Academy (Policejní akademie) are universities. The state military higher education institutions and the Police Academy have undergone transformations in terms of the content and organisation of education following Czechia's admission to NATO in 1999 and in compliance with international commitments to Interpol. Since 1 September 2004, the three existing military institutions have been merged into one – the University of Defence. Its establishment is regulated by legislation.
Also three private higher education institutions have the university status: Pan-European University (Panevropská univerzita a. s.) , Metropolitan University Prague (Metropolitní univerzita Praha o. p. s.) and The University of Finance and Administration (Vysoká škola finanční a správní, o. p. s.).
Higher education institutions of the non-university type
Higher education institutions of the non-university type offer mainly Bachelor's degree programmes and carry out research, art and other creative activities connected to the programme. They can also offer Master's degree programmes, if they receive accreditation for them, but they cannot realise Doctoral degree programmes. They are not divided into faculties. Admission requirements, study programmes, aims and content of education, methods, assessment and certification are the same as at higher education institutions of the university type.
Two public higher education institutions of the non-university type are transformed from previous tertiary professional schools – the College of Polytechnics Jihlava (Vysoká škola polytechnická Jihlava) and the Institute of Technology and Business in České Budějovice (Vysoká škola technická a ekonomická v Českých Budějovicích).
All private higher education institutions started as institutions of the non-university type, only three of them became universities lately (see above).
Tertiary professional schools
Tertiary professional schools (vyšší odborné školy) can be founded by:
- public bodies (originally established by the state, after the state administration reform in 2001 by regions)
- private or denominational bodies
- state (established by the Ministry of Interior of the Czech Republic and the Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic)
Registration in the School Register is the prerequisite for performing the activity of school of all founders. Education is carried out according to accredited educational programmes. The accreditation is awarded by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports on the basis of the recommendation of the Accreditation Commission for Tertiary Professional Education.
Tertiary professional schools mostly developed out of upper secondary technical schools (střední odborné školy) and usually form a single legal entity with them. Only about one fourth of them are independent. (Source: Statistical Yearbook Education. Performance Statistic Indicators.)