As required by the Law on the Education System Foundations, all teachers – licenced and non-licenced alike – are required to participate in continuing professional development in order to improve their teaching methodology and other competences.
According to the Bylaw on Continuing Professional Development of Teachers and Education Staff, each year, all ECEC and school staff are obliged to have at least 44 hours of CPD in their own institution, to participate in at least one accredited CPD programme (minimum 8 hours) and one accredited professional meeting (e.g. conference, round table, summer school etc.) lasting 1 day or more.
School and preschool teachers’ participation in professional development programmes is monitored through a scoring system. According to this system, a professional meeting/an hour of professional development is worth one credit.
Each school is required to have a CPD plan. In addition, teachers need to have a personal CPD plan (portfolio) based on the self-evaluation of their competences.
In-school CPD programmes are organised by the school and defined in the school’s professional development plan (the same applies to ECEC institutions). This plan is issued by the institution’s management board as a regular part of its annual plan. It needs to be in line with the school/ECEC institution development plan and based on both the priorities and educational goals of the institution, and standards prescribed by the relevant ministry. The priorities take into account teachers’ personal professional development plans and self-evaluation results, evaluation of the quality of education in the school, pupils’/students’ and parents’ opinion on the schoolwork and other teaching quality indicators.
In accordance with the Bylaw on Continuing Professional Development of Teachers and Education Staff, in-school programmes include the following:
- Model or demonstration classes;
- Presentations of completed professional development activities outside the school (at meetings of relevant school bodies, with mandatory analysis and discussion);
- Presentations of books, handbooks, didactic material, articles, research, projects, study trips and professional visits, with mandatory analysis and discussion;
- Participation in research, education projects within the institution, mobility projects, programmes of national importance within the institution, professional and study trips and visits, international programmes, gatherings and networks, professional learning communities, demonstration programmes or model centre activities;
- Participation in internships or mentoring programmes;
- Participation in activities related to horizontal learning and partnering with other institutions;
- Professional in-school training.
Accredited CPD programmes are approved by the Ministry of Education and financed or co-financed by the state and/or local authorities. Some courses are also offered free of charge. The Ministry plans, coordinates and organises CPD programmes. CPD programmes can also be organised by various institutions: NGOs, agencies, educational institutions, centres for professional development etc. These programmes have to be approved by the Ministry of Education.
District school authorities monitor professional development of teachers and all other staff and make suggestions for further training in order to improve personal and professional competences of employees and the overall performance of the institution.
The Institute for the Improvement of Education is an accreditation body for teacher CPD programmes. It publishes the catalogue of accredited programmes, gathers information on participation in and evaluation of such programmes and organises some CPD programmes on their premises.
The Ministry of Education defines CPD priority topics for each 3-year period, as well as CPD forms and procedures, programmes, requirements for CPD-based promotion of employees, certification and all other regulations.
There are nine priority topics for the current 3-year period:
- Inclusive and democratic approach in education with a view to ensuring quality education for all (individualisation and differentiation in teaching, prevention of early school leaving, provision of additional educational support for students from vulnerable groups, including support for their transition through education and training, work with gifted students);
- Improvement of competences for evaluation of teaching and learning processes and student achievement (monitoring of student progress, self-evaluation, formative assessment, peer assessment);
- Teaching methods that encourage the development of functional knowledge, skills and attitudes (learning and teaching focusing on competences and outcomes, active learning, research methods, project-based learning);
- Improvement of knowledge in the fields of pedagogy, psychology and teaching methodology;
- Strengthening of institutions’ educational role through the development of intercultural competences, and personal and professional values;
- Improvement of digital competences and the use of information and communication technologies in the educational process;
- Strengthening of institutions’ organisational and management competencies;
- Strengthening of preschool staff’s competences for the implementation of the ’Years of Ascent’ preschool curriculum framework (Preschool Education Programme Foundations)
- Development of the learning community culture in ECEC institutions (the structure and culture of institutions, reflection, horizontal exchange, self-evaluation, shared leadership, cooperation with families and the local community in general)
Incentives for Participation in Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Activities
There are promotion possibilities for school and preschool teachers based on CPD participation and other criteria. All school and preschool teachers, as well as non-teaching professionals, can be promoted to pedagogical advisers, independent pedagogical advisers, senior pedagogical advisers and high-level pedagogical advisers. There is a possibility of gradual progress through these positions. Up to 25% of the total number of school and preschool teachers and non-teaching professionals in an institution can hold such titles. More specifically, there can be up to 15% of pedagogical advisers, up to 5% of independent pedagogical advisers, up to 3% of senior pedagogical advisers and up to 2% of high-level pedagogical advisers per institution.
Upon completion of each programme, teachers receive certificates approved by the Ministry of Education.