The Law on the Education System Foundations regulates initial education of teachers in early childhood and school education and conditions of service and teachers’ professional development.
The Law on Higher Education, together with the higher education institution statutes and rules, regulate initial education, conditions of service and professional development of academic staff.
Initial education of preschool teachers is provided at:
- secondary medical schools
- colleges of applied studies (teacher training colleges) or
- universities (teacher education faculties).
Professionals working with children up to 3 years of age are educated at secondary medical schools, at module for nurses working in ECEC institutions. Teachers working with children of 3 years of age and up are educated at colleges of applied studies that last 3 years (180 ECTS) or University programmes lasting 4 years (240 ECTS).
Teachers who teach at the first four grades of primary education (class teaching) earn their degree at teacher education faculties.
Subject teachers (grades 5 to 8 of primary education and entire secondary education) complete their studies at other faculties for specific subjects (i.e. mathematics, biology, chemistry etc.).
With the exception of colleges of applied studies and faculties that provide education-related programmes (special education, psychology, pedagogy, adult education), higher institutions do not generally focus on teacher education, although students who graduate from those faculties often become teachers.
As of 2009 a new requirement was introduced for everyone who wants to pursue a teaching career in a school, needs to obtain 36 ECTS credits in the fields of psychology, pedagogy and teaching methodology, as well as in practical work at educational institutions. This rule does not apply to academic staff. For them the most important competencies are mainly scientific engagement and research work.
Preschool teachers are awarded a Bachelor degree necessary for employment. Neither specialisation nor Master programmes are required for them. For all other teachers in primary, secondary and tertiary education, initial education implies obtaining a Master degree. Those involved in tertiary education teaching processes are required to have a PhD degree.
Teachers working in early childhood and school education must pass a license exam after one year of induction period during their first employment to continue their teaching career. There is no such requirement for tertiary education teaching staff.
Teachers’ professional development is required and specified by the law. Teachers have to commit a certain part of their working time to professional development training to keep their position and license. While professional development of academic staff is not required or regulated by the law, it is necessary for career progression and is mostly based on scientific work.
The Centre for Professional Development of Education Staff within the Institute for the Improvement of Education is responsible for:
- setting competency standards for school teachers,
- initial education, conditions of service and professional development,
- improvement of the professional development system,
- regulation of induction period and license exam,
- implementation of international professional development programmes
- and preparation of materials and handbooks for teachers.