Harmonising Approaches to Professional Higher Education in Europe

Czech Republic

Stakeholder Survey Overview

As part of our research we carried out a survey of Education & Training stakeholders. Find the results of this survey below or download it..

Legislation & Policy Overview

The following section gives an overview of the national PHE environment within Czech Republic. The profile was completed by Czech Association of Schools of Professional Higher Education.

Section A: General Profile of PHE

1. How is PHE defined in your country?

Higher Education – a minimum reference. There is no specific definition of PHE within the Higher Education Act (1998)(1), the act defines generally three levels of higher education (Bachelor, Master and Doctoral programmes). It refers to the general objective of the Bachelor programme as “to provide the qualifications for practising a profession as well as for continuing to study in a Master’s degree programme.” The Master’s study programmes should aim at promotion of “the acquisition of theoretical knowledge based on current scientific and scholarly knowledge, research and development and to lead students to apply this knowledge and develop their creative facilities.” Thus, the link to professions is not that clearly stated, yet it is incorporated. Doctoral degree programmes “are aimed at scientific research and independent creative activities in the area of research or development, or independent theoretical and creative activities in the area of the fine arts.” However, there is a reference to “professional bachelor programmes”, aimed at preparation for profession, which are provided in particular by non-university higher education institutions within the Decree on the Content of the Application for the Accreditation of Study Programmes (1999)(2). Other levels do not mention any such differentiation. The decree can’t reach beyond the mandate and limits set by the law, thus it does not specify any further details of the mission or specific characteristics of the professional bachelor programmes, yet it mentions practical placement and some specific requirements as regards staff (see further on). Tertiary Professional Education – “Tertiary professional education shall develop and broaden the knowledge and skills of a student acquired during secondary education and shall provide general and vocational education as well as vocational training for the execution of demanding activities.” (The Education Act, 2004)(3) “The length of tertiary professional education, in the day form, shall last for three (3) years including vocational training, and with regard to medical branches it shall last up to three and a half (3.5) years. (dtto). Tertiary professional education in the field of arts may be also provided by conservatories within six- or eight year programme, the entry age and conditions are, of course, different. The enrolled students have not finished secondary education. (The Education Act, 2004)(3).

Commentary: There has been running a lengthy discussion on the reform of tertiary, later only higher education. It started in 2006 soon after the OECD review. The role and importance of professionally oriented sector of higher (and tertiary) education was recognised within the White Paper on Tertiary Education (2008). Yet, the later stages of the reform efforts narrowed the scope of focus first to higher education only, than the issue of diversification seemed to play less important role as the debate progressed to discussion on new HE Act, from 2012 only to the amendment of the existing HE Act. Still, the preliminary version from April 2013 included a comment on profiles of higher education: professional, academic and research. The professionally oriented higher education study programme “focuses on acquirement of skills needed for the performance within the profession which are based on necessary theoretic knowledge”. The further development of the legislative process is however unclear due to substantial changes on the political scene (June 2013).  It is also a matter of more complex discussion what we may understand as “professional higher education”. There is a vast range of traditional university programmes aimed as concrete professions of high qualification (e.g. doctors, lawyers, teachers) which would claim to have a very strong “profession-focused” element, yet would not probably (like to) fall within the concept of professional higher education. Similar comments were raised by people from highly research-focused and well respected Institute of Chemical Technology in Prague who claim to combine top research activities with education focused on highly specialised, practical skills for professional career.

1.1 What is your nationally recognised definition of a PHE Institution?

The Higher Education Act (1998)(1) recognises division of higher education institutions to either university type or non-university type (“vysoká škola neuniverzitního typu”). “Higher education institutions of the non-university type provide Bachelor’s degree programmes and may also carry out Master’s degree programmes as well as related research, development, artistic and other creative activities. Higher education institutions of this type are not divided into faculties.” The other difference between the two types is that the non-university does not establish a Scientific Board for strategy discussion, approval of academic matters and especially nomination of outstanding academics for (associated) professorship. The non-university HE institutions should establish an Academic Board instead; however no more specifications of the role have been given in the act or any further decrees. The role may be similar to the Scientific Board, however due to inability to provide doctoral study programmes, non-university HEIs don’t have a power to appoint their (associate) professors. There is no specification under which conditions universities would provide professional bachelor programmes, thus no definition or specification on institutional level. Tertiary professional schools („vyšší odborná škola“) are simply listed as a type of the school within the Education Act. There is no further detailed specification within the Decree on Tertiary Professional Education (2005)(4) , all specifications are related to organisation of education. Some matters concerning steering and management are respectively corresponding to secondary school, with which the majority of tertiary professional schools are integrated within one legal entity.

Commentary: Due to expansion of the established universities in the last decade there have been established only two public higher education institutions of the non-university type, the majority of these institutions (40 in June 2013) are private-founded. The reality is likely to be somewhat different as ambition of a number of private “non-universities” may focus on the university status and the “non-university” status may be seen rather as a temporarily, transitional arrangement enforced by the approach of the Accreditation Committee.  There are about 190 tertiary professional schools, mostly co-existing with the secondary vocational school, about two thirds of them being public, around one quarter private and the rest church-founded.

1.2 Are there any specific requirements towards PHE Curriculum/Course?

There are no particular requirements towards professional higher education programmes, curricula in the law as such division has not been set by the HE Act. The Decree regulating submissions for accreditation (2) does not require in general much more than specification of graduates’ profile (learning outcomes), description of curricula. However, in case of the “professional bachelor programmes” focused on preparation for profession it requires to indicate content and scope of the students’ practical placement without any further specification.  The tertiary professional education seems to be more regulated as regards content and organisation of study, according to the School Act (2004)(3) it includes both “theoretical education and vocational training” (§96). “Vocational training shall be held in the form of practicum at school or in the form of in-service professional practice at the workplaces of natural and legal persons authorised to carry out activities relating to the given area of education and which have entered with the relevant school into an agreement on the content and scope of in-service professional practice and conditions upon which the professional practice shall be held.” The scope and approach to “vocational training” is to eb specified within the study programme accreditation submission.  More details are provided in particular within the Decree on Tertiary Professional Education (4). The teaching/learning should last 32 weeks a year, there are 6 more weeks for self-study and examination period and 2 “flexible” weeks content of which is within the competence of the school director. There is a list of type of teaching/learning provisions (lectures, seminars, consulting, practical exercises and excursions) and some specifics as regards the number of students within the group for different provisions.

2. Which EQF Levels does PHE cover?

EQF Level 5 – No
EQF Level 6 – Yes
EQF Level 7 – Yes
EQF Level 8 – No

Commentary: The EQF level 5 has not been assigned to any sort of programmes yet. There used to be a discussion on short-cycle programmes within higher education, yet this was strongly rejected by the higher education representation. There was an idea of adjusting at least a part of tertiary professional education programmes to this level, make them shorter and more focused, but also this has not been appreciated by the college representation and there seemed to be no political and economic driver to keep the agenda. EQF 6 is represented both by Bachelor programmes (including “professional” ones) and tertiary professional education. EQF 7 is represented by Master programmes which can be provided by higher education institutions of non-university type.

3. Which governmental bodies are responsible for governance of the PHE sector? Do these differ from the governance of AHE? Is there any engagement of any other public authorities and which, if so?

Higher Education (EQF 6 – 8) (see the Higher Education Act (1)) The Ministry of Education is responsible for the overall governance of the entire higher education without any differentiation regarding the profile of study programme including the overall policy, strategy, funding, administration of the system and recognition of higher education and qualifications from abroad. Specific role is set for granting accreditation (following the proposal of the Accreditation Commission, the negative standpoint is binding for the Ministry).  There are specific roles of: the Ministry of Health as regards standpoint to the relevant study programmes in the field of health services; the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Interior play a specific role as regards foundation, funding and content of relevant study programmes in the military and police higher education institutions. The Accreditation Commission as regards quality of higher education – accreditation, evaluation and rights for habilitation procedure and procedure for appointment of professors, see further on.  The Higher education Act also introduces representative, self-governing bodies of Higher Education Institutions (the Council of HEIs, the Czech Rectors’ Conference), both without any notification of differences between different types of higher education institutions.  All the arrangements are general for the entire higher education system.  Tertiary professional education (EQF 6)  Tertiary professional education has different governance which is two-fold:  The Ministry of Education is responsible for overall policy, funding, legislative arrangements and quality of this type of education within the so-called “regional education” (pre-school, primary, secondary and tertiary professional), The Regional authority (14 regions in the country) is responsible for regional strategy, final decision on concrete funding, administration of schools’ network, its structure and capacity Again, there are specific roles of some “field” ministries, e.g. the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Interior, as regards content of relevant study programmes. There is a specific Accreditation Commission for Tertiary Professional Education as regards quality issues, mainly accreditation; it is an independent body with a consultative power to the Ministry. The issues of quality evaluation fall officially within the competence of the Czech School Inspection.

4. Quality assurance: Please provide information on quality-related legislation (national QA/accreditation system, regulations concerning QA at institutional level etc.). Are there any specific QA criteria for PHE? If so, which (if necessary, refer to specific EQF levels or institutions)?

Higher Education (EQF 6 – 8) The key role plays the Accreditation Commission, independent body appointed by the Government. It is “concerned for the quality of higher education and carries out comprehensive evaluation of the teaching, scholarly, scientific and research work, development, innovation, artistic and other creative activities of higher education Institutions” in particular by “evaluating the activities of higher education institutions and the quality of accredited activities and publishing the results of such evaluations” and “reviewing other issues affecting the system of higher education, when asked to do so by the Minister”.  The study programme is in the core of attention within the institutional context. The Ministry grants the accreditation within the limits of the Accreditation Commission’s standpoint. There are no specifics as regards the different streams of higher education, yet the Accreditation Commission expresses its standpoint on “specification of the type of higher education institution”, thus confirming whether the higher education institutions should adopt the status of university or non-university type. There are general specifications of what the accreditation submission should contain; e.g. professional profile with specification of learning outcomes and characteristics of relevant professions, components of the programme, staff, financial, material, technical and information support. “In the case of degree programmes focusing on preparation for the practice of a regulated profession, a statement that the relevant degree programme is focused on preparation for the practice of a regulated profession and a standpoint of the relevant recognition body with respect to the appropriate competence on the part of graduates to practice this profession” should be provided. The “decree on accreditation” further requires a specification of the content and scope of practical placement for the full-time professional bachelor study which is focused on preparation for a profession, in particular at a non-university higher education institution. Otherwise there are no specific arrangements as regards professional higher education. Further details may be found within the “Accreditation Commission’s Standards”, however neither these make any differentiation as regards professionally oriented programmes.  Tertiary professional education (EQF 6) The accreditation of study programmes is provided by the Ministry of Education after assessment of the content and specialisation by the Accreditation Commission for Tertiary Professional Schools while it should respect the Commission’s dissenting opinion on the programme submission. The members of this body are appointed by the Minister.  The programme submission should – in addition to specification within higher education – contain: Professional profile specifying knowledge, skills and competences; A list of potential professions relevant for graduates further careers; A specification of “vocational training” (including students’ placement) including the list of potential subjects where the placement might take place; A statement on social relevance of the study programme including possible declaration of relevant professional bodies and subjects.

Commentary: One of the key issues within the reform of tertiary/higher education has been a shift from “programmatic” accreditation into the one focused more on “institutional” aspects and thus enhancement of the higher education institutions’ autonomy and responsibility. The principles have been incorporated into the draft of the amendment of the HE Act, yet this has not reached further than the draft of the legislation which still should go through more steps within the process. The current changes on political scene (July 2013) make it difficult to anticipate the further development. However, this shift of focus has been discussed and accepted by higher education institutions’ representation.

5. Are there any specific funding mechanisms/principles/criteria for PHE, different from general HE principles?

Higher education (EQF 6 – 8) A public higher education institution is entitled to public funding. The amount provided “is determined according to the types and relative costs of the accredited degree programmes and lifelong learning programmes and the results achieved in the scholarly, scientific, research, development, artistic and other creative activities and their demands.” The amount provided also depends on the institution’s strategic plan and the Ministry’s strategic plan for higher education. There is no formally declared different approach as regards PHE.  Private higher education institutions must make provision for financing their teaching, research and other activities. There are some exceptions allowing the Ministry to provide a subsidy for those which were established as a non-for-profit organisation. Yet, this has happened on a very rare, specific occasions.  Tertiary professional education (EQF 6)  The situation is slightly different within tertiary professional education. All types of schools are eligible for public funding, though there is a difference between public and private schools, the latter ones being at the same time able to set their own fees whereas public schools’ fees are set by the governments’ decree. This is the only sector where students pay tuition fee at public institutions. The church get comparable grant to the public ones, but may charge fees according to their calculation. The regional authority has a right to adjust the amount of the public grant following their strategy and priorities.

Commentary: The funding mechanism in higher education is based in principle on per capita funding (according to the number of students). There is no different approach as regards PHE however the priorities and balance of funding depends on the calculations agreed within the principles and rules for every-year funding. These reflect also some performance coefficients reflecting different scope of activities as regards research, teaching, staff qualification, internationalisation, etc. may influence the weight of contribution to different types of institutions. Yet this is done more on institutional level, not sectorial.

6. Are there any formal requirements for stakeholders, in particular from the part of the professional sphere/employers’ representatives concerning their engagement in PHE steering and provisions? If so, in which areas (governance, quality assurance, curriculum development, students’ placement etc.)?

Higher Education (EQF 6 – 8) No specific arrangements, no notion of the professional sphere in formal documents, except the standpoints of relevant ministries on study programmes within the regulated professions.  Tertiary professional education (EQF 6) There are a few points where the interaction with the professional sphere is mentioned in the legal documents: – The practical placement at companies as a tentative part of the study programme; – A possibility of inviting an expert from professional sphere as a member of the final examination committee; – The Accreditation Commission for Tertiary Professional Schools shall consist of twenty-one (21) members appointed by the Minister from among experts from universities, tertiary professional schools and practitioners with relevant expertise. – A specification of “vocational training” (including students’ placement) including the list of potential subjects where the placement might take place; – A statement on social relevance of the study programme including possible declaration of relevant professional bodies and subjects.

Commentary: There is, of course, a possibility of appointment of the members of the Accreditation Commission (for HE) from among “persons widely regarded as authorities in their fields”, including experts from professional practice. However in practice is has been maximum one member from twenty-one members of the Accreditation Commission, there are no representatives of the professional sphere among the branch-specific Accreditation Commission’s working groups’ members. Representatives of companies and professions are usually appointed to the Board of Trustees of higher education institutions, yet representatives from “ in particular, the spheres of public life, municipal and regional authorities and the state administration” are mentioned by the law. The Board of Trustees deals, however, mostly with legal, property and asset’s issues and may express themselves as regards strategic and budgetary issues.  The link to professional sphere seems to be stronger within the tertiary professional sphere, although neither in this case it has been formalised to larger and more specific scope.

7. Are there any other legislative differences between PHE and other HE institutions (e.g. partnership with enterprises, regional involvement etc.)?

Not specifically, although the “third role”, “contributing to development on both the national and the regional level, while cooperating with the various levels of the state administration and regional and municipal government as well as with the business and cultural communities” is set as a coherent part of the higher education institutions’ mission in the Higher Education Act. There is no specification as regards institutions with professional higher education, e.g. those of non-university type.  Nothing special is mentioned as regards tertiary professional schools, either.

8. Is PHE limited to some specific branches and/or fields of study? If yes: Which ones?

There are no formal limitations as regards the branches.

Commentary: Although there are no limits, some fields with a fair amount of practical skills and links to profession (e.g. medicine, law, pedagogics…) are by common practice a domain of universities, mostly as an ab initio Master study programme. This is also reflected by qualification requirements, e.g. qualification for pedagogical staff (see the Act on Pedagogical Staff No 563/2004).  There has been running a discussion on some medical staff (nurses) and potentially social workers to be granted exclusively to higher education (mainly bachelor degree programmes) whereas the existing practice allowed also for their qualifications from tertiary professional education. The ideas have been set in a policy papers, draft of relevant act (on medical staff), but have not entered the legislative process yet.

Section B: Teaching & Staffing

1. Are there any formally set requirements for academic staff teaching at different levels in PHE (e.g their qualification, expertise, selection & appointment)? Are they different from AHE?

Higher Education (EQF 6 – 8) There are no specific requirements set as regards staff qualifications or any particular for PHE in the legislation. There are general rules for associate professorship (“habilitation”), professorship based on results of academic activities, especially research-based. Detailed arrangements are left to internal statutes of each institution.   The study programme can be guaranteed by associate professor or professor. The decree on accreditation specifies some formal requirements as regards engagement, working experience and publications of the key academic staff. For the professional bachelor programmes the decree allows to list the staff with less academic experience, however showing the plan of personal development.  The accreditation standards don’t allow lower qualification than graduate studies, the exception for the lecturers from professional sphere with lower education has to be counterbalanced with a supervision of the staff with appropriate qualification.  The key profiling modules/subject bachelor study programmes are to be provided – according to the standards – prevailingly with staff holding a Ph.D. or its equivalent, yet 40 % of lectures should be given by (associate) professors of the relevant profile. The external staff should provide evidence of their performance in the field within the last 5 years.  The conditions for master programmes are more demanding as demands academic qualification. The teaching/learning should be provided mainly by at least Ph.D. holders while at least 60 % of lectures within the key profiling modules/subjects should be given by (associate) professors.  However, no specific arrangements – except the arrangement for less academically experienced staff at bachelor degree level programmes – are given for the professional higher education.   Tertiary professional education (EQF 6)  A teacher of general subjects or vocational subjects teaching at a tertiary professional school should have acquired professional qualifications through higher education by completing an accredited master’s study programme in a field appropriate to the nature of the general subject or vocational subject to be taught. – A teacher of practicum and vocational  training shall acquire professional qualifications through: – higher education by completing an accredited study programme in a field appropriate to the nature of the subjects to be taught in practicum; – tertiary professional education by completing an accredited educational programme  at a tertiary professional school in a field appropriate to the nature of the subjects to be taught in practicum; or – secondary education accomplished by a school-leaving examination acquired by completing an educational programme of secondary education in a field appropriate to the nature of the subject to be taught and having practical experience in the relevant field of not less than three (3) years. – There are some specific requirements for teachers of medical study subjects. The director may make an exception for staff in artistic subjects.

Commentary: The professorship (associate professorship) is an academic title awarded to the person for permanent hold, recognising his/her achievement in the field of higher education pedagogics, but especially research results. The system has been a subject to a lively debate within the recent reform of higher education, yet it seems to be one of the cornerstones of culture of academic environment. There are hardly any changes to be expected, thus the system can be – and seems to be further on – built on quantification of engagement of (associate) professors in education. The fact that “non-universities” can’t nominate their “own” (associate) professors and have been thus heavily dependent on more academically profiles institutions has been criticised and does not make the flexibility and links to practice of these “PHE” institutions any easier.  There is hardly any reason why would the holders of “academic title” be aligned to tertiary professional schools as these are seen as institutions focused purely on teaching/learning with no research activities in their mission and scope of activities.

2. Are there any specific requirements for PHE staff work (teaching/research) arrangements and workload? If so, which? How do they differ from AHE?

There are no formal settings. The scope of work of academic staff is a matter of internal arrangement and regulations within the higher education institution. There is a general “standard” of scope of direct educational work  for the staff at tertiary professional schools (21 lessons a week), like in the entire secondary education, but the competence for setting a concrete scope and structure of individual staff work lays with the director of the school including the possibility to re-structure the teaching load.

3. Are there requirements to include non-academia (professionals) to teach in PHE institutions? What qualifications must they have if any?

No, there is no legal requirement to include people from outside education in any kind of professional higher/tertiary education, although the possibility is not excluded at the same time, either within higher education or tertiary professional education legislation.

Commentary: It is, in fact, rather usual that both higher education institutions, as well as professional tertiary schools invite people from professional sphere to give some lectures, workshops or supervise the students placement or project/thesis work. There is no specific legal arrangement for that, neither it is reflected in quality assurance. On the contrary, the external staff, coming from the professional sphere, are not fully recognised within higher education quality assurance provision unless they are holders of academic titles (associate professor, professor).

Section C: Curriculum

1. Are there any specific requirements as regards contents/structure (e.g. percentage of practically oriented modules) as regards PHE? If so, which? What are the differences with respect to AHE?

No specific requirements, no regulations are set in any of the relevant cases as regards the content or structure of curricula. These should simply reflect the knowledge, skills and competencies declared within the professional profile as may be derived from decrees on accreditation and other relevant documents.

2. Are there any specific requirements as regards practical elements of PHE study programmes (e.g. work experience/Practical placements/Internships)? If so, which? What are the differences with respect to AHE?

Higher Education (EQF 6 – 8) There is no specific division of profiles of higher education, except in the Decree on “accreditation submission” which mentions the professional bachelor study programme and a need to specify the scope and content of practical placement. There is no further specification in any other document.  Tertiary professional education (EQF 6) The Education Act says “Tertiary professional education shall contain theoretical education and vocational training. Vocational training shall be held in the form of practicum at school or in the form of in-service professional practice at the workplaces …” There is a list of type of teaching/learning provisions (lectures, seminars, consulting, practical exercises and excursions) and some specifics as regards the number of students within the group for different provisions in the Decree on Tertiary Professional Education.

Commentary: The practical placement has been seen as one of the key profiling elements of tertiary professional education, giving their graduates a competitive advantage at the labour market. Some of the “non-universities”, but also the universities have introduced the practical placement period, but this is rather rare and the overall perception is that this arrangement had not been favoured by the Accreditation Commission.

3. Are there any other legal requirements specific for PHE programs?

There are no specific legal requirements as regards PHE programmes.  It may be noted there is a difference in a position of graduates of “professional” higher education and those graduating at “tertiary professional schools” within the official tariff scale provided by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. This is valid, of course, only for the public sector, yet some of the private businesses reflect the tariffs in their own arrangements. More details in the chapter on Recognition and Transfer, subchapter 3. The unsolved issue has been recognition and transfer of tertiary professional schools’ graduates to higher education (see the chapter on Recognition and Transfer).

Section D: Research & Technology Transfer

1. What is the involvement of PHE in R&D&I&TT activities? Are there any formal differences at different levels/institutions of PHE?

Higher Education (EQF 6 – 8) All higher education institutions are expected to “maintain and augment acquired knowledge as well as cultivate scholarly, scientific, research, development, innovation, artistic and other creative activities in accordance with the type and orientation of the institution”. The later note on orientation provides a space for profiling the professionally oriented higher education institutions, in particular “non-universities” in a specific way. However there has been no further specification of such profile, of tasks relevant for this type of institutions.  Tertiary professional education (EQF 6) There is no formal request for tertiary professional schools to get engaged in any type of research or development activities.

Commentary: Some efforts to specify the role and type of research – or rather innovative and development – activities have been made within the discussion on methodology of research performance assessment. The most visible fact is that many “non-universities” haven’t been granted access to research funding from the Czech Science Foundation, yet they may access funds from Technological Agency.

2. Are public research programs restricted to some types of HEIs (e.g. academic sector)? If so, what are the criteria?

The access to grant from the key foundations (Czech Science Foundation – “basic research”, Technology Agency – “innovation & development”) is by their statutes open to any institution engaged in research and development.

Commentary: The access is open to all institutions, the difficulty is that some of the non-universities have not been granted a status of the institution “engaged in research & development”. Therefore it has been difficult to access “basic research” funding from the Czech Science Foundation, the “non-universities” seem more eligible to succeed with the Technological Agency grants. The situation may be slightly different should we take into account “professionally oriented” units within universities.

Section E: Recognition & Credit Transfer

1. Are there formal differences in the enrolment process into PHE and AHE?

No, the access requirements are the same all over the tertiary education – secondary school leaving examination (“maturita”). The enrolment procedure and criteria are then left within institutions’ competence including any sort of entry exams, selection procedure, etc., if there is any at all.

2. Are there formal paths for transfer from PHE into other HE programmes (for graduates, during the study)? Are there automatic transfers for students between PHE and AHE? Do students need bridging programmes or other means of transition?

Within Higher Education (EQF 6 – 8) There are no formal barriers for transfer from one level of higher education to another. As the Higher Education Act does not differentiate among the profile of study programmes, there can’t be any specific measures. The only notion of “professional bachelor study programmes” is provided within the decree on accreditation, yet this does not deal with transferability matters. It is left within institutions’ competence to set their own criteria and requirements as regards ”specific knowledge, abilities, talent or results achieved” within previous education for enrolment of applicants to programmes of higher qualification level. The requirement of recognition of credits from the lower level according to a similarity of the specialisation is also left within the higher education institutions’ competencies.  The same is valid for transfer and recognition within the same qualification level.  From Tertiary professional education (EQF 6) to Higher education (EQF 6 or 7) The situation is more complicated when referring to the transfer from tertiary professional schools to higher education, either after graduation or during the study. There is no official scheme for automatic recognition of students’ achievements within tertiary professional education. The Higher Education Act allows higher education institutions to set specific requirements for the graduates of tertiary professional schools, but this option is left to institution’s decision. The legislation is rather clear that such transfer concerns enrolment to undergraduate studies. The director of tertiary professional school “may admit an applicant to a grade higher than the first grade of the tertiary professional school”. The director may decide after assessment of “the documents of the applicant proving his/her education to-date” and may determine within the enrolment proceedings conditions for specific examination to do so. Similar arrangements are provided for the transfer between different study programmes or schools where the “examination which might show the differences in education” may be required.

Commentary: There has been a tendency to promote ECTS (the current law speaks about “credits”, the new amendment under the discussion promotes ECTS implicitly) as an instrument for international and national mobility, although a number of HEIs’ achievements have been recognised including a number of ECTS Labels awards, the functionality of the system may still be some steps from ideal, at least referring to the discussions and practical experience.  Although there is a formal possibility to recognise the results of students or graduates from tertiary professional schools, this has not been widely adopted. Private higher education institutions seem to be more flexible in providing the opportunity for such graduates to finish their undergraduate studies within a shortened period, mostly within one, rather one-and-half years. The conservative approach and scrutiny by the Accreditation Commission may play its role in careful and limited use of such opportunity. This has been one of the criticised issues within the discussions on structure and flexibility of entire tertiary education.   At the same time there is a number of individual arrangements and partnerships between concrete universities/higher education institutions (including quite often public ones) and partnering tertiary professional school on common delivery of bachelor study programmes, sort of “franchise” where the university holds the accreditation, enrols students, yet the teaching/learning and organisation of studies is in hands of the tertiary professional school under the HEI’s supervision and assistance. There are also examples of mutual formalised agreement on recognition of graduates of concrete tertiary professional schools and their automatic enrolment into more progressed stages of undergraduate studies of the similar specialisation. There are about 20 such cases whereas the total number of tertiary professional schools counts for about 190 institutions.  Tertiary professional schools have not adopted ECTS widely (the last data available are from 2009 showing that only 17% of schools had adopted ECTS by that time), also due to the fact that their numbers of students do not allow for much flexibility, but the main reasons may lay in unclarity regarding quality of education, financial provisions, low “statutory” recognition of the role of the tertiary professional sector within higher education and a lack of official policy and instruments. Different ambitions and claims coming from tertiary professional schools do not make the situation any easier.

3. Are there any specific regulations concerning employment of PHE graduates? Do you need to justify delivery of certain PHE studies? e.g provide evidence of labour market needs or collect data on employability of graduates).

Higher Education (EQF 6 – 8) There is a common requirement for accreditation submission of the study programme to provide also a development plan of the study programme and its’ justification. This is further specified as to include also: – Information of development of collaboration with the professional sphere, higher education institutions and other legal subjects including foreign ones, characterisation of such collaboration; – Justification of the societal needs as regards the study programme including potential standpoints of professional bodies and subjects.  Specifically in the case of professional bachelor study programmes the requirements are extended explicitly by a provision of economic, social and demographic description/analysis within the planned target region (its scope and demarcation is left within the institution’s decision). It should include data on unemployment of graduates of tertiary professional and higher education within the previous year based on relevant labour office data or own analysis provided by the institution.  Tertiary professional education (EQF 6) A submission of the study programme for accreditation should – accordingly to the Decree of Tertiary Professional Education – include a few elements dealing with the specification of a potential of graduates’ prospective: – Professional profile; – Specification of professional potential of a graduate, in particular a list of relevant professional activities and professions; – Information of development of collaboration with the professional sphere, tertiary professional schools, higher education institutions and other legal subjects including foreign ones, characterisation of such collaboration; – Justification of the societal needs as regards the study programme including potential standpoints of professional bodies and subjects.  Rewarding graduates: Tariff scale for graduates  It may be noted that the position of graduates of “professional” higher education and those graduating at “tertiary professional schools” is not of the same level, while the former ones fall (together with all bachelor degree graduates) within the levels 10 through 12 of the official tariff scale provided by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, whereas the latter ones qualify for levels 9 through 10 of the tariff scale while they all achieve the EQF6 qualification. That may lead in extreme cases up to 27% difference in remuneration. This is valid, of course, only for the public sector, yet some of the private businesses reflect the tariffs in their own arrangements.

Creative Commons Licence This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. © EURASHE 2013.
A blog about Wordpress design, development , Software and inspiration http://themesharebd.blogspot.com