Czech guidance system
Psychology has had a long-standing tradition in the Czech Republic (then Czechoslovakia) and had also its influence on development of vocational guidance and counselling whose beginnings date back to 1920s.
Today, guidance services in the Czech Republic are provided by a lot of stakeholders. The most important are the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. Both ministries operate networks providing day-to-day career guidance and counselling. In recent years, the role of NGOs grows steadily as a key player, specifically as a provider of guidance services to disadvantaged and specific target groups.
From the school level up to the tertiary professional level, the Education Act, the Government Decree on the Provision of Counselling Services in Schools and School Guidance Facilities, the Act on Teaching Staff and other related legislation, regulates career guidance and counselling services. Under the Higher Education Act, universities are required to provide candidates, students and other persons with information and counselling services relating to their studies and to employment opportunities for graduates of study programmes.
Under the Employment Act, the Labour Office of the Czech Republic and private employment agencies provides the Implementing Decree, and other related legislation, career guidance and counselling services for people requiring assistance in employment matters.
The National Guidance Forum was established in 2010 by mutual agreement between the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports and the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs. The NGF is an advisory body for both ministries in lifelong career guidance and counselling and with the potential of its members shall ensure the inter-ministerial coordination of activities and project plans implemented in the field of lifelong guidance.
Education Policy Strategy of the Czech Republic for 2020 strives to overcome the problems resulting from the fragmentation of strategic planning and management in the field of education policy. It defines the basic priorities of the development of the educational system of the Czech Republic to be followed by authorities and policy makers. The strategy is in line with the Education & Training 2020 framework. Measures aimed at reaching those and other priority targets are formulated annually in the National Reform Programme of the Czech Republic. Among others, it includes support for guidance and counselling within the education and employment sector as well as need for close cooperation between these two areas.
Services and Practice
The activities of the guidance systems are merged to provide counselling services to pupils leaving primary and secondary school. To a certain extent, both guidance systems use the same work procedures and sources of information. Although the official documents do not specifically state that this should be an integrated system of guidance services, the basis for such a system is being unsystematically, but progressively, developed in both sectors.
Guidance and counselling services are required by law to be provided at all basic schools (základní škola), secondary schools (střední škola) and tertiary professional schools (vyšší odborná škola). Guidance and counselling services at all basic and upper secondary schools and school guidance and counselling facilities are provided by: educational counsellors (výchovný poradce) and school prevention specialists (školní metodik prevence) – teachers with a further qualification obtained through in-service training. At some schools, psychologists (psycholog) and special educational needs specialists (speciální pedagog) also provide guidance and counselling support. The most important individual as regards career counselling is the educational counsellor (výchovný poradce). The position of an educational counsellor is taken by a school teacher with the necessary qualifications. In addition to direct teaching duty, he/ she also provides 1–5 hours a week of educational counselling, depending on the number of pupils in the given school (1 hour for 150 pupils and 5 hours for over 800 pupils) as set out in the given Government Regulation.
Guidance and counselling for tertiary professional education is organised by the same bodies and institutions and in the same way as at secondary schools. Some higher education institutions offer academic guidance service centres. The legislative basis for these was laid down by the Higher Education Act, passed in 1998, according to which public higher education institutions are obliged to offer information and guidance/counselling services connected with the study and future work placement of graduates of study programmes (similar guidance/counselling services are usually also provided by private higher education institutions). Most public universities provide their service through in-house Career Counselling Centres.
The Labour Office provides career guidance and counselling for a wide range of issues such as searching a job, psychological support, exploring client‘s working potential, guidance for retraining, guidance for work rehabilitation and EURES guidance. Jobseekers are guided by employment brokers, can obtain individual or group career guidance.
Special attention is paid to young people in their last year of basic and secondary schools when they are about to choose further studies or transfer to paid employment. There is an Information and Counselling Centre at each regional labour office or a selected contact centre (Informační a poradenská střediska pro volbu a změnu povolání, IPS), which often work together with schools and educational counsellors. Its main task is to provide assistance as regards career choice for young people and adults. They provide group and face-to-face counselling and on-line and phone counselling. The main target group of these centres are jobseekers, people who seek alternative employment, school leavers and other groups at risk of unemployment.
In addition to the Labour Office, other actors provide careers advice for adults, including NGOs, employer associations, private employment agencies and regional career centres. A wide range of services for specific target groups is provided by non-governmental organisations and funded by different sources, mainly on a temporary basis (e.g. the European Social Fund, etc.). Career counselling projects funded by EU sources have been expanded where delivered by external specialists, however these are not always well linked with other services and for the most part they operate independently of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. Awareness of their activities is therefore fragmentary. However, those activities have contributed to the development of career guidance/counselling in the Czech Republic and have created a need for regulation of the whole range of career counselling services as a profession, with its own professional standards and training.
In the Czech Republic, a systemic analysis of the education supply and opportunities for professional development of career guidance counsellors is missing. Requirements on entry qualifications of those who provide career guidance services are not clearly defined. A system of further education and training that would complement and broaden education of currently operating career guidance providers across particular sectors does not exist.
Qualification requirements and standards are regulated by legislation by the relevant sector under which career guidance is provided (education, employment).
In-service training courses for educational counsellors and school prevention specialists at schools are provided by higher education institutions or by institutions providing in-service training for educational staff, e.g. mainly the National Institute for Further Education (Národní institut pro další vzdělávání) and its 13 regional workplaces. Psychologists and special educational needs specialists gain their qualification in Master’s programmes at universities.
There is no special initial training scheme for career counsellors and no official curricula for the training of career counsellors working at higher education institutions and outside the education system. Career counsellors can use several specialised courses and seminars offered by educational institutions (NGOs, adult education organisations, associations etc.) .
There are no qualification requirements for staff responsible for information and guidance and counselling services in Information and Counselling Centres of Labour Offices laid down by law. However, for the position of a counsellor a Master’s degree in humanities, preferably in the field of pedagogical sciences, with work experience in guidance and counselling or in the field of secondary education is commonly accepted and required.
Research and Development
The National Institute for Education (NÚV) focuses among other activities on development and pilot projects related to career counselling. The Institute also supports the teaching of subjects dealing with labour market issues. The Department for Lifelong Career Guidance of the National Institute for Education is responsible for methodological support for career counselling, the development of career guidance in the Czech Republic, cooperation with other subjects in the field of career guidance, promotion of career counselling, and analytical surveys. Currently, the Institute works on the project Quality-Inclusion-Counselling-Development (Kvalita-Inkluze-Poradenství-Rozvoj in Czech) supported by the Operational Programme Research, Development, Education co-financed by EU funds. The projects deals with quality assurance, linkage, comparability and efficiency of guidance and counselling services and creation of conditions suitable to provision of supportive measures for disadvantaged pupils.
In January 2018, the Belgian project of GOAL - Guidance and Orientation for Adult Learners supported by the Erasmus+ programme Key Action 3, has been concluded. NÚVs role in the project as one of the partner organisations mainly focused on the creation of a model of career guidance centres in two regions (Ústecký and Olomoucký Region), as there is no systematic guidance support for adults who want to increase or change their qualification.
Department of Educational Sciences at Faculty of Arts of Masaryk University in Brno continuously conduct academic and applied research on education, upbringing and learning across the domains of social life including career guidance. The Department develops strategic documents and cooperates on a number of evaluation projects and developmental initiatives in the Czech Republic and abroad. In the area of school leadership, management and administration, the research team focuses mainly on school culture, career paths of school leaders, organizational learning in schools, management of inclusion in schools and other related topics including career guidance. Recently, the research on career flexibility in secondary-school students explored the multidimensional psychosocial construct of career flexibility across groups of secondary-school students. It studied the capacity of individuals to cope with existing or expected change and traumas in career roles.
Research dealing with guidance and counselling is also carried out in part for example at Charles University in Prague. Generally, information on utilisation of carried research and achieved project results or even their impact is not available.
Conduct of particular guidance counsellors is regulated not only by legislation in force, but also by standards and rules included in some of the professional ethical codes valid within a specific occupational field. In any case, their way of conduct is affected by internal culture of an organisation, in which s/he provides her/his services.
A set of ethical requirements summarised in an ethical code is not defined for the field of career guidance and counselling services in the Czech Republic. These services are provided by specialists of various occupations (e.g. psychologists, social workers, teachers, special educational needs specialists, HR specialists, managers) within several systems of services. Within the public sector, career guidance services are provided as one of the public employment services, as one of the counselling services in education, and also as one, a specific part of social counselling services. In the non-profit sector, career guidance and counselling is an integral part of psychological counselling or a specific service in the framework of complex social services. In the private sector, career guidance and counselling services are most often a part of psychological services.
No publications were found.