COHERENCE OF THE NATIONAL SYSTEM OF OCCUPATIONS WITH THE NATIONAL QUALIFICATION FRAMEWWORK AND VOCATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS
The aim of this paper is to describe coherence of the National System of Occupations with the National Qualification Framework and vocational qualifications created in the Czech Republic based on Act No. 179/2006 Coll., on the verification and recognition of further education and amendments to certain acts (Act on the recognition of further education results).
Key words: National System of Occupations, National Qualification Framework, Vocational Qualification, authorization, Framework educational programmes, further education
After the rise of the communist regime, the governing party has created for its professional personnel within adult education different types of so-called corporate schools, the graduation of which replaced a school education degree and the graduates of this education hold subsequently significant functions in economy and in the society. This practise continued until the end of the regime in 1989 when significant changes took place, not only in the field of education.
The educational path through retraining was not created until 1991 when the first legislation governing the retraining programmes was established. Until then, there has been full employment and therefore implementing retraining programmes was not necessary. Some stabilization on the labour market and education market occurred only after improving the legislation and occurrence of the National System of Occupations and National Qualification Framework.
The National System of Occupations (NSO) is often characterised as a continuously developed occupations catalogue available on the internet to all which is a tool for increasing the workforce mobility on the labour market. Individual occupations should be identified by employers and professionals. Although the creation and update of NSO is defined in the Employment Act (Act No. 435/2004 Coll.) and it should be regularly updated in accordance with the labour market development, no great emphasis is laid on updating at present.
The NSO currently contains 2, 231 of described occupations and their number is still decreasing as there is the NSO tendency to combine individual occupations and their specialisations to larger wholes. Each occupation mentioned herein contains for instance: characteristics of the occupation; description of work activities that can be carried out within the occupation or qualification and medical fitness which are necessary for the exercise of an occupation.
The NSO fulfils the task of a publicly available register of occupations occurring at the Czech Republic which should provide employers, educators, and job applicants with information on the requirements of individual occupations, NSO can be used, of course, also in carrier consultancy or in the creation of corporate catalogues for personal management. An important function of NSO is that it is the basis of the National Qualification Framework.
National Qualification Framework (NQF) can be described as a publicly accessible register of all complete vocational qualifications being confirmed, distinguished, and recognized at the Czech Republic. There are not only complete qualifications acquired usually at school described through qualification and assessment standards here but also vocational qualifications which are a part of a certain occupation. This register was established on the basis of the Act No.179/2006 Coll on the verification and recognition of further education results and amendments to some acts (Act on recognition of further education results) where complete qualifications are defined as „professional competence of a natural person to perform properly all work activities in a certain occupation“ (the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, 2006).
Vocational qualifications are defined in the mentioned act as “professional competence of a natural person to perform properly a certain work activity or a set of work activities in a certain occupation or in two or more occupations in the scope set out in the qualification standards“. (Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, 2006).
National Qualification Framework is being set up to help people who have gained vocational skills beyond their original education but do not have any document for it. Due to the existence of standards, they can be re-examined and get a certificate about their education (regardless of whether they have gained their knowledge and skills at school, in a course, self-study or practise). It is a project of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports whose promoter is the National Pedagogical Institute of the CR.
The uniqueness of NQF is based on the fact that both representatives of educators and representatives of employers take part in the creation of all vocational qualifications which means that the approved vocational qualifications really correspond to the real requirements of individual positions existing on the labour market and contain competences which are common both to large and smaller employers. The involvement of the employers to the creation of NQF is provided by the association of Chamber of Commerce of the Czech Republic, the Confederation of Industry and Transport of the Czech Republic and TREXIMA, spol. s r.o. When creating the standards, the educator representatives ensure that the competencies can be re-examined and an educational plan can be created according to the standards, if needed. The vocational qualifications are created in a working group consisting of professionals in the given field – i.e., of representatives of educators, employers, and other professionals. Subsequently, vocational qualifications are subjected to a complex inspection and approval process. All approved vocational qualifications are set out in the National Qualification Framework at www.narodnikvalifikace.cz. 1426 vocational qualifications were approved in September 2021.
Vocational qualifications examinations may be taken only by natural or legal persons complying with the conditions set out by the Act on the recognition of further education results, with the requirements set out in the standard of the particular vocational qualification and have a granted authorisation for respective vocational qualification granted by the responsible ministries for the period of 5 years.
The timeliness of the created standards is ensured by regular revisions responding both to the changing conditions on the labour market and to legislation changes or other related changes.
The vocational qualifications standards created in this unique way should be subsequently reflected into framework educational programmes since the employers often criticize the education system for its obsolescence, untimeliness, and insufficient practical preparation of vocational schools’ students.
The coherence of the created standards is ensured also by retraining programmes prepared for final examinations from individual vocational qualifications based on the retraining decree (No.176/2009 Coll.).
Even though NQF has been formed already since 2006, vocational qualifications for all activities existing on the labour market have not been still created. In order to keep NQF as up to date as possible, it is desirable that it flexibly responds to the changing needs and conditions on the labour market and is constantly extended and modified. It is therefore appropriate to view this framework as a “living“ organism which is constantly developing and improving.
The feedback from the educational facilities and authorised persons indicate that the public is interested both in the vocational qualification examinations and retraining programmes that are completed by a final vocational qualification examination.
In any case, NQF would significantly benefit from a larger promotion, both to get to a wider public awareness and to be more used by the personal department of large companies and personal agencies
This paper is the project result of a specific university research of the Jan Amos Komensky University Prague with a title “Comparation of retraining education and National Qualifications Framework in the CR with other tool of stimulation and regulation of labour market abroad“ implemented in 2020 and 2021.
Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports Act no. 179/2006 Coll. on the verification and recognition of further education results, as amended. 2006
MUŽÍKOVÁ, L. Analýza rekvalifikačního vzdělávání v ČR. Praha: Ujak, 2021 (report from a student grant contest)
PhDr. Lenka Mužíková
Doctoral study student – Jan Amos Komensky University Prague Praha s.r.o.,
Roháčova 1148/63, 130 00 Praha 3, email: firstname.lastname@example.org