Czech Republic

Prague (Picture from Wikimedia)Inherited from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, vocational education and training (VET) in the Czech Republic enjoys a long tradition and an excellent reputation.


In the past five years curricula have been reformed and modernised.

Furthermore, recent developments make this pathway very attractive. There is a broad choice of streams which students can enter at any level, including higher education. A new qualification system has been introduced with a national examination in the apprenticeship streams and new tools for career guidance.

One of the main challenges in VET is to improve the quality and attractiveness of secondary VET by encouraging practical training and work placement in companies, supporting the school-to-work transition of graduates.

The Czech education system – 2014


System in the Czech Republic (© Onisep / Elise Veteau)




The vocational pathway in the Czech Republic


Secondary education

Compulsory schooling lasts for 9 years, i.e. generally speaking from 6 to 15 years of age.

Pupils then choose between:

  • Mainstream high school education (Gymnazium) to study for the Maturita and continue their studies in higher education
  • Secondary technical schools (Střední průmyslová škola) and integrated secondary schools (Integrovaná střední škola) combining mainstream education, theoretical vocational classes and practical training. At the end of their studies, the pupils take the Maturita (equivalent of A-levels), which means they can sit the entrance examinations for mainstream and technical universities.

Horizontal mobility between the streams is a viable option. At the end of their studies, pupils from vocational streams can find a job or go on to higher education whatever pathway was chosen at secondary school level. A school-leaving certificate (Maturitní zkouška) is required to enter higher education.


Higher education

Higher technical schools are located on the same campus as secondary technical schools and share resources with them. They offer technical education over a 3-year course at the end of secondary education. As yet, higher technical schools do not have a university status.



Vocational apprenticeship centres combine theoretical classes and practical work placements in enterprises, which make up a significant part of the course. Apprenticeships usually last for 3 years and are validated by an apprenticeship examination. In certain cases, pupils can choose a 4-year programme which, in addition to the vocational apprenticeship, gives them a broader education and enables them to take the Maturita.


Key figures

  • In the past decade, the share of young people entering tertiary education has grown significantly (from 13% in 2005 to 28 % in 2014). (CEDEFOP – 2016)
  • Participation levels in VET are relatively high. In 2014, the percentage of upper secondary students participating in IVET at 73.4% is much higher than the EU average of 48%. (CEDEFOP Statistics – 2017)

Last update : 18/06/2018