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.

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.


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

  • 95% of pupils who complete their compulsory schooling continue studies at higher secondary level. Between the age of 17 and 19, 73% of them acquire a professional qualification which is recognised on the labour market. The dropout rate in high schools is very low, standing at approximately 5%. (CEDEFOP – 2013)
  • The unemployment rate for young people under 25 years of age stands at 19% in 2013 . (Eurostat – 2013)
  • 34% of students who graduates from secondary vocational school continue their studies in non-tertiary post-secondary education (16% in the EU). (Refernet – 2013)

Last update : 24/04/2014