OVERVIEW

Psychology has had a long-standing tradition in the Czech Republic (formerly Czechoslovakia) and has also had its influence on the development of vocational guidance and counselling whose beginnings date back to 1920s.

Today, guidance services in the Czech Republic are provided by several 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 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) grows steadily as a key player, specifically as a provider of guidance services to disadvantaged and specific target groups.

POLICY

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.

The National Guidance Forum (NGF) 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 shall ensure the inter-ministerial coordination of activities and project plans implemented in the field of lifelong guidance.

The 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 sectors as well as need for close cooperation between these two areas.

SERVICES AND PRACTICES

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, secondary schools and tertiary professional schools. Guidance and counselling services at all basic and upper secondary schools and school guidance and counselling facilities are provided by: educational counsellors and school prevention specialists– teachers with a further qualification obtained through in-service training. At some schools, psychologists and special educational needs specialists also provide guidance and counselling support. The most important individual professional as regards career counselling is the educational counsellor. The position of an educational counsellor is taken by a school teacher with the necessary qualifications.

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. 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 transnational guidance within the EURES network. Jobseekers are guided by employment brokers, they can obtain individual or group career guidance.

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 however these are not always well linked with other services and for the most part they operate independently. Awareness of their activities is therefore fragmentary. However, those activities have contributed to the development of career guidance/counselling 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. 

TRAINING

As of 2018 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 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, a Master’s degree in humanities, preferably in the field of pedagogical sciences, with work experience in guidance 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 NÚV 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. which deals with quality assurance, linkage, comparability and efficiency of guidance services and creation of conditions suitable to provision of supportive measures for disadvantaged pupils. In January 2018, the Belgian project of (http://www.projectgoal.eu/) - Guidance and Orientation for Adult Learners supported by the Erasmus+ programme, 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.

Other research activities dealing with career guidance rather stand for temporary project-defined activities based on financial support from EU funds and programmes (e.g. Erasmus+).

ETHICS

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 within several systems of services. Within the public sector, career guidance services are provided as part of the public employment services, of the counselling services in education, and also as 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.

Last update by ©Euroguidance Czech Republic (March 2018)

More information: http://www.euroguidance.cz/en/poradenstvi-v-cr.html