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The career guidance and counselling services in the Czech Republic are large sector involving public as well as private entities. The first state authority in this field was the Academy on Labour in first Czechoslovakia and in 1920 the Central Office of guidance agencies for job selection. It was one of the words first public structures in this regard. In 1963, a function of Advisor on education to career selection was created on general education secondary schools. Since 1990, and especially after 2000, there was a strengthened focus on out of school guidance.
The responsible state central authorities are Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. They created in 2010 also the National Guidance Forum as an advisory body of both Ministries bringing together 19 relevant platforms from the field.
The Forum aims at facilitating the public and expert discussions of various interests and opinion streams on Guidance and counselling to achieve also better regulation, standardisation, methodical help to all actors and advise the Ministries in policy and legislative matters.
Young people are relevant target group of most of the guidance services, however, depending on the actors the main target group may vary from the general population to guidance and career advisors, teachers, parents etc.
We can differentiate actors in Education, Out of School Education and for Labour market.
Career guidance in the formal education system is regulated by the Decree no. 72/2005 Sb. as amended, On providing advice in schools and school guidance facilities.
Main actors providing counselling for young people:
·Employment Office Czech Republic, established by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs
·Counselling in Formal Education structures, Schools and School facilities
o Education Care Centres
o Special Pedagogical Centre
o Pedagogical-Psychological Advisory Centres
·Counselling in out of school Education and Youth sector
o Youth NGOs
o Czech Euroguidance Center
This is an online portal providing information from education and transitions to employment run by the National Pedagogy Institute of the Czech Republic. It focuses on young people and graduates, parents, teachers, counsellors, public bodies and employers. It provides information as well as practical tips and tricks. It is the outcome of an EU-funded project with good sustainability and further development.
Employment Office of the Czech Republic
They offer a variety of services associated with employment:
- Job offers
- Joint consultation
- Investment encouragement
- Variety of subsidies
- Information point
Employment Offices are also responsible for the Youth Guarantee implementation, and counselling should be integrated into the Youth Guarantee in the Czech Republic.
The state Employment strategy 2020 also foresees more cooperation between the Employment Office counselling and school counselling.
Counselling in schools and school facilities
Schools are the closest contact with most of young people. Therefore they are seen as an optimal provider of counselling services and interventions if necessary.
Based on the Act on Education, every school has its School counselling officer who can also provide career guidance. The quality counselling and activity are in the competence of every school. Experience shows that quality can differ quite significantly. However, there are national support systems to uphold and harmonise good services.
3 types of School Counselling Facilities exist:
- Ensures preventive-educational care for children, pupils and students with a higher risk of behaviour disorders
- Offers aid to parents (legal representatives of the child) and schools
- Provides services for disabled or impaired students
- Provides advisory activities for both students and parents
- Provides career consultation
- Provides higher education consultation
Youth Information Centres
Private entities usually run by NGOs, Youth NGOs or Leisure time houses (Domy dětí a mládeže). They cooperate with the National Youth Information Centre and its career-counselling centre. They rovide information to young people on various subjects, with working life and education at the core of them. There are usually no specific target groups of young people, the centres are open to everybody but specific projects can have the most problematic youth subgroups as a target. (For details see chapter 1.4)
Czech Euroguidance Center
The Czech Euroguidance Centre supports lifelong guidance in the Czech Republic through information and publicity activities, educational activities for guidance practitioners, and support for professional activities in the field of guidance and activities within the National Guidance Forum.
Funding of the Employment Office of the Czech Republic is ensured by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and funded from the state budget. School Guidance structures are also funded from the state budget by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. The main operation of resources is distributed via the Regions, as they are founders of public secondary education facilities. European social fund plays also an important role in the support of Employment Offices guidance as well as guidance within formal Education. For schools counsellors and advisors Ministry of Education run also specific templates funding to make it easier for schools to gain additional resources enabling wider activities.
Funding for school counselling
- Each school allocates means for the school counselling facility it operates
- Schools are funded from the budget of their founder
- Schools are established by the town or region and are funded from their budget
- Budget information is available from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport
- EU templates funding for schools
- EU funded project to support the further education of career guidance and counselling in schools
Career guidance in the formal education system is regulated by education legislation (see chapter 1.1) and Decree no. 72/2005 Sb., On providing guidance in schools and school guidance facilities
Common standards on school counselling are in development and testing
In 2015 Testing standards for the area Psychodiagnostics were finalised.
Overall cross-sectoral policy coordination of career guidance is steered by the National Guidance Forum.
The Forum is the national platform for the promotion of lifelong career counselling in the Czech Republic and an advisory body to the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports as well as to the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs. It is composed of 19 governmental entities, state-established agencies, NGOs, universities, professional associations, educational institutions, commercial entities and other guidance and counselling providers.
To ensure the quality and standards of the professions in the field, the National Register of Qualifications (NSK) provides actually 3 types of occupational qualifications in the field:
- Career Advisor for employment
- Career Advisor for Education and Profession
- Career Advisor for endangered, at risk and disadvantaged groups
The National Guidance Forum support among others also the creation of Regional action planning and the development of career guidance is one of the obligatory interventions.
There is a public web portal JOBHUB, for career development, that offers:
- Selfevaluation - to help with career development, and to find out what profession a person is suitable for
- Life guide situations - descriptions of typical life situations that most often influence people´s professional decisions
- Catalog of career counselors
- Information on the labor market - statistical data from the Czech Statistical Institute, description and development of individual market segments and typical occupations
Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs runs also project PIPS – Support of information and guidance centres of the Employment Office of the Czech Republic (Podpora informačních a poradenských středisek Úřadu práce ČR). PPIS runs from 1st of January 2017 to 31st of December 2021 and aims at strengthening the capacities and quality of the guidance centres at the labour Offices in regions and selected local places.
The Employment Office of the Czech Republic run also an EU funded project on Information and counselling centres, that offer career counseling services. The centres aims at prevention unemployment and early school leaving. They are intended for pupils, students, parents, educators and school career counselors or educators, but also for the general public. Counselors also visit pupils and students directly in schools, where they hold discussions for them.
All the projects aim at strengthening the quality as well as finding the adequate quality assurance mechanisms.