Eliška Šlechtová: Popularity of vocational schools in Czech Republic


1. Eliška with her friend with colours in their school MUNI. Same colours than in Finnish flag! 2. Eliška is giving a presentation about vocational education in her own country.

Written by Eliška Šlechtová, 16.04.2023

Normal Wednesday. I was supposed to have a regular call with my tutor teacher here in Finland, but she promised me to introduce me to one amazing lady who works in special education field. That was the day when I met Kaija Peuna-Korpioja who is a member of the Ammatilliseterityisopettajat (I will call it AEO from now on because it took me two minutes to write this word) and who offered me to stay with this association for two days in Kemi.

I am an exchange student of special education from Czech Republic, and I decided to spend the whole semester here in Finland in Jyväskylä while in my free time I try to think about what the main differences between Finland and Czech Republic are.

Educational system in Finland caught me unprepared and I was really amazed by it. The way how it is student centred, open-minded and free for everybody. After I got a little insight in it I tried to find some of the biggest differences. And because AEO is focused on vocational schools I decided to think a bit about that.

When you finish elementary school in Czech Republic you can start studying upper secondary school (which is more academical and mostly directs students to university studies) or vocational school (where you stay for three years and after that you can start working right away). Vocational schools are not so popular as they are in Finland. It is because they are lately presented as "school for not so good students" and you do not get any prestige as you would get if you went and studied upper secondary school. For these reasons students who have better school results do not even think about vocational schools.

  • And here are some numbers that support my statement (this information is coming from Czech Statistical Office from study that was made for school year 2021/22):
  • In Czech Republic there was at the year when this study was made 506 vocational schools and 1078 upper secondary schools in Czech Republic.
  • From all the students studying higher education after finishing elementary school it was only 20,4% who went to study at vocational schools.
  • The numbers of students who go to study at vocational schools decreased by 12% during last 10 years.[1]

I think this situation is not very good for our country because in last few years we notice a shortage of professions like welders, medics, technics, logistic and transportation workers, or accountants. [2]
Many companies stated that there are just not enough people who would be able and willing to do this kind of job.

I believe that we have a lot to learn from Finland and other countries and approach to vocational schools is one of these things. But I am positive about our situation, and I think it is going to change in next few years. We just need to change our point of view. Employers need to provide more likeable working conditions, society needs to be more open while talking about VS and government needs to support this possibility of education more.

[1] Český statistický úřad | ČSÚ [online]. Copyright © [cit. 16.04.2023]. Dostupné z: https://www.czso.cz/documents/10180/164606752/23004222a3.pdf/7165d4f9-2663-41df-a4a3-913139295db6?version=1.5&fbclid=IwAR3rAYJmvHnAsvH6XHTu4P9zjDBnNBIdL8QfaIMQPHe23MIHmeyCS6_OEkw

2 ManpowerGroup s.r.o. [online]. Copyright © 2023 ManpowerGroup All Rights Reserved. [cit. 16.04.2023]. Dostupné z: