Wednesday, 23 April 2014

HN: EduMin to promote technical fields

12 December 2012

Prague, Dec 11 (CTK) - A system of scholarships and training stays abroad is one of 20 measures with which the Czech Education Ministry in cooperation with regions and other ministries wants to lure more pupils to technical and vocational schools, daily Hospodarske noviny writes yesterday.

It writes that the Czech Republic has been battling a lack of interest in technical and trade education for ten years.

Firms complain of a lack of apprenticed and technically-educated people which in combination with the aging of the population may result in that "it will be nowhere to take from in two years," as Tomas Brancuzsky, human resources director of the CZ Loko locomotives making firm, put it, HN writes.

HN writes that the Education Ministry would not comment on the draft document that the paper has gained and that it is one of 80 government measures aimed to again start up the economy.

Most of the proposals react to a years-long criticism by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), HN writes.

It writes that the OECD says, among others, the Czech Republic should better harmonise the focus of its technical schools with the labour market needs and to orient children to technical branches at school already, HN writes.

It writes that there is demand mainly for technicians, designers, machine operators, production foremen and industry engineers as well as electricians, carpenters, joiners, masons and cooks.

One of the ways to improve the situation in the long run is to win over children in kindergartens to trades, which is to be reached by teachers telling children about various professions and their content, HN writes.

A kindergarten in Brno has made the biggest progress in this respect, irrespective of the government plans. Children learn to build bridges, for instance, with the assistance of people from the Technical University, and they also learn fundamental physical laws that must be taken into consideration in construction, HN writes.

It says technical education continues in the first grade of the attached elementary school.

HN writes that the government also proposes that scholarships be granted not only to pupils wih excellent study results, but also to those who decide to study a branch for which there is demand in the particular region.

The paper writes, however, that this is not a new idea and that this is already done in some regions. Now, also some technical universities have decided to grant scholarships to students who decide to study certain technical branches.

Another ministerial proposal aims to encourage trade schools to more closely cooperate with firms that have a better equipment as well as know-how and that know novelties in their branch, HN writes.

The government document also counts with compulsory training stays at firms for teachers of technical subjects and school directors should be assessed also according to their schools' cooperation with firms, HN writes.

The proposed interlinking of schools and firms is not to be confined to the Czech Republic only, but some pupils could also stay with firms abroad thanks to money from the European Social Fund, HN writes.

It writes that some trade schools have already sent their pupils abroad and that they praise this practice.

Another proposed measure is enhancing the weight of the apprenticeship certificate. In the future it should be easier to continue study at a secondary vocational school that would recognise the overlapping subjects, HN writes.

The secondary school leaving exams plus the apprenticeship certificate will undoubtedly raise the attractiveness of the respective branches and give their holders more opportunities on the job market, HN quotes the draft document as saying.

HN writes that the studies of the threatened branches are also to be financially supported by related firms that would enjoy tax deductions.

The paper writes that the annual costs of study at a trade school are one quarter higher than at a secondary school.

($1=19.517 crowns)

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