Promoting the benefits of vocational education in Czech Republic and Slovakia

The EU-funded project “Education Without Borders” has developed an approach to boost the teaching of vocational skills to pupils and students in regions of the Czech Republic and Slovakia where unemployment is high. The approach aims to widen their career prospects — and address future labour needs in the targeted regions.

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Participants at a craftwork workshop organised by the “Education without borders” project. © Education without borders Participants at a craftwork workshop organised by the “Education without borders” project. © Education without borders

" This project has brought to all participants more knowledge, new skills, new friendships and unforgettable experiences. And schools have been equipped with new modern classrooms, outdoor spaces and garden equipment. "

Jana Janovská, Head of Education and Culture Department, Czech Republic

Long-term unemployment rates among young people with elementary or secondary education remains quite high in the border cities of Vsetín (Czech Republic) and Pruské (Slovakia).

The project addressed the lack of opportunities by demonstrating in local schools the benefits of teaching of vocational skills at an early age, opening up new career opportunities for them. It established educational activities and career counselling systems to help schools teach students manual skills.

Learning in the playground

“Education Without Borders” mainly targeted students and teachers, but also included parents in order to remove some of the stigma attached to vocational training in modern society. Its main goal is to improve training quality, aligning skills with labour market needs.

The project held 32 training sessions attended by 413 people during its lifetime. These workshops provided guidance to students on potential careers that suited their skills. For example, kindergartens in Vsetin held thematic workshops on music and pottery, involving children in manual skills related to bricklaying, painting and gardening.

Elementary schools prepared a series of seminars and conferences for teachers, students and senior students focused on craftwork and career counselling. These dealt with a wide range of topics, such as the intergenerational exchange of knowledge, professional career counselling and ecology.

Kindergartens in Vsetin organised four thematic sessions for teachers related to vocational training. Equipment was also bought for the schools, such as educational kits, musical educational panels and pottery workshop items.

Several activities in kindergartens and elementary schools in Vsetin were organised by a local leisure centre, some of which focused on practical observation and direct contact with nature. The centre also provided seven computer laboratories with microscopes and special sensors for the measure of temperature, humidity and water quality.

First steps of a long-term plan

‘Education without borders’ conceived education as an inclusive, lifelong, cross-border process that brings equal opportunities for all participants, regardless of age, gender or where they lived. All the activities were focused on improving coordination between schools to establish the teaching of vocational skills.

The project’s long-long term impacts are expected to develop over time as a means of providing young people with wider opportunities in the regional labour market while providing businesses with the skilled labour they require.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Education without borders” is EUR 608 300 with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 517 055 through the “Slovakia - Czech Republic” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period. The investment falls under the priority “Support of social, cultural and economic development and cooperation in the cross border region”.

Draft date