The Czech quality assurance system for the education and qualifications system is based on various legal sources. The instruments of quality assurance cover all sectors and levels of education and all qualifications awarded both in initial education and under the act 179/2006, which, inter alia, sets down the competence, rights and obligations of all the main actors, which are described in Appendix I. The process has a "European dimension", which is determined by the requirements set out in Annex 3 of the Recommendation of the European Parliament and the Council of 23 April 2008 on the establishment of the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning (EQF LLL).
The basic strategic approach to quality assurance is a "peer to peer" strategy. Its use is especially important at the national level, because it allows involving representatives from the world of work and also representatives from the world of education. The two sides then work together, interact with each other and learn from each other. Their work, however, is always preceded by the deployment of targeted training on the safe management of pre-determined and agreed methodologies and working procedures of quality control processes (especially when monitoring the results) and elements of supervision, e.g. stipulated by the law 179/2006, showing the key position of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.
Mutual learning and influence at the national level is complemented by impulses from the international environment. These are obtained by active involvement in international projects, which bring the possibility of cooperation with experts in other states who are dealing with similar or the same tasks.
The founding element of the NSK quality assurance is the standardises process of creating qualifications and referencing them to qualification levels, which described in the Guidelines for Inclusion of Qualifications in the NSK, and is part of the process of creating and approving qualifications standards, which is also described in the Guidelines:
The rules for referencing individual qualifications to qualification levels
Qualification levels in the NSK are derived from the levels of the individual competences described in their listed learning outcomes. The following procedure is followed:
- Qualification levels for each competence are set individually based on comparison with the general competences which are level descriptors.
- The resulting qualification levels correspond to the levels of the majority of competences in the learning outcomes, provided that no fundamentally important competences are missing.
- If the learning outcomes include fundamentally important competences at a level different from those of most of the other competences then the whole qualification level is re-evaluated with more weight attached to the important competences. The resulting level then corresponds to that of the majority of the important competences.
- If, after applying Rule c, there are important competences at a higher level than most of the other important competences then the qualification is re-evaluated once more, to determine whether it forms a coherent single qualification.
The process is illustrated in the following diagram:
The key system configuration is complemented by a number of sub-measures. One example is described in the Appendix VIII, Feedback for Improving Quality of Standards from Examinations.
The quality of documents produced by the SC working groups is positively affected by the fact that their concepts and content is reviewed by independent experts, who are well versed in certain areas of the labour market (they are called “stvrzovatelé” – “confirmers”). These external experts (there are several hundreds of them) assess and examine the content, quality and the practical application of most materials generated. SCs take account of these suggestions and comments of independent experts when finishing standards of vocational qualifications.
Pilot testing is another measure of quality assurance of work results of SCs and their working groups. The quality of outputs is monitored by selected representatives of employers, Chamber of Commerce and the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic acting in the regions. They are in direct contact with representatives of companies and, upon request, they provide consensus with employers on the composition of the qualifications currently created. The activities related to the identification of new vocational qualifications and identification of changes in the existing vocational qualifications are also part of the scope of activities of 60 regional representatives of employers' organizations. This provides feedback from using vocational qualification in practice.