In 2007 the Czech government approved a policy document in this area for the period 2007 – 2015, titled The Strategy of Lifelong Learning in the Czech Republic, which plays the major role in the area of VNFIL.
The legal framework for the NSK is governed by the act 179/2006, on the Verification and Recognition of Further Education Results, as amended, (the act on the Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning – further the act on VNFIL). It is based on the premise that lifelong learning is a continuous process which can follow multiple paths. Important is not the input (the length or type of education), but important are learning outcomes, i.e. what a learner knows, understands and is able to do at the end of the learning process. The recognition of diverse educational paths is based on the recognition and validation of learning outcomes in standardised examinations, on completion of which successful candidates receive a certificate of vocational qualification.
The act 179/2006 came into force on 1 August 2007. This act established the NSK and defines its contents, how and by whom qualifications are described and approved, and according to what procedures qualifications are recognised and validated, see Appendix I, Responsibilities Established by Law.
The act distinguishes between two types of qualification:
- complete (comprehensive) vocational qualifications - ability to work in a particular occupation,
- vocational qualifications - the ability to perform particular activities or groups of activities which lead to employability in the labour market (e.g. assembly of furniture, installation of elevators, sport massage, flower arrangement, ice cream making etc.). Vocational qualifications can be part of complete vocational qualification.
The procedures for awarding of vocational and complete vocational qualifications are specified by law. Each vocational qualification is described by a pair of standards, a qualification standard (a list of expected units of learning outcomes) and an assessment standard (set of evaluation criteria):
- Qualification standard (kvalifikační standard) - a list of the skills required for a specific work activity or activities in a particular occupation. These are the skills which are required for the relevant qualification.
- Assessment standard (hodnotící standard) - a list of criteria and procedures for validating the skills required in a particular occupation. It describes how to verify that the candidate possesses the skills required for the qualification.
The act was followed by the Ministry of Education's directive 208/2007, which makes more precise various aspects of its implementation, particularly the authorization of bodies to award qualifications, the conducting of examinations, and deadlines. For the development of the NSK, it is important that the directive established the sector councils.
Various other regulations are also of importance.
The most important of these is the Ministry of Education directive 176/2009 which sets the rules for the approval of programmes of study for retraining courses. This directive requires that in areas where vocational qualifications under the act 179/2006 have been approved; only courses leading to these qualifications will be granted approval.
The new version of the act 455/1991 on self-employment allows granting permit to carry out specific crafts to holders of the vocational qualifications certificates.