In the year 2000 nearly two-thirds of the secondary-school graduates who chose to pursue higher education in the Czech Republic had studied in secondary general schools, while about 30 percent of those going on to higher education had graduated from secondary technical schools and just 4 or 5 percent came from secondary vocational schools. Most students leaving secondary vocational schools entered the job market without further training, although during the 1990s vocational school graduates increasingly were opting to take a two-year course that allowed them to take the Maturita upon completion of their studies.
During the 1990s increasing numbers of students chose to study in institutions of higher learning. The gross enrollment rate of 18 to 20 year olds enrolled in higher education programs in 1997 was 17.3 percent. Of all students enrolled in universities in the Czech Republic that year, 28.1 percent specialized in the humanities, 22.7 percent in the social and behavioral sciences, 7.0 percent in the natural sciences, 6.7 percent in medicine, 29.5 percent in engineering, and 6.0 percent in other fields of study. In 1997 about 13,500 male students and 16,600 female students received degrees from tertiary educational institutions in the Czech Republic, with the ratio of female to male students graduating from higher-education institutions 120 to 100.
Teaching Styles & Techniques: By the year 2000 government officials were recognizing that significant efforts needed to be made to upgrade the teaching methodology in many of the Czech Republic's schools where about half the teachers were middle-aged and had been trained before 1989 under the Soviet socialist style of education. Many of the older teachers were overly rigid in their teaching style and lacked knowledge of more modern teaching methods, a result of the lack of in-service training opportunities provided to teachers during the years under the Communist regime. As the Czech Republic prepared for accession to the EU in the late 1990s and afterward, the need to upgrade teacher training became readily apparent. Reforms supported by the EU and other international education specialists were being planned in order to address this problem and to help teachers promoted to management positions in school administration receive specialized management training. With the lustration certificates required by the post-Communist government to certify that executives had not been part of the Communist system, virtually all the top ministerial level officials in the education system had lost their positions and experienced teachers who had never served in management-level positions were being promoted to take on management tasks. The demand for special management training for these teachers was thus very real.
Professional Education: In the 1990s higher professional education became the fastest-growing sector of the Czech educational system. Started in 1992, this form of training was introduced to remedy the shortage of university level seats. Provided as three- or four-year courses enabling students to gain the practical qualifications needed for middle or high level jobs in professional fields, higher professional education has rapidly grown in popularity. Most courses are delivered at technical secondary school facilities, making better use of what are otherwise often-underutilized educational institutions. In just 2 years, from the 1995-1996 academic year to the 1997-1998 academic year, enrollments increased from 6,300 to 23,500 in higher professional schools.
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