Operational Programme Research

Operational Programme Research, Development and Education and operational programme research and development for innovations
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DrKateBesant,United States,Researcher
Published Date:07-07-2017
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Operational Programme Research, Development and Education Version as of 05/05/2015 VERZE: 1. STRATEGY FOR THE OPERATIONAL PROGRAMME'S CONTRIBUTION TO THE UNION STRATEGY FOR SMART, SUSTAINABLE AND INCLUSIVE GROWTH AND THE ACHIEVEMENT OF ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND TERRITORIAL COHESION (Article 27(1) and Article 96(2)(a) of Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council) 1.1. Strategy for the operational programme's contribution to the Union strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and to the achievement of economic, social and territorial cohesion. 1.1.1. Description of the programme’s strategy for contributing to the delivery of the Union strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and for achieving economic, social and territorial cohesion. The aim of the Operational Programme Research, Development and Education (hereinafter re- ferred to as the Programme or OP RDE) is to contribute to the Czech Republic’s structural shift towards economy based on an educated, motivated and creative workforce and on the produc- tion of high-quality research results and their use to increase competitiveness. The Programme will contribute to one of the three priorities of the Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth (the Europe 2020 strategy), i.e. to priority "Smart growth". The objective of the Pro- gramme is to increase the quality and to enhance orientation of research on societal challenges, on needs of the market and on the knowledge domains relevant for smart specialisation following the National Research and Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialisation of the Czech Republic (the National RIS3) and its regional annexes. The Programme will focus on increasing the quality of education and so will contribute to the Youth on the Move initiative of the Europe 2020 strategy. "To improve educational outcomes, 1 addressing each segment .within an integrated approach, encompassing key competences..." In line with the "Smart growth" priority and the "Innovation Union" initiative, the Programme will help ensure the conditions for quality research. Research is not only an essential source of new knowledge but has an indispensable role in the formation and development of human resources. Therefore, better interconnection of education and research will be supported. A great emphasis will be put on connecting education with the labour market, which will contrib- ute to another of the Europe 2020 priorities: "Inclusive growth", specifically the flagship initiative "An agenda for new skills and jobs". Effective interventions in the area of human resources prep- aration will be augmented by reinforcing the principle of equal access to education. In line with another flagship initiative "European Platform against Poverty", the Programme will contribute to reducing the risk of educational failure of young people, which will have a significant impact on the quality of their lives and on their success in the labour market. The key principle of the Programme is the development of human resources for a knowledge- based economy and sustainable development in a socially-cohesive society, which is supported by interventions under more priority axes. That principle is followed up by support of quality re- search for which a qualified workforce represents a key input factor. Interventions in education will also be supported by systemic changes aimed at improving the education system. The areas of action include: a. Supporting equal access to quality education. 1 Commission communication, the Europe 2020 strategy. 8 b. Developing the competences needed for the labour market and the long-term needs of the society. c. Strengthening capacity for high-quality research and its benefit to the society. As well as contributing to the above Europe 2020 priorities, the actions respond to other recom- mendations in strategic documents at the European and national levels. EDUCATION National objectives: • To maintain the share of early school leavers at the maximum Europe 2020 Strategy of 5.5 %. • The share of persons aged 30 to 34 with completed tertiary education to be at least 32%. Strategic objectives: • Improve the quality and efficiency of education and training. • Promote equity, social cohesion and active citizenship. • Improve creativity and innovation, including entrepreneurial skills, Strategic Framework for Euro- at all levels of education and training. pean Co-operation in Education Common European reference levels for education: and Training (ET 2020) • The share of 15-year-old pupils who have problems with reading, mathematics and natural sciences should be below 15%. • Pre-school education should be attended by at least 95% of children aged 4 and above. Ensure that the accreditation, governance and financing of higher education contribute to improving its quality and labour market relevance. In compulsory education, make the teaching profession Country-Specific Council more attractive, implement a comprehensive evaluation framework Recommendations 2014 and support schools and pupils with poor outcomes. Increase the inclusiveness of education, in particular by promoting the participation of socially disadvantaged and Roma children in particular in early childhood education. • Equal access to education. Priorities of the National • Support to vocational training and co-operation between schools Reform Programme of the and employers. Czech Republic 2014 (NRP) • Support to post-secondary vocational and tertiary education. • Further education. Improving the quality and accessibility of pre-school education by expanding and improving the network of nurseries. Enhancing inclusion and raising the quality of education, in particular: International Competitiveness • Introducing standards of results and monitoring their achievement. Strategy of the Czech Republic • Increasing the quality of teachers. 2012–2020 (ICS) • Improving the work of school managements. • Improving the careers advising at schools. • Achieving diversification and higher quality and excellence of higher education institutions. 9 Education Policy Strategy • Reducing disparities in education. of the Czech Republic up to • Supporting quality teaching and teachers as its key pre-requisite 2020 • Managing the educational system effectively and responsibly Roma Integration Strategy up to 2020, Life-long Learning Strategy of the Czech Republic, Priorities for Areas Controlled by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport in the Future Period of EU Cohesion Poli- cy 2014–2020, National Strategy of Children's Rights Protection, Digi- Other selected documents met tal Education Strategy up to 2020, Situation in Gender Equality in the by the Operational Programme Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and Draft Mid-term Strategic Plan for Gender Equality, Education Strategy for Sustainable Devel- opment of the Czech Republic, National Programme of Environmental Education and Awareness in the Czech Republic, Tertiary Education Development Framework up to 2020. RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT European Union objective: To achieve the objective of investing 3 % of GDP to research and development. Europe 2020 Strategy National objective: National public expenditure on research, develop- ment and innovation at 1 % of GDP (2020). Accelerate the development and introduction of a new methodology Country-Specific Council for evaluating research and allocating funding in view of increasing Recommendations 2014 the share of performance‐based funding of research institutions. • Development of conditions for excellent research. National Reform Programme • Development of co-operation between the business sector and research organizations To create conditions for the development of excellent research, including: • Long-term support of top-class infrastructures (material and personnel) oriented towards keeping up with leading world International Competitiveness research centres. Strategy of the Czech Republic • Streamlining the system of doctoral study. 2012–2020 • Raising the professional qualification of persons in the managerial governance of research organisations. • Creating conditions for the arrival of excellent foreign researchers. • Raising mutual information and motivation for co-operation between the business and the research and development sectors. Regional Development • Development of universities and research institutions. Strategy of the Czech • Promoting knowledge transfer between the research and business Republic 2014–2020 sectors. Update of the National Re- • Efficient dissemination of knowledge and using knowledge for search, Development and Inno- innovations. vation Policy • Ensuring quality human resources for research, development and of the Czech Republic 2009– innovation. 2015 with an outlook to 2020 • Stable, effective and strategically managed system of research, (NRDIP Update) development and innovation. 10 National Research and Innova- tion Strategy for Smart Speciali- • Targeting European, national, regional and private sources at the zation of the Czech Republic horizontal and vertical priorities identified in 6 key areas of change. (National RIS3) and its regional annexes National Priorities of the Orient- • 6 priority areas. ed Research, Experimental • Enhancing co-operation between academic research, higher edu- Development and Innovation cation, applied research and the application sphere. (Priorities 2030). National Innovation Strategy of the Czech Republic 2012–2020, Edu- Other selected documents met cation Strategy for Sustainable Development of the Czech Republic, by the Operational Programme National Programme of Environmental Education and Awareness in the Czech Republic. Main starting points for the focus of the Operational Programme: a) Supporting equal access to quality education BACKGROUND In an international comparison, the best outcomes are achieved by those education systems which are able to link equal access to education with its quality and enable every child or pupil, regardless of its personal or socio-economic background, to achieve its potential in education (inclusion education). Enhancing this approach is the key task of the Czech education system. The factors that affect the ability of schools to provide such education are related also to the qual- ity of the school management, of the teachers and the education infrastructure. Interventions in this area will build on systemic changes achieved with the support of the European Social Fund in the programming period 2007–2013 (see Annex G). KEY CHALLENGES AND NEEDS 1. The education system does not support equal opportunities sufficiently.  Participation of children from socially and culturally-compromised environment in pre-school 2 education is low. But it is in fact one of few recognised ways to reduce the risk of later educa- tional failure of such children during their school attendance. The Czech Republic ranks among countries with a very low share of early school-leavers but the risk of early school- leaving is much higher for persons with special educational needs or from marginalised groups (for example, from the Roma minority).  The preparedness of teachers in inclusive education, differentiated education and diagnostic 3 teaching is insufficient. Schools have not created conditions for integrating the education of 2 Czech School Inspectorate (CSI): Annual report for 2011/2012. 3 Teachers in practice are familiar with the so-called diagnostic teaching which is focused on monitoring the level of education and development. It monitors the specific knowledge, skills, habits, attitudes, interests, talents, behaviour etc. It evaluates also the quality of thinking both in general and in different sectors (e.g. technical thinking, creativity etc.), the ability to remember, the quality of perception, attention, aesthetic ability etc. The teacher knows how to use the means of diagnostic teaching based on individual and development specifics of pupils. The teacher is able to identify pupils with special educational needs and can adjust the selec- tion of teaching content and methods of teaching to their possibilities. He/she is able to recognise socially pathological behaviour in pupils (Střelec – Krátká, 2007), knows the options of their prevention and correction and can use them. He/she tackles educational 11 children and pupils with special educational needs into mainstream schools, and the accessi- bility and capacity of the system of educational and psychological counselling are insufficient.  The school system does not manage to eliminate in children, pupils and students the dispari- ties and stereotypes their approach to related to choice of career path. The methodological support of teachers in practical introduction of individualised and also gender stereotype-free content and methods of teaching is strongly limited. 4  It is necessary to introduce into practice a proposal of conceptual changes in institutional ed- ucation where the main objectives are: to support transformation of the system of institutional education with an emphasis on quality and a professional level of care provided for clients (children and their families). In order to prevent high-level risk behaviour, it is also the strengthening the outpatient service and, if it is in the best interest of the child, through close co-operation with the family and with the locally competent social authorities for the protection of children seeking to return children to their families. A systemic change lies in the develop- ment of preventive measures. In order to avoid imposed institutional care, the intention is to seek to prevent the development of the kind of behaviour which puts children at risk; where in- stitutional care has already been ordained, its duration is to be limited giving the greatest re- gard to the interests of the child.  In the total number of student sin higher education in the Czech Republic, the proportion of 5 students with special needs is very low , both in comparison with foreign countries and when comparing the percentage of disadvantaged persons in the total population, which is around 6 10 %. Higher education institutions are either unable to identify sufficiently the students with special needs or such students are disadvantaged already at the admission procedure, or they do not even attempt to apply to university because they are convinced that their disadvantage has a serious impact on their ability to study. problems effectively. Analyses the oral, written, graphic and other learning performance of pupils. Diagnoses the pupil's understanding of the teaching content and the style of learning. Works on improving the favourable climate in the class, on inclusive principles and more individual approach to each pupil (cf. Střelec – Krátká, 2007). The class core teacher is the one that should have the dia- gnostic competences in particular because he/she, apart from the above, knows the living conditions of the child, its family envi- ronment and social structures of the class (Střelec – Krátká, 2007). 4 The Intent of the concept of the management and development of educational establishments for institutional and protective care and preventive care, funded by the MEYS, http://www.msmt.cz/file/34169/ 5 The share of students with special needs in higher education institutions can be indirectly found out from the numbers of students for whom higher education institutions claimed contribution for ensuring studies. In 2012, this was 854 students of public higher education institutions out of the total number of 333 618 students of public higher education institutions, i.e. 0.26 %. 6 Alevia, s.r.o.: Analýza současné situace studentů se specifickými nároky na vysokých školách Analysis of the current situation of special-needs students in higher education institutions. 12  Need: Enhancing equal access to education These challenges will be addressed in interventions under Priority Axes 2 and 3. Priority Axis 2 will focus on supporting equal opportunities for disadvantaged students at higher education institutions and on identifying their needs directed towards compensating the possible consequences of their disadvantage on the study results. Priority Axis 3 will focus on increasing the opportunities of children and pupils to achieve their personal maximum. Interventions will be directed towards inclusive education, includ- ing interventions to increase the participation of Roma children in education at mainstream schools and towards individualised approach in education. Support will be provided to in- creasing the openness of schools towards a higher level of social inclusion, including en- hancing the competences of the managers and teachers of mainstream schools to educate children and pupils with varying educational needs, and active introduction of supportive measures at schools. Together with that, it is necessary to better target the co-ordinated socio-educational intervention in households where socially disadvantaged children live, and it is necessary to determine instruments that will enable the verification of the quality of such processes. 2. The support of schools in improving the instruction is not sufficient.  Schools have a very high level of autonomy; by contrast, however, they have relatively low responsibility for the education outcomes. Some systemic elements of external evaluation have already been introduced, but there is no system for an ongoing evaluation of the educa- tion outcomes and no evaluation tools for ‘soft’ key competences. The external and internal systems of evaluation are not interlinked and the socio-economic background of the schools is not taken into account. 7  The share of pupils postponing the start of their education is high. The main problem is the linkage of pre-school and primary education. There is no system of verifying the outputs, which would increase the preparedness of children for entering primary school and a system- atic co-operation of schools between parents is also missing.  The quality of administrative and financial management of schools is good. The competences of headteachers and education authorities in leading the schools to better results based on evaluation of education outcomes and their utilisation for change management are, however, unbalanced and insufficient. There is no system of objective appraisal of applicants for the po- sition of headteacher, nor a system of evaluating the work of the headteacher during their work nor a career system. No preparatory, pre-appointment training is required for headteach- ers. Leadership and change management are not a compulsory part of later headteacher training. Headteachers work on leading the education process towards better outcomes on 8 average for only a fifth of their time since administration and operational management prevail. The autonomy of schools is very high, but co-operation among schools is low. System leader- 7 CSI Annual report for the school year 2012/2013. 8 National report on the survey TALIS 2013, CSI, Prague 2014. 13 9 ship in education is missing and the educational leadership of nurseries and primary schools 10 by education authorities is not of a high enough standard .  The insufficient competence of teachers to develop and evaluate the abilities of every pupil individually is reflected in low educational ambition of some groups and, consequently, in low 11 results and a low interest in studying. The results of international student assessment sur- veys, PISA and TIMSS, show repeatedly that Czech schools build little motivation and often negative attitudes to learning in pupils from a very early age.  It will be possible to monitor and reward the quality of teachers' work and to strengthen it with 12 specific training only after evaluation standards are introduced . The existing system also does not motivate teachers to perform better nor does it attract top professionals to the teach- ing profession. Teachers lack support from society and for the prevention of burnout.  In particular, in the course of their professional lives, pre-school teachers have little opportuni- 13 ty for professional development ; they often do not have the necessary competences for their work. More than a tenth of teachers do not have the necessary qualification and the availability of specialists for educating children with special educational needs is the lowest among all 14 segments of education. For nursery teachers (and for persons caring for children in other es- tablishments) there is neither a set of quality training programmes reflecting the requirements of the framework education programmesnor systemic support.  In the undergraduate preparation of teachers, the greatest problem is the little amount of prac- tical training in teacher training courses (for more details see Annex C, item 6).  In the continuing professional development of teachers, there are insufficient opportunities for support of school-based teams ofteachers, for sharing of good practice, for individual support or for distance education. 9 System leadership: it is not a centralised management or solution. More e.g. in: OECD, 2008. Improving School Leadership VOLUME 2: CASE STUDIES ON SYSTEM LEADERSHIP. Pont, B. Nusche, D., Hopkins, D. (eds)., or Caldwell, B.J. System leadership for innovation in education. Seattle 2011: http://gelponline.org/sites/default/files/resource-files/system_leadership_for_innovation_in_education.pdf 10 Report on the results of survey on the stakeholders' needs. Assessing the system of evaluation and monitoring in the Czech Republic, CSI, Prague 2013. 11 Institute for Information in Education: Brief summary of PISA 2009 results. Main findings of PISA 2012, CSI, Prague 2013. 12 A part of the career system under preparation (from 2016). 13 CSI Annual report for the school year 2013/2014. 14 CSI Annual report for the school year 2011/2012. 14  Need: Leading schools to better results of pupils These challenges will be addressed in interventions under Priority Axis 3. It is necessary to focus on creating a fully-integrated, evaluation framework in the education system, which will be perceived as an integrated whole, leading to a positive change for pupils and for the whole school with evaluation of equality of opportunities at the level of the system, regions, municipalities and individual schools. Fundamentally, it is necessary to complete and interlink systems of external and internal, summative and formative evaluation and to project evaluation results into measures to in- crease the quality at all levels of education and at all levels of the education process. To apply this principle, it will be necessary to ensure intensive methodological support in every school. In undergraduate preparation, an increase in the proportion of practical training of teachers and the development of co-operation between academics and practising teachers will be supported. 3. Deficiencies in the education infrastructure.  The problem of local non-availability of good quality public nurseries and primary schools will occur during the period 2014–2020 and will be partly addressed in the Integrated Regional Operational Programme, which will include technical modifications of the education infrastruc- ture to facilitate inclusive education.  Primary and secondary schools are relatively well-equipped with hardware, but the use of digi- tal technologies in teaching is low. Digital technologies are used minimally mainly for individu- alisation and diversification in teaching or communication with pupils. This arises from both technical obstacles and low teacher competence.  Schools also lack material equipment for teaching, mainly teaching aids, textbooks, modern information and communication technologies, brick-boxes, tools and rehabilitation and assis- tive aids for pupils with disabilities.  Secondary schools need to upgrade continuously workshop equipment and practical training at schools and educational establishments.  In the primary schools, a further problem is the lack of equipment for the development of a broad-based science and technology curriculum.  Higher education institutions have not yet been able to link effectively large financial invest- ment into the education infrastructure with interventions leading to higher quality educational activity. That shortcoming is particularly striking in the case of the City of Prague.  In the programming period 2007–2013, over CZK 10 billion was invested into the research- oriented education infrastructure. Since Prague does not belong to the Convergence objective territory, support for the research-education agencies from the Structural Funds was very limi- ted. A significant part of higher-education and research capacity and more than 43 % of hu- 15 15 man resources in higher-education research (recalculated to full-time equivalents) is, howe- ver, located in the capital city. That the still-unsupported, research-oriented education in- frastructures in Prague and in the other regions of the Czech Republic need to be upgradeda- rises from preliminary mapping of the Programme's absorption capacity. The identified needs for Prague reach approximately the same level as for the whole of the non-Prague higher edu- cation institutions and mainly concern modernisation of instrumentation and material equip- ment for education.  The improvement of the education infrastructure with a link to the profiling of higher education institutions and their study programmes and the higher employability of graduates were not supported in the programming period 2007–2013. Such support is, however, necessary as a synergistic complement to interventions for the practical orientation of teaching.  Further, in order to increase the openness of higher education institutions to disadvantaged groups of the population, it is necessary to modify the premises and to purchase the neces- sary compensatory equipment to compensation.  The quality of instruction and management of higher education institutions may, in justified cases, be supplemented by improvement in the infrastructure conditions. In the the City of Prague, there are more than 60% of higher education buildings with teaching spaces and libraries 16 which require partial or general refurbishment. In the other regions, this share is over 50 % .  Need: Improving the education infrastructure and increasing the effectiveness of its use These challenges will be addressed in interventions under Priority Axes 1 and 2. Support will be provided to activities developing the quality of education and investments into equipment and material facilities. Support will go to investments into the development and upgrade of classrooms and laboratories, including the instrumental, material and didactic equipment for education purposes and into making the spaces accessible for students with special challenges. In justified cases, construction investments into improving the teaching and research-education spaces will be supported. Construction, building modifications and the related landscaping, essential equipment for schools and organisations in regional education will be addressed by interventions from the Integrated Regional Operational Programme. Effective use of interventions by the Europe- an Regional Development Fund - ERDF (IROP) and the European Social Fund – ESF (OP RDE) will be achieved by the timing and content complementarity of the calls published. 15 CZSO, data for 2013. 16 MEYS, analysis from the data of programmes for the development and renewal of the material technical base of 23 public higher education institutions and Charles University as of 2013. The analysis did not include data from programmes for the development and renewal of material technical base of Masaryk University in Brno and Czech Technical University in Prague due to obsolete data (from 2011) or due to missing data in sufficient detail. 16 b) Developing the competences for the labour market and for the long-term needs of the society BACKGROUND The fundamental prerequisite of the Czech Republic for succeeding in creating a modern, dynam- ic, economic environment is not an extensive raw material or financial capital matter. The key to success is mainly a qualified and flexible workforce able to succeed in the global labour market today, now and in the years to come. In order to maintain international competitiveness, the econ- omy of the Czech Republic with a high share of employment in the processing industry and tech- 17 nology services needs to raise quality mainly in the development of STEM (Science, technolo- gy, engineering and mathematics) and in selected sectors with a close link to the societal chal- lenges and market needs (e.g. Horizon 2020). It is also necessary to develop civic competences and to enhance the potential of young people for life-long learning and for creating and imple- menting new ideas. In implementing the measures, results and outputs achieved with the support of the European Social Fund in the period 2007-2013 (see Annex G) will be utilised. KEY CHALLENGES AND NEEDS 1. Insufficient support for the development of key competences and potential of every child and pupil  As shown by international studies and comparisons of member states by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) pre-school education has the greatest im- 18 pact on the success of pupils in later life, education and in the labour market. However, only 7 % of nurseries in the Czech Republic achieve the highest level in the evaluation of support for the development of functional literacy of children; in 2008/2009 that number was three times 19 higher. 20  In international surveys of the knowledge of pupils of 4th and 8th grades improvement was recorded in 2011 after a longer period of decline and the Czech Republic ranked slightly above the average in all areas. With regard to the low frequency of such surveys, a change of trend cannot, however, be clearly deduced. In international comparison, the low proportion of pupils achieving the highest results is alarming, chiefly in mathematics. An overall improvement in natural sciences was achieved mainly by a movement of pupils from the weakest knowledge levels to low and medium. This suggests that primary schools do not work well with talented pupils. Measures to improve the work of schools need to be further strengthened.  Concerning fifteen-year-olds, results for the Czech Republic in the PISA 2012 survey (compared to 2009) also improved slightly, but it still ranks only around the average of the OECD countries. Strong disparities between schools remain to be a problem. A significant role is played by the socio-economic background the importance of which is seen to be the second highest among the OECD countries at school level. At all levels of the education system, schools are little prepared to develop the individual potential of every pupil, and that concerns not only children with a disadvantage. PISA 2012 has again confirmed the poor work of schools with talented 17 Eurostat 2012. 18 MEYS: Guidelines of the Education Policy Strategy up to 2020. 19 CSI Annual report for the school year 2011/2012. 20 The results of the international survey PIRLS 2011 and the project TIMSS 2011. 17 children. For example, by comparison with the years 2003–2012, the proportion of children with above-average results in mathematical literacy is significantly lower in all types of schools. 21 PISA and the related survey among adults, PIAAC , have shown a markedly lower level of the surveyed literacies among students of apprenticeships and adults with that level of qualifica- tion.Those literacies are, in fact, the most important requirements of employers and also the base for lifelong learning, innovation and the development of new technologies. A comprehen- sive conceptual approach to the development of such literacies has not been applied much so far and so methodical support is missing, and the training of the teachers in this regard is also insufficient. More detailed outputs from international surveys in key competencies are provided in Annex C, items 1–4.  At all levels of the education system, the ability of schools to co-operate in education with other partners is only beginning to develop. This situation has a negative impact on the labour market relevance of education.  Despite the positive impact of the curriculum reform, schools still support insufficiently the de- velopment of key competences of pupils. Methodical support of schools in the development and evaluation of the competences is not sufficient and, although such organisations play a 22 large part in developing the soft key competences , the exploitation of the potential of co- operation between schools and organisations of non-formal education is also low.  Need: To improve the development of key competences of children and pupils These challenges will be addressed in interventions under Priority Axis 3. In regional schools, it is necessary to focus on improving the level of key competences development by the use of active learning approaches, in the form of further professional learning and de- velopment of teachers and the non-formal education staff; additionally, by supporting teachers in teaching directly in classrooms and through out-of-school education and care. Key competences need to be specifically developed already from pre-school education by co-operation of schools and educational establishments with all relevant partners; such partnerships should be further developed to share experience, disseminate good practice and enhance mutual learning. 2. Low relevance of secondary education to the labour market needs  In the case of secondary schools, the relevance of their training programmes to the require- ments of employers and the support of competences for entrepreneurship of students also need to be monitored. Both factors reflect in the employability of school-leavers with second- ary education. Here, the situation has deteriorated strongly in recent years, which is not just a consequence of economic recession.  The numbers of pupils in apprenticeships have been dropping in the last years. That is caused both by a low birth-rate and by the preference given to purely academic achievement and an education more suitable for being followed by higher education. Already today, many vocationnal 21 Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies. 22 Study on the impact of Non-Formal education on young people's employability. Commissioned by European Youth Forum, Authored by Bath University/GHK Consulting, 2012. 18 technical qualifications are scarce in the labour market and this problem will deepen in the next years.  The number of framework education programmes is still too high and despite certain shifts in concentration, they are often still focused quite narrowly. For that reason they cannot provide young people with a sufficiently broad, professional base. This problem impedes their long-term employability and reduces the effectiveness of further professional training.  Another cause of the discordance between the training programmes and the labour market requirements is the little co-operation between schools and employers, be it in the creation of training programmes, in traineeships or in practical instruction. Apprenticeships are applied for also by students who were not successful in university admission procedures or during their study at secondary schools. Such students lack sufficient motivation to study. That reflects in their results and their interest in becoming employed with the qualification they obtained.  A problem of secondary education is also the low permeability between programmes of initial and further education, which again reduces the employability and so increases the costs of further training of individuals.  Need: To increase the relevance of secondary education for the requirements of em- ployers and to strengthen the long-term employability of school-leavers These challenges will be addressed in interventions under Priority Axis 3. It is necessary to focus on increasing co-operation of schools, employers and other institutions in education, in the creation of training programmes and the implementation of practical training and work placements. It is also necessary to support greater creativity, technical thinking and entre- preneurial skills of secondary school students through co-operation between schools. It is necessary to share good practice and to connect non-formal education with vocational edu- cation focused on technology innovation and effective teaching of competences and support for students achieving excellent results in practical subjects. It is also necessary to augment the relevance of framework education programmes and school education programmes of vocational training for the labour market needs. It is also necessary to improve the permeabil- ity between programmes of initial and further education through a system of recognising the results of the previous learning and a wider support of the networks of schools – centres of life-long learning. 3. High drop-out rate in tertiary education and low relevance for the labour market needs  The quality of education at secondary schools also represents a strong factor in selecting the field of study at a higher education institution and successful graduation. This situation has a significant impact on the capability of preparing a sufficient number of promising graduates with the potential to work in technology-demanding fields and in research and development. Further development of new mainly social-science fields of study has led to a lower represen- tation of students studying natural and technical sciences. The development potential of the Czech economy, building its competitiveness on industrial production and technological ser- vices is consequently not fully exploited.  The unemployment of tertiary education graduates is still much lower than the average unem- ployment rate (see Annex B, figures 5 and 6). The said fact proves that the demand of em- ployers for highly-qualified workers is still high. Many professions requiring a higher education 19 degree have shortages in the labour market and, by contrast, the rate of employment of grad- uates in positions that do not require the obtained education level is high.  The quality of higher education graduates is perceived by employers as problematic, which has been confirmed by outputs of the national project, Support of Technical and Natural-Science 23 Fields of Study , and by the Eurobarometer 2010 survey where the Czech Republic ranked 24 among the last countries in Europe in terms of satisfaction of employers with graduates. It has resulted from the results of the Reflex 2013 and 2010 survey that the level of achieved 25 competences of higher education graduates has decreased (see also Annex A, figure 3 and Annex B, figure 7). The problematic quality of graduates is related to the insufficient focus of the current study programmes on the labour market needs and such programmes need to be developed. One of the areas of measures identified in the "Higher Education Development Framework up to 2020" is to promote the introduction of principles of education focused on the student through innovation in and changes of study programmes.  Mainly due to its general nature, the Bachelor degree in the Czech Republic is still not accept- ed both by society and by the labour market as a full, higher education qualification. That is also the reason why the absolute majority of Bachelors continues to the Master study and the costs of the education system grow further (see Annex B, figure 8).  In relation to the labour market needs, it is important to strengthen the role of higher education institutions and to improve competences of their staff in adult education. The offer of courses of such education often does not meet the needs of the target groups and their labour market relevance is low due to the paucity of co-operation with employers.  The growing share of persons with completed tertiary education is one of the priorities for edu- cation in ET 2020. In the Czech Republic, the share of 30–34 year old higher education grad- uates is still low, the net rate of admission to tertiary education in the Czech Republic in 2013 26 reached 65 % , however (see Annex A, figure 2 and Annex B, figure 1 and 2).The problem is rather the drop-out rate (i.e. the share of students who drop out of a higher education institu- tion without a degree) which is around 24 % in Bachelor programmes and around 10 % of the 27 Master and follow-up Master programmes, and 13 % in doctoral programmes.  A significant reason for ending the study without a degree is the possibility to apply for more study programmes and then to end one of them. A substantial role in the growing drop-out rates is played by the un-met expectations of students in the chosen field of study, caused by information gaps or a frequently unclear idea of the future at the age of leaving secondary 23 NEF: Survey of employers´ requirements for graduates of technical fields and natural sciences. 24 The best evaluation of quality was awarded to university graduates by only 19 % of employers in the Czech Republic; in Finland it was 27 %, in Germany 35 %, in Austria 45 % and in Sweden even 52 % of employers. 25 Educational Policy Centre, Faculty of Education, Charles University in Prague: Reflex 2013. Presentation 2013-12-06. 26 Educational Policy Centre, Faculty of Education, Charles University in Prague: Reflex 2013. Presentation 2013-12-06. Counted as a ratio of persons admitted to tertiary education for the first time to the average of age cohorts of nineteen-year-olds and twenty- year-olds in the given year. 27 MEYS: Annual Report on the Situation in Higher Education in the Czech Republic in 2011. Online at: http://www.msmt.cz/vzdelavani/vyrocni-zprava-o-stavu-vysokeho-skolstvi-za-rok-2011 20 school. Other causes of higher-education students' drop-out are the deteriorating quality of 28 previous education and the worsening capacity of applicants for higher education study.  In order to improve the quality of all activities of higher education institutions there is a need to improve the quality of their strategic management and the system of internal and external quality assessment. Those activities must build on the findings of the individual national projects from the period 2007–2013 (see Annex G).  Need: To increase the share of higher education graduates and their quality with regard to the labour market requirements These challenges will be addressed in interventions under Priority Axis 2. It is necessary to support the development and profiling of higher education institutions and their study pro- grammes, including substantial modifications to study programmes, according to the identi- fication of their strengths and so increasing the quality and relevance of higher education study for the labour market needs, mainly in co-operation with employers. At the same time, it is necessary to increase the openness of higher education institutions by encouraging in- ternational cooperation, to link activities of higher education institutions with practice and to expand the possibilities of adult education. It is necessary to continue to support the im- provement of strategic management of higher education institutions and better assessment of their quality. Through measures to reduce the drop-out rate, it is possible to raise the proportion of higher education graduates. c) Strengthening the capacity for high-quality research and its benefit to the society BACKGROUND The key to further economic growth of the Czech Republic is the functional link and improvement between all sides of the knowledge triangle: education, research and innovation. Quality research is one of the pre-requisites of competitiveness and in the long-term perspective also one of the 29 key conditions for innovation performance of the economy. Excellence in research is a neces- sary pre-condition for higher order innovation. Research contributes no less to the professional training of a new generation of experts. There is a direct link between quality of research and the quality of tertiary education graduates, who are pivotal for knowledge and new technology trans- fer to the world of application. KEY CHALLENGES AND NEEDS 1. Insufficient quality and availability of specialists for research and development  Lagging behind developed countries of Western and mainly Northern Europe in the employ- 30 ment rate in research and development. 28 University of Economics and Management (VSEM) and NEF: Competitiveness of the Czech Republic. Part – Quality of human resources – participation in education (2012). 29 National Innovation Strategy of the Czech Republic, National RIS3. 30 Eurostat - Science and technology database (2014), see also Annex A, figure 1. 21  The share of doctoral study graduates, the main source of expertise in research and develop- ment, is below average in the young population by comparison to European Union member states, and the drop-out rate is very high.  The offerings of doctoral study graduates strongly lags behind the need for qualified human resources for research and development. Chiefly, the share of technical sciences students in the total number of all higher education students is dropping (in 2001–2012 from 25 % to 15 %, see Annex A, figure 3). The problem starts already in the insufficient interest of talented 31 children and students in such fields of study .  Low ability to attract and maintain foreign experts in the area of science and technology (the share of foreign experts in the total employment in science and technology in the Czech Re- 32 public is only 2 % ) and, at the same time, an exodus of qualified workforce.  Ineffective use of the potential of qualified and educated women By most indicators monitoring the position of women in science, the Czech Republic ranks below average (see Annex A, fig- 33 ure 3); in a number of them even among the worst countries of the European Union .  Insufficient expert capacity and institutional obstacles for managerial governance of research organisations and strategic management at the level of whole institutions and research teams 34 and groups , including the absence (or low professional level) of the supporting activities (in- cluding grant service). A substantial problem in research and development is also the insuffi- cient institutional capacity of public administration for its management.  Need: To ensure systematic preparation of a sufficient number of experts for research and development These challenges will be addressed in interventions under all priority axes. Priority Axis 1 will enhance the capacity for quality research generating (apart from research results) top-level qualified human resources (in a link to RIS3). Priority Axes 1 and 2 will support the development of higher education institutions in re- search-oriented study programmes which represent the most advanced and at the same time strategically the most important area of preparation of highly-qualified human re- sources. It will also improve the conditions for the development of human resources for sci- ence and research including improved professional management of science and research at all levels (in a link to RIS3). Priority Axis 3, as part of supporting key competences in initial education, will focus on de- veloping and popularising technical and natural science education and research and inno- vation with a view to identifying the interested persons and talented pupils for higher educa- tion study and for work in research and development. 31 See the part High drop-out rate in tertiary education and low relevance for the labour market needs. 32 Eurostat - Science and technology database (2014), see also Annex A, figure 4. 33 European Commission, She Figures 2012. 34 Thematic area "Functional research and innovation system". 22 2. Research quality – a small number of internationally successful research teams  In the programming period 2007–2013, the Operational Programme Research and Develop- ment for Innovation invested into building eight European centres of excellence focused on world-class research. A further 40 regional R&D centres were built; the science and research results will be preferentially used in applications. These investments have led to a significant across-the-board reduction in the technological gap which had represented a significant barri- er to high-quality research and to greater participation in international research cooperation between research centres in the Czech Republic and elsewhere.  However, the Czech Republic is still lagging behind the most developed countries due to other 35 factors. That is reflected in the low participation of Czech research teams in international re- search projects and in the limited number of research findings having applicability in practice (see Annex A, figures 6 and 7).  As for the infrastructure, problems persist with the equipment in some fields of study, and it is 36 necessary to ensure further development of the newly-built centres , particularly, technical upgrades of single devices and to improve the accessibility of the research infrastructures in 37 an open access regime . In order to support the implementation of the long-term, problem-orien- ted research, it is sensible to combine various types of expertise within one research agenda.  As a result of the 2007–2013 programming period, investment into research centres and infra- structures in Prague is lagging behind. Prague is a natural research and higher education cen- tre of inter-regional importance with a substantial impact on the science and research envi- ronment of the whole of the Czech Republic. That is reflected in the high concentration of em- ployees in research and development and in the amount of expenditure on research and de- velopment. Institutions in Prague are also important partners of foreign entities (e.g., out of 21 38 projects of ESFRI infrastructures in the Czech Republic, 14 are represented by an institution based in Prague) and they often play the role of a research "gate" to international research co- operation. The limited possibilities of beneficiaries from Prague to use the Structural Funds in the programming period 2007–2013 have therefore had a negative impact on science and re- search in the whole of the Czech Republic. Thus, it is necessary to take into account the long- term position of Prague in science and research in connection with the expected market needs.  To a considerable degree, the research environment is a closed community, which can be seen in "inbreeding", few foreign researchers and students, a high share of publications without 39 a foreign co-author, or a low involvement of Czech bodies in the European Research Area .  Unsatisfactory working conditions and an insufficiently-stimulating environment for implement- 40 ing truly quality research is caused by an insufficient system of evaluating research and de- velopment. The evaluation system is too oriented on measuring quantitative outputs and short- 35 Thematic area "Functional research and innovation system". 36 Thematic area "Functional research and innovation system". 37 This means open access to scientific information. 38 The European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures. 39 E.g. activities such as Joint Technology Initiatives, Joint programming, EIT, etc. 40 Arnold E. et al. (2011): The Quality of Research, Institutional Funding and Research Evaluation in the Czech Republic and Abroad. 23 41 term results. The current system of institutional financing of research organisations and the grant system therefore encourage rather short-term results of research than research excel- lence. The evaluation of research programmes is dominated by the performance side of eval- uation without taking into account impact on the given research field, economic performance or the impact of completed programmes on the whole society. The evaluation concept is there- fore represented primarily by monitoring and it is not understood as an important tool for im- 42 proving and orienting the research policy.  Insufficient use of strategic knowledge at all levels of research and innovation policy is con- nected with insufficient evaluation of the effectiveness or non-effectiveness of previous inter- 43 ventions.  Lack of dedicated time coupled with fragmented access to current scientific information and databases impede the work of researchers and their teams.  Need: Stairway to Excellence – development of excellent research and its international competitiveness These challenges will be addressed in interventions under Priority Axes 1 and 2. Priority Axis 1 will focus on reinforcing the capacity of research organisations with potential to create internationally-recognised outcomes and to establish and develop strategic part- nerships with the world’s most prestigious research centres. Support will be aimed at great- er openness of the science and research infrastructures, interdisciplinary research and the internationalisation of research teams. In accordance with the Common Strategic Frame- work, the Programme investment should prepare a so-called "Stairway to Excellence", i.e., to inclusion in the European Research Area and to the Horizon 2020 programme and other activities of international research co-operation. Interventions will build on investments into infrastructure projects financed in the previous programming period and will help develop such centres through their technological upgrade and human resources development. With regard to the potential of research capacity in Prague for creating excellent research results and the impact of such findings on the whole Czech economy, the programme will support also research capacity-building in Prague within the bounds of regulations. Investment will also be spent on improving systemic conditions for research, e.g., on estab- lishing systems for science and research management or on improving the access to infor- mation sources. Priority Axis 2 will focus on improving the conditions for concentrating and sustaining quality human resources in science and research by means of attracting and developing promising researchers. 41 Arnold E. et al. (2011): The Quality of Research, Institutional Funding and Research Evaluation in the Czech Republic and Abroad. International Audit of Research, Development and Innovation in the Czech Republic. 42 Arnold E. et al. (2011): R&D Governance in the Czech Republic. International Audit of Research, Development and Innovation in the Czech Republic. 43 Arnold E. et al. (2011): R&D Governance in the Czech Republic. International Audit of Research, Development and Innovation in the Czech Republic. 24 3. Insufficient benefit of quality research for the society  Insufficiently problem-oriented research and the paucity of concentration on the key areas of development needs of the Czech Republic.  Low intensity of communication and co-operation between academia and the world of applica- tion.  Insufficiently developed process of smart specialisation at national and regional level – few or no initiatives focused on developing knowledge-based competitive advantages.  Insufficient popularisation of research findings and explanation of the importance of research to the general public impede the linking of the academic and application worlds.  Need: To develop an environment for higher exploitation of the potential of quality re- search for the society These challenges will be addressed in interventions under Priority Axes 1 and 2. Priority Axis 1 will support building capacity and implementation-oriented, pre-application research, which is focused on the development of knowledge and the possible directions of solution in the area of long-term challenges and needs of the society defined in co- operation between the research and the application worlds. At the same time, smart spe- cialisation based on RIS3 will be initiated and developed. Priority Axis 2 will focus on improving human capacity for the technology transfer and commercialisation of research and on stimulating co-operation between the public research sphere and the application sphere, including through schemes encouraging inter-sectoral mobility. Emphasis will be put on supporting women in research, through a specific scheme. Human capacity in the regions will also be strengthened in order to initiate and implement the process of smart specialisation based on RIS3. The form of Programme interventions responding to the science and research needs identified above is also based on the National RIS3 and its regional annexes. The National RIS3 has been drawn up following the existing national strategic documents in the area of science, research and innovation (see chapter 1.1.1). After the Czech government ap- 44 proved the strategy in Resolution No 1028 of 8.12.2014, the National RIS3 became an integral part of the "Update of the National Research, Development and Innovation Programme" (funda- mental strategic document). The National RIS3 specifies mainly the objectives and measures, the purpose of which is to enhance the quality, relevance and application use of research and devel- opment. The regional dimension of the National RIS3 is provided in 14 regional annexes – regional strate- gic documents whose purpose is to identify the specific features of innovation systems in the par- ticular regions, to identify their specific needs and demonstrations of an existing or potential spe- cialisation and to propose interventions needed. Despite a considerable homogeneity of the Czech economy the regional innovation systems in the regions do vary, not only in terms of the 44 The National RIS3, approved by the Czech government, is available at the MEYS website: http://www.msmt.cz/strukturalni-fondy/ris3-strategie-cr) 25 structure and nature of the individual parts of the innovation system, but also in terms of institu- tional development and grounding. Both of these reasons are arguments for proposing specific regional interventions that will reflect regional peculiarities and complement the extensive inter- ventions implemented at the national level. In the text below, "National RIS3" refers to the docu- ment at the national level and "RIS3" refers to the National RIS3 including its regional annexes. The proposal section of the National RIS3 includes six key areas, in which the Czech Republic must achieve significant changes in order to strengthen the knowledge-intensity of the economy, develop and profile the identified domains of specialisation and in the long run to fulfil the vision of the National RIS3 formulated as “THE CZECH REPUBLIC – ENTERPRISING, CREATIVE AND ATTRACTIVE FOR TALENT AND MONEY". Thus, the following key areas of change concern: a. greater innovation performance of firms, b. higher quality of public research, c. higher economic benefits from public research, d. higher number and quality of people for innovative entrepreneurship, research and develop- ment, e. developing e-Government and e-Business to increase competitiveness, f. enhancement and better use of the social capital and creativity in addressing complex societal challenges. In view of the still relatively-limited development of innovation at a national level, as well as at the level of most regions, enhancement of innovation for the performance of the economy requires removing or mitigating the main barriers in the sphere of research, development and innovative entrepreneurship. For that reason, the above-mentioned areas of change in the National RIS3 cover priorities and the follow-up interventions (type activities) of two kinds: (i) horizontal (cross-cutting) = interventions to support the creation or improvement of a sys- tem for innovation at national and regional levels (i.e. interventions regardless of the the- matic specialisation of the supported activities), (ii) vertical = interventions focused on specific competitive, promising thematic areas of science, research and innovation (both concerning the knowledge domains and oppor- tunities for application) with a strong growth potential - so-called vertical priorities/domains of smart specialisation. 45 The specific form of "verticalisation" of interventions will be negotiated by national innovation platforms and the so-called "Steering Committee for RIS3" throughout the programming period. The interventions will either be implemented as purely vertical (i.e., only projects that meet a ver- tical priority/domain of smart specialisation as defined at the national or regional level will be sup- ported), or will have a specified degree of verticality where the share of resources or projects, whose support will be conditional upon compliance with any of the vertical priorities of the nation- al or regional level, will be defined. 45 "Verticalisation" is understood as gradual prioritisation, i.e. narrowing the interventions down to themes/ priorities of smart special- isation. 26