Current events at VŠE

27. 9. 2017 - Startup Festival

28. 9. 2017 - VŠEFEST

More... »

Deadlines

28. 9. 2017 - 29. 9. 2017 - National and Deans Days

More... »

Search
Advanced search

Studying and pedagogical activities

Concepts of developments of the structure of studying programmes and educational process at VŠE

Introduction

VŠE was one of the first universities in the Czech Republic, or even the first one, which constructed its studying programmes on a structured principle - differing between the bachelor studying programmes, follow-up master programmes and doctor type of studies. As early as 1991 it introduced a credit system of the study. Thanks to the computer support to the studying information system every student can now compose his or her individual studying plan.

The profile of a bachelor programme graduate declared both his or her possibilities from the viewpoint of finding a job and possibilities of further studies within the two-year follow-up master programme. The economic practice did, however, not require the bachelor programme graduates. They tended to continue in further studies with a view of achieving an engineer degree. The assessment of our graduates in practice thus concentrated for many years almost exclusively on master programme graduates. The completion of the bachelor studying programme has become rather a formality and administrative action. As a result of this development VŠE left bachelor studying programmes from the academic year 1999/2000, and students started to be admitted to master and doctor programmes only.

If VŠE wants to keep its existing position it has to respond to changes in external environment and adapt its concepts of developments of studying programmes and educational processes, it is especially necessary to respond to the challenges represented by the creation of the European Educational Area, efforts of increasing the interconnection between individual types of programmes and cost-effectiveness of resources invested into education. The involvement in the international networks of universities presupposes a compatibility of both the structure and content of studying programmes as well as educational methods.

That is why the new VŠE management, supported by the Academic Senate, opened in spring 2000 a discussion on studying programmes. Its result was the review of the VŠE policy of leaving structured programmes. Already for the academic year 2001/2002 there were declared entrance examination proceedings for both five-year master and bachelor programmes. The principles of construction of studying programmes and of further development of the educational process were discussed at the Rector's Board in November 2000, and subsequently, in January 2001, there were adopted principles of modifications of bachelor studying programmes for the academic year 2001/2002. Also the system of internal evaluation of studying programmes was transformed. The subject matter of the discussion which took place at a level of the Rector's Board, at the participation of both the Academic Senate and Heads of Departments, was in particular the construction of bachelor studying programmes.

External situation

Development of requirements on qualification of human resource capital in the conditions of globalisation

The sense and basic task of education is to give the people qualification and competence which will enable them to meet both current and future requirements imposed on their activities. This is also connected with targeted conduct to self-education (self-determination and self-control) and permanent self-training. It is especially

Language skills

that are to be considered as preconditions for good possibilities on the labour market in the environment of the world economy globalisation.

A universal language of the international business, research, international institutions as well as "human communication" is without any doubt English. Insufficient language skills mean an absolute handicap on the labour market. The knowledge of another largely used European language will mean a big advantage in the European area.

Skills of working with information and communication technologies

One of the key skills of human resources will be the ability of working with information while solving various issues and preparing innovations.

Education and qualification requirements are more and more internationalised within the meaning of creating

International qualification standards

A presumption of a professional career especially in the case of managerial positions thus will be represented by internationally recognised qualification degrees from schools with international (or at least European) accreditation. It is necessary to comply with these international standards not only from the viewpoint of the structure and content of education, but also in terms of teaching methods and methodology (concerning a general manner of understanding and solving problems).

It is possible to register a continuously increasing importance of

All-life education

which will become a necessity for all population groups. The all-life education programmes will have to be differentiated for individual target groups and their needs (students, additional training programmes for employees, entrepreneurs; retraining programmes; programmes for seniors, etc.)

A world-wide boom is registered by

Distance education

especially in connection with the use of electronic means. This way it will be possible to obtain also the internationally accredited degrees or certificates confirming the achievement of a certain standard of knowledge and skills in the branch in question. Thus it is possible to create a very attractive alternative to ordinary presence studies.

European Educational Area for university education

The European co-operation during the creation of comparable and mutually interconnected university systems was initiated as early as the end of the 1980s (Magna Charta Universitatum, 1988, a document adopted by European universities). The Sorbonne Declaration emphasising the central role of universities in development of the European cultural dimension was signed in May 1998. The "Common Declaration of Ministers of Education of European Countries at the Bologna Meeting" was adopted in June 1999. One of the signatories was also the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic.

The Bologna Declaration advocates for adoption of a system of comprehensible and comparable levels of university education, inter alia through introduction of a standardised annex to the degree certificate. This increases possibilities of employment in other European countries and international competitiveness of the system of European university education.

The Bologna Declaration recognises basically two basic educational cycles:
Pregraduate and Postgraduate.

Access to the second cycle is possible after a successful completion of the first cycle of studies in a duration of usually three years. The degree obtained after completion of the first cycle (bachelor programme) has a validity from the viewpoint of the European labour market as a corresponding university qualification degree.

The second cycle should lead to the achievement of master's and possibly doctor's degree. The second cycle will place emphasis in both the types (master as well as subsequent doctor's studies) on research and independent work. The students will also be motivated, within this cycle of study, to study at least one semester in a foreign country.

As a suitable means of support to general students' mobility the Declaration identifies

Credit system

It will be possible to obtain credits also in systems other than university education, e.g. within the framework of the all-life education programme. A condition precedent is always recognition by the admitting university.

The Declaration also supports

Mobility of teachers, research workers and administration staff

by way of recognition and respecting of the period spent by teaching, research and training on the labour market in Europe.

The European dimension of university education should be supported by way of harmonisation of the content of education, mobility programmes, integrated studying programmes and also by using the comparable criteria of quality assessment.

Both Sorbonne and Bologna Declarations represent a certain breakthrough in the development of university education systems in Europe by means of an official recognition of the qualification level and degree achieved in a pregraduate cycle. The postgraduate cycle should mainly comply with a condition of a larger share of scientific and independent work and at least one semester of study spent abroad.

The National Education Programme (White Paper on Education) and long-term plans of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports in the field of development of universities.

Ministerial priorities in the field of university education development are as follows:

Quantitative development of tertiary education,

with a view of creating conditions for access of 50 % of the age group of 19-year-old people to universities in the year 2005; and

Diversification of the offer of studies.

The three-level study is supported (bachelor, master, doctor) and an increase in the number of students in bachelor, especially in the new, professionally focused bachelor programmes.

The construction of individual studying programmes should ensure a larger interconnection between individual types of studying programmes so that students can have a possibility to continue in further studies immediately or after a certain time, on the same or another university, whether in the Czech Republic or abroad. That is why one of the priorities is modular construction of studying programmes and application of the credit system (transfer of credits).

An objective is also to find such structures, forms and methods of teaching which can reduce the rate of studying failure and its negative impacts on both the state and the student as much as possible.

Large support should be focused on distance studies supported by information technologies enabling desired individualisation of studying plans.

In the field of the all-life education a ministerial priority is the support to teachers' education at all levels, retraining courses for the unemployed, third age universities; as far as the content is concerned, it is the increase in information literacy what matters.

Also the means dedicated to international mobility of students and academic staff and the means for the ECTS system introduction should be increased.

It is possible to expect pressures on making tertiary education available to larger circles of people and on removing entrance examinations as a selective tool. It is very likely that also the budgetary rules will be modified this way. It is possible to expect, that possibilities of state-owned universities as public-law entities to obtain complementary financial resources from all-life education programmes will be released.

Development of the tertiary education market

Although the numbers of eighteen-year-old people drop, it is improbable that the demand for university education will drop in the nearest five years with regard to the expected growth of the number of secondary school graduates. But still it is possible to expect in a very short time that universities will compete for students, namely in economic branches. The development of last two years features a fast growth of private non-university tertiary schools and specialised colleges offering bachelor studying programmes in economics.

Principles of educational process and construction of studying programmes at VŠE

The Rector's Board discussed and adopted (November 2000) the following general principles of further development of the educational process and construction of studying programmes at VŠE:

  • diversification of the offer of studying programmes, specification of bachelor programmes as an integral pregraduate level of university education,
  • interconnection of studying programmes,
  • adapting of teaching methods or studying programmes,
  • credit system of studies,
  • internationalisation of the educational process while its national anchorage is kept,
  • internal assessment of studying programmes and pedagogical process.

Diversification of the offer of studying programmes, specification of bachelor programmes as an integral pregraduate level of university education

VŠE wants to offer studying possibilities in all types of studying programmes:

  • in bachelor programmes defined as an integral pregraduate level of university education enabling to get access (immediate or later) to postgraduate master level of studies and to find a job on the labour market as a corresponding university qualification level,
  • in two-year master programmes which follow up the bachelor programmes,
  • in five-year master programmes in the branches which require this program due to their nature,
  • in doctor studying programmes,
  • in programmes of all-life education differentiated according to target groups.

Basic data concerning the existing structure of accredited studying programmes at VŠE are provided for in the following table:

Studying programme Degree (abbreviated) Length of study in academic years (standard / max.) Number of credits for graduating Number of credit coupons available Internal arrangement of the programme
Bachelor Bachelor (Bc.) 3/5 125 125 + 20 Only in groups of subjects
Master (follow-up to the Bachelor programme) Engineer (Ing.) 2/3 72 72 + 14 Main specialisation and side specialisation
Master (non-follow-up to the Bachelor programme) Engineer (Ing.) 5/6 186 186 + 40 Branch, main specialisation and side specialisation
Doctor Doctor (Ph.D.) 3/5 -- -- --

Bachelor studying programmes

The Czech Republic University and College Act has dealt with a more exact structuring of studying programmes only in a part. The bachelor studying programme was usually connected with a study focused on practice, comparable rather with studying programmes of non-university colleges.

VŠE specifies its bachelor programmes in accordance with the above mentioned Bologna Declaration as

  • an integrated university qualification level which enables the graduate to follow up this level, either immediately or with a certain time delay, on the same or another university, in the Czech Republic or abroad;
  • graduates of bachelor studying programmes should find jobs especially at central levels of management.

Besides a structured view of the follow up of studying programmes it is necessary to pay attention especially to their content and teaching methods. A bachelor programme must contain the necessary amount of both theoretical and application subjects. This connection hides in itself a certain problem - to maintain the quality of study and its university character also on condition of larger orientation of bachelor programmes towards practical application.

The university study places emphasis on general cognition, finding connections, mutual regularities and not on teaching facts and practical instructions. The explanation of phenomena, regularities and economic & political problems cannot, however, be abstracted from reality, it should follow the development of human cognition, including alternative views of various theoretical streams. This requirement does not concern the extent of knowledge but the method of economic thinking and it must be respected also at the pregraduate level of studies.

A risk is hidden in the effort of including a too wide range of disciplines taught into the content of the study, to a detriment of the actual extending and deepening study according to the individual interests of students, which could lead in its final consequence to a rather passive approach to the study. In the case of VŠE this mainly concerns a purposeful extent of a common basis of study of all branches, which at present represents at the bachelor level 50 % of the studying programme (including language study and subjects selectable at a school-wide level).

Structure of bachelor studying programmes at VŠE
Group of subjects Required number of credits
Subjects of the school-wide obligatory basis:
  • mathematics, mathematical analysis
  • probability statistics and statistical methods
  • micro- and macroeconomics
  • accounting and financial accounting
  • monies, banks and financial markets
  • public finances
  • law and business law
  • business administration
  • marketing
  • management
  • information science
44
Two obligatory languages:
  • the first one at a level of professional advanced language
  • the second one at a level of general language skills
12
School-wide selectable subjects in groups:
  • exact and information subjects
  • economic and social subjects
6
Obligatory and selectable subjects of the branch and freely selectable subjects 63
Total 125

In order to complete successfully a bachelor studying programme and achieve the bachelor's degree it is necessary:

  • to obtain 125 credits in the prescribed structure,
  • to pass 7 bachelor's examinations in the subjects of the school-wide obligatory basis,
  • to pass bachelor's examination in the main obligatory language,
  • to pass bachelor's examinations in branch-obligatory subjects in the extent prescribed by the studying programme of the branch,
  • to pass the state final examination in the bachelor programme which consists of the oral part and of the defence of bachelor's thesis (both parts may be separated).

Master studying programmes

VŠE wants to continue to concentrate intensively on the development of master studying programmes, namely:

  • master programmes which follow up the (two-year) bachelor programmes,
  • five-year master programmes in those branches which require it through their nature.

A VŠE priority is to provide possibilities of education in two-year follow-up master programmes, both for the VŠE bachelor programme graduates who want to continue their studies and for bachelor studying programme graduates of other universities.

A master studying programme must have a significantly higher share of independent, partially already even scientific and research work of the student. This presupposes, inter alia, a larger share of seminar form of studying and individual work with students.

A long-term target of VŠE is to achieve the situation when 10 % of students in a year can study a semester at a foreign university during their studies at VŠE. At present VŠE is able, within the framework of contractual relations with partner foreign universities, to ensure a semester study abroad for approximately 150 students a year. Further development of mobility depends also on our capacities of taking foreign students.

Structure of the follow-up master programme at VŠE
Group of subjects Required number of credits
Subjects of the school-wide obligatory basis:
  • micro- and macroeconomics
6
School-wide selectable subjects in groups:
  • exact and information subjects
  • specialised subject in a foreign language
6
Obligatory and selectable subjects of the main specialisation and freely selectable subjects 42
Obligatory and selectable subjects of the side specialisation (side specialisation can be selected from the offer of all VŠE faculties) 18
Total 72

In order to complete successfully a master follow-up studying programme and achieve the engineer's degree it is necessary:

  • to obtain 72 credits in the prescribed structure,
  • to pass the state final examination in the master programme which consists of the following parts: state examination in economics, two state examinations in the main specialisation, state examination in the side specialisation, the defence of master's thesis.

It is the graduates with completed university education that can be admitted to the follow-up master studying programme. Bachelors from VŠE who apply for studying a follow-up master programme at the same faculty where they completed their bachelor studies can be admitted on the basis of a specified average assessment of marks in bachelor examinations or other specified criteria even without entrance examinations.

Structure of master studying programmes which do not follow-up bachelor programmes
Group of subjects Required number of credits
Subjects of the school-wide obligatory basis:
  • mathematics, mathematical analysis
  • probability statistics and statistical methods
  • micro- and macroeconomics
  • accounting and financial accounting
  • monies, banks and financial markets
  • public finances
  • law and business law
  • business administration
  • marketing
  • management
  • information science
44
Two obligatory languages:
  • the first one at a level of professional advanced language
  • the second one at a level of general language skills
12
Subjects of the school-wide obligatory basis in the main specialisation:
  • micro- and macroeconomics
6
School-wide selectable subjects in groups:
  • economic and social subjects - 6 credits
  • exact and information subjects - 4 credits
  • specialised subject in a foreign language - 2 credits
  • freely selectable subjects - 10 credits
22
Obligatory and selectable subjects of the branch 42
Obligatory and selectable subjects of the main specialisation 42
Obligatory and selectable subjects of the side specialisation 18
Physical education - 2 certificates of attendance --
Total 186

The studying programme is internally structured to branch, main and side specialisation areas. One of the follow-up main specialisation areas and a compatible side specialisation (can be selected from the offer of all VŠE faculties) are selected by students after completing all-wide obligatory subjects included in the model studying plan in the 1st-6th semesters, passing corresponding summary examinations, possibly after compliance with other obligations specified by the studying programme of the branch studied.

In order to complete successfully a five-year master studying programme and achieve the engineer's degree it is necessary:

  • to obtain 186 credits in the prescribed structure,
  • to pass 7 summary examinations in the subjects of the school-wide obligatory basis of the branch,
  • to pass a summary examination in the main obligatory language,
  • to pass the state final examination in the master programme which consists of:
    • state examination in economics
    • two state examinations in specified specialised subjects of the main specialisation,
    • state examination in side specialisation
    • defence of master thesis

Interconnection of studying programmes

The interconnection between the types of studying programmes which follow up each other will be regulated with the help of admission proceedings (submission of an application for the studying programme and branch selected). Thus it will be possible also for graduates from other universities to enter into the follow-up master and doctor studying programmes of VŠE, without the selection principle being left.

A larger diversification of the types of studying programmes makes it possible for the students also to swap between individual types of programmes (e.g. from the five-year master programme to a bachelor programme) in the case that it is required by the individual situation of the student. It is possible to recognise a part of the student's study and thus reduce loss of society's costs of incomplete education. Also the possibility of completing the follow-up master or doctor studying programme at a foreign university is always more and more open.

Adapting teaching methods to the type of the studying programme

The content of subjects taught at VŠE is now in a major part comparable with foreign standards. Larger attention should be paid to the specification of the target of teaching with regard to knowledge, abilities and skills which the student acquires or develops during the studying process. It is necessary to develop students' "functional literacy" - mastering basic operations of classical logic and general methodology of solving problems, especially as far as methods for collection and analysis of data, its sorting, processing, use of heuristic and creative methods, methods of illustration of complex phenomena, representation and argumentation abilities, etc. are concerned.

Students should be supported in the field of development of economic thinking, abilities of using theoretical knowledge for solving practical economic & political issues. Especially in master and doctor programmes students should have larger possibilities of choice of specialising subjects, according to their individual interest, including possibilities of confronting of various opinion streams and approaches. It may be very purposeful in this direction to practise mutual grouping of selected subjects into curricula among universities.

Resources invested into the education process must be used efficiently (purposefully and economically). That is why it is necessary to adapt the teaching methods more to the type of the studying programme - bachelor (a larger share of lectures accompanied by exercises), master (a larger share of a seminar form) or doctor (a larger share of individual work with the student).

Also interests in studying in a distance form tend to grow. In the past VŠE did not manage to develop simultaneously studying programmes in both presence and distance forms which would be supported by specific textbook materials effectively replacing the missing contacts with teachers. At present a new project is developed, the aim of which is to offer at first several subjects taught in a virtual form with the help of the Internet. It is necessary to consider the mastering of the methodology of this type of teaching as a key moment. For the future we, however, consider it to be a certain complement or alternative to the subjects taught in the presence form.

A part of the plan of personal development, especially in the case of beginning teachers must be, inter alia, the achievement of an appropriate qualification in the field of university pedagogy and didactics.

Credit system

VŠE uses and will continue to use in a wide extent its credit system including the ECTS (European Credits Transfer System) system.

Credits express the studying load of a student in the European extent. According to some studies one credit corresponds to 25 hours of work, for one year of work a student should obtain, given the standard studying load, 60 credits, which on average corresponds to 1,500 hours of work.

Credits at VŠE now do not express any studying load, but an extent of direct teaching only, which is in the case of VŠE approximately double than e.g. at a majority of universities in the CEMS network. The extent of direct teaching itself thus to a certain extent represents, in the VŠE environment, an obstacle for a larger emphasis on independent and research work of the student. To adapt the programmes to the manner of studying which is usual at foreign universities would mean to reduce the extent of direct teaching in the form of lectures at least by 25-30 %, and on the other hand to increase the share of independent individual or team work of students. The solution to this issue should not be technocratic, but it should be based just on the above mentioned use of modern teaching methods.

Internationalisation of the education process

A means of internationalisation of the education process is the VŠE participation in the international networks of universities in the field of both teaching and research. The internationalisation of the study can be enforced by using the following forms:

  • hiring of foreign professors
  • student and teacher mobility
  • offer of studying programmes implemented mainly in English
  • participation of both teachers and students in international research teams, etc.

VŠE wants to succeed in the international competition on a long-term basis and to obtain an international (at least European) accreditation. This means to emphasise in the assessment criteria at all levels such elements as:

  • innovation of teaching and teaching methods,
  • interconnection of teaching and practice (e.g. introduction of business projects into teaching, implementation of programmes for executive management within the framework of all-life education),
  • interconnection of teaching and research (including involvement in research work and research teams of students),
  • extent of teaching carried out in foreign languages, mainly in English,
  • work in international research teams

Internal assessment of studying programmes

The quality of studying programmes and educational process must be continuously monitored and assessed through the internal assessment system. This system is implemented at VŠE mainly through the process of running assessment, which is ensured at the school-wide level by the VŠE Accreditation Commission and at the faculty level by similar faculty bodies. The field of competence of the VŠE Accreditation Commission includes matters having a cross-sectional school-wide nature, especially accreditation of school-wide obligatory subjects, side specialisation areas and studying plan co-ordination. At a faculty level it is mainly the accordance of the studying programme in the branch in question with the development of requirements on a graduate profile that is checked. Also other indicators are assessed at both school-wide and faculty levels on a regular basis, such as interest in studying in individual branches and forms of study, rate of studying failure, feedback from students, etc.

For one-time particular projects there will be appointed ad hoc teams whose tasks will be to process an evaluation study and suggest a possible solution. At present such a team works on the assessment of the extent, structure and content of subjects of the common school-wide basis.

Conclusion

VŠE is aware of the process of creating the European Education Area and Czech Republic's need to make university education available to a wider circle of students, while keeping the selectivity principles. If VŠE wants to maintain its position also for the future within the framework of university education in economics and become a full-value part of the international and mainly European network of universities, it has to adapt the structure of its studying programmes and educational process organisation to this context.

The concepts of further development of the structure of studying programmes must be based on their purposeful diversification, interconnection between individual levels of study created in accordance with the European-wide systems of university qualification levels, support and facilitation of the international mobility of students as well as academic staff and internationalisation of the educational process.

A difficult task which VŠE immediately faces in this connection is the long-term control of proportions (number of students) in individual types of studying programmes - in structured bachelor and follow-up master programmes, in five-year master programmes, in doctor programmes and also in accredited programmes studied within the framework of all-life education.

The material was approved by the VŠE Management on April 2, 2001 and by the Scientific Board on April 11, 2001.