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Poland:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

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Overview Poland

Contents

Poland:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Poland:Historical Development

Poland:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Poland:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Poland:Political and Economic Situation

Poland:Organisation and Governance

Poland:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Poland:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Poland:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Poland:Organisation of Private Education

Poland:National Qualifications Framework

Poland:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Poland:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Poland:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Poland:Funding in Education

Poland:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Poland:Higher Education Funding

Poland:Adult Education and Training Funding

Poland:Early Childhood Education and Care

Poland:Organisation of Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Poland:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Poland:Assessment in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Poland:Organisation of Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Poland:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Poland:Assessment in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Poland:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Poland:Primary Education

Poland:Organisation of Primary Education

Poland:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

Poland:Assessment in Primary Education

Poland:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Primary Education

Poland:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Poland:Organisation of General Lower Secondary Education

Poland:Teaching and Learning in General Lower Secondary Education

Poland:Assessment in General Lower Secondary Education

Poland:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

Poland:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

Poland:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

Poland:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Poland:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Poland:Assessment in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Poland:Organisation of Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Poland:Teaching and Learning in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Poland:Assessment in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Poland:Higher Education

Poland:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Poland:First Cycle Programmes

Poland:Bachelor

Poland:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Poland:Second Cycle Programmes

Poland:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Poland:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Poland:Adult Education and Training

Poland:Distribution of Responsibilities

Poland:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Poland:Main Providers

Poland:Main Types of Provision

Poland:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Poland:Teachers and Education Staff

Poland:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Poland:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Poland:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Poland:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Management and Other Education Staff

Poland:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Poland:Management Staff for Higher Education

Poland:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Poland:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Quality Assurance

Poland:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Poland:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Educational Support and Guidance

Poland:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Poland:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Poland:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Poland:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Poland:Mobility and Internationalisation

Poland:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Mobility in Higher Education

Poland:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Poland:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Poland:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Poland:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Poland:National Reforms in School Education

Poland:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Poland:National Reforms in Higher Education

Poland:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Poland:European Perspective

Poland:Legislation

Poland:Institutions

Poland:Glossary

The responsibility for the educational policy rests with the Minister of National Education. A few ministers can administer public schools and other educational institutions (further details at the end of the chapter on administration and governance at national level).

As a result of the state administration reform and the education reform, only the national educational policy is developed and implemented centrally, while the management of education and the administration of schools, nursery schools and other educational institutions is decentralised. The responsibility for the administration of nursery schools (przedszkole) and primary schools (szkoła podstawowa), and lower secondary schools (gimnazjum) since 1999/2000, has been delegated to the commune (gmina). The management of schools above the lower-secondary level, art schools and special schools has been delegated to districts (powiat) as their statutory responsibility. The self-governing provinces (województwo) administer only schools operating at regional and supra-regional level. The responsibility for pedagogical supervision rests with the heads of the regional education authorities (kurator oświaty) in 16 provinces.

Education administration at national level

School education

The responsibility for the administration of the school education system rests with the Minister of National Education and his/her deputy ministers. The Director General is responsible for the efficient functioning of the ministry as the institution supporting the minister.

Aside from the Ministers’ Political Cabinet, the structure of the Ministry of National Education comprises 15 organisational units (departments and bureaus); departments are sub-divided into units/divisions. Currently, the organisational units of the Ministry include:

  1. Economic Department
  2. Department for Structural Funds
  3. Information and Promotion Department
  4. General Education Department
  5. Vocational and Continuing Education Department
  6. Department for Textbooks, Curricula and Innovation
  7. Legal Services Department
  8. Strategy and International Cooperation Department
  9. Department for Cooperation with Local Government
  10. Integration Education Department
  11. Administration Bureau
  12. Personnel and Training Bureau
  13. Audit Bureau
  14. Organisation Bureau
  15. Internal Auditor (an independent position)

Responsibilities and powers of the minister in charge of school education 

The Minister co-ordinates and pursues the national education policy, co-operates in this respect with regional authorities/province governors (wojewoda) and other organisational units responsible for the school education system.

By way of regulation, the minister lays down arrangements, in particular, in the following areas:

  • Regarding the contents of the general and vocational education and textbooks:
    • core curricula for pre-school education, general education and vocational education and outline timetables;
    • classification of occupations for vocational education;
    • arrangements for schools and educational institutions to undertake activities maintaining national, ethnical, language and religious identity of pupils;
    • arrangements for teaching religion in schools;
    • rules for approving textbooks for use at schools:
    • procedures for providing local authorities with information required to determine the level of subsidy for the purchase of textbooks by heads of primary and lower secondary schools.
  • Regarding pupil/student assessment:
    • detailed rules for assessing and promoting pupils in public schools;
    • detailed arrangements for conducting the lower secondary examination and the maturity examination;
    • arrangements for conducting extramural examinations;
    • arrangements for issuing certificates, diplomas and other school documents and templates for them;
    • establishment of regional examination boards and specification of their territorial jurisdiction.
  • Regarding admission to public schools and other educational institutions:
    • composition and tasks of a recruitment board, rules and dates of the admission process;
    • rules for converting criteria into points for admission to public schools if the number of candidates exceeds the number of places available in such schools;
    • procedure of transferring pupils from one type of public school to another.
  • Regarding governance and organisation of institutions within school education system:
    • requirements for schools and other educational institutions concerning measures necessary to create optimal conditions for education and care activities and other statutory activities, provide conditions for the development of each pupil, and improve quality of the school’s or institution’s activities and its organisational development;
    • arrangements for the competition for the position of the head of the regional education authorities (kurator oświaty);
    • requirements for persons holding the position of school head and other management positions and arrangements for the competition for the position of school head;
    • types of schools and institutions where the teachers’ council, the parents’ council and/or the pupils’ self-government are not established;
    • arrangements for organising practical vocational training;
    • framework statutes for public schools and other public educational institutions;
    • record-keeping methods concerning the teaching process and educational activities;
    • rules and conditions for innovation and experimental activities;
    • organisational arrangements for the school year;
    • organisational arrangements and procedures for contests and competitions in specific school subjects;
    • general safety and hygiene regulations for schools and institutions.
  • Regarding pedagogical supervision:
    • arrangements for exercising pedagogical supervision, including its forms;
    • a list of positions and qualifications required to exercise pedagogical supervision.
  • Regarding pre-school education:
    • other forms of pre-school education;
    • procedures for granting subsidies for pre-school education and related grant accounting methods.
  • Regarding continuing education:
    • types of public continuing education institutions and their tasks;
    • arrangements of adult education and training;
    • arrangements for providing vocational qualification courses;
    • methods for the validation of learning outcomes achieved in non-school settings;
    • conditions for granting and withdrawing accreditation for institutions providing adult education and training in non-school settings.
  • Regarding initial and in-service teacher training:
    • conditions and procedures for granting and withdrawing accreditation for non-public in-service teacher training institutions;
    • conditions and procedures for the establishment, restructuring and liquidation of, and organisational and operational arrangements for, in-service teacher training institutions;
    • rules and conditions for the establishment, restructuring and liquidation of colleges, their organisational and operational arrangements and teacher-training standards for colleges.
  • Regarding extra-curricular activities, care, counselling and guidance, and measures to address pupils with special educational needs (SEN):
    • organisational arrangements for public education and care centres for pupils with disabilities and maladjusted youth;
    • arrangements for counselling and guidance in schools and other educational institutions, and organisational arrangements for public counselling and guidance centres;
    • detailed arrangements for children and young people to follow individualised schooling and individualised study programmes and related organisational arrangements;
    • detailed arrangements for the education and care for children and young people with special educational needs;
    • arrangements for providing early support for children development;
    • timeframes for transferring grants for financial support to the communes and methods for determining their level;
    • conditions for the organisation of leisure activities for children and young people;
    • rules and conditions for the organisation of tourist and sightseeing activities undertaken by schools and other educational institutions;
    • detailed arrangements for sport classes and schools and school for sport champions.
  • Regarding international issues:
    • types of public and non-public art schools;
    • conditions and procedures for the admission of foreigners and Polish nationals who completed previous educational stages in other educational systems to public nursery schools, schools, teacher training institutions and to vocational qualification courses;
    • arrangements for additional Polish language classes, remedial classes in subjects covered by the curriculum, and classes in the language and culture of the country of origin;
    • levels of grants for beneficiaries who are not Polish nationals;
    • rules for the provision of education to Polish nationals’ children temporarily staying abroad;
    • arrangements supporting the teaching of Polish history, geography, culture and the Polish language and other school subjects with Polish as a language of instruction to the Polish community abroad in schools abroad and in other forms of education provided by social organisations abroad;
    • arrangements for the recognition (nostrification) of school and maturity certificates awarded abroad;
    • conditions for sending pupils and students abroad for educational purposes and teachers for in-service training purposes.

The minister responsible for school education establishes and administers schools, clusters of schools and school consultation centres at Polish diplomatic missions, consulates and military missions in order to provide education for children of Polish nationals temporarily based abroad, as well as public in-service teacher training institutions operating at national level. The minister can also establish and administer public experimental schools and educational institutions and public continuing education institutions operating at national level.

The minister responsible for culture and national heritage establishes and administers public art schools and other institutions for pupils of art schools, as well as institutions for in-service training of art school teachers.

The minister responsible for agriculture may establish and administer public schools of agriculture and agricultural institutions operating at regional and supra-regional levels and establish and administer public in-service teacher training institutions for teachers of vocational subjects taught in schools of agriculture.

The minister responsible for environmental protection may establish and administer public forestry schools.

The ministers in charge of internal affairs, of national defence and of justice may establish and administer public schools and educational institutions covering their areas of responsibility.

Higher education

The remit of the minister responsible for higher education (as from May 2006, the Minister of Science and Higher Education) covers the development of research, programmes for students and PhD students, and the functioning of higher education institutions.

The structure of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education comprises the Minister’s Political Cabinet and the following organisational units:

  1. Budget and Finance Department
  2. Department of Innovation and Development
  3. Legal Services Department
  4. Department of Science
  5. Department of Higher Education
  6. Department of International Cooperation
  7. Director General’s Bureau
  8. Audit Bureau
  9. Minister’s Bureau

Responsibilities and powers of the minister in charge of higher education

The minister responsible for higher education supervises the activities of higher education institutions (HEIs) in respect of their compliance with the law, their statutes and the permit granted for the establishment of a non-public HEI, and proper use of public funds. The minister may request information and clarification from the bodies of an HEI and the founder of a non-public HEI, and may conduct inspections of HEIs.

The minister responsible for higher education lays down by regulation:

  • degree programme requirements for each field and level of study in the case of so-called regulated fields of study;
  • requirements for programmes preparing for the teaching profession;
  • requirements to be fulfilled by organisational units in order to provide degree programmes in a specific field and at a specific level of study;
  • detailed requirements for the establishment and operation of a branch campus of an HEI, its basic organisational unit and teaching centre in another location;
  • arrangements for administrative and financial support services for the General Council of Science and Higher Education and the disciplinary committee at the General Council, and the levels of fees for their members;
  • the scope of information and data to be provided in an application for a permit to establish a non-public HEI;
  • the method for keeping the register of non-public HEIs and associations of non-public HEIs, and arrangements for access to the register;
  • detailed procedures for audits in HEIs and associations of HEIs;
  • conditions for sending individuals abroad for research, teaching and training purposes, and their specific rights;
  • types of degree programmes and training courses open to non-nationals;
  • requirements to be fulfilled by non-nationals applying to follow first-,second-, long- and third-cycle programmes and training courses or to participate in research and development activities;
  • the method for determining the level of grants;
  • the method for determining in public HEIs the level of fees for first-, second-, long- and third-cycle programmes and training courses and for participation in research and development activities;
  • arrangements for the award of grants to non-nationals;
  • requirements to be fulfilled by HEIs established by foreign HEIs in order to provide programmes at a specific level and in a specific field of study;
  • conditions and procedures for non-public HEIs to apply for subsidies;
  • cost indices of full-time programmes provided in each field of study;
  • rules for the distribution of subsidies among non-public HEIs and related reporting responsibilities for non-public HEIs;
  • various arrangements concerning the remuneration of staff in HEIs (which are specified in the relevant legislation);
  • detailed rules and procedures for giving the minister’s award;
  • requirements to be fulfilled by HEIs in order to provide courses using distance education methods and techniques;
  • types of professional titles (degrees) awarded to first-, second- and long-cycle programme graduates;
  • conditions for the award of diplomas and specimens of diplomas, including the Diploma Supplement;
  • conditions for the award of diplomas and specimens of diplomas awarded upon completion of programmes delivered jointly by various HEIs and academic institutions, including foreign institutions;
  • detailed rules and procedures for awarding the minister’s grants;
  • the method for keeping study-related documentations;
  • detailed arrangements for the recognition (nostrification) of diplomas;
  • conditions and procedures for the provision of third-cycle programmes, and arrangements for the award of grants and other types of financial support to doctoral students;
  • detailed procedures for enquiry and disciplinary proceedings;
  • regulations for health and safety at work in HEIs;
  • requirements related to the description of qualifications, including the necessity to assign them to relevant study areas, subjects and disciplines, as well as learning outcomes defined for each study area;
  • model learning outcomes for individual fields of study;
  • requirements to be fulfilled by organisational units in order to provide degree programmes in a specific field and at a specific level of study, especially those related to staff;
  • requirements to be fulfilled by a curriculum, taking into account intended learning outcomes, a description of learning outcomes and methods of their verification;
  • conditions of programme evaluation and institutional evaluation, taking into account, among other things, conditions for providing programmes, the functioning and development of internal quality assurance systems, accreditation and certificates awarded by international institutions.

Other bodies in higher education

The General Council for Science and Higher Education (Rada Główna Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego) is an elective representative body of science and higher education. The Council cooperates with the Minister of Science and Higher Education and other public authorities in developing national policies for higher education and for research and innovation. In particular, the Council: (1) gives opinions on its own initiative and submits proposals in all matters concerning higher education, research and culture, and may also raise such matters with public authorities and HEIs, among other things, requesting clarification and information; (2) gives its opinions on the matters presented by the minister responsible for higher education, the minister responsible for science and research, and other authorities and public administration bodies or on its own initiative; (3) gives its opinions on draft legislation concerning higher education, development of research and innovation, as well as on international agreements concerning higher education and research concluded by Poland; (4) gives its opinions on the part of the draft State budget which is managed by the minister responsible for higher education, and on the rules for the award of State-budget subsidies to HEIs; (5) gives opinions and prepares reports on the performance of the National Science Centre (Narodowe Centrum Nauki) and the National Centre of Research and Development (Narodowe Centrum Badań i Rozwoju); (a) gives opinions on the funding of research infrastructure and on reports on the use of these funds, taking into account links between the Polish research infrastructure and the European infrastructure; (b) gives opinions on the national standards for the areas of study mentioned in Article 9b and 9c of the Law on Higher Education; (6) submits to the minister responsible for higher education its proposals of model descriptions of learning outcomes for individual fields of study, assigned to relevant academic areas, taking into account the level and profile of programmes.

The Polish Accreditation Committee (PAC) (Polska Komisja Akredytacyjna, PKA; formerly, the State Accreditation Committee/Państwowa Komisja Akredytacyjna) is an institution working for the improvement of the quality of education. It was established by Decision of the Minister of National Education and Sport no. 54 of 28 December 2001 on the basis of Article 38 of the Higher Education Act of 12 September 1990 with further amendments (amendment of 22 June 2001). Currently, it operates on the basis of the 2005 Law on Higher Education. The activities of PAC cover all HEIs operating on the basis of the Law on Higher Education.

PAC presents to the Minister opinions and proposals concerning:

  • the establishment of HEIs and the authorisation for HEIs to provide programmes in a specific field of study and at a specific level of study;
  • quality assessments of degree programmes, including initial teacher training programmes, and the compliance with the requirements for the provision of degree programmes.

PAC cooperates with national and international organisations which are involved in the assessment of the quality of education and accreditation. For more detailed information about PAC, see: Chapter "Quality assurance".

University-type HEIs which represent jointly more than a half of the total student population in university-type HEIs may establish the Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland. Non-university HEIs which represent jointly more than a half of the total student population in non-university HEIs may establish the Conference of Rectors of Higher Vocational Education Institutions in Poland.

Education administration at regional level

The regional level in Poland refers to the level of province (województwo). In 1998 there were 49 regions, and their number was reduced to 16 in 1999.

Educational supervision (Kurator oświaty)

The head of the regional education authorities (kurator oświaty) exercises pedagogical supervision over school education institutions at regional level. The head of the regional education authorities (REA) is appointed and dismissed by the Minister of National Education at the request of the province governor (wojewoda) and, thus, is part of the central government structure. Although the head of the REA is not directly subordinated to the Minister of National Education, the latter has influence on the outcome of a competition for the position of head of the REA by appointing three members of the competition board, and may dismiss the head of the REA also on his/her own initiative. Moreover, the Minister supervises heads of the REAs and coordinates their work in various ways (e.g. by organising meetings, training courses and conferences).

Pursuant to the School Education Act, the head of the REA, acting on behalf of the province governor, performs tasks and exercises powers laid down in the School Education Act and separate regulations within a given province. In particular, the head of the REA:

  • exercises pedagogical supervision over public and non-public schools and educational institutions;
  • implements the national educational policy, and cooperates with local government bodies in the development and implementation of local and regional educational policies consistent with the national policy;
  • gives opinions on so-called organisational sheets of public schools and educational institutions, except those administered by ministers, with regard to their compliance with legislation, which are submitted by the bodies administering schools and institutions before their approval;
  • prepares programmes for the use of funds for in-service teacher training from the regional budget;
  • organises contests and competitions for pupils in a given region;
  • analyses teachers’ needs with regard to in-service training, initiates and coordinates teacher training activities;
  • supports activities related to the conduct of tests and exams;
  • cooperates with local government bodies with regard to the development of facilities available at schools and educational institutions;
  • cooperates with the relevant bodies, various organisations and institutions in matters related to the development of children and young people;
  • coordinates, supports and supervises the organisation of leisure activities for children and young people during summer and winter holidays in a given region.

At the request of the head of the REA, the province governor can establish REA branches for individual areas of the region. The powers of the head of a branch are defined by the head of the REA.

Local government bodies at regional level

General powers and responsibilities of local government units, including those at regional level (as there are both local government and central government bodies at this level in Poland), are discussed in greater detail in the next chapter. It should be emphasised, however, that given the fairly extensive organisational autonomy of schools and educational institutions, the powers of local government units as so-called school/institution managing bodies include supervision over organisational units of the school education system with regard to financial and administrative aspects (appropriate management).

Local government bodies at regional (province) level do not perform typical school-education tasks. However, they are responsible for administering some educational institutions which have a supporting role:

  • initial teacher training institutions (which are currently being phased out, with the process to be completed by 1 October 2016),
  • in-service teacher training institutions,
  • educational resources centres, and
  • schools and educational institutions operating at regional and supra-regional levels.