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Poland:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional 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

General administration at local level

Administration at district level

District (powiat) level in Poland (established on the basis of the Act of 24 July 1998 on the Introduction of the Basic Three-tier Administrative Division of the Country) is the level between the province (województwo) and commune (gmina) levels. Initially, there were 373 districts. As of 1 January 2015, there were 380, including 66 cities with the district status.

District authorities are responsible for administering the following types of schools: public special primary schools (szkoła podstawowa), public special lower secondary schools (gimnazjum), and schools above the lower secondary level, including those with integration classes, sports schools, schools for sport championship and institutions, except for those operating at regional and supra-regional levels. As explained above, the responsibilities of the district authorities do not include pedagogical supervision which is exercised by the head of the regional education authorities (REA) (kurator oświaty). However, the relevant bodies at the district level (in particular, the board and head of a district) have various powers related to appointments for management positions in schools, the organisation of competitions for this purpose, and the adoption of local regulations on matters concerning schools and teachers.

As part of their responsibilities, districts may establish and administer public initial and in-service teacher training institutions and educational resources centres, thus extending the rather limited network of such institutions at regional level.

Administration at commune level

The commune (gmina) level in Poland is the lowest level in administrative division. On 1 January 2015, there were 2,478 communes, including 1563 rural, 611 rural-urban and 304 urban communes.

The commune is responsible for establishing and administering: public nursery schools (przedszkole), including those with integration classes, and special nursery schools, primary schools (szkoła podstawowa) and lower secondary schools (gimnazjum), including those with integration classes (except for special primary and lower secondary schools, art schools, and schools at prisons, youth detention centres and hostels for underage young people). Pedagogical supervision over these types of institutions is the responsibility of the head of the regional education authorities (kurator oświaty). Like districts, communes are responsible for establishment and administration of public initial and in-service teacher training institutions and educational resources centres.

Educational institutions, administration, management – administration and governance at institutional level

The responsibility for managing a school or institution in the Polish school education system rests with the head of a school/institution as a single-person authority. However, heads are supported in their management tasks by other persons and bodies. The teaching council or teachers’ council is a collegial body of the school with extensive decision-making and advisory powers. Public schools also have so-called social participation bodies, composed only or partly of beneficiaries of education services (parents and pupils/students): the school council (the council of an institution), the parents’ council and the pupil / student self-government.

A candidate for the head of a (nursery) school or other educational institution is selected through an open competition. The head is appointed by the school managing body for five school years. In justified cases, in agreement with the head of the regional education authorities (kurator oświaty), the head may be appointed for a shorter period, but the minimum duration of the term is one school year.

Where the statutes of the school or educational institution provide for the positions of deputy director and other management positions, management staff are appointed by the (nursery) school head after consultation with the school council, the teaching council and the school managing body.

In particular, the head of a (nursery) school or educational institution:

  • manages the school (institution) and represents it externally;
  • exercises pedagogical supervision;
  • takes care of pupils and creates conditions for their harmonious psychological and physical development through various health promoting activities;
  • implements resolutions of the school council and the teaching council;
  • is in charge of funding and takes responsibility for its use;
  • ensures pupils’ and teachers’ safety during school hours;
  • is responsible for the proper organisation and conduct of tests and exams.

As the head of the institution for teaching and non-teaching staff, the head of a school or institution:

  • employs and dismisses teaching and non-teaching staff;
  • gives awards and administers disciplinary penalties;
  • presents proposals for commendations, awards and other distinctions.

The head of a school or educational institution is partially relieved from teaching duties. The weekly teaching load for the head depends on the size of the school or institution.

A school or institution which employs at least 3 teachers should establish the teaching council. The teaching council is a collective body concerned with the performance of the school's or institution's statutory tasks related to education and care. Where less than 3 teachers are employed, teachers are members of the teaching council of the school which supervises the school campus in which they work. The teaching council is chaired by the head of a school and composed of all teachers employed in the school or institution. Meetings of the teaching council can also be attended, in an advisory capacity, by persons invited by the chair of the council and with the council's consent or at its request. These can be representatives of associations and other organisations, in particular scouting organisations which aim to provide education or extend the range of education and care activities in a school or institution.

The head of a school or educational institution is obliged to present, at least twice in every school year, general conclusions from exercising pedagogical supervision and information on the activities of the school or institution.

The decision-making powers of the teaching council include in particular:

  • approving school activity plans;
  • adopting resolutions on the results of pupil/student assessment and promotion and on innovations and experiments;
  • adopting organisational arrangements for in-service training of teachers in the school or institution;
  • adopting resolutions to strike pupils/students from the register of pupils/students.

The teaching council gives opinions on the following matters:

  • the organisation of work in the school or institution; 
  • draft financial plans of the school or institution; 
  • the head's proposals concerning distinctions and awards for teachers;
  • the head's proposals for regular tasks and classes to be assigned to teachers as part of their basic salary and activities for which they receive additional payment.

The teaching council drafts the statutes of a school or institution and any amendments to the statutes, and presents them to the school council. The teaching council can also submit a request to dismiss a teacher from the post of school head or any other management position in the school or institution. The body authorised to dismiss the head is required to conduct an enquiry and inform the teaching council about its findings within 14 days of the receipt of the request. Resolutions of the teaching council are adopted by a simple majority of votes, with at least 50% of the council members present.

Schools and other educational institutions may establish the school council/institution council. The council should include at least 6 members in equal proportion representing teachers (elected by teachers), pupils’/students’ parents (elected by parents) and pupils/students (elected by pupils/students; except nursery and primary schools and special schools for pupils with intellectual disabilities and some other institutions referred to in relevant regulations).

The council actively participates in solving internal problems. Moreover, the council:

  • adopts the school statutes;
  • gives its opinion on the draft school financial plan;
  • can make proposals to the body responsible for pedagogical supervision over the school to assess the activities of the school/the school head/a teacher;
  • gives opinion on the school activity plan, proposals for educational innovations and experiments and other matters relevant to the school;
  • may, on its own initiative, evaluate the activities of, or conditions in, the school and make proposals concerning, in particular, extra-curricular activities and optional school subjects to the school head, the school's teaching council, the school managing body or the regional school education council.

In order to support statutory activities of school, the council can collect funds from voluntary donations and other sources.

Schools and other educational institutions also establish parents' councils which represent parents of all pupils/students in a given school or institution. The parents' council can make proposals concerning all school matters to the school head and other school bodies, the school managing body or the body responsible for pedagogical supervision.

The powers of the parents' council include:

  • adopting a school education and care programme and a problem prevention programme in consultation with the school's teaching council;
  • giving its opinion on a programme and schedule of activities designed to improve school performance; 
  • giving its opinion on a draft financial plan submitted by the school head.

In order to support the statutory activities of school, the school council can collect funds from voluntary parents’ donations and other sources.

Another body operating within schools and institutions is the pupil/student self-government established by all pupils/students in a given school or institution. Its operational arrangements and the rules for electing its members are laid down in the regulations adopted by all pupils/students in an equal, secret and popular vote. The self-government bodies are the only bodies representing all pupils/students. Self-government regulations may not be contradictory to the statutes of the school or institution. The self-government can make proposals and give opinions on all school maters to the school council, the teaching council and the school head. In particular, these may concern the basic rights of pupils/students such as:

  • the right to be familiarised with the curriculum, its contents and aims, and with the requirements set for pupils/students;
  • the right to open and justified assessment of progress in learning and conduct;
  • the right to organise school life in a way that ensures an appropriate balance between learning effort and opportunities for developing and pursuing pupils'/students' own interests;
  • the right to edit and publish a school newspaper;
  • the right to organise cultural, educational, sports and entertainment activities in line with pupils'/students' needs and organisational capacities, in cooperation with the school head;
  • the right to choose the teacher responsible for the pupil/student self-government.

Moreover, schools may establish associations and organisations, in particular scouting organisations, whose statutory aims include providing educational activities or extending the range of educational and care activities at a given school or institution. No political parties and organisations can be established in schools or institutions.

Higher education

The collective bodies of a public higher education institution (HEI) include the senate and boards of basic organisational units. The statutes of a non-public HEI may provide for a collective body other than the senate. If provided for in the statutes, public HEIs may establish a council in addition to the senate. The collective bodies of a non-public HEI are specified in its statutes. The rector (rektor) and the heads of basic organisational units are single-person authorities. The dean (dziekan) is the head of the faculty. The statutes of a non-public HEI may provide for another single-person authority in addition to the rector. The electoral bodies are electoral colleges.

The powers of the senate include:

  • adopting the statutes;
  • adopting study regulations for first-, second-, long- and third-cycle programmes and non-degree postgraduate programmes, and the rules for admission to first-, second-, long- and third-cycle programmes;
  • defining the main lines of the HEI's activities and laying down the principles of its activities;
  • assessing the performance of the HEI, approving the rector’s annual activity reports and assessing the performance of the rector;
  • adopting resolutions on the establishment of a branch campus, a basic organisational unit or teaching centre in another location, and on the establishment and abolishment of programmes in a given field of study; 
  • giving permission to the rector to conclude an agreement on cooperation with a foreign institution, unless stated otherwise in the statutes;
  • giving permission for the establishment of an academic business incubator or a technology transfer centre;
  • awarding the degree of doctor honoris causa;
  • voicing opinion of the HEI academic community and giving opinion on the matters referred to it by the rector, the board of a basic organisational unit or a certain number of the senate members as required by the statutes.

The powers of the senate of a public HEI also include:

  • adopting activity-and-finance plans for the HEI;
  • approving financial reports of the HEI;
  • laying down the rules for purchasing, selling and encumbering securities in so far as this is not regulated in the legislation on public finance and on securities trading;
  • giving permission for purchasing, selling and encumbering assets of the value specified in the statutes, joining a partnership, cooperative or other business organisation, and for establishing a partnership or foundation.

The rector manages an HEI and represents it externally, and is the superior for staff, students and doctoral students of the HEI. The rector of a public HEI takes decisions in all matters concerning the institution, except those reserved by the Law on Higher Education or the statutes for the remit of other bodies or the head of finance and administration. In particular, the rector:

  • takes decisions concerning the assets and business matters of the HEI;
  • supervises activities of the HEI in the area of teaching and research;
  • is responsible for the implementation of, and improvements in, an internal quality assurance system;
  • supervises the administration of the institution and the management of its business matters;
  • ensures compliance with the law and security on the premises of the HEI;
  • defines the scope of duties of vice-rectors.

In accordance with the rules laid down in separate legislation, the rector of a public HEI is accountable for infringement of the legislation on public finance by the institution.

The powers of the board of a basic organisational unit include:

  • defining the main lines of the unit’s activities;
  • adopting study programmes for first-, second-, long- and third-cycle programmes, following consultation with the competent student self-government body in the case of first-, second- and long-cycle programmes or the competent doctoral student self-government body in the case of third-cycle programmes, in accordance with the guidelines set by the senate of a public HEI or a collective body of a non-public HEI;
  • adopting study programmes for non-degree post-graduate programmes and retraining courses in accordance with the guidelines set by the senate of a public HEI or a collective body of a non-public HEI.

Precise powers of the board of a basic organisational unit are specified in the statutes. Resolutions of the board on matters within its remit are binding for the head, staff, doctoral students and students of the unit. The head of the unit may appeal against the resolution of the board to the senate of the HEI. The senate repeals the resolution of the board which is in contravention of the Law on Higher Education, the statutes, the resolution of the senate or the highest-level collective body of a non-public HEI, regulations and other internal rules of the HEI or which jeopardises vital interests of the HEI.