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Poland:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

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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

Adult education and training has a long tradition in Poland, especially important in the difficult period of partitions (end of 18th century) and regaining sovereignty in 1918. It was a backbone of the Polish language, culture, history and tradition.

Wolna Wszechnica Polska (Free Polish University), with its origins dating back to the end of the 19th century, was the first open university that, apart from educating adults, trained teachers to work as teacher trainers, social workers and didactic animators.

The last century has seen both periods of intensive growth and expansion of adult education and periods of stagnation, especially in the 1980s.

In the first years after World War II, adult education had compensatory functions and it was mainly focused on eliminating illiteracy. In the communist period, with its high politicization and centralization of all areas of public life, adult education was associated with “proletariat schooling” or “working-class education”; those unemployed could not, in principle, receive education in a school for working adults. It should be emphasised that in addition to schools for working adults, a system was in place for further and in-service training for industry workforce and political staff.

Establishing non-school educational institutions providing various training courses was subject to ‘rationing’ and strict control by the state. This centralisation and narrow understanding of adult education as formal and mainly professional training of workers may have been the reason why this sector of education and its links with professional training of adults were also narrowly defined in the next decades.

After 1989, adult education and training was left largely outside the key reforms taking place in school and higher education. In 1995, the School Education Act was supplemented with a definition of continuing education (still binding, as referred to in this chapter), its functions and provision options, and the responsibilities of the ministers responsible for school education, and labour and social policy in this area.

As one of the main achievements after 1989, provision was made to establish non-public institutions and other settings for adult education. The sector flourished rapidly, which was a definite triumph of democratization of education. At the same time, despite the efforts made, it still needed reforms that would establish adult education (in various forms, settings and ranges, for different types of recipients) as an integral part of professional, personal and social activity of people at all stages of life. This concerns, in particular, the provision of non-formal education by various entities; this type of education and training activities are not subject to the school education legislation whereby providers are required, for example, to obtain accreditation in order to assure quality of their offer.

Formal and non-formal adult education and training covers a wide range of forms, including those provided as part of other initiatives (such as service performance, societal engagement, etc.).

The decades since 1989 have seen dispersion of adult education within different public sectors (pupils, students and adults of different ages; the unemployed; training requirements laid down in the Labour Code; training requirements set for specific industry sectors; or professional accreditations). This dispersion hinders the establishment of a common policy covering all the areas concerned, although every ministry responsible makes efforts to improve effectiveness within this education sector. A sound financial policy for adult education, especially in partnership with employers, has not been developed yet.

Since May 2014, the National Training Fund, financed from the Labour Fund (2% of the LF), has supported continuing education of employers and employees where this is taken up on the initiative or upon consent of the employer. The well-established and strong position of formal education in the school system (leading to diplomas and certificates), together with all historical and political factors mentioned above, are likely to have contributed to low participation rates of adults in education and training. Better cooperation among the ministries in this area is expected as a result of measures taken to promote lifelong learning and develop validation systems for learning outcomes.

Joint activities in the area of adult education are encouraged by the Integrated Qualifications System (see the section on IQS). Activities in this domain connect formal and non-formal education and, thus, popularize lifelong learning.

Activities in the area of AET seek to achieve the aims of the Copenhagen Declaration (with low values of indicators for AET still observed in Poland) and the Recommendations of the European Parliament and the Council on ECVET, cooperation in higher education (Bologna Process) and adult education outside the VET and TE sectors, i.e. the European Agenda for Adult Learning. AET issues are also included in the EU financial perspective for 2014-2020. The European Social Fund (ESF) provides funding for the Operational Programme ‘Knowledge Education Development’ (Program Operacyjny Wiedza Edukacja Rozwój, POWER). Lifelong learning issues are addressed in various national documents (see also Table 2):

and other official documents.

The directions for lifelong learning policy are set in the document entitled ‘The Lifelong Learning Perspective’ (Perspektywa uczenia się przez całe życie) prepared by the Inter-departamental Team for Lifelong Learning (Międzyresortowy Zespół do spraw uczenia się przez całe życie), including the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). The strategic policy objective in this domain is to prepare children and young people for learning throughout their lives, and adults for improving their skills and competences in order to meet their professional, social and personal challenges. Particular stress is placed upon the following areas:

  • individual creativity and innovativeness,
  • a clear and coherent national qualifications system,
  • diverse and accessible ECEC offer,
  • education and training adapted to the needs of sustainable economy, changes on the labour market and social needs,
  • work environment and societal engagement facilitating lifelong learning among adults.

The document defines indicators for monitoring the objectives and sets benchmarks for 2020:

  • at least 90% of children between 4 and the primary school starting age attend ECEC;
  • youth with low achievement in reading (11% in 2020), maths (16%) and science according to OECD/PISA;
  • early school leavers – 4.5%;
  • adults aged 30-34 with tertiary education diploma (or equivalent) – 45%;
  • adults aged 25-64 participating in education and/or training four weeks before the survey – at least 10%.

Adults may be awarded qualifications upon completion of training courses. Each of the qualifications required for a given occupation may be validated separately through a vocational exam; this provides greater flexibility in acquiring and upgrading qualifications outside the formal education system. A key reform introduced in 2012 involved the revision of the classification of occupations for vocational education, and its alignment with the classification of occupations for the labour market with regard to the names of occupations and their numerical symbols. Occupations in the classification are defined by individual qualifications for the occupations at the level of a basic vocational school, technical upper secondary school and post-secondary school. Qualifications distinguished within individual occupations are described in the core curriculum for vocational education as a set of intended learning outcomes: knowledge, professional skills, and personal and social competences. Provisions on AET in the School Education Act and the Act on the Promotion of Employment and Labour Market Institutions (ustawa o promocji zatrudnienia i instytucjach rynku pracy) have also been aligned, especially those concerning the validation of learning outcomes and adult education and training.