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Poland:Lifelong Learning Strategy

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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

In 2013, as part of the efforts to consolidate public finance and ensure coordination of activities in different sectors, the number of strategic documents has been significantly reduced. The Government currently in office has adopted the Responsible Development Plan and Strategy. These documents explicitly identify education as a key element of social and regional development, determining the emergence of a strong national economy.

An Intersectoral Task Force for Lifelong Learning, including the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), development a document entitled “The Lifelong Learning Perspective”, which was adopted by the Government in September 2013.

Key operational objectives set in this document for formal education are consistent with the directions of reforms implemented since 2009 (the development process of both overlapped). This concerns the curricular reforms of preschool, general primary and lower secondary education (implemented since 2009), higher education (since 2011), general upper secondary education, and vocational and continuing education (since September 2012). Moreover, “The Perspective” highlights the need for greater openness of formal education towards other forms of learning, and the integration of the national qualifications system and a new approach towards adult education.

Key objectives for the lifelong learning (LLL) policy based on the above-mentioned document:

  • Creativity and innovation
    • Policy objectives: Institutions at all educational levels should focus on creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation. To be able to do this, they must have curricular autonomy to develop programmes suitable for the local needs and to validate learning outcomes. In so doing, educational institutions should ensure the individualisation of the work with learners, diversification of teaching methods and organisational forms. They should also promote active and practical learning in problem-solving teams.
    • Implementation: The objectives set have been implemented in the course of the curricular reforms of preschool and general education and of higher education. Both are defined in terms of learning outcomes and, thus, are coherent with the European Qualifications Framework. The general education reform is considered to have contributed to, among other things, better performance of Polish pupils in reading, mathematics and science in PISA 2012, and to reducing the percentage of low achievers in these areas. In the latter case, the 2020 EU benchmark (i.e. a maximum of 15% of low achievers) has already been reached in Poland (10.6% for reading, 14.4% for maths and 9% for science). More information in Polish on the curricular reform of preschool and general education can be accessed on the Ministry of National Education’s websites.
  • Integrated national qualifications system
    • Policy objectives: In view of the expanding area of learning in various forms (lifewide learning), including the involvement of business and social partners in the development of high-quality competences, it is necessary to pursue a new policy for awarding qualifications. This policy is based on learning outcomes. This should help to ensure compliance with the EU principle for awarding qualifications that each level of qualifications should be achievable for people taking different paths in education, training and career. Effective implementation of this principle requires the engagement of many entities that provide various opportunities for learning – in school and higher education as well beyond them.
    • Implementation: In the first half of 2013, a report referencing the Polish Qualifications Framework to the European Qualifications Framework was prepared. In May 2013, the report was submitted to the European Commission. In March 2015, the Government adopted the provisions for a bill on the Integrated Qualification System, and the Act was passed in December 2015. For further details, see: http://www.kwalifikacje.gov.pl/ (information in Polish).
  • Increasing participation rates in early childhood education and care
    • Policy objectives: To facilitate child development, including their skills, further quality improvement of the ECEC provision, supported by parents. To achieve that, interdepartmental cooperation is required so that high-quality ECEC can effectively prepare young children for the next educational stages.
    • Implementation: Since 2011, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy has implemented the “Toddler” programme supporting ECEC for children below 3. In 2015, 151 million PLN was allocated to the programme, and another 151 million PLN in 2016. Currently, there are approximately 1,900 crèches, 439 kids clubs and 599 day-care providers. More information on the programme in Polish available at: http://www.zlobki.mpips.gov.pl/. During only a year (data for 2013/14 and 2014/15), the participation rate for children aged 3-5 years grew from 79.4% to 82.3%.

In the meantime, to reach European standards, an Act was passed in 2013 on additional State-budget funding for local authorities responsible for ECEC provision; grants amounted to 504 million PLN in 2013, 1,567 million PLN in 2014, with the funding to be gradually increased year to year up to 1,879 million PLN in 2022. Grants should cover the establishment of new care settings, quality improvement in ECEC and the reduction of fees charged from parents. More information in Polish on the website of the Ministry of National Education</u>.

  • Adaptation of education and training to labour market and social needs
    • Policy objective: Vocational education and training should effectively prepare its graduates to find employment and to change occupation if needed. Current policy programmes of the Government involve a complete change of the structure of existing vocational schools (basic vocational schools and technical upper secondary schools) towards the establishment of so-called branch/sectoral schools (1st/lower- and 2nd/upper-grade). After finishing a 2nd grade sectoral school and passing an examination for a second qualification, graduates will have completed upper secondary education and will be awarded a diploma of technician. A 2nd grade sectoral school graduate with the title of technician may take a vocational maturity examination and continue education by following a professional degree programme at a higher education institution in the area / sector corresponding to the title of technician held. At least 50% of a programme in a sectoral school will be allocated to vocational education / training. The structure proposed will still include existing technical upper secondary schools, operating as they currently do, with the maturity exam at the basic and extended levels and a diploma confirming vocational qualifications. It is also planned that schools will be brought closer to labour market institutions through, for example, active involvement of employers in the education process and examinations.
    • Implementation: No measures have been taken yet to put in place the new structure of vocational education. So far, since 2012, a vocational and continuing education reform has been implemented within the school education system, aimed at better adaptation of education to the labour market. It includes:
      • changes in the classification of occupations (each occupation is defined with 1 to 3 qualifications, where a given qualification may be a part of several occupations);
      • structural changes (vocational schools may merge into vocational and continuing education centres);
      • modernisation of the core curriculum for vocational education, with vocational qualifications described in terms of learning outcomes;
      • the strengthening of the component covering key competences within vocational education;
      • modernisation of external vocational exams adapted to the new classification of occupations;
      • greater flexibility in continuing education through wider use of non-school settings.

Further details on changes in the legislative framework for school education in Poland are available in the updated section at: Poland:National_Reforms_in_School_Education.

Activities initiated in 2011 in the higher education sector have been continued, aiming at a clear distinction between academically oriented programmes (‘general academic profile’) and practically oriented ones (‘practical profile’). With financial incentives offered, it is expected that a robust sector of practically (professionally) oriented programmes will be established, which should respond to the needs of a larger proportion of students. At the same time, this would allow raising and ‘enforcing’ research standards within academically oriented programmes. Consequently, practically oriented programmes are required to include at least 3-month practical training (a practical placement/internship). Moreover, a dual system of study is planned to be introduced, which would combine studying with practical placements. Additionally, practically oriented programmes are recommended to involve more practitioners in teaching students.

  • A new approach to adult learning based on the recognition of the value of learning in the workplace and as part of structured social engagement
    • Policy objectives: The work place and social engagement offer the greatest learning potential which is not, however, sufficiently tapped in Poland. Recommended arrangements will enable more effective identification, assessment and validation of learning outcomes achieved in this way. The system for the validation of prior work, social and personal experience will be further developed as a basis for continuing lifelong learning.
    • Implementation: As part of the above-mentioned vocational and higher education reforms, new validation mechanisms were implemented in both education sectors. External vocational exams became accessible to those who have gained work experience in settings other than vocational education schools and continuing education centres. HEIs may now validate competences acquired outside the higher education system; for example, at work, in training and other courses, through self-study or voluntary activities.

Moreover, as part of the reform of labour market institutions underway since 2014, the National Training Fund (NTF) (Krajowy Fundusz Szkoleniowy) has been established. It forms a separate part of the Labour Fund (LF), with 2% of the LF allocated to the NTF since 2015 to support employers who invest money in continuing education and training of their employees. Once an application is submitted to a district employment office, an employer may receive funding that covers 80% of their employees’ training costs, while micro-entrepreneurs may be awarded a grant covering 100% of training costs.

Additionally, trilateral agreements between an employment office, an employer and a training institution have been introduced. Persons sent to a course by the office should be trained according to the specific needs of the employer concerned, who, in turn, is obliged to employ them. More information in Polish is available at the websites of the Public Employment Service.

In order to promote the concept of lifelong learning, two programmes have been implemented: for the group of 50+, with a special focus on their professional activation, and the group of 60+, focusing on their social activation.

Further details about the Polish LLL strategy may be accessed at the website of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of National Education.