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Poland:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

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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

Types of institutions

General upper secondary education – without a vocational education strand offered in parallel – is provided in a general upper secondary school (liceum ogólnokształcące) where students can take the maturity exam and obtain a maturity certificate. There are also upper secondary schools which provide only vocational education or vocational education in parallel to general education; for further details, see the next section.

General upper secondary schools provide education to young people aged 16 to 19 years. Pursuant to the legislation currently in force, such schools offer three-year programmes.

The Polish education system also includes general upper secondary schools for adults.

Geographical accessibility

Nearly all general upper secondary schools (approximately 92% in the school year 2014/2015) are located in cities and towns. Thus, the accessibility of general upper secondary schools for young people from rural areas depends on the distance between their place of residence and the nearest city or town. Costs of commuting to upper secondary schools are covered mainly by parents.

In the school year 2014/2015, there were 3 991 general upper secondary schools, including 2 286 schools for young people. They were attended by 547.2 thousand pupils.

Admission requirements and choice of school

A legislative framework for admission to public general upper secondary schools is provided by the School Education Act. Pursuant to Article 20f of the Act, admission to an upper secondary school depends on the number of points which applicants have received in the lower secondary school leaving exam and for marks in their certificate for the Polish language, mathematics and two subjects selected by the head of a given school (usually taking into consideration the specialisms offered / ‘profile’ of education). Other achievements indicated in a lower secondary school leaving certificate are also taken into account.

The method for converting the criteria to points and detailed arrangements for the admission process are laid down in the Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 2 November 2015 (Journal of Law of 2015, item 1942).

The winners of regional competitions, which cover all or extend beyond the core curriculum for of at least one subject, are admitted to the upper secondary school of their choice regardless of the criteria applied to other applicants.

Age levels and grouping of pupils/students

A class (also referred to as ‘division’ in national legislation) is the basic organisational unit in a general upper secondary school (liceum ogólnokształcące) in Poland. It (nominally) groups pupils of the same age who jointly follow the same curriculum under the supervision of teachers. Roman numbers are used to designate classes and grades (I to III in a general upper secondary school).

Grouping into classes is based on the age of pupils as the basic criterion and, where applicable, on the promotion of the pupil to the next grade. Each class is supervised by a class teacher / tutor. As a rule, a given teacher holds this function throughout the period of education in school.

The minimum and maximum numbers of pupils per class are not defined in the legislation. Exceptions to the general rule are provided for in regulations adopted for special or integration general upper secondary schools (for disabled or socially maladjusted pupils) on the basis of the School Education Act; for example, the number of pupils per class in integration schools and classes should range between 15 and 20, including 3 to 5 disabled pupils. For some school activities / classes in general upper secondary schools, pupils are further divided into groups, based on arrangements similar to those in lower secondary schools.

Upper secondary education is not divided into cycles.

Organization of the school year

Classes in the school year in general upper secondary schools are divided into two semesters:

  • the first one lasting from the first day of classes (the first working day of September) till the last Saturday preceding the winter holidays;
  • the second one from the Monday directly after the winter holidays till the last day of classes (the last Friday in June).

There are some exceptions. The main one concerns the highest grades as the maturity exam is conducted after the completion of the final year of education. Thus, classes in the second semester for these grades end as early as on the last Friday in April.

The dates of the winter break vary among the provinces in Poland. The winter holidays are scheduled between mid-January and the end of February, and last for two weeks. The exact timing of the winter break is determined by the head of the regional education authorities (kurator oświaty) in agreement with the governor of the province. Schools in Poland also have Christmas and Easter breaks lasting a few days.

Detailed information on the organisation of the school year (start and dates of the school year, summer holidays and winter breaks with geographical variations, and public/religious holidays) are available in the annually updated Eurydice publication Organisation of the school time in Europe. Primary and Secondary General Education. 2016/2017 school year

Organization of the school day and week

In accordance with the Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 7 February 2012 on the outline timetables in public schools (with further amendments; last amended on 29 December 2014), the weekly number of hours of compulsory classes and lessons with the class tutor in general upper secondary school is as follows:

  • grade I – 30 (in bilingual classes – 33),
  • grade II – 32 (in bilingual classes – 35),
  • grade III – 29 (in bilingual classes – 32).

Classes usually start at 8 a.m. and finish around 2-3 p.m. if the school works in one shift (they last longer if the school works in two or three shifts). Each lesson (period) lasts 45 minutes. Breaks last at least 5 minutes, but no longer than 25 minutes. The duration of the school day also depends on the size of the school building, the number of classrooms and other facilities for after-school activities. Students go to upper secondary schools on five days a week (from Monday to Friday). If the number of classes is at least twice as high as the number of classrooms, classes may be conducted for six days a week throughout the school year or in the alternating system, i.e. 5 days in one week and 6 days in the next week.