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Poland:Organisation of Private 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

Non-public education in the school education system

Non-public (non-state) education had not developed much in the period between the strengthening of the new regime after 1945 and the political breakthrough in 1989. As a rule, it was the state that established, governed and financed schools and other educational institutions. Schools, educational institutions, care and education institutions and other training institutions could be established and administered by professional organisations, youth organisations, civic organisations and other organisations and institutions, including religious ones, but only upon a permission of the minister responsible for education who set rules for administering them and supervised them. As a result, in 1989 only 63 of all 26,358 nursery schools were non-public, including 33 administered by religious congregations. There were also 12 non-public primary schools (total 18,283) and 20 non-public upper secondary schools (total 939) (source: Central Statistical Office, Education 1990/91 / GUS, Szkolnictwo 1990/91). Most of the few entities administering non-public establishments at that time were religious organisations and institutions.

The first “civic” schools emerged at the end of the 1980s. They were called “civic” in order to distinguish them from public schools, and to emphasise, at the same time, that they were not private. Administering a school did not bring profit to their “owners”: teachers and parents who set up the Civic Society for Education. Both civic and private (including church-administered) schools started to develop rapidly between 1990 and 2000. The School Education Act of 7 September 1991 created a legislative framework for the development of non-public education in Poland.

Currently, schools and other educational institutions may be public or non-public:

  1. Public schools are institutions established and managed by a central government body (the competent minister), a local government unit (gmina, powiat or województwo) or – upon a special permission – by other legal entity or natural person. A public school implements school curricula and complies with the rules for pupil/student assessment as laid down by the minister responsible for school education. It provides free-of-charge education insofar as classes are included in an outline timetable established by the minister. Pupil/student admissions are governed by the rules laid down in national legislation.
  2. Non-public schools are institutions established and administered by legal entities or natural persons on the basis of an entry into the register of non-public schools and educational institutions kept by the relevant local government unit. A non-public school may be granted the public-school status (an authorisation to award national certificates) if it fulfils the minimum curriculum requirements, applies the rules for the assessment and promotion of pupils/students and employs teachers holding required qualifications as laid down by the minister responsible for school education.

Both categories of schools are subject to state supervision with regard to the quality of activities and their compliance with national legislation, though supervision is more extensive in the case of public schools than non-public schools. The main differences between public and non-public schools are that the former provide free-of-charge education and ensure open access, and open access concerns, in particular, primary and lower secondary schools. Granting the public-school status to a non-public school implies that the outcomes of the education process are recognised and pupils/students may automatically move on to other public schools or non-public schools with the same status. Primary and lower secondary schools (providing full-time compulsory education) may be administered only as public schools or non-public schools with the public-school status.

Pre-school education

In the school year 2014/2015, approximately 1,236,000 children participated in preschool education in various settings. Nearly 943,000 children attended 10,939 nursery schools (przedszkole), including more than 20% of children in non-public nursery schools, administered by natural persons, religious organisations and various associations. A total of 256,000 children attended 8,610 preschool classes in primary schools. Approximately 37,000 children attended 2,112 other preschool education settings (preschool education units and centres), with most of the children (60%) enrolled in non-public settings.

Institutions providing ECEC to children below 3 in Poland include crèches, kids’ clubs and day-care providers. Currently, the main legislative act regulating activities of various ECEC settings for this age group is the Act of 4 February 2011 on Early Childhood Education and Care for Children aged up to 3 years. The responsibility for ECEC now rests with the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy (Minister of Labour and Social Policy between 2011 and 2016). At the end of 2015, there were approximately 1,900 crèches, 439 kids’ clubs and 599 day-care providers. The number of settings has been steadily growing. For further details, see Chapter 4, Early Childhood Education and Care.

Primary education

In the school year 2014/2015, there were 13,528 primary schools (szkoła podstawowa) in Poland. The overwhelming majority of them (11,793) were administered by local government units (mainly by communes (gmina), for which this is a statutory responsibility); these are public schools. A total of 40 schools administered by central government bodies had the same status. The other primary schools (mainly but not only non-public ones) were administered by natural persons and legal entities operating on the basis of private law; the non-public sector represented approximately 12.5% of all institutions and 4.9% of all pupils in this section of the school education system.

Non-public primary schools (szkoła podstawowa) are obliged to acquire the public-school status as they provide full-time compulsory education. The conditions for acquiring such status are specified in Art. 7 (3) of the School Education Act where non-public schools are required to bring standards for their activity in line with those set for public schools. Failure to fulfil these conditions leads to the liquidation of the school concerned.

The public-school status guarantees public funding for non-public primary schools which is provided either from local government budgets (the commune / gmina and the district / powiat) or directly from the State budget in the case of art schools. A grant normally covers 100% of the current expenditure per pupil in a public school of the same type, but it is higher for disabled pupils.

Lower and upper secondary education for young people and post-secondary education for young people and adults

Like primary schools, non-public lower secondary schools (gimnazjum) are obliged to acquire the public-school status as they provide full-time compulsory education. In order to acquire such status, they are required to implement curricula based on the national core curriculum, comply with the rules for pupil assessment and employ teachers holding qualifications as laid down by the minister responsible for school education. 

Non-public lower secondary, upper secondary and post-secondary schools with the public-school status are, like non-public primary schools, subsidised either from local government budgets (the commune and the district) or directly from the state budget in the case of art schools.

Detailed statistics on lower and upper secondary schools in Poland are available in Chapter ‘Secondary and Post-Secondary Education’. See also the publication of the Central Statistical Office ‘Education in the school year 2014-2015’ (GUS, Oświata i wychowanie w roku szkolnym 2014/2015) (with some data in a bilingual, Polish and English, version).

Higher Education – private HEIs

A legal basis for the establishment of non-public HEIs was created by the Higher Education Act of 12 September 1990. As from the late 1990s, non-public higher vocational education schools (wyższa szkoła zawodowa), authorised to provide only first-cycle (Bachelor's degree) programmes, could also be established on the basis of the Act on Schools of Higher Vocational Education of 26 June 1997. First non-public HEIs, except for several previously existing HEIs administered by churches and other denominational organisations, were registered in 1991. From the early 1990s the non-public sector expanded rapidly to include 302 HEIs in the academic year 2014/2015. In the same academic year, students enrolled in non-public HEIs (359,200) represented 24.4% of the total student population (1,469,400) in the higher education sector. In terms of the number of students enrolled, there are considerable differences between individual non-public HEIs. Some of them have several hundred students, while others train several thousand students.

Non-public HEIs are covered by the same legislation as public HEIs. Like public HEIs, they were divided until recently into “higher education schools” and “schools of higher vocational education” (or “higher vocational education schools”), operating on the basis of the two separate Acts of 1990 and 1997 mentioned above. The 2005 Law on Higher Education, which repealed the legislation previously in force, divides non-public HEIs, like public HEIs, into university HEIs (uczelnia akademicka) and non-university HEIs (uczelnia zawodowa). Most of the 302 currently existing non-public HEIs are non-university HEIs. Over 80 of them are authorised to provide both first-cycle (Bachelor's degree, i.e. licencjat or inżynier) programmes and long-cycle and/or second-cycle (Master's degree, i.e. magister) programmes, whereas nearly 220 may only provide first-cycle programmes. Only 11 of non-public institutions are university-type HEIs, authorised to award doctoral degrees (doktor) and to provide doctoral programmes in at least one of their organisational units. In 2015, the first non-public university-type HEI acquired a status of a university.

Non-public HEIs are established by natural persons or legal entities, except legal entities administered by national or local authorities. The establishment of a non-public HEI requires a permit granted by the minister responsible for higher education.

Students enrolled in non-public HEIs may apply for financial support in accordance with the same rules as students in public HEIs. Non-public HEIs are granted a State-budget subsidy for the tasks related to non-reimbursable financial support for students. If complying with the requirements laid down in the relevant legislation, non-public HEIs may also be granted a subsidy to cover a part of fees paid by full-time students and full-time doctoral students, and subsidies contributing towards the costs of various tasks (e.g. training of academic staff, maintenance, investment projects), specified in the 2005 Law on Higher Education, which are not related to the teaching of full-time students and full-time doctoral students.

Non-public HEIs are required to comply with the same requirements for the provision of first, second-, long- and third-cycle programmes as public HEIs. They provide programmes and award relevant degrees in accordance with the same arrangements as those for public HEIs. However, non-public HEIs charge tuition fees for both full-time and part-time programmes offered. The levels of tuition fees are vary varied depending on the institution, mode of study (full-time or part-time), field of study or even the year of study (no fees for the first semester, lower fees in the first year, higher fees in the following years).

As far as fields of study are concerned, the overwhelming majority of non-public HEIs offer degree programmes in business and administration, social sciences and related areas.

Adult education and training – private forms of continuing education

Continuing education in non-public schools which do not have the public-school status or in other non-public institutions is private. The costs of tuition are covered by students or can be covered by the employer in the case of training for employees. The Register of Training Institutions shows that the largest proportion of training institutions were created after 2001 (representing nearly half of all registered institutions in 2009). Every eighth institution was established before 1989. Since 2005, many opportunities, partly financed from the European Social Fund, have been offered to various groups of beneficiaries.