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Poland:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

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Poland:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Poland:Historical Development

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Poland:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

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Poland:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

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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

Significant changes have been introduced in the system of vocational education and training in Poland based on amendments to the School Education Act adopted on 23 December 2011 and the Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 23 December 2011 on the classification of occupations for vocational education (with further amendments; last amended on 6 November 2015), the Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 7 February 2012 on the core curriculum for vocational education (with further amendments; last amended on 10 July 2015) and other regulations. The reform aimed primarily to improve the quality and effectiveness of the VET system and its relevance to the needs of employers and the labour market.

In the revised classification of occupations, descriptions of occupations are based on qualifications. The classification includes approximately 200 occupations which comprise over 250 qualifications. One, two or three qualifications are distinguished within individual occupations. Moreover, seven artistic occupations are distinguished with no qualifications specified. Pupils and adult learners can acquire qualifications one by one throughout the education process (not only upon the completion of the school). Examinations confirming vocational qualifications may be taken not only at the end of education in school, but also at other stages of education or after the pupil / learner has obtained a specific qualification. Having passed an exam for a given (single) qualification, the pupil / learner receives a certificate for this qualification. After passing exams for all the qualifications required for a given occupation (and having completed the required level of education), pupils / learners receive a diploma attesting to qualifications for a given occupation.

The system of exams confirming vocational qualifications is flexible enough to allow validation of non-formal and informal learning outcomes. Since September 2012, this system has been open to persons who have acquired vocational knowledge and experience outside vocational schools.

A number of changes were introduced to the organization of VET system:

  • Basic vocational schools now offer only three-year programmes.
  • It is now possible to merge or combine basic vocational schools and create centres of vocational and continuing training, in order to diversify vocational education offer and increase opportunities for cooperation with employers.
  • New forms of vocational training in non-school settings have been introduced, i.e. vocational qualification courses for adults which enable them to take exams confirming qualifications.
  • Some types of institutions, i.e. specialized upper secondary schools, supplementary general upper secondary schools and supplementary technical upper secondary schools are being phased out (admission to these schools is no longer possible).

The changes are aimed at simplifying the education process, enable acquisition of selected qualifications and make it easier to acquire qualifications required to practise new occupations.

Types of institutions

At present, vocational upper secondary schools include:

  • a 3-year basic vocational school (students aged 16 to 19) enables students to obtain a diploma confirming vocational qualifications upon passing vocational exams, and to continue education in grade II of general upper secondary school for adults;
  • a 4-year technical upper secondary school (students aged 16 to 20) enables students to obtain a diploma confirming vocational qualifications upon passing vocational exams, and to take the maturity exam and obtain a maturity certificate;
  • a 3-year school preparing for employment, intended for pupils with moderate and severe mental disabilities and pupils with multiple disabilities, leads to a certificate confirming their preparation for employment (see also Educational_Support_and_Guidance)

Geographical accessibility

Vocational schools are located primarily in urban areas. Those in rural areas are mainly agricultural schools.

In the school year 2014/2015, there were 2 023 technical upper secondary schools attended by 511.7 thousand students. As compared with the previous year, the number of schools decreased by ca 2.92% and the number of students by 1.15%. The majority of them were schools for young people (96.7% of schools, attended by 99.7% of students), while schools for adults represented 3.3% and were attended by only 0.3% of students.

In the school year 2014/2015, there were 1 721 basic vocational schools in Poland. In comparison to the previous year, their number decreased by 67 (3.7%). Most basic vocational schools were schools for young people (77.4%); special schools represented 22.1%, and schools for adults, gradually phased out as from 2012/2013, represented 0.5% of the total number. Basic vocational schools were attended by 190.1thousand students, including 93.1% in schools for young people, 6.8% in special schools and 0.1% in schools for adults.

Admission requirements and choice of school

See: Admission Requirements and Choice of School in General Upper Secondary Education

Age levels and grouping of pupils/students

The age of pupils in vocational upper secondary education is between 16 and 19/20 years.

A class (also referred to as ‘division’ in national legislation) is the basic organisational unit in the primary school (and in schools at higher education levels) 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.

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 tutor / teacher. As a rule, a given teacher holds this function throughout the period of education in the school.

The minimum and maximum numbers of pupils per class are not defined in the legislation. There are exceptions to this rule; for example, the number of pupils per class in integration schools and integration classes of mainstream basic vocational schools should range between 15 and 20, including 3 to 5 disabled pupils.

Where the number of pupils in a class of a basic vocational school is high, they should be divided into groups for some classes / activities (e.g. ICT and foreign languages).

Vocational upper secondary education is not divided into cycles.

Organization of the school year

See: Organization of the School Year in General Upper Secondary Education

Organization of the school day and week

The weekly number of teaching hours of compulsory classes and classes with the class tutor / teacher is 31-35 in technical upper secondary schools (33-36 in bilingual classes), and between 27 and 30 hours in basic vocational schools. In addition, the course load may include Religion or Ethics classes (electives) and hours left to the discretion of the school head.

Classes usually start at 8 a.m. and finish around 2-3 p.m. if a school works in one shift (they last longer if the school works in two or three shifts). Each lesson (period) lasts 45 minutes. Breaks are considered sufficient if they 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 vocational 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, 5 days in one week and 6 days in the next week.