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Poland:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

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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

Demographic situation

In Poland 38.0 million people inhabit an area of 312 685 square kilometres. The average density of the population is 123 people per square kilometre. The Silesia region has the highest density of population index: 371 people per square kilometre. The Podlasie province and the Warmia-Mazuria province  have the lowest density indices (59 and 60 people per square kilometre respectively).

Starting in the post-war period, very dynamic demographic processes were observed in Poland, with the number of inhabitants increasing by 14 million between 1946 and 1988. Since 1989 a process of limited replacement of generations has been observed. In 1999 a decline in the population was observed for the first time, lasting for 9 years. It was mainly caused by a drop in the number of births and negative net definitive international migration. The year 2008 was the first year in 11 years when positive net growth of population was noted: the number of inhabitants grew by nearly 20 thousand in comparison with the previous year. In years 2009 - 2012 the population growth was also noted, which was due to the growing number of births and a diminishing negative net international migration rate (a visible increase in final migration flows was observed in 2006). The year 2013 was the first year, during which the positive net growth of population was not noted. Between 2013 and 2015, the population of Poland declined, reaching approximately 38 437 000 people at the end of 2015.

The recently observed demographic changes may indicate that overcoming a deep demographic depression in Poland may still take many years. The fertility rate is still the lowest among the EU countries and one of the lowest in Europe – in 2015 the fertility rate in Poland was 1.289 (which means that for each 100 women aged 15-49, nearly 130 children were born). The rate varies slightly between the years but does not show a clear upward trend.

The deep demographic depression of the 1990s and a high level of emigration noted especially since 2004 (mostly young people) will soon lead to increasing difficulties in the demographic development, on the labour market and in the social security system. According to the long range demographic prognosis for the period up to 2035, the number of Poles will decrease steadily and the rate of this decrease will grow steadily. The process of ageing of the Polish society will also accelerate. The proportion of the post-working age population will increase. The so-called demographic burden index (the ratio of the post-working age population to the working age population) will increase from 55 in 2007 to 73 in 2035. In 2015 it amounted to 60.

Population by age


  2000 2005 2010 2012 2013 2014 2015
Population in thous. 38254.0 38157.1 38529.9 38538.4 38502.4 38479 38347
Population by age:          
Pre-working age (0-17) in % 24.4 20.6 18.8 18.5 18.3 18,0 18.0
Working age (18-59/64) in % 60.8 64.0 64.4 64.2 63.6 63.0 62.4
Post-working age (60/65 and above) in % 14.8 15.4 16.8 17.3 18.1 19.0 19.6

Source: Central Statistical Office (GUS Mały Rocznik Statystyczny 2014 ), www.stat.gov.pl

Migration

Estimates concerning temporary migration of Poles depict significant economic migration from Poland to other EU countries. Following the decrease of the number of Poles staying abroad temporarily in the years 2008 – 2010, in 2015 the number of Polish immigrants in other European countries increased again. At the end of 2015 around 2 397 thousand Polish citizens inhabited temporarily foreign countries, which means their number increased by 77 thousand (3.3%) in comparison to 2013.

Source: Informacja o rozmiarach i kierunkach czasowej emigracji z Polski w latach 2004-2015

Unemployment

Over the last 10 years, a significant drop in unemployment has been recorded in Poland. In 2005 the rate of unemployment equalled 18% and was much higher than the EU average (9%). In 2014 the total unemployment rate in Poland fell to 9% and is now lower than the European average (10.2%). However, the youth unemployment rate (young people below 25 years of age) equalled 23.9% and is still higher than the EU average (22.2%).


2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Youth unemployment rate, age group 15-24
Poland 36.9 29.8 21.6 17.2 20.6 23.7 25.8 26.5 27.3 23.9
EU (28) 19.0 17.7 15.9 15.9 20.3 21.4 21.7 21.7 23.7 22.2
Total unemployment rate
Poland 17.9 13..9 9.6 7.1 8.1 9.7 9.7 10.1 10.3 9.0
EU (28) 9..0 8..2 7.2 7.0 9.0 9.6 9.7 10.5 10.9 10.2

Source: Eurostat

Official and minority languages

The Polish language is the official language in Poland. as stated in the Constitution and the Act on the Polish Language.

Compared to other European countries, Poland is very homogenous in terms of nationality. It is estimated that no more than 3% of the total population are national minorities. The years since 1989 have seen a rebirth of national and ethnic identity among the minorities. The network of schools teaching in languages of national minorities or offering additional classes in these languages for pupils from national minorities has been steadily developing – the number of such schools has increased four-fold since 1990. The minorities’ right to protect, preserve and develop their cultural identity is guaranteed by the Constitution and the Act of 6 January 2005 on Ethnic and National Minorities and on the Regional Language. The latter defines tasks and powers of the state administration and local government bodies with respect to the exercise of the rights of ethnic and national minorities.

The Act distinguishes:

  • 9 national minorities: Byelorussian, Czech, Lithuanian, German, Armenian, Russian, Slovak, Ukrainian and Jewish;
  • 4 ethnic minorities: Karaim, Lemko, Romany and Tatar;
  • One community using the regional language of Kashubians.

The rights of ethnic and national minorities with respect to learning the minority language or education in the minority language as well as the right to learn about the history and culture of the minority are exercised on the basis of the principles laid down in the School Education Act of 7 September 1991. According to Article 13 of the School Education Act, a public school supports pupils in preserving their national, ethnic, linguistic and religious identity, with particular emphasis on history and culture. At parents' request, the teaching may be organised in:

  1. separate groups, classes and schools;
  2. groups, classes and schools with additional language, history and culture classes;
  3. interschool teaching units.

Detailed arrangements for this kind of provision are laid down in the Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 14 November 2007 on the conditions and methods for performing tasks related to supporting the national, ethnic and linguistic identity of pupils from national and ethnic minorities and the community using the regional language in public nursery schools, schools and educational institutions.

In the school year 2015/2016 the following numbers of pupils were learning the mother tongue other than Polish:

  • 57 363 pupils in 883 primary schools (szkoła podstawowa) and interschool teaching units, including 66% learning German, 27% learning Kashubian, 3% - Byelorussian, 2% - Ukrainian. There are few schools for Lithuanian, Slovak and Lemko minorities.
  • 9 568 pupils in 318 lower secondary schools (gimnazjum) and interschool teaching units, including 58% learning German, 28% Kashubian, 7% Byelorussian, and 5 % Ukrainian.
  • 2 277 pupils in 69 upper secondary schools, including 41% learning Kashubian, 23% learning Byelorussian, 16% Ukrainian, and 15% German.

In total, in the school year 2015/16, there were around 69.2 thousand national and ethnic minority pupils enrolled in schools providing classes in their mother tongue or additional classes in the languages of national and ethnic minorities.

Religions

The freedom of conscience and the freedom of religion are guaranteed by the Constitution. Churches of all denominations and the State are independent and autonomous. There is no official religion in Poland.

The Roman Catholic Church is the biggest church in Poland. The overwhelming majority (around 87%) of the population are Roman-Catholic if the number of the baptised is taken into consideration (33 million of baptised people in 2013). The Catholic Church also includes the Uniate Church (Greek-Catholic) with the congregation of approximately 55 thousand.

The Orthodox Church has a congregation of 550 thousand (1.4% of the population). There are about thirty Protestant Churches with a congregation above 150 thousand (0.4% of the population), the biggest one in this group being the Evangelical-Augsburg Church (more than 61 thousand members). There also exist about 20 Churches or other religious congregations, which bring together a total number of several dozen to more than 5 thousand followers (the only exception is Jehovah witnesses with 125 thousand members).

Although the Roman Catholic Church is the largest one, its legal relations with the State were not regulated for a long time (in contrast to other Churches and religions). The agreement (Concordat) between the Holy See and the Republic of Poland was ratified by the Sejm on 8 January 1998 and subsequently signed by the President.

With regard to education, the most important provision of the Concordat is that the State guarantees the teaching of religion (as an optional subject), at parents’ and students’ request, in public schools (pre-school, primary and secondary). The Church has the right to administer educational institutions, i.e. nursery schools and schools of all levels, in accordance with the canon law regulations and the relevant Acts of Parliament (e.g. those concerning the school and higher education systems, etc.) Detailed rules for the organization of the teaching of religion are laid out in a regulation by the Minister of National Education of 14 April 1992 on conditions and procedures for the organization of religion lessons in public schools and a regulation by the Minister of National Education concerning the outline timetables. In line with a regulation introduced on 1 September 2012 the lessons of religion and ethics are not automatically compulsory for students but become so upon a relevant request declared by students’ parents. The same procedure applies to minority and regional language education.