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Poland:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

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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

Fields of study

In Poland, areas of education are subject to the Regulation of the Minister of Science and Higher Education of 8 August 2011 on areas of knowledge, fields of science and arts and scientific and artistic disciplines. This document implements provisions of the amendment to the Law on Higher Education and the Act on academic degrees and titles in science and arts. It takes into account education areas defined in the legislation on higher education. At the same time, it is one of the steps in the implementation of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) in Poland. It replaces the 2006 Regulation on the fields of study and other regulations and gives HEIs greater autonomy in defining education areas.

Pursuant to the Regulation of the Minister of Science and Higher Education of 26 September 2016 on the conditions for the provision of degree programmes, programmes in the fields of medicine, dentistry, medical analysis, pharmacy, physiotherapy, veterinary medicine, law and canon law are provided as long-cycle programmes.

This is related to the specificity of curricula in these fields of study – it is not possible to establish a two-cycle structure distinguishing between first- and second-cycle programmes.

Additionally, programmes in the fields of psychology, theology, acting, moving image production and photography, directing, stage design, graphic design, painting and sculpture may be provided either as two-cycle or as long-cycle studies.

Admission requirements

General requirements for admission to degree programmes provided by higher education institutions (HEIs) are the same for both university-type (uczelnia akademicka) and non-university (uczelnia zawodowa) HEIs.

Access to long-cycle programmes is open to holders of a maturity certificate (świadectwo maturalne). Following the introduction of the new, external, maturity examination (egzamin maturalny) in 2005, admission to long-cycle programmes (as well as first-cycle programmes) is based on the results of this examination. Thus, HEIs do not organise entrance examinations in the subjects taken by student applicants at the maturity exam. However, each HEI may specify which results of the maturity exam provide the basis for admission. Additional entrance examinations may be conducted by HEIs, with the consent of the minister responsible for higher education, only when it is necessary to assess knowledge or skills which are not assessed by the maturity exam or when an applicant holds an upper secondary school leaving certificate obtained abroad.

While respecting the general admission requirements, each HEI may define its own additional admission conditions and procedures, including the number of places available to students, except in medical fields of study (numerus clausus). Admission conditions and procedures may be similar across an HEI or may vary according to the field of study. Different conditions and procedures may be applied by different HEIs for the same fields of study. Admission conditions and procedures must be published by each HEI not later than by 31 May of the year preceding the academic year to which they refer.

The maximum number of students to be enrolled in each medical field of study (medicine, dentistry, nursing and midwifery) by individual HEIs concerned is specified in a regulation by the minister responsible for health, in consultation with the minister responsible for science and higher education. The maximum enrolment levels take into account the teaching capacity of the HEIs concerned and the demand for graduates in these fields of study.

In HEIs where applicants should meet any additional conditions, student enrolment is carried out by admissions committees appointed by the head of a given organisational unit (e.g. faculty) or other body indicated in the statutes of a given HEI. Admissions committees take decisions in any matters related to student enrolment. Applicants may appeal against decisions of an admissions committee to the institutional admissions committee, as well as to the rector whose decisions in such cases are final.

Curriculum

Regulation of the Minister of Science and Higher Education of 9 May 2012 on the national standards for the fields of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing and midwifery lays down detailed teaching standards for programmes in these fields.

The requirements concerning study programmes for the remaining fields of study are included in the Regulation of the Minister of Science and Higher Education of 26 September 2016 on the conditions for the provision of degree programmes. Pursuant to the Regulation:

  • A curriculum for a programme in a given field of study, at a given level of study and of a given profile includes a description of intended learning outcomes and a study timetable.
  • The description of intended learning outcomes for a programme in a given field of study, at a given level of study and of a given profile takes into account universal first-cycle characteristics / descriptors defined in the Act of 22 December 2015 on the Integrated Qualifications System (Journal of Law 2016, items 64 and 1010) and second-cycle characteristics / descriptors defined in regulations adopted on the basis of Article 7 (3) of the Act, including selected learning outcomes relevant to a given area or areas of education to which the programme has been assigned:
  1. for qualifications at Level 6 of the Polish Qualifications Framework in the case of first-cycle programmes;
  2. for qualifications at Level 7 of the Polish Qualifications Framework in the case of second-cycle and long-cycle programmes.

Programmes may be academically-oriented (‘general academic profile’) or practically-oriented (‘practical profile’).

A curriculum for a programme in a given field of study, at a given level of study and of a given profile defines:

  1. the form / mode of study (full-time or part-time);
  2. number of semesters and the number of ECTS credits necessary to obtain the qualification corresponding to a given level of study;
  3. study modules (courses or groups of courses) together with intended learning outcomes, curricular contents, forms and methods of teaching and learning leading to the outcomes, and the number of ECTS credits for each module;
  4. methods for verification and assessment of intended learning outcomes achieved by a student;
  5. a study timetable including modules referred to in point 3 above and, additionally, physical education classes in the case of full-time first-cycle and long-cycle programmes;
  6. the total number of ECTS credits that a student is required to obtain in courses requiring direct participation of teachers and students;
  7. the number of ECTS credits to be obtained by a student in courses within the area of Humanities or Social Sciences, which may not be smaller than 5 ECTS, in the case of fields of study assigned to areas other than Humanities and Social Sciences, respectively;
  8. the duration and form of, and rules for, practical placements for a practically-oriented programme, and for an academically-oriented programme if practical placements are included in the curriculum for the programme; and the number of ECTS credits that a student is required to obtain as part of such a placement.

Additionally, students may choose at least 30% of modules, with the percentage calculated according to the number of ECTS credits to be obtained in a given programme cycle (i.e. a period of delivery of a programme until a given cohort of students have graduated).

A curriculum may not be changed during a given programme cycle.

Programmes or courses within a programme may be provided in languages other than Polish.

The academic year in HEIs usually begins on 1 October and finishes at the end of June. It is divided into two semesters. In addition to the summer holidays, there are the following breaks for students: the winter holidays (in the first half of February) lasting 1-2 weeks and two shorter breaks at Christmas and Easter.

Detailed arrangements concerning the academic year are laid down by individual HEIs.

Teaching methods

There are no general national regulations or guidelines concerning the teaching methods. Teaching is organised in the form of lectures, classes, workshops or seminars, projects and/or practical training/placements, depending on the content of the curriculum for a given field or type of programme. Teachers are free to decide on teaching methods and teaching materials. They use a wide variety of teaching methods and materials, ranging from traditional ones to those based on ICT.

Organisational variations

Long-cycle programmes are provided in two basic modes (referred to as ‘forms of study’): full-time and part-time.

  • Full-time programmes – a form of study in which at least half of the study programme is implemented as class hours requiring direct participation (attendance) of academic teachers and students;
  • Part-time programmes – a form of study other than a full-time programme, as indicated by the senate of a given HEI.

Part-time programmes are normally provided as extramural or evening classes.

The 2005 Law on Higher Education stipulates that classes conducted as part of degree programmes in HEIs may be taught using distance learning methods. Detailed arrangements concerning distance learning are defined in the Regulation of the Minister of Science and Higher Education of 25 September 2007 on the conditions for classes as part of degree programmes to be conducted using distance learning methods and techniques, as amended by the regulations of the Minister of Science and Higher Education of 9 May 2008 and 2 November 2011. If an HEI plans to provide programmes based on distance learning, it must fulfil a range of requirements with respect to: the employment of academic staff trained in such techniques and methods of teaching; the installation of appropriate equipment and software; the availability of electronic teaching materials; ensuring meetings with academic supervisors; continuing and periodic assessment of students; and the monitoring of academic teachers conducting distance-learning classes. The number of class hours for full-time and part-time programmes offered using distance learning methods and techniques may not be greater than: 60% of the total number of class hours as specified in the programme requirements for individual fields and levels of study – practical study including laboratory classes, field work, workshops should take place on site – during class hours requiring direct participation of academic teachers and students. Methods and techniques of distance learning, including virtual labs, may be introduced here on a complementary basis.

Generally, long-cycle programmes are rarely provided as full-time programmes (e.g. medicine).

Progression of students

Detailed rules for taking examinations, progressing to the next semester and year, repeating a year and admission to the final (diploma) examination are laid down in the study regulations adopted by individual HEIs. However, all students are allowed to take a resit examination, including the final examination, and an examination following a failed resit examination which is conducted by an examination review board after an appeal made by a student to such a board. In order to be admitted to the final examination, students are required to complete all courses and practical placements as provided for in the curriculum, obtain a relevant number of ECTS credits (for long-cycle 5-year programmes 300 ECTS and long-cycle 6-year programmes 360 ECTS ) and to submit their diploma thesis prepared independently which must then receive a positive assessment. Where the curriculum does not envisage the preparation of a thesis and admission to the final examination, students are obliged only to complete all courses and practical placements included in the curriculum.

The head of a given basic organisational unit of an HEI (e.g. faculty) is obliged to strike a student from the register of students in cases where the student has not undertaken or has withdrawn from studies, has not submitted a thesis or has not taken the diploma examination in the period specified in the study regulations. The head of a unit may also strike from the register a student who has failed to make progress, or failed to complete a semester or academic year with positive results in the time specified in the study regulations.

Employability

Practical placements for students are organised as an integral part of degree programmes in most fields of study.

A large number of HEIs have already established careers services/offices, drawing on the experience of their partner HEIs in other EU countries or more experienced HEIs in Poland, and/or in co-operation with the National Labour Office. Careers services provide information about jobs available for professionals in a given area, guidance in the choice of career paths and training for students or graduates as prospective job applicants. Moreover, students and graduates may obtain information and guidance from careers advisors working in public employment services and private employment agencies concerning preparation of CVs and letters of motivation, behaviour during interviews, etc. (such meetings are frequently organised as group training sessions by careers services).

Co-operation between the higher education sector and the labour market is also supported by job fairs organised in many HEIs where employers present their job offers.

Pursuant to the 2011 amendments to the Law on Higher Education, HEIs are obliged to monitor the career of their graduates in order to adapt their programmes and curricula to the needs of the labour market. The monitoring should take place in particular, three and five years after graduation.

Additionally, basic organisational units of HEIs should integrate findings from an analysis of relevance of learning outcomes to labour market needs and findings from graduate career monitoring in the programmed offered.

Student Assessment

The verification of student’s learning outcomes in the Polish higher education system is usually conducted within a given educational institution by the academic teacher responsible for a given course. The guidelines concerning the methods of assessment and the ways of their implementation are formulated at the level of basic organisational units of an HEI, as part of the internal quality assurance system.

In the period preceding the implementation of the National Qualifications Framework for higher education, the assessment of learning outcomes, also in the case of higher education institutions that have previously prepared syllabuses in accordance with the NQF, was relatively limited. Most of the applied tools enabled assessing the extent to which a student was familiar with curricular contents (i.e. they referred to the “knowledge” category of outcomes), and allowed teachers to decide whether a student had sufficient knowledge to get a particular grade.

The most common methods of internal assessment are:

  • tests,
  • written(descriptive) examination,
  • oral examination,
  • papers/ midterm essays,
  • research/ laboratory class reports,
  • students’ presentations,
  • individual and group projects,
  • class participation,
  • presence,
  • portfolio,
  • peer assessment,
  • short entry tests before the laboratory classes,
  • self-assessment.

The assessment of learning outcomes may be conducted with the use of one or more of the afore-mentioned methods (e.g. participation combined with a midterm paper and a final test).

Many programmes require students’ undertaking a practical placement/training. The final assessment of the training is usually descriptive and includes not only the “knowledge” group of outcomes, but also the “skills” and “social competences” group of outcomes. Practical professional experience is especially important for the assessment of the last two groups of learning outcomes. Students, by performing real duties, can prove they have specific professional skills, which are verified in a practical way in a suitable working environment. The descriptive assessment often also includes a characteristic of some of the student’s personality traits such as teamwork skills, critical thinking, etc.

The final examination is particularly important for the assessment of learning outcomes as it enables the verification of competencies acquired during the entire course of studies. Moreover, it should help to decide whether a student understands and is able to use and apply the knowledge that was delivered during the classes/ lectures. As a result, except for the acquired knowledge, the final examination also verifies to some extent students’ social skills. Detailed arrangements for the final examination procedures are regulated at the level of the institution and its basic units. The final grade, which appears on the diploma, depends on the supervisor’s and reviewer’s assessment of the thesis, assessment of the diploma examination (during which a student may be asked some questions concerning the thesis or other subjects), and the average grade for the entire programme. The review of the thesis is multifaceted and based on the following criteria:

  • relevance,
  • characteristics of the content arrangement,
  • the use of references, indexes, etc.,
  • linguistic accuracy,
  • general assessment of the content,
  • new/ original approach/ insight that the thesis brings
  • the general assessment of the thesis is expressed with one of the following numbers: 2/ 3/ 3,5/ 4/ 4,5/ 5/ 5!.

The verification of learning outcomes ends with an overall grade which can be expressed as a pass/fail or can relate to the specified set of possible grades (e.g. 2/ 3/ 3,5/ 4/ 4,5/ 5/ 5!).

In some cases, the assessment of learning outcomes involves the participation of third parties – it concerns especially foreign language examinations. For example, PTE General certificates that assess four language skills: listening, reading, writing, and speaking:

  • provide the basis for exemption from the doctoral examination in the area of modern foreign language (a candidate does not need to take the exam)– the Regulation of the Minister of Science and Higher Education of 22 October 2011;
  • are recognised by the Ministry of National Education as a confirmation of the language skills required from those who intend to work as English teachers – The Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 17 April 2012;
  • are recognised as a confirmation of English language skills by the Civil Service (The Regulation of the Prime Minister of 16 December 2009) as well as by many employers in Poland and abroad.

In some cases, an external verification of foreign language learning outcomes is used, even though the learning process takes place at the same higher education institution. It makes the assessment more objective – if a student fails a semester/an examination, the institution cannot be accused of not awarding a credit deliberately, with the motivation based only on the financial factor (an additional fee charged from a student).

Certification

Like first- and second-cycle programmes, long-cycle programmes offered in both university-type and non-university HEIs end with the final (diploma) examination, except in medical fields of study. The examination is conducted by an examination board composed of academic teachers of the organisational unit of a HEI (e.g. faculty or department) which offers a given programme.

Students who have passed the final examination are awarded a higher education diploma (dyplom ukończenia studiów wyższych) which confirms the completion of a given type of degree programme and the award of the relevant degree in a given field of study. If the study programme does not provide for the final examination, students are only required to have completed all courses and practical placements in order to obtain a diploma confirming the award of the relevant degree (the overall mark equals the average of the marks for all courses). The same diplomas and degrees are awarded by university-type HEIs (uczelnia akademicka) and non-university HEIs (uczelnia zawodowa). Diplomas are issued in accordance with specimens defined in a regulation by the minister responsible for higher education and are officially recognised documents. At the graduate's request, the HEI is obliged to issue a copy of the diploma in one of the following languages: English, French, Spanish, German or Russian.

The following types of Master's degrees are awarded to students upon completion of long-cycle degree programmes:

  • magister – in the fields of medical analysis, law, canon law, psychology and theology;
  • magister sztuki - in the fields of fine arts;
  • magister farmacji - in the field of pharmacy;
  • lekarz - in the field of medicine;
  • lekarz dentysta - in the field of dentistry;
  • lekarz weterynarii - in the field of veterinary medicine.

A Master's degree (magister) or an equivalent degree entitles its holder to practise a given profession and provides access to third-cycle (doctoral) programmes.