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Poland:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary 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 schools

The following types of secondary schools exist in Poland:

(1) Lower secondary school – educational stage III:

  • a 3-year lower secondary school (gimnazjum) leading to a final exam which gives access to upper secondary education.

(2) Upper secondary schools – educational stage IV, including:

  • a 3-year basic vocational school (zasadnicza szkoła zawodowa); graduates receive a diploma upon passing exams confirming vocational qualifications and may continue education in grade 2 of general upper secondary school for adults;
  • a 3-year general upper secondary school (liceum ogólnokształcące) where students may obtain a maturity certificate (świadectwo maturalne) upon passing the maturity exam (egzamin maturalny);
  • a 4-year technical upper secondary school (technikum) where students may obtain a diploma upon passing exams confirming vocational qualifications, and may also take the maturity exam (egzamin maturalny) and obtain a maturity certificate (świadectwo maturalne);
  • a 3-year special school preparing for employment which is intended for pupils with moderate and severe mental disabilities and pupils with multiple disabilities, and which awards a diploma confirming preparation for employment (see also Educational Support and Guidance).

(3) Post-secondary schools

  • a post-secondary school (szkoła policealna) for those who have completed secondary education, which offers programmes lasting from 1 to 2.5 years and awards diplomas to those who have passed examinations confirming vocational qualifications.

Art schools

Art schools in Poland form a separate structure in organisational terms. They are supervised by the minister responsible for culture and national heritage. See also the chapter on ‘Art education system’.

Announced changes in the Polish education system

As announced in the policy agenda of the Ministry of National Education, a process of phasing out the education model referred to as ‘6+3+3’ will begin on 1 September 2017. Currently existing lower secondary schools will be gradually replaced with 8-year primary / elementary schools, divided into two four-year stages: early school education (grades I to IV) and lower-secondary education (grades V to VIII). A more substantial reform of upper secondary education is also planned. This education model is referred to as ‘8 (4+4) + 4’. The new system is expected to be fully in place in the school year 2022/2023. Details are not available yet. See also: Poland:National_Reforms_in_School_Education.

Core curriculum for general education, and Polish secondary schools

The core curriculum for general education is one of the key legal instruments for the management of school education in Poland. The current core curriculum was introduced on the basis of the Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 27 August 2012 (last amended on 17 June 2016).

The core curriculum defines general and detailed requirements (learning outcomes) which determine the scope of knowledge and skills to be acquired by pupils.

It sets common aims for the two stages of secondary education (lower and upper secondary schools), i.e. education stages III and IV.

General education at these stages aims to enable pupils to: (1) acquire a body of knowledge covering facts, rules, theories and practices; (2) acquire the ability to use the knowledge gained in carrying out tasks and solving problems; (3) develop attitudes which determine efficient and responsible functioning in the modern world.

The most important skills to be acquired by pupils at stages III and IV of education include: (1) reading: the ability to understand, use and process reflectively texts, including culture texts, leading to the attainment of one's own goals, individual development and active participation in social life; (2) mathematical thinking: the ability to use mathematical tools in everyday life and to formulate conclusions based on mathematical thinking; (3) scientific thinking: the ability to use scientific knowledge in order to identify and solve problems, and the ability to formulate conclusions based on empirical observation related to nature and society; (4) communication skills in mother tongue and foreign languages, including both speaking and writing skills; (5) ICT skills; (6) the ability to search for, select and analyse information in a critical way; (7) learning skills: the ability to identify one's own educational needs and to learn; (8) teamwork skills.

The level of competences to be acquired by the end of a given education stage, as determined in the core curriculum, is subject to assessment by external examination boards through:

  • the lower secondary school leaving examination: at the end of education stage III;
  • the maturity examination: at the end of education stage IV.

Reformed vocational education and training (VET) system

As mentioned earlier, the current VET model is based on two types of schools: 4-year technical upper secondary schools (technikum) and 3-year basic vocational schools (zasadnicza szkoła zawodowa). They lead to qualifications in specific occupations, defined in line with labour market needs; technical upper secondary school students may also take the maturity exam and continue education in a higher education institution.

Significant changes were introduced to the VET system in Poland in 2011 and 2012. The reform aimed primarily to improve the quality and effectiveness of the VET system and its relevance to labour market needs. The following changes were introduced:

  • The classification of occupations was modified; now students acquire individual qualifications in specific occupations, and the process of acquiring qualifications is spread over the entire duration of education in school (rather than taking place only at its end).
  • A new core curriculum for the training in individual occupations was designed and implemented.
  • The system of exams confirming qualifications was revised to make it more flexible and open to validation of non-formal and informal learning outcomes, in line with the models promoted in EU legislation.
  • Many organisational changes were introduced.

The current leadership of the Ministry of National Education have announced further and far-reaching legislative changes in the VET system. They will involve, among other things, the establishment of 5-year (2+3) branch / sector schools. Detailed proposals, including their impact on further amendments to the core curriculum for secondary education, are not available yet.

Legislation

The basic legislation for secondary education is the School Education Act of 7 September 1991 (with further amendments). Detailed arrangements are laid down in the regulations of the minister responsible for school education. The main regulations include:

  • Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 27 August 2012 on the core curricula for pre-school education and general education in individual types of schools (with further amendments; last amended on 17 June 2016);
  • 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);
  • Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 10 June 2015 on the conditions and rules for pupil assessment, eligibility for assessment and promotion in public schools,
  • Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 8 July 2014 on the approval of school textbooks for the use in school;
  • Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 30 April 2013 on the rules for provision and organisation of psychological and educational support in public nursery schools and schools;
  • Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 27 August 2015 on pedagogical supervision;
  • Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 6 August 2015 on requirements for schools and educational institutions.

Additional regulations for secondary VET schools:

  • 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);
  • 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);
  • Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 11 January 2012 on continuing education in non-school settings (for a consolidated text, see Journal of Law of 16 May 2014, item 622).