Poland:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

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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

Validation of learning outcomes achieved in non-formal and informal education is related to mechanisms applied in formal education. In Poland, intensive work has been underway for several years to introduce changes in these areas. They involve not only the development of a system for validation, certification and transfer of learning outcomes and, consequently, of qualifications, but also the revision and standardization of terminology.

Integrated Qualifications System (IQS)

The Act on the Integrated Qualifications System came into force on 15 January 2016. The main instruments of the IQS include:

  • the 8-level Polish Qualifications Framework providing information on knowledge, skills and social competences; and
  • the Integrated Qualifications Register.

The Act defines concepts such as qualifications, full and partial qualifications, market qualifications and regulated qualifications. This will increase the transparency and comparability of skills acquired outside school.

The IQS aims to:

  • ensure quality of the qualifications awarded;
  • ensure recognition of learning outcomes achieved in non-formal and informal education;
  • enable the accumulation and recognition of achievements/credits;
  • provide information on qualifications available in Poland;
  • enable comparing qualifications acquired in Poland and in other EU countries.

The responsibility for coordination of the IQS rests with the Minister of National Education.

As a result of changes introduced in vocational education in 2012, the vocational education and training system opened up to non-school education settings and, consequently, to the process of, and mechanisms for, the validation of learning outcomes achieved by adults in non-formal and informal education.

Polish Qualifications Framework (PQF) and the Integrated Qualifications Register (IQR)

The Polish Qualifications Framework describes eight levels of qualifications distinguished in Poland and referenced to the corresponding levels of the European Qualifications Framework, as defined in Annex II to the Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2008. Qualifications in the PQF are defined in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences.

The PQF assigns levels to full qualifications. Such qualifications are confirmed by a certificate or diploma. The levels of the PQF and corresponding certificates and diplomas are presented in Table 6.

Table 6. Qualifications and corresponding levels in the Polish Qualifications Framework


Qualification levels Certificates and diplomas confirming a given level of qualifications
Level I Primary school leaving certificate

1st grade music school leaving certificate

1st grade general music school leaving certificate

Level II Lower secondary school leaving certificate
Level III Diploma confirming vocational qualifications awarded upon finishing a basic vocational school and passing vocational examinations

Journeyman certificate awarded upon finishing a basic vocational school and passing examinations in so-called craftsman occupations

Level IV Diploma confirming vocational qualifications upon finishing a technical upper secondary school or post-secondary school and upon passing vocational examinations

Art school diploma confirming a vocational title

Maturity certificate

Level V Diploma of a teacher training college

Diploma of foreign language teacher training college

Diploma of a college of social work

Level VI First-cycle study diploma
Level VII Second-cycle study diploma

Long-cycle study diploma

Level VIII Doctoral / PhD diploma

Source: Based on the Act of 22 December 2015 on the Integrated Qualifications System (isap.sejm.gov.pl, accessed in July 2016)

Integrated Qualifications Register

The IQR provides information on the qualifications awarded in Poland. It includes qualifications for which quality will be assured through specific procedures and monitored by the institution establishing a given qualification. Validation of qualifications is an integral part of the formal education system (see Table 6).

Validation

The fundamental rule in the validation process is assessing whether a person knows, can and is able to do what is specified in the description of a qualification. The IQR places emphasis on compliance with validation standards, and this includes the separation of the validation process from the learning process.

In the 2009 Cedefop guidelines on validation of formal and non-formal learning, several perspectives are presented: individual, organizational, national, and European.

The validation process includes:

  • identification of learning outcomes ;
  • documentation of learning outcomes;
  • assessment; and
  • certification of learning outcomes achieved in the form of a qualification, credit points (ECTS, ECVET) leading to a qualification or in another accepted form.

It is planned that by 2018, these arrangements should be connected to the Integrated Qualifications System and compliant with the European Qualifications Framework. There is a diversity of traditions and arrangements in the area of validation in Europe.

Poland does not yet have a single coherent system for the validation of learning outcomes achieved in non-formal and informal education. Existing procedures are applied in various sectors and related to various practices and validation processes. Some of them have been in place for many years now, others are innovations adopted from abroad, and still other have been introduced on a pilot basis.

In 2011- 2012, the Educational Research Institute carried out a “Study on procedures applied for the validation of learning outcomes achieved in non-formal and informal education” (commissioned to Coffey International Development). The study covered 5 areas: construction industry, ICT services, service industry, automotive industry and financial services. The procedures applied in this area were presented from the perspective of participants and their employers.

Figure 3. Validation of the learning outcomes in non-formal and informal education in Poland

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Source: Based on ”From competences to qualifications – a review of procedures and practices for validation of learning outcomes”, Educational Research Institute, Warsaw 2013, p. 32

Extramural examinations

Extramural exams are one of the methods of validating learning outcomes achieved outside the formal education system. They enable validation of learning outcomes achieved in schools for adults at the level of primary, lower secondary and basic vocational schools (within the requirements laid down in the core curriculum for general education) and general upper secondary schools.

The bodies responsible for formal procedures related to these exams, their organization and the publication of results are the Central Examination Board and Regional Examination Boards. The procedures specify technical requirements for the conduct of examinations.

Points gained in an extramural exam are converted into school grades according to the grading scale defined in the procedures. Conditions and forms of examinations are adjusted to the type of disability of persons taking them, where applicable.

Exams confirming qualifications in individual occupations are also organized in an extramural form. The number of exams depends on the number of qualifications required for a given occupation. Learning outcomes within individual qualifications are confirmed by certificates issued by Regional Examination Boards. To receive a diploma confirming qualifications, candidates should have – apart from all relevant qualifications being certified – a basic vocational school leaving certificate/certificate of completion of secondary education.

Changes in extramural exams were introduced by the School Education Act and related regulations. Some of them are effective as from 1 September 2015 and others as from the school year 2016/2017.

Exams organised by Chambers of Craft

Chambers of Craft conduct exams for both the occupations taught at schools and those listed in the classification of occupations and specializations for the labour market (with the Polish Craft Association, Związek Rzemiosła Polskiego, setting examination standards in this case). Such procedures are followed to confirm qualifications in ‘extinct’ and niche occupations, and this is the only way to acquire related qualifications.

Apart from formal regulations for the validation of learning outcomes, there are two types of activities which are not regulated by the state: adaptations and innovations. Polish institutions confer international qualifications in partnership with international institutions or develop their own arrangements. There are various methods for the certification of skills by companies in the ICT sector (e.g. Microsoft or Cisco) and the banking sector. Some validation procedures have been developed by international foundations. For example, the procedure for obtaining a European Financial Advisor (EFA) certificate (advanced procedure; costs covered by the participant), developed by the European Financial Planning Association (EFPA), was implemented by the Warsaw Institute of Banking (Warszawski Instytut Bankowości, WIB).

The Integrated Qualifications System will cover institutions and entities which now validate learning outcomes achieved in non-formal and informal education, provided that they meet quality requirements necessary to operate within the system. Currently, fees charged for validation are the key obstacle. Thus, a funding system and conditions for the validation process would need to be created.