Printer friendly version: Education in Poland (203 downloads)
Compulsory education in Poland starts at the age of five or six, per the Reforms of 1999, from the “0” class kindergarten (Polish przedszkole, literally pre-school) and, from six-to-seven years of age, for the 1st grade of primary school (Polish szkoła podstawowa). Compulsory education lasts 9 years. After the first 6 years of primary education, pupils join the gymnasium for 3 years (lower secondary education) and at the end, take another compulsory exam.
Polish Ministry of Education established by King Stanisław August Poniatowski in 1773 was the first ministry of education in the world, and the traditions continue. The international PISA 2012 praised the progresses made by Polish education in Mathematics, Science and Literacy; the number of top-performers having increased since 2003 while the number of low-performers decreased again. In 2014, the Pearson/Economist Intelligence Unit rated Polish education as 4th best in Europe and 10th best in the world.
There are several alternatives for the upper secondary education later on, the most common being the three years of a liceum or four years in a technikum. Both end with a maturity exam (matura, quite similar to French baccalauréat), and may be followed by several forms of upper education, leading to Bachelor: licencjat or inżynier (the Polish Bologna Process first cycle qualification), Master: magister (the Polish Bologna Process second cycle qualification) and eventually PhD: doktor (the Polish Bologna Process third cycle qualification). The system of education in Poland allows for 22 years of continuous, uninterrupted schooling.
Since 2012/2013, primary school usually starts at 6 year old instead of 7 previously. Primary school is divided into 2 cycles of 3 years. The first cycle is “integrated”, with one teacher handling alone all the subjects, while the second cycle offers a subject-based teaching. At the end of primary school, pupils write a compulsory international competence test. If completed, the examination grants a primary-school leaving certificate. This certificate is however not needed to enter Gymnasium.
Gymnasium covers lower secondary education and ends general basic education. It lasts 3 years. Subject taught are: Polish language, History, Civic Education, Foreign Language, Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy, Chemistry, Biology, Geography, Fine Arts/Music, Technology, Information Technology, Physical Education, Religion or Ethics. At the end of the curriculum, pupils are evaluated based on their continuing results and on an examination in Humanities, Science and Foreign Languages.
Upper secondary education
The upper secondary education begins at the end of full-time compulsory education, preparing students for entry directly into the labour-market and/or tertiary (i.e. higher) education. Upper secondary education takes many forms.
General education can be pursued in general secondary schools (liceum): after 3 years, students can pass the “Matura”, which grants access to higher education. Vocational and technical education is mainly provided by Technical schools (technikum) and/or basic vocational schools (zasadnicza szkoła zawodowa). Technical schools last 4 years and lead to the Matura. Their primary goal is to teach occupations and trades, the most popular being: accountant, mechanic, electronics specialist, and salesperson. Basic vocational schools also provide a vocational education lasting 2 years and grant a certificate of competence in various fields, the most popular being: shop-assistant, cook, gardener, automobile mechanic, hairdresser and baker. Graduates from basic vocational schools can pass the Matura after an extra-curriculum of 2 years in a general secondary school, or, since 2004, of 3 years in a Technical school. Profiled general secondary schools (liceum profilowane) provide a vocational education in 3 years, but only in fields described by the Polish Classification of Activities (PKD). In addition, mentally and/or physically handiccaped students can join special schools (szkoła specjalna) which prepare to the Matura in 3 years.
University of Łódź, Faculty of Management
Poland follows the Bologna scheme and most of its tertiary level programmes are made of two cycles: a three year bachelor degree followed by a two year master degree. Some master degrees are however granted after a unique long-cycle programme, lasting between 4 and 6 years (Ex: 5 years for pharmacy, 6 year for medicine). Doctoral programmes are achieved in 3 or years in general. The diploma of primary school teachers requires 3 years of study within a teacher training college. Vocational education is handled by post-secondary school(szkola policealna) with programmes lasting two and a half years.