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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki


6. Education and Training

6.10 Current debates and reforms

Educational reform in Poland is being implemented since the beginning of 2017. The key elements of the reform are as follows:

  • change in the school structure: introduction of a long, 8-year primary school, 4-year general and 5-year technical upper-secondary school  
  • an obligation for 6 year olds to attend one year of pre-primary education in order to acquire basic skills before they start school at 7; (this education, as it is the case for the school education, is financed from the general  subvention from the State budget)
  • provision of textbooks free of charge
  • strengthening secondary education - both general and vocational -through the extension of secondary programmes by one year (see point 1)
  • introduction of 3-year sectoral vocational learning (to obtain a professional qualification)  with a possibility to continue education for further 2 years at the second stage of sectoral vocational school in order to upgrade qualifications and to prepare for the matriculation exam
  • promotion of dual vocational training  in cooperation with the business sector 
  • extending  the participation of employers in co-financing of vocational education through the establishment of the Fund for Vocational Education Development.

The reform will be implemented between 1 September 2017 and the school year 2022/23. On the 1 September 2017 pupils graduating from year 6 of the primary school became pupils of grade 7. At the same time  lower secondary schools (gimnazja) will be gradually phased out. In the school year 2018/19 lower secondary schools will cease to operate once the last cohort of pupils will have graduated.

The new structure includes:

  • 8-year primary school
  • 4-year general upper secondary school
  • 5-year technical upper secondary school
  • Stage I 3-year sectoral  vocational school  
  • 3-year special school preparing for employment
  • Stage II 2-year sectoral vocational school
  • Post-secondary school.

The restructuring takes place on the basis of an act of 14 December 2016 “Law on School Education” and an act “Legislation introducing the Act – Law on School Education”.

Stage I sectoral vocational school has been introduced since September 2017, and introduction of Stage II sectoral vocational school is scheduled for the school year 2020/21.