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In Poland there is no separate strategy for teaching entrepreneurship, however the issue is addressed in several general strategies. The most important strategy is the Lifelong Learning Perspective (Perspektywa uczenia się przez całe życie) which defines the national strategic framework for lifelong learning and vocational training. The strategy is being implemented in the 2013-2020 period and covers all levels of education.
The government Strategy for Responsible Development until 2020 (with a forecast up to 2030) focuses on the development of entrepreneurial competences and support for the creation of new innovative companies in Poland: “The Strategy, oriented towards responsible and solidary development, aims to trigger entrepreneurship, inventiveness and productivity.”
Entities involved in entrepreneurship development in Poland include:
Government: Chancellery of the Prime Minister and the following ministries: Ministry of Development (Ministerstwo Rozwoju) and the Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy (Ministerstwo Funduszy i Polityki Regionalnej until November 2019 Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology, Ministry of Investment and Development), Ministry of National Education (Ministerstwo Edukacji Narodowej), Ministry of Science and Higher Education (Ministerstwo Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy (Ministerstwo Rodziny, Pracy i Polityki Społecznej).
Other entities such as the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development, entrepreneurs and their organisations, and banks.
Among them, the Ministry of Development (Ministerstwo Rozwoju) and the Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy (Ministerstwo Funduszy i Polityki Regionalnej, and the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (Polska Agencja Rozwoju Przedsiębiorczości -PARP) play a particularly important role in the context of supporting entrepreneurship at policy level. Both the Ministry and the Agency actively participate in the creation and effective implementation of the strategy related to entrepreneurship and innovation.
For a number of years, the National Bank of Poland has been involved in the promotion of economic and financial education among young people, and operates an economic education portal (https://www.nbportal.pl/edukacja-w-nbp). Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego implements the “First Business – Start-up Support” scheme of the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy to support the development of entrepreneurship.
The most complete information on the entrepreneurship of young people in Poland is provided by the OECD report: YOUTH ENTREPRENEURSHIP SUPPORT IN POLAND. Rapid Policy Assessments of Inclusive Entrepreneurship Policies and Programmes, 2015.
Information on entrepreneurship education in schools in Europe, including Poland, is included in the EURYDICE report: Entrepreneurship Education at School in Europe (2016).
The report provides information on primary and secondary education (lower and upper secondary schools), including vocational schools. The reference year is 2014/15 and the information has been collected in 33 countries within the EURYDICE network. In addition to the extensive comparative description, the report also includes brief information on entrepreneurship education in each country.
Entrepreneurship education in schools in Poland is described on pages 179-180.
“Entrepreneurship Education is explicitly integrated in the curricula.
At ISCED levels 2 and 3, there is a compulsory subject entitled ‘Knowledge about Society’. Within the subject, all students are required to participate in an educational project (20% of the course in ISCED level 2 and 10% in ISCED level 3).
In ISCED level 3, the compulsory subject ‘Introduction to Entrepreneurship’ involves students in social/civic activities and develops their creative skills and initiative. In the optional subject ‘Economics in Practice’, students implement an individual educational project” (Eurydice Report 2016, p 180).
In connection with the implemented reform of the Polish education system, which started in the 2017-2018 school year, the changes to entrepreneurship education have not yet been completed.
Currently, entrepreneurship education in schools takes place according to old and new programs. The report "School for an innovator. Shaping pro-innovation competences"(Szkoła dla innowatora 2018) published by the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology contains a critical assessment of teaching programs and methods covering pro-innovative competences in Polish schools. Critical assessment also concerns the system of teachers training in the area of entrepreneurship.
Government actions are being taken to improve the digital competences of students and the use of new technologies in the education process, including shaping innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship among young people, among others the number of hours of computer science teaching has been increased, curricula are being implemented to develop inference skills, analytical skills, strategic thinking, the ability to look critically at the task solution, and the ability to apply knowledge in practice.
By 2021, all schools in Poland will have access to broadband Internet. The government's "Active Whiteboard" (“Aktywna Tablica) program (2017-2019) will allow to equip schools with multimedia devices to replace traditional blackboards in classrooms in three years.
Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology launched the "School for an Innovator" (“Szkoła dla Innowatora”) program in 2019. It aims to develop practical skills to work with students, shape students' pro-innovation competences, and develop recommendations in this regard. The program will be implemented in the 2020/2021 school year in 20 schools throughout Poland and will be used to introduce changes in school education in the field of entrepreneurship education.
Entrepreneurship is part of the National Qualifications Framework for Higher Education. This means that most third-level students must, at least to a minimum extent, come into contact with entrepreneurship during their studies. However, the potential of students in this field remains unused (OECD Report, YOUTH ENTREPRENEURSHIP SUPPORT IN POLAND, 2015).
The new law in higher education, “Constitution for Science” (2018) focuses on promoting entrepreneurship through the development of partnerships for knowledge transfer and strengthening of co-operation between higher education institutions, on the one hand, and businesses and employers, on the other hand.
A valuable educational initiative of higher education institutions is the effort to transfer knowledge from science to business. An example is Innovative Youth: a thesis competition which has been organised by the Industrial Institute of Automation and Measurements since 2009. Competitions for best theses (engineering and master’s) are organised in the fields of automatics, robotics and measurement, and currently also for best doctoral theses. In the years 2009-2017, 525 entries were submitted to the Innovation Young competition.
Entrepreneurship training outside of formal education is conducted by many entities, a substantial part of which is financed by EU funds. Initiatives from previous EU funding programming sessions are available in the OECD Report, YOUTH ENTREPRENEURSHIP SUPPORT IN POLAND, 2015.
This is a non-governmental public benefit organisation aimed at preparing children and young people for market economy conditions and enabling young people to acquire the knowledge and practical skills necessary to facilitate the implementation of their professional plans. The Foundation is a member of Junior Achievement Worldwide, the oldest and fastest-growing youth education organisation in the world, currently operating in 120 countries. The Foundation’s schemes prepare young people for entry into the labour market, teach entrepreneurship and how to navigate through the financial world, develop critical thinking skills and shape an active attitude towards life. Currently the Foundation is operating 12 schemes and projects for the youth of primary schools, lower secondary schools and upper secondary schools, under which national competitions are organised. Participants have the opportunity to represent Poland during the international editions of those competitions.
The Ministry of Development launched a pilot version of a new form of support in 2017. This scheme was for people wishing to improve their skills. The Ministry has allocated over PLN 50 million to repayable aid (i.e. interest-free loans with the possibility of partial remission) for adults from all over the country who wish to take courses or postgraduate studies, under the Knowledge Education Development Operational Programme. Loans will be provided by two operators selected through a competition. The “Education Loans” Fund will be implemented by the Regional Development Agency Foundation in Starachowice, in partnership with the Co-operation Fund Foundation from Warsaw, and the “Nationwide Academic Education Scheme” Fund will be implemented by the Foundation for Enterprise Development in Suwałki.
The “Education Loans” Fund is aimed at adults. The loans are intended only for postgraduate studies, courses, training and other forms of adult education offered by national and international entities (except for level I, II and III study courses), lasting no longer than 24 months.
In 2017, a training and mentoring scheme was launched for graduates and PhD students of Polish higher education institutions who plan to have a career in science, business or public administration - TopMinds. It is a joint initiative of the Top 500 Innovators Association and the Polish-American Fulbright Commission. The aim of the scheme is to:
- Prepare its participants to take on challenges and find their own path to achieve their professional goals,
- Develop interpersonal competences and build proactive attitudes,
- Strengthen the sense of professional and personal value,
- Establish relationships and develop a network of contacts
The scheme offers participation in individual mentoring, meetings and lectures with representatives of various professions and participation in training sessions on the development of interpersonal competences.
Entrepreneurship education has not been included in teacher training curricula, but is available through in-service training, which is essential for career advancement (Eurydice Report 2016). In-service training is provided through various types of courses. At present many higher education institutions offer postgraduate studies in entrepreneurship for teachers.
Centres for Education Development (ORE). In-service training is provided by institutions at central level (Centre for Education Development) and by provincial and district teacher development centres. ORE provides an in-service training offer in the field of teaching entrepreneurship to all lower secondary and upper secondary school teachers.
Postgraduate studies in entrepreneurship for teachers.Such study courses are offered, among others, by the SGH Warsaw School of Economics. These are studies for teachers in lower secondary and upper secondary schools wishing to gain new qualifications in the field of entrepreneurship education. Due to the fact that the course is financed by the National Bank of Poland, the tuition fees for three semesters are PLN 500.
Postgraduate studies in the field of entrepreneurship for teachers can also be completed online (at Polish Virtual University).
Youth Enterprise Foundation (Fundacja Młodzieżowej Przedsiębiorczości) (A member of Junior Achievement Worldwide) The foundation offers in-service training in entrepreneurship education for all primary and secondary school teachers, including vocational schools. In-service training courses, workshops or free conferences to expand one’s knowledge of issues related to entrepreneurship education are also available.