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.