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Poland

Poland

6. Education and Training

6.2 Administration and governance

On this page
  1. Governance
  2. Cross-sectorial cooperation

 

Governance

The responsibility for coordination of educational policy rests with the Minister of National Education (Minister Edukacji Narodowej). Some ministers can administer public schools and other educational institutions.

As a result of the state administration reform and the education reform, only the national educational policy is developed and implemented centrally, whereas the management of education and the administration of schools, nursery schools and other educational institutions is decentralised. The responsibility for the administration of nursery schools (przedszkole) and primary schools (szkoła podstawowa)  has been delegated to the communes (gmina). The management of post-primary schools (above the lower-secondary level until 31 August 2017), art schools and special schools has been delegated to districts (powiat) as their statutory responsibility. The self-governing provinces (województwo) administer only schools operating at regional and supra-regional levels. The responsibility for pedagogical supervision rests with the heads of the regional education authorities (kurator oświaty) in 16 provinces.

Education administration at national level

School education

The responsibility for the administration of the school education system rests with the Minister of National Education and his/her deputy ministers. The Director General is responsible for efficient functioning of the ministry as the institution supporting the minister.

Structure and organisation of the ministry responsible for school education

Aside from the Minister’s Political Cabinet, the structure of the Ministry of National Education comprises 15 organisational units (departments and bureaus); departments are sub-divided into units or divisions. Currently, the organisational units of the Ministry include:

  1. Economic Department
  2. Department for Structural Funds
  3. Information and Promotion Department
  4. General Education Department
  5. Department for Textbooks, Curricula and Innovation
  6. Legal Services Department
  7. Policy, Qualifications and Vocational Education and Training Department
  8. International Cooperation Department
  9. Department for Cooperation with Local Government
  10. Integration Education Department
  11. Administration Bureau
  12. Personnel and Training Bureau
  13. Audit Bureau
  14. Organisation Bureau
  15. Internal Auditor (an independent position)

Responsibilities and powers of the minister responsible for school education

The Minister co-ordinates and carries out the national education policy, co-operates in this respect with regional authorities/province governors (wojewoda) and other organisational units responsible for the school education system.

By way of regulation, the minister lays down arrangements, in particular, in the following areas:

  • Contents of the general and vocational education and textbooks:
    • core curricula for pre-school education, general education and vocational education, and outline timetables;
    • classification of occupations for vocational education;
    • arrangements for schools and educational institutions to undertake activities maintaining national, ethnical, language and religious identity of pupils;
    • arrangements for teaching religion in schools;
    • rules for approving textbooks for use at schools:
    • procedures for providing local authorities with information required to determine the level of subsidy for the purchase of textbooks by heads of primary and lower secondary schools.
  • Pupil and student assessment:
    • detailed rules for assessing and promoting pupils and students in public schools;
    • detailed arrangements for conducting the lower secondary examination (until the school year 2018/2019), the eighth-grader examination and the maturity examination;
    • arrangements for conducting extramural examinations;
    • arrangements for issuing certificates, diplomas and other school documents and templates for them;
    • establishment of regional examination boards and specification of their territorial jurisdiction.
  • Admission to public schools and other educational institutions:
    • composition and tasks of an admissions board, rules and dates of the admission process;
    • rules for converting criteria into points for admission to public schools if the number of candidates exceeds the number of places available in such schools;
    • procedure of transferring pupils or students from one type of public school to another.
  • Governance and organisation of institutions within the school education system:
    • requirements for schools and other educational institutions concerning measures necessary to create optimal conditions for education and care activities and other statutory activities, provide conditions for the development of each pupil or student, and improve quality of the school’s or institution’s activities and its organisational development;
    • arrangements for the competition for the position of the head of the regional education authorities (kurator oświaty);
    • requirements for persons holding the position of school head and other management positions, and arrangements for the competition for the position of school head;
    • types of schools and institutions where the teachers’ council, the parents’ council and/or the pupils’ or students’ self-government are not established;
    • organisational arrangements for practical vocational training;
    • framework statutes for public schools and other public educational institutions;
    • record-keeping methods concerning the teaching process and educational activities;
    • rules and conditions for innovation and experimental activities;
    • organisational arrangements for the school year;
    • organisational arrangements and procedures for contests and competitions in specific school subjects;
    • general safety and hygiene regulations for schools and institutions.
  • Pedagogical supervision:
    • arrangements for exercising pedagogical supervision, including its forms;
    • a list of positions and qualifications required to exercise pedagogical supervision.
  • Pre-school education:
    • alternative forms of pre-school education;
    • procedures for granting subsidies for pre-school education and related grant accounting methods.
  • Continuing education:
    • types of public continuing education institutions and their tasks;
    • arrangements of adult education and training;
    • arrangements for providing vocational qualification courses;
    • methods for the validation of learning outcomes achieved in non-school settings;
    • conditions for granting and withdrawing accreditation for institutions providing adult education and training in non-school settings.
  • Initial and in-service teacher training:
    • conditions and procedures for granting and withdrawing accreditation for non-public in-service teacher training institutions;
    • conditions and procedures for the establishment, restructuring and liquidation of, and organisational and operational arrangements for, in-service teacher training institutions;
    • rules and conditions for the establishment, restructuring and liquidation of colleges, their organisational and operational arrangements and teacher-training standards for colleges.
  • Additional activities, care, counselling and guidance for pupils and students with special educational needs (SEN), and measures to address such needs:
    • organisational arrangements for public education and care centres for pupils or students with disabilities and maladjusted youth;
    • arrangements for counselling and guidance in schools and other educational institutions, and organisational arrangements for public counselling and guidance centres;
    • detailed arrangements for children and young people to follow individualised schooling and individualised study programmes and related organisational arrangements;
    • detailed arrangements for the education and care for children and young people with special educational needs;
    • arrangements for providing early support for children development;
    • timeframes for transferring to the communes grants for financial support for pupils and students, and methods for determining their level;
    • conditions for the organisation of leisure activities for children and young people;
    • rules and conditions for the organisation of tourist and sightseeing activities undertaken by schools and other educational institutions;
    • detailed arrangements for sport classes and schools and school for sport champions.
  • Matters related to education abroad and education for non-nationals:
    • types of public and non-public art schools;
    • conditions and procedures for the admission of non-nationals and Polish nationals who completed previous educational stages in other education systems to public nursery schools, schools, teacher training institutions and to vocational qualification courses;
    • arrangements for additional Polish language classes, remedial classes in subjects covered by the curriculum, and classes in the language and culture of the country of origin;
    • levels of grants for beneficiaries who are not Polish nationals;
    • rules for the provision of education to Polish nationals’ children temporarily staying abroad;
    • arrangements supporting the teaching of Polish history, geography, culture and the Polish language and other school subjects with Polish as a language of instruction to the Polish diaspora in schools abroad and in other forms of education provided by civic organisations abroad;
    • arrangements for the recognition (nostrification) of school and maturity certificates awarded abroad;
    • conditions for sending pupils and students abroad for educational purposes and teachers for in-service training purposes.

The minister responsible for school education (the Minister of National Education, Minister Edukacji Narodowej) establishes and administers schools, clusters of schools and school consultation centres at Polish diplomatic missions, consulates and military missions in order to provide education for children of Polish nationals temporarily based abroad, as well as public in-service teacher training institutions operating at national level. The minister can also establish and administer public experimental schools and educational institutions and public continuing education institutions operating at national level.

The minister responsible for culture and protection of national heritage (the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Minister Kultury i Dziedzictwa Narodowego) establishes and administers public art schools and other institutions for students of art schools, as well as institutions for in-service training of art school teachers.

The minister responsible for agriculture (the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Minister Rolnictwa i Rozwoju Wsi) may establish and administer public schools of agriculture and agricultural institutions operating at regional and supra-regional levels, and establish and administer public in-service teacher training institutions for teachers of vocational subjects taught in schools of agriculture.

The minister responsible for environmental protection (the Minister of Environment, Minister Ochrony Środowiska) may establish and administer public forestry schools.

The minister responsible for maritime economy (the Minister of Maritime Economy and Inland Waterway Transport, Minister Gospodarki Morskiej i Żeglugi Śródlądowej) may establish and administer public maritime schools.

The minister responsible for inland waterway transport (the Minister of Maritime Economy and Inland Waterway Transport,Minister Gospodarki Morskiej i Żeglugi Śródlądowej) may establish and administer public schools of inland waterway transport.

The minister responsible for fishery (the Minister of Maritime Economy and Inland Waterway Transport,Minister Gospodarki Morskiej i Żeglugi Śródlądowej) may establish and administer public fishery schools.

The minister responsible for health (the Minister of Health, Minister Zdrowia) may establish and administer a public national-level in-service teacher training institution for teachers of vocational subjects taught as part of the training for the occupations which fall within the remit of the minister according to the Classification of occupations for vocational education.

The Minister of Justice (Minister Sprawiedliwości) may establish and administer public schools and institutions within youth detention centres and hostels for underage young people and public schools and institutions in penitentiary facilities and custody suites. Schools and institutions in penitentiary facilities and custody suites operate as part of their structures. 

The legislation also reserves some powers for the Minister of National Defence (Minister Obrony Narodowej) and the minister in charge of internal affairs (the Minister of Interior and Administration, Minister Spraw Wewnętrznych i Administracji).

Higher education

The remit of the minister responsible for higher education (as from May 2006, the Minister of Science and Higher Education) covers the development of research, degree programmes and the functioning of higher education institutions.

The structure of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education comprises the Minister’s Political Cabinet and the following organisational units:

  1. Budget and Finance Department
  2. Department of Innovation and Development
  3. Legal Services Department
  4. Department of Science
  5. Department of Higher Education
  6. Department of International Cooperation
  7. Director General’s Bureau
  8. Audit Bureau
  9. Minister’s Bureau

Additionally, specific types of higher education institutions are supervised by the following ministers:

  • military higher education institutions: the Minister of National Defence;
  • government service higher education institutions: the minister responsible for internal affairs;
  • higher education institutions of art studies: the minister responsible for culture and protection of cultural heritage;
  • medical higher education institutions: the minister responsible for health;
  • maritime higher education institutions: the minister responsible for maritime economy.

Responsibilities and powers of the minister in charge of higher education

The minister responsible for higher education supervises the activities of higher education institutions (HEIs) in respect of their compliance with the law, their statutes and the permit granted for the establishment of a non-public HEI, and proper use of public funds. The minister may request information and clarification from the governing bodies of an HEI and the founder of a non-public HEI, and may conduct inspections of HEIs.

The minister responsible for higher education lays down by regulation:

  1. standards for degree programmes in each field and at each level of study in the case of so-called regulated fields of study;
  2. standards for initial teacher training programmes;
  3. requirements to be fulfilled by organisational units of HEIs in order to provide degree programmes in a specific field and at a specific level of study;
  4. detailed requirements for the establishment and operation of a branch campus of an HEI, its basic organisational unit and teaching centre in another location;
  5. arrangements for administrative and financial support services for the General Council of Science and Higher Education and the disciplinary committee at the General Council, and the levels of fees for their members;
  6. the scope of information and data to be provided in an application for a permit to establish a non-public HEI;
  7. the method for keeping the register of non-public HEIs and associations of non-public HEIs, and arrangements for access to the register;
  8. detailed procedures for inspections in HEIs and associations of HEIs;
  9. conditions for sending individuals abroad for research, teaching and training purposes, and their specific rights;
  10. types of degree programmes and training courses open to non-nationals;
  11. requirements to be fulfilled by non-nationals applying to follow degree programmes and training courses or to participate in research and development activities;
  12. the method for determining the level of grants for students;
  13. the method for determining the level of fees for degree programmes and training courses and for participation in research and development activities in public HEIs;
  14. arrangements for the award of grants to non-nationals;
  15. requirements to be fulfilled by HEIs established by foreign HEIs in order to provide programmes at a specific level and in a specific field of study;
  16. conditions and procedures for non-public HEIs to apply for subsidies;
  17. cost indices of full-time programmes in individual fields of study;
  18. rules for the distribution of subsidies among non-public HEIs and related reporting responsibilities for non-public HEIs;
  19. various arrangements concerning the remuneration of staff in HEIs (which are specified in the relevant legislation);
  20. detailed rules and procedures for giving the minister’s award;
  21. requirements to be fulfilled by HEIs in order to provide distance learning courses;
  22. types of degrees (referred to as professional titles in the legislation) awarded to first-, second- and long-cycle programme graduates;
  23. conditions for the award of diplomas and specimens of diplomas, including diplomas awarded upon completion of programmes provided jointly by various HEIs and research institutions, incl. foreign institutions, and diploma and certificate supplements;
  24. detailed rules and procedures for awarding the minister’s grants;
  25. the method for keeping study-related documentations;
  26. detailed arrangements for the recognition (nostrification) of diplomas in cases where they are not automatically recognised; bodies conducting the recognition process; conditions for academic recognition of diplomas; types of documents to be submitted together with an application for recognition; timeframe for a recognition process; rules for charging fees for a recognition process; a specimen of a certificate issued upon completion of a recognition process;
  27. conditions and procedures for the provision of third-cycle programmes, and arrangements for the award of grants and other types of financial support to doctoral students;
  28. detailed procedures for enquiry and disciplinary proceedings;
  29. regulations for health and safety at work in HEIs;
  30. requirements for the description of a qualification, where each qualification should be assigned to relevant academic areas, domains and disciplines, and which should define learning outcomes for each academic area;
  31. model learning outcomes for individual fields of study;
  32. requirements to be fulfilled by organisational units of HEIs in order to provide degree programmes in a specific field and at a specific level of study, especially those related to staff;
  33. requirements for a curriculum, including a description of learning outcomes and methods of their verification.

Other bodies in higher education

The General Council for Science and Higher Education (Rada Główna Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego) is an elective representative body of science and higher education. It cooperates with the Minister of Science and Higher Education and other public authorities in developing national policies for higher education, research and innovation. In particular, the Council:

  1. gives opinions on its own initiative and submits proposals in all matters concerning higher education, research and culture, and may also raise such matters with public authorities and HEIs, among other things, requesting clarification and information;
  2. gives opinions on the matters presented by the minister(s) responsible for higher education and science, and other authorities and public administration bodies or on its own initiative;
  3. gives opinions on draft legislation concerning higher education, development of research and innovation, and on international agreements concerning higher education and research concluded by Poland;
  4. gives opinions on the section of the preliminary State budget which is managed by the minister responsible for higher education, and on the rules for the award of State-budget subsidies to HEIs;
  5. gives opinions on activity plans and reports of the National Science Centre (Narodowe Centrum Nauki) and the National Centre of Research and Development (Narodowe Centrum Badań i Rozwoju); (a) gives opinions on the funding of research infrastructure and on reports on the use of these funds, taking into account links between the Polish research infrastructure and the European infrastructure; (b) gives opinions on the national standards for the so-called regulated fields of study;
  6. submits to the minister responsible for higher education its proposals of model descriptions of learning outcomes for individual fields of study, assigned to relevant academic areas, taking into account the level and profile of programmes.

The Polish Accreditation Committee (PAC) (Polska Komisja Akredytacyjna, PKA) is an institution working for the improvement of the quality of education. It was established by Decision of the Minister of National Education and Sport no. 54 of 28 December 2001, based on Article 38 of the Higher Education Act of 12 September 1990 with further amendments (amendment of 22 June 2001). Currently, it operates in accordance with the 2005 Law on Higher Education. The activities of PAC cover all HEIs operating on the basis of the Law on Higher Education.

PAC presents to the Minister opinions and proposals concerning:

  • the establishment of HEIs and the authorisation for HEIs to provide programmes in a specific field of study and at a specific level of study;
  • quality assessments of degree programmes, including initial teacher training programmes, and the compliance with the requirements for the provision of degree programmes.

PAC cooperates with national and international organisations which are involved in the assessment of the quality of education and accreditation.

University-type HEIs which represent jointly more than a half of the total student population in university-type HEIs may establish the Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland (Konferencja Rektorów Akademickich Szkół Polskich). Non-university HEIs which represent jointly more than a half of the total student population in non-university HEIs may establish the Conference of Rectors of Higher Vocational Education Institutions in Poland (Konferencja Rektorów Zawodowych Szkół Polskich). Both institutions have been established and are functioning.

The National Agency for Academic Exchange (Narodowa Agencja Wymiany Akademickiej, NAWA) has the following responsibilities:

  • Establishing a system of programmes supporting outward and inward mobility of students, including PhD students, and academic staff;
  • Conducting programmes supporting the return of Polish researchers to the country;
  • Developing a financial mechanism to support mobility (for example, scholarships, funding to cover or contribute towards the costs of education or subsistence);
  • Launching projects to support HEIs in improving the quality of programmes offered;
  • Undertaking broadly understood information and promotion activities concerning Polish higher education;
  • Promoting the learning and knowledge of the Polish language abroad.

 

Cross-sectorial cooperation

The responsibility for coordination of educational policy rests with the Minister of National Education. Some ministers can administer public schools and other educational institutions.

As a result of the state administration reform and the education reform, only the national educational policy is developed and implemented centrally, whereas the management of education and the administration of schools, nursery schools and other educational institutions is decentralised. The responsibility for the administration of nursery schools (przedszkole) and primary schools (szkoła podstawowa) (and, as from 1999/2000, lower secondary schools (gimnazjum) which are being phased out) has been delegated to the communes (gmina). The management of post-primary schools (above the lower-secondary level until 31 August 2017), art schools and special schools has been delegated to districts (powiat) as their statutory responsibility. The self-governing provinces (województwo) administer only schools operating at regional and supra-regional levels. The responsibility for pedagogical supervision rests with the heads of the regional education authorities (kurator oświaty) in 16 provinces.

At the regional level the head of the regional education authorities (kurator oświaty) exercises pedagogical supervision over school education institutions at regional level. The head of the regional education authorities (REA) is appointed and dismissed by the Minister of National Education at the request of the province governor (wojewoda) and, thus, is part of the central government structure. Although the head of the REA is not directly subordinated to the Minister of National Education, the latter has influence on the outcome of a competition for the position of head of the REA by appointing three members of the competition board, and may dismiss the head of the REA also on his/her own initiative. Moreover, the Minister supervises heads of the REAs and coordinates their work in various ways (e.g. by organising meetings, training courses and conferences, and administering the online pedagogical supervision platform).