Adult education and training (AET) in Poland is a shared responsibility of many ministries, but some of them, including the ministries in charge of education and science, and labour, have a leading role in this area. Other ministries are involved in skills development and in areas where learning outcomes are achieved mainly through non-formal education (for example, the ministry responsible for economic development supports the development of entrepreneurial attitudes) or initiatives undertaken to improve basic skills of seniors (Ministry of Family and Social Policy; Ministry of Education and Science). Other ministries contribute to the implementation of the policy for lifelong learning (LLL), which includes AET.
The distribution of administrative responsibilities in the area of continuing education (as the reference point in the national legislation on school education) and a common activity framework in the area of LLL, including AET, are presented in the tables below.
Range of administrative responsibilities in AET; participation in AET-related work
Ministry of Education and Science
The Ministry coordinates activities in the area of continuing education at the national level. The Department of Strategy, Qualifications and Vocational Education is directly responsible for continuing education. Its responsibilities cover:
The remit of the Department also covers matters related to career guidance in the school education system, including AET (mein.gov.pl; accessed 28 January 2023).
The term ‘continuing education’ is not used in the field of higher education (Law on Higher Education and Science / Ustawa o szkolnictwie wyższym i nauce). However, in view of the so-called third mission of higher education, this area can be considered to include open universities (run by some higher education institutions); third-age universities (TAU) (run by some higher education institutions, but operating mainly outside the higher education system); and expert services, including training services for various entities, commissioned on an individual basis. Non-school education settings also include so-called folk universities.
The Higher Education Department of the Ministry regulates matters relating to non-degree postgraduate programmes, specialist programmes and other types of education provided by higher education institutions.
Ministry of Family and Social Policy
The Ministry is the main partner of the Ministry of Education and Science in the field of continuing education for adults, and in particular, unemployed people, some categories of job seekers and employed persons. Within the Ministry structure, continuing education falls mainly within the remit of the Labour Market Department. Its responsibilities include cooperation with the minister responsible for school education in setting objectives and directions for the development of VET; and the development of systemic arrangements to support unemployed and employed people in acquiring competences. Other tasks of the Department relevant to continuing education include: development and dissemination of tools, methods and resources to support career guidance; development of competences of the unemployed and employed; EURES and economic migration.
Other ministries (incl. Ministries of Culture, National Heritage and Sport, Development and Technology, Agriculture and Rural Development, Climate and Environmental Protection, and Health)
Responsibilities include, for example, participation in the work of the Inter-Sectoral Task Force for LLL and the IQS, and activities undertaken as part of the skills development policy in line with the idea of lifelong learning.
Regional / province (województwo) level
Regional authorities are responsible for public education, including higher education. Their main tasks include establishing and administering public in-service teacher training institutions, educational resources centres / libraries, and schools and institutions operating at regional and supra-regional levels. The planned network of such schools and institutions is outlined in a development strategy for a given province.
Regional authorities appoint heads of Regional Education Authorities (REA) (kurator oświaty) who exercise so-called pedagogical supervision over schools and non-school education settings.
They also keep the Register of Training Institutions operating within their jurisdiction.
District (powiat) level
District authorities are responsible for establishing, administering and financing public post-primary schools (established in accordance with the Law on School Education (ustawa Prawo oświatowe), continuing education institutions and vocational education and training centres.
Commune (gmina) level
Communes are responsible for establishing, administering and financing public primary schools.
Source: Author’s own elaboration.
2030 ISS Priorities
Entities involved in the implementation of activities
Improving key skills in children, young people and adults
The Ministers responsible for school education, higher education and science; culture, national heritage and sport; family, labour and social security; economy; regional development; and province-level executive boards and other entities
Developing and fostering a learning culture geared towards active and continuous development of skills
The Ministers responsible for school education; economy; regional development; digitalisation; and province-level executive boards and other entities
Increasing employer involvement in the development and better use of skills
The Ministers responsible for economy; family, labour and social security; school education; regional development; province-level executive boards and other entities
Building an effective system for skills assessment and anticipation (SAA) and dissemination of related information
The Ministers responsible for school education; economy; family, labour and social security; regional development; and province-level executive boards and other entities
Developing effective and sustainable mechanisms for inter-ministerial and inter-sectoral collaboration and coordination
The Ministers responsible for school education; higher education and science; economy; regional development; digitalisation; and province-level executive boards and other entities
Ensuring equal access to opportunities for the development and use of skills
The Ministers responsible for school education; higher education and science; culture, national heritage and sport; family, labour and social security; economy; regional development; and province-level executive boards and other entities
Source: Based on the following documents: 2030 Integrated Skills Strategy (general part), Warsaw, 2019; 2030 Integrated Skills Strategy (detailed part), Policy for the skills development in line with the idea of lifelong learning, Warsaw, 2020.
Graduate tracking (graduate career monitoring) has an important role in the implementation of the education policy at the national, regional and local levels, including the adaptation of areas and contents of education and training to labour market demands and the preparation of pupils and students for the choice of an occupation or career and the area of education or training, as well as the monitoring of public and non-public post-primary school graduates. Career tracking is the responsibility of the Minister in charge of school education.