The school education system should provide conditions for all citizens to exercise their right to education, and for children and young people to exercise their right to education and care as suitable for their age and stage of development.
School should provide conditions for the development of each pupil and prepare him / her to fulfil his / her family and civic duties based on the principles of solidarity, democracy, tolerance, justice and freedom.
Learners may have the contents, methods and organisation of education adapted to their psychological and physical abilities, and have access to counselling and guidance – referred to as psychological and educational support – and to special forms of learning and teaching.
Children and young people with disabilities, socially maladjusted children and young people and those at risk of social maladjustment may receive education in all types of schools, in line with their individual developmental and educational needs and predispositions.
Pupils with disabilities can take an individualised learning path, follow individualised learning programmes and participate in rehabilitation classes.
Particularly gifted pupils can follow individualised learning programmes and complete education in all types of schools within a shorter period of time.
The school education system also provides support and care to pupils in a difficult financial situation or in difficult life circumstances.
The areas of study and curricular contents are adapted to labour market requirements, and schools prepare pupils for the choice of a career and area of study and for active participation in economic life through the development of entrepreneurial attitudes.
Support is also available for the teaching of, and in, the Polish language to the Polish diaspora, Poles living abroad and children of migrant workers.
(Act of 14 December 2016, The Law on School Education, as subsequently amended /ustawa z dnia 14 grudnia 2016, Prawo oświatowe).
The school education system provides support to children from birth. Before entering a preschool education setting, children have access to psychological and educational support (counselling and guidance) in counselling and guidance centres. Early childhood development support is available to the child from the time when a disability is diagnosed until the time when he / she starts school.
At each education level, in nursery schools and alternative preschool education settings, all types of schools and other educational institutions for children and young people, the education process is organised so as to take into consideration diverse developmental and educational needs of pupils.
Support is also offered to learners in schools for adults and people who wish to acquire additional and upgrade vocational qualifications and skills in non-school settings.
Identification of pupils’ developmental and educational needs and abilities and environmental factors which have impact on their functioning, and related support are among the basic responsibilities of:
- class or group tutors (teachers) and
- specialists working in institutions within the school education system.
Teachers should take an individualised approach in working with each pupil during classes. Psychological and educational support should be geared towards supporting active and full participation of children in the life of the nursery school or school (or another institution of the school education system) and in their social environment. Support should be provided in direct work with the pupil and, depending on his / her needs, in forms prescribed by the legislation.
The following arrangements are in place in the school education system to cater to the educational needs of children and young people:
- various forms of psychological and educational support provided in nursery schools and schools (and other institutions of the school education system), including counselling and guidance centres;
- adaptation of contents, educational requirements, organisation of the learning process and methods applied in the work with pupils to their individual needs and abilities; including:
- the choice of the core curriculum for general education;
- adjustment of educational requirements;
- special education;
- individualised one-year preschool preparatory classes or individualised instruction / learning;
- an individualised learning programme or learning path;
- exemption from selected classes;
- a one-year compulsory preschool education programme, compulsory full-time or part-time education programme provided in the form of individual or group rehabilitation and education classes.
- adjustment of the time of entry into education and the length of an education cycle:
- earlier entry into compulsory education;
- deferred entry into compulsory education;
- extension of the duration of education stages for pupils with disabilities;
- shortened periods of education for socially maladjusted pupils or pupils at risk of social maladjustment;
- progression of pupils to a higher grade during a school year;
- individualised learning;
- adaptations and adjustments to the conditions and forms of external examinations.
Measures taken by institutions in the school education system are also designed to support parents and teachers in addressing educational and learning problems, and in developing their educational skills. They are aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of psychological and educational support provided to children and young people.
The Ministry of Education and Science takes measures to improve the quality of inclusive education, understood as high-quality education for all learners, at any age. (Ministry of Education and Science; information and promotion campaign “Education within reach” /Edukacja w zasięgu ręki); information available in Polish only).
Based on the regulations that came into force on 1 September 2022, the following public and non-public educational institutions are required to employ teachers-specialists, including pedagogues, special education teachers, psychologists, speech therapists and educational therapists:
- nursery schools other than special nursery schools;
- primary schools, general secondary schools, technical secondary schools and stage I sectoral vocational schools other than special schools;
- art schools providing general education at the level of the primary school or general secondary school;
- complexes consisting of the afore-mentioned types of nursery schools and schools.
The introduction of related standards is divided into 2 stages.
In stage I, between 1 September 2022 and 31 August 2024, lower transitional values for the standards will be in place:
Number of pupils
Total number of jobs (in full-time equivalents, FTE)
1.5 FTE + 0.2 FTE for each subsequent 100 pupils
From 51 to 100
From 31 to 50
From 1 to 30
In stage II, as of 1 September 2024, higher target values for the standards will be in place:
Number of pupils
Total number of jobs (in full-time equivalents, FTE)
2 FTE + 0.2 FTE for each subsequent 100 pupils
From 51 to 100
From 41 to 50
From 31 to 40
From 21 to 30
From 11 to 20
From 1 to 10
(Ministry of Education and Science, legislation laying down the standards for the employment of teachers-specialists, available in Polish only)
The Ministry of Education and Science expects that following the changes introduced, the number of jobs (in full-time equivalents, FTE) for teachers-specialists in the institutions of the school education system that are covered by the standardisation will grow from 21,000 in 2021 to 51,000 in 2024; that is, on average, by 134% (400% for nursery schools). In 2021, there was, on average, 0.81 FTE specialist per institution. Ultimately, there will be 1.9 FTE per institution. This will improve the availability of specialist support for children and young people, their parents and teachers.
(Art 2 of the Act of 12 May 2022 amending the School Education Act and some other Acts /ustawa z dnia 12 maja 2022 r. o zmianie ustawy o systemie oświaty oraz niektórych innych ustaw); Art. 42d of the Act of 26 January 1982, The Teachers’ Charter (as subsequently amended) / ustawa z dnia 26 stycznia 1982 r. – Karta Nauczyciela)
Mainstream and integration nursery schools and schools have established a new position of special education teacher.
The Ministry of Education and Science is also working on a new law which will put in place an all-embracing approach and create conditions for comprehensive development of pupils and support for their families. The new law on support for pupils and families was included in the list of legislative acts to be discussed by the Council of Ministers in November 2021.
Secondary school graduates who have passed the maturity exam may continue their education in higher education institutions. The organisation and implementation of the teaching and learning processes in a higher education institution should be adapted to the specific needs of students with disabilities.
(Art. 11, section 1, sub-section 6, Art. 365, sections 4 and 5 of the Act of 20 July 2018, The Law on Higher Education and Science (as subsequently amended) / ustawa z dnia 20 lipca 2018 r. ‒ Prawo o szkolnictwie wyższym i nauce; Regulation of the Minister of Science and Higher Education of 25 September 2018 on the distribution of funding to higher education institutions for financial benefits for students and for tasks related to the provision of conditions for full participation of disabled persons in the student admission process, the learning process as part of degree programmes and in doctoral schools or research activities /rozporządzenie Ministra Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego z dnia 25 września 2018 r. w sprawie sposobu podziału dla uczelni środków finansowych na świadczenia dla studentów oraz na zadania związane z zapewnieniem osobom niepełnosprawnym warunków do pełnego udziału w procesie przyjmowania na studia, do szkół doktorskich, kształceniu na studiach i w szkołach doktorskich lub prowadzeniu działalności naukowej)
Adults may enrol in schools for adults and acquire and improve their knowledge, skills and vocational qualifications in non-school settings.
(Art. 18, section 2b, and Art. 117 of the Act of 14 December 2016, The Law on School Education / ustawa z dnia 14 grudnia 2016 r. ‒ Prawo oświatowe)
Furthermore, universities of the third age (information in Polish only) offer opportunities for all adults to improve knowledge and develop skills. They aim to:
- promote educational initiatives;
- encourage elderly people's intellectual, social and physical activity;
- develop their knowledge and skills;
- facilitate their contacts with the healthcare services, culture centres, rehabilitation centres, etc.;
- involve them in various activities for their community;
- maintain social bonds and interpersonal communication among elderly people.
Ministry of Family and Social Policy, Catalogue of Good Practice