Strategies promoting mobility and internationalisation
Poland does not have a separate strategy for internationalisation or mobility in early childhood and school education or higher education, or national benchmarks for mobility. However, mobility and internationalisation are included in the priority areas of ‘The Integrated Skills Strategy 2030’ (Zintegrowana Strategia Umiejętności 2030), adopted by the Government in January 2019 (the general part of the Strategy) and December 2020 (the detailed part). In 5 of its 8 areas of intervention, mobility and international cooperation are among the lines of action which aim to support skills development in all target groups of the education sector:
- Area of Intervention I: Basic, transversal and professional skills of children, young people and adults. Lines of action: Strengthening cooperation among higher education institutions at national and international levels, including learner mobility; supporting cooperation among institutions and organisations involved in skills development at local, regional, national and international levels.
- Areas of Intervention II, III and IV: Skills development in formal education and outside formal education – management and teaching / training staff (including students in initial teacher training programmes) and staff involved in initial and in-service training of management and teaching / training staff. Lines of action: Promoting local and international mobility of staff; promoting national and international good practices in education; enhancing skills for the development and management of national and transnational projects; supporting the establishment of, and participation in, collaboration networks at local, regional, national and international levels.
- Area of Intervention VII: Cooperation between employers and formal and non-formal education. Lines of action: extending the range and improving the quality of local and international practical placements and internships for learners and teaching / training staff; promoting placements and internships; promoting local and international mobility.
Monitoring indicators for the implementation of the Strategy in the field of higher education will address student mobility. They will include the number of Polish students studying in EU member states, member states of the European Economic Area (EEA) and EU candidate countries, and the number of students from these countries studying in Poland. Target values for the indicators will be set as part of the model for the monitoring and evaluation of the education policy based on the Strategy.
internationalisation of higher education and research is also incorporated into the goals of the Government’s ‘Strategy for Responsible Development 2020 (with a 2030 perspective)’ (Strategia na rzecz odpowiedzialnego rozwoju do 2020 r. (z perspektywą do 2030 r.)(summary in English), adopted in 2016. The Strategy aims to provide conditions boosting internationalisation of higher education, innovativeness and commercialisation of research; facilitate the employment of international scholars with research achievements at Polish higher education institutions; and encourage non-EU students to take up studies in Poland.
Measures supporting mobility and internationalisation
Government Representative for the Development and Internationalisation of Education and Research
In May 2022, the Government appointed the Secretary of State in the Ministry of Education and Science as the Government Representative for the Development and Internationalisation of Education and Research (Regulation of the Council of Ministers of 27 April 2022 establishing the position of the Government Representative for the Development and Internationalisation of Education and Research / Rozporządzenie Rady Ministrów z dnia 27 kwietnia 2022 r. w sprawie ustanowienia Pełnomocnika Rządu ds. Rozwoju i Umiędzynarodowienia Edukacji i Nauki / which came into force on 3 May 2022). As part of his / her responsibilities, the Representative:
- coordinates measures for the development and maintenance of bilateral and multilateral research collaboration within the higher education and science system, including measures aimed at strengthening internationalisation of research;
- monitors and coordinates matters in the field of research related to Poland’s participation in international organisations and institutions;
- supports and coordinates measures promoting Polish science to build international relations and create the image of Poland as a country of high-quality research activities;
- undertakes activities fostering the development and internationalisation of education;
- reviews national legislation, mechanisms and measures related to international cooperation in the field of education, internationalisation of education and funding for international research cooperation, and identifies issues in these areas and makes proposals to address them;
- evaluates activities and makes proposals related to international research collaboration as part of programmes and projects supporting institutions of the higher education and science system.
In consultation with the Minister of Education and Science, the Representative presents his / her findings and proposals to the Government. (S)he may set up expert or advisory teams, commission studies and research, and – in consultation with the Minister and with the consent of the Prime Minister – submit draft documents for consideration by the Government.
The Representative performs his / her responsibilities in collaboration with government administration bodies, institutions within the school education and higher education and science systems, local government units, non-governmental organisations and other national and international institutions working in the fields of higher education and science and school education.
Programmes, projects and initiatives supporting mobility and international cooperation
Mobility of learners and education staff and international cooperation at all education levels are supported on the widest scale by the EU Erasmus+ Programme. Various activities are also funded or co-funded nationally, with much wider opportunities available in higher education than in school education.
At the school education level, there are projects co-funded by the EU funds and the state budget, and youth exchange projects funded or co-funded by the state budget as part of bilateral agreements or so-called public tasks of the Ministry of Education and Science. At the higher education level, student and staff mobility and broader cooperation among higher education institutions are supported under multilateral, bilateral and national programmes (co-)funded by the Polish Government and / or other countries or international organisations. Poland does not (co-)fund programmes or projects supporting mobility or broader cooperation in the field of adult education.
Poland has signed bilateral agreements on cooperation in the field of higher education and science with around 100 countries in all regions of the world. They cover student, academic staff and expert exchanges and activities aimed at the exchange of information, experience and good practice.
In accordance with the national legislation, foreigners, regardless of their nationality, have access to education in publicly funded school education institutions under the same conditions as Polish nationals until they reach the age of 18 or finish a post-primary school. The school education system also offers learning support in various forms to non-Polish pupils in compulsory education. As regards public schools which take adults and public higher education institutions, conditions of access are the same as for Polish nationals or very similar for, among others, nationals of EU member states, members states of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) – signatories of the EEA Agreement and Switzerland. Other foreigners may receive financial support. For details, see ‘Pupil and Student Mobility’ in Chapter 13.1 and ‘Student Mobility’ in Chapter 13.2.
Poland has put in place tools facilitating recognition based on European initiatives. These include:
- the 8-level Polish Qualifications Framework (PQF) which describes qualifications awarded in the country as referenced to the European Qualifications Framework;
- the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) in higher education;
- a Diploma Supplement (for higher education) and a Certificate Supplement (for vocational education and training), based on the Europass template, which describe the level, content and status of the programme completed by the holder.
Recognition of qualifications is based on EU legislation and international conventions. The national legislation lays down conditions for automatic recognition and the recognition procedure for other cases. In the case of higher education qualifications, different mechanisms are in place for academic recognition (for admission to further studies) and professional recognition (for employment). For details, see ‘Pupil and Student Mobility’ in Chapter 13.1 and ‘Student Mobility’ in Chapter 13.2.
International dimension in education
The national legislation on school education provides for the establishment of bilingual and international classes and schools. The national core curricula, which provide the basis for school curricula, include various contents introducing a European, global and / or intercultural dimension into compulsory subjects as part of general education. For details, see ‘Global and intercultural dimension in curriculum development’ in Chapter 13.4.
The national legislation on higher education allows foreign higher education institutions (HEIs) to establish institutions or branch campuses. Polish HEIs can provide joint degree programmes with foreign HEIs and / or research institutions. The legislation does not refer to curricular contents (except for the regulated professions) and, thus, does not specify any contents related to a European or global dimension to be integrated into study programmes. European contents are covered to the greatest extent in curricula for programmes in the field of European Studies and related fields. Various elements of the knowledge about Europe, the UE and / or the world are also incorporated into curricula developed by HEIs in many other fields of study. For further details, see ‘Global and intercultural dimension in curriculum development’ in Chapter 13.5.
Institutions responsible for various aspects of internationalisation and mobility:
- Ministry of Education and Science: coordinates and implements national policy for preschool education, school education, higher education and adult / continuing education (website available in Polish only)
- Foundation for the Development of the Education System: administers EU programmes in the field of education and training, including Erasmus+ and e-Twinning, and other programmes and projects co-funded by the EU and as part of multilateral and bilateral agreements which support mobility and international cooperation (a new English-language website under construction)
- National Agency for Academic Exchange: administers programmes and projects funded or co-funded by the EU and the Polish Government which support mobility and internationalisation of higher education and science. The Agency is also responsible for the recognition of qualifications, acting as the Polish ENIC-NARIC unit. It manages the multilanguage portal ‘Ready, Steady, Go Poland’ for foreigners interested to study in Poland.