Extension of the catalogue of fields of study offered as uniform master degree programmes
The proposed amendments to the Regulation of the Minister of Science and Higher Education of 27 September 2018 on degree programmes provide for the expansion of the catalogue of degree programmes that can be taught as an uniform master's degree programme to include the following courses:
- interior architecture
- psychology and animal biology
- speech therapy
- programmes which provide education exclusively for firefighters in the State Fire Service
- degree programmes which exclusively provide training preparing for the teaching profession (excluding pre-school and early school pedagogy and special pedagogy, which are already offered as single master's degree programmes only).
Amendments to the classification of scientific fields, disciplines and artistic disciplines
The planned amendments to the regulation of the Minister of Science and Higher Education of 20 September 2018 on scientific fields, disciplines and artistic disciplines provide for the inclusion of the following scientific disciplines in the classification:
- security engineering
- international relations
- ethnology and anthropology
- heritage protection and conservation
- family studies
- biblical sciences
- veterinary science including the scientific discipline of veterinary medicine.
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.
In solidarity with Ukraine
15 March 2022
The aim of the Programme is to enable Ukrainian refugees (arriving in Poland as of 24.02.2022) - Ukrainian students and doctoral students to continue their studies, work on their doctoral thesis or pursue any other form of education at Polish universities and institutes between March and September 2022. The programme is implemented by the National Agency for Academic Exchange on behalf of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Applications in the programme could be submitted by universities supervised by the Ministry of Education and Science or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where the number of full-time students is at least 150, and institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences/Lukasiewicz network/research institutes. In their application, these entities declared the number of Ukrainian refugees they were ready to host, providing them with free opportunities to continue their studies, prepare their doctoral thesis, take language courses or any other form of education.
On 4 April 2022, the call was closed - applications for project funding were submitted by a total of 98 institutions - universities, institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences and research institutes (including six universities supervised by the Minister of Health). The total budget of the programme is PLN 25.7 million (the amount applied for is PLN 69.6 million). The submitted applications for support concerned 2129 students, 220 doctoral students, 3939 participants of other forms of education (a total of 6288 persons). Based on the declarations of the universities, the programme budget should allow for the education of 1947 persons.
Law on assistance to citizens of Ukraine in connection with the armed conflict on the territory of that country
12 March 2022
The Minister of Education and Science has proposed, within the scope of his jurisdiction, the introduction of a number of facilitations within the framework of the special law of 12 March 2022 on assistance to citizens of Ukraine in connection with the armed conflict on the territory of the country (Journal of Laws, item 583). The provisions conducted aim to facilitate the continuation and undertaking of studies by refugees from Ukraine by reducing administrative, legal and financial obstacles.
The Act contains, inter alia, the following solutions:
- The possibility for Ukrainian citizens to apply for a social grant and student loan, based on a statement of their family and financial situation. For them, the restrictions on the number of allowances that can be paid by the university will also be lifted.
- The possibility for Polish and Ukrainian citizens who were students at a university in Ukraine on 24 February 2022 and do not have documents certifying periods of study, examinations passed, passes or professional practice to continue their education.
- Universities may carry out proceedings on confirmation of graduation at a certain level with respect to, inter alia, citizens of Ukraine residing in the territory of the Republic of Poland whose stay in the territory of the Republic of Poland is recognised as legal or Polish citizens who entered the territory of the Republic of Poland directly from the territory of Ukraine in the period from 24 February 2022, who do not possess diplomas of graduation obtained abroad.
- The possibility for universities to amend their enrolment resolutions for studies starting in the second semester of the academic year 2021/2022 and in the academic year 2022/2023 and to exclude the application of the provisions of the Act - Law on Higher Education and Science to the amendments to study regulations introduced by 30 September 2022, to the extent necessary for the enrolment, by transfer from Ukrainian universities, of persons who, on 24 February 2022, had the status of a student of a university operating in the territory of Ukraine.
- Possibility for the rector to change the organisation of the academic year 2021/2022 as defined in the internal acts of the university. In the academic year 2021/2022, it will also be possible to hold full-time and part-time courses at the university together.
University for you – Університет для вас
28 February 2022
A set of measures taken by the minister responsible for higher education and science to ensure access to Polish higher education for students from Ukrainian universities, including:
- 28 February 2022 – the Ministry of Education and Science launched a helpline (22 52 92 662) and email address email@example.com for PL citizens studying in Ukraine and incoming UA citizens
- 8 March 2022 - the Minister of Education and Science decided to allow the participation of Ukrainian citizens in internships within the framework of academic network scholarships, summer schools and intensive courses and freemover scholarships in the CEEPUS programme (Central European Exchange Programme for University Studies - the second largest scholarship programme in Europe after Erasmus+).
- 17 March 2022 - As part of the coordination activities regarding the provision of opportunities for Polish and Ukrainian students (so far studying at universities in Ukraine) to continue their studies, the Ministry, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, has assigned all students who have declared such a desire to enrol in a Polish university. Information has been sent to the students concerned about their assignment to a specific university that will consider admitting them to study medicine or medicine-dentistry. All students who used the helpline were assisted.
- 17 March 2022 - information and recommendations of the Ministry of Education and Science for the higher education and research institutions concerning measures for the benefit of Ukrainian and Polish citizens in connection with the war in Ukraine were issued
- 17 March 2022 - as part of the "PSRP Comfort Zone" project, the Parliament of Students of the Republic of Poland launched free psychological assistance for students from Ukraine. Professional psychological assistance is provided in Ukrainian. The project is implemented within the framework of a task commissioned by the Minister of Education and Science, hence psychological advice is free of charge.
- 30 March 2022 - an information chatbot was launched in Polish and Ukrainian concerning, among others, higher education and research. The tool provides information related to enrolment, material assistance for students or taking up employment at Polish universities or research institutes. The chatbot not only provides the most important information, but, via the links provided, allows users to be redirected to websites with information for Ukrainian citizens.
- On 5 May 2022, the University of Warsaw launched a nationwide online recruitment service for candidates from Ukraine. The service has been developed on the initiative of the Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland in order to make it easier for university candidates, students, doctoral students and employees of universities and research units from Ukraine to find out about the educational offer and opportunities for work or voluntary work at Polish universities and scientific institutes.
"Social responsibility of science" - Call for proposals
2 February 2022
The programme "Social Responsibility of Science" is an undertaking addressed to higher education and science institutions and other bodies acting for the benefit of science promotion. The programme consists of two modules: "Popularisation of science and promotion of sport" and "Support for scientific libraries".
The aim of the programme "Social responsibility of science" is popularization of science, promotion of academic sport and projects related to maintenance of library resources of significant importance to science or its heritage.
In order to participate in the programme, it is necessary to present a project which does not last longer than 24 months and its indirect costs do not exceed 10% of direct costs of project implementation. The project may also not include activities financed by other funds from the state budget.
Financial support under each module amounts to:
- "Popularisation of science and promotion of sport" - from PLN 20,000 to PLN 1,000,000,
- "Support for scientific libraries" - from PLN 20,000 to PLN 250,000, however, it cannot exceed 90% of the project implementation costs.
Pearls of science
4 January 2022
The objective of the programme is to support higher education and scientific institutions in creating conditions for the development of exceptionally talented graduates of first-cycle studies or students after the end of the third or fourth year of uniform Master's programmes by enabling them to conduct scientific research or artistic creativity under the guidance of a scientific or artistic tutor.
The programme was established on 31 December 2021, the first call for applications was open from 4 January to 18 February 2022.
Science for Society Programme – nearly PLN 11 million for projects promoting science
26 November 2021
“@talentON – Programme for the Support and Development of Talented Youth”, “Polish Scientists 2022: Scientific Excellence, Research Autonomy and Social Responsibility of Science” or “Global Legal Information” are just some of the projects qualified for funding under the Minister of Education and Science’s “Science for Society” program.
“Science for Society” – support for projects disseminating science
Under the “Science for Society” program 15 projects submitted by 13 entities will receive funding. The total amount of funds allocated for this purpose will reach PLN 10.7 million.
Among the beneficiaries of the program are the Foundation of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, the Polish Historical Association, and the Stanisław Staszic University of Science and Technology in Kraków.
Participants in the Program who fulfilled specific requirements could count on receiving grants ranging from PLN 100 thousand to 2 million.
About the program
“Science for Society" program was announced in July 2021. Its aim is to support higher education and science system entities as well as other organizational units acting to promote science in the implementation of projects aimed at building cooperation between entities operating in the field of science and those working in the socio-economic sphere.
The program includes financial support for projects in three pillars:
- Scientific excellence - support for projects aimed at, among others, improving the quality of scientific research, undertaking new and important research topics for socio-economic development, internationalisation of Polish science, increasing its recognition and shaping its public perception;
- Science for innovation - support for projects increasing the effectiveness of cooperation between science and the business environment, supporting innovation and commercialisation of research and development results, disseminating knowledge on relations between science, innovation and economy;
- Humanities - Society - Identity - support for projects popularizing innovative and interdisciplinary research in the humanities, promoting patriotic attitudes, national and regional traditions, as well as studying the sources of Polish culture at home and abroad.
The call for applications under the program has been open since early August of this year and is ongoing.
Remedial programme for first-year students
5 October 2021
The Ministry of Education and Science has launched a support programme for universities that will organise remedial classes for students admitted to the first year of full-time first degree or uniform master's studies. The aim of the programme is to supplement or develop the level of knowledge of students admitted to the first year of full-time studies in the academic year 2021/2022, who, due to the SARS-CoV-2 virus outbreak, have been receiving their secondary school education remotely for the last 3 semesters.
The additional classes organised at the universities are also an opportunity to supplement knowledge in various subjects within the scope required for education in a particular field of study. The aim of the classes is also to eliminate possible differences in the preparation of the graduates for university.
Additional compensatory classes - not included in the study programme - will be carried out by public and non-public HEIs, which confirmed their readiness to join the student support programme and provided the Ministry of Education and Science with information on the estimated number of student groups for which they can organise such classes. Verification of the data provided by the HEIs will be carried out on the basis of data from the recruitment for the academic year 2021/2022 included in the reports, placed in the Integrated Information System on Higher Education and Science POL-on. Approximately 170 HEIs have declared their participation in the programme.
The classes should be organised in October-December 2021 in groups of 25 students, amounting to 30 lesson hours per group. It is also possible to organise them in one incomplete group - with a minimum of 15 students, in case the number of students registered for participation does not allow for the creation of a full group of 25. The method of organisation of these courses, the selection of subjects and the necessary programme contents are the responsibility of the universities carrying out this task.
The costs of conducting additional classes for students by the universities will be financed by the Ministry. Approximately PLN 36 million has been allocated for this purpose.
After the Ministry has verified the results of the recruitment for the academic year 2021/2022, the funds for additional classes will be transferred on the basis of the provisions of the Act of 20 July 2018. - Law on Higher Education and Science (Official Journal 2021, item 478, as amended) to public HEIs by increasing the amount of the subsidy, while to non-public HEIs on the basis of individual agreements concluded separately with each HEI.
Guidelines for the safe operation of higher education institutions and other higher education and scientific institutions during the pandemia
30 September 2021
In view of the return, in the academic year 2021/2022, to teaching on university premises, the Ministry of Education and Science, in consultation with representatives of the academic community and the Chief Sanitary Inspectorate, has developed guidelines for the safe operation of universities and other entities of the higher education and science system during the pandemia.
The guidelines should be regarded as a set of recommendations, advice and suggestions, which should be applied taking into account the changing legal situation, local number of cases, dynamics of the epidemic, assessment of key risk factors and organisational and technical conditions of a given university.
The recommendations and guidelines should be the starting point for reviewing and possibly updating the internal procedures of each institution. Treating human safety as a priority, the adopted procedures should also take into account the responsibility for the proper and efficient functioning of the institutions and the fulfilment of their tasks. All decisions are taken by rectors or heads of institutes, as they are responsible for the safety of the bodies they manage.
The guidelines are not obligatory for higher education institutions and other entities of the higher education and science systems. They are also not the basis for claims to cover the costs of their implementation.
In the academic year 2021/2022, the Ministry of Education and Science envisages, as a rule, a return to teaching at the premises of universities and, in the case of doctoral students, also at other entities providing this type of education.
As of 15 August 2021, the Regulation of the Minister of Education and Science of 10 August 2021 repealing the Regulation on temporary restrictions on the operation of certain entities of the system of higher education and science in connection with preventing, counteracting and combating COVID-19 entered into force (Official Journal, item 1464).
It is recommended that classes conducted with the direct participation of academic teachers or other instructors should be implemented with such safety measures as are feasible given the technical, organisational and infrastructural conditions of a given higher education institution, in order to maintain the possibility of implementing the study programme and achieving the assumed learning outcomes.
Organisation of work
Formal decisions concerning the operation of a higher education institution or other higher education and research institutions shall be taken by the rector or the director of the institution. They shall concern in particular:
- teaching and the conditions for the delivery of courses
- the development of emergency action plans and their updates
- the organisation of any community events/meetings.
Close cooperation with the student self-government and the doctoral student self-government is recommended, as they represent the opinions and interests of students and doctoral students both inside and outside the university. Involving representatives of the self-governments in current activities and enabling them to influence the decisions made may provide invaluable support for the authorities and contribute to better communication of the solutions introduced.
New website on the projects of the Minister of Education and Science has been launched
20 July 2021
Details of the programmes of the Ministry of Education and Science, descriptions, deadlines, lists and templates of necessary documents, announcements, guidelines and results - these and much more can be found on the new website dedicated to the undertakings of the Ministry of Education and Science.
The website programy.nauka.gov.pl is dedicated to the programmes of the Minister of Education and Science. It was created for students, scientists, public and non-public universities, research and scientific institutes, non-governmental organisations and organisational units promoting science.
The website is divided into thematic sections: ministerial programmes, undertakings and initiatives, competitions and results. The website also has separate tabs for different groups of recipients: a student, a young scientist, a researcher, a HEI/ an organisation/ other entities, thanks to which everyone interested will be able to find specific information for themselves.
Guidelines for HEIs on the organisation of the academic year 2021/2022
20 July 2021
In view of the current epidemic situation, the Ministry of Education and Science envisages in principle a return to the provision of education in universities at their premises in the academic year 2021/2022. Final decisions in this regard will take into account the dynamics of the COVID-19 outbreak and government decisions. In a situation of increased epidemic risk, hybrid education may be introduced, and in special cases, a return to distance education.
Abolition of temporary restrictions on the operation of universities
In mid-August it is planned to repeal the regulation on the temporary restriction of the operation of certain entities of the higher education and science system in connection with the prevention, counteraction and combating of COVID-19.
With the abolition of the temporary restriction on the operation of universities the following measures are introduced:
- reinstating the possibility of periodical appraisal of academic staff,
- maintaining the validity of student identity cards, doctoral student identity cards and staff identity cards for academic teachers - they remain valid during the period of restriction or suspension of the operation of a higher education institution, and 60 days after the end of that period. So if the regulation is repealed in mid-August, the cards will remain valid until mid-October. In the first half of October, card holders should visit the university in person to renew their cards.
Teaching courses prescribed in the study programmes using distance education methods and techniques
As regards the possibility of conducting classes provided for in the study programmes with the use of methods and techniques of distance education (Article 67, par. 4 of the Act - Law on Higher Education and Science directly provides for the possibility of obtaining some of the learning outcomes covered by the study programme during classes conducted with the use of methods and techniques of distance education).
These classes should be conducted using infrastructure and software ensuring synchronous and asynchronous interaction between students and instructors. It is important that the conduct of classes using distance learning methods and techniques may be implemented as long as the specific nature of education in a particular field of study allows it.
Academic Freedom Package
06 July 2021
The Council of Ministers adopted a draft amendment to the Law on Higher Education and Science, the so-called Academic Freedom Package.
The main objective of the Academic Freedom Package is to guarantee teachers freedom of teaching, freedom of speech, freedom of scientific research, publication of its results, and freedom of academic debate on the basis of pluralism of world views. The proposed legal changes strengthen respect for the constitutional right to freedom of expression of religious, philosophical and world-view beliefs in the academic field.
- The rector will have the additional task of ensuring that freedom of teaching, freedom of expression, research and the publication of its results are respected in the university. This will also apply to academic debate organised by members of the community of the university, while respecting the principles of pluralism of world views and the rules of order of the university.
- The rector will be able to fulfil this task by monitoring the respect for freedoms in the university, and in particular by introducing appropriate provisions in this respect in the internal acts of the university, defining "good practices" related to this issue, as well as taking specific actions in case of violation of these freedoms, within the scope of his/her competence.
- The choice of instruments for this task will be made within the autonomy of the higher education institution.
- A provision has been introduced whereby the expression of religious, philosophical or ideological beliefs by academic staff will not constitute a disciplinary offence.
- A possibility of lodging a complaint against the decision of the rector to instruct the disciplinary ombudsman to start a case has been introduced. This complaint will be considered by the disciplinary committee at the Minister of Education and Science.
- The possibility of lodging a complaint against the rector's decision will, however, be limited only to cases where the matter covered by the decision concerns the expression of religious, philosophical or ideological beliefs by an academic staff member.
- The disciplinary ombudsman will not be able to commence proceedings until the time limit for lodging a complaint or reviewing the case by the disciplinary committee at the minister has expired without effect.
- A decision of the disciplinary committee of the Minister may be appealed to the Court of Appeal in Warsaw - Labour and Social Security Court, but the consideration of the case by this court will no longer stop any action in the case.
- The rector will no longer be able to suspend an academic staff member in the performance of their duties during the investigation of their case. Suspending an academic staff member at such an early stage of the case does not seem necessary and justified.
The new solutions are to enter into force 14 days after being announced in the Official Journal.
Science for Society
1 July 2021
The aim of the new Programme “Science for Society“ of the Minister of Education and Science is to support higher education and science system entities and other institutions acting for the benefit of science promotion. Funding in the amount of PLN 100 thousand to 2 million may be provided for projects that focus on cooperation of scientific institutions with non-governmental organisations, social organisations and the economic environment. The call for proposals for the programme will be open in August 2021 and will be carried out on a continuous basis.
The programme includes financial support for projects under three pillars:
- Scientific excellence - raising the quality of scientific research, undertaking new and important research topics for socio-economic development, internationalisation of Polish science, increasing its recognition and shaping its public perception
- Science for innovation - increasing the effectiveness of cooperation between science and the business environment, supporting innovation and commercialisation of research and development results;
- Humanities - Society - Identity - for projects popularising innovative and interdisciplinary research in the humanities, promoting patriotic attitudes, national and regional traditions, as well as studying the sources of Polish culture at home and abroad.
Practical academies - draft law adopted by the Council of Ministers
22 June 2021
The Council of Ministers adopted a bill amending the Act - Law on Higher Education and Science and the Act - Introduction of the Act - Law on Higher Education and Science, submitted by the Minister of Education and Science.
There will be a new category in the group of professional colleges (public and non-public) - "practical academies". The possibility of distinguishing vocational universities by introducing the words "practical academy" into their names will strengthen their position in the educational market and contribute to a positive perception in the socio-economic environment. In addition, these universities will also have the opportunity to become independent in the provision of studies preparing for the teaching profession.
The words "practical academy" will be reserved for a vocational HEI that meets all of the following conditions:
- has been operating for at least 10 years
- the number of students enrolled in the institution is at least 250, of which at least 100 are full-time students
- at least 50% of academic staff are employed in the institution as the place of their primary employment;
- provides first-cycle or second-cycle programmes or long-cycle programmes in at least five fields of study
- provides education in at least one field of study preparing for the exercise of professions, in particular studies preparing for the exercise of medical profession, teaching profession, or a field of study leading to the degree of inżynier or magister inżynier
- none of the fields of study offered by the university has been assessed negatively as a result of the evaluation of the quality of education conducted by the Polish Accreditation Committee.
The criteria presented will serve to distinguish among vocational HEIs this group of universities, which is distinguished by its stability and position in the educational market.
Changing the name of the university to "practical academy" will not be mandatory. The initiative in this matter will be up to the authorities of the respective university.
Verification of the compliance of a non-university higher education institution with the conditions will be conducted on the basis of data included in the POL-on Integrated Information System for Higher Education and Science pursuant to the rules laid down in the Act.
Vocational universities that meet the statutory criteria will also have the opportunity to provide studies preparing for the teaching profession, without the need to have a cooperation agreement with a university that has a scientific category (after the first evaluation of the quality of scientific activity), and until 31 December 2022, which has the right to confer a doctoral degree - in the discipline to which the study programme is assigned. The exemption from the requirement that a vocational HEI has an agreement will not require it to change its name to "practical academy" as these are independent arrangements.
The new regulations will allow vocational HEIs that are distinguished by their well-established and stable position in the higher education and science system, as well as by the appropriate quality of their education, to become independent in the provision of studies preparing for the teaching profession.
The new solutions are to enter into force 14 days after their announcement in the Journal of Laws.
"Psychological Package" - recommendations for universities on how to help students
17 June 2021
Based on the information provided by universities on the support provided to students during the epidemic, the Ministry of Education and Science has developed the following recommendations for increasing psychological support.
Every student should be able to receive the following assistance at their university.
- Health-promoting information - the university should develop and make available to students a plan and description of the psychological support offered, including contact details of institutions/persons providing such support (e.g. an up-to-date list of municipal institutions).
- Information about the course of study - the university should develop and make available to students the means of applying for "non-standard" settlement of individual stages of the course of study, e.g. the procedure for applying for individual organisation of courses, conditions for obtaining leave from classes, increased limit of absences from classes, change of date and form of examination, extension of the credit period.
- Information on State Aid - providing students with up-to-date information on student grants, scholarships and loans.
- An organisational unit (e.g. a psychological counselling centre) or a team of people dedicated to counselling and helping students - such a unit (or team) could provide students with possible ways to overcome mental or emotional crises. This role - to a wider extent - can be fulfilled by the university's office for persons with disabilities.
- Psychological counseling - the university should provide students with the possibility of an individual meeting with a psychologist in person, or alternatively, online. If it is not possible to liaise directly with the relevant professional, the university should establish cooperation with a centre (company) offering psychological/psychiatric assistance. The university should ensure that assistance is provided without the student incurring the cost of the consultation.
- Cooperation with the students' council - activities in the field of psychological support for students should be undertaken in close cooperation with the students' council functioning at the university (student support groups). Promoting acceptance towards those seeking support (fostering de-stigmatisation).
- Workshops and trainings - increase in the number of trainings on prevention in the field of mental health, as well as workshops and trainings on soft skills, e.g. dealing with stress and conflict situations, the problem of procrastination, maintaining physical and mental well-being, the impact of the coronavirus epidemic on functioning in society (relations with the society).
The above recommendations were communicated to the Rectors of the supervised universities in a letter from the Minister of Education and Science dated 15 June 2021, in which the Minister asked to monitor the progress of the implementation of the Psychological Package in universities.
Accessibility plus (3rd edition)
1 March 2021
So far, two editions of the competition have already been held (in 2019 and 2020 respectively). In total, as a result of both editions, 121 grant agreements were signed for the amount of almost PLN 470 million. In 2021, additional 31 agreements are to be signed. The latest edition of the Support for students with autism spectrum disorders project, with a budget of PLN 1.7 million, includes activities implemented from 1 March 2021 to 30 April 2023. It is estimated that at least 80 universities will offer specific support to students with autism spectrum disorders.
New Regulation by the Minister of Education and Science on limiting activities by higher education institutions due to the pandemic
26 February 2021
Due to the prolonged pandemic between 27 February and 30 September 2021 functioning of HEIs and other institutions in charge of doctoral programmes is limited. Detailed measures are listed in the new regulation and apply mostly to online teaching.
New regulations on the functioning of higher education institutions and doctoral training providers during the pandemic
Reform status: approved, 29 January 2021
Since 26 January 2021, new regulations have been in force which contain specific solutions concerning the operation of higher education institutions and entities providing doctoral education in 2021 and the academic year 2020/2021 under conditions of an ongoing pandemic. The new regulations concern, among other things, the dimension of practical placements and recruitment to degree programmes.
The changes introduced concern, among others:
- abolition of the minimum dimension of practical placements at degree programmes with a practical profile (amounting to 6 months or 3 months - depending on the level of study) and empowering the university senate to make changes to curricula,
- the harmonization of the regulations concerning the training of doctoral students with the regulations concerning the operation of a higher education institution, by introducing the possibility of a temporary limitation of the training of doctoral students,
- the validity of the doctoral student ID card. It should be maintained also during the period of temporary limitations in doctoral education and 60 days after the end of such limitations,
- an increase in the number of members of the Polish Accreditation Committee from no more than 90 to no more than 100.
In addition, the changes have been introduced that:
- make it possible for HEIs to amend their admission resolutions concerning enrolment for programmes starting in the second semester of the academic year 2020/2021 and in the academic year 2021/2022,
- enable public higher education institutions to amend their admission rules to degree programmes starting in the second semester of the academic year 2020/2021 and in the academic year 2021/2022 for the winners and finalists of central-level national subject competitions and the winners of international and national competitions,
- allow admission to second-cycle programmes commencing in the second semester of the academic year 2020/2021 and in the academic year 2021/2022 for students who present a certificate of completion of studies instead of a diploma,
- provide specific rules for amending the regulations of the degree programmes by 30 September 2021 (by removing the requirement that amendments to the regulations be adopted at least five months before the commencement of the academic year and come into effect at the beginning of the academic year, introducing a ten-day deadline for agreeing amendments to the regulations with the student self-government, as well as a simple majority of the statutory membership of the senate when adopting a new resolution if the regulations have not been agreed upon with the student self-government),
- empower the rector to change the organisation of the 2020/2021 academic year as defined in the internal acts of the higher education institution,
- enable the body running the institution to change the rules of admissions to doctoral schools for doctoral training commencing in 2021.
Act of 21 January 2021 on amending the Act on specific solutions related to preventing, counteracting and combating COVID-19, other infectious diseases and crisis situations caused by them and some other acts.
Over PLN 55 million support for higher education institutions for online teaching
Reform status: approved, 30 December 2020
PLN 55.3 million will be granted for the purchase of tools for online teaching to all public higher education institutions supervised by the Ministry of Education and Science and non-public HEIs financed under the rules of public HEIs. The purpose of increasing the amount of subsidies is to support higher education institutions and academic teachers in providing remote education.
The amount of funding for individual institutions has been determined based on the average number of academic teachers (per FTE) employed in each institution in 2019.
What purpose can the funds be used for?
The funds from the subsidy increase can be used to purchase remote teaching tools used centrally at the HEI level (e.g. IT platform for online classes), as well as to purchase tools to facilitate online teaching by academic staff (e.g. webcams, laptops, tablets, etc.).
The final allocation of funds will be decided by the HEIs authorities - they know best the current needs of the university. It is important that the equipment, which will remain the property of the institution, can be made available to its staff in order to improve online education.
Amendment of the Regulation on Studies concerning the form of instruction
The latest amendment of the Regulation on Studies features a provision on the possibility to teach courses using distance learning methods and techniques and relevant rules for converting ECTS credits. The Regulation of the Minister of Science and Higher Education of 29 September 2020 amending the Regulation on Studies entered into force on 1 October 2020.
According to the new regulation, in the period from the date of declaring a state of epidemic emergency or a state of epidemic until the end of the semester during which such a state was cancelled, courses as part of study programmes can be taught using distance learning methods and techniques, regardless of the fact if such a form of instruction is provided for in the programme of study.
Regulation posted on the Official Journal portal (in Polish)
Students' scientific circles create innovations
18 September 2020
The Programme "Students' scientific circles create innovations" aims at supporting student scientific circles operating within the university in the implementation of innovative projects and improving the quality of their activity as well as the mechanism of transferring technologies and technical solutions created within their activity to the economy. The Programme provides support in particular for:
- carrying out scientific research or development works, in particular those aimed at creating or modernising technologies or technical solutions, and at promoting their results,
- transferring the results of scientific research or development works to the economy,
- acquisition by members of these circles of soft competences needed to conduct scientific research or development works and promotion of their results, in particular within the scope of commercialisation of these results and related know-how, teamwork and public speaking,
- purchase of certificates and licenses necessary in the process of commercialization of research or development results and know-how related to these results
As part of the competition settled in May 2021, 128 projects received co-financing of PLN 6,590,695 in total.
Organisation of education in the new academic year Recommendations for HEI authorities
In the academic year 2020/2021, teaching in higher education institutions should be provided in full respect of the current sanitary safety requirements. The principle of autonomy of higher education institutions states that it is HEI authorities that make final decisions as to the organisation of education. However, the Ministry has prepared recommendations and guidelines, which can be seen as a starting point to the development of internal procedures. It is to be borne in mind that the safety of students, doctoral students, class providers and administrative staff must remain an absolute priority.
Classroom-based or remote education?
The way in which higher education institutions organise education in the new academic year depends solely on their authorities. It is them who are best placed to evaluate their ability to organise remote education. They also possess knowledge of the programmes, where education must be provided in the traditional form. Regardless the form they might choose, they have to remember about the current sanitary safety requirements and must be aware of the situation in a particular city or region to make the new academic year as safe as possible to everyone.
A mixed model where a large part of lectures, tutorials and seminars, as well as some project activities and classes are provided using distance learning methods and techniques is the recommended form of organising education. Other forms of classes are held in classrooms. The coronavirus pandemic requires the observance of specific safety rules. Therefore, HEIs providing direct education must organise it in a way minimising the risk of infection. For example, they can do it by reducing the number of students in groups and by introducing changes to the timetable to avoid the presence of too large a number of people in one place at one time.
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Project SOWA - Discovery, Imagination and Activity Zones
Status of the reform: pilot project, August 2020
In August 2020, the Copernicus Science Centre and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education launched a project under which a series of Discovery, Imagination and Activity Zones (Polish: Strefy Odkrywania, Wyobraźni i Aktywności - SOWA) will be created to bridge the gap in access to knowledge through the organisation of science exhibitions in smaller centres.
SOWA Zones will be established at already existing cultural institutions, such as community centres, libraries, and museums. Each facility will house an exhibition and a Dabble Station - a space for free experimentation, where various activities will also be held. The local institutions will also receive class scenarios, tested and conducted at the Copernicus Science Centre.
The pilot project will conclude in December 2020. Within its framework, 8 exhibits will be created, all of which will be exhibited and tested by the visitors to the Copernicus Science Centre. The first two Discovery, Imagination and Activity Zones will be created in 2021, and thirty more between 2022 and 2023. Specific locations will be selected in a competition between municipalities and districts, the criteria for which are currently being developed.
The SOWA project is being implemented thanks to funds from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, amounting to a total of PLN 44 million.
STUDIES 2020 Campaign
Status of the reform: ongoing, June 2020
The STUDIES 2020 campaign supports admissions to studies in the 2020/2021 academic year and is conducted via the online portal studia.gov.pl. It includes, among other things, the Career Indicator - a programme addressed to the students in their final year of upper-secondary schools. It includes a free series of online events aimed at helping students to choose a field of study and a university that is right for them. This undertaking was carried out between 22nd and 26th of June on the Internet portal studia.gov.pl. Participants met with students and lecturers and visited the university's virtual stands, where they could download information materials, talk with employees, or listen to lectures, debates and presentations on the most interesting fields of study.
Meetings supporting this year's enrolment for studies were also held in July (from 7th to 10th) and in September, in the Clearing format. The organisers of the Studies 2020 campaign were the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the Educational Portal Perspektywy.
HEIs will receive additional 256 million PLN in subsidies
Reform status: approved, 29 May 2020
99 public higher education institutions will receive an increased subsidy this year. The total amount of additional funding equals PLN 256 million. Additional support has been granted because of financial losses incurred by HEIs in connection with the coronavirus pandemic.
Supplementation of documents
Public HEIs have lost some of their revenues in recent weeks, as they exempted students from the payment of some of the fees (because distance learning was provided) and fees for accommodation in halls of residence. The HEIs also had no revenues from the rental of canteens or ad hoc rentals - e.g. of lecture halls and conference rooms.
Therefore, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education decided to increase subsidies for 9 research institutions, 50 academic institutions, 34 vocational schools and 6 higher education institutions run by churches, religious associations and financed from the state budget.
Communication of the Minister of Science and Higher Education of 27 May 2020 on increasing the amount of subsidies from the budget for maintaining and developing teaching and research potential allocated for 2020
Greater availability of financial support for students and doctoral students
Reform status: implemented, 20 April 2020
With the coming into force of the Act on special support instruments in connection with the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, changes were made to the financial awards system for students and doctoral students.
What changes for students and doctoral students are there in the anti-crisis legislation package?
- During the epidemic, the limit of two hardship grants per academic year is not in force - this means that a student can apply for financial assistance at his/her higher education institution every time his or her material circumstances have deteriorated, e.g. due to loss of income by the student or his/her family member(s).
- Due to the fact that during the period of suspension of HEIs’ activity there may be difficulties in organising the work of scholarship committees, the hardship grant is awarded by the Rector. If there has been a scholarship committee and a scholarship appeal committee in a higher education institution, they still retain the right to award a social grant, a disabled person's grant and the rector's grant.
- Applications for hardship grants are assessed in a simplified process - in accordance with the student awards procedural regulations.
- During the period of suspension of studies for doctoral students enrolled on programmes which commenced before the academic year 2019/2020, analogous rules for awarding hardship grants apply, but the aid shall be granted by the head of the institution which is facilitating the doctoral studies.
Applications for hardship grants shall be submitted to a higher education institution and, in the case of doctoral students studying in scientific institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN) or research institutes, to that institute.
We are extending the period of financial support
In the summer semester 2019/2020, due to the difficult situation facing many families, the rule concerning social grants, disability grants, and hardship grants being awarded for a study period not exceeding 6 years was abolished. This means the possibility of financial support for those students who have passed the period of 6 years since the beginning of their studies and therefore would not normally be able to apply for the above-mentioned benefits.
We are reducing the number of required documents
Up until the 30 September 2020, applications for financial awards can be submitted in the form and manner specified by the higher education institution. Therefore, the HEI may introduce additional ways of submitting applications for scholarships and grants. In an instance whereby a student whose monthly income per person in the family does not exceed the amount of PLN 528 per month, the obligation to attach a certificate from a social welfare centre on his/her income and their family's income and financial situation to the application for a social grant has also been abolished. The financial situation of the student will be verified by the HEI on the basis of other available documents.
Support for individuals repaying their student loan
The Act has also introduced support for graduates who received a student loan during their studies and are now repaying it. At the borrower's request, the bank will obligatorily suspend the repayment of the student loan for up to six months, without the need to meet additional conditions and document the borrower's personal situation. The application to suspend the repayment of the student loan is submitted to the bank with which the borrower concluded the agreement. Regardless of this possibility, the borrower may also take advantage of all reliefs in loan repayment provided by the applicable regulations, e.g. loan and interest suspension for up to 12 months due to difficult personal circumstances, reduction of loan instalment to 20% of monthly income.
Information on combating the spread of the coronavirus epidemic should be sought from official sources. We encourage you to follow www.gov.pl/koronawirus.
Act on special support instruments in connection with the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (Ustawa z dnia 16 kwietnia 2020 r. o szczególnych instrumentach wsparcia w związku z rozprzestrzenianiem się wirusa SARS-CoV-2)
Distance learning at higher education institutions
Reform status: changes related to the pandemic, 27 March 2020
For the duration of the suspension of traditional teaching, the majority of higher education institutions has introduced distance learning provision. In order to answer the questions and satisfy the needs of HEIs, the ministry responsible for higher education has prepared recommendations for conducting classes as part of all degree programmes and cycles of studies using distance learning methods and techniques.
Organisation of distance learning
- HEIs should provide technological infrastructure for distance learning;
- HEIs should supports the students in their use of ICT tools as part of distance learning;
- The use of technological infrastructure and tools of other domestic universities and institutions is permitted, provided that they conclude an agreement to that end.
Teaching materials for students
- HEIs should support the preparation of teaching materials needed for distance learning;
- Academic teachers or lecturers prepare and provide teaching materials in digital form;
- Teaching materials are subject to monitoring, e.g. by a course manager;
- HEIs should have procedures in place that enable monitoring of the quality of teaching materials and the way they are made available, as well as the detection of undesirable phenomena in the process of distance learning;
- HEIs are responsible for making the distance learning tools available in accordance with the applicable law, including in particular the copyright and licensing laws and GDPR, and ensuring legal and free access to the tool for all participants.
Rights and obligations of the parties
- Students have the right to full information on the course of distance learning;
- Students have the right to obtain support concerning the operation of a distance learning system;
- Students are obliged to regularly participate in distance learning classes in accordance with the rules laid down by academic staff, in accordance with the study regulations;
- Students are obliged to perform and report all tasks specified by the teacher;
- If students are absent from classes conducted using synchronous communication technology, they should have access to learning content offline. A course manager can recommend another form of making up classes.
Rights and obligations of academic teachers
- Teachers are obliged to prepare appropriate teaching materials;
- Teachers are obliged to develop and make available to all students a detailed description of intended learning outcomes and methods for their verification - if there are any changes in the syllabus as a result of using distance learning methods and techniques;
- Teachers are obliged to provide students with an accurate work plan;
- In the case of a complete transition to the remote learning process, academic teachers are obliged to prepare teaching materials ensuring that each student has a workload during classes that is consistent with the number of hours assigned in the study plan and programme;
- Teachers are obliged to regularly monitor and record students’ learning. The records should confirm the regularity of contacts and interactions with students;
- Teachers are required to design the distance learning process for students in a way that ensures a workload equal to the number of ECTS credits allocated to a given course;
- Academic teachers or other persons authorised to teach courses enjoy autonomy in the choice of tools supporting distance learning by students;
- Teachers have the right to receive support in the implementation of distance learning methods, tools and techniques in accordance with the rules laid down by the university.
Accounting for the teaching load of academic teachers
- Unless the regulations in force in a higher education institution provide otherwise, 100% of distance learning hours are counted towards the total number of teaching hours in a given year;
- The number of remote teaching hours included in the total number of teaching hours of a given a teacher equals the number of hours they would teach in a traditional manner;
- For distance learning purposes, it is possible to increase the number of students in groups attending tutorials, laboratory and project classes and seminars;
- Unless the regulations in force in a higher education institution provide otherwise, the workload will be settled upon the completion of courses in a given semester and upon confirmation by the head of the organisational unit conducting the courses that all additional conditions defined by the institution have been fulfilled.
Recognition of distance learning outcomes
- The provision of distance learning services does not contravene Art. 63(1) of the Law on Higher Education;
- The number of ECTS credits allocated to a specific course included in the programme does not change;
- One ECTS credit stands for 25-30 hours of student work, including classes using distance learning methods and techniques organised by the HEI and individual work related to these classes.
Assessment of distance learning progress
- Academic teachers give feedback to students on their progress;
- The HEI's distance learning platform or other similar tool is used to store feedback on learning progress;
- Teachers set online consultation dates for students;
- All activities related to monitoring students' learning and giving them feedback are recorded on the HEI's distance learning platform or by means of other tool.
Summative assessment of distance learning outcomes
- Academic teachers are required to define methods and criteria for verifying each distance learning outcome;
- Unless other regulations in force at the university provide otherwise, the verification of distance learning outcomes is an individual decision of the course leader and can be carried out as follows:
- on a regular basis, on the campus of a higher education institution, taking the form of an oral or written test specified by the course leader, on the basis of which a credit for the course is given.
- or online - using IT tools.
- HEIs should ensure reliable verification of learning outcomes -- it can be conducted online or it can take place outside the University premises;
- Earning credit for all distance-learning courses specified in a student's semester study plan is obligatory and is subject to a final assessment in accordance with the rules laid down in the study regulations of the institution.
- The diploma examination can take place using synchronous online communication facilities;
- The diploma examination can be conducted using videoconferencing, videoconferencing application, a remote learning platform or other tools for synchronous group work;
- The examination board should verify personal data of the student taking the diploma examination;
- The examination board should draw up a report on the course of the diploma examination. The HEI should make sure that all members of the examination board sign the report.
Recommendations of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education on education provided using distance learning methods and techniques