This chapter provides a thematic and chronological overview of national reforms and policy developments since 2021.
The introduction of the chapter describes the overall education strategy and the key objectives across the whole education system. It also looks at how the education reform process is organised and who are the main actors in the decision-making process.
The section on ongoing reforms and policy developments groups reforms in the following broad thematic areas that largely correspond to education levels:
- Early Childhood Education and Care
- School Education
- Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning
- Higher Education
- Transversal Skills and Employability
Inside each thematic area, reforms are organised chronologically. The most recent reforms are described first.
Overall national education strategy and key objectives
National Recovery Plan and education
The National Recovery and Resilience Plan (KPO), approved in December 2023, is a programme that consists of 56 investments and 55 reforms. It is designed to strengthen the Polish economy and make it more resilient to any crisis.
Poland will receive €59.8 billion (PLN 268 billion), including €25.27 billion (PLN 113.28 billion) in grants and €34.54 billion (PLN 154.81 billion) in preferential loans.
In line with the EU's objectives, a significant part of the budget is allocated to climate objectives (46.60%) and digital transformation (21.36%).
Funds will be invested in economic development, innovation, environment, digitisation, education and health, among others.
The KPO is in line with the EU Council Recommendations for Poland (CSR) and the National Reform Programme. It covers reforms and investments that started after 1 February 2020 and will be completed by 31 August 2026.
KPO funds come from the European Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF).
The KPO will support the following areas:
- Economic resilience and competitiveness,
- Green energy and reduction of energy intensity,
- Digital transformation,
- Efficiency, accessibility and quality of the health care system,
- Green, intelligent mobility,
- Improving the quality of institutions and conditions for the implementation of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan,
Within the digital transformation area, it is planned to equip schools/institutions with ICT equipment and infrastructure to improve the overall efficiency of the education system (PLN 3.1 billion) and to equalise the distribution of school equipment, in particular portable multimedia devices - (PLN 2.5 billion).
Education as an element of the Polish Deal (Polski Ład)
Until 2020, the primary strategic document of the Polish government was the Strategy for Responsible Development. in 2021 the role of the main strategic program was taken over by the Polish Deal (its outline was announced in June 2021). The Polish Deal includes a separate chapter on education entitled. "Friendly school and culture for the new century".
The strategy announces the establishment of a Child and Family Centre as an institution to support the development of children, learners and families expecting or raising children. Additionally, it announces a new model of psychological support and a psychological-pedagogical office in every school. The Polish Deal also announces a new post-pandemic COVID-19 equity programme.
With regard to the development of students' skills, the Polish Deal draws attention to the further development of students' digital competences and promises to increase the role of history in the curriculum.
Within the framework of the "Green School" program, the new strategy also announces thermal modernization of schools improving energy efficiency, equipping buildings with ecological heating systems, energy-efficient lighting and better ventilation systems.
The following strategic projects related to education have been identified in the Polish Deal:
- Child and Family Centre
- Psychological Support Program
- National Educational Equity Program after Covid-19
- Digital Core Curriculum
- Green School
- Day Care Centre Fund
- Youth Community Councils Fund
- Friendly and Accessible Schools for All
- Educational Workshop of the Future
- Student Loan
- Modern Skills Fund.
Information about the Polish Deal Program is available at https://www.gov.pl/web/polski-lad.
The Integrated Skills Strategy 2030
The Integrated Skills Strategy 2030 (ZSU 2030) provides a strategic policy framework for the development of skills necessary to strengthen social capital, social inclusion, economic growth and reaching a high standard of living.
The Strategy includes two parts: general and detailed.
The areas of impact within the framework of the Integrated Skills Strategy 2030 (detailed part) have been indicated as:
- Basic, transversal and occupational skills of children, youth and adults.
- Skills development in formal education – management staff
- Skills development in formal education - teaching staff.
- Developing skills beyond formal education.
- Development and use of skills in the workplace
- Career guidance.
- Cooperation of employers with formal and non-formal education
- Planning lifelong learning and validation of skills.
Each of the impact areas contains themes and lines of action, as well as a catalogue of entities to be engaged in the implementation of the Strategy.
The provisions of the ZSU 2030 provide both a basis for defining plans for the management of national and European funds for skills development, as well as a common frame of reference enabling the most beneficial planning of projects and programmes by administrators of individual parts of the state budget, local government units and other public and private entities. Thus, the provisions of the ZSU 2030 detailed part should be treated as a substantive guideline for the optimal allocation of national and European funds for the development of skills at national and regional levels.
Support for lifelong learning is implemented by the Institute for Educational Research (IBE) through such tools as the Integrated Qualifications System (ZSK) and the Integrated Register of Qualifications (ZRK).
Current reforms of the higher education system
Recent systemic changes in science and higher education have been implemented in the framework of “Strategy towards scientific excellence, modern higher education, partnership with business and social responsibility of science” (Strategia na rzecz doskonałości naukowej, nowoczesnego szkolnictwa wyższego, partnerstwa z biznesem i społecznej odpowiedzialności nauki).
This process has been implemented on the basis of three elements:
- Constitution for Science (Konstytucja dla Nauki) (systemic changes in science and higher education)
- Innovations for the Economy (commercialization of research and partnership with business)
- Science for You (Nauka dla Ciebie) (social responsibility of science).
According to the approved legislation, the following groups benefit from these changes: academic and research community, children, young people, senior citizens, entrepreneurs, businessmen and women, investors, creative and ambitious persons, inventors, teachers, and NGOs.
Overview of the education reform process and drivers
Any changes of systemic character take place in the field of education on the basis of the following legislation:
- Act of 6 December 2006 on the rules for preparing the policy of development
- Act of 29 June 1995 on public statistics
- Act of 15 April 2011 on School Education Information System
- Act of 8 August 1996 on the Council of Ministers
- Act of 16 December 2016 – Law on School Education
- Act on the Education System of 7 September 1991
- Act of 20 July 2018 - Law on Higher Education and Science
Normative acts are drafted on the basis of:
- Resolution Number 190 of the Council of Ministers of 29 October 2013 Code of Functioning for the Council of Ministers – regulation related among others to the preparation of draft normative acts including impact assessment on society and economy.
- Guidelines for conducting impact assessments and public consultations as part of the governmental legislative process
- Recommendations on the establishment, functioning and monitoring of the
activities of auxiliary bodies appointed by ministers pursuant to Article 7(4)(5) of the Act on the Council of Ministers.
For the projects co-financed from the EU funds the key document is European Funds for Social Development programme.
The Act on public statistics defines rules and gives basis for a reliable, professional and independent statistical research which results have an official status and it establishes the organisation and procedure for such research and related responsibilities.
Act on School Education Information System defines organisation and operational rules for the School Education Information System which’s purpose it to obtain the data necessary for: 1) drafting and implementation of educational policy at the central, regional and local levels including support to school education management; 2) efficient functioning of education financing at the central, regional and local levels; 3) analysis of cost effectiveness of public funds expenditure earmarked for educational purposes; 4) supervision and coordination of pedagogical supervision in the whole country and improvement of quality assurance. The system provides open access to information on school education.
Act on the Council of Ministers gives the ministers a right to establish at the post of minister various teams and bodies with opinion making and advisory capacity. The regulation by the minister further regulates the purpose, tasks, members and functioning of these bodies. For example in 2015 the Minister of National Education established a Team for Strategy at her post giving it a right to commission analysis, opinions or experts’ work.
For information on reform process in higher education please refer to the text below (Current reforms of the higher education system).
The Act – Law on School Education, the Act on the Education System, and the Act of 20 July 2018 - Law on Higher Education and Science define the duties and powers of the institutions co-creating the education system and the principles on which they can implement educational initiatives.