Art education system – post-primary education level
Art education in Poland provides artistically gifted children and young people with individualised learning opportunities in specific areas of fine arts. It forms a separate strand in relation to the general education system and is supervised by the minister responsible for culture and protection of national heritage. The tasks of the minister, as the so-called administering body for some art schools and the supervisory body for all art schools, are performed by the Department of Art Education and Cultural Education of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and the Centre of Art Education (Centrum Edukacji Artystycznej). The legislation in force also allows local government units and other entities to administer art schools and institutions, but the State, represented by the minister responsible for culture, is still the major entity in this school education sector.
In addition to higher education institutions of art studies, the art education system in Poland includes schools providing education at the primary and secondary (post-primary) levels. In general, there are public and non-public schools and institutions:
- art schools providing art education only
- art schools providing in parallel art education and general education (based on the same core curriculum and principles as in general schools)
- art institutions: art centres where learners can develop their artistic interests and talents;
- residence halls: institutions providing care and education to art school pupils during the period when they attend school away from their place of residence.
The following types of art schools provide in parallel general education at the secondary level and art education:
- General 2nd grade music schools (6 years): where the upper level, comprising grades III to VI, corresponds, in terms of the core curriculum, to grades I to IV of a general secondary school. Thus, pupils in such schools can obtain both a vocational diploma of Musician and a maturity certificate upon passing the maturity exam.
- Visual arts schools (5 years): which provide general education based on the same core curriculum as in general secondary schools, and where pupils can obtain a vocational diploma of Visual Artist and a maturity certificate.
- Ballet schools (9 years) where the eighth-grader exam (taken by pupils finishing the primary school) is conducted in grade V, and grades VI to IX correspond, in terms of the core curriculum, to the education cycle in a general secondary school. Thus, pupils can obtain a vocational diploma of Dancer and a maturity certificate.
Other art schools do not provide general education. Young people attending a secondary school can acquire knowledge and skills in the areas of fine arts in the following types of schools:
- 1st grade music schools: where secondary school pupils are enrolled on a shorter, 4-year, education cycle and cannot obtain vocational qualifications;
- 2nd grade music schools: which provide 6- or 4-year programmes;
- Schools of dance arts: which provide 9-year programmes;
- Schools of circus arts: which provide 3-year programmes;
- Post-secondary schools of music (3-year programmes) and visual arts (2-year programmes).
Secondary art schools train pupils for the following occupations: Musician, Visual artist, Dancer, Music theatre actor, and Circus actor / performer.
Art education at the primary level is described in Chapter 5 „Single-structure education”, section “Art schools – primary education level”.
Art schools at the primary and secondary levels operate within the legislative framework set by two Acts of Parliament, the Law on School Education (ustawa z dnia 14 grudnia 2016 r. – Prawo oświatowe) and the Teachers’ Charter (ustawa z dnia 26 stycznia 1982 r. - Karta Nauczyciela). Detailed arrangements, based on the two Acts, are issued by the ministers responsible for culture and protection of national heritage and for school education.
Statistics: art schools in the school year 2020/2021
1. 1st grade art. schools:
- General schools: 53 schools attended by nearly 10,000 pupils;
- Schools providing art education only: 406 public and non-public schools attended by around 52,300 pupils
2. 2nd grade art schools:
- General schools: 126 schools attended by 14,400 pupils;
- Schools providing art. education only: 126 attended by 10,100 pupils.
Source: “Education in the 2020/2021 school year”, (data in Polish and English), Central Statistical Office, 2021.