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Eurydice

EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Other dimensions of internationalisation in early childhood and school education

Poland

13.Mobility and internationalisation

13.4Other dimensions of internationalisation in early childhood and school education

Last update: 9 March 2023

Global and intercultural dimension in curriculum development

Preschool institutions and primary and post-primary schools (except for international schools and classes) develop curricula in accordance with a core curriculum established by a Regulation of the Minister of Education and Science (until January 2021, the Minister of National Education) (see below).

The legislation on school education (School Education Act of 7 September 1991 (as subsequently amended) / Ustawa o systemie oświaty z 7 września 1991 r. (z późn. zm.; Law on School Education of 14 December 2016 (as subsequently amended) / Ustawa – Prawo oświatowe z 14 grudnia 2016 r. (z póżn. zm.) provide for the establishment of bilingual classes in public and non-public schools, and of public and non-public bilingual schools. Curricula in bilingual classes and schools are based on the same core curriculum as non-bilingual classes or schools. However, bilingual schools and classes should teach bilingually, in Polish and a modern foreign language, at least two types of classes / two subjects, except for the Polish language and history and geography of Poland. At least one of the classes / subjects for bilingual teaching should be chosen from among classes / subjects covering biology, chemistry, physics, general geography, world history or mathematics.

The legislation also provides for the establishment of international classes in public and non-public schools, and of non-public international schools. Curricula for international classes and schools are established by foreign educational institutions, and a foreign language can be the language of instruction. The only exception is the teaching of the Polish language, history and geography of Poland for pupils who are Polish nationals; such classes / subjects are taught in accordance with the Polish core curriculum and in the Polish language.

There are no national programmes, projects or initiatives fostering the teaching or learning a foreign language outside school curricula or within the framework of transnational learning mobility or partnerships.

Core curriculum: Preschool Education and Primary Education

Curricular contents and the knowledge and skills which should be covered by curricula for early childhood and primary education are laid down in the Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 14 February 2017 on the core curricula for preschool education and for general education in primary schools, including for pupils with mild and severe intellectual disabilities, for general education in stage I sectoral vocational schools, general education in special schools preparing for employment, and general education in post-secondary schools (as subsequently amended) (Rozporządzenie Ministra Edukacji Narodowej z dnia 14 lutego 2017 r. w sprawie podstawy programowej wychowania przedszkolnego oraz podstawy programowej kształcenia ogólnego dla szkoły podstawowej, w tym dla uczniów z niepełnosprawnością intelektualną w stopniu umiarkowanym lub znacznym, kształcenia ogólnego dla branżowej szkoły I stopnia, kształcenia ogólnego dla szkoły specjalnej przysposabiającej do pracy oraz kształcenia ogólnego dla szkoły policealnej (z późn. zm.)). Key elements of the core curricula relating to the European, global or intercultural dimension are outlined below.

Preschool Education

The core curriculum states that children completing preschool education should know the name of their own country and its capital, recognise national symbols (emblem, flag and anthem) and should be aware that Poland is a member state of the European Union (EU).

Compulsory foreign language learning was introduced as part of the core curriculum in preschool education for 5-year-olds in 2014/2015 and gradually extended for other age groups in the next years, Since 1 September 2017, all preschool age groups have learnt a foreign language.

Primary Education (8 grades: I to VIII)

Curricular contents and educational activities related to the European or international dimension of education are included at both stages of primary education: in Grades I to III and IV to VIII. Foreign language learning is part of the core curricula for both stages: one language in Grades I to III and two languages in Grades IV to VIII.

Grades I to III (early school education)

Activities aim to cater to pupils’ need to learn about cultures of other nations, including EU countries, and games and customs of children in other countries, while taking into account their ability to perceive and understand such issues. Pupils completing this stage of education can give examples of social groups established by agreements, for example, associations of big social groups such as cities, states or the EU. Pupils respect customs and traditions of different social groups and nations; and present and compare customs and traditions, e.g. concerning public or religious holidays in various regions of Poland and other countries.

Grades IV to VIII

As part of the subject Polish Language, pupils are introduced to the traditions of national, European and world cultures by reading texts which are representative of various epochs.

As part of the subject History, aside from history of Poland, pupils learn, starting in Grade V, for example, history of Europe and the world from ancient to contemporary times. Classes in most recent history cover, in particular, the position of Poland in the world, for example, in NATO and the EU. 

The subject Civic Education comprises thematic sections ‘Human rights’, ‘National / ethnic communities and homeland’ and ‘International affairs’.

As part of the section ‘Human Rights’, pupils analyse, among other things, the statements in the Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; present children’ rights and analyse the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child; give examples of activities of the Children’s Rights Representative; and present the aims of the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF).  

As part of the section ‘National / ethnic communities and homeland’, pupils argue that it is possible to reconcile various socio-cultural identities (regional, national, ethnic, state, civic, European); recognise forms and expressions of xenophobia, including racism, chauvinism and antisemitism, and argue for the need to counteract them.

As part of the ‘International affairs’ section, pupils:

  • present the aims and activities of the United Nations Organisation and the North-Atlantic Pact Organisation (NATO);
  • present the aims of the EU; find information about political biographies of the Fathers of Europe and Poles holding important functions in EU institutions;
  • discuss the main benefits of Poland’s EU membership for employees and travellers; find information about the use of EU funding in their commune or region;
  • present Poland’s activities in the United Nations, the EU and NATO;
  • formulate judgments on selected social problems of the contemporary world; and consider activities proposed to improve living conditions of other people in the world.

Core curriculum: Secondary Education

General secondary school and technical secondary school

Curricular contents and the knowledge and skills that should be covered by curricula are laid down in the Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 30 January 2018 on the core curricula for general education in general secondary schools, technical secondary schools and stage II sectoral vocational schools (as subsequently amended) (Rozporządzenie Ministra Edukacji Narodowej z dnia 30 stycznia 2018 r. w sprawie podstawy programowej kształcenia ogólnego dla liceum ogólnokształcącego, technikum oraz branżowej szkoły II stopnia (z późn. zm.)). As from the school year 2022/2023, slightly different core curricula will be in place, depending on the school year in which pupils start or will start education in a general or technical secondary school:

  • the core curriculum (established in 2018, revised in 2020 and 2021) to be in place for the school years 2022/2023 – 2025/2026: for pupils who were enrolled in Grade I of a general or technical school before 1 September 2022;
  • the core curriculum (established in 2018, revised in 2020, 2021 and 2022) to be in place as from the school year 2022/2023: for pupils to be enrolled in Grade I of a general or technical secondary school on 1 September 2022, and in higher grades in the coming years.

Key elements of the core curricula addressing the European, global or intercultural dimension are outlined below.

Contents in the core curriculum common to all pupils regardless of the year of enrolment in a general or technical secondary school

Regardless of the school year of enrolment, pupils follow the same core curriculum for several subjects, including the Polish Language, a foreign language, Latin and Classical Antiquity Culture, Philosophy, History of Art, History of Music, and History of Dance (the subject to be introduced on 1 September 2023).

As part of the subject Polish language, taught at the basic and advanced levels, pupils read and discuss classic and contemporary literary works of European and world authors. The core curriculum includes two modern foreign languages, taught at the basic and advanced levels in both types of schools.

Aside from Latin and language topics, the subject Latin and Classical Antiquity Culture, introduced on 1 September 2020 and taught at the basic and advanced levels, comprises contents such as:

  • basic level: civilisation of the Roman empire; foundation myth, history and culture of ancient Rome; Greek mythology; Athenian democracy; Greek and Roman culture; history of the church: from first Christians to the Roman Church of Popes;
  • advanced level: Greek and Roman mythology; events and processes in the history of ancient Greece and Rome; trends, phenomena and works in ancient literature and philosophy, material culture of classical antiquity, classical antiquity: traditions and reception, public and private life in ancient Greece and Rome.

The core curriculum for Philosophy covers ancient Mediterranean philosophy as a key element of European culture and identity. At the advanced level, students also learn about, for example, the achievements of outstanding European philosophers since the classical antiquity period.

As part of the subjects History of Art and History of Music, and History of Dance (as from 1 September 2023), taught only at the advanced level, pupils study the history of European and world art, music or dance (styles, schools and forms, artists and their works) from the antiquity period to the 21st century.

Detailed contents of the subject History, taught at the basic and advanced levels, differ only slightly in the core curriculum, depending on whether pupils are enrolled in Grade I either before or on 1 September 2022 or in the following years. However, in both cases, the core curriculum covers the following thematic sections that include contents of European, global or intercultural dimension: Prehistory and the history of Ancient Near East; World of ancient Greeks; Society, political life and culture of ancient Rome; Byzantium and the world of Islam; Europe of the early Middle Ages; Europe in the period of crusades; Economic and social realities of medieval Europe; Europe of the late Middle Ages; Culture of the Middle Ages; Geographical discoveries and European colonialism in the early modern period; Renaissance times; Reformation and its implications; Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries;  Europe in the Enlightenment period; Revolutions of the 18th century; Napoleonic era; Europe and the world after the Congress of Vienna; Europe and the world in the late 19th century and early 20th century; Economic and social changes, new ideological currents; World War I; Europe and the world after World War I; Rise and development of totalitarianisms in the period between the World Wars; World on the road to World War II; World War II and its stages; World after World War II, beginning of the Cold War; Decolonisation, integration and new conflicts; Civilisation changes in the world; World at the turn of the millennia; Birth of the third Republic of Poland and its position in the world at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries (e.g. Poland’s foreign policy, including accession to NATO and the EU; regional cooperation: examples of the Visegrad Group, Poland’s relations with Ukraine and the Baltic States; cultural, political, social and economic changes in Poland in the second decade of the 21st century, with special regard to the demographic crisis, the issue of preservation of cultural identity, changes taking place in the EU, energy transition and debates on climate change). 

Contents in the core curriculum for pupils enrolled in a general or technical secondary school before 1 September 2022

For pupils who were enrolled in Grade I of a general or technical secondary school before 1 September 2022, the core curriculum includes the subject Civic Education, taught at the basic and advanced levels.

Two of the thematic sections at the basic level are devoted to ‘Human rights and their protection’ and ‘Contemporary international relations’. As part of the ‘Human rights and their protection’ section, pupils:

  • explain the importance of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in the context of the European Court of Human Rights; discuss conditions for complaints from citizens to be considered by the Court; and analyse an example of a Court ruling;
  • discuss the rights of national and ethnic minorities and the community using the regional language in Poland; collect information on the Polish minority’s rights in various countries;
  • collect from the mass media (for example, websites of non-governmental human rights organisations) information on human rights violations in democratic countries and produce case studies;
  • identify non-governmental human rights organisations and describe activities of such an organisation;
  • identify differences in the perception of human rights in a democratic and non-democratic country; discuss the problem of human rights violations in a selected non-democratic country.

As part of the ‘Contemporary international relations’, pupils:

  • discuss entities of international public law and basic principles of international law;
  • demonstrate the complex and multifaceted character of contemporary international relations, and interdependence of states in the international environment;
  • explain the concept of globalisation and discuss its forms and implications for politics, culture and society; assess the impact of international law entities on the process; and discuss main challenges related to globalisation;
  • discuss ethnic conflicts within EU member states, locate them on the map, and explain their causes and consequences;
  • explain the origins of contemporary terrorism, and present various terrorist organisations, their methods of operation and examples of their activities;
  • discuss responsibilities of embassies and consulates, based on the example of Polish institutions;
  • describe the aims, main bodies and selected activities of the United Nations and assess the effectiveness of UN activities;
  • identify the primary legislative acts of the EU currently in force; locate EU member states on the map; discuss key areas and principles of EU activities;
  • discuss the main EU institutions: Commission, Council, Parliament, European Council and Court of Justice;
  • discuss the rights of an EU citizen; consider benefits and costs of Poland’s EU membership;
  • discuss the origins, aims and main bodies of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO); assess its impact on the maintenance of international peace and the position of the United States in the world.

The subject Civic Education at advanced level comprises, in particular, the following thematic sections within which students analyse and discuss selected European, global or intercultural issues:

  • Cultural diversity’, including misperception of other cultures analysed on the basis of literature;
  • ‘Social structure and social problems’, including causes and consequences of a social conflict in a selected country; and specific problems of migration to and within Europe;
  •  ‘Ethnic aspects of social life’, including:
    • multiple levels of national identity: examples of European societies (Belgium, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom);
    • various models of immigrant policy (unification/assimilation, integration, multiculturality) in European countries;
    • social and cultural specificity of selected native autochthonous groups (e.g. on the American continent, in the Commonwealth of Australia or the Asian part of Russia), and various models of policy towards such groups;
    • acculturation and assimilation of minority groups, including migrant groups;
  •  ‘Competition for power’, including party systems and functions of elections in democratic and non-democratic countries; party systems in selected democratic countries (e.g. France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States) and non-democratic countries;
  • Governance models’, including:
    • political systems based on collaboration between the legislative and executive branches: cabinet/parliamentary democracy (the United Kingdom); chancellor democracy (Germany); presidential democracy, including classical presidential system (the United States) and semi-presidential / parliamentary-presidential system (France); political systems with unbalanced separation of powers: council / parliamentary democracy (e.g. Switzerland) and super-presidential system (Russia); institutional conditions for democracy in such systems;
    • mechanisms for the formation of a government and its political accountability: examples of Germany and Russia;
    • types of relationships between the government and the head of state (including cohabitation); examples of France (including cohabitation) and the United Kingdom;
    • mechanisms for the formation of cabinet coalitions; examples of France and Germany;
    • territorial and legal systems in contemporary democratic countries (unitary and federal states; degree of decentralisation);
    • examples of disintegration processes in federal states in Europe;
    • powers and importance of regional authority bodies in federal and unitary states (France, Spain, Germany and Switzerland);
    • non-Western democratic and hybrid regimes (Bolivia, India, South Africa, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Belarus, China, North Korea, Turkmenistan).    
  • ‘Human rights and their international protection’, including:
    • a catalogue of rights and freedoms in international conventions and pacts (e.g. Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms; European Social Charter);
    • human rights protection systems of the United Nations, the EU (EU Charter of Fundamental Rights; activities of the European Ombudsman) and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe;
    • importance of the International Criminal Court and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees for the human rights protection system in the world;
    • situation of refugees in the contemporary world;
    • activities of non-governmental human rights organisations;
  • International order’, including:
    • types of international orders, and changes in the international political and economic order in the 21st century;
    • political, economic and cultural interdependence of countries which differ in terms of the level and structure of the GDP;
    • globalisation and impact of global corporation on contemporary politics, economy and society;
    • issue of separatisms in the context of international law, and different responses of the international community to individual separatisms;
    • international and ethnic conflicts in the non-EU part of Europe and other regions of the world (Africa, Middle and Far East);
    • methods of resolving long-term conflicts between nations and countries;
    • humanitarian aid, development cooperation, humanitarian intervention and peace mission;
    • causes and methods of terrorist activity and strategies for combating terrorism;
    • origins, structure and activities of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Council of Europe;
    • aims of regional cooperation forms and regional and sub-regional organisations of general nature (Commonwealth of Independent States; Organisation of American States; Association of South-East Asian Nations; League of Arab States; African Union);
    • aims and main activities of the G7/8 and G20 international initiatives and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD);
    • aims of international economic organisations (Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA); Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC); North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA); Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC));
    • key peace and military missions, and the role of the North-Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO);
    • aims and activities of the World Health Organisation (WHO); International Labour Organisation (ILO); Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations; International Monetary Fund (IMF); International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD); United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO); United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO); International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA);
  • European integration’, including:
    • cultural and historic foundations of European unity;
    • stages of European integration and key provisions of the Treaties providing the basis for the European Communities and the European Union (EU);
    • legal character of the EU;
    • EU institutions: responsibilities of the European Council and Parliament; division of powers between the Commission and the Council; the role of committees and working groups of the Council;
    • EU activities in the areas of justice and internal affairs, foreign policy, security and defence, and the main powers of the bodies operating in these areas;
    • global role of the EU;
    • principles of the Euro zone;
    • responsibilities of the European Central Bank and the European System of Central Banks;
    • revenues and expenditure in the EU budget and the procedure for overall budget setting; responsibilities of the European Court of Auditors;
    • EU activities in the areas of social cohesion and economic policy, competition and consumer protection policies, and selected sectoral policies (culture, education and youth; research and technological development; trade; agriculture; transport; environmental protection; energy; small and medium enterprises);
    • EU funds and examples of their use at regional and central levels in Poland; 
    • Implications of Poland’s EU membership;
    • arguments on the future of the EU in terms of its structure, responsibilities and membership;
  • Education and science’, including conditions of access to education at various levels in the EU together with examples for selected countries.

Contents in the core curriculum for pupils to be enrolled in a general or technical secondary school on 1 September 2022 and in the following years

For pupils to be enrolled in Grade I of a general or technical school on 1 September 2022 (and in the following years), the core curriculum includes the subject Civic Education, taught only at the advanced level, and a new subject History and Presence, taught only at the basic level.

The subject Civic Education includes several thematic sections covering general topics combined with topics relating to Poland (for example, “Man: concepts and aspects”, “Common weal”, “Societies and communities”, “Societies and socialisation”, “Politics and political culture”, “Social communication”), and 5 sections covering European, global or intercultural contents outlined below.

As part of the thematic section “Migrations and demography in Poland and the contemporary world”, pupils:

  • explain the concepts of migration, immigration, emigration and repatriation;
  • describe the causes and directions of migration flows in the contemporary world, with special regard to the evolving situation in Europe (from migration flows from Europe to migration flows to Europe), also in the context of the climate crisis;
  • explain the concepts of population decline and growth;
  • describe the relevance of population growth for development prospects of a country, and discuss the topic in the context of the current demographic situation in Poland;
  • describe in general terms global demographic trends, identifying the continents that have recorded population growth and demographic stagnation in the last 30 years.

As part of the section “Law”, pupils:

  • identify sources of norms in various legal systems (common law, case law, religious law, positive law) and their inspirations coming from Europe's cultural heritage (Roman law, canon law);
  • explain the principles of hierarchy, cohesion and completeness in a legal system and the concept of legal loophole; identify types of law (international, national, local, private, public, material, formal, civil, criminal, administrative, written and unwritten);
  • explain the concept of human rights and their link to the heritage of the Western civilisation;
  • identify the generations of human rights, applying the concept of negative and positive rights and indicating different degrees of protection for such rights; list the main documents concerning human rights (Constitution of the Republic of Poland of 2 April 1997; Hague Convention; Geneva Conventions; Universal Declaration of Human Rights);
  • discuss the issues of the exercise of a selected fundamental freedom and the degree of its limitation related to the rights of other people or public order.

As part of the section “Types of political systems in contemporary states”, pupils: 

  • analyse the election procedure and describe the (single-person or collective) form of  the head of state in contemporary republics;
  • based on examples, present the typology of contemporary monarchies with regard to the position of the head of state (absolute, constitutional, parliamentary); and analyse norms concerning succession;
  • describe political systems based on collaboration between the legislative and executive branches of power: cabinet-parliamentary system (the United Kingdom) and chancellor system (Germany); demonstrate that elements of these systems are in place in Poland;
  • describe systems with a special role of the president: classical presidential system (the United States), and parliamentary-presidential system (France); demonstrate that elements of the latter are in place in Poland;
  • describe the political systems with unbalanced separation of powers: council / parliamentary system (Switzerland) and super-presidential (Russia); discuss institutional conditions for the functioning of democracy in such systems;  
  • describe the functions of the legislative branch: constitutional / setting principles of state governance; legislative / passing laws; oversight / controlling the government; and elective / appointing officials to state bodies; provide examples of countries with single-chamber and bicameral parliaments.

As part of the section “Poland’s foreign policy after 1989”, pupils:

  • describe geopolitical changes in Poland’s neighbourhood after 1989 (reunification of Germany; dissolution of Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union) and their relevance to Poland;
  • discuss the main stages and implications of Poland’s accession to the Euro-Atlantic structures (NATO in 1999) and the European Union (EU) in 2004;
  • describe the main forms of regional cooperation in Central Europe involving Poland: Visegrad Group (V4), Three Seas Initiative, relation with Ukraine and Belarus;
  • describe Poland’s involvement in the activities of international organisations (for example, the Polish Army in the United Nations peace missions);
  • discuss the involvement of Poland (the Government and non-governmental organisations; for example, “Support for the Church in Need”, Polish Humanitarian Action) in actions for people suffering from religious persecution around the world (including support for Christians) and victims of civil wars (Syria, Afghanistan);
  • discuss Poland’s position in debates on the planning of fair energy transition and zero emission in the EU, and related implementation measures.

As part of the section “Cultural, political and economic changes in the world after 1989”, pupils:

  • identify who won the Cold War and explain why;
  • discuss hopes and concerns accompanying the first years after the collapse of communism in Central and Eastern Europe; in this context, explain Francis Fukuyama’s concept of the end of history, and St. John Paul II’s concept of democracy without values;
  • provide examples of states operating under the communist ideology after 1989 (North Korea, China, Cuba) and describe its implications for their citizens;
  • explain the concept of the New World Order and its manifestations (First Persian Gulf War, US strategy “partnership in leadership” with Germany);
  • explain the concept of genocide and provide examples in the contemporary world: Rwanda (1994), Srebrenica (1995);
  • explain the concept of terrorism and the war on terrorism, and provide examples;
  • describe the causes and symptoms of China’s global (political and economic) rise (economic expansion in Africa, New Silk Road, military development);
  • explain the concept of hybrid war and provide examples of such conflicts;
  • explain the concept of cyberwar and provide examples of such conflicts;
  • describe stages of European integration after 1989 (Maastricht Treaty, Lisbon Treaty); confront these new stages with the main principles underlying European integration after 1945 (subsidiarity, free movement of people, services and capital);
  • identify the main bodies of the European Union (EU) and their heads (President of the European Commission, President of the European Parliament, President of the European Council);
  • present the sources of revenue and expenditure of the EU and its Funds; provide examples of their use at the regional and national levels in Poland; 
  • list the largest political groups currently represented in the European Parliament;
  • describe the position and role of Polish members of the European Parliament;
  • explain the concept of European climate policy and describe its economic and social implications for the life of the Europeans in the first half of the 21st century.

The subject “History and Presence” is divided into the thematic section “Foundations of social life”, devoted to general topics, and 6 sections “The World and Poland” covering the period from 1945 till the first two decades of the 21st century. In addition to topics relating to Poland, these 6 sections include European, global or intercultural contents outlined below.

As part of the section “The World and Poland between 1945 and 1956”, pupils:

  • discuss political, social, economic and cultural consequences of World War II for the world;
  • based on the knowledge about the relations between states and their unions, describe the aims and principles of the United Nations (UN), and the structure of the UN (its main bodies and selected specialised agencies); discuss strengths and weaknesses of its activities;
  • based on the knowledge about differences between democracy and totalitarianism, describe differences between the political systems of Western countries and the countries of the Soviet bloc;
  • explain the origins and meaning of the concepts of the Cold War and the Iron Curtain;
  • explain the importance of the establishment of NATO and the Warsaw Treaty Organisation;
  • based on the examples of Western countries, describe differences in social and economic policies and values between social-democratic, Christian democratic, conservative and liberal governments;
  • explain the importance of the Marshall Plan and "the economic miracle” in Germany;
  • apply their knowledge about the unions of states and affinity between nations to describe the origins of European integration in economic and political terms (until 1957) and identify its main underlying ideas (Christian worldview of “the Founding Fathers”) and political factors (fear of the Soviet expansion; preparations to receive US aid as part of the Marshall Plan; resolution of the “German issue” through the integration of the German economy with other Western economies);
  • use their knowledge of the human rights doctrine to describe the rights and freedoms of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and the Council of Europe’s European Convention in Human Rights of 1950, limitations in the exercise of the rights and freedoms and related duties; 
  • describe the implications of the communist takeover of power in China in 1949 and Mao Zedong’s regime (largest genocide after 1945 during the Great Leap Forward, religious persecution); 
  • explain the importance of the establishment of the state of Israel for the situation in the Middle East and international policy; present the basic principles of Zionism;
  • describe the origins and principles of Islamism. 

 

 

As part of the section „The World and Poland between 1956 and 1970”, pupils: 

  • describe the context and principles of the Rome Treaties of 1957 and the functioning of the European Economic Community;
  • explain the concept of decolonisation and identify its main stages and consequences;
  • describe the resistance of Central European societies to communism, based on the examples of anti-communist risings in Berlin (1953) and Hungary (1956), and the 1956 events as a turning point in Poland; 
  • describe changes in lifestyles in Western countries, resulting from technology and media development (television), growing wealth of societies and the growing-up of the post-war generation; describe lifestyles in the corresponding period in the countries of the Soviet bloc;
  • explain the phenomenon of “mass culture” and the emergence of youth culture as its separate strand;
  • describe the principles of social market economy and “welfare state”; provide examples from the world of the early 1960s;
  • describe social and cultural changes referred to as “the 1968 Revolution” (student protests, “sex revolution”) and their intellectual inspirations (Neo-Marxism, “New Left”);
  • describe pacifist ideas and movements, identify differences between ecology and ecologism;
  • explain changes in the Catholic Church initiated by the Second Vatican Council and during the so-called post-Council reforms, with special regard to the teaching on the relationship between the Church and the world;
  • describe the main areas of the confrontation between the powers during the Cold War period between 1956 and 1970 (Germany / Berlin, Cuba, Vietnam), and explain the concept of proxy wars;
  • are familiar with the main stages in Middle East wars, with special regard to the Six-Day War of 1967;
  • describe the causes and manifestations of the Soviet-Chinese antagonism in the 1960s;
  • explain the concept of cultural revolution, identifying its different contextual meanings (difference between the “cultural revolution” in China and the West);
  • explain what happened in the 1968 Prague Spring and the intervention of the Warsaw Treaty armies in Czechoslovakia, and explain the meaning of the term "the Brezhnev doctrine”.

As part of the section “The World and Poland between 1970 and 1980”, pupils:

  • describe the causes of the weakened position of the United States in the world in the early 1970s and the growing influence of the world communist bloc (defeat in Vietnam; Watergate; energy crisis);
  • describe the consequences of the growing communist influence in the world in the 1970s (genocidal policy of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia; Cuban “advisers” in Africa);
  • explain the crucial importance of the rapprochement between the United States of America and China in the early 1970s;
  • discuss “the detente policyin international relations in the mid-1970s; identify the main stages in disarmament agreements between the United States and the Soviet Union;
  • explain the importance of the Helsinki Accords (1975) of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe; describe the contents of “five Baskets” of the Helsinki Conference;
  • explain the crucial importance of Willy Brandt’s “Ostpolitik”;
  • describe ways of Germany’s reckoning with the legacy of the Nazi government (positive and negative examples: activities of the Central Office of the Land Judicial Authorities for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes in Ludwigsburg; Heinz Reinefarth’s career, the issue of reparations and restitution of works of art expropriated in Poland);
  • explain the importance of electing Cardinal Karol Wojtyła as the Pope for Poland and the world.

 

As part of the section „The World and Poland between 1980 and 1991”, pupils:

  • describe changes in the political programmes of Western left- and right-wing parties in the 1970s and 1980s and the growing popularity of free-market and conservative-liberal programmes (“New Right”, Neoliberalism);
  • explain the importance of Margaret Thatcher’s victory in the United Kingdom (1979) and Ronald Reagan’s victory in the United States of America (1980) for the East-West relations;
  • describe the main causes underlying the erosion of the communist system in the 1980s (internal flaws of the system; “spiritual revolution” behind “the Iron Curtain”; tough stance of the West);
  • describe changes occurring in China after Mao Zedong’s death (Deng Xiaoping’s regime and the beginning of “state capitalism”);
  • describe the origins and importance of Mikhail Gorbachev’s “perestroika” programme;
  • describe the Autumn of Nations (Revolutions of 1989) in Central and Eastern Europe, the pioneering role of the “Solidarity” social movement, and “the spiritual revolution” initiated by St. John Paul II;
  • describe main geopolitical changes in Poland’s neighbourhood between 1989 and 1991 (reunification of Germany; dissolution of Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union), with special regard to the emergence of independent Baltic States, Ukraine and Belarus;
  • explain the concept of decommunization and lustration (vetting of public officials for links to the communist era security service) in the context of attempts to break away from post-communism; look at these concepts from a comparative perspective, considering the examples of Germany and Czechoslovakia.

As part of the section “The World and Poland between 1991 and 2001”, pupils:

  • discuss the concept of the New World Order and provide examples of events (Fist Persian Gulf War in 1990);
  • describe the stages of European integration after 1992 (Maastricht Treaty; establishment of the European Union; introduction of the euro currency);
  • explain the causes and consequences of political changes in Africa: abolition of apartheid in the Republic of South Africa; genocide in Rwanda (1994);
  • explain the concept and different contexts of globalisation (economic, political, cultural, ecological);
  • discuss the importance of Poland’s accession to NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004;
  • describe manifestations of the global rise of China in the 21st century;
  • provide examples of Russia’s increasingly aggressive foreign policy since the time of Vladimir Putin coming to power (Chechnya, Georgia, Ukraine); describe new forms of Russian imperialism (“gas blackmail”, “hybrid war”, “information war”);
  • explain the concept of terrorism and the origins and main stages of “the war on terrorism” (Afghanistan, Iraq);
  • describe the phenomenon of religious persecutions, including the examples of the fate of Christian communities in various regions of the world.

As part of the section “The World and Poland in the first two decades of the 21st century”, pupils:

  • describe main cultural changes occurring in the Western world, based on the examples of the “political correctness” ideology, multiculturalism, new definitions of human rights, family, marriage and gender; place these changes in the context of the Western cultural heritage encapsulated in the Greek-Roman and Christian thought;
  • explain differences between tolerating and accepting cultural and social phenomena;
  • discuss cultural, social and economic impact of the development of the Internet and digital technologies;
  • explain the concept of social communication and the fourth estate;
  • explain the value of free exchange of views, and describe new forms of limitations on the freedom of speech in the digital era;
  • discuss the process of changes in the European Union after Poland’s accession (increasingly stronger position of Germany; crises related to migration; instability of the euro zone; Brexit; COVID-19 pandemic; systemic and ideological controversies within the EU institutions).

Stage I sectoral vocational school

As part of the school education reform initiated in 2016/2017 (see Chapters 4 to 6 and 14), newly established 3-year stage I sectoral vocational schools trained between 2019/2020 and 2021/2020 both pupils who had finished the pre-reform lower secondary schools and those who had finished the new 8-year primary school (which replaced the 6-year primary school, existing together with the lower secondary school in the pre-reform school education system). The last cohort of lower secondary school graduates completed education in stage I sectoral vocational schools at the end of the school year 2021/2022. As from the school year 2022/2023 stage I sectoral vocational schools train only cohorts of pupils who have finished the new primary school.

As from the school year 2022/2023, slightly different core curricula will be in place, depending on the school year in which pupils started or will start education in a stage I sectoral vocational school:

  • the core curriculum (established in 2017, revised in 2018) to be in place for the school years 2022/2023 – 2024/2025: for pupils who were enrolled in Grade I of a stage I sectoral vocational school before 1 September 2022; 
  • the core curriculum (established in 2017, revised in 2018 and 2022) to be in place as from the school year 2022/2023: for pupils in stage I sectoral vocational schools which start enrolment in Grade I on 1 September 2022 or 1 February 2023, and in higher grades and semesters in the coming years.

(Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 14 February 2017 on the core curricula for preschool education and for general education in primary schools, including for pupils with mild and severe intellectual disabilities, for general education in stage I sectoral vocational schools, general education in special schools preparing for employment, and general education in post-secondary schools, as subsequentl amended / Rozporządzenie Ministra Edukacji Narodowej z dnia 14 lutego 2017 r. w sprawie podstawy programowej wychowania przedszkolnego oraz podstawy programowej kształcenia ogólnego dla szkoły podstawowej, w tym dla uczniów z niepełnosprawnością intelektualną w stopniu umiarkowanym lub znacznym, kształcenia ogólnego dla branżowej szkoły I stopnia, kształcenia ogólnego dla szkoły specjalnej przysposabiającej do pracy oraz kształcenia ogólnego dla szkoły policealnej (z późn. zm.))  

Key elements of the core curricula addressing the European, global or intercultural dimension are outlined below.

 

 

Contents in the core curricula common to all pupils regardless of the year of enrolment in a stage I sectoral vocational school

The core curricula include one modern foreign language (with three options available: for beginners; for those who continue to learn a given language as the first foreign language; and for those who continue to learn a given language as the second foreign language). The contents for the subject Polish language include several items on the world literature reading list.

As part of the subject History, pupils learn about selected topics, processes and events in the history and culture of Europe and the world and topics related to Poland’s position in the contemporary world. The following thematic sections include contents of European, global or intercultural dimension: Classical antiquity heritage of the European civilisation; Medieval culture circles; Challenges of the early modern period (overseas expansion of the Europeans; religious divisions and wars; Renaissance and Baroque culture);  World War I; Establishment of, and threats to, the Versailles order in Europe; Origins and nature of World War II; Europe and the world in the era of Cold War divisions; Birth of the third Republic of Poland and its position in the world (changes in Poland in 1989 and their impact on changes in Central and Eastern Europe; importance of Poland’s accession to NATO and the European Union; new threats to the international order; and a new element in the 2022 core curriculum: Poland’s involvement in regional cooperation, including the Visegrad Group (V4) and the Three Seas Initiative.

Contents in the core curriculum for pupils enrolled in a stage I sectoral vocational school before 1 September 2022

As part of the subject Civic Education for students enrolled before 1 September 2022, the thematic section ‘Human rights and protection’ covers selected European and global contents. Pupils:

  • explain the importance of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in the context of the European Court of Human Rights; discuss conditions for the Court to consider complaints from citizens; and analyse a selected ruling of the Court;
  • discuss the rights of an EU citizen;
  • collect from the mass media (incl. websites of non-governmental human rights organisations) information about human rights violations and prepare an analytical presentation on the topic.

Contents in the core curriculum for pupils (to be) enrolled in a stage I sectoral vocational school on 1 September 2022 or 1 February 2023 and in the following years

For pupils enrolled on 1 September 2022 or 1 February 2023 and in the following years, the subject Civic Education has been replaced with the subject History and Presence. It is divided into the thematic section „Foundations of social life”, devoted to general topics, and 6 sections “The World and Poland” covering the period from 1945 till the first two decades of the 21st century. In addition to topics relating to Poland, these 6 sections include European or global contents outlined below.

As part of the section “The World and Poland between 1945 and 1956”, pupils:

  • discuss political, social, economic and cultural consequences of World War II for the world;
  • explain the origins and meaning of the concepts of the Cold War and the Iron Curtain;
  • describe the main stages of European integration till 1957, taking into consideration their political and cultural background;
  • describe the implications of the communist takeover of power in China in 1949 and Mao Zedong’s regime (largest genocide after 1945 during the Great Leap Forward); 
  • describe the consequences of World War II for Poland.

As part of the section “The World and Poland between 1956 and 1970”, pupils:

  • describe social and cultural changes referred to as “the 1968 Revolution”;
  • describe the main areas of the confrontation between the world powers during the Cold War period between 1956 and 1970;
  • explain the events of the 1968 Prague Spring and the intervention of the Warsaw Treaty armies in Czechoslovakia.

As part of the section “The World and Poland between 1970 and 1980”, pupils:

  • describe the consequences of the growing communist influence in the world in the 1970s (genocidal policy of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia);
  • explain the importance of electing Cardinal Karol Wojtyła as the Pope for Poland and the world.

As part of the section “The World and Poland between 1980 and 1991”, pupils:

  • describe the origins and importance of Mikhail Gorbachev’s “perestroika” programme;
  • discuss the Autumn of Nations (Revolutions of 1989) in Central and Eastern Europe, the pioneering role of the “Solidarity” social movement, and “the spiritual revolution” initiated by St. John Paul II.

As part of the section “The World and Poland between 1991 and 2001”, pupils:

  • describe the stages of European integration after 1992 (Maastricht Treaty; establishment of the European Union; introduction of the euro currency);
  • discuss the importance of Poland’s accession to NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004.

As part of the section “The World and Poland in the first two decades of the 21st century”, pupils:

  • discuss cultural, social and economic impact of the expansion of the Internet and the development of digital technologies;
  • discuss the process of changes in the European Union after 2004.

 

Other useful information

Other initiatives related to European and global topics

In 2017, the EC Representation in Poland, under the honorary patronage of the Ministry of National Education (since January 2021, the Ministry of Education and Science) held a contest for a European lesson scenario where participants produced a collection of best scenarios together with supporting materials. The publication (available in Polish only) can be used by teachers for classes on European topics.

Until recently, two national knowledge contests on the European Union were organised in Poland for post-primary school students. Since 2016/2017, under a contract awarded by the Ministry, annual national contests on Poland and the Contemporary World have been organised by the University of Warsaw in collaboration with other higher education institutions. Winners and finalists are exempt from the upper secondary school exam in Civic Education. Various regional contests are organised by regional European information centres, schools, NGOs, the regional education authorities and local authorities.

 

 

Partnerships and networks

Polish preschool institutions and schools establish partnerships and networks mainly within the framework of the EU programmes in the field of education and training and the Education Programme of the European Economic Area (EEA) Financial Mechanism. National funding is available only for youth cooperation or exchange projects. 

EU Programmes

Erasmus+ Programme

The Erasmus+ Programme (2014-2020; 2021-2027) offers Polish nursery schools, schools and other school education institutions most extensive opportunities for establishing partnerships and networks. The Programme is administered in Poland by the Foundation for the Development of the Education System (a new English-language website under construction). All types of schools (and other educational institutions) can be involved in five types of projects together with their international partners:

  • Action 2, Partnerships for Cooperation: Cooperation Partnerships and Small-scale Partnerships;
  • Action 2, Partnerships for Excellence: Erasmus+ Teacher Academies;
  • Action 3, Jean Monnet Actions in Other Fields of Education and Training: Jean Monnet Teacher Trainings, and Jean Monnet Networks in Other Fields of Education and Training.

Schools providing vocational education and training (VET) can also establish international partnerships in two other types of projects:

  • Action 2, Partnerships for Excellence: Centres for Vocational Excellence;
  • Action 2, Partnerships for Innovation: Alliances for Innovation.

Cooperation Partnerships aim to improve the quality of activities and build capacity of schools and other educational institutions for international cooperation, and to develop and exchange new practices, approaches and methods. Projects can include learning, teaching and training activities for education staff, pupils and apprentices.

Small-scale Partnerships aim to facilitate access to Erasmus+ for smaller and less experienced schools and institutions. Depending on their specific needs, project partners carry out various activities with a European dimension which help them reach out to people with fewer opportunities.

Erasmus+ Teacher Academies aim to improve the quality and enhance the European dimension of initial and in-service teacher training, to develop and test models of mobility in this field, and establish sustainable cooperation among initial and in-service teacher training providers. Teacher training providers are the main partners, but projects also include collaboration with schools hosting teaching internships.

Centres for Vocational Excellence involve, among others, VET schools, higher education institutions and / or other VET providers and enterprises. Centres are collaboration platforms at national and transnational levels. Partners, for example, provide training to develop labour-market relevant skills, develop innovative learning and teaching methodologies, establish partnerships to create and disseminate knowledge, host practical placements or exchange staff, and ensure effective governance and use of available EU funding.

Alliances for Innovation focus on topics of particular relevance to Europe’s growth and competitiveness, and project outcomes are expected to have impact or to be transferable at European level. The main project partners are VET schools, higher education institutions and labour market actors. Projects include activities aimed at encouraging innovation, developing new skills, a sense of initiative and entrepreneurship or developing new strategic approaches and collaboration in skills development for a given economic sector or a major area of the European Skills Agenda.

In Jean Monnet Teacher Training projects, higher education institutions and other initial and / or in-service teacher training institutions organise training activities focusing on EU matters for teachers working in schools and VET providers. Projects aim to improve teachers’ knowledge about the EU and provide them with contents and methodologies for teaching EU-related topics. Jean Monnet Networks are designed to support exchange of information and practices in teaching EU topics among schools and / or VET providers, while providing opportunities for co-teaching with partners as part of short-term mobility.

eTwinning

Since 2004, Poland has participated in the eTwinning Programme which aims to promote the use of ICT in European education and training. It supports schools collaborating with partner schools in other European countries via electronic media. eTwinning covers various forms of cooperation such as the exchange of information and teaching or learning materials, online courses, seminars and workshops. The Programme is administered in Poland by the Foundation for the Development of the Education System (a new English-language website under construction).

European Solidarity Corps

The European Solidarity Corps aims to increase participation of young people in solidarity actions. It offers opportunities for acquiring knowledge, improving skills and developing social competences, and gaining work experience. Young people, youth and / or various other organisations involved in voluntary service can participate in three types of actions: Volunteering Activities, Traineeships and Jobs, and Solidarity Projects. The Programme is administered in Poland by the Foundation for the Development of the Education System (a new English-language website under construction).

Programmes / projects co-funded by the EU and the national budget: see the PO WER programme in the chapter 13.1.

Multilateral programmes

European Economic Area Financial Mechanism: Education Programme

The Education Programme (2014-2021; final Call for proposals in 2021) is funded by Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway and administered in Poland by the Foundation for the Development of the Education System (a new English-language website under construction). Within the component ‘Institutional cooperation for the improvement of quality and relevance of education’, schools (and institutions in other formal and non-formal education sectors) can apply for grants for the development or updating of curricula, activities supporting the exchange of experience and good practice and joint initiatives (for example, conferences, seminars, education and training events) with partners in the donor countries. 

Other European initiatives

Poland has been a member country of the European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education since 2005. The organisation was founded in 1996 as an international forum for exchange of knowledge and experience in the field of education of pupils with special needs.

Bilateral and national programmes

The Ministry of Education and Science (until January 2021, the Ministry of National Education) provides funding or co-funding for international youth cooperation and exchange projects. Youth exchanges take place with Germany through Polish German Youth Cooperation, Lithuania within the framework of the Polish-Lithuanian Youth Exchange Fund, Ukraine as part of the Polish-Ukrainian Youth Exchange Council, and with Eastern Partnership countries, Western Balkan countries and Israel.