Global and intercultural dimension in curriculum development
The national legislation specifies general requirements for curriculum design but does not specify detailed curricular contents (except for programmes for regulated professions) and, thus, does not define European, global or intercultural contents to be incorporated into curricula (Law on Higher Education and Science of 20 July 2018, as subsequently amended / Ustawa – Prawo o szkolnictwie wyższym i nauce z 20 lipca 2018 r.) (z późn. zm.); Regulation of the Minister of Science and Higher Education of 27 September 2018 on degree programmes, as subsequently amended / Rozporządzenie Ministra Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego z dnia 27 września 2018 r. w sprawie studiów) (z późn. zm.). See also information about higher education in Chapter 7.
Based on the data available in the POL-on System (Integrated Information System for Science and Higher Education), Polish higher education institutions (HEIs) provide in total over 80 programmes in the field of European Studies and related fields (first- and second-cycle programmes jointly). Programmes in these fields are offered, in particular, by public HEIs, mainly classical universities and few technical universities, but also by non-public HEIs. Various elements of the knowledge about Europe, the EU and / or the world are incorporated into compulsory and optional courses as part of curricula developed by HEIs in many fields of study.
Pursuant to the Law on Higher Education and Science, HEIs may provide first-, second- and long-cycle programmes as joint programmes and joint doctoral training programmes, or operate joint doctoral schools, together with other Polish or foreign HEIs and research institutions. Graduates are awarded joint diplomas which should contain elements specified in the legislation.
In the last two decades, Polish HEIs have also extended the range of degree programmes taught in a foreign language. Based on the information available in the ‘Ready, Steady, Go Poland’ Portal Polish HEIs offer in total over 850 programmes in foreign languages, mainly in English.
Partnerships and Networks
The Erasmus+ Programme offers Polish higher education institutions (HEIs) most extensive opportunities for establishing partnerships and networks. HEIs can also participate in other multilateral programmes, whereas projects co-funded by the EU and the national budget are aimed mainly at enhancing institutional capacities for international cooperation.
Under the Erasmus+ Programme (2014-2020; 2021-2027), HEIs can collaborate with their international partners in seven types of projects:
- Action 2, Partnerships for Cooperation: Cooperation Partnerships;
- Action 2, Partnerships for Excellence: Centres for Vocational Excellence; Erasmus+ Teacher Academies; Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters and Erasmus Mundus Design Measures;
- Action 2, Partnerships for Innovation: Alliances for Innovation;
- Action 3, Jean Monnet Actions in the Field of Higher Education: Teaching and Research.
Cooperation Partnerships aim to improve the quality of activities and build capacity of HEIs for international cooperation, and to develop and exchange new practices, approaches and methods. Projects can include learning, teaching and training activities for higher education staff and students.
Centres for Vocational Excellence involve, among others, HEIs, VET schools 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.
Erasmus+ Teacher Academies aim to improve the quality and enhance the European dimension of initial and in-service teacher training, develop and test models of mobility in this field, and establish sustainable cooperation among HEIs and other initial and in-service teacher training providers. HEIs and other teacher training providers are the main partners, but projects also include collaboration with schools hosting teaching internships.
Erasmus Mundus projects are designed to foster excellence, boost internationalisation and increase the attractiveness of the European Higher Education Area worldwide. Under Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters, consortia of European HEIs jointly develop and deliver high-quality Master’s degree programmes in selected fields which are open to HEIs in other countries across the world. Erasmus Mundus Design Measures aim to support European HEIs in the development of new joint Master’s degree programmes and, thus, in the modernisation and internationalisation of their curricula and teaching approaches.
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.
Jean Monnet Actions in the Field of Higher Education support teaching and research in the field of European Union studies. Partner HEIs can develop and offer Modules (intensive programmes), establish Chairs (teaching posts for EU studies) and / or set up Centres of Excellence (focal points of competence and knowledge on EU topics).
Programmes / projects co-funded by the EU and the national budget
PO WER Programme
The PO WER Programme (Program Operacyjny Wiedza Edukacja Rozwój) (information in Polish only) is co-funded by the European Social Fund and the national budget. The National Agency for Academic Exchange awards PO WER grants, in particular, within the following action lines:
- Welcome to Poland. Improving competence of academic staff and enhancing institutional capacity for hosting incoming students and staff (2018-2023): training to improve competence of academic and administrative staff; activities related to “internationalisation at home”; creation of Welcome Centres (space and services for incoming students and staff); organisational arrangements for reception (for example, Polish language courses, websites and information materials); and activities encouraging attitudes of openness and tolerance among staff (for example, organisation of meetings, workshops).
- Katamaran (Catamaran). Enhancing institutional capacity of Polish HEIs through international study programmes. (2018-2023): development and delivery of joint second-cycle programmes by higher education institutions and other research institutions; and doctoral scholarships for foreigners.
- STER (Rudder). Internationalisation of doctoral schools (2022-2024): mobility of Polish and international doctoral students; activities related to “internationalisation at home” (for example, organisation of stays for international academic staff; training events, meetings, conferences, summer schools); activities expanding international collaboration (for example, development of project proposals; implementation of joint research projects on doctoral training; development of joint study programmes and teaching materials); activities aimed to attract international doctoral students (for example, development of information materials in foreign languages; organisation of information meetings; development of websites or tools for international doctoral students).
- Spinaker (Spinnaker). Intensive international programmes (2022-2023): development of new or adaptation of existing intensive programmes (30 to 150 teaching hours) in a foreign language to be provided on campus and / or online; staff training; implementation of programmes.
Central European Exchange Programme for University Studies (CEEPUS)
CEEPUS is the first multilateral cooperation programme in the field of education in Central Europe, established by a multilateral agreement. Poland has taken part in the programme since 1994. The National Agency for Academic Exchange is the contact point for the programme in Poland. The other participating countries are Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia. HEIs from the participating countries establish cooperation networks for student and academic staff exchanges – see Chapter 13.2.
International Visegrad Fund
The International Visegrad Fund was created in 2000 by the Prime Ministers of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary (V4 countries). Each of the four countries provides an equal financial contribution to the Fund. The Fund is also supported by governments of other countries, including Canada, Germany, South Korea, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States. Currently, it aims to strengthen cooperation among the V4 countries and between the V4 Region and other countries, in particular in the Western Balkans and the Eastern Partnership Region. The unit administering the Fund is situated in Bratislava, Slovakia. In addition to scholarships for students and academic staff (see Chapter 13.2) the Fund awards ‘Visegrad grants’ for projects involving 2, 3 or all of the V4 countries which are aimed at enhancing labour-market relevant and lifelong learning skills.
European Economic Area Financial Mechanism: Education Programme
The Education Programme (2014-2021; final Call for proposals in 2021) is funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein 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’, HEIs (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.
National programmes / projects
In addition to the programmes co-funded by the EU and the national budget (see above), the National Agency for Academic Exchange is running the Strategic Partnership Programme (2022-2024), which aims to develop mechanisms fostering long-term cooperation in the areas of teaching, research or the implementation of joint initiatives within the framework of transnational strategic partnerships. Grants are available for the following types of activities: organisation of exchanges, lectures, study visits and / or industrial placements for students, including doctoral students, and academic staff; development or improvement of innovative teaching and learning materials, methods and tools; development of joint programmes leading to a joint or double diploma; joint research and development work; development and implementation of a strategy for the dissemination of research outcomes; development or enhancement of a quality management system for education at partner institutions; establishment of cooperation with international entrepreneurs for the adaptation of programmes to labour market needs.
College of Europe campus in Warsaw-Natolin
Established in 1949, the College of Europe, based in Bruges, Belgium, is a university institute which offers Master’s degree courses in European studies. Its campus in Warsaw-Natolin, Poland, was established in 1992 with the financial support of the Polish Government and the European Commission. The Natolin campus provides a Master’s degree programme in European Interdisciplinary Studies in English and French.
Collegium Polonicum in Słubice
The Collegium Polonicum is a joint unit of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland, and the Viadrina European University in Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany. It offers programmes to students, conducts research, for example, on European integration and border regions, and supports collaboration between Polish and German academics. Based on the agreement signed between the Polish Minister of National Education and the Minister of Science, Research and Culture of the Federal State of Brandenburg in 2002, the Collegium hosts not only students from the partner universities undertaking a study period or following postgraduate courses, but also students and graduates from other HEIs.