Ministry of Economic Development, Labour and Technology

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Compulsory school attendance and compulsory education

The Polish education system differentiates between the compulsory school attendance and compulsory education.

While education is compulsory until the age of 18, the compulsory school attendance covers the 8-grade primary school (i.e. until finishing the primary school, but not longer than until the age of 18). After finishing primary school (szkoła podstawowa), the duty of compulsory education is met by way of attending either a public or non-public secondary school (szkoła ponadpodstawowa) or by way of vocational training conducted by an employer.

Pupils with a certificate on special educational needs may be educated at respective types of schools until the end of the school year in the calendar year in which they have reached the age of:

  • 20 – for primary schools,
  • 24 – for secondary schools.

Children and youth with severe intellectual disability who have been issued a certificate on the need for revalidation and education classes can attend such classes starting at the beginning of the school year in the calendar year in which they have reached the age of 3 and continue education until the end of the school year in the calendar year in which the have reached the age of 25.

 

The education system is comprised of public educational units, public educational units with integration classes, public educational units with special classes, public educational units with integration and special classes, integration educational units and special educational units in the following categories:

  • pre-school establishments: kindergartens (przedszkole), pre-school classes in primary schools, other forms of pre-school education (children aged 3-6, or until the age of 9 for children with disabilities who have been issued a certificate on special educational needs and whose compulsory school attendance obligation has been postponed);
  • primary schools (szkoła podstawowa) (pupils aged 7-15), the admission is based on the age criterion;
  • secondary schools (szkoła ponadpodstawowa) (pupils aged 15-18/19):
  1. four-year general secondary school (liceum ogólnokształcące), five-year technical secondary school (technikum), three-year trade school of
    1st degree (szkoła branżowa I stopnia) and two-year trade school of 2nd degree (szkoła branżowa II stopnia),
  2. post-secondary non-tertiary school (szkoła policealna) with a maximum learning period of 2.5 years,
  3. three-year special school providing preparation for work (szkoła specjalna przysposabiająca do pracy) for pupils with moderate or severe intellectual disabilities and for pupils with multiple disabilities, completion of which gives a certificate confirming preparation for work.

Children aged 3-5 whose parents want them to attend pre-school education have a guaranteed admission to such education in a kindergarten, a kindergarten class at a primary school or other forms of pre-school (a pre-school establishment or pre-school education centre). Ensuring admission to pre-school education is the responsibility of the commune. Children from abroad are admitted to public kindergartens under the same conditions as Polish citizens.

Where duly justified, pre-school education can be provided also to children aged 2.5.

Children aged 6 must undergo a 12-month pre-school preparation at a kindergarten, a pre-school class at a primary school or another form or pre-school education, including kindergartens and integration or special pre-school classes. Ensuring a place to meet this obligation is the responsibility of the commune. When requested by the parents, a child aged 6 may start primary school education provided that he/she attended a kindergarten in the school year preceding the school year in which he/she is to start primary school education, or provided that he/she has been issued with a certificate from a psychological and pedagogical guidance centre confirming his/her fitness to attend primary school. When requested by the parents, the principal of the primary school in the area where a child resides may postpone the compulsory school attendance obligation by one year. Such postponement applies to children aged 7. Children who have been issued a certificate on special educational needs due to disability (deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, with reduced mobility, including aphasia, with mild, moderate or severe intellectual disability, autism, including Asperger Syndrome, with multiple disabilities) may have their compulsory school attendance obligation postponed until the age of 9.

Parents of children aged 6 (and older) who attend the 12-month pre-school preparation are exempted from fees for pre-school education at public kindergartens, pre-school classes at public primary schools and other forms of public pre-school education - they pay only for meals.

Parents of children aged 3-5 years pay for their children's pre-school education in excess of the education and care time limit established by the commune (which is not shorter that 5 hours a day) and for meals. The fee for each hour in excess of the time limit must not be higher than PLN 1 (EUR 0.23). The commune council may establish requirements for a partial or full exemption from that fee.

The school year in all schools and educational establishments starts on 1 September of each year and ends on 31 August of the next year. Teaching and educational activities start on 1 September (or on the first weekday of September) and end on the Friday following 20 June.

Pupils coming from abroad are admitted to schools on the basis of such documents as a certificate, attestation or other document which certifies that the child has graduated from a school or completed a relevant level of education abroad, or other document issued by a school abroad which confirms the school education abroad and specifies the grade or level of education the child has completed abroad, or a document confirming the sum of years of the child's school education. If it is not possibly to establish the sum of years of school education on the basis of a certificate, attestation or other document, the pupil concerned can be admitted on the basis of a written declaration regarding the sum of years of his/her school education submitted by his/her parent or by the pupil himself/herself (if adult). Furthermore, persons coming from an EU or EFTA Member State are provided with education at public schools for adults, public trade schools of 2nd degree, public post-secondary non-tertiary schools, public art schools, public establishments and public colleges for social service workers as well as lifelong learning in the form of vocational qualification courses under the same conditions as Polish citizens. Pupils are admitted to public primary schools in their place of residence ex officio (i.e. the school may not refuse admission). Admission to other public primary schools and to public secondary schools depends on whether the school concerned has vacancies.

Pupils coming from abroad who do not speak Polish or whose command of Polish is insufficient to learn in this language have the right to minimum 2 hours of additional free-of-charge Polish classes a week. Schools may also form preparatory classes for pupils who do not speak Polish. Education in such classes ends at the end of the school year in which the pupil was admitted to the class, and may be curtailed or extended (by a maximum of one school year).

Primary and secondary schools have a six-mark assessment scale of 1 to 6, where 1 is the lowest mark, and 6 the highest.

Primary school pupils have the right to free textbooks, educational materials and training materials meant for compulsory educational classes in general education. Textbooks and related materials are provided by the school, which receives state budget funding for the purpose.

Secondary school pupils who have been issued a certificate on special educational needs may apply for co-financing of the purchase of textbooks and educational materials as part of the government aid programme Wyprawka szkolna (literally "school starter kit").

Pupils finish the primary school if they have received positive marks at the end of the classification period for all compulsory subjects and have taken the 8-grade exam (egzamin ósmoklasisty). The 8-grade exam, which is an element of the external examination system, consists of written tests in Polish, mathematics and one modern foreign language, and beginning in school year 2021/2022 also in one of the following subjects of choice: biology, chemistry, physics, geography, history. The 8-grade exam checks to what extent the pupil meets the requirements established in the general core curriculum for the primary school. No minimum pass threshold has been established for this exam, but results are shown in the detailed 8-grade exam certificate and are taken into account for admission to the secondary school.

The matriculation exam (egzamin maturalny, or matura) is conducted within the external examination system for graduates of general secondary or secondary trade schools, and opens the way to obtaining a matriculation certificate. Apart from graduates of Polish schools, the matriculation exam may be taken also by holders of a foreign certificate or other document confirming that they have completed secondary education. The matriculation exam is based on the requirements established in the general core curriculum for the general secondary and technical secondary schools. The matriculation exam is conducted once a year between May and September (main, additional and re-sit dates) as announced each year on the website of the Central Examination Commission.

Graduates take the exam in the following compulsory subjects:

  • Polish (oral and written);
  • modern foreign language (oral and written);
  • mathematics (written);
  • national minority language (oral and written) - for graduates of schools and classes where a national minority language is taught.

The written matriculation exam in the compulsory subjects is conducted at the basic level, while no specific obligatory level is established for the oral exam.

Graduates must take a written matriculation exam in at least one additional subject. The written matriculation exam in an additional subject (biology, chemistry, philosophy, physics, geography, history, music history, art history, information technology, Latin and ancient culture, ethnic minority language, national minority language, modern foreign language, Polish, regional language, mathematics, social studies) can be taken at the extended level and its scope corresponds to the requirements established in the general core curriculum for basic and extended levels of education. No specific obligatory level is established for the oral matriculation exam in additional subjects (an ethnic minority language, a national minority language, a modern foreign language, a regional language). The written matriculation exam in a modern foreign language as an additional subject is conducted at the extended level in accordance with the general core curriculum for general and extended levels of education or at the bilingual level in accordance with the general core curriculum for bilingual classes. Graduates may take the matriculation exam in a maximum of five successive additional subjects. No minimum pass threshold is established for additional subjects in this exam.

Due to the introduction of a new school system, the matriculation exam will be conducted under the new rules for:

  • graduates of 4-year general secondary schools (liceum ogólnokształcące) – beginning in school year 2022/2023;
  • graduates of 5-year technical secondary schools (technikum) – beginning on school year 2023/2024;
  • graduates of trade schools of 2nd degree who finished their education in trade schools of 1st degree as graduates of the 8-year primary school – beginning in school year 2023/2024.

The matriculation exam under the current rules will be conducted until:

  • school year 2026/2027 inclusively – for graduates of 3-year general secondary schools;
  • school year 2027/2028 inclusively – for graduates of 4-year technical secondary schools;
  • school year 2028/2029 inclusively – for graduates of trade schools of 2nd degree who finished their education in trade schools of 1st degree as graduates of junior secondary schools (gimnazjum).

 

The matriculation certificate is issued under the rules in force before the reform of the school system to graduates who have taken the matriculation exam in compulsory subjects and achieved at least 30% of the available points in each of them (both written and oral), and taken the matriculation exam in one of the aforementioned additional subjects.

 

The matriculation certificate will be issued under the new rules to graduates who have taken the matriculation exam in compulsory subjects and one selected additional subject achieved at least 30% of the available point in each of them.

 

Results of the matriculation exam, both in compulsory and additional subjects, form the key criterion of enrolment in university-level studies.

A pupil/student or graduate who is not a Polish citizen and whose limited knowledge of the Polish language makes it difficult for him/her to understand written texts may take the following exams under a positive decision of the board of teachers:

1) 8-grade exam, excluding the 8-grade exam in a modern foreign language - under conditions and in the form adjusted to his/her educational needs and psychophysical abilities resulting from that limitation;

2) matriculation exam, excluding the matriculation exam in a modern foreign language, a national minority language, an ethnic minority language or a regional language - under conditions adjusted to his/her educational needs and psychophysical abilities resulting from that limitation.

Graduates of general secondary schools may continue their education in post-secondary non-tertiary schools (szkoła policealna) with the education programme not exceeding 2.5 years.. The condition for enrolment in a post-secondary non-tertiary school is completion of secondary or secondary trade education. It is agreed by operation of law (i.e. without the requirement to demonstrate the opinion of Polish authorities or institutions) that the completion of secondary education is confirmed by certificates and other documents issued in an EU or EFTA Member State education system that entitle to start tertiary education studies in that Member State. Other education certificates and documents issued in an EU or EFTA Member State may be recognised only by the relevant Educational Superintendent (Kurator Oświaty) in the course of an administrative procedure.

 

Students and graduates of trade schools of 1st and 2nd degree, technical secondary schools and post-secondary non-tertiary schools, persons who have completed a vocational qualification course, adults who have completed practical vocational training for adults or vocational familiarisation training (provided that the vocational familiarisation training curriculum incorporated the requirements established in the core curriculum for vocational training) and persons who meet the requirements for admission to an extramural exam who pass, respectively, the exam confirming their vocational qualification or the vocational exam4 corresponding to a specific qualification for a given profession are issued, respectively, a certificate confirming their vocational qualification or a vocational qualification certificate7, and upon passing exams for all qualifications for a given professions and completing education at the required level, they are issued also a diploma confirming their vocational qualifications/vocational diploma7 entitling them to take up employment in that profession.

 

Graduates of trade schools of 1st degree may continue their education at:

  • trade schools of 2nd degree which train in professions for which a qualification has been identified which is common with the profession taught at their schools of 1st To be to enrolled in a trade school of 2nd degree, a foreign national must submit documents issued abroad which are deemed in Poland as documents confirming their vocational or trade education. Graduates of trade schools of 2nd degree may continue their education at university level studies if they pass their matriculation exams and receive the matriculation certificate (education in trade schools of 2nd degree will start in September 2020);
  • general secondary schools for adults, starting from the second grade, to complete their secondary education and pass the matriculation exam, which will enable them to continue their education at the tertiary level;
  • vocational qualification courses organised by public and non-public schools offering vocational education, public and non-public vocational education centres, lifelong education establishments, labour market institutions and other education entities accredited in accordance with Article 118 of the Act on Education Law.

As a result of the recent changes in the vocational education system, beginning on 1 September 2019 students of trade schools of 1st degree, 4-grade technical secondary schools, 5-year technical secondary schools and post-secondary non-tertiary schools started their education in accordance with the curriculum which meets the requirements established in the core curriculum for vocational education at trade schools. Beginning on 1 September 2019, all persons starting their education (except for students of trade schools of 1st degree who are juvenile workers educated in craft) are obliged to take the new vocational exam that will ultimately replace the current exam confirming vocational qualifications. Taking the vocational exam will be a pre-condition for promotion or graduation. For a pupil who is a juvenile worker employed for the purpose of vocational preparation by an employer who is a craftsperson, the condition for completing a 1st degree trade school will involve taking an apprentice exam conducted by an examination commission of a relevant chamber of crafts.

The exam confirming vocational qualifications/vocational exam may be taken by participants of vocational qualification courses and adult participants of practical vocational training for adults or vocational familiarisation training for adults organised in accordance with a curriculum that meets the requirements established in the core curriculum for education in a given profession within the trade education system.

 


Tertiary education

The system of tertiary education and science included the following forms of education:

  • first-cycle studies (studia pierwszego stopnia) – a form of education available to candidates with a matriculation certificate or other document specified in regulations on tertiary education and science, ending with awarding the professional title of Bachelor (licencjat), Engineer (inżynier) or equivalent;
  • second-cycle studies (studia drugiego stopnia) – a form of education available to candidates with a tertiary education diploma, ending with awarding the professional title of Master (magister), Master Engineer (magister inżynier) or equivalent;
  • long-cycle Master's degree studies (jednolite studia magisterskie) – a form of education available to candidates with a matriculation certificate, ending with awarding the professional title of Master (magister), Master Engineer (magister inżynier) or equivalent;
  • doctoral schools (szkoła doktorska)doctoral education provided by tertiary education schools, scientific institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences, research institutes or international institutes operating in Poland and established under separate regulations, which are available to candidates with a Master, Master Engineer or equivalent degree who demonstrate the highest quality of scientific achievements; ending with awarding a doctoral degree (academic or art degrees);
  • post-graduate studies (studia podyplomowe) – a form of education available to candidates with full qualifications of at least Level 6 of the Polish Qualifications Framework awarded within the tertiary education system at a tertiary education school, a scientific institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences, a research institute or the Medical Post-Graduate Education Centre (Centrum Medyczne Kształcenia Podyplomowego); such studies end with awarding partial qualifications at Levels 6, 7 or 8 of the Polish Qualifications Framework;
  • specialised education – a short form of education provided by vocational colleges that allows candidates to obtain full qualification at Level 5 of the Polish Qualifications Framework and ends with awarding a graduate specialist certificate or a graduate technology specialist.

Tertiary education establishments can be divided into public establishments (formed by a state agency) and non-public establishments (which can be formed by natural persons or legal persons other than local government units, state legal persons or local government legal persons).

The most complete information about Poland's tertiary education is provided by the Integrated System of Information on Science and Higher Education (POL-on), the most comprehensive repository of data on science and tertiary education in Poland. It contains all information which must be publicly available, including, but not limited to, tertiary school registers, information on fields and profiles of education, tertiary school evaluation indicators, aggregated figures regarding students, the register of authorisations to award scientific degrees, and the register of patents and property rights. Admission in tertiary education establishments is conducted through recruitment, confirmation of learning outcomes or transfer from another school in Poland or abroad.

Admission in first-cycle studies or long-cycle Master's degree studies is available to candidates who hold:

  • a matriculation certificate a matriculation certificate and a certificate on the results of the post-2005 matriculation exam in individual subjects, as referred to in regulations on the system of education;
  • a matriculation certificate and a diploma confirming vocational qualifications in a profession taught at the level of a technician, as referred to in regulations on the system of education;
  • a matriculation certificate and a vocational diploma in a profession taught at the level of technician, as referred to in regulations on the system of education;
  • a matriculation certificate and a certificate on the results of the post-2005 matriculation exam in individual subjects, and a diploma confirming vocational qualifications in a profession taught at the level of a technician, as referred to in regulations on the system of education;
  • a matriculation certificate and a certificate on the results of the post-2005 matriculation exam in individual subjects, and a vocational diploma in a profession taught at the level of a technician, as referred to in regulations on the system of education;
  • a certificate and other document or diploma referred to in the Act on the system of education (Article 93(1) of the Act);
  • a certificate or a diploma recognised in the Republic of Poland as a document gives the right to apply for admission in tertiary studies in accordance with an applicable bilateral agreement on mutual recognition of education;
  • a certificate or other document recognised as equivalent to the Polish matriculation certificate under regulations in force since 31 March 2015.

The documents for admission in first-cycle studies or long-cycle Master's degree studies listed in points 3-5 will be required from 1 January 2022 onwards.

Requirements and procedures for admission in studies are established autonomously by tertiary education schools.

The basis for admission in tertiary first-cycle studies or long-cycle Masters' degree studies are the results of either:

1) the pre-2005 matriculation exam; or

2) the post-2005 matriculation exam;

and from 1 January 2022 onwards also:

  1. the results of either the pre-2005 matriculation exam or post-2005 matriculation exam and the exam or exams confirming vocational qualifications;
  2. the results of either the pre-2005 matriculation exam or post-2005 matriculation exam and vocational exam or exams.

A tertiary education school may conduct additional entrance exams only if it is necessary to check candidates' artistic talents, physical fitness or suitability to take up specific studies which have not been checked as part of the matriculation exam.

To be admitted in second-cycle studies a candidate must hold a tertiary education diploma and meet the recruitment requirements established by the school concerned.

Certificates and other documents issued in systems of education of EU or EFTA Member States which give the right to start tertiary studies in those Member States can be submitted directly to Polish schools and do not require any review by other institutions. As a rule, Polish schools recognise foreign tertiary education entitlements to the extent applicable in respective countries. Therefore, a foreign certificate that gives the right to apply for admission only in some fields and types of tertiary education studies in a given EU or EFTA Member State gives the right to apply for admission in similar tertiary education programmes in Poland. Tertiary education entitlements obtained abroad should be documented before coming to Poland.

A school can confirm learning outcomes achieved in a learning process outside the system of studies by persons who apply for admission in a specific field, level and profile of studies if it has a positive assessment of the quality of education at those studies or scientific category A+, A or B+ in the discipline or leading discipline to which the field concerned is assigned.

 

Learning outcomes are confirmed to the extent corresponding to learning outcomes specified in the relevant study programme. Learning outcomes are not confirmed for the study programmes referred to in Article 68(1)(1)–(10) of the Act on the Law on tertiary education and science in which education standards are taken into consideration.

Learning outcomes can be confirmed for a person who holds:

  • documents required for admission in first-cycle studies or long-cycle Master's degree studies, and at least 5 years of professional experience – in the case of applying for admission in first-cycle studies or long-cycle Master's degree studies;
  • a full qualification at Level 5 of the Polish Qualifications Framework or a qualification awarded in a foreign system of tertiary education and corresponding to Level 5 of the European Qualifications Framework referred to in Annex II to the Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2008 on the establishment of the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning – in the case of applying for admission in first-cycle studies or long-cycle Master's degree studies;
  • a full qualification at Level 6 of the Polish Qualifications Framework and at least 3 years of professional experience after completion of first-cycle studies – in the case of applying for admission in second-cycle studies;
  • a full qualification at Level 7 of the Polish Qualifications Framework and at least 2 years of professional experience after completion of second-cycle studies or long-cycle Master's degree studies – in the case of applying for admission in other first-cycle studies, second-cycle studies or long-cycle Master's degree studies.

Confirmation of learning outcomes can lead to acknowledging not more than 50% of credits within the European Credit Transfer System assigned to classes covered by a specific study programme. The order of admission in studies is decided by confirmation of the learning outcomes. The number of students admitted on the basis of confirmation of the learning outcomes may not be higher than 20% of the total number of students in the field, level and profile of studies concerned.

Tertiary education studies are provided in the form of full-time studies or part-time studies.

The academic year starts on 1 October and ends on 30 September, and is divided into two semesters.

In the academic year 2019/20 (as of 31 December 2019), there were 383 tertiary education schools in Poland, of which 132 were public and 235 non-public and 16 were ecclesiastical schools.

Graduates of first-cycle studies are awarded the professional title of Bachelor, Engineer or equivalent:

1) Architect Engineer (inżynier architekt) – upon achieving the learning outcomes defined for studies in architecture;

2) Fire Safety Engineer (inżynier pożarnictwa) – awarded to fore-fighters of the State Fire Service upon achieving the learning outcomes defined for studies in safety engineering at the Main School of Fire Service (Szkoła Główna Służby Pożarniczej);

3) Bachelor of Nursing (licencjat pielęgniarstwa) – upon achieving the learning outcomes defined for studies in nursing;

4) Bachelor of Midwifery (licencjat położnictwa) – upon achieving the learning outcomes defined for studies in midwifery.

Graduates of second-cycle studies are awarded the professional title of Master (magister), Master Engineer (magister inżynier) or equivalent:

1) Master Architect Engineer (magister inżynier architekt)– upon achieving the learning outcomes defined for studies in architecture;

2) Master Fire Safety Engineer (magister inżynier pożarnictwa) – upon achieving the learning outcomes defined for studies in safety engineering conducted for fire safety engineers at the Main School of Fire Service;

3) Master of Nursing (magister pielęgniarstwa) – upon achieving the learning outcomes defined for studies in nursing;

4) Master of Midwifery (magister położnictwa) – upon achieving the learning outcomes defined for studies in midwifery;

Graduates of long-cycle Master's degree studies are awarded the professional title of Master (magister), Master Engineer (magister inżynier) or equivalent:

1) doctor of medicine (lekarz) – upon achieving the learning outcomes defined for studies in medicine;

2) dentist (lekarz dentysta) – upon achieving the learning outcomes defined for studies in dentistry;

3) veterinarian (lekarz weterynarii) – upon achieving the learning outcomes defined for studies in veterinary;

4) Master of Pharmacy (magister farmacji) – upon achieving the learning outcomes defined for studies in pharmacy;

5) Master Architect Engineer (magister inżynier architekt) - upon achieving the learning outcomes defined for studies in architecture;


Citizens of EU or EFTA Member States taking up studies in Poland

EU and EFTA Member State citizens or members of their families residing in Poland are not charged any fees by public tertiary education schools for attending full-time studies in Polish.

To take up studies, the aforementioned citizens must undergo the recruitment procedure established by the school of their choice. If accepted, they have - as all foreign students starting studies in Poland in the academic year 2019/2020 onwards - the right to apply for available financial support (excluding social scholarships and student loans), i.e. a rector’s grant, a grant for persons with disabilities, aid payments, a grant financed by a local government unit, a grant in recognition of learning performance or sport achievements financed by a natural person or a legal person other than state or local government legal person, and the Minister’s grant. The aforementioned citizens who take up education at doctoral schools run by tertiary education schools or scientific institutes will receive a doctoral grant. Foreign citizens who are young scientists can also receive the Minister's grant awarded to outstanding young scientists.


Fees charged by public tertiary education schools in Poland

A public tertiary education school may charge fees for educational services relating to:

  • teaching part-time students;
  • teaching post-graduate students;
  • specialised teaching;
  • teaching in the so-called other forms of teaching offered by tertiary education schools, institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences, research institutes and at training and courses conducted by the Łukasiewicz Research Network;
  • repeating specific classes during full-time studies due to unsatisfactory learning results;
  • providing education in a foreign language;
  • providing extra-curricular classes;
  • teaching foreign students at full-time studies in Polish.
Fees charged by non-public tertiary education schools in Poland
Non-public schools charge fees for teaching both at full-time and part time studies, and for teaching at post-graduate studies

Lifelong learning and vocational education

Adults may enrol in primary schools for adults, general secondary schools for adults and general competence courses, and in the case of vocational education – in out-of-school forms of lifelong learning (vocational qualification courses, vocational skills courses and other courses designed to acquire and supplement knowledge, vocational skills and qualifications) and in selected post-secondary non-tertiary schools and trade schools of 2nd degree.

A vocational qualification course is conducted in accordance with a programme based on the core curriculum for vocational education within the scope of a single qualification, completion of which gives the trainee the right to take an exam confirming his/her vocational qualification/vocational exam regarding that qualification. Institutions which conduct vocational qualification courses must include in their course programmes all components of a given qualification specified in the core curriculum for vocational trade education. Completing such a course enables the trainee to take an exam confirming his/her vocational qualification/vocational exam (within the scope of a given qualification) conducted by a regional examination board. A person who has completed a vocational qualification course and passed an exam confirming his/her vocational qualification/vocational exam within a given qualification will receive a certificate confirming his/her vocational qualification/certificate of vocational qualification.

A diploma confirming vocational qualifications/vocational diploma will be issued to a person who has completed the level of education required for the profession concerned (i.e. appropriate trade or general secondary education) and has passed exams in all qualifications defined for that profession.

Vocational qualification courses can be conducted in professions assigned to specific trades if it is allowed to organise such a course in a given profession under regulations on the tasks and objectives of vocational teaching in trade education and classification of professions within trade education.

Vocational qualification courses can be conducted by:

  • public schools which provide vocational education with regard to the professions they teach as well as other professions which are attributed to the trades which include the professions they teach;
  • non-public schools which have the privileges of public schools and provide vocational education with regard to the professions they teach as well as other professions which are attributed to the trades which include the professions they teach;
  • public and non-public lifelong learning establishments and vocational training centres;
  • labour market institutions which conduct educational and training activities;
  • entities which conduct educational activities and are duly accredited in accordance with the provisions of the Education Law.
System of qualifications in Poland

Poland has an Integrated Qualifications System designed to support lifelong learning, recognition of competences and facilitation of employment through increasing the transparency of qualifications and providing opportunities to compare them in Poland and abroad.

The Integrated Qualifications System includes such tools as:

  • the Polish Qualifications Framework – a description of eight levels of qualifications defined in Poland and corresponding to the respective levels in the European Qualifications Framework;
  • the Integrated Qualifications Register - a public repository kept in an IT system to provide a record of qualifications included in the Integrated Qualifications System;
  • uniform standards for describing qualifications and ensuring the quality of qualifications acquired in non-formal education.

The Integrated Qualifications System refers to qualifications understood as a specific set of learning outcomes (compatible with the standards established for the qualification concerned), achievement of which is validated by an authorised certification institution. Poland's Integrated Qualifications System includes the following three types of qualifications:

  • qualifications awarded in learning and tertiary education;
  • "regulated" qualifications awarded under other provisions of law (outside the formal education);
  • "market" qualifications awarded without any legal basis established in generally applicable law.

Beginning in 2017, documents (certificates, diplomas) confirming a given level of qualification bear the logo of the Polish Qualifications Framework (for partial or full qualifications). In the case of certificates of completion of post-graduate studies, the Polish Qualifications Framework logo is placed only when the qualification concerned is included in the Integrated Qualifications System. Where the qualification awarded after completion of post-graduate studies is not included in the Integrated Qualifications System by the school, the certificate of completion of post-graduate studies is issued without the relevant logo.


Learning Polish

Polish language courses are organised by universities, technical universities, non-public tertiary education schools and private language schools. They include summer courses, semester courses, whole-year courses, workshops in Polish or post-graduate studies in Polish culture and Polish as a foreign language. The courses have to be paid for. In some academic centres, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education finances courses that prepare grant holders of the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (Narodowa Agencja Wymiany Akademickiej, NAWA) to take up studies in Polish. NAWA grant holders can take these courses free of charge.


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4. Persons who have pursued their education in accordance with the core curriculum laid down in regulations issued under Article 47(1)(2) of the Act of 14 December 2016 on the Education Law (in its codification in force before 1 September 2019) take the exam confirming their vocational qualifications and are issued a certificate confirming their vocational qualifications or a diploma confirming their vocational qualifications. Persons who have pursued their education in accordance with the core curriculum for vocational trade education laid down in regulations issued under Article 46(1)(3) of the Act of 14 December 2016 on the Education Law (in its codification in force after 1 September 2019) take the vocational exam and are issued a vocational qualification certificate or a vocational diploma.