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Poland: VET reform continues

In November 2018, an act introducing significant changes in VET was signed into law. The new law complements the recent structural reform of the education system initiated in 2016.

Most changes will take effect at the beginning of the upcoming school year (2019/20).

The main aim is to restore the prestige of vocational education by improving its quality and effectiveness. Special emphasis is placed on strengthening the mechanisms of involving employers in the development of VET in all its stages, particularly in practical vocational training and on the systematic adaptation of VET to labour-market needs by forecasting the demand for professions and skills.

The new law:

  • makes it mandatory for VET learners to pass a State vocational examination or a journeyman's examination to graduate from secondary education; it also changes the form of exams, the process of preparing examination tasks, and the requirements set for examiners;
  • introduces, in cooperation with employers, apprenticeship as a new form of vocational learning for learners in upper secondary VET and first-stage sectoral programmes, who are not juvenile workers;
  • introduces new options for VET learners to obtain additional vocational skills or qualifications beyond the core curriculum;
  • allows VET schools to organise short-cycle vocational courses for adults;
  • makes it mandatory for schools to cooperate with employers when launching new programmes; this cooperation may include patronage classes, the organisation of practical training, teacher training, participation in the organisation of vocational examinations, providing schools with certain equipment and participation in teachers’ council meetings;
  • introduces obligatory professional training for VET teachers in companies;
  • introduces a labour-market-needs forecast mechanism; forecasts will take into account various data sources, including data from Statistics Poland, education information system, social insurance data and opinions of skills councils;
  • increases state subsidies to local governments for VET schools educating in higher demand occupations and to employers involved in training VET students in higher demand occupations;
  • introduces the functioning regulation of the newly-established second-stage sectoral programmes;
  • introduces changes in the accreditation system for institutions providing continuing education in out-of-school forms, aimed at greater quality control.

According to the new law, the introduction of a new occupation in the classification of occupations will simultaneously determine its core curriculum, speeding-up the reaction to labour market developments. Changes in the occupational classification structure will be also introduced.