In 2010, an interministerial taskforce for lifelong learning was set up to provide overall coordination and monitoring of Polish lifelong learning policy implementation, including the national qualifications framework and register. Chaired by the Minister of National Education, it included the Ministers of Higher Education and Science, Economy, Labour and Social Policy, Regional Development, Foreign Affairs, and the Head of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister. To monitor the development and implementation of the PQF in this initial phase, an NQF steering committee was created as a sub-team of and reporting to the interministerial taskforce (the interministerial team for lifelong learning and the integrated qualification system). It was coordinated by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science, and included representatives from several ministries ( The ministries represented in the NQF steering committee were (at that time): National Education, Economy, Labour and Social Policy, Regional Development, Foreign Affairs, Culture and National Heritage, Health, National Defence, Internal Affairs, Transportation, Construction and Maritime Economy; and Sport and Tourism.). Other stakeholders, such as representatives of education institutions, associations of territorial government, employer organisations and trade unions, could take part in an advisory capacity. The Educational Research Institute (IBE) was tasked to provide technical and conceptual support to the work of the steering committee and to prepare comprehensive proposals for developing the integrated qualifications system and its components. At the same time, the Bureau for Academic Recognition and International Exchange (under the Ministry of Higher Education and Science) was appointed as EQF national coordination point (EQF NCP) and it maintained this function to 2016. Since October 2016, the Minister of National Education is the EQF NCP.
Unlike many other countries, the above bodies have not directly included representatives of social partners or civil society. Seen from the outside and compared to other countries, Polish developments can be described as a combination of top-down and research-driven. However, two broad consultations have been carried out since 2011 and many meetings (more than 200) have been organised across the country addressing a wide range of stakeholders. In this way, representatives of education (both formal and non-formal) as well as worker and employer organisations were actively involved in and consulted on preparatory activities and solutions which came into force with the IQS Act in 2015 ( Preparatory activities conducted during the public debate (2011-13) included: a review of practices of awarding qualifications, identification of barriers for lifelong learning, and analysis of the use of the Polish qualifications framework for integration of qualifications (sub)systems in Poland. Representatives of stakeholders were actively involved in developing methods and tools for levelling qualifications, quality assurance of qualifications, methods for validation of learning outcomes, standards for describing market qualifications (European Commission and Cedefop, 2018). ).
Formal adoption of the framework in 2015, with the Act on the integrated qualifications system – the IQS Act ( Parliament of Poland (2015). ) – clarified how the coordination of the qualifications system (including the framework) was to be carried out in the further development and implementation stages. The Ministry of National Education is responsible for overall coordination. The IQS Stakeholder Council was set up in September 2016 as an advisory and consultative body. The council consists of representatives of education and training providers, employers, trade unions, associations of higher education institutions, commercial training institutions, local governments, representatives of learners, and the central administration (Ministry of National Education and the Central Examination Board). Its role is to advise on operation, to monitor implementation, and to determine the direction of IQS-related developments, ensuring coherence of the solutions chosen. Its responsibilities include (European Commission and Cedefop, 2018):
- monitoring the functioning of the IQS and proposing improvements;
- advising on draft regulations related to the IQS;
- giving expert opinions on the PQF level for regulated and market qualifications to be included into the IQS);
- advising on proposals to include sectoral qualifications frameworks in the IQS.
The interministerial team for lifelong learning and the integrated qualification system continue to operate, monitoring IQS implementation.
The Educational Research Institute (IBE) continues to play a key role in the qualifications system and framework, supporting the ministry with technical and organisational solutions and monitoring implementation. At present, the IBE has been nominated to support and coordinate the development and inclusion in the IQS of qualifications attained outside formal education. The IBE is also responsible for operating the integrated qualifications register and for entering the qualifications included in the IQS into the register.
Sectoral skills councils consisting of representatives of employers, employees, and sectoral public institutions have also been established since 2016; to date these cover tourism, banking, construction, health, IT, fashion, and the automotive industry. They facilitate dialogue between education and the economy, acting as a forum to discuss sector needs and how skills acquired in schools, universities, and training courses respond to the needs of employers. One of the main goals of the sector skills councils is to develop sectoral qualifications frameworks, as an extension of the PQF for specific sectors. To date (December 2018), there are sectoral qualifications frameworks for tourism and sports, and draft frameworks have been proposed for banking, construction, IT, telecommunications, development services ( Development services refer to training services for coaches and trainers for adults.), the fashion industry, public health and trade (European Commission and Cedefop, 2018). The decision to link a sectoral qualifications framework to the IQS is made by the minister of national education, at the request of the minister responsible for the sector.