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General themes

VET in Romania comprises the following main features:

  • VET has a double role: promoting economic and social development in the country; it supports addressing challenges linked to very low participation in lifelong learning and a high share of early leavers from education and training;
  • training standards were updated in 2016 to increase the relevance of qualifications to the labour market.

Since 2017/18, a dual form of initial VET has also been available; participation is growing but still low.

Distinctive features ([1]Cedefop (2019). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Romania. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8128_en.pdf
):

Distinctive features of initial VET are its inclusiveness, with pathways among different levels of learning and between vocational and more academic tracks, and its focus on easing progression and avoiding dead ends. Reflecting the double role of VET in promoting economic as well as social development, initial VET’s main goals are to ensure:

  • learners’ personal and professional development;
  • equal access opportunities to VET;
  • high-quality provision, organisation and development.

Initial VET qualifications are based on training standards which describe the training process in units of learning outcomes and include, for each unit, an assessment standard. The standards were revised in 2016, to help increase VET labour market relevance by ensuring a better match between qualifications and the reality of working life after graduation.

Creating sector committees, which represent the various sectors of the economy, made the involvement of social partners in designing and assessing vocational qualifications more systemic. To ease education planning, social partners also participate in partnerships at regional level (regional consortia) and local level (local committees for social partnership development in VET).

During the past decade, Romania has developed a system for validating non-formally or informally acquired skills and competences. In line with guidelines adopted by the National Authority for Qualifications, procedural arrangements have been put in place to create a network of providers acting as validation/assessment centres. These centres are active in more than half of the counties.

Investments to support the institutional development of education and training are still few.

The main challenges are unequal access to education and training and the high rate of early leaving; this particularly affects children in rural areas, from poor communities, and Roma. The 2015-20 Strategy to reduce early school leaving was developed to address these challenges, and a mechanism will be established for early warning and intervention that will help detect young learners at risk of leaving school.

Another challenge is to reduce youth unemployment by fostering skills acquisition and securing smooth and sustainable transitions from education and training to the labour market.

The National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development introduced the dual form as part of initial VET, leading to a level 3 EQF qualification; it will be extended to levels 4 and 5 EQF. The VET Strategy 2016-20 aims for better links between VET provision and labour market demand. In this respect the centre will launch in 2019 an ESF-funded project that will develop:

  • a mechanism for quality-assuring work-based learning and certification of learning outcomes;
  • a mechanism to adjust the education and training offer to labour market demand;
  • a monitoring system for initial VET graduates;
  • a mechanism for identifying, rewarding and promoting excellence in initial VET.

Continuing VET also addresses the unemployment challenge, with variable duration training programmes linked to labour market needs; depending on the EQF qualification level addressed, these can be from 180 hours for level 1 to 1 080 for level 4.

Participation in lifelong learning is the lowest in the EU and has slightly fallen since 2013. The attractiveness of CVET, and the participation of adults in it, are also of concern. The 2015-20 Strategy for lifelong learning is currently addressing these challenges with a number of actions to increase participation in training, improve recognition of prior learning (including non-formal and informal), increase the quality and relevance of training through a new act on quality assurance in adult learning, and coordinate stakeholder actions. In November 2018, the labour ministry developed a list of elementary occupations giving unskilled adults access to participation in programmes leading to qualifications at EQF level 1, such as six-month apprenticeship programmes.

Data from VET in Romania Spotlight 2019 ([2]Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Romania. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8128_en.pdf
).

Population in 2018: 19 530 631 ([3]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It decreased since 2013 by 2.4% due to negative natural growth and emigration ([4]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

As in many other EU countries, the population is ageing.

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 25 in 2015 to 57 in 2060 ([5]Old-age-dependency ratio is defined as the ratio between the number of persons aged 65 and more over the number of working-age persons (15-64). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).).

 

Population forecast by age group and old-age-dependency ratio

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Demographic changes have an impact on VET.

Participation in secondary education has been decreasing, leading to optimisation of the school network: merging, and sometimes closing, schools.

Since 2012/13, the number of VET upper secondary schools has decreased by 8.5% ([6]INS-TEMPO-online database: education units, by categories of units, ownerships, macro regions, development regions and counties [SCL101A] at the beginning of school year; exclude ‘vocational’ high schools (military, theology, sports, music, visual arts, theatre, cultural heritage, choreography, pedagogy).). School network optimisation required offering additional transportation for learners; this issue is addressed by local authorities.

The country is multicultural. According to the most recent census, 88.9% of the population declared themselves as Romanians, 6.1% as ethnic Hungarians and 3% as Roma ([7]INS (2011). Recensământul Populaţiei şi al Locuinţelor [Census of population and housing].
http://www.recensamantromania.ro/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/REZULTATE-DEFINITIVE-RPL_2011.pdf
). Their residential density varies across the country.

For the Hungarian population enrolled in initial VET, teaching may also be provided in Hungarian.

Most companies are micro and small-sized.

Services are the main economic sector in terms of contribution to gross value added to the national economy. They accounted for 62.7% of all economic activities in 2017. The share of industry was 32.5% and agriculture 4.8% ([8]NB: Provisional data. Source: Eurostat table, nama_10_a10 [extracted 7.3.2019].).

The main export sectors are:

  • machinery/mechanical appliances, electronics, electrical equipment and its parts (28.4% of total export in 2017); 
  • transportation means and associated equipment (18.1%);
  • base metals and their products (8.5%).

Employers value formal qualifications that are often a prerequisite for hiring qualified staff.

Total unemployment ([9]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) in 2018: 3.3% (6.0% in EU 28); it decreased by 1.0 percentage point since 2008 ([10]Eurostat table une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019].).

 

Unemployment rate (aged 15-24 and 25-64) by education attainment level in 2008-18

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series; low reliability for ISCED 5-8, age 15-24. ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_urgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Unemployment is distributed unevenly between those with low- and high-level qualifications, but the gaps are small. The differences are bigger for the age group 15-24. There, people with higher qualifications (ISCED levels 5-8) were more exposed to unemployment than those with lower qualifications (ISCED levels 0-2) during the economic crisis years.

Unemployment levels have been steady since the pre-crisis period; ISCED level 5-8 graduates were affected the most by the crisis. In 2018, the unemployment rate of people with medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4), was lower compared to the pre-crisis years. It was similar to the total unemployment rate ([11]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) in Romania (3.3%).

The employment rate of 20 to 34-year-old VET graduates increased from 77.5% in 2014 to 79.5% in 2018 ([12]Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

 

Employment rate of VET graduates (20 to 34 years old, ISCED levels 3 and 4)

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

The increase (+2.0pp) in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates at ISCED levels 3 and 4 in 2014-18 was slower compared to the increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates (+2.8 pp) in the same period in Romania ([13]NB: Breaks in time series. Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

However, the employment rate of 20-34 year-old VET graduates at ISCED levels 3 and 4 in 2018 in Romania (79.5%) was higher compared to the employment rate of all 20-34 year-old graduates in the same year (76.7%).

In 2018, the share of population aged 25 to 64 with upper secondary education including vocational education (ISCED levels 3 and 4) was 60.7%, the fourth highest in the EU.

The share of 25-64 year-olds with low or without education was 21.5%, slightly less than the EU average. 17.8% of the population had a higher education diploma.

 

Population (aged 25 to 64) by highest education level attained in 2018

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011. Low reliability for ‘No response’ in Czechia, Iceland, Latvia and Poland. ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_pgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

not applicable

56.2%

100%

Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs01, educ_uoe_enrs04 and educ_uoe_enrs07 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Share of initial VET learners from total learners at upper secondary level (ISCED level 3), 2017

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011.
Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs04 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Traditionally, there are more males in VET (57.9% in 2016 in upper secondary education), except at post-secondary level ([14]Source: Eurostat tables educ_uoe_enrs01, educ_uoe_enrs04 and educ_uoe_enrs07 [extracted 26.2.2019].).

Romanian initial VET offer is provided within:

  • the professional school (three-year VET programme, leading to level EQF level 3 qualification), and the dual initial VET that is currently provided at EQF level 3;
  • technological high schools / colleges (four-year technological programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (liceu tehnologic);
  • technological high schools / colleges (one- to three-year higher VET programmes leading to a professional qualification at EQF level 5, ISCED 453).

There are three main study fields: technical, services, natural resources and environmental protection.

Males prefer the technical field, whereas females enrol more often in services and natural resources and environmental protection.

The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased from 16.6% in 2009 to 16.4% in 2018. In 2009-18, it has been above the national target for 2020 of not more than 11.3% and the EU-28 average (10.6% in 2018).

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

NB: Share of the population aged 18 to 24 with at most lower secondary education and not in further education or training; break in series.
Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_14 [extracted 16.5.2019] and European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/info/2018-european-semester-national-reform-programmes-and-stability-convergence-programmes_en [accessed 14.11.2018].

 

Drop-out rate ([15]School dropout rate is the difference between the number of learners enrolled at the beginning and registered at the end of the same school year divided by the total number of learners enrolled at the beginning of the school year.) among VET learners is higher compared with general education and is predominant among groups at risk: young people in rural communities and/or from low-income families, Roma and other minorities, and those required to repeat the same grade because of poor performance. There are also disparities between regions. For example, in the north-east region drop-out is 23.6% compared with 11.3% in the west region. It is also 1.5 times higher in rural than in urban areas in lower secondary education ([16]Ministry of National Education (2015). Strategy to reduce early school leaving 2015-20, approved by Government Decision No 417/2015.
https://edu.ro/strategia-privind-reducerea-p%C4%83r%C4%83sirii-timpurii-%C8%99colii-%C3%AEn-rom%C3%A2nia
) ([17]Eurostat, edat_lfse_16 [extracted 17.9.2018].).

The 2015-20 strategy ([18]Ministry of National Education (2015). Strategy to reduce early school leaving 2015-20. Approved by Government Decision No 417/2015.
https://edu.ro/strategia-privind-reducerea-p%C4%83r%C4%83sirii-timpurii-%C8%99colii-%C3%AEn-rom%C3%A2nia
) aims to address the issue of early leaving from education and training. It combines prevention, intervention (especially at school and learner levels) and compensation measures.

Lifelong learning offers training opportunities for adults, including early leavers from education.

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

NB: Share of adult population aged 25 to 64 participating in education and training.
Source: Eurostat, trng_lfse_01 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Participation in lifelong learning in Romania has decreased from 1.5% in 2014 to 0.9% in 2018. It is below the EU28 average and Romania’s objective 2020 of at least 10% ([19]https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/national-policies/eurydice/content/lifelong-learning-strategy-64_en)

Discussions between national policy makers and Cedefop ([20]On 26 and 27 September 2018, in Bucharest.) have revealed how citizens perceive participation in lifelong learning. While official certificates/diplomas are highly valued by learners and employers, non-formal training not offering such certificates is not always seen by learners as lifelong learning and is possibly not reported as such to the statistical authorities.

Participation in initial VET

 

Number of learners in public schools

 

 

2017/18

2013/14

Age

three-year programmes

(ISCED-P 352, învățământ profesional) ([21]The figures for 2013/14 relate to the two-year professional programmes organised after the ninth grade of technological high school that have been replaced starting with the school year 2014/15 with the current three-year professional programmes organised after grade 8.)

87 841

26 361

14/15-16/17

Out of which: short VET programmes (ISCED-P 352)

671

2 056

 

four-year technological programmes

(ISCED-P 354, liceu tehnologic)

266 031

376 963

14/15-18/19

four-year vocational programmes

(ISCED-P 354, EQF level 4)

50 915

49 395

14/15-18/19

Upper secondary education (total including general, vocational, technological and professional programmes)

715 151

786 815

17-18/19

post-secondary VET programmes (ISCED-P 453),

51 973

55 296

18/19+

Source: National Institute of Statistics, education statistics for school years 2013/14 and 2017/18): high school education at the beginning of school year; professional, post-high school and foremen school at the beginning of school year.

The education and training system comprises:

  • early education (ISCED level 0):
    • early pre-school level (age up to three);
    • pre-school education (age three to six);
  • primary education (ISCED level 1):
    • preparatory grade (age six to seven);
    • grades 1 to 4;
  • secondary education (ISCED levels 2 and 3):
    • lower secondary education (ISCED 2, grades 5 to 8) ([22]Also called ‘gymnasium’ (gimnaziu).)
    • upper secondary education (ISCED 3) ([23]Also called ‘secondary superior education’.), which comprises VET programmes;
  • post-secondary VET programmes (ISCED level 4) ([24]Postliceu.)
  • higher education (ISCED levels 5, 6, 7, and 8).

Early education is not compulsory and is divided into early pre-school level (age up to three), and pre-school education (age three to six).

Compulsory education starts at primary school (age six) and it includes primary, lower secondary and the first two years of upper secondary education (grades 9 and 10), for a total of 11 years.

Primary education is divided into a preparatory grade (age six to seven), and in grades 1 to 4 (ages 7 to 11). Secondary education is divided into lower secondary education (ISCED level 2, grades 5 to 8, ages 11 to 15) ([25]Gimnaziu.), and upper secondary education (ISCED level 3, from grade 9 and age 15 onwards).

After completing lower secondary education, learners continue their studies in upper secondary education, in any of the following programmes: general, vocational, technological or school-based VET.

Higher education has no formal VET programmes. However, some bachelor and master programmes are more practice/technical-oriented than others.

Ethnic minorities have the right to study in their mother tongue in all types, forms and levels of education (including tertiary). Special needs education is provided based on type and degree of needs identified, either in regular or specialised schools. School boards may decide to provide activities after classes. Private education and training is organised by education institutions, at all levels and forms, according to current legislation.

Initial and continuing VET are regulated by the government.

Initial VET

Initial VET is provided at upper secondary and post-secondary levels. Qualifications can be acquired in upper secondary VET through vocational, technological and school-based programmes.

At upper secondary level, there are four types of VET programme:

  • four-year technological programmes (liceu tehnologic, ISCED level 354). They offer graduates an upper secondary school-leaving diploma and the EQF level 4 ‘technician’ qualification ([26]A qualifications certificate and, after passing a qualifications examination, a Europass supplement to the certificate.);
  • four-year vocational programmes (liceu vocational, ISCED level 354). They provide graduates with a professional qualification in military, theology, sports, arts and pedagogy as well as with an upper secondary school-leaving diploma at EQF level 4; 
  • three-year school-based VET programmes (învățământ profesional, , ISCED level 352) ([27]Available since 2014/15, approved by the Education Minister Order No 3136/2014.). They may be offered as initial dual VET, and they provide graduates with a professional qualification ([28]A qualifications certificate and, after passing a qualifications exam, a Europass supplement to the certificate.) of ‘skilled worker’ at EQF level 3;
  • short VET programmes (stagii de practica, ISCED level 352). They provide learners, who have completed two years of a technological programme (grade 10) with a professional qualification at EQF level 3, after 720 hours of practical training.

Post-secondary VET provides one- to three-year higher VET programmes (ISCED level 453), leading to a professional qualification at EQF level 5.

Initial VET learners may choose between the following study forms:

  • daytime learning (most popular); 
  • evening classes ([29]The three-year professional programmes are organised only as daytime learning.);
  • work-based learning;
  • dual form.

Continuing VET

Continuing VET (also known as adult vocational training) ([30]Regulated by Government Ordinance No 129/2000 on adult vocational training and other acts.) is available for learners from age 16. Training programmes help develop competences acquired in the existing qualification, the acquisition of new competences in the same occupational area, the acquisition of fundamental/key competences or new technical competences, specific to a new occupation.

It is provided by authorised private and public training organisations ([31]Also by individuals (trainers for adults, formatori de adulti) acting as vocational training providers.) considering the needs of employers and basic skills needs of adults in the form of:

  • apprenticeship at workplace;
  • traineeship for higher education graduates;
  • adult training courses.

Apprenticeship at workplace

The public employment service has been managing continuing ‘apprenticeship at workplace’ programmes since 2005 ([32]Currently apprenticeships are provided according to Law No 279/2005 (last amendments in November 2018).). They are only available in continuing VET and are legally distinct from the dual form offered in initial VET. Apprenticeships offer adults (16+, minimum legal age for employment) a professional qualification at EQF levels 1 to 4.

Traineeship for higher education graduates

Traineeship for higher education graduates is regulated by the law on traineeships (No 335/2013) and the Labour Code (No 53/2003). After graduation from a higher education institution, learners may take six-month traineeship programmes to practice their profession in a real work environment. This does not apply in some professions, such as doctors, lawyers, and notaries, for whom special legislation provides different opportunities. This process is subsidised by the government. Employers may apply for the public employment service subsidy of approximately EUR 483 per month (RON 2 250) for each trainee for the duration of the programme.

Adult training courses

Adult training courses are offered by authorised training providers or by employers to adults willing to obtain a qualification, specialisation or key competences:

  • authorised courses for the unemployed, employees, people who resume work after maternity leave or long sickness leave, Roma, groups at risk and other groups;
  • courses organised by employers for their staff without issuing nationally recognised certificates;
  • internship and specialisation, including periods of learning abroad;
  • all other forms of training.

Since 2017/18, a dual form of ‘professional’ VET has also been available ([33]Based on the Government Emergency Ordinance No 81/2016.). In this, the municipality (local authority) engages in the partnership agreement alongside the standard contract concluded in regular school-based VET programmes between school, employer and learner (or legal representative). Companies are also obliged to pay dual VET learners a monthly allowance that is not less than that provided by the government. Other features are equal to work-based learning in school-based programmes. The share of learners in dual VET was 1.5% of the total VET population enrolled at upper secondary level in the school year 2017/18.

Learn more about apprenticeships in the national context from the European database on apprenticeship schemes by Cedefop: http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/apprenticeship-schemes/scheme-fiches

Governance in initial VET

Ministry of National Education

The education ministry designs and executes legislation in cooperation with stakeholders (academia, trade unions, teachers associations, students, parents, public administration, businesses and NGOs).

It approves financing and enrolment plans, it awards VET certificates (both in initial and continuing ([34]For continuing VET, certificates are awarded by both labour and education ministries.) VET), and it coordinates national exams.

It approves methodology for teacher enrolment, career advancement and transfers, and approves curricula through subordinate bodies, including school inspectorates.

National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development

The centre is accountable to the education ministry. It:

  • evaluates and suggests changes to policies and strategies, and coordinates their implementation;
  • coordinates the design, implementation and review of national curricula, assessment and certification for the initial VET component;
  • supervises the development of professional training standards for qualifications validated by sectoral committees (coordinated by the National Authority for Qualifications) and approved by the education ministry;
  • develops methodologies for the quality assurance and monitoring of programmes.

Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in Pre-university Education

It is in charge of authorisation (licence), accreditation and external quality evaluation of schools at pre-university education level, including initial VET schools.

Institute of Educational Sciences

It is a national institution for research, development, innovation and training in education and youth. It:

  • establishes and coordinates working groups for the development and review of the national curriculum component;
  • develops various learning and curriculum resources.

Regional consortia ( [35]According to Order of the Ministry of Education No 4456/2015 for the approval of general framework of organisation and functioning of consultative partnership structures in VET.)

They are advisory partnership bodies of the National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development. They update, implement and monitor regional education action plans.

County school inspectorates

They propose to the education ministry the VET enrolment plan for the next school year. This is based on proposals from schools and taking into consideration labour market needs, defined through direct requests from employers. The inspectorates also organise the national recruitment of teachers, including VET.

Local committees for development of social partnerships

They are advisory managerial structures that aim at improving VET relevance and quality.

Teaching staff resource houses( [36]Casa Corpului Didactic (CCD).)

They organise continuing teacher training. There is one in each county and in the municipality of Bucharest. The teaching staff resource houses are subordinated to the education ministry.

County centres for resources and education assistance

The centres support learners with special needs, including those in VET. There is one in each county and in Bucharest. The centres are under the control of the education ministry.

Local authorities

They:

  • support the implementation of national strategies on education;
  • ensure the joint financing of projects sponsored by the EU and other funds;
  • maintain school infrastructure.

VET school administration boards

They approve institutional development plans, local/school-based curricula and teacher training plans proposed by their schools.

Commissions for quality assurance and evaluation

In each VET school, a Quality Assurance and Evaluation Commission is appointed to supervise all quality assurance processes and activities, in line with the quality assurance law ([37]Law 87/2006.).

Governance in continuing VET

 

Ministry of Labour and Social Justice

The labour ministry develops and promotes policies in continuing VET, including training for the unemployed, apprenticeship at the workplace, actions for NEETs (not in employment, education and training) and traineeship for graduates of higher education.

It coordinates the authorisation of continuing VET providers, and it manages and updates the nomenclature of qualifications.

It also monitors, analyses, controls, and evaluates vocational training for the unemployed.

National and county agencies for employment

The National Agency for Employment coordinates vocational training of jobseekers at national level, carried out by the county employment agencies.

National Authority for Qualifications

It is responsible for:

  • the national qualifications framework;
  • the national registers of:
    • qualifications in higher education;
    • professional qualifications;
  • centres for the evaluation and certification of professional competences obtained outside formal education;
  • evaluators of competences, external evaluators and evaluators of evaluators.

The authority ensures the link between the standards used for defining qualifications and labour market needs, provides assistance for development of occupational standards, and registers the standards in the national register of professional qualifications in education.

The authority also approves the occupational standards for continuing VET, and endorses the professional training standards used in initial VET programmes.

County authorisation commissions

They are in charge of authorisation and monitoring of training providers, and they decide on the examination commissions at county level. County authorisation commissions are set up by the labour ministry.

Continuing VET providers

Adult vocational training providers carry out vocational training, after authorisation by the county commission ([38]In line with Government Ordinance No 129/2000.).

In 2009, total public expenditure on education and training reached 4.24% of GDP. It fell significantly in 2010-11 due to the economic crisis, and it reached 3.6% in 2017. The National Law on Education of 2011 targets 6%, but this objective is not likely to be achieved before 2025.

In 2018, per capita financing was as follows ([39]Approximate values, based on euro exchange rate.).

  • three-year ‘professional’/school-based programmes (all qualifications): EUR 1 115. Programmes offered in minority language(s): EUR 1 143; 
  • four-year technological programmes (all qualifications): EUR 1 057. Programmes offered in minority language(s): EUR 1 101;
  • four-year vocational programmes (except music and sports): EUR 1 330. Programmes offered in minority language(s): EUR 1 403.

The budget for education and training, including VET, is approved annually. The financing mechanism ([40]Government Decision No 72/2013 on the approval of the methodological norms for determining the standard cost per learner and the establishment of the basic financing of the State pre-university education units. This ensured from the State budget, from sums deducted from VAT through the local budgets, based on the standard cost per learner (last updated by Government Decision No 30/2018).) comprises per capita expenditure supplemented by coefficients (such as for rural/urban areas, number of students and climate area ([41]This refers to geographic areas with difficult weather conditions, especially during winter.), EQF level, type of programme, total number of learners in the school, teaching language).

Financing is provided to schools by the education ministry from the State budget (main source: value added tax) based on actual enrolment. It covers:

  • wages, allowances; 
  • staff continuous training;
  • learner assessment expenditure;
  • materials, services and maintenance.

The basic financing of a school unit is obtained by multiplying the standard cost per pupil by the specific coefficients mentioned above. This is approved annually by Government decision.

VET in public schools is free of charge. The State also provides financing for accredited private and religious education institutions to the same level as for public VET schools. In private education, institution learners pay fees.

Continuing VET is financed by ([42]According to Government Ordinance No 129/2000.):

  • employers/enterprises; 
  • unemployment insurance budget;
  • EU structural and cohesion instruments;
  • personal contributions;
  • other sources.

Jobseekers benefit from free continuing training financed by the unemployment insurance budget. The budget also provides subsidies to employers who provide continuing VET (apprenticeship, traineeship and vocational training programmes).

Initial VET

There are two teaching positions in initial VET:

  • teacher; 
  • practical training instructor ([43]Maistru instructor.).

Requirements for VET teachers are the same as for teachers in general education.

At upper secondary and post-secondary VET, teachers require both:

  • a master degree in a field related to the VET qualification(s) they teach;
  • two psycho-pedagogical modules, totalling 60 ECTS ([44]Ministry of National Education (2017). Order No 3850/2017 regarding the mandatory certification of teaching competences.), that can be obtained either during higher education studies (by enrolling for one module of 30 ECTs during the bachelor programme and for the second module of 30 ECTS during the master programme), or after graduation, by enrolling for both modules within a university department for Teacher Training.

Practical training instructors must have:

  • a post-secondary education diploma in a field related to the VET qualification(s) they teach;
  • psycho-pedagogical training of 30 ECTS provided by a higher education institution ([45]Usually by the Department for the Teaching Staff Training within an accredited higher education institution.).

To become a certified teacher, new employees have two class inspections and produce a professional portfolio; this is an elimination stage, followed by the so-called teacher-confirmation exam ([46]Definitivat.) in the subject they will teach and its methodology, 12 months after their initial employment. During this period, they are supported by an experienced mentor and enjoy the same rights as other teachers with a labour contract. If they fail to pass the exam after 12 months, they may have another two attempts within a five-year period. The share of qualified VET teachers and instructors (vocational theoretical subjects or practical training) is 98.75% of the total teaching staff in initial VET ([47]Based on data from National Institute of Statistics for the school year 2017/18.).

Continuing VET

Continuing vocational training programmes are provided by trainers with a profile or specialisation relevant to the training programme. They should have:

  • the national qualifications framework level of education equal to or higher than the level of the training programme they undertake; 
  • a qualification in the training programme's field of activity;
  • any form of certificate for the following occupations: instructor/trainer/trainer of trainer or the certificates for the teaching profession (60 ECTs ([48]Ministry of National Education (2017). Order No 3850/2017 regarding the mandatory certification of teaching competences.) ).

Continuing professional development of teachers and instructors is a right defined by the Law of National Education ([49]Education Law No 1/2011, Title IV, Chapter 1, Section 2: Initial and continuous teacher training; the teaching career.) that supports career advancement and professional development. Advancement in a teaching career is ensured by acquiring the relevant degrees:

  • the second teaching degree is awarded after at least four years of service (after passing the teacher-confirmation exam ([50]Definitivat.) ), undergoing at least two school inspections and passing an exam in methodology and main subject ([51]The Ministry of National Education provides rules for promotion and methodologies for the exams.); 
  • the first teaching degree is awarded after at least four years after awarding the second degree, undergoing at least two school inspections and defending orally a written thesis ([52]Regulation No 1/2011, Article 242.).

Professional development is compulsory by participation in accredited training courses (teachers have to gather minimum 90 ECTS every five years). The training is provided by public and private education institutions and by NGOs, and can be partially or fully covered by the State budget.

To supply the labour market with VET qualifications that are relevant, the National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development, supported by stakeholders and experts, has developed a strategic planning model for VET supply, approved by the education ministry.

Its main objective is to increase the contribution of VET in an efficient transition to an inclusive, participatory, competitive and knowledge-based economy that relies on innovation.

The term ‘strategic planning’ refers to a medium-term (five to seven years) forecast. The model analyses the relevance of supply to the (forecast) labour market demand from quantitative and qualitative perspectives and using the following sources:

  • regional education action plans; 
  • local (county) education action plans;
  • school action plans.

Regional education action plans (set out by the regional consortia) and local education action plans (by the local committees for development of social partnerships) include:

  • analysis of the regional/county context from the point of view of demographic, labour market and economic changes and forecast 
  • analysis of the capacity of VET to serve the identified needs of the labour market in the regional/county contexts;
  • priorities, targets and actions for VET development at regional/county level;
  • the contribution of higher education to regional development.

Desk research is carried out by regional consortia and members of local committees for development of social partnerships who analyse:

  • the national development plan; 
  • the national strategy for human resources development;
  • regional development plans;
  • VET strategies and action plans;
  • the national strategy for employment;
  • labour market and training demand and supply forecasts;
  • company surveys on short-term (six months) labour demand.

The model is based on decentralised decision-making at regional, county and local levels. Strategic planning is characterised by the collective action of multiple social partners, representing the interests of employers, professional associations, employees/trade unions, public administration, relevant government and civil society organisations.

The model combines top-down and bottom-up decision-making processes as demonstrated in the figure below, involving regional consortia at regional level, local committees for development of social partnerships at county level, and school boards at local area level.

 

Anticipating skills: planning levels

Source: National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development.

 

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([53]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European skills index ([54]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index)

Initial VET qualifications

Initial VET qualifications (excluding vocational programmes) are based on training standards. The national qualifications register currently comprises 131 qualifications at EQF level 3, 69 at EQF level 4 and 203 at EQF level 5.

 

Training standards ([55]Standard de pregatire profesionala) describe learning units consisting of learning outcomes and are based on occupational standards. Training standards are developed by representatives of companies from the corresponding sectors and of VET providers, with the methodological support of the National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development, endorsed by National Authority for Qualifications. They are validated by employers and other social partners through sectoral committees. The revision of standards is carried out at least every five years or at the request of economic operators.

 

From training needs to curricula

Source: National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development.

 

Training standards

Training standards play a key role in designing VET curricula, assessing learning outcomes and awarding qualification certificates.

To design the training standards and to establish units of learning outcomes in its structure, one or more occupational standards concerned with the qualification need to be analysed as a starting point.

Each training standard comprises:

  • introduction: description of qualification, occupation(s) the standard leads to; 
  • list of competences as in occupational standard(s) or considering recommendations of the sectoral committees, company representatives or other interested parties;
  • learning outcomes units (a learning unit consists of a coherent set of learning outcomes) for the qualification:
    • general (e.g. maths, language, sciences) and occupational learning outcomes; 
    • minimum equipment requirements for each learning outcome unit;
    • assessment standard for each learning outcome unit.

Core and local curriculum

Curricula for each qualification have two main components:

  • core curriculum designed at national level by education working groups; 
  • local (school) curriculum designed by schools and local businesses to adapt training to the requirements of the local and regional labour market.

The share of national and local curricula varies by qualification level. At EQF level 3, 20% of learning time is reserved for the local curriculum and 80% for national; at EQF level 4, the share is 30% for the local curriculum and 70% for national. At EQF level 5, all curricula are national.

Continuing VET qualifications

Continuing VET qualifications are based on occupational standards, validated by the sectoral committees and approved by the National Authority for Qualifications.

An occupational standard is a national instrument describing professional activities and requested abilities, skills and competences necessary to practise a specific occupation, defined in terms of autonomy and responsibility, and capacity to apply specific knowledge and understanding at the workplace.

Occupational standards stipulate two types of requirement:

  • requirements linked to labour market needs in terms of skills:
    • occupation;
    • identification number from the classification of occupations;
    • qualification level;
    • specific activities to be carried out at the workplace;
    • skills and competences required to practice the occupation;
  • requirements for provision of professional training:
    • established learning content;
    • duration of training and specific requirements for the assessment;
    • access/entry requirements;
    • necessary resources to organise the training.

 

Initial VET

At national level, the law on quality assurance of education ([56]Law No 87/2006.) sets a series of basic principles applicable for all levels of pre-university education, including initial VET: focusing on learning outcomes, promoting quality improvement, protecting education beneficiaries (learners as priority), centring on the internal evaluation process (self-assessment) of providers.

Quality assurance in initial VET comprises:

  • VET school self-assessment; 
  • programme and provider authorisation and accreditation;
  • programme and provider external evaluation;
  • programme external monitoring;
  • monitoring of the quality of vocational certification exams.

The Agency for Quality Assurance in Pre-university Education is responsible for authorisation, accreditation and external evaluation of pre-university education, including initial VET. Authorisation and accreditation are compulsory for each initial VET programme:

  • authorisation (licence) grants the right to carry out the education process and to organise admission to new education and training programmes. It gives the right to operate for up to three years ([57]Before June 2018, two years (Government Emergency Ordinance No 48/2018).) after first graduation from the programme ([58]Until the programme is accredited, examinations and issuing diploma/certificates take place in another (accredited) school.); 
  • accreditation follows authorisation and grants the right to issue diplomas/certificates recognised by the education ministry and to organise graduation/certification exams. Accreditation is compulsory after three years from the date of the first graduation from the programme.

Accreditation assures that providers and programmes meet standards approved by the government and defines requirements for:

  • institutional capacity: administrative/management structures, logistics, and human resources; 
  • education effectiveness: learning facilities, equipment, human resources, the quality of the locally developed curricula, the quality of the teaching-learning-evaluation processes, financial activity;
  • quality management (strategies and procedures for quality assurance, procedures concerning the design, monitoring and review of the school action plan.

Accreditation is granted by education ministry order, based on the recommendation of the quality assurance agency.

Every five years following accreditation, initial VET providers have to be externally evaluated by the quality assurance agency. External evaluation of VET providers and programmes is a multi-criteria assessment of the extent to which a VET provider and its programmes meet the quality standards. These standards describe the requirements that define an optimal level, compared to the accreditation standards that describe the minimum level for the existence and functioning of a VET programme/ provider.

School inspectorates offer guidance and support to VET providers about the quality assurance process in initial VET. It is called external monitoring and comprises:

  • validating VET provider self-assessment reports; 
  • verifying that quality requirements are met;
  • proposing and approving improvement measures to address the identified quality assurance issues.

Self-assessment of VET providers and programmes is based on a set of quality descriptors (input, process and output), grouped in seven areas, several of which have a direct effect on the content of training and the qualifications acquired:

  • quality management; 
  • resource management (physical and human);
  • design, development and revision of training programmes;
  • teaching, training and learning;
  • assessment and certification of learning;
  • evaluation and improvement of quality.

The the Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in Pre-university Education publishes on their website decisions containing evaluation reports and decisions approved by the education ministry.

Quality assurance in continuing VET

Quality assurance in continuing VET comprises:

  • programme and training provider authorisation; 
  • programme and training provider external evaluation;
  • training provider self-assessment;
  • programme external monitoring.

Authorisation of vocational training providers is coordinated by the labour ministry. It is made through county authorisation commissions and gives VET providers the right to issue qualification or graduation certificates with national recognition. To become authorised, training providers must meet certain eligibility conditions. Authorisation is based on the following criteria:

  • professional training programme; 
  • the resources needed to carry out the training programme;
  • experience of the training provider and results of previous work.

The training provider completes a self-assessment form that contains the name of the training programme, the occupation/qualification code, the level of qualification, the access conditions, the objectives expressed in the competences, the duration, the training plan, the evaluation modalities, the curriculum, the necessary material, and financial and human resources.

The external evaluation for authorisation is conducted by two independent specialists appointed by the county authorisation commissions. The specialists are selected from the list drawn up each year of those whose training and experience are directly related to the occupation for which authorisation is requested.

Authorisation of a training programme is based on occupational standards and professional training standards, recognised at national level and with a validity of four years.

Periodic monitoring of authorised training providers is carried out by two external specialists appointed by the county authorisation commission in the list of specialists drawn up annually. Legislation requires at least three monitoring visits during the four years that authorisation lasts.

The methodology for certification of adult vocational training includes procedures authorised vocational training providers to organise and conduct the adult vocational training programmes graduation examination; it also covers the procedures for issuing, managing and archiving certificates of qualification and graduation with national recognition. The examination committee includes two independent experts selected by the county authorisation commissions from the lists of specialists approved annually.

Validation of prior learning is done through assessment centres. The centres are local private or public bodies authorised to conduct validation procedures, for one or more occupations, developed at national level.

Since 2000, legislation on the national system for validation of non-formal and informal learning has been gradually developed and put in place ([59]Government Ordinance No129/2000, Article 45; Law of National Education No 1/2011, Article 340-34; Ministry of Education and Ministry of Labour joint Order No 468/2004 on validation procedures; Ministry of Education Order No 3629/2018 on national register of evaluators.). The National Authority for Qualifications, through the newly established National Centre for Accreditation, ([60]Government Emergency Ordinance No 49 of 26.6.2014.) coordinates and monitors the validation process. The centre is a specialised structure within the authority responsible for:

  • authorisation of the assessment centres and staff involved in validating non-formal and informal learning of adults; 
  • coordination of assessment centre activities;
  • quality assurance;
  • managing the national register of the authorised centres and national register of evaluators (evaluators of competences, evaluators of evaluators of competences, external evaluators).

The validation procedures consist of well-defined national standards, criteria and guidelines. The assessment centres develop their own assessment instruments, based on national occupational standards and/or training standards, to evaluate the candidates. They are responsible for providing validation services following specific requests by beneficiaries/candidates who can acquire full or partial qualifications at EQF levels 1, 2 and 3. Certificates of competences are nationally and internationally recognised. As part of the validation process, the centres offer information and counselling to the candidates. Currently, there are 37 fully functioning local assessment centres that can validate prior learning of candidates, mainly in services, construction and agriculture.

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database ([61]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/european-database-on-validation-of-non-formal-and-informal-learning).

Professional scholarship for three-year professional programmes

The professional scholarship is a national social protection programme ([62]Government Decision No 951/2017.) that offers approximately EUR 43 (RON 200) per month for all three-year professional programme learners. This scholarship can be combined with grants provided by training companies.

Dual VET allowance

In addition to a professional scholarship, dual VET learners receive at least approximately EUR 43 (RON 200) per month in allowances from the company where they undergo training. Companies also pay for work equipment for learners.

High school scholarship

High school scholarship is a national social protection programme that offers approximately EUR 54 (RON 250 since 2018/19) ([63]See the press release published on the Ministry of National Education portal: 114 million euros of European funds for education through ‘High school money’ and ‘professional bursa’ :
https://www.edu.ro/114-milioane-euro-fonduri-europene-pentru-educa%C8%9Bie-prin-%E2%80%9Ebani-de-liceu%E2%80%9D-%C8%99i-%E2%80%9Ebursa-profesional%C4%83%E2%80%9D?fbclid=IwAR2yMchXsNmQUn2wS4iTeOIzKKIjUrwbpqVYgytc4Z58OKLeTyVJuKMwA3U
) monthly financial support for upper secondary education learners in grades 9 to 12, including those in VET (technological and vocational programmes). The scholarship is linked to family income and is not available for all learners.

Euro 200 scholarship

The Euro 200 scholarship is a national programme that supports VET and other learners who otherwise cannot afford to buy a personal computer and develop their digital skills. The programme has been in place since 2004 under Law No 269/2004, granting financial aid based on social criteria. In 2018, the government spent more than EUR 2.6 million on this measure.

Local public transport

All formal education learners, including VET, receive a 50% discount for local public transportation (bus, subway and train) up to age 26. Local authorities may also partly reimburse the cost of a monthly pass for learners with special education needs, orphans or those from a children’s home/orphanage.

Apprenticeship and traineeship cost reimbursement

Employers who sign an apprenticeship ([64]Law No 279/2005 on apprenticeship.) or traineeship ([65]Law No 335/2013 on the completion of the traineeship for graduates of higher education.) contract may apply for subsidies to the public employment service ([66]ANOFM.). They can receive approximately EUR 483 (RON 2 250) per month for each apprentice/trainee for the entire duration of the programme (six months to three years in the case of apprenticeship programmes and six months in the case of traineeship). The subsidies are financed from the unemployment insurance budget or ESF.

Employers who employ graduates from initial education are eligible for a public employment service monthly grant of approximately EUR 483 (RON 2 250) for each graduate for a period of 12 or 18 months ([67]18 months for disabled people.), provided the employment is not terminated during 18 months from its start.

Tax exemption

Authorised VET providers are exempt from paying value added tax ([68]Article 58 of Government Ordinance No 129/2000 on Adult Vocational Training.) for training operations. Companies may also deduct the training costs from their taxable income ([69]Article 47 of Government Ordinance No 129/2000 on Adult Vocational Training.).

Two main strands of guidance and counselling are available, embedded in the:

  • education system (university and pre-university levels);
  • labour market services (e.g. public employment service).

Guidance and counselling include:

  • information necessary to plan, obtain and keep a job; 
  • education on careers;
  • counselling that helps understand individual goals, aspirations and the skills needed to find a job.

The national education law stipulates that:

  • in primary education, counselling is provided by the teacher in cooperation with parents and the school psychologist; 
  • in lower and upper secondary education, guidance and counselling is provided mainly by the pedagogical assistance offices in schools with more than 800 pupils.

In higher education, guidance and counselling is provided by career guidance and counselling centres in universities to aid the transition of graduates from education to work.

Most guidance and counselling staff in the education system are psychologists, teachers, sociologists and social workers. They are trained by the psychology, educational sciences, sociology and social work faculties. Many also follow post-graduate training modules in counselling and guidance, psychotherapy, management and school administration.

The Institute of Educational Sciences supports counsellors through research, working tools and information/training sessions. It is also a member of the Euroguidance network. In 2017, it published several supporting documents ([70]For example:
- contributions to two publications of the European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network: (a)
Euroguidance network’s highlights 2017: activities and achievements across Europe, (b)
Lifelong guidance policy development glossary;
- three reports on national curricula for guidance and counselling: (a) for grades 0-2, (b) for grades 5-8 and (c) for grades 9-11.
).

Within the initial VET system, the National Centre for Vocational Education and Training Development contributes career guidance and counselling activities aiming to increase the awareness of young students and their parents. The Job orientation - training in businesses and schools ([71]www.jobsproject.ro) project offers training to learners enrolled in the last years of lower secondary education and the first years of technological and professional VET programmes to help make well-informed decisions when choosing the VET or general pathway. The target groups also include teachers and companies involved in VET who need to meet the challenges of continuously changing labour markets.

The novelty in the approach to teaching is in using student-centred methods such as task-based learning, which places students in the centre of their own learning process by setting them clear tasks: identify, explore, ask questions, find answers, give solutions and seize and understand the interrelationships between life and work roles, work opportunities and career building processes.

Initially the project was piloted in two schools of one county (judet). In 2017, it expanded to 180 schools from 19 counties, involving more than 800 teachers and 9 000 pupils. The duration of the project has been extended until 2019.

Labour market services

County (judet) agencies for employment are responsible for guidance/counselling for the unemployed, older workers, young graduates, former convicts and ethnic minorities. They provide information about training and job opportunities to their target groups.

Employment agencies also draw up an individual job-matching plan for every jobseeker. Professional information and counselling is carried out in specialised centres, organised within the employment agencies, as well as by other centres and accredited public or private service suppliers, who conclude contracts with the employment agencies. With the consent of the employer, employees may benefit from guidance services for up to three months from accepting a new job.

Please also see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Programme Types
Not available

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

Post-secondary

VET programmes,

WBL varies,

1-3 years

ISCED 453

One- to three-year higher VET programmes leading to a professional qualification at EQF level 5, ISCED 453
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

453

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

1-3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?
  • State budget financed/free of charge
  • some are based on fees
Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • daytime learning 
  • evening classes
  • work-based learning
Main providers
  • technological schools;
  • colleges/universities ([83]Colleges and universities provide the programmes under independent departments. These departments are called post-secondary high schools.) ([84]Both provide the programmes at the request of companies or learners.)
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Varies

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Secondary school graduates

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Secondary school graduation; the baccalaureate certificate is not required.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a post-secondary VET programme, learners need to pass:

  • a written examination;
  • a practical examination;
  • project-based assessment.

All these steps form the examination for the professional qualification (EQF level 5).

All forms of examinations are learning-outcomes-oriented.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional qualification certificate EQF level 5 (specialised technician) (if they pass the examination) and the descriptive supplement of the certificate based on Europass.

(https://www.edu.ro/invatamant-postliceal)

Examples of qualifications

Nursing and pharmacy, optician, analyst programmer, meteorologist.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can access the labour market.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

N

However some general subjects may be part of these programmes and are usually strongly related to the domain. For example, for the qualification as general medical assistant the training standard includes theoretical subjects such as:

  • anatomy or elements of bio-chemistry that are taught in a more in-depth/specialised manner. Yet anatomy, biology, chemistry are also taught in high school, as part of general education subjects;
  • general psychology and also medical psychology, because they are necessary in their future work to know how to address patients;
  • elements of sociology, because they are necessary in their future work to know how to address patients;
  • communication in foreign language;
  • statistics/informatics/digital competences.

Other features are:

  • postsecondary education relies also on the training standards;
  • the training standards are learning-outcomes-oriented; 
  • the eight key competences are integrated in the training standards throughout the learning outcomes units/modules.
Key competences

Y

Some key competences are more emphasised, highly dependent on the qualification to be achieved; some of them are transversal.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

All initial VET programmes are based on training standards and are learning-outcomes-oriented; practical training greatly relies on the acquisition of learning outcomes.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

11.4% ([85]2017/18)

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 3

School-based VET

Programmes,

WBL 50%,

3 years

ISCED 352

Three-year school-based VET programmes , including the initial dual VET, leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 352 (învățământ profesional)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

352

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

11

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

17

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

for grades 9 and 10

Grade 11 is not part of compulsory education.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Only in public schools, up to the age of 26

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • daytime learning (most popular)
  • work-based learning
  • dual form
Main providers
  • school-based VET schools (also known as ’professional schools’) or technological schools/colleges
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50% ([74]This is an average. Work-based learning is distributed as follows: 20% in the first year, 58% in the second and 72% in the third.)

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • school workshops/laboratories
  • in-company training
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Lower secondary education certificate

Assessment of learning outcomes

Assessment is made based on the performance criteria in the training standard.

Besides the formative assessment of work-based learning (portfolio of evidence and practical demonstration) and of classroom learning (combination of written and oral examination) learners need to pass a summative assessment at the end of the training programme.

For impartiality and validity of this final examination, teachers are not allowed to assess their own students.

The summative assessment for the certification of a qualification (EQF level 3) is performed by a team of external evaluators that form an independent examination committee including: director/deputy director of the VET school, vice-president who usually is a representative of social partners, evaluation members (representative from an employer in a related-field and a VET teacher from a school other than the one students come from). The certification exam consists of a practical test and the oral presentation of the final product.

All the requirements and regulations (the general frame) for the assessment and certification of qualification in initial VET are set by the Ministry of National Education.

Assessment is learning-outcomes-oriented, stands as the reference point in the certification and is also included in the training standards approved by the Ministry of Education.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive a professional qualification certificate as ‘skilled worker’ if they pass the qualification certification exam. Specifically, they receive a qualifications certificate and, after passing a qualifications exam, a Europass supplement to the certificate.

Graduates also receive a certificate attesting completion of compulsory education that allows access to the third year of EQF level 4 technological programmes.

Examples of qualifications

Cook, welder, baker, carpenter

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • access the labour market;
  • continue in the third year of EQF level 4 technological programmes.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

The Law of National education adopted all eight key competences within the curriculum for all learning programmes (general, vocational, technological and school-based VET programmes).

Initial VET programmes are delivered based on the general curriculum (common core for all learning programmes) and the training standards.

The training standards rely on the occupation standards.

The training standards are documents describing the competence units of a qualification that is an aggregated result of competences specific to one or more occupations, as defined by occupational standards.

In order to ensure the acquisition of the eight key competences, each training standard includes them to provide support for the general aim to ensure the personal and professional competence development of each learner.

Consequently, each training standard comprises:

  • introduction: description of qualification, occupation(s) the standard leads to;
  • list of competences as in occupational standard(s) or considering recommendations of the sectoral committees, company representatives or other interested parties;
  • learning outcomes units (a learning unit consists of a coherent set of learning outcomes) for the qualification:

(i) general (e.g. maths, language, sciences). They are common for all qualifications in the main three domains of initial VET (technical, services, agriculture and environment protection)

(ii) occupational / specialised learning outcomes. they are specific for each qualification supporting labour market immediate responsiveness.

(iii) they integrate the eight key competences

  1. communication in mother tongue (Romanian);
  2. communication in foreign language;
  3. mathematic competences and basic competences in science and technology;
  4. digital competence;
  5. learning to learn;
  6. social and civic competence;
  7. sense of initiative and entrepreneurship.

Based on the type of qualification, some of these competences are strongly emphasised, others are transversal throughout the learning/teaching process and based on the teaching methods (work in pairs, project-based tasks, scenarios for marketing, role play);

  • minimum equipment requirements for each learning outcome unit;
  • assessment standard for each learning outcome unit.
Application of learning outcomes approach

Initial VET programme is learning-outcomes-oriented and is based on the training standards that include this approach.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

19.3% ([75]2017/18)

EQF 4

Technological programmes,

WBL 25%,

4 years

ISCED 354

Four-year technological programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (liceu tehnologic)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

4 ([76]The programmes comprise lower and higher cycles, two years for each.)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

for grades 9 and 10

Grades 11 and 12 are not part of compulsory education.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Only in public schools, up to the age of 26

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • daytime learning (most popular);
  • evening classes;
  • work-based learning.
Main providers
  • technological high schools
  • colleges
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=25%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Lower secondary education certificate

Assessment of learning outcomes

Assessment is made based on the performance criteria in the training standard.

Besides the formative assessment of work-based learning (portfolio of evidence and practical demonstration) and of classroom learning (combination of written and oral examination) learners need to pass a summative assessment at the end of the training programme.

For impartiality and validity of this final examination, teachers are not allowed to assess their own students.

The summative assessment for the certification of a qualification is performed by a team of external evaluators that form an independent examination committee including: director/deputy director of the VET school, vice-president who usually is a representative of social partners, evaluation members (representative from an employer in a related-field and a VET teacher from a school other than the one students come from). The certification exam for qualification (EQF level 4) consists of elaboration and presentation of a project (which may include also the practical elaboration of a product).

All the requirements and regulations (the general frame) for the assessment and certification of qualification in initial VET are set by the Ministry of National Education.

Assessment is learning-outcomes-oriented, stands as the reference point in the certification, and is also included in the training standards that are approved by the education ministry.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive an upper secondary school-leaving diploma (baccalaureate diploma, if they undertake and pass the examination) and the EQF level 4 ‘technician’ qualification certificate (if they pass the qualification certification exam) in services, natural resources and environmental protection, and technical study fields. Specifically, they receive a qualifications certificate and, after passing a qualifications examination, a Europass supplement to the certificate.

Examples of qualifications

Technician in gastronomy, industrial design technician, computing technical supervisor, furniture designer.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • access the labour market;
  • enrol in higher education after passing the baccalaureate examination;
  • opt out after completing the first two years of the programme ([77]Lower cycle, part of compulsory education.) , and enrol in a short VET programme (ISCED level 352) offering a professional qualification only.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

The Law of National education adopted all eight key competences within the curriculum for all learning programmes (general, vocational, technological and school-based VET programmes).

Initial VET programmes are delivered based on the general curriculum (common core for all learning programmes) and the training standards.

The training standards are documents describing the competence units of a qualification that is an aggregated result of competences specific to one or more occupations, as defined by occupational standards.

In order to ensure the acquisition of the eight key competences, each training standard includes them as support; the general aim is to ensure the personal and professional competence development of each learner.

Consequently, each training standard comprises:

  • introduction: description of qualification, occupation(s) the standard leads to;
  • list of competences as in occupational standard(s) or considering recommendations of the sectoral committees, company representatives or other interested parties;
  • learning outcomes units (a learning unit consists of a coherent set of learning outcomes) for the qualification:

(i) general (e.g. maths, language, sciences). They are common for all qualifications in the main three domains of initial VET (technical, services, natural resources and environment protection)

(ii) occupational / specialised learning outcomes. They are specific for each qualification supporting labour market immediate responsiveness.

(iii) they integrate the eight key competences

  • communication in Romanian;
  • communication in foreign language;
  • mathematic competences and basic competences in science and technology;
  • digital competence;
  • learning to learn;
  • social and civic competence;
  • sense of initiative and entrepreneurship. Based on the type of qualification, some of these competences are strongly emphasised, others are transversal throughout the learning/teaching process and based on the teaching methods (work in pairs, project-based tasks, scenarios for marketing, role play);
  • minimum equipment requirements for each learning outcome unit;
  • assessment standard for each learning outcome unit.
Application of learning outcomes approach

All learning programmes in the pre-university system, including initial VET, are learning-outcomes-oriented and rely on the general curriculum documents; the initial VET training standards that is structured accordingly.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

58.3% ([78]2017/18)

EQF 3

Short VET

programmes,

WBL 100%,

720 hours

ISCED 352

Short VET programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 352 (stagii de practica)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

352

Usual entry grade

It takes place after grade 10. But it is not considered as part of grade 11.

Usual completion grade

After grade 10 (for six months)

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

17

Length of a programme (years)

Six months

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Only in public schools, up to the age of 26

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • work-based learning
Main providers
  • employers ([79]VET schools coordinate the programmes.)
  • school-based VET schools (also known as ’professional schools’)
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

100% ([80]I.e. 720 hours of work-based learning.)

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and for young and early leavers from education and training.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Students must have completed two years of a technological programme (completed grade 10).

Young and adult early leavers from education and training can also access these programmes after completing a second chance programme.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Certification of qualifications at EQF level 3 includes elaboration and presentation of a practical test (which may include also the practical elaboration of a product).

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive a professional qualification certificate at EQF level 3 (if they pass the qualification certification exam).

Examples of qualifications

Cook

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can access the labour market.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Some key competences are more emphasised, highly dependent on the qualification to be achieved.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

All initial VET programmes are learning-outcomes-oriented and practical training greatly relies on the acquisition of learning outcomes.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

0.1% ([81]2017/18)

EQF 4

Vocational programmes,

WBL up to 15%,

4 years

ISCED 354

Four-year vocational programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (liceu vocational)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Only in public schools, up to the age of 26

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • daytime learning (most popular)
  • practical learning in similar learning context / work-based learning
Main providers
  • high school
  • colleges
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

<=15%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • practice in institutions related to vocational domains:

(i) for those studying theology, for example, they go in a church and perform specific activities;

(ii) for those enrolled in military schools they go to military departments/units and perform specific, practical tasks.

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Lower secondary education certificate

Assessment of learning outcomes

Project-based assessment

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive a professional qualification certificate in military, theology, sports, arts and pedagogy (if they pass the qualification certification exam) as well as an upper secondary school-leaving diploma, the baccalaureate diploma, if they enrol and pass the exam (the baccalaureate exam is not compulsory, but only after passing this exam learners may enrol in higher education/university programmes).

Examples of qualifications

Pedagogue, librarian, sports instructor, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • access the labour market;
  • enrol in higher education after passing the baccalaureate examination.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Some key competences are more emphasised, highly dependent on the qualification to be achieved.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

All initial VET programmes are learning-outcomes-oriented and practical training greatly relies on the acquisition of learning outcomes.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

11.2% ([82]2017/18)

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 1 to 4

Training

for the employed

Training for the employed, leading to a qualification at EQF level 1 to 4
EQF level
1 to 4
ISCED-P 2011 level

Information not available

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

16+

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

The duration depends on the EQF level:

  • for EQF level 1: minimum 180 hours;
  • for EQF level 2: minimum 360 hours;
  • for EQF level 3: minimum 720 hours;
  • for EQF level 4: minimum 1 080 hours.

For participants that already have the necessary set of skills, the duration of the programme may be reduced by up to 50% following initial assessment.

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?
  • N (usually)
  • some of them are free of charge; depends on the employer if he takes over the costs and then if he requires the employee to perform activities for a minimum period of time.
Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • adult training courses
Main providers
  • authorised private and public training organisations / employers
  • individuals (trainers for adults ([86]Formatori de adulti.)) acting as vocational training providers
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=67%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

In-company practice/training

Main target groups

Employees

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Age 16+

Assessment of learning outcomes
  • practical tests or other types of assessment.
Diplomas/certificates provided

Qualification and graduation certificates ([87]Graduation certificates are issued at the end of around 40-hour specialisation programmes that do not provide learners with new qualification(s).)

Examples of qualifications

Information not available

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can access the labour market (it is more for upskilling/reskilling)

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

N

([88]There are some exceptions.)

Key competences

Key competences may be integrated/transversal.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Adult learning programmes are learning-outcomes-oriented.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

EQF 1 to 4

Training

for the unemployed

and other vulnerable groups

Training for the unemployed and other vulnerable groups, leading to a qualification at EQF level 1 to 4
EQF level
1 to 4
ISCED-P 2011 level

Not applicable

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

16+

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

The duration depends on the EQF level:

  • for EQF level 1: minimum 180 hours;
  • for EQF level 2: minimum 360 hours;
  • for EQF level 3: minimum 720 hours;
  • for EQF level 4: minimum 1 080 hours.

For participants that already have the necessary set of skills, the duration of the programme may be reduced by up to 50% following initial assessment.

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

(provided through the National Agency for Employment and its territorial units, one in each of the 42 counties)

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

Specialised theoretical knowledge (lectures) and practical training.

The duration depends on the EQF level:

  • for EQF level 1: minimum 180 hours;
  • for EQF level 2: minimum 360 hours;
  • for EQF level 3: minimum 720 hours;
  • for EQF level 4: minimum 1 080 hours.
Main providers
  • authorised private and public training organisations;
  • individuals (trainers for adults ([89]Formatori de adulti.)) acting as vocational training providers.
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=67%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

Information not available

Main target groups

Unemployed and other vulnerable groups

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

There are no minimum entry requirements for education and training, but learners must be at least 16 years old to enrol.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Written test and practical training (portfolios)

Diplomas/certificates provided

Qualification and graduation certificates ([90]Graduation certificates are issued at the end of around 40-hour specialisation programmes that do not provide learners with new qualification(s).).

Examples of qualifications

Qualified worker in various economic fields

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can access the labour market.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

N

([91]There are some exceptions.)

Key competences

Key competences may be integrated.

Application of learning outcomes approach

These programmes are learning-outcomes-oriented.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

EQF 1 to 4

Apprenticeship

at workplace

for adults (16+),

WBL >70%

Apprenticeship at workplace for adults, leading to a qualification at EQF level 1 to 4
EQF level
1 to 4
ISCED-P 2011 level

Information not available

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

16+

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

The duration depends on the EQF level:

  • for EQF level 1: minimum 180 hours;
  • for EQF level 2: minimum 360 hours;
  • for EQF level 3: minimum 720 hours;
  • for EQF level 4: minimum 1 080 hours.

For participants that already have the necessary set of skills, the duration of the programme may be reduced by up to 50% following initial assessment.

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Apprenticeship is free of charge for the apprentice.

The apprentices conclude an apprenticeship contract with an employer and are remunerated while learning and working at the workplace.

The apprenticeship scheme is based on a special type of labour contract supporting work and vocational training at the workplace. Employers may apply for the public employment service subsidy of EUR~483 per month (RON 2250) for each apprentice for up to three years (the duration of the apprenticeship programme) from the unemployment insurance budget or ESF.

Training periods alternate with working time allocated for the tasks specified in the job description; the practical training of the apprentice is performed under the guidance and supervision of the training provider.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

No credit system in adult learning

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • apprenticeship at workplace
Main providers
  • authorised private and public training organisations / employers
  • individuals (trainers for adults ([92]Formatori de adulti.)) acting as vocational training providers
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=70

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Adults (16+), the unemployed and early leavers from education and training

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

For each qualification level there are minimum entry requirements, but learners must be at least 16 years old.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners need to undertake a final, written examination and practical test in order to pass the professional qualification examination

Diplomas/certificates provided

Qualification and graduation certificates ([93]Graduation certificates are issued at the end of around 40-hour specialisation programmes that do not provide learners with new qualification(s).)

Examples of qualifications

Cook

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can access the labour market.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

N

([94]There are some exceptions.)

Key competences

Key competences may be integrated.

Application of learning outcomes approach

These programmes are learning-outcomes-oriented.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

General themes

VET in Poland comprises the following main features:

  • high decrease in participation in VET programmes at upper secondary and post-secondary levels (35.6% during 2005-2017 period) mainly due to demographic challenges and reduced interest in VET among young learners. However, during last several years a small increase in the share of students in vocational education can be observed;
  • participation in VET programmes at the upper secondary level remains slightly higher than in general education;
  • the share of the population with an upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary level of education, for both men and women, is much higher than the EU average;
  • early leaving from education and training is significantly below the EU-28 average and has remained stable over the last decade;
  • participation in lifelong learning remains well below the EU-28 average and has been stable in the past decade;
  • the VET system has been under continuous reform over the last few years aiming to improve its quality and effectiveness.

Distinctive features ([1]Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Poland. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8125_en.pdf.
)([1a]Information on the Polish VET system is also partially based on: Chłoń-Domińczak, A. et al. (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe – Poland. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.
):

Over the past three decades, Poland’s education system has undergone several profound changes in its structure, forms of organisation and management, as well as of the core curriculum. As a result of these changes, distinctive VET features were developed:

  • a flexible VET system allows changing pathways at any point;
  • the classification of occupations for vocational education includes a list of occupations for which VET programmes can provide education. Each occupation comprises one to two qualifications that can be acquired in IVET and CVET. A VET qualification diploma can be issued only when all qualifications required for an occupation have been acquired (via State vocational examinations), together with a school leaving certificate;
  • core curricula for all VET occupations included in the classification of occupations. Separate VET qualifications within specific occupations are described in the core curricula as a set of expected learning outcomes: knowledge, occupational skills, and personal and social competences allowing learners to handle their occupational tasks independently. Learning outcomes are linked to detailed assessment criteria;
  • autonomy of VET schools in developing their teaching programmes, based on VET core curricula, and in choosing either subject-centred or modular programmes, which can be easily modified, depending on labour market needs;
  • uniform external vocational examinations, centrally organised;
  • vocational qualification courses allowing adults to acquire qualifications faster than IVET learners;
  • validation of competences acquired in different learning contexts, including professional experience, by taking external examinations.

The main challenges for VET are:

  • raising attractiveness of VET in society;
  • continuous adaptation of core curricula to the challenges and current needs of the labour market;
  • increasing employer engagement in organising practical training, identifying and forecasting skills and qualification needs in the labour market, and in reviewing VET curricula;
  • adjusting VET teachers’ qualifications and competences by easing access to traineeships in enterprises;
  • assuring a suitable number of VET teachers and trainers with adequate competences through the professional development of teachers and attracting young people to the profession;
  • encouraging adult learners to LLL;
  • encouraging sustainable cooperation between VET schools and higher education institutions (HEI) aimed at transferring HEI good practices in teaching, training and developing teachers’ competences;
  • assuring high quality guidance and counselling for all age groups;
  • providing high quality infrastructure for VET schools to ensure teaching and training in line with labour market needs.

Several recent initiatives undertaken by the education ministry address these challenges:

  • new measures in the VET system were introduced by the education ministry in November 2018 ([2]The Act of 22 November 2018 amending the Act on the Education Law, the School Education Act and other acts:
    http://prawo.sejm.gov.pl/isap.nsf/DocDetails.xsp?id=WDU20180002245.
    ) focusing on strengthening the mechanisms of including employers in the development of VET in all its stages and the systematic adaptation of vocational education to the needs of the labour market, in particular:

    •  strengthening cooperation between employers and schools mainly in relation to practical training and teacher professional development in enterprises;
    •  expanding the implementation of work-based learning in VET, introducing a new form of apprenticeship;
    •  introducing an annual forecast of the demand for employees in VET occupations and directing more funds to occupations of special demand on the labour market;
    •  strengthening different quality assurance mechanisms e.g. introducing a requirement for all VET learners to take a State vocational examination or a journeyman's examination, enhancing the accreditation system for institutions providing CVET;
    •  allowing VET schools to organise shorter forms of vocational courses of special importance for adult learners.
  • the Act on the Integrated Qualifications System (2016) has brought together the qualifications framework, register of qualifications that can be attained, quality assurance and validation principles. General and higher education level qualifications are included in the register;
  • non-statutory qualifications linked to CVET have been registered based on the initiative of VET providers or other stakeholders;
  • new regulations strengthening guidance and counselling in schools were developed and are being implemented; 
  • new core curricula for vocational education were developed by the education ministry together with the Centre for Education Development (ORE), employers and other stakeholders;
  • new sectoral skills councils have been established under the umbrella of the Polish Enterprise Development Agency, giving voice to sectoral stakeholders regarding the demand for competences at sectoral level to improve education and labour market matching; 
  • numerous initiatives addressing the above-mentioned challenges in VET were developed with ESF co-funding, including projects supporting: cooperation among VET schools and HEI, development of counselling and guidance in schools, development of programmes for vocational courses for adults, enhancing employers’ involvement in different stages of VET development and in organising practical training.

Based on VET in Poland Spotlight 2017 ([3]Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Poland. Luxembourg: Publication Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8125_en.pdf .
)

Population in 2018: 37 976 687 ([4]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It decreased since 2013 by 0.2% due to negative natural growth ([5]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

As in many other EU countries, the population is ageing.

An old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 22 in 2015 to 65 in 2060 ([6]Old-age-dependency ratio is defined as the ratio between the number of persons aged 65 and more over the number of working-age persons (15-64). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).).

 

Population forecast by age group and old-age-dependency ratio

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Demographic trends have a direct impact on educational enrolment.

Since 2005, the overall number of enrolments in VET programmes at upper secondary and post-secondary levels decreased by 35.6%, which represents over half a million learners. The decrease was highest (40% or more than 350 000) in vocational upper secondary programmes.

 

Population aged 16-21 and number of vocational education students

Source: ReferNet Poland calculations based on data from the Local Data Bank, Statistics Poland: https://bdl.stat.gov.pl/BDL/start and Statistics Poland (2018b) [accessed 20.9.2018].

 

However, this phenomenon is also related to the reduced interest in VET among young people. Over the last three decades, the share of students in VET has decreased from 78% to almost 60%. During the last several years the proportion of learners in general upper secondary vs. vocational upper secondary and vocational post-secondary education has remained at approximately 40:60. Since the mid-2010s, a small increase in the share of students in vocational education is observed.

Poland is rather homogeneous country in terms of nationality and language. According to the 2011 National Population and Housing Census ([7]Statistics Poland (2015). Struktura narodowo-etniczna, językowa i wyznaniowa ludności Polski [The national-ethnic, linguistic and religious structure of the Polish population]. Warsaw: Statistics Poland.
https://stat.gov.pl/files/gfx/portalinformacyjny/pl/defaultaktualnosci/5670/22/1/1/struktura_narodowo-etniczna.pdf .
) 97,09% of people declared Polish nationality and 98,2% declared  that they use the Polish language at home. However, due to the increased migration to Poland in recent years, changes in these percentages in the next census may be expected.

The Act on national and ethnic minorities distinguishes 9 official national minorities and 4 national ethnic minorities in the country. The constitution guarantees these groups the freedom to preserve their own language, customs and traditions, and develop their own culture. There are special forms of support provided to learners from national and ethnic minorities:

  • inclusion of the minority language and the regional language into the educational activities required of the student, the course of one’s own history and culture to additional educational activities for the student (at the request of the student’s parent) ([8]Ministry of the Interior and Administration: Polish legislation and solutions regarding the protection of languages of minorities [Ustawodawstwo i rozwiązania polskie w zakresie ochrony języków mniejszości].
    http://mniejszosci.narodowe.mswia.gov.pl/mne/oswiata/informacje-dotyczace-o/8302,Ustawodawstwo-i-rozwiazania-polskie-w-zakresie-ochrony-jezykow-mniejszosci.html [accessed 30.4.2019].
    );
  • learning of a minority language and a regional language can be conducted in schools in various ways; the number of teaching hours depends on the way it is taught;
  • external examination regulations are adjusted for learners of the language of the national minority, ethnic minority and the regional language.

According to SIO data, 809 learners in 29 VET schools (first stage sectoral schools and vocational upper secondary schools) were learning national/ethnic minority or regional languages in line with above-mentioned regulations in the 2018/2019 school year.

As far as foreign learners in Poland are concerned, the following forms of support are available to foreigners subject to compulsory education:

  • education and care in all types of public schools and kindergartens provided up to the age of 18 or age of graduating from school at the secondary and post-secondary level on the same terms applicable to Polish citizens ([9]Ministry of National Education: information on the education of foreigners in the Polish education system [Informacja o kształceniu cudzoziemców w polskim systemie oświaty]. https://www.gov.pl/web/edukacja/informacja-o-ksztalceniu-cudzoziemcow-w-... [accessed 30.4.2019].);
  • admission to schools on the basis of diplomas which does not have to be formally recognised;
  • free-of-charge Polish language classes, additional compensatory classes in a given subject, preparatory classes (oddziały przygotowawcze) set up at schools,
  • additional classes of the language and culture of the country of origin, organised at school by the diplomatic/consular mission or a cultural/ educational association;
  • assistance to the learner provided by a person who speaks the language of the country of origin, employed as a teacher's assistant;
  • different ways of facilitating external examinations taken by foreign students.

Also, certain groups of foreign adult learners (e.g. EU nationals, persons with different types of permits granted in Poland, selected scholarship holders, etc.) can benefit from education in public schools for adults, public post-secondary schools, public art schools, public colleges of social work and different forms of lifelong learning in the form of vocational courses, under the same conditions as Polish citizens.

In the 2018/2019 school year, there were approximately 44,000 foreigners in Polish schools and pre-schools ([10]Ministry of National Education: education of children coming from abroad in the Polish education system [Nauka dzieci przybywających z zagranicy w polskim systemie edukacji].
https://www.gov.pl/web/edukacja/nauka-dzieci-przybywajacych-z-zagranicy-w-polskim-systemie-edukacji [accessed 30.4.2019].
).

The enterprise sector in Poland is dominated by microenterprises. In Poland, 96.2% of enterprises are microenterprises ([11]PARP (2018). Małe i średnie przedsiębiorstwa w Polsce 2018 [Small and medium enterprises in Poland]. Warsaw: PARP.
https://www.parp.gov.pl/storage/publications/pdf/male%20i%20srednie%20przedsiebiorstwa%20w%20polsce%20w%202018%20r.pdf .
). They produce 31% of GDP and significantly affect the labor market - they generate 40% of the jobs in the enterprise sector. The number of micro-enterprises has increased in recent years.

Small-sized companies account for 2.8% of the Polish enterprise sector, produce 8% GDP and generate 12% of the jobs in the enterprise sector.

Medium-sized companies account for 0.8% of the Polish enterprise sector, produce 11% GDP and generate 17 % of the jobs in the enterprise sector.

Large-sized enterprises in Poland account only for 0.2% of the enterprise sector produce 24% GDP and generate 31% of the jobs in the enterprise sector.

The main economic sectors in Poland are wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and food service activities, industry (except construction) and manufacturing.

Share of economic sectors in gross value added and income in 2017 (%)

Sector

2017

Wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and food service activities

25.7

Industry (except construction)

25.4

Manufacturing

19.3

Public administration, defense, education, human health and social work activities

14.6

Professional, scientific and technical activities; administrative and support service activities

8.5

Construction

7.0

Real estate activities

4.9

Financial and insurance activities

4.4

Information and communication

4.1

Agriculture, forestry and fishing

3.1

Arts, entertainment and recreation; other service activities; activities of household and extra-territorial organisations and bodies

2.2

NB: NACE_R2/TIME.

Source: Eurostat nama_10_a10 [extracted 4.5.2019].

The following sectors have the largest share of Polish exports ([12]SITC nomenclature: sections.):

  • machinery and transport equipment (34.8%);
  • manufactured goods (17.7%); and
  • chemicals and related products (14.5%) ([13]Statistics Poland, Yearbook Trade of Foreign Statistics of Poland 2018; Table 7 and 24.).

The employment structure in Poland has not undergone any significant changes over the last few years. The share of services in total employment increased slightly and in 2017 reached around 58%, which is still far below the EU28 average of around 74%. The employment share in industry is rather stable in Poland at around 30-32% and the share in agriculture decreased from 13.1% in 2010 to 10.2% in 2017.

Employment share by economic sector in Poland (%)

 

2017

Industry

31.7

Females

17.2

Males

43.4

Agriculture

10.2

Females

8.9

Males

11.3

Services

58.1

Females

73.9

Males

45.3

Source: The Local Data Bank of Statistics Poland: https://bdl.stat.gov.pl/BDL/start [accessed 23.12.2018].

Most employed women are in services (73.9%), while the share of employment in services and industry of men is very similar, 45.3% and 43.4% respectively.

The labour market tends to be deregulated in Poland. However, in some cases access to and practice of some occupations/professions are subject to the possession of a specific professional qualification. The EC Regulated professions database ([14]European Commission - Regulated professions database [accessed 4.5.2019]:
https://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/regprof/
) lists 360 regulated professions in Poland.

The rules of access to professions are determined by the ministers responsible for specific fields.

The regulated occupations in Poland are divided into two groups:

  • sectoral system occupations, which are automatically recognised in all EU member states (e.g. attorney, doctor, pharmacist, nurse, architect); and
  • general system occupations – more numerous – in the case of which additional requirements for a given profession in given country must be met (e.g. teacher, sworn translator, tourist guide, customs agent, etc.).

Total unemployment ([15]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) (2018): 3.2% (6.0% in EU28); it decreased by 2.6 percentage points since 2008 ([16]Eurostat table une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019].).

 

Unemployment rate (aged 15-24 and 25-64) by education attainment level in 2008-18

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series.
ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_urgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Unemployment is distributed unevenly between those with low- and high-level qualifications. The gap has increased during the crisis as unskilled workers are more vulnerable to unemployment. In 2018, the unemployment rate of people with medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4) was lower than in the pre-crisis years. In the past five years, there was an overall decrease of unemployment in all age groups and by all types of education levels.

Employment rate of 20 to 34-year-old recent VET graduates increased from 72.7% in 2014 to 79.1% in 2018 and still remains below the EU-28 level.

 

Employment rate of VET graduates (20 to 34 years old, ISCED levels 3 and 4)

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

The increase (+6.4 pp) in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates in 2014-18 was higher compared to the increase in employment from 75.2% to 80.0% (+4.8pp) of all 20-34 year-old graduates in the same period ([17]Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

For more information about the external drivers influencing VET developments in Poland please see the case study from Cedefop's changing nature and role of VET in Europe project [17a]Cedefop (2018). The changing nature and role of vocational education and training in Europe. Volume 3: the responsiveness of European VET systems to external change (1995-2015). Case study focusing in Poland. Cedefop research paper; No 67. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/poland_cedefop_changing_nature_of_vet_-_case_study.pdf

Participation in tertiary education in Poland has significantly increased over the last three decades, which is connected to an increase in the perceived value of education and higher educational aspirations. From 2009 to 2018, the share of the population with tertiary education increased from 21.2% to 30.9% but remains slightly below the EU average (32.2%).

For the last several years, the share of the population with an upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary level of education, for both men and women has been slowly decreasing, from 66.8% in 2009 to 61.5% in 2018, but is still much higher than the EU average (45.7%).

Poland has the third lowest share (far below the EU average) of people with no or low education level attained (7.6% in 2018). This indicator has been gradually decreasing in the last few years (12% in 2009).

 

Population (aged 25 to 64) by highest education level attained in 2018

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; low reliability for ‘No response’ in Czechia, Iceland, Latvia and Poland.
ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_pgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

Not applicable

51.7%

100%

Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs01, educ_uoe_enrs04 and educ_uoe_enrs07 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Share of initial VET students over all upper-secondary students (ISCED level 3), 2017

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011.
Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs04 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

In 2017/2018 school year females constituted 46% of all learners in VET programmes, however the share differs depending on the type of programme - in post-secondary programmes, females are the majority (71,1%), in programmes at the upper secondary level, there are many more males than females, with the lowest share of females in the first stage sectoral programmes (31,5%).

Share of female learners in VET programmes in the 2017/2018 school year (%)

Type of programme

Female learners

Vocational upper secondary programmes

39.6

First stage sectoral programmes

31.5

Post-secondary programmes

71.1

Special job-training programmes

41.6

Total

46.4

Source: Statistics Poland - Education in the 2017/18 school year.

Female learners prefer the following fields of study:

  • in post-secondary programmes: hygiene and work safety, personal services, business and administration, medical study;
  • in first stage sectoral programmes: personal services, business and administration and manufacturing and processing;
  • in vocational upper secondary programmes: personal services, business and administration, social and behavioural science.

The share of early leavers from education and training in 2018 was 4.8%, which is much lower than the EU-28 average of 10.6%. The share is slightly lower than in 2009 (5.3%). Despite high attainment rates, it is still slightly above the national target for 2020 of not more than 4.5%.

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

NB: Share of the population aged 18 to 24 with at most lower secondary education and not in further education or training; break in series. Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_14 [extracted 16.5.2019] and European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/info/2018-european-semester-national-reform-programmes-and-stability-convergence-programmes_en [accessed 14.11.2018].

 

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

NB: Share of adult population aged 25 to 64 participating in education and training, break in time series.
Source: Eurostat, trng_lfse_01 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Participation in lifelong learning in Poland has remained at a very low level (4.0%) till 2017, while in 2018 reached 5.7%. However, it remains 5.4 percentage points below the EU-28 average.

Education level, age and labour market activity are the factors differentiating the rate of participation in training; persons who are unemployed and have a low level of education often do not participate in educational activities. Age is also a strong determinant of participation in education; people in older age groups not only participate in training less often, but also study less on their own (informal learning).

 

Learners in VET schools by age group

NB: Participants of vocational qualification courses not included.
Includes basic vocational/first stage sectoral programmes, upper secondary vocational programmes, special job-training and post-secondary programmes.
Source: own calculations based on data from the School Information System (SIO).

 

Young learners constitute the majority in VET schools – with only post-secondary schools intended for adult learners. This is connected with the establishment of vocational qualifications courses for adult learners which replaced VET schools for adults at the upper secondary level. Vocational qualifications courses were introduced in 2012 as a quicker way of obtaining vocational qualification. Data on the age of participants of vocational qualifications courses is not available and was not included in the chart.

The education and training system comprises:

  • preschool education (ISCED level 0);
  • eight-year primary education (szkoła podstawowa); a programme divided into two four-year parts (basic and lower secondary level) (ISCED levels 1 and 2)
  • upper secondary education (ISCED level 3);
  • post-secondary non-tertiary education (ISCED level 4);
  • tertiary education including colleges of social work (ISCED levels 5 to 8).

The education system in Poland is currently undergoing structural transformation. In December 2016, the education ministry introduced reforms aimed to prolong the time children spend within one educational programme and to develop a vocational education system that is responsive to the needs of a modern economy. Key elements of the reform included:

  • phasing out lower secondary school (gimnazjum);
  • restructuring six-year primary education (szkoła podstawowa) into an eight-year programme divided into two four-year parts (basic and lower secondary level);
  • extending the general upper secondary programme (liceum ogólnokształcące) to four years instead of three, and the vocational upper secondary programme (technika) to five years instead of four;
  • introducing two-stage sectoral programmes (dwustopniowa szkoła branżowa); the first stage sectoral school has replaced the basic vocational school (zasadnicza szkoła zawodowa) as of 2017/18, while the second stage sectoral schools will begin to operate in 2020/21.

Changes in the school structure are accompanied by the gradual development of new core curricula. The school system will be transitioning until 2022/23. During this period, some previous programmes will be functioning alongside the new ones until they are completely phased out.

Education is compulsory up to 18 years of age, while full-time school education is compulsory up to age 15. Full-time compulsory education lasts 9 years (the last year of pre-school education and 8 years of primary school education). Compulsory education for 15-18 year olds can take place as part-time education, both in and out of school, e.g. in the form of short qualifications courses or vocational training for juvenile workers.

Pre-school education is provided in pre-schools (przedszkole) for two-and-a-half to six-year-old learners.

Primary and lower secondary education is provided in primary schools (szkoła policealna) and lasts typically eight years from age 7 to 15. Work preparation classes for SEN learners are available in the last two years of primary school. A three-year special job-training programme for SEN learners is available for primary school graduates.

Upper secondary education can be provided by different types of schools and take the form of a general upper secondary four-year programme (licea ogólnokształcące), a vocational upper secondary five-year programme (technika) or a three-year first stage sectoral programme (branżowa szkoła pierwszego stopnia), which can be followed by a two-year second stage sectoral programme. Upper secondary education is typically available to primary school graduates (usually 15 year-olds), apart from the second stage sectoral programme, which will be available to graduates of the first stage programmes (18 year-olds).

Post-secondary non-tertiary programmes are provided by post-secondary schools (szkoły policealne) and can be attained in one- to two-and-a-half years. They are available to graduates of general and vocational upper secondary programmes, as well as in the future – of second stage sectoral programmes (usually 19-20 year-olds).

A special form of education is provided by colleges of social work (kolegium pracowników służb społecznych), offering programmes at the ISCED 5 level. These colleges provide three-year programmes for the occupation of social worker.

Completing any type of VET programme and obtaining a school leaving certificate is not the same as attaining a vocational qualification. Learners in the formal VET system can be awarded two types of documents confirming attained learning outcomes:

  • vocational certificates (certificate of a vocational qualification in an occupation); and
  • vocational diplomas (vocational qualifications diploma).

Learners can obtain a vocational diploma only by obtaining both all the qualifications distinguished in an occupation (vocational certificate/s) and a school leaving certificate. Vocational qualifications can only be attained by passing an external State vocational examination.

Each qualification includes specific sets of learning outcomes defined in the core curricula for vocational education. Learning outcomes are grouped in units, which typically contain from several to over a dozen learning outcomes and reflect specific professional tasks. The core curriculum for general education determines the learning outcomes related to the general education component and key competences provided by VET programmes ([18]For vocational upper secondary programmes, it also defines the learning outcomes that must be achieved by a person in the process of attaining the qualification of the matura certificate.).

Adults aged 18 and older can be awarded a vocational certificate after passing the State vocational examination extramurally. By taking extramural exams, adults may also acquire certificates of completion of general education schools.

Formal VET leads to four qualification levels (2 to 5) that are the same as in the European qualifications framework (EQF).

The VET system comprises initial and continuing education. It can be offered as:

  • school-based programmes with obligatory work-based learning (WBL differing in scope and form, also including dual training/alternate training);
  • juvenile employment (apprenticeship scheme – with practical training with employer and theoretical training in school or in out-of-school forms, based on a contract between the learner and the employer)([19]An additional new form – the student apprenticeship – will be available for learners of vocational upper secondary programmes and first stage sectoral programmes as of September 2019.);
  • out-of-school forms – different types of courses based on the core curricula.

Apprenticeship schemes on secondary and post-secondary level:

  • juvenile employment for the purpose of vocational training (przygotowanie zawodowe młodocianych pracowników) dedicated to young people (15-18 years old) with a lower secondary education or 8-year primary education. It is based on a work contract between the learner and employer. In case of theoretical education taking place in school, arrangements between the school and employer regarding scope and organisation of training provided by both parties constitute an annex to the contract. Juvenile worker has a status of an employee and in case of theoretical training taking place in school – also of a student. During the training period, a juvenile worker is entitled to a salary (from 4 to 6 percent of the national average salary, depending on the subsequent year of training), social security benefits and holiday leave. Juvenile workers carry out their apprenticeship usually in SMEs, mainly in the craft sector.

Juvenile employment can take the following forms:

  • training for a profession (nauka zawodu) - apprenticeship with the theoretical education taking place at school (first stage sectoral programme) or in an out-of-school form (e.g. courses) and the practical training organised by the employer. Training for a profession lasts up to 36 months and is finalised with a State vocational examination or Journeyman’s examination (egzamin czeladniczy). In the 2017/2018 school year, juvenile workers constituted about half of all the learners in the first stage sectoral schools.
  • training for a specific job (przyuczenie do wykonywania określonej pracy) - a rare form limited to a small group of youth, prepares a learner to perform specific tasks in a profession. It lasts from 3 to 6 months and is finalised with a verifying examination. 

 

  • student apprenticeship (staż uczniowski). New form of apprenticeship which will be available as of September 2019. It will be open to learners in vocational upper secondary programmes and first-stage sectoral programmes, who are not juvenile workers. Student apprenticeship is based on the work contract between the learner and employer, with arrangements between the school and employer in the annex to this contract. Student apprenticeship covers all elements of the teaching programme and chosen elements or elements connected with a given occupation but not included in the programme. Students are entitled to a salary unless the contract says otherwise. 
  • dual training as a form of practical training. Apart from above-mentioned schemes apprenticeship might be arranged by school in cooperation with employers as one of the ways of organisation of practical training. In general, practical training (obligatory for all VET programmes) can be organised in different forms and venues - including also apprenticeship – alternate training/dual training with structured alternation of learning in an education and training setting with learning and working at a workplace. This form of organisation of practical training could be considered an apprenticeship however it is based on the contract between the school and employer not between employer and learner.

Apprenticeships for adult learners are also available. It is a form of support provided by Labour Offices and financed from the Labour Fund dedicated to unemployed and job seekers.

Apprenticeships for adults are carried out on the basis of a contract between a Labour Office, an employer and an institution responsible for conducting exams. Apprenticeships are provided in a form of occupational training and a training aimed at preparation for performing a specific job. In 2017, apprenticeships for adult learners attracted over 140 000 participants.

Learn more about apprenticeships in the national context from the European database on apprenticeship schemes by Cedefop: http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/apprenticeship-schemes/scheme-fiches

VET has three governance levels: national (ministries), regional (school superintendents, mainly in pedagogical supervision) and county (powiat – managing schools). The education ministry is in charge of VET policies at secondary level, supported by other ministries responsible for particular occupations. The Ministry of Science and Higher Education is responsible for higher VET. Social partners advise policy makers on necessary changes in VET.

The majority of public education institutions in Poland are managed by local government units. Counties (powiaty) are responsible for upper secondary schools, including vocational schools, and schools for children with special needs; the regions (województwa) are responsible for schools of regional and trans-regional significance (e.g. groups of schools or vocational schools important for the regional economy).

Central government units (usually ministries) often manage vocational and fine arts schools. All types of schools can also be established and managed by non-public institutions, such as religious and social associations. Generally, in Poland, the higher the education level, the higher the share of non-public institutions. The chart below presents the structure of vocational schools by type and management institution in 2016.

 

The structure of VET schools by type and managing institution in 2016

Source: ReferNet Poland calculation based on Local Data Bank, Statistics Poland: https://bdl.stat.gov.pl/BDL/start [accessed 24.9.2018].

 

In the 2017/18 school year, there were 6 071 VET schools in Poland. The majority (36%) of them were post-secondary vocational schools, followed by vocational upper secondary schools (31%), 25% constituted the first stage sectoral schools and 8% special job-training schools ([20]Statistics Poland (2018). Concise Statistical Yearbook of Poland 2018. Warsaw: Statistics Poland.).The decision to provide education for a particular occupation listed in the classification of occupations for vocational education is made at local level by the school principal in agreement with local authorities (county level) and after asking the regional labour market councils (advisory bodies) for their opinion concerning compliance with labour market needs. Teaching programmes can be developed individually by schools. The school principal is responsible for incorporating the learning outcomes in the teaching programme and providing the organisational requirements as defined in the core curricula.

The main resources for educational expenditure are:

  • the education part of the State budget’s general subsidy for local government units;
  • central government targeted grants;
  • the local government unit’s own income;
  • foreign funds (mainly EU funds).

The education part of the general subsidy from the State budget is the major source of funding of the education system in Poland. The amount of this part of the general subsidy for local government is defined annually in the Budgetary Act, and then the education ministry prepares an algorithm to distribute the educational funds among the local government units, based on the responsibilities ascribed to the different levels of local government (basically the number of students in each type of school) ([21]Number of adjustment weights are ascribed to different groups of students (e.g. SEN students, ethnic minorities, students in small schools, in rural regions, in sport classes); teacher qualifications are also included in the algorithm.). Since January 2018, the weights for vocational secondary schools have been different for four sets of categories of occupations; the distinction is based on the cost of the vocational part of the education. Additional weights were added for students of post-secondary programmes who obtained a vocational qualifications diploma and for participants of vocational qualification courses who passed the State vocational examination ([22]Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 15 December 2017 on the distribution of the school education part of the general subsidy for local government units in 2018. Journal of Laws 2017, item 2395.).

Further modifications of VET financing (increased state subsidies for learners of special demand occupations in VET schools indicated by the forecast of the demand for employees in vocational education occupations; increased subsidies for employers involved in training juvenile employees in those occupations) will be introduced as of 2020.

Local governments have the power to decide how to use the subsidy; they can decide not only how to allocate the funds to respective schools, but also to use them for other things than educational expenditures. As the chart below illustrates, municipalities and regions spend more on education than they receive as subsidy, but counties, which are mainly responsible for vocational schools, do not use the entire amount on education expenditures. The visible increase in expenditures in 2017 on all local government levels may be due to the structural reforms of the education system.

 

The ratio between educational expenditures and the State general subsidy for education by type of local government in the period of 2006-2017

The higher the ratio the greater the share of local spending. Value over 100 means that local government spends more than it receives from the central government.
Source: ReferNet Poland calculation based on Local Data Bank, Statistics Poland: https://bdl.stat.gov.pl/BDL/start [accessed 20.9.2018].

 

 

The structure of the educational expenditures of counties in 2017 by school type

Source: ReferNet Poland calculation based on Local Data Bank, Statistics Poland: https://bdl.stat.gov.pl/BDL/start [accessed 24.9.2018].

 

In addition to the subsidy, local government units can apply for targeted grants to implement specific public tasks, which usually require co-funding by the unit.

Non-public schools with a public school status are entitled to public funding equal to public schools.

In 2017, public (local and central government) expenditures for the education system reached PLN 71.9 billion (around EUR 16.8 billion), of which 10.4% was spent on vocational schools. Public spending on education as a share of GDP was 3.6%, which is slightly lower than in previous years ([23]Statistics Poland (2018). Oświata i wychowanie w roku szkolnym 2017/2018 [Education in the 2017/18 school year]. Warsaw: Statistics Poland. See also earlier editions.).

In VET there are:

  • general subject teachers;
  • theoretical vocational subject teachers;
  • practical vocational training teachers;
  • teachers/pedagogues providing educational support to learners;
  • teachers/psychologists providing psychological support to learners, teachers and parents;
  • teachers/methodological advisers providing support to teachers;
  • teachers/consultants who develop teaching materials, design and deliver in-service training courses for teachers and education managers, etc.;
  • in-company trainers (nationally referred to as practical vocational training instructors);
  • specialist in-company trainers (various groups of practitioners providing training as their primary or additional activity).

Teachers in public schools and pre-schools comprise 87% of all teachers and are employed on the basis of the Teacher’s Charter ([24]Act of 26 January 1982 - Teacher's Charter. Journal of Laws 1982, No 3, item 19 with further amendments.), which specifies working conditions, duties, rights, professional development requirements, and teachers’ salaries. In non-public schools, teachers are employed only on the basis of labour and civil law regulations.

General subject teachers should have at least a master’s degree.

Theoretical vocational subject teachers are required to have at least a master’s or bachelor’s degree, including pedagogical training.

Practical vocational training teachers are required to:

  • have the same qualifications as required for teachers of vocational theoretical subjects or the title of master in a craft or a pedagogical technical college (currently non-existing) diploma or a matura examination together with a vocational qualifications certificate and two years of work experience;
  • have a pedagogical qualification.

In-company trainers (practical vocational training instructors) can be employers or employees who are not teachers; they are required to have both the defined by the regulation combination of formal qualifications and years of work experience in a given occupation and the adequate pedagogical qualification ([25]Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 22 February 2019 on practical vocational training. Journal of Laws 2019, item 391.).

As regulated by the Teachers’ Charter, teachers have the right to participate in all forms of continuing professional development (CPD) and are obliged to follow CPD in line with the school’s needs. CPD is required from teachers on the path to higher advancement levels.

Teacher CPD is funded by local/regional budgets. School heads are responsible for assessing teacher CPD needs and preparing school professional development plans.

There are different public teacher training institutions at the national, regional and local levels, as well as numerous non-public teacher training institutions. The Centre for Education Development teacher training institution operates at the national level and covers both general and VET teacher CPD. In general, the main tasks of these institutions consist of developing teacher CPD programmes and educational materials, indicating CPD priorities, and implementing CPD programmes. Teacher training is also provided by higher education institutions.

Another form of CPD is offered by teachers/methodological advisers, who provide direct subject-oriented and methods assistance; support teachers in their professional development; organise conferences, seminars and workshops; and identify teachers' needs for counselling and vocational training. CPD is also provided at the school level via internal systems of professional development, including e.g. self-development teachers’ councils meetings, lessons, observations, study visits and others. Other forms of CPD include internships in enterprises for VET teachers. From September 2019 all VET teachers are obliged to participate in professional training in companies relating to the occupation they teach. Numerous educational resources (open bases) and CPD opportunities are available through ESF co-funded initiatives.

The Teacher’s Charter specifies four categories of job positions in the profession of teaching:

  • trainee teacher – first stage in a teacher’s career,
  • contractual teacher – awarded after one year and nine months of internship and passing an examination given by an examination commission;
  • appointed teacher – awarded after two years and nine months of internship and after passing an examination given by an examination commission;
  • chartered teacher – awarded after two years and nine months of internship, after having their professional achievement accepted by a qualification commission, and an interview.

These categories have direct impact on a teacher’s basic salary level. Teachers with outstanding performance may also be awarded the title of honorary school education professor.

In 2017/18, 55% of teachers were chartered teachers. In VET schools on upper secondary level, the share of chartered teachers was higher than 60%, however in post-secondary schools, it was only 23% ([26]Statistics Poland (2018). Oświata i wychowanie w roku szkolnym 2017/2018 [Education in the 2017/18 school year]. Warsaw: Statistics Poland. See also earlier editions.).

Practical training institutions are involved in improving the competence of in-company trainers by offering a broad range of thematic training. The most common training refers to methodology of vocational education and the use of standards for examination requirements.

System of sector skills councils

The system of sector skills councils, launched in 2016, consists of three components:

  • The programme Council on competences (Rada Programowa ds. Kompetencji – RPK) consists of representatives of ministries, training institutions, social partners, universities, non-governmental agencies, as well as labour market stakeholders. The RPK mainly focuses on building cooperation between the education community and entrepreneurs; it also encourages the development of sector councils and implements recommendations in the areas of science and education.
  • The sector skills councils are the central part of the system. Currently, there are seven active councils in the following sectors: health and social care; construction; finances; tourism; motorisation and electromobility; fashion and innovative textiles; ICT. Their main aims are:
    • to collect information from various labour market stakeholders and recommend systemic solutions and changes in the area of education;
    • to stimulate cooperation between education providers and employers;
    • to provide support in identifying and anticipating competency needs in a given sector.
  • The human capital study aims to increase knowledge about current needs in various sectors and enable the demand for competences and qualifications to be anticipated. The information collected in the study provides, among others, deeper insight about the skills gaps in the economy.

Integrated skills strategy

In 2017, the education ministry initiated the development of a national skills strategy. The strategy covers the whole area of education and training, i.e. general education, vocational education, higher education and adult learning. It takes into account both the demand side (demand for specific competences and qualifications) and supply (availability of qualifications and competences in society). The general part of the strategy was developed ([27]Ministry of National Education (2018). Zintegrowana Strategia Umiejętności – część ogólna [Integrated skills strategy: general part].
https://bip.men.gov.pl/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2018/08/zintegrowana-strategia-umiejetnosci-do-uzgodnien-i-konsultacji.pdf.
) and adopted by the government in January 2019. This will be followed by the development of the more detailed part of the strategy and strategy implementation.

Deficit and Surplus Occupation Monitoring

Since 2005, the Deficit and Surplus Occupation Monitoring survey (MZDiN) has been conducted by county and regional labour offices as well as the labour ministry. In 2015, a new methodology was applied – the survey is based mainly on the IT systems’ data of employment offices (on unemployed persons, reported vacancies, providers offering professional activation services), studies of online job offers, information obtained from employers in a questionnaire study, data from the Statistics Poland and the School Information System. Since 2015, the ‘Occupational barometer’, previously implemented in the Małopolska region, also started to be implemented in the whole country, conducted by the regional labour offices. It is a qualitative short-term (annual) forecast providing information on deficit and surplus occupations ([28]Regional Labour Office in Cracow (2017). Occupational barometer 2018: summary survey report for Poland.
https://wupkrakow.praca.gov.pl/documents/67976/5945701/Occupational%20barometer%202018.%20Summary%20Survey%20Report%20for%20Poland/ab63839e-e605-44eb-a904-92af5974d996?t=1531291708000 [accessed 30.4.2019].
).

New forecast of the demand for employees

The forecast of the demand for employees in vocational education occupations was introduced in 2018 as a new tool to help shape the vocational education and training offer. Starting with 2019, this forecast will be developed annually and published in the form of an announcement by the Ministry of National Education. The forecast will be based on analyses conducted by the Educational Research Institute using various data sources. The forecast will impact VET financing.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([29]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast)

The VET programmes available at the national level are developed on the basis of three regulations of the education ministry:

  • the classification of occupations for vocational education ([30]Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 15 February 2019 on the goals and tasks of education in vocational education occupations and classification of occupations for vocational education. Journal of Laws 2019, item 316.);
  • the core curricula for vocational education ([31]Regulation of the Minister of National Education on the core curricula for training in VET occupations and additional vocational skills in chosen VET occupations – regulation signed on 16 May 2019, awaiting for publication in Journal of Laws.);
  • the core curriculum for general education ([32]Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 14 February 2017 on the core curriculum for pre-school education and the core curriculum for general education in primary schools, including pupils with moderate and severe intellectual disabilities, and for general education in stage I sectoral vocational schools, general education in special schools preparing for employment, and general education in post-secondary schools. Journal of Laws 2017, item 356.).

The classification includes the list of occupations for which VET programmes can provide education. Qualifications ([33]The term ‘qualification’ is defined in the School Education Act, as in the European qualifications framework Recommendation 2008.) are distinguished within occupations; each occupation can be made up of either one or two qualifications. Currently, there are 215 vocational education occupations, including so-called ancillary occupations for people with minor intellectual disabilities.

Developing occupations within the classification of occupations

The introduction of new occupations to the classification is regulated by the Education Law. The classification of occupations is determined by the education minister in cooperation with the relevant ministers responsible for a given sector of the economy, who can submit their requests to include particular occupations in the classification. To anticipate labour market needs, representatives of employers and employees are consulted during the development stage of the classification.

Professional associations, organisations of employers, sector skills councils, social partners and other stakeholders’ organisations can submit their proposals to the relevant minister to establish a new occupation; in this way they shape the educational offer of the formal VET system. After the proposal has been approved, the education minister includes the occupation into the classification and appoints a working group to design the core curriculum for vocational education for that occupation.

Designing the core curriculum for vocational education

After the proposal has been approved, the education minister appoints a working group to design the core curriculum for vocational education for that occupation.

The working group contacts the institution which submitted the proposal for the new occupation to determine the learning outcomes, and then undertakes consultations with other experts in the field. At this stage, occupational standards, which are developed by the labour ministry, are considered.

The decision on the occupations offered by a given VET school is made by the school principal in agreement with local authorities (at the county level of government) and after asking the regional labour market councils (advisory bodies) for their opinion concerning compliance with labour market needs. Regional labour market councils shall take into the account the forecast of the demand for employees in vocational education occupations.

Modernising VET curricula

In order to improve the labour market relevance of VET education, the education ministry together with the Education Development Centre, has implemented an ESF co-funded project ‘Partnership for VET’ focusing on developing partnerships in vocational education and training in cooperation with employers and other social partners.

In the first phase of the project, a social partner forum was established - 25 sectoral teams of social partners were set up to better adjust VET to labour market needs, and particularly to recommend changes in the vocational core curricula and classification of occupations. In the following years, stakeholders prepared changes in numerous VET curricula and developed new curricula. Numerous teaching plans and programmes, career development paths together with diplomas and qualification supplements in Polish and English were also designed. By February 2018, 1048 employers actively participated in the project.

All VET schools are included in external and internal quality assurance systems. External quality assurance is provided through pedagogical supervision; it is conducted by the Regional Education Authorities (kurator oświaty) overseen by the education ministry. Pedagogical supervision covers four aspects: evaluation, an audit of legal compliance ([34]Legal compliance auditing aims to check whether the activities of schools comply with legislation.), monitoring and support.

The external evaluation of schools is conducted according to certain uniform procedures and requirements set in the legislation concerning:

  • the organisation of educational processes;
  • acquiring by students' skills and knowledge defined in the national core curriculum;
  • active participation of students;
  • shaping social attitudes, and respect for social norms;
  • support to students' development taking into account their individual circumstances;
  • cooperation with parents;
  • cooperation with local community;
  • including of findings from analyses of external exams’ results as well as external and internal evaluations;
  • school management.

It includes various research techniques (e.g. interviews, surveys, observation, document analysis) and takes into account the opinions of different stakeholders.

Reports from the external evaluations performed in schools are publicly available on a dedicated internet website ([35]System Ewaluacji Oświaty. Nadzór Pedagogiczny [Education evaluation system: pedagogical supervision]:
www.npseo.pl
).

The Head of the Regional Education Authority prepares an annual report on the results of the educational supervision conducted and presents it to the Minister for Education.

School principals are obliged by law to design and implement an internal quality assurance system. They should do this in cooperation with their teachers. School principals are relatively free in how they design and implement these systems, but are obliged to include the four aspects of pedagogical supervision mentioned above. Internal evaluation is conducted annually and needs to include issues important for each particular school. Its results are taken into consideration in the external evaluation. In order to help school principals in developing and implementing internal quality assurance procedures, the National Centre for Supporting Vocational and Continuing Education (KOWEZiU) prepared ‘Quality Standards for VET’ (2013), a document covering ten thematic areas ([36]The ten thematic areas of the quality standards are: (1) teaching programmes; (2) school staff; (3) school material resources; (4) organisation of teaching; (5) students with special needs; (6) cooperation with employers: (7) cooperation with domestic and international partners; (8) assessment and validation of learning outcomes; (9) counselling; (10) strategic management of the school.) related to quality assurance in VET, which are in line with the 2009 EQARF/EQAVET recommendation.

In the case of non-statutory qualifications included in the Integrated Qualifications Register (ZRK), quality assurance is provided by external quality assurance entities (Podmioty Zewnętrznego Zapewniania Jakości – PZZJ). The external quality assurance entity for a qualification is assigned by the relevant minister from the list of institutions selected for a given area of qualifications. There are also internal quality assurance mechanisms for institutions awarding qualifications; they are required to perform internal evaluations.

The system of external examinations

The system of external examinations is a key element for ensuring and improving the quality of education and qualifications attained in schools. The central examination board and eight regional examination boards are responsible for organising external examinations. The external examination system is supervised by the education ministry. In the external examination system, all examinees solve the same tasks and assignments to verify whether they have achieved the learning outcomes defined in the core curriculum. Trained examiners registered at the regional examination boards assess examination results. The central examination board analyses aggregate test and examination results and initiates research in the field of assessment. The results of external examinations are taken into consideration in both external and internal quality assurance as part of pedagogical supervision.

Starting in 2019, all students will be obliged to take a State vocational examination or a journeyman's examination as a condition for school graduation; up till now, this has been optional. This change aims to strengthen the role of the exam as a quality assurance mechanism.

School Information System

The collection and dissemination of information on the formal general and vocational education system by the School Information System (SIO) is an important element in ensuring the quality of qualifications. The system is maintained in electronic form and uses internet to provide information collected. Every school and education institution has to submit data regarding students, teachers, facilities, expenses, etc. Schools submit data through a web application. Information is collected regionally and then exported by regional education authorities to the education ministry. Each user group (ministries, Central Statistical Office, local authorities, etc.) has access to its relevant part of the data base, and some of this information is available to the public. The system was set up in 2004 but has functioned in this way since 2012 and has been continuously modernised. In 2017, a new regulation on the SIO was introduced ([37]The Act of 21 April 2017 r. on changes in the Act on the School Information System and some other acts:
http://prawo.sejm.gov.pl/isap.nsf/DocDetails.xsp?id=WDU20170000949
) relating mainly to changes in the scope of the data gathered within the system.

The VET system allows learners to attain qualifications (vocational certificates) through the validation of non-formal education and informal learning ([38]By taking extramural exams adults might also acquire certificate of completion of the general education schools (primary and secondary).). Persons can take extramural State vocational examinations conducted by regional examination boards if they are over 18 years old, have completed a lower secondary programme or an eight-year primary programme and have at least two years of learning or work in an occupation relating to the targeted qualification ([39]Documents confirming the fulfilment of these requirements are, in particular, school certificates, transcripts, education certificates or employment certificates related to work in a specific occupation, including those obtained abroad.). If they do not have two years of learning or work experience, they can enrol in a vocational qualifications course (KKZ). As of September 2018, the curriculum of the KKZ is based on the new curriculum for VET. Completion of a vocational qualification course entitles students to take the State vocational examination.

After successfully passing the State vocational examination, learners obtain the same vocational certificate as regular VET students. The fee paid by the applicant for the extramural examination is rather low, in 2019 approximately 45 EUR (15 EUR for the written part and 30 EUR for the practical part).

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database ([40]European database on validation of non-formal and informal learning:
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/european-database-on-validation-of-non-formal-and-informal-learning
).

In IVET, incentives include:

  • Scholarships for IVET students

In 2018, school scholarships range from PLN 99.20 to PLN 248 (from EUR 23 to EUR 57) per month depending on the decision of local authorities. The period of receiving a scholarship can range from one to ten months per school year. VET students can receive financial support when studying away from their community or when their family income is below the threshold for receiving social assistance benefits combined with social problems that the family is facing. Scholarships for good grades can also be granted to VET learners. Apart from the country level, there are also regional initiatives aiming to promote participation in VET. Some regional scholarships have been financed within EU-funded projects.

  • Salary for juvenile workers

Students who are juvenile workers are entitled to a salary. The amount of their salary cannot be less than 4% (in the 1st year of training) 5% (in the 2nd year of training) and 6% (in the 3rd year of training) of the average monthly salary (ranging from EUR 42 to EUR 68). Employers also pay mandatory social insurance on the basis of the salary paid to the juvenile worker.

Minimum salaries for juvenile workers in 2019

Period

1st year of training

2nd year of training

3rd year of training

1.06.2019. - 31.08.2019

198,04 PLN

247,55 PLN

297,06 PLN

45,93 EUR

57,41 EUR

68,90 EUR

1.03.2019. - 31.05.2019

194,55 PLN

243,19 PLN

291,82 PLN

45,12 EUR

56,40 EUR

67,68 EUR

1.12.2018. - 28.02.2019.

183,21 PLN

229,01 PLN

274,81 PLN

42,49 EUR

53,11 EUR

63,74 EUR

Source: own calculations based on legal acts in Poland.

  • Vocational training and support by the Voluntary Labour Corps

The Voluntary Labour Corps ([41]Voluntary Labour Corps (OHP),
http://www.ohp.pl.
) (Ochotnicze Hufce Pracy − OHP) is an organisation specialised in supporting youth at risk of social exclusion and unemployed under 25 years old, overseen by the labour ministry. The organisation offers young people over 15 years old without lower secondary education, the possibility to attain vocational qualifications and/or to supplement their education. Currently it has over 214 Corps agencies (2019) providing young people with the opportunity to complete their education and acquire professional qualifications before entering adult life. The Voluntary Labour Corps provide training in 64 professions, both in their own workshops or as on-the-job training with an employer. All students with low/no income receive free meals and accommodation during the education period. Students also receive guidance and pedagogical support. Each year, over 800,000 young people receive various forms of help from Corps agencies including individual psychological support, group workshops for active job-seeking, vocational courses, vocational courses offering certified qualifications, language courses, European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) course, driving course, entrepreneurship course, assistance in finding jobs and organising traineeships, as well as traineeships offered by employers.

In the area of continuing VET (CVET), support is organised mainly through the employment services and financed from the Labour Fund ([42]The Labour Fund (Fundusz Pracy) is a State special purpose fund operating under the Act of 20 April 2004 on the promotion of employment and labour market institutions (Journal of Laws 2004, No 99, item 1001 and later amendments).), as well as from the European Social Fund (ESF). This support includes:

  • vocational training;
  • loans for financing of the cost of training;
  • training vouchers;
  • vocational practice vouchers;
  • scholarships for youth from low income families for the period of education;
  • financial support for examination fees and vocational licence fees;
  • statutory training leave for employees.

The Labour Fund plays an important role in delivering state support for VET. It promotes participation by granting resources for vocational training initiatives. The training is mainly offered to unemployed people, but it can also be provided to other job seekers, such as, for example, people with disabilities. The participants of group training have the right to receive a monthly training grant that amounts to 120% of the unemployment benefit. The number of training hours per month should exceed 150. The cost of individual training cannot exceed 300% of the national average monthly salary. In 2017, more than 49 000 unemployed and other eligible individuals participated in various forms of training. The most popular form of training (more than 12 000 participants) was driver’s licence courses. The number of participants has declined mainly due to lower unemployment rate.

 

Participants in various forms of training support offered by the Labour Fund

Source: Warsaw: Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy (2018). Bezrobocie w Polsce w 2017 r. Raport tabelaryczny [Unemployment in Poland in 2017]. See also earlier editions.

 

Labour Offices support the organisation of vocational training for employees, but only at the initiative of employers (only when the employer has a special training fund). Up to 50% of the costs of the training can be refunded from the Labour Fund, but not more than the amount of the average monthly salary per participant. In the case of people over 45 years of age, the limit of the refund is 80% of the training costs, but not more than 300% of the average salary.

Labour Offices also fund apprenticeships organised in companies. Apprenticeships are nowadays available to all unemployed. In 2017, over 140 000 people participated in an apprenticeship scheme, including 46 000 youth under 25 years of age (33%). The number of participants in apprenticeship schemes, as well as the share of youth in all forms of training declined significantly between 2015 and 2017.

Training leave is provided to an employee. The leave (from six to 21 days) can be used to prepare for and take an examination or defend a thesis. Training leave can be paid (to cover lost income) to an employee if an employer requires or agrees to the need for the training before it starts.

Employers who provide VET training to students of vocational programmes can receive the following support:

  • refund of trainers’ salaries;
  • refund of the extra salary paid to instructors;
  • refund of the cost of work clothes and necessary protective measures;
  • training allowance for work placement supervisors;
  • refund of the bonus for work placement supervisors;
  • subsidy for the salary and social security contribution for the juvenile worker for the period of vocational training from the Labour Fund. The financial limits on the refund are set each year. As of 2020, the employers training juvenile employees in the professions indicated by the forecast of the demand for employees in vocational education occupations will receive increased subsidies.

Employers believe that the financial support offered is not fully adequate to the resources devoted to such training. The period of vocational practice is seen as being too short, which means that students are not providing added value to the company’s performance ([43]Fila J.; Rybińska; A.; Trzciński R. (2014). Współpraca szkół zawodowych z przedsiębiorcami na przykładzie Działania 9.2 PO KL [Cooperation of vocational schools and entrepreneurs based on the Action 9.2 of the Human Capital Operational Programme]. Warsaw: Instytut Badań Edukacyjnych.).

Since 2014, employers have been able to use the National Training Fund (Krajowy Fundusz Szkoleniowy), part of the Labour Fund (Fundusz Pracy), to finance their employees’ training. It mainly finances courses and post-graduate studies attended by employees at the request of the employer; examinations enabling the attainment of vocational qualifications; medical and psychological examinations required for a job position; and personal accident insurance. In the case of microenterprises, the funding can cover 100% of the costs of continuing education, whereas in other types of enterprises, the employer covers 20% of the training cost. The training cost per employee cannot exceed 300% of the average salary in a given year. In 2017, 18 715 employers received support from the National Training Fund, resulting in training or other forms of assistance for 105,300 employees, which is an increase by around one-third compared to 2015.

A regulation concerning occupational/career guidance and counselling was introduced in September 2018 ([44]Regulation of the education ministry on vocational/career guidance in Polish schools entered into force on 1 September 2018.). Previously, occupational/career guidance/counselling had been implemented only on the basis of the provisions of the regulation on the principles of providing and organising psychological and pedagogical assistance.

According to the new regulation, occupational guidance is to be implemented in a planned and systematic way, in all types of schools, including VET schools. The regulation defines the goals as well as the terms and manner of implementing and organising guidance/counselling, including possible forms and detailed programme content, which vary depending on the school level.

The basic goal of guidance is to support students in the process of making independent and responsible decisions concerning their educational and professional life, based on learning about their own resources, the education system and the labour market.

Vocational guidance is to be conducted at all school levels, including:

  • Pre-schools [ISCED 0] - vocational pre-orientation
  • Primary school classes 1-6 [ISCED 1] - vocational orientation
  • 7th and 8th grades of primary school [ISCED 2] and secondary schools [ISCED 3] - vocational guidance activities.

Schools are required to develop their own programme to implement the intra-school guidance system for each new school year. This programme should include:

  • activities to implement occupational guidance (including the content of the activities, methods and forms of implementation, timeframe of implementation, persons responsible for implementation);
  • entities with which the school cooperates in this field.

Please see also:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

College

programmes

ISCED 554

Colleges of social work leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 554 (kolegia pracowników służb społecznych)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

13 or 14

Usual completion grade

15 or 16

Usual entry age

19 or 20

Usual completion age

21 or 22

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

Colleges conduct a day, evening or extramural form of education.

Learning forms:

  • school-based learning;
  • work-based learning – in-company training;
  • self-learning (allocation of hours is not specified).

The form, place and timetable of in-company training is determined by the director of the college in cooperation with the governing body, after consulting the Programme Council and the learners council.

Every college operates under academic and didactic supervision of selected HEIs.

Main providers

Colleges:

  • public colleges operated by regional authorities;
  • non-public colleges – operated by legal persons ([74]Regulation of the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy of 15 September 2016 on colleges of social work. Journal of Laws 2016, item 1543.).
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

around 24%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • general in-practice training in a social welfare centre;
  • general in-practice training in a 24-hour service;
  • specialist and graduate professional in-practice training.
Main target groups

Programmes intended for adults interested in obtaining the qualification of social worker.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Matura certificate is required to enroll. A medical certificate stating that the learner is able to practice as a social worker is also needed.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a college programme, learners must pass a final internal exam carried out by the examination board appointed by the head of the college. The diploma confirms that the learner has attained the qualification of social worker.

In selected colleges, operating under given HEIs didactic care, participation in the programme leads also to BA exam and BA degree. However this option is not compulsory.

Diplomas/certificates provided

The learner receives a diploma confirming the completion of a college of social work, certifying the qualification of social worker.

The graduation diploma is issued on the basis of documentation of the course of study conducted by the college.

BA certificate is also offered to programme graduates of selected colleges.

Examples of qualifications

Social worker.

Colleges can also provide specialised training in the field of social welfare, in a field of specialisation in the profession of social worker and social work supervisors.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

College learners can enter the labour market or continue their studies in EQF 6 bachelor programmes.

In some colleges graduates who are interested in continuing their studies in EQF 6 bachelor programmes are offered recognition of the college curriculum.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

In some colleges it is possible to acquire validation of prior learning gained within programmes provided by HEIs.

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

<1% ([75]Own calculations based on Statistics Poland (2018). Oświata i wychowanie w roku szkolnym 2017/2018 [Education in the 2017/18 school year]. Four colleges with 234 students.)

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

Post-secondary

school-based programmes,

WBL ≥44.6%

1-2.5 years

ISCED 453

Post-secondary school-based programmes leading to ISCED 453 (szkoła policealna)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

453

Usual entry grade

13 or 14

Usual completion grade

13+

Usual entry age

19 or 20

Usual completion age

20+

Length of a programme (years)

1 to 2.5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

There are public schools offering education free of charge but also numerous non-public schools charging fees for education.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

These programmes are strictly vocational and do not include general education. The vocational parts consist of theoretical and practical aspects. They are mostly school-based. Schools have a relatively high level of independence regarding the organisation of practical training. The school director decides on the share of work-based learning, however it cannot be less than 50% of the hours foreseen for vocational education.

Main providers

Post-secondary schools:

  • public schools operated by local and regional authorities, associations, national companies;
  • non-public schools with public school accreditation operated by different providers (associations, foundations, companies, HEIs);
  • non-public schools without public school accreditation operated by different providers (companies- natural persons, commercial-law companies).
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

≥ 44.6% for programme in a day form

≥ 48.5% for programme in stationary or extramural form ([69]Own calculations of %WBL based on the assumptions provided in the Teaching Plans [Ramowe plany nauczania],
http://prawo.sejm.gov.pl/isap.nsf/download.xsp/WDU20190000639/O/D20190639.pdf .
)

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

The practical part of vocational education can be offered in:

  • school workshops;
  • continuing education centres ([70]Continuing education centres (centrum kształcenia ustawicznego - CKU) - public institutions (usually a school complex) in Polish education, usually with a long tradition, whose task is to provide continuous, free-of charge education for adults and enable them to get a profession. They provide advice to teachers and lecturers employed in adult education. The centres can also employ professional advisers specialised in adult education.) and vocational training centres ([71]Vocational training centres (centrum kształcenia zawodowego – CKZ) - newly set up public institutions created from the transformation of existing centres for practical training (placówka kształcenia praktycznego ) or vocational training and development centres (ośrodek dokształcania i doskonalenia zawodowego) responsible for supporting vocational education of VET learners in schools providing practical or theoretical training of juvenile workers. They will be also providing vocational training in the form of courses (professional skills, qualifying vocational courses or other courses - enabling to obtain and supplement knowledge, skills and professional qualifications).);
  • with an employer (can be organised in different ways, partially or fully at an employers’ premises, including also dual training/alternate training).

On-the-job training, a distinctive form of practical training, is mandatory for learners of post-secondary programmes and lasts from 4 to 12 weeks, depending on the type of occupation.

Main target groups

They are available to graduates of general and vocational upper secondary programmes and (in the future) second stage sectoral programmes.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Learners should have a secondary education or secondary sectoral education (graduates of general and vocational upper secondary programmes and second stage sectoral programmes).

Assessment of learning outcomes

The following forms of assessment of learning outcomes are foreseen:

  • school leaving certificate - confirms that a learner completed the programme. It contains a list of subjects covered and the final grades achieved. To obtain school leaving certificate no external exam is required. Final grades are based on internal on-going assessments of learners and certificate consist of annual classification grades determined in the highest-level class and annual classification grades achieved in the completed lower classes;
  • State vocational examination (taking exam is obligatory for school graduation as of September 2019) – confirms obtaining vocational qualification. The examination has two parts: written and practical. The candidate has to pass both in order to receive a vocational certificate/diploma. The exam is centrally organised and based on uniform requirements, the same examination tasks, assessed according to the same criteria and organised in the same way regardless of where the examination is held.
Diplomas/certificates provided

This programme leads to:

  • a school leaving certificate;
  • a vocational qualification (vocational certificate) after passing the State vocational examination;
  • a vocational qualifications diploma (issued when a learner has obtained all qualifications distinguished in an occupation and a school leaving certificate).
Examples of qualifications

Administration technician (technik administracji), cosmetics services technician (technik usług kosmetycznych), optician technician (technik optyk), numerous medical qualifications: e.g. dental hygienist (higienistka stomatologiczna), pharmaceutical technician (technik farmaceutyczny), electrocardiograph technician (technik elektrokardiolog).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Post-secondary programme graduates can enter the labour market. Those who have matura exam are eligible to continue on to tertiary education, however the programme does not provide such direct access.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

A vocational certificate can be awarded after passing the State vocational examination extramurally.

Persons can take extramural State vocational examinations conducted by regional examination boards if they are over 18 years old, have completed a lower secondary programme or an eight-year primary programme and have at least two years of learning or work in an occupation relating to the targeted qualification ([72]Documents confirming the fulfilment of these requirements are, in particular, school certificates, transcripts, education certificates or employment certificates related to work in a specific occupation, including those obtained abroad.). If they do not have two years of learning or work experience, they can enrol in a vocational qualifications course (KKZ).

By taking extramural exams adults can also acquire a certificate of completion of the general education schools.

General education subjects

N

These programmes are strictly vocational and do not include general education.

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

<26% ([73]Own calculations based on Statistics Poland (2018). Oświata i wychowanie w roku szkolnym 2017/2018 [Education in the 2017/2018 school year].)

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 2

Work preparation classes

for SEN learners

Work preparation classes for SEN learners leading to EQF level 2 (oddziały przysposabiające do pracy)
EQF level
2
Usual entry grade

7

Usual completion grade

8

Usual entry age

15 ([47]This is a special programme for students at risk of early school leaving; in current legislation it is for 15-year-olds.)

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Education in Poland is compulsory up to 18 years of age, with full-time school education compulsory up to age 15.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

Classes combine general education and work preparation – both adapted to the individual learner’s needs and capabilities.

Main providers

Primary schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Not specified by the regulations.

The programme is developed and adjusted to the specific needs of a learner by a lead teacher.

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

Different forms of practical training available:

  • practical training in school;
  • practical training in VET schools (school workshops), continuing education centres ([48]Continuing education centres (centrum kształcenia ustawicznego - CKU) - public institutions (usually a school complex) in Polish education, usually with a long tradition, whose task is to provide continuous, free-of charge education for adults and enable them to get a profession. They provide advice to teachers and lecturers employed in adult education. The centres can also employ professional advisers specialised in adult education.) and vocational training centres ([49]Vocational training centres (centrum kształcenia zawodowego – CKZ) - newly set up public institutions created from the transformation of existing centres for practical training (placówka kształcenia praktycznego ) or vocational training and development centres (ośrodek dokształcania i doskonalenia zawodowego) responsible for supporting vocational education of VET learners in schools providing practical or theoretical training of juvenile workers. They will be also providing vocational training in the form of courses (professional skills, qualifying vocational courses or other courses - enabling to obtain and supplement knowledge, skills and professional qualifications).);
  • in-company training.
Main target groups

For learners over 15 years old with special education needs (SEN), at risk of early school leaving.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

For learners over 15 years old at risk of not completing primary school in the usual mode, who:

  • received promotion to grade VII; or
  • did not receive promotion to grade VIII.

Enrolment requires confirmation from a psycho-social support institution on the need for this form of education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Primary school leaving certificate is issued to those who completed the programme (with a special note with information on completion of work preparation classes).

Diplomas/certificates provided

School leaving certificate

Examples of qualifications

Not applicable

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete work preparation classes for SEN learners can enter the labour market or continue their education at the next EQF level.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

<1% ([50]Work preparation classes are not included in the statistics due to limited number of participants.)

EQF 4

Vocational upper

secondary programmes,

WBL ≥16.4%

5 years

ISCED 354

Vocational upper secondary programme (technikum) leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

16 ([51a]Usually, the starting age of learners is 15, while the age of graduating first grade is 16.
)

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Education in Poland is compulsory up to 18 years of age, with full-time school education compulsory up to age 15.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

The curriculum for upper secondary vocational programmes combines general and vocational education. The vocational parts consist of theoretical and practical aspects. Vocational schools have a relatively high level of independence regarding the organisation of practical training. The school director decides on the share of work-based learning however it cannot be less than 50% of the hours foreseen for vocational education (which combines both practical and theoretical training).

Main providers

Upper secondary vocational schools:

  • public schools (vast majority of schools) operated by local (county) and regional authorities;
  • non-public schools with public school accreditation operated by different providers (associations, companies - commercial law companies, natural persons).
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

≥16.4% ([51]Own calculations of %WBL based on the assumptions provided in the Teaching Plans [Ramowe plany nauczania],
http://prawo.sejm.gov.pl/isap.nsf/download.xsp/WDU20190000639/O/D20190639.pdf
)

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

The practical part of vocational education can be offered in:

  • school workshops;
  • continuing education centres ([52]Continuing education centres (centrum kształcenia ustawicznego - CKU) - public institutions (usually a school complex) in Polish education, usually with a long tradition, whose task is to provide continuous, free-of charge education for adults and enable them to get a profession. They provide advice to teachers and lecturers employed in adult education. The centres can also employ professional advisers specialised in adult education.) and vocational training centres ([53]Vocational training centres (centrum kształcenia zawodowego – CKZ) - newly set up public institutions created from the transformation of existing centres for practical training (placówka kształcenia praktycznego ) or vocational training and development centres (ośrodek dokształcania i doskonalenia zawodowego) responsible for supporting vocational education of VET learners in schools providing practical or theoretical training of juvenile workers. They will be also providing vocational training in the form of courses (professional skills, qualifying vocational courses or other courses – enabling to obtain and supplement knowledge, skills and professional qualifications).);
  • with an employer (can be organised in different ways, partially or fully at an employers’ premises, including also dual training/alternate training).

A distinctive form of practical training - on-the-job training - is mandatory for learners of vocational upper secondary programmes and lasts from 4 to 12 weeks, depending on the type of occupation.

An additional new form of WBL – the student apprenticeship – will be available for learners of this programme as of September 2019.

Main target groups

This programme is available to primary school graduates.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Learners should hold a primary school leaving certificate. Primary school graduates are usually 15 years old.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The following forms of assessment of learning outcomes are foreseen for learners:

  • school leaving certificate - confirms that a learner completed the programme. It contains a list of subjects covered and the final grades achieved. To obtain school leaving certificate no external exam is required. Final grades are based on internal on-going assessments of learners and certificate consist of annual classification grades determined in the highest-level class and annual classification grades achieved in the completed lower classes;
  • State vocational examination (taking exam is obligatory for school graduation as of September 2019) – confirms obtaining vocational qualification. The examination has two parts: written and practical. The candidate has to pass both in order to receive a vocational certificate/diploma. The exam is centrally organised and based on uniform requirements, the same examination tasks, assessed according to the same criteria and organised in the same way regardless of where the examination is held;
  • school leaving examination (matura) – a state, uniform secondary school leaving examination based on the core curriculum for general education and providing access to tertiary education. As of September 2019, the vocational diploma in an occupation taught on technician level will allow learners to skip one additional subject in the matura exam. The matura exam consists of two parts: the oral part (internal and assessed at school) and the written part – external, set by the Central Examination Board (Centralna Komisja Egzaminacyjna) and assessed by examiners included in the registers of the Regional Examination Boards (Okręgowa Komisja Egzaminacyjna).
Diplomas/certificates provided

This programme leads to:

  • a school leaving certificate giving learners a secondary education;
  • vocational qualifications (vocational certificates) after passing the State vocational examination;
  • a vocational qualifications diploma for occupations consisting of two qualifications (issued when a learner obtained both qualifications distinguished in an occupation and a school leaving certificate).
Examples of qualifications

Occupations provided by this programme are two-qualification occupations, for example: electrical technician (technik elektryk), automation technician (technik automatyk), multimedia and photography technician (technik fotografii i multimediów), construction technician (technik budownictwa), accountancy technician (technik rachunkowości), salesman technician (technik handlowiec).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates of these programmes, after passing the secondary school leaving examination (matura), are eligible to continue to tertiary education.

Destination of graduates

According to the Labour Force Survey (LFS), in the 1st quarter of 2017 the employment rate of recent vocational upper secondary programme graduates (one year after completing education) was 55.8%.

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

A vocational certificate can be awarded after passing the State vocational examination extramurally. Persons can take extramural State vocational examinations conducted by the regional examination boards if they are over 18 years old, have completed a lower secondary programme or an eight-year primary programme and have at least two years of learning or work in an occupation relating to the targeted qualification ([54]Documents confirming the fulfilment of these requirements are, in particular, school certificates, transcripts, education certificates or employment certificates related to work in a specific occupation, including those obtained abroad.). If they do not have two years of learning or work experience, they can enroll in a vocational qualifications course (KKZ).

By taking extramural exams, adults can also acquire a certificate of completion of the general education schools.

General education subjects

Y

The vocational upper secondary programme combines general and vocational education.

Key competences

Y

The core curriculum for general education determines the learning outcomes related to the general education component and key competences provided by VET programmes.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Each qualification includes specific sets of learning outcomes defined in the core curriculum for vocational education. Learning outcomes are grouped in units, which typically contain from several to over a dozen learning outcomes and reflect specific professional tasks. The core curriculum for general education determines the learning outcomes related to the general education component and key competences provided by VET programmes.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

56% ([55]Own calculations based on Statistics Poland (2018). Oświata i wychowanie w roku szkolnym 2017/2018 [Education in the 2017/18 school year].)

EQF 3

First stage

sectoral programmes,

WBL ≥31.8%

3 years

ISCED 353

First stage sectoral programme leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 353 (branżowa szkoła I stopnia)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

353

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

11

Usual entry age

16 ([56]Usually, the starting age of learners is 15, while the age of graduating first grade is 16.

 
)

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Education in Poland is compulsory up to 18 years of age; full-time school education is compulsory up to age 15.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

The curriculum for first stage sectoral programme combines general and vocational education. The vocational parts consist of theoretical and practical aspects. Schools have a relatively high level of independence regarding the organisation of practical training. The school director decides on the share of work-based learning, however it cannot be less than 60% of the hours foreseen for vocational education (which combines both theoretical and practical training).

Main providers

First stage sectoral schools:

  • public schools (vast majority of schools) operated by local (county) authorities and associations;
  • non-public schools with public school accreditation operated by different providers (associations, companies - commercial law companies, natural persons).
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

≥ 33.7% for programme for graduates of phasing out lower secondary school gimnazjum

≥ 31.8% for programme for graduates of 8-year primary school ([57]Own calculations of %WBL based on the assumptions provided in the Teaching Plans [Ramowe plany nauczania].
http://prawo.sejm.gov.pl/isap.nsf/download.xsp/WDU20190000639/O/D20190639.pdf
)

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

The practical part of vocational education can be offered in:

  • school workshops;
  • continuing education centres ([58]Continuing education centres (centrum kształcenia ustawicznego - CKU) - public institutions (usually a school complex) in Polish education, usually with a long tradition, whose task is to provide continuous, free-of charge education for adults and enable them to get a profession. They provide advice to teachers and lecturers employed in adult education. The centres can also employ professional advisers specialised in adult education.) and vocational training centres ([59]Vocational training centres (centrum kształcenia zawodowego – CKZ) - newly set up public institutions created from the transformation of existing centres for practical training (placówka kształcenia praktycznego ) or vocational training and development centres (ośrodek dokształcania i doskonalenia zawodowego) responsible for supporting vocational education of VET learners in schools providing practical or theoretical training of juvenile workers. They will be also providing vocational training in the form of courses (professional skills, qualifying vocational courses or other courses - enabling to obtain and supplement knowledge, skills and professional qualifications).);
  • with an employer (can be organised in different ways, partially or fully at an employers’ premises, including also dual training/alternate training);
  • juvenile employment.

A special type of work-based learning is provided through juvenile employment for the purpose of vocational training (przygotowanie zawodowe młodocianych pracowników) for young people (15-18 years old) with a lower secondary education or primary education. In the 2017/2018 school year, juvenile workers constituted about half of all the learners in the first stage sectoral schools. Juvenile employment is based on a contract between the learner and employer. Juvenile employment for the purpose of vocational training most often takes the form of training for a profession (nauka zawodu) – this is an apprenticeship with the theoretical education taking place at a first stage sectoral school (or in out-of-school forms) and the practical training organised by the employer on the basis of a work contract. It lasts a maximum 36 months and is finalised with a State vocational examination. Practical training can also be organised by an employer in the craft trades, on the basis of a work contract. It also lasts a maximum 36 months and is finalised with a journeyman’s examination (egzamin czeladniczy).

An additional new form of WBL – the student apprenticeship – will be available for learners of this programme as of September 2019.

Main target groups

This programme is available to primary school graduates.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Learners should hold a primary school leaving certificate; primary school graduates are usually 15 years old.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The following forms of assessment of learning outcomes are foreseen for learners:

  • school leaving certificate - confirms that a learner completed the programme. It contains a list of subjects covered and the final grades achieved. It gives a learner a basic sectoral education. To obtain school leaving certificate no external exam is required. Final grades are based on internal on-going assessments of learners and certificate consist of annual classification grades determined in the highest-level class and annual classification grades achieved in the completed lower classes; 
  • State vocational examination – confirms obtaining vocational qualification. The examination has two parts: written and practical. The candidate has to pass both in order to receive a vocational certificate/diploma. The exam is centrally organised and based on uniform requirements, the same examination tasks, assessed according to the same criteria and organised in the same way regardless of where the examination is held; 
  • journeyman’s examination (egzamin czeladniczy) – exam for learners participating in juvenile employment organised by an employer in the craft trades. It has two parts: practical and theoretical. The practical part consists of tasks individually performed by a candidate. The theoretical part is both written and oral. Tasks are based on common examination requirements and the curriculum of the occupation.

As of September 2019, taking the State vocational examination or journeyman’s examination is obligatory for all learners as a condition for school graduation.

Diplomas/certificates provided

This programme leads to:

  • a school leaving certificate giving learners a basic sectoral education;
  • a vocational qualification (vocational certificate) after passing the State vocational examination;
  • a vocational qualifications diploma for a single-qualification occupation (after passing the State vocational examination and obtaining a school leaving certificate).

Learners participating in juvenile employment organised by an employer in the craft trades obtain a Journeyman’s certificate.

Examples of qualifications

Occupations provided by this programme are single-qualification occupations, for example: electromechanical worker (elektromechanik), locksmith (ślusarz), car tinsmith (blacharz samochodowy), gardener (ogrodnik), tailor (krawiec).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Completion of this programme provides access to further education: at the second year of general upper secondary programmes for adults or in the two-year second stage sectoral programme.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

A vocational certificate can be awarded after passing the State vocational examination extramurally. Persons can take extramural State vocational examinations conducted by regional examination boards if they are over 18 years old, have completed a lower secondary programme or an eight-year primary programme and have at least two years of learning or work in an occupation relating to the targeted qualification ([60]Documents confirming the fulfilment of these requirements are, in particular, school certificates, transcripts, education certificates or employment certificates related to work in a specific occupation, including those obtained abroad.). If they do not have two years of learning or work experience, they can enrol in a vocational qualifications course (KKZ). By taking extramural exams, adults can also acquire a certificate of completion of the general education schools.

General education subjects

Y

The first stage sectoral programme combines general and vocational education.

Key competences

Y

The core curriculum for general education determines the learning outcomes related to the general education component and key competences provided by VET programmes.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Each qualification includes specific sets of learning outcomes defined in the core curriculum for vocational education. Learning outcomes are grouped in units, which typically contain from several to over a dozen learning outcomes and reflect specific professional tasks. The core curriculum for general education determines the learning outcomes related to the general education component and key competences provided by VET programmes.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

17% ([61]Own calculation based on
Statistics Poland (2018). Oświata i wychowanie w roku szkolnym 2017/2018 [Education in the 2017/18 school year].
)

EQF 4

Second stage

sectoral programmes,

WBL ≥50%

2 years

ISCED 354

to be introduced in 2020/21

Second stage sectoral programme leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (branżowa szkoła II stopnia)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

19 ([62]Usually, the starting age of learners is 18, while the age of graduating first grade is 19.)

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

This programme will begin operating in the 2020/21 school year. The curriculum of the second stage sectoral programme combines general and vocational education. The vocational parts consist of theoretical and practical aspects.

General education in this programme is planned to be limited, with the main focus placed on the vocational training to be conducted in the form of vocational qualification courses. Schools have a relatively high level of independence regarding the organisation of practical training. The school director decides on the share of work-based learning, however it cannot be less than 50% of the hours foreseen for vocational education (which combines both theoretical and practical training).

Main providers

This programme will begin operating in the 2020/21 school year.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50% ([63]Percentage of the hours foreseen for vocational education.)

Calculations of % WBL for second stage sectoral programme vary depending on the following criteria: a) form of teaching, b) type of profession, c) type of learner i.e. phasing out lower secondary school (gimnazjum) graduate or primary school graduate. Number of hours for vocational education (both theoretical and practical) is provided in the Core curriculum for education in the profession of sectoral education (Podstawa programowa kształcenia w zawodzie szkolnictwa branżowego; 215 professions in 32 industries) and according to the Teaching Programme totals not less than 50% of the total number of hours for a given form of teaching.

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

The practical part of vocational education can be offered in:

  • school workshops;
  • continuing education centres ([64]Continuing education centres (centrum kształcenia ustawicznego - CKU) - public institutions (usually a school complex) in Polish education, usually with a long tradition, whose task is to provide continuous, free-of charge education for adults and enable them to get a profession. They provide advice to teachers and lecturers employed in adult education. The centres can also employ professional advisers specialised in adult education.), vocational training centres ([65]Vocational training centres (centrum kształcenia zawodowego – CKZ) - newly set up public institutions created from the transformation of existing centres for practical training (placówka kształcenia praktycznego ) or vocational training and development centres (ośrodek dokształcania i doskonalenia zawodowego) responsible for supporting vocational education of VET learners in schools providing practical or theoretical training of juvenile workers. They will be also providing vocational training in the form of courses (professional skills, qualifying vocational courses or other courses - enabling to obtain and supplement knowledge, skills and professional qualifications).) and with an employer (can be organised in different ways, partially or fully at an employers’ premises, including also dual training/alternate training).

A distinctive form of practical training is on-the-job training, which will be mandatory for learners of second stage sectoral programmes and lasts from 4 to 12 weeks, depending on the type of occupation.

Main target groups

This second stage sectoral programme aims at further developing the vocational qualifications attained in the first stage sectoral programme. The programme will be available to the graduates of the first stage sectoral programmes who obtained a qualification that constitutes part of an occupation taught in the second stage sectoral school. This programme will be open to adult learners who want to expand their qualifications.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Learners should have a first stage sectoral school leaving certificate and a vocational certificate of a qualification constituting part of an occupation taught in the second stage sectoral school.

First stage sectoral programme graduates are usually 18 years old.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The following forms of assessment of learning outcomes are foreseen for learners:

  • school leaving certificate - confirms that a learner completed the programme. It contains a list of subjects covered and the final grades achieved. It gives a learner a secondary sectoral education, however, this is not the same as attaining a vocational qualification. To obtain school leaving certificate no external exam is required. Final grades are based on internal on-going assessments of learners and certificate consist of annual classification grades determined in the highest-level class and annual classification grades achieved in the completed lower classes;
  • State vocational examination (taking exam is obligatory for school graduation as of September 2019) – confirms obtaining vocational qualification. The examination has two parts: written and practical. The candidate has to pass both in order to receive a vocational certificate/diploma. The exam is centrally organised and based on uniform requirements, the same examination tasks, assessed according to the same criteria and organised in the same way regardless of where the examination is held;
  • shool leaving examination (matura) – a state, uniformed secondary school leaving examination based on the core curriculum for general education and providing access to tertiary education. As of September 2019, the vocational diploma in an occupation taught on technician level will allow learners to skip one additional subject in the matura exam. The matura exam consists of two parts: the oral part (internal and assessed at school) and the written part – external, set by the Central Examination Board (Centralna Komisja Egzaminacyjna) and assessed by examiners included in the registers of the Regional Examination Boards (Okręgowa Komisja Egzaminacyjna).
Diplomas/certificates provided

This programme leads to:

  • a school leaving certificate giving learners a secondary sectoral education;
  • a vocational qualification (vocational certificate) after passing the State vocational examination;
  • a vocational qualifications diploma for occupations consisting of two qualifications (issued when a learner obtained both qualifications distinguished in an occupation and a school leaving certificate).
Examples of qualifications

Chemical technology technician (technik technologii chemicznej), hospitality technician (technik hotelarstwa), telecomunications technician (technik telekomunikacji).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Second stage sectoral programme graduates will be eligible to continue to tertiary education after passing the secondary school leaving examination (matura).

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

A vocational certificate can be awarded after passing the State vocational examination extramurally.

Persons can take extramural State vocational examinations conducted by regional examination boards if they are over 18 years old, have completed a lower secondary programme or an eight-year primary programme and have at least two years of learning or work in an occupation relating to the targeted qualification ([66]Documents confirming the fulfilment of these requirements are, in particular, school certificates, transcripts, education certificates or employment certificates related to work in a specific occupation, including those obtained abroad.). If they do not have two years of learning or work experience, they can enroll in a vocational qualifications course (KKZ). By taking extramural exams, adults can also acquire a certificate of completion of the general education schools.

General education subjects

Y

The second stage sectoral programme combines general and vocational education.

Key competences

Y

The core curriculum for general education determines the learning outcomes related to the general education component and key competences provided by VET programmes.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Each qualification includes specific sets of learning outcomes defined in the core curriculum for vocational education. Learning outcomes are grouped in units, which typically contain from several to over a dozen learning outcomes and reflect specific professional tasks. The core curriculum for general education determines the learning outcomes related to the general education component and key competences provided by VET programmes.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Not applicable ([67]Second stage sectoral programmes will start operating from 1 September 2020.)

Special job-training

programmes,

(SEN learners)

ISCED 243

Special job-training programme leading to ISCED 243 (szkoła specjalna przysposabiająca do pracy)
EQF level
Not applicable
ISCED-P 2011 level

243

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

11

Usual entry age

16 ([68a]Usually, the starting age of learners is 15, while the age of graduating first grade is 16.
)

Usual completion age

18

Learners up to the age of 24 can participate in this programme.

Length of a programme (years)

3 (with the possibility of extending to 4 years)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Education in Poland is compulsory up to 18 years of age, with full-time school education compulsory up to age 15.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

N

This is not intended for adults, but learners up to the age of 24 can participate in this programme.

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

It provides educational activities (personal and social functioning classes; communication skills development classes, creativity development classes, physical education and job training classes), revalidation activities, and job training classes.

Main providers

Special job-training schools:

  • public schools (vast majority of schools) operated by local (county) authorities;
  • non-public schools with public school accreditation operated by different providers (associations, foundations).
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Share of work-based learning is not specified by the regulations. Job training classes constitute over half of the hours foreseen for the educational activities. The programme is developed and adjusted to the specific needs of a learner by a lead teacher.

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

Mainly practical training at school, including school workshops.

Main target groups

This programme is intended for young learners with moderate and severe intellectual disabilities or multiple disabilities.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Learners should have a primary school leaving certificate; primary school graduates are usually 15 years old. Additional enrolment requires confirmation from a psycho-social support institution on the need for this form of education (certificate recommending special education or rehabilitation-and-education classes).

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners do not pass any external exams.

Descriptive assessment is used on a school-leaving certificate.

This programme leads to a job-readiness certificate (based on the teacher’s assessment) to perform specific tasks and not to a vocational qualification.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Learners receive school leaving certificate and a job-readiness certificate.

Examples of qualifications

Not applicable

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete this programme can perform some tasks in certain labour market occupations.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

It combines vocational and general education.

Key competences

Y

It provides educational activities such as (personal and social functioning classes, communication skills development classes and physical education).

Application of learning outcomes approach

N

The core curriculum for this programme includes the aims of training, school assignments, forms of classes and detailed teaching content.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

1% ([68]Own calculations based on data from Statistics Poland (2018). Oświata i wychowanie w roku szkolnym 2017/2018 [Education in the 2017/18 school year].)

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available