Childcare and education

Living in Europe | Day care, schooling & family related issues | Poland

LabFactor, Faculty of Process and Environmental Engineering, Lodz University of Technology, author: Jacek Szabela

The Ministry of National Education is responsible for the development and implementation of educational policy at primary and secondary levels. Educational establishments at these two levels are supervised directly by regional educational authorities (kuratorium) in each of 16 voivodships. Higher education institutions are supervised by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, but enjoy extensive autonomy.

Education in public institutions is free. Non-public establishments in Poland, which charge tuition fees, offer a wide range of programmes at all levels. They are set up on the basis of a permit from the Ministry of National Education or the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, as appropriate.

Non-nationals working or studying in bigger cities may send their children to international schools and nursery schools or bilingual establishments where the language of instruction is, for example, English, French or Spanish. A number of higher education institutions offer full degree programmes or selected courses taught in a foreign language.


Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Gdańsk, author: Maciej Kasprzyk

Poland has about 100 public higher education institutions, where no tuition is charged for full-time programmes, and ca 300 non-public higher education institutions where both full-time and part-time students pay tuition fees. The academic year is officially inaugurated on 1 October, lasts 30 weeks, and is divided into winter and summer semesters which end with an examination period. Depending on the level, higher education programmes last between 3 and 6 years. Students may be enrolled in full-time or part-time programmes.


Higher education institutions offer programmes at the following three levels:

  • 1st level: Bachelor’s degree (first-cycle) programmes, open to holders of the maturity examination and secondary school leaving certificates; it lasts between 6 and 8 semesters, leading to the degree of licencjat (bachelor), or between 7 and 8 semesters, leading to the degree of inżynier (bachelor of engineering). The duration of the programme and the degree awarded depends on the field of study,
  • 2nd level: Master’s degree programmes which are open to holders of the Bachelor’s degree and last 3 to 4 semesters (second-cycle programmes), and Master’s degree programmes which are open to holders of the secondary school leaving certificate and last between 9 and 12 semesters (long-cycle programmes). In both cases, students are awarded the degree of magister (master’s degree) or an equivalent degree, depending on the field of study,
  • 3rd level: 4-year doctoral (third-cycle) programmes open to holders of the Master’s degree or an equivalent degree,
  • Postgraduate studiesholders of the Master’s degree may attend an additional course to prepare for specialised placement. It is usually a 1-year programme in a chosen field.

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