Polish reform process has a way to go, says report

October 29, 2004

Polish higher education needs further reform to ensure its graduates' skills can be exploited in an increasingly Westernised and post-industrial country, according to the World Bank and the European Investment Bank.

Their joint report, Tertiary Education in Poland , concludes: "Much still remains to be done to make Poland's higher education system more responsive to the needs of a globally competitive knowledge economy and to the changing labour market requirements for advanced human capital."

The paper accepts that Polish universities have come a long way from their communist-influenced condition in the early 1990s, but emphasises that tough decisions on governance and funding now need to be made.

It calls on the Ministry of National Education and Sport to take a stronger line in guiding higher education course content, noting that while the autonomy and integrity of Polish universities needs safeguarding, they need to become "more accountable to Government and the world of work".

The Polish Government especially needs to tackle the issue of funding, deciding how much finance should be tied to enrolment as opposed to using the "standard finance algorithms", the report says.

It adds that the ministry needs to strike a balance between a tightly restrictive accreditation of new higher education institutions and overly lax registration that fails to properly "measure, assess and evaluate quality standards".

Another issue facing the Polish Government is making universities provide education for all ages. "While the tertiary education sector in Poland has already undergone remarkable and impressive growth and change over the past 15 years, the reform process is still far from complete," the report says.

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