Private sector faces closures as Poles head abroad

March 30, 2007

A third of Poland's 300 private higher education institutions face bankruptcy over the next few years as young Poles choose to study outside Poland, according to reports.

The Bydgosc School of Management and Finance closed recently because of a shortage of students. Other schools are dropping programmes as part of cost-cutting measures. State universities are also suffering, the Dziennik newspaper has reported.

Tomasz Zielinski, a spokesman for Kazimierz Wielki University, said his institution had not had to scrap any courses but admitted that universities were finding it harder to attract students.

"Even long-standing institutions and the most prestigious names in Polish higher education have serious problems," he said. "I know that several have closed."

Some institutions claim that they have not been hit as hard as others.

Aneta Socha, spokesperson for the Warsaw School of Trade and International Finance, has boasted that the school offers extensive opportunities for study abroad within its existing programmes, so foreign competition has not hit the school so hard.

"Our students can travel on bursaries to other European Union member states," she said.

But she went on to admit that student numbers had declined.

Although the average Pole's spending power is about four times lower than that of the average Briton, the higher relative cost of study in the UK has not deterred young Poles. At least 17,000 Poles are known to have begun courses in Britain, France and Germany this year. According to Dziennik , these students could have sustained at least ten private institutions in Poland.

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