Harmonising Approaches to Professional Higher Education in Europe


Stakeholder Survey Overview

As part of our research we carried out a survey of Education & Training stakeholders. Find the results of this survey below or download it..

Legislation & Policy Overview

The following section gives an overview of the national PHE environment within Poland. The profile was completed by Państwowa Wyższa Szkoła Zawodowa w Tarnowie.

Section A: General Profile of PHE

1. How is PHE defined in your country?

As ‘practical profile’ for 1st and 2nd cycle studies.

Commentary: The division into academic and practical study profile was introduced in NQF for Higher Education (different descriptors for academic and practical 1st and 2nd cycle studies.  3rd cycle studies are not divided into sub-categories.

1.1 What is your nationally recognised definition of a PHE Institution?

There are two types of HEIs:  * university-type HEIs  * non-university-type HEIs.  (called ‘professional HEIs) University-type HEIs are those in which at least one academic unit (e.g. faculty) is authorised to provide degree programmes (ISCED 5A), including first-cycle programmes leading to a Bachelor’s degree and/or second-cycle or long-cycle programmes leading to a Master’s degree (magister or an equivalent degree), and doctoral programmes (ISCED 6).  Non-university HEIs provide the same types of degree programmes as university-type HEIs, i.e. first cycle, second-cycle and/or long-cycle programmes, but are not authorised to award the doctoral degree or provide doctoral programmes.

Commentary: Both types of institutions can deliver both types of studies (i.e. academioc and practical). There is a tendency to limit possibilities of non-academic HEIs to deliver academic-type studies, while academic HEIs will keep right to deliver both profiles.

1.2 Are there any specific requirements towards PHE Curriculum/Course?

Yes:  1. They shall obey NQF ‘practical profile’ descriptors.  2. They shall contain important percentage of practically-oriented modules  3. They shall include min. 3 months of practical placements

2. Which EQF Levels does PHE cover?

EQF Level 5 – No (there is no Level 5 HE for the time being)
EQF Level 6 – Yes
EQF Level 7 – Yes
EQF Level 8 – No

3. Which governmental bodies are responsible for governance of the PHE sector? Do these differ from the governance of AHE? Is there any engagement of any other public authorities and which, if so?

All HEIs are under the governance of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, Some specialized study areas are also supervised by other relevant ministries (Ministry of Health, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of National Defence etc.). Theological faculties are also partly supervised by Catholic Church authorities.

4. Quality assurance: Please provide information on quality-related legislation (national QA/accreditation system, regulations concerning QA at institutional level etc.). Are there any specific QA criteria for PHE? If so, which (if necessary, refer to specific EQF levels or institutions)?

There is a unique national accreditation system. The responsible body is Polish Accreditation Commission. Accreditation is based on criteria set by national regulation, thus implicitly takes into account differences between academic and practical study profiles.

5. Are there any specific funding mechanisms/principles/criteria for PHE, different from general HE principles?


6. Are there any formal requirements for stakeholders, in particular from the part of the professional sphere/employers’ representatives concerning their engagement in PHE steering and provisions? If so, in which areas (governance, quality assurance, curriculum development, students’ placement etc.)?

According to legal regulations, all study programmes have to be consulted by external stakeholders. In the care of practically-oriented studies, there are additional requirements (such as cooperation agreements between stakeholders and HEIs).  State Professional HEIs have an additional governing&advisory body called ‘convent’ including representatives  of external stakeholders.

7. Are there any other legislative differences between PHE and other HE institutions (e.g. partnership with enterprises, regional involvement etc.)?

No explicit.

8. Is PHE limited to some specific branches and/or fields of study? If yes: Which ones?


Section B: Teaching & Staffing

1. Are there any formally set requirements for academic staff teaching at different levels in PHE (e.g their qualification, expertise, selection & appointment)? Are they different from AHE?

Yes:  For various types of study areas, minimal staffing requirements (number of Professors/Dr Habil., number of PhDs, staff-student ratio) are determined by law.  For practical profile (up to certain limits) one can take * two PhDs with practical experience instead of one Professor/Dr. Habil.  * two Masters with practical experience instead of one PhD  Moreover, for general academic profile the staff shall have solid scientific background.

2. Are there any specific requirements for PHE staff work (teaching/research) arrangements and workload? If so, which? How do they differ from AHE?

In general, HEIs have some flexibility in determining staff workload, salaries and evaluation criteria. For teaching staff involved in 1st cycle studies provision, there is no requirement of active research work. For those involved in 2nd cycle  (both academic and practical profile) research activities are required in case of so-called “teachers-researchers” (in Polish: “pracownik naukowo-dydaktyczny”).

3. Are there requirements to include non-academia (professionals) to teach in PHE institutions? What qualifications must they have if any?

There are strong recommendations to include non-academia in practically oriented studies.

Section C: Curriculum

1. Are there any specific requirements as regards contents/structure (e.g. percentage of practically oriented modules) as regards PHE? If so, which? What are the differences with respect to AHE?

Practically oriented programmes have to have important percentage of practically-oriented modules, but no fixed ceiling is determined. Curriculum structure is evaluated from the point of view of  its adequacy to ensure expected learning outcomes.

2. Are there any specific requirements as regards practical elements of PHE study programmes (e.g. work experience/Practical placements/Internships)? If so, which? What are the differences with respect to AHE?

For practical study profiles:  Compulsory practical placements (it will be fixed min. 3 months) Necessity to provide practical modules with teaching conditions similar to real work situation.

Commentary: Compulsory practical placements for practical profile will be fixed for min. 3 months (proposal for the amendment of HE Law, May 2013).

3. Are there any other legal requirements specific for PHE programs?


Section D: Research & Technology Transfer

1. What is the involvement of PHE in R&D&I&TT activities? Are there any formal differences at different levels/institutions of PHE?

HEIs providing only 1st cycle education are not obliged to conduct research, also their research activities are not taken into account during accreditation. However, in practice most of them are also involved in applied research, R&D activities etc.

2. Are public research programs restricted to some types of HEIs (e.g. academic sector)? If so, what are the criteria?

Formally no. There are implicit conditions (e.g. academic strength of the applicant).

Section E: Recognition & Credit Transfer

1. Are there formal differences in the enrolment process into PHE and AHE?


2. Are there formal paths for transfer from PHE into other HE programmes (for graduates, during the study)? Are there automatic transfers for students between PHE and AHE? Do students need bridging programmes or other means of transition?

In principle all kinds of transfers are possible. In practice, they depend on institutions (entry requirements etc.)

3. Are there any specific regulations concerning employment of PHE graduates? Do you need to justify delivery of certain PHE studies? e.g provide evidence of labour market needs or collect data on employability of graduates).

All types of studies have to be justified, also taking into account labour market needs. Also employability of graduates has to be monitored.

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