02 SES 07 A, Skill Formation Systems
This article presents the development of skills formation systems in Poland between 1989 and 2019. It describes the rationales and challenges for the introduction of reforms within general education, vocational, higher and adult education sectors against the background of the processes related to building a democratic state, transition from centrally planned system to a free market economy and integration with the European Union. Changes in the formal general and vocational education systems were designed and introduced gradually (Sławiński, Debowski et al. 2013). The key driving force was the introduction of external assessment and validation solutions along with decentralisation of the management of education provision by transferring responsibility for the operation of schools to local government units (Federowicz, Sitek 2011). Reforming efforts have led to great improvements in educational performance: Poland is a top performing country according to PISA surveys and has one of the highest shares of attainment in at least upper secondary education among 25-34 year-olds (OECD, 2019). However, the adaptation of VET to the requirement of a modern economy still remains a challenge (Debowski, Stęchły, 2015) especially against the background of the declining importance of trade unions and employers organisations and the weakening of social dialogue. The systemic transformation has brought also profound changes within higher education. Since 1989 the number of students increased fivefold requiring the system of higher education to shift from an elitist model to a model which is open to an increasing diversity of learners – in terms of their learning abilities as well as their interests and goals in life (Marciniak et. Al, 2013). To regulate and stimulate adult learning Poland has implemented the Integrated Qualifications System (IQS) based on the national qualifications framework. Implementation of the IQS closes the cycles of reforms within general, vocational and higher education, and at the same time provides the impetus for developing qualifications attained outside of those systems in Poland to allow skills formation system to better respond to changing labour market and societal needs. The paper investigates also the impact of the EU integration and its sectoral education policies on the direction and content of national skills policies. In the description of the systemic changes in Poland we refer to theories of social change (Thelen, 1999) and skills formation systems (Crouch, 2005; Busemeyer & Trampusch, 2012) and will try to classify Polish skills formation system using the varieties of capitalism framework (Hall & Soskice, 2001).
Busemeyer, M. R., & Trampusch, C. (Eds.). (2012). The political economy of collective skill formation. Oxford University Press. Crouch, C. (2005). Capitalist diversity and change: Recombinant governance and institutional entrepreneurs. OUP Oxford Dębowski, H., & Stęchły, W. (2015, December). Implementing ECVET principles. Reforming Poland’s vocational education and training through learning outcomes based curricula and assessment. In Warsaw Forum of Economic Sociology (Vol. 6, No. 12, pp. 57-88). Federowicz, M., & Sitek, M. (Eds.). (2011). Społeczeństwo w drodze do wiedzy: raport o stanie edukacji 2010. Instytut Badań Edukacyjnych Hall, P. A., & Soskice, D. (Eds.). (2001). Varieties of capitalism: The institutional foundations of comparative advantage. OUP Oxford. Marciniak, Z. (Ed.). (2014). Self-certification report of the national qualifications framework for higher education. Instytut Badań Edukacyjnych. OECD (2019), OECD Skills Strategy Poland: Assessment and Recommendations, OECD Skills Studies, OECD Publishing, Paris, Sławiński, S., Dębowski, H., Chłoń-Domińczak, A., Kraśniewski, A., Pierwieniecka, R., Stęchły, W., & Ziewiec, G. (2013). Referencing Report. Referencing the Polish Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning to the European Qualifications Framework. Thelen, K. (1999). Historical institutionalism in comparative politics. Annual review of political science, 2(1), 369-404
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