Polish Framework

Work on preparing and implementing the Polish Qualifications Framework has been ongoing since 2006. In order for this work to be properly coordinated, an Inter-ministerial Team on lifelong learning was established on February 17, 2010. A sub-team was also formed to monitor the process of establishing and implementing the PQF – the Steering Committee for the National Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning (NQF Committee), which is chaired by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education.

The Committee for the NQF for lifelong learning is comprised of representatives delegated by the Minister of Science and Higher Education – Committee Chairperson, Minister of National Education, Minister of the Economy, Minister of Labour and Social Policy, Minister of Regional Development, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Minister of Health, Minister of National Defence, Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration, Minister of Infrastructure.

From October 2008 to January 2010, work on the Polish Qualifications Framework was conducted by experts under a systemic project entitled "Establishing a balance sheet of qualifications and competences available in the labour market and developing a model of the National Qualifications Framework". The result of this work was an expert project of the Polish Qualifications Framework (PQF) and preliminary guidelines for its implementation. The key findings of the expert team are presented in a report, entitled "From European to National Qualifications Frameworks".

Since July 2010, the Educational Research Institute is continuing work on the PQF through a systemic project entitled "The development of terms of reference for the implementation of the National Qualifications Framework and the National Qualifications Register for lifelong learning", to result in the final design of the Polish Qualifications Framework and the Institution for the National Qualifications System.

A referencing report will also be designed to describe how the Polish model relates to the European Qualifications Framework.
Presentation of the draft referencing report requires the completion of basic work on qualifications in Poland, which includes:
  • Completing the design of the Polish Qualifications Framework, containing a fully developed description of learning outcome levels for full qualifications and eventually indicating basic sub-levels – typical partial qualifications (if required). The design will include general, higher and vocational education, as well as the vocational training system.
  • Referencing PQF levels to EQF levels and substantiating the alignments.
  • Designing the remaining elements of the qualifications system: the principles of curriculum development based on learning outcomes, the allocation of points allowing for credit accumulation and transfer, validation (of learning outcomes acquired outside of formal education), quality assurance.
  • Conducting national and international consultations on the PQF project.
  • Developing the general assumptions for the national qualifications system and the national qualifications register, taking into account the recommendations ensuing from international experience in implementing national frameworks to establish the NQF/NQS in Poland. This includes proposals related to national qualifications quality assurance standards, validation of competences acquired through formal, non-formal and informal pathways, a system of credit accumulation and transfer, and assigning qualifications to levels in the PQF. Since the required learning outcomes and qualifications quality assurance standards in formal education are legally defined in the Act on education and higher education, assigning such qualifications to levels will be fairly straightforward. However, this is not the case for the entire market of non-formal education, which will require the determination of specific procedures.
  • Developing the concept of a portal for the NQF and other tools to promote openness and transparency in work on the frameworks and disseminating information about them.

Levels of qualifications

The Polish Qualifications Framework is a frame of reference, which specifies:
  1. Levels of qualifications,
  2. Distinct key categories of learning outcomes,
  3. Descriptors (descriptions of the requirements for each level).
Eight levels have been proposed for the PQF. Each level is described by means of so-called level descriptors. Today, seven "levels" of qualifications can be easily distinguished in the formal education system of Poland. However, an additional level has been introduced – the fifth level – substantiated primarily by the occurrence of many examples of learning outcomes that satisfy the requirements of fifth level descriptors in the European Qualifications Framework.

Key categories of learning outcomes

The European Qualifications Framework descriptors (that is, words describing certain features required for categorisation) of learning outcomes are divided into three categories, as follows:
  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Competences
The retention of this division is proposed for the Polish Qualifications Framework levels. Categories of learning outcomes are to include knowledge, skills and competences, understood as a constant readiness to perform the duties and responsibilities associated with having a given qualification.

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