First year of the qualifications system

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On January 19, 2017, a meeting for the stakeholders of the Integrated Qualifications System (IQS), organized by the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (PARP), was held in Warsaw: "We recap the year of the qualification system operation, and it was a year of hard work," said Teresa Wargocka, Secretary of State in the Ministry of National Education.

"The Integrated Qualifications System responds to the needs of employees and employers,"  the Deputy Minister added. "Employees will be able to confirm the competences acquired in the course of work, they will be able to choose a suitable form of training, corresponding to the challenges of the modern economy. Employers will know that a candidate for a job, holding a certain qualification, will be highly competent in the area. Good job, good salary, well-being at work - all this can be achieved by learning throughout life."

"It's the perfect time for the implementation of the framework of qualifications, because never before had there been such a large competence gap in the labour market: it can be seen at national and regional level," said the Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Development, Paweł Chorąży, during the first part of the meeting.

Deputy Director of the Department of Training Projects Support in PARP, Rafał Kamiński, pointed out that the Integrated Qualifications Register (IQR) is not the only activity carried out by the agency, which aims to improve the quality of human capital in enterprises. He mentioned the other activities such as the development of services database and the system of sectoral councils for competences. He also discussed the functioning of the registry.

Agnieszka Chłoń Domińczak, representing the Educational Research Institute (IBE), outlined the objectives and activities carried out by the Institute within the framework of the project "Supporting the first stage of the implementation of the Integrated System of Qualifications at the level of the government and credit rating bodies responsible for recognition of qualifications and quality assurance."

Wojciech Stęchły, from the Educational Research Institute (IBE), led a panel discussion on "Challenges of the development of the Integrated Qualifications System (IQS) and the Integrated Qualifications Register (IQR)". It was attended by the Director of the Department of Strategy of the Ministry of Education, Urszula Martynowicz, Andrzej Lech representing Polish Chamber of Training Companies, Danuta Wojdat representing "Solidarity" trade union, Józef Ratajski, the Association of Tourism Employers 'Lewiatan' and Jerzy Koniecki, the Association of Accountants in Poland. The panel turned into a general discussion, which was concluded by Stanisław Sławiński, PhD, from the Educational Research Institute (IBE).

"The Integrated Qualifications System (IQS) is a response to the challenges of civilization and the pace of changes in the market, " noted Andrzej Lech, PIFS. " Poles badly need the instruments that this system creates. Now this system is, it can be said, in a raw state, which is why the first anniversary of the entry into force of the act on which it was founded, we focus on the elements that can be improved."

"Now that the Integrated Qualifications System (IQS) is in operation, the question arises, what to do next," said Danuta Wojdat, "Solidarity" trade union. "As regards the role of trade unions, the carrier of the qualifications is the employee, and we need to look at the system as the development of the labour market by improving the employee qualifications, so that the employee lives better life, is more mobile and sells his/her skills at a higher price."

On January 15, 2016, the Integrated Qualifications System Act, published on December 22, 2015, entered into force and the Minister of National Education became the Minister Coordinator of the System. On July 15, 2016, the Integrated Qualifications Register (IQR) was launched, and with it, the Integrated Qualifications website. From this moment the system has been constantly growing: - the Integrated Register already includes the qualifications of the higher education institutions as well as initial set of labour market qualifications; first, fundamental regulations has been announced. The Minister of Education has set up the Stakeholder Board, an important consultative body responsible for reviewing market qualifications - whether the system will respond to the needs of citizens depends on the involvement of the representatives of the labour market (trade unions, employers, trade organizations), as well as educational institutions and local governments. Various institutions and organizations which wish to participate in the system in different ways keep declaring their interest.

It is worth remembering too, that the timely entry into force of the Integrated System of Qualifications Act was the precondition of launching the EU funds for adult education in the regions - it was very important for the provinces planning to invest in human capital.

Since July 15, 2016. the Integrated Qualifications Register (IQR) and its companion website - has been in operation. The website provides most important information concerning the Polish Qualifications Framework (PQF), relevant legislation, the rules for inclusion of qualifications into the Integrated Qualifications System (IQS) and the description of all the important elements of the system. The website is also the entry point to the Integrated Qualifications Register (IQR).

The Integrated Qualifications Register (IQR) is a public register, which will contain the information on the qualifications awarded in Poland. The register is managed by the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (PARP).

By law, the first qualifications registered in the system were those originating from the education and higher education systems. Subsequently the registry will include:
- regulated qualifications - those that are based relevant acts and which may be submitted to the register by the competent ministers,
- market qualifications, which will be submitted by the concerned bodies, eg. the representatives of industry, training institutions, crafts.

Qualifications for the register will be submitted through the


For a market qualification to be included in the registry, it must pass the verification process set out in the Act on the Integrated Qualifications System (IQS) and be assigned appropriate level of the Polish Qualifications Framework (PQF). The inclusion of a qualification in the registry will mean that its credibility and the quality has been validated by state authorities and the assigned level of the Polish Qualifications Framework (PQF) will allow comparisons with the European Qualifications Framework (EQF).

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