The Centre for the Development of Polish Education Abroad (Ośrodek Rozwoju Polskiej Edukacji za Granicą, ORPEG) supports and promotes the learning of the Polish language among young Poles who are spending time abroad. Through the development of different forms of teaching and training, ORPEG makes it possible for pupils to acquire knowledge on the subject of Poland, as well as improving their language skills during prolonged or briefer stays in other countries. We seek to encourage the young to make contact with the Polish language and Polish culture, by way of online learning, distance learning, the teaching offer made available by school consultation points, and the teachers and Polonia centres cooperating with us. We make Polish textbooks and teaching aids available, provide advisory services, and support the professional development of teachers working abroad and dispersing to the most far-flung corners of the globe. Thanks to our activity, it is possible for the children of Polish citizens spending some time abroad to receive education relevant to the home country, as well as assisting with the education of the Polish and Polish-language communities present in other countries.
ORPEG runs school consultation points at diplomatic missions of the Republic of Poland on 6 continents and in 37 countries. These offer supplementary teaching as regards the Polish language and knowledge of Poland. ORPEG also supervises European schools, and provides distance learning in the schools falling within its remit (i.e. the ”National Education Commission” Primary, Junior High and High Schools).
Teachers assigned by ORPEG to work abroad with Polonia and Poles are involved in the teaching of some 9000 pupils of different ages each year. The work is done in schools established by the Polish diaspora or else functioning within local educational systems, supervision over the teaching process being a matter for ORPEG. Around 80 teachers are assigned to some 14 countries every year. ORPEG also assigns teachers for work in the Polish sections of schools operating within the French educational system.
Each year, ORPEG organises the supply of textbooks and other teaching aids to community organisations and centres abroad which engage in Polish-language teaching. Thus far almost 70,000 copies of different teaching materials have been distributed in this way, use being made of them by more than 30,000 pupils and almost 6000 teachers in 48 different countries.
Operating under the overall ORPEG structure is the Polonia Teachers’ Centre (Polonijne Centrum Nauczycielskie, PCN), which extends methodological support to teachers working abroad. The PCN offers intra-mural training and online courses, prepares materials on methodologies and keeps in constant contact with teachers working in the schools run by Polish organisations. Since September 2011, over 2200 people have taken part in the training on offer.
ORPEG is implementing two educational projects co-financed from the European Social Fund under the Human Capital Operational Programme’s Priority III: ”High quality of the education system”, Measure 3.3: “Increasing quality of education”, Sub-Measure 3.3.3: Modernisation of teaching content and methods. The projects in question are:
ORPEG engages in advisory activity for migrant pupils and their parents, as well as those who have moved abroad permanently. Pupils have unpaid access to materials used in the teaching of both the Polish language and knowledge of Poland, as developed within the framework of the aforementioned Włącz Polskę project and Otwarta szkoła (“Open school”) learning platform, which provides for direct contact with Polish teachers. ORPEG engages in distance-learning activity, as well as extending support to both parents and children in the event of their returning to Poland.
ORPEG – i.e. the former Group of Schools for the Children of Polish Citizens Temporarily Residing Abroad (Zespół Szkół dla Dzieci Obywateli Polskich Czasowo Przebywających za Granicą) was called into being in 1973 by virtue of an Ordinance of the then Ministry of Education and Upringing. In the early years this denoted the establishment of schools associated with the major postings for Polish diplomats. With time, more and more schools came into existence around the world, and education was also made available to young people not from Poland but with Polish roots.
By virtue of Ordinance No. 35 of the Minister of National Education dated November 24th 2010, the Group of Schools changed its name to Ośrodek Rozwoju Polskiej Edukacji za Granicą (the Centre for the Development of Polish Education Abroad), with its seat in Warsaw. Also brought within the overall ORPEG structure was the Polonia Teachers’ Centre situated in Lublin.