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Schools around the world

Schools around the world

Children and young people may learn the Polish language even as they reside in various far-flung corners of the globe. The diversity of forms of training and education on offer makes it more possible for learning to commence among ever larger numbers of pupils. Centres offering training in the Polish language are organised by way of diverse structures and forms, i.e.

School consultation points

Schools linked with Polish diplomatic missions are included within ORPEG structures and are present in some 36 countries. They include the Group of Schools in Athens, 66 school consultation points, and 4 Polish Sections at international schools in France. The schools largely have a supplementary programme on offer (with teaching encompassing Polish language and knowledge on Poland). An exception would be the Group of Schools in Athens, which also offer framework learning. In the 2013/2014 school year, a total of 15,800 pupils commenced their education in the schools associated with Polish diplomatic institutions (12,000 at Primary School level, 2800 at Junior High School level and around 1000 at High School level). Some 586 teachers are at work at these institutions.

>> List of schools associated with Polish diplomatic missions around the world.

Community schools

Community schools are run by Polonia-related educational organisations, parents’ associations and Polish parishes. Detailed information on these is available via the >> www.polska-szkola.pl portal run by ORPEG. So far some 402 schools have been registered on the site, these declaring that a total of more than 31,000 pupils are undergoing schooling at them.

>> List of community schools.

Polish sections in schools abroad

The schools within foreign educational systems in which Polish sections are in operation include those in which:

  • the teaching of all subjects takes place in Polish in classes I-IV or V-XII (as in Lithuania, Ukraine, Latvia, Belarus, the Czech Republic and Moldova);
  • the teaching of the Polish language and subjects relating to Poland is done within a system of bilingual sections in Polish schools in France, or as a compulsory subject in several schools in Russia (i.a. in St. Petersburg and Usolye-Sibirskoye), in Belarus, Ukraine and Latvia;
  • Polish is taught within the framework of extra classes, as in such countries as Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Australia, Hungary, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

>> List of foreign schools offering teaching in the Polish language.

European schools

It is possible to distinguish three types of school (types I and II already, type III shortly) which offer a European education within EU Member States. The Type I European Schools are official educational institutions controlled jointly by the governments of EU Member States. There are two such – with seats in Luxemburg and Brussels – in which Polish Sections are in place and in operation, teaching c. 380 pupils who are the children of European officials.

The mission of the European Schools is to develop in pupils a feeling of community with other Europeans, with simultaneous full acceptance of different national, ethnic and cultural identities. Spending time in an international and multicultural environment, children here learn their native languages along with a respect for the national traditions and culture characterising other countries. 

The cycle of teaching in European schools encompasses:

  • two pre-school years (for children aged 4 – 5 years),
  • five years at primary-school level (for pupils aged 6–10),
  • seven years at secondary-school level (for pupils aged 11 – 17).

The cycle ends with the European Baccalaureate exam, which may only be taken by pupils who have completed the last two classes at a European School. Those possessing a European Baccalaureate diploma may apply to be accepted at any higher education establishment operating on the territory of any EU Member State.

>> More on the subject of European schools.

Assigned teachers

Polonia circles and Community Schools alike are funded by the ORPEG programme assigning teachers to work that facilitates the teaching of history, geography and the Polish language. Teachers mainly head east – to places where Poles were exiled in the past, or which are inhabited by Poles for other reasons. Assigned teachers (numbering 80 in the 2011/12 school year) take up posts in schools that form part of other countries’ educational systems, this being achieved on the basis of agreements signed between Poland and those countries’ Ministries of Education (as in the cases of Russia, Latvia, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and Kazakhstan), or else by way of educational associations (in Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kirgizstan, Georgia, Armenia, Romania, Moldova and Lithuania).

>> More information on ORPEG”s assigning of teachers to work abroad.

Distance learning

ORPEG’s 3 ”National Education Commission” Schools teach some 700 pupils a year under a distance-learning system (and in line with either a framework or a supplementary learning plan) at all of the educational levels (i.e. those of Primary, Junior High and High Schools). Since 2010, ORPEG has been pursuing the Otwarta szkoła (”Open School”) educational project, which makes it possible for lessons to be run and online consultations given in real time (through direct contact between the teacher from Poland and the pupil abroad). Given the full title “Open School – a system for the support of migrant children”, this project is co-financed from European Social Fund means within the framework of Poland’s Human Capital Operational Programme.

>> More information on the subject of distance learning.

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