#YearOfNewTasks: Prime Minister Beata Szydło on opportunities in education, science and sport

We talked primarily about the steps to be taken in order to ensure that education, bringing up and higher education provided opportunities for all young Poles, and contributed to the development of our country, said Prime Minister Beata Szydło after the meeting with Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Science and Higher Education Jarosław Gowin, Minister of Education Anna Zalewska and Minister of Sport Witold Bańka. 

1 of 8
Photo: P. Tracz/Chancellery of the Prime Minister

The Prime Minister informed that at the meeting with the ministers she had talked about combining the activities performed by the Ministry of Science and by the Ministry of Education to better prepare young people to the needs of the economy and the labour market. It is to offer opportunities for development, education and career of generations of young Poles who will graduate from vocational schools, which will now be called trade schools, from state vocational schools and higher educational institutions, said Prime Minister Beata Szydło.

We talked primarily about the steps to be taken in order to ensure that education, bringing up and higher education provided opportunities for all young Poles, but also contributed to the development of our country. We talk about this in the Responsible Development Plan, i.e. our flagship economic programme, informed the Prime Minister.

Education reform in line with parents’ expectations

Prime Minister Beata Szydło stated that implementation of the education reform was the most important task of Minister Anna Zalewska. She emphasized that the reform was well-though out and prepared and was implemented according to schedule.

What we need is cooperation of various institutions which will implement the reform, that is education institutions, local governments, with participation of chief education officers, and supervised by the Ministry of National Education, said Prime Minister Beata Szydło. It is a good and necessary reform, friendly for children and Polish schools. It ensures that teachers keep their jobs and reaches out to expectations of parents who first of all want schools to be safe for their children, to offer them good education and care. This is the purpose of the reform, she stressed.

The Prime Minister declared that the reform was subject to widespread consultation. She said that she understood concerns and some critical opinions. However, she considers that we have already passed this stage and now we all should make sure that Polish schools use the new opportunity that will be offered to them from 1 September 2017.

Plans of the Ministry of National Education for 2017

The most important task for the Minister of National Education in 2017 will be to consistently implement the reform in full cooperation with parents, teachers, headmasters and local governments. 

By the end of June, all teachers of the so-called sensitive years, i.e. grades 1, 4 and 8, will receive training on new curricula, declared Minister of National Education Anna Zalewska. She informed that modern curricula were ready and assumed i.a. introduction of programming basics and playing chess in grades 1-3 as a support in learning mathematics.

New textbooks will be used in grades 1, 4 and 8. All others remain unchanged, said Anna Zalewska. Therefore, the trainings will cover the teachers working in those grades. The Minister of National Education reminded that, All textbooks will be free-of-charge, the subsidy was maintained for all school years.

We will show that educational subsidy for vocational education should be varied and should depend on whether a given profession has a chance for success on the market, said the Minister of National Education and declared that the Act on financing of education would be drawn up in 2017. In April, the minister will present a detailed schedule of pay rises for teachers.

New Act on higher education

Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Gowin declared that in autumn this year a new, very important draft Act on higher education would be presented. It will introduce changes that are necessary for the Polish science.  It is a project that complies with the changes already introduced in education, informed Beata Szydło. The government treats the education system as a whole – from the moment a child enters a school system, through subsequent stages of education, to the moment when the young person becomes a student.

We want the development of young people to be full at every stage and to meet their expectations and preferences to the largest possible extent, giving them an opportunity to find a good job and make their ambitions and dream come true, said the Prime Minister.

Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Gowin emphasized that in 2016 the new Act on higher education is not drawn up by ministers or ministry officials, but in dialogue with academic circles. Three teams were selected in a competition and by the end of January 2017 are to present three different concepts of the act. In addition, discussions takes place preceding the National Science Congress, which is to take place in September 2017 in Kraków. Jarosław Gowin declared that at the Congress he would present the draft Act, already widely discussed with academic circles.

Beata Szydło stressed that changes had been introduced to higher education already in 2016. Concerns about the future of higher vocational state schools arise during the debate on changes to the higher education system. I was assured by Deputy Prime Minister Gowin that the future is planned for such schools and they will be developed, which is important for local communities for whom they often constitute the most important institutions functioning in their area, she said.

Plans of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education for 2017: increasing the qualify of science, innovation

Polish higher education institutions and research institutes require profound changes. We cannot be satisfied with what we have now. We cannot be satisfied with a medium level, also in science. We can do more, said Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Gown. Thanks to the changes, Polish higher education institutions will being to reduce the gap between them and the best academic centres of the world.

The Act on innovation entered into force on 1 January 2017 and will provide scientific foundations for the Responsible Development Plan. The work is pending on another act in this field. Today, entrepreneurs may deduct 50% of research and development expenses from tax. I hope that starting from 1 January 2018 entrepreneurs will be able to deduct each zloty spent on research and development from tax, said Jarosław Gowin. 

In 2017, the National Technological Institute is to be established and provide support for research under the Responsible Development Plan.

The Minister of Science said that amendments were introduced to regulations in order to reduce red tape at higher education institutions and regulations on financing of higher education institutions were implemented to focus them on quality and not the number of students. 

Development of tourism and sport

Tourism is the priority of the Ministry of Sport and Tourism for 2017. The Prime Minister emphasized that tourism was an important sector of the Polish economy. She announced that this year changes would be introduced to the structure of the Polish Tourism Organisation. 

Prime Minister Beata Szydło stated that programmes which had been launched last year would be continued this year. This most important draft Act that change the structure of sport associations is being worked on by the government, she said, adding that the draft would soon be approved for implementation, after its approval and signing by the President.

Plan of the Ministry of Sport and Tourism for 2017

The year 2017 is the year of significant change in the Polish sport, said Minister of Sport and Tourism Witold Bańka. He stated that the plans of the Ministry included the launch of the Polish Anti-Doping Agency in mid year. Combating doping in sport is one of the priorities of the Ministry.

In 2016, a programme called “Club” was launched which provided co-financing to 2151 sport clubs. The budget of the programme will be increased by PLN 6 million and will amount to PLN 30 million. Therefore, we will be able to support more clubs, in particular those small and medium-sized ones, were many future start begin their adventure with sport, said Witold Bańka.

Over PLN 43 million will be allocated for sport of disabled persons. The budget earmarked for investment will increase to PLN 443.3 million. The Minister also announced that care will be taken to ensure transparency of Polish sport associations. He also talked about the success of the programme entitled “Weekend for half a price”. Therefore, the second edition of the programme will be organised between 31 March and 2 April and between 6 and 8 October 2017. The Polish Tourism Organisation will be a modern agency promoting tourism in Poland and abroad, declared Witold Bańka.

See also