Gimnazjum is not a secondary school. It's more a kind of primary school, it's obligatory for every one - just as a 3-year continuation of the 6-year proper primary school. Maybe it was mistaken with "Gymnasium" from the German educational system, which is a secondary school, being a rough equivalent of the Polish "liceum".
The basic types of secondary education institutions in Poland are:
- liceum (secondary school) - it doesn't give any professional education, it prepares to higher studies and ends with so called "maturity examination" (nicknamed "matura"), which actually allows to start higher studies
- szkoła zawodowa (vocational school) - gives only basic professional education in a given job, you cannot take "matura" after it, but you take an exam in the given profession (e.g. hairdresser, car mechanic, baker, electrician)
- technikum - gives more advanced professional education than "szkoła zawodowa" (you pass a more difficult exam in the given profession), and also prepares to higher studies (although much weaker than "liceum"), lets you take "matura"
"Szkoła policealna" is the next level - for those, who have graduated from "liceum", but for some reasons don't want or cannot take higher studies (because, for example, they don't manage to pass the "matura"). Hence the name - "policealna" means "after liceum". It's an equivalent of "technikum", but it doesn't include the general subjects, like history, geography, maths etc., it includes only those preparing to the given profession (so, for example, for a computer technician, it may include operating systems, computer networks, hardware etc). It might be also chosen for those who graduated from "technikum", but want to get an education in a different job.
By the way, there might be also a case, when someone fails a year in the school many times. Although it's not much likely, usually teachers try to push the student to the next year anyway. And to be still a school-level student at the age of 24, you would have to fail a year 4 times. And go to technikum, not to szkoła zawodowa - while so weak students usually go to szkoła zawodowa, as technikum is usually too difficult for them (not to mention liceum and higher studies).
Courts usually let the child get the maintenance money up to the moment of getting a master degree in a single study field, unless, of course, the child finishes its education on a lower level, stops the education, or has much difficulty graduating.
There's such a thing as a post-secondary school institution
Thanks Delph, I thought that might be it. We also have the same system in Ireland with the PLC (post Leaving Certificate).
szkoła zawodowa (vocational school) - gives only basic professional education in a given job, you cannot take "matura" after it
I think that's been changed and you can take the Matura but it's a long winded process, takes about two or three years of study. It would be very discriminatory and unfair to map out someone's life for them at such a young age and effectively bar them from continuing their education and development.
I think [...] development.
Yes, after the vocational school you can go to so called "liceum uzupełniające dla dorosłych" - "supplementary secondary school for the adults" (yes, the name is quite stupid), and then take the "matura" exam. There used to be also "technikum uzupełniające", but it has been removed. Its part connected with the professional subjects (what is more in "technikum" than it was in "szkoła zawodowa") was moved to so called "vocational courses" (kursy zawodowe), and the general education part can be realised as "liceum uzupełniające dla dorosłych".
(sorry for cutting most of the quotation, a stupid forum system says that the quotaton is too long)