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Polish schools and Polish educational system level in your eyes


zetigrek
24 May 2010  #1
Hello. I'm polish. I've reading this forum for couple of days and I found it extremely intresting to find out how foreigners see Poland. I've noticed that here's quite big group of ppl who set their lifes here in Poland, have husbands, wifes and children... CHILDREN! If you have children then they attend school here...

There is a myth that polish educational system has very high level (well it maybe had high level when my parents were attending schools but now after the educational reform in 1999 it dramatically get lower... I know that because Im the first year of its victims ;)

And what do you hing about polish school system (I mean elementary, secondary and high schools, not higher schools ;) Is it so bad as I think it is? What are the negatives and the positives of polish schools in your eyes?
Stu 12 | 522
24 May 2010  #2
Well, zetigrek ... my wife is an English teacher in Wroclaw and so I have had the pleasure to hear a bit about the matura exam this year, both the basic as the extended level. Not only that, but I have also heard about which subjects are covered in the final exams in general.

Now, to be honest, I don't think that passing at 30% is a high standard by any means. And come on, the matura exam (at least for English) is really a piece of cake! I did my final exams twice -once in Belgium and the second time in the Netherlands cause I wanted (more precise was forced by my parents) to go to university here and my parents thought it was a good idea to do my final exams in the Netherlands as well.

In Belgium I had to do final exams in Dutch, French, English, German, Latin, Greek mathematics, chemistry, natural sciences, biology, economics, geography, history and even in PE and religion. When I came to the Netherlands, I had to do exam in just 7 subjects and it was a piece of cake. In both countries I had to get a mark of 60% to pass otherwise I'd have to re-take the exam.

The level of the (English) matura exam in Poland, I think, doesn't give the pupil enough knowledge to "cut it" abroad. When a pupil says things like "I went to the doctor to have my holes examined" when in fact (s)he meant (s)he went to the doctor to have him have a look at his/her throat, then I guess it is a pretty good example of the standard. And the school were my wife teaches isn't really one of the worst in Wroclaw either.

You know what would help (with regard to languages at least)? Stop this stupid voice over on tele. In pretty much all the countries where they have dubbing or voice overs people are less good at languages. Even the most simple soul in the Netherlands, who watches a soap serie like "As The World Turns" every day, is "subjected" to English and is bound to pick up something along the way.

And please get rid of this 30% passing rate ... it is too ridiculous for words.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,680
24 May 2010  #3
And please get rid of this 30% passing rate ... it is too ridiculous for words.

The problem with the "nowa matura" is that they can't seem to make up their minds as to whether they want a genuine leaving certificate along the lines of the German Abitur (which the stara matura was) - or if they want something along the lines of the American/Canadian High School Diploma.

If you ask me, given the lack of funding in the Polish system, the best bet would be to follow the American model and then adopt an additional exam for university entry. There's just not the money to invest into vocational schools - yet if someone does complete 12 years of school, they do deserve something to show for it. Sure, it means the Matura would become something that says "I finished school" - but that's no bad thing.

And come on, the matura exam (at least for English) is really a piece of cake!

The advanced exam isn't so easy - I can't say for certain, but some teacher friends have the opinion that it comes in somewhere just short of FCE. The basic exam is easy though - but also worthless.

The level of the (English) matura exam in Poland, I think, doesn't give the pupil enough knowledge to "cut it" abroad.

Someone getting a good pass at the Advanced level can cut it - but at the basic, of course, it's nowhere near enough.
OP zetigrek
24 May 2010  #4
Yes I know that nowa matura is a piece of cake (I've taken it, so I know that by my own experience). Its shameful and I'm wonder why the hell they reduced standarts. The old matura was ok (I think...)

Also its not only the english exams but every subject (including polish language&litarature)

You know what would help (with regard to languages at least)? Stop this stupid voice over on tele. In pretty much all the countries where they have dubbing or voice overs people are less good at languages.

Well in the era of internet piracy everyone watch movies with subtitles on their pcs...

Sure, it means the Matura would become something that says "I finished school" - but that's no bad thing.

There's already "świadectwo ukończenia szkoły" or "...klasy 3"
delphiandomine 83 | 17,680
24 May 2010  #5
Its shameful and I'm wonder why the hell they reduced standarts.

The easiest way to explain that was that there was a decision to reduce vocational school provision and instead funnel everyone into high schools. Obviously, you can't then have many of these people leaving school with nothing - so they need to have a shot at obtaining the Matura, or at least coming close to it.

It's not all doom and gloom - at least now, you have a much fairer system for university entry!
Stu 12 | 522
24 May 2010  #6
I've taken it, so I know that by my own experience

I hope you passed, zetigrek. And if so, no matter what you think of the level, I can only congratulate you. I'm sure you've worked pretty hard to get where you are now, so you should be proud of yourself!
OP zetigrek
25 May 2010  #7
It's not all doom and gloom - at least now, you have a much fairer system for university entry!

Absolutely disagree. It was fair when unis were making their own exams. Today you can take exam in biology and math or biology and chemistry or biology and geography to get at Univerysty mastering in Biology, but math isnt so easy like geography or chemistry, chemistry exam is harder than geography exam etc.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,388
25 May 2010  #8
I can't say for certain, but some teacher friends have the opinion that it comes in somewhere just short of FCE.

At one time it was almost an exact copy of the FCE.

There was a time in the past when anyone with FCE didn't have to take the Matura. Then the Matura was beefed up

The Matura twenty years ago took unabridged texts from Newsweek. It wasn't easy. There was also a 400 word essay to write. There were no pictures to discuss.

The problem with the Matura is the constant changes. They don't seem to have found the correct formula
OP zetigrek
25 May 2010  #9
I hope you passed, zetigrek. And if so, no matter what you think of the level, I can only congratulate you.

Everyone passes. Its hard not to pass.

I'm sure you've worked pretty hard to get where you are now, so you should be proud of yourself!

Well... I must dissapoint you. I didnt have to work really hard... and that's sad. I'm not proud of myself because still I didnt get really good scores in those exams... but its been 5 years now when I was passing my Matura exam, so its too long ago to look back ;)

Dutch, French, English, German, Latin, Greek

you have learnt all those language?? I must say I'm impressed... I suppose you're a doctor degree now? ;)
Stu 12 | 522
25 May 2010  #10
I suppose you're a doctor degree now?

Wishful thinking ... ;). Later I learned Italian, Spanish and Portuguese as well. Now I am an army officer ... :D.
southern 75 | 7,097
25 May 2010  #11
Middle class does not give a sh1t about exams like matura etc.If their children do not pass it all these things will be bypassed one way or another.
hague1cmaeron 14 | 1,377
25 May 2010  #12
Now I am an army officer

That is pretty darn good, I am sure you had to go through all those exams including the competency test, which does not strike me as particularity easy:)
andrei - | 25
16 Aug 2010  #13
Posts Merged

There are plenty of bodies willing and able to learn, but the infrastructure to provide that learning isn't in place. One directly influences the other. Until that environment is in place, you won't have a very good pool of resources to pull from.

Everything is in it's place. Poland has more academic graduates than Germany, although the best German universities are better than Poland's best, but reason of that is because universities in the West are far more elitist than the Polish ones and because the Polish higher education is free and generally more open and egalitarian. Another reason is that it's more difficult and more challenging to get a work here so higher education is almost a required minimum here.

Well, in general I agree that Poland is relatively weak in terms of patents and it lacks both big industry and govermental support in scientific research. But on the other hand I can't agree that there is low human resources pool here. The main problem though is that many of the best go west in search for better salaries and better opportunites...

There are very little of Polish patents not because our science sucks (it's actually on a good/decent level), but because there is little high-tech industry and funds here to take their ideas into being so it's easier to sell the patents to someone else (example: the polish blue laser technology).
convex 20 | 3,978
16 Aug 2010  #14
Poland has more academic graduates than Germany, although the best German universities are better than Poland's best, but reason of that is because universities in the West are far more elitist than the Polish ones and because the Polish higher education is free and generally more open and egalitarian.

We're not talking about the best, we're talking about the average education that you receive. Graduates from German universities are in much better shape than their peers in Poland. School is also free in Germany, and pretty much anyone can decide to go the university path. In Poland, you get the feeling that people have nothing better to do than go to university for years on end. The problem is most definitely quantity over quality in Poland. Just have a word with any professors and ask them what's going on with the system. It's really a shame that such a strong university culture has been destroyed by the notion that everyone needs a degree to work.
andrei - | 25
16 Aug 2010  #15
We're not talking about the best, we're talking about the average education that you receive. Graduates from German universities are in much better shape than their peers in Poland. School is also free in Germany, and pretty much anyone can decide to go the university path. In Poland, you get the feeling that people have nothing better to do than go to university for years on end.

In Germany or in the West many don't even think about University because they know they can easily find a job without it, in Poland on otherhand there is a strong concurrence in the labour market so you have to non-stop perfect yourself in order to even have a job, it's a harsh enviroment, but a enviroment which results in generally better average education in the whole population than in countries where higher education is just a not very important bonus to your CV.

The problem is most definitely quantity over quality in Poland. Just have a word with any professors and ask them what's going on with the system. It's really a shame that such a strong university culture has been destroyed by the notion that everyone needs a degree to work.

You must have been on some humanist type of junk or on some private universities, in the public universities (especially on the technical ones) there is still very strong university culture with very good level (Poland having one of the best IT specialist in the world and winning full of awards in this discipline is a proof for that).
aphrodisiac 11 | 2,444
16 Aug 2010  #16
and pretty much anyone can decide to go the university path.

that is not true, the early selection starts in primary school I believe and children either to to highschool and later to uni, or they go to trade schools.

The problem is most definitely quantity over quality in Poland.

that is true, but during the communism getting a uni degree was only for "elites". Secondly, the was limited space at unis.

Just have a word with any professors and ask them what's going on with the system.

I don't think there is anything wrong with the system besides the fact that the system itself was always on a mediocre level(not comparable to the non- Communist unis, except maybe for USSR and at present anybody can finish uni, while in the past there were some standards in order to keep it elitist and all unis during the communism were political, therefore some profs should not be even teaching at the moment, since they got their degrees because their political believes.

It's really a shame that such a strong university culture has been destroyed by the notion that everyone needs a degree to work.

There was no university culture comparable to the West in Poland during the communism and there isn't anything like that at present.

The only difference is: Unis are allowed to make money, so they bring in as many students as possible - eg. the part time students in particular.
andrei - | 25
16 Aug 2010  #17
There was no university culture comparable to the West in Poland during the communism and there isn't anything like that at present.

Have you ever studied in Poland (during the communism or now)?

The only difference is: Unis are allowed to make money, so they bring in as many students as possible - eg. the part time students in particular.

True, but there is a very big selection during the first year of studies and most often less than half of the initial number of students finish their studies.
convex 20 | 3,978
16 Aug 2010  #18
that is not true, the early selection starts in primary school I believe and children either to to highschool and later to uni, or they go to trade schools.

You need your abitur (matura more or less), but even that's not really needed anymore depending on the circumstances. The path doesn't matter anymore. The gymnasium route was relevant 30 years ago.

that is true, but during the communism getting a uni degree was only for "elites". Secondly, the was limited space at unis.

The second had more impact than the first. You actually had to want to learn in order to go to uni.

I don't think there is anything wrong with the system besides the fact that the system itself was always on a mediocre level

Not sure that I can agree with you there 100%. Maybe late in the game when they became cash strapped.
aphrodisiac 11 | 2,444
16 Aug 2010  #19
Have you ever studied in Poland (during the communism or now)?

I started in post- communist Poland and transfered to finish studies in Canada. Poland was way to easy unlike the Canadian uni. If I compare Canadian profs to Polish, there is a big difference in a sense that Canadian profs are serious about their work, Polish on the other hand are soften not that demanding and often don't asses students on knowledge alone. Somehow I got the impression that they are willing to abuse the power they hold - that is NOT an education for me, since that indicates the lack of respect for the student, which I never encountered in Canada - just the opposite.

True, but there is a very big selection during the first year of studies and most often less than half of the initial number of students finish their studies.

that is the same in Canada, first 2 years are for weeding out the unfit students, what I had in mind was the part-time(zaoczny) system at Polish unis, which is a big source of income, but does not compare when it comes to the quality of education of the full time (dzienny). Also, one cannot cheat in Canada and once you fail an exam, it is over, while in Poland one can negotiate with the prof and have "poprawkowy" - this is unheard of here. This way when the student starts a semester he has to work right from the beginning, otherwise he will never catch up.

You need your abitur (matura more or less), but even that's not really needed anymore depending on the circumstances. The path doesn't matter anymore. The gymnasium route was relevant 30 years ago.

I was not aware of that.

The second had more impact than the first. You actually had to want to learn in order to go to uni.
I would agree to certain degree. Getting into uni was almost impossible, because one had to write exams, which results of often did not reflect their high school scores, which for me did not make sense. [quote=convex]Not sure that I can agree with you there 100%. Maybe late in the game when they became cash strapped.

I am talking about later in the game - the last 10 years. I believe that the underpaid profs take advantage of the improved possibilities of making cash and they are often hired by semi -private unis, which often have not earned a reputation, because they have not been on the market for a long time. There are still good unis in Poland, but not too many. Warsaw, Wrocalw, Pozan, Gdansk, Lublin and Krakow with a long traditions, but there are also many with poor quality.
andrei - | 25
16 Aug 2010  #20
I started in post- communist Poland and transfered to finish studies in Canada.

So what have you studied (and where)? I think you've studied in a other Poland or in uni with a poor level. As far as I've studied I've never seen a Polish prof which wasn't serious about his job (I've studied at the University of Economics in Krakow), some of them were actually on the contrary - very conservative in their attitude and with "a mission" - I had one prof on my econometrics studies who teached Microeconomics, theoretically nothing big, but in reality he was very demanding and in the end he almost kicked out half of my whole major, so I can't call such guy "not serious" about his job.

that is the same in Canada, first 2 years are for weeding out the unfit students, what I had in mind was the part-time(zaoczny) system at Polish unis, which is a big source of income

I think a bigger problem would be if there was no "poprawkowy" than if there is. "Poprawkowy" is generally only one bonus date of exam (it's not like you try the exam infinity times, and even if the uni allows more dates, then you most often have to pay for them or alternatively they give you a chance of repeating the subject in another semester(also for cash)), imo it's a fair system, especially considering some hard technical majors (like electrotechnics for example) and hard subjects (like Circuit theory for another example).
aphrodisiac 11 | 2,444
16 Aug 2010  #21
then we have different experiences and I don't think that the "obsessed" prof of Microeconomics is a good example of a fair prof, conservative is not something I get along with well, since he was abusing his power. Being too harsh is not good teaching in my opinion. Being fair on the other hand is. This is precisely what I meant by profs abusing their power, or making their subject more important then other subjects. I did not study at the high ranking uni in Poland, but even if I did, I would still have a problem with some profs, such as the Microeconomy one, because his attitude would be not something I would appreciate.

I think a bigger problem would be if there was no "poprawkowy" than if there is. "Poprawkowy" is generally only one bonus date of exam (it's not like you try the exam infinity times, and even if the uni allows more dates

wrong. The subject should be taught to students, so that most of them would pass, otherwise they should not be there at all in a first place. We had no bonus terms and were greatly discouraged from postponing the dates of exams, no "poprawkowy" since one is accessed on how one performs and passes tests during the semester and it all adds up to the mark. I can see that is is a different system all together. I still think that the Canadian one is more fair. If you work hard and study hard, you pass. If you fail, you only repeat that particular subject not the whole major, like it is with certain majors in Poland. Waste of time in my opinion.
andrei - | 25
16 Aug 2010  #22
because his attitude would be not something I would appreciate.

Yes he was a pain in the ass, but because of months of his terror and hard learning in order to survive I've actually really mastered the subject and really learned something, so I would say that this kind of profs are actually effective although not nice.

The subject should be taught to students, so that most of them would pass, otherwise they should not be there at all in a first place.

It's not the point, from my experience I can say that they will surely teach you the main core of the subject , but on exams they very often require extended and more universal knowledge about the subject than only the things which were on excercises or even from the lectures.

I just can say one thing which one of my profs said ones (my louse translation to english):
"Studies (Studia) are not a place were you will be taught, but a place were you have to find and STUDY the needed sources by your own", and that is actually the whole (or maybe the more important) point of the higher education - you are the master of your own education, nobody will and nobody should care about you, it really teaches resourcefulness and some wiliness which is important in later life.
OP zetigrek
16 Aug 2010  #23
Middle class does not give a sh1t about exams like matura etc.If their children do not pass it all these things will be bypassed one way or another.

????
1. its hard not to pass
2. middle class is very intrested in their children education
3. how can they bypassed failed matura???
king polkakamon - | 544
17 Aug 2010  #24
3. how can they bypassed failed matura???

They send their children to UK or just bribe a university in eastern Europe to be accepted.Ours do this all the time.I guess yours do the same as well.It is the inevitable way.
southern 75 | 7,097
17 Aug 2010  #25
Graduates from German universities are in much better shape than their peers in Poland.

Contrary to that graduates from Germany are not in better shape than their peers in Greece and I was surprised by their lack in theoretical knowledge although their ethics and behaviour are excellent(Germans pay more attention to character formation than simply stuffing you with knowledge).

because universities in the West are far more elitist than the Polish ones

They are not so elitist.Germans require just average marks in Abitur and do not have competitive entrance exams system.Italian and french universities accept everyone who has finished school and english accept even the dumbest foreign students if they have to pay.So there is no elitism in Europe except certain institutions(Grand' Ecoles in France etc).
OP zetigrek
17 Aug 2010  #26
bribe a university in eastern Europe to be accepted.

lol!
what a bollox. try to bribe anyone at uni you morooon and you will go to jail. King Polkakamon maybe they do it in your country but in Poland you don't have any possibility to bribe anybody during admission. Btw what's your country you come from?
southern 75 | 7,097
17 Aug 2010  #27
You don't understand.I wrote that if they are polish they are likely to send their children to study in UK or if they are 100% incompetent they will send them to Ukraine to bribe a degree.

A greek middle class offspring will not study in Poland if he is totally incompetent since in Poland he cannot bribe so he will choose Serbia,Romania etc but is he has mediocre capabilities he may choose Poland because there he will be easily accepted(universities crave for money and entrance is not competitive for foreigners) and by a relaxing system,some cheating in exams some private lessons by professors and some intentionally easy exams he hopes to get the degree.If he does not he changes university goes to Romania and bribes straight away.The degree is recognized by EU law.They call it equality of EU degrees sth like that.

English have smelled the business long time ago and provide all kinds of degrees since they are not going to be used in their domestic market.(they are usually got from last ranking universitites though equal by EU law).

So the corruption is internal but externally facilitated.I as superior Balkan have only one solution.
OP zetigrek
17 Aug 2010  #28
I wrote that

so southern = king polkakamon?
aha

You don't understand.I wrote that if they are polish they are likely to send their children to study in UK

to study in the uk you have to know language. poor student who have difficulties to pass matura certainly won't learn english on enough level to go to college.

send them to Ukraine to bribe a degree.

the same as in Ukraine - you have to know language.
Never heard anyone studying in Ukraine. We have studia zaoczne for weak students ;)
southern 75 | 7,097
17 Aug 2010  #29
to study in the uk you have to know language.

Case closed.You are naive.
OP zetigrek
17 Aug 2010  #30
I just know ppl who are students in Scotland and England. They were not poor students and you have to know language.


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