That's a shame: I guess that is a unique attitude to Poland?
No, not just Poland, but most countries. The CELTA is well established as being the 'gold standard' - it's well known by everyone as a consistent measurement of a candidate's basic ability. The good thing about it is that CELTA courses are much the same throughout the world - even if the provider isn't well known, the qualification is.
It's simply the way it is - it's much easier for an employer to say "Degree? Check. CELTA? Check." than to go to the hassle of checking your course content and so on. A CELTA is the same regardless if it's taken in Poland, NZ or anywhere else - your course isn't.
By the way, are you saying that from the perspective of an 'experienced' applicant or as an employer?
Both. From an applicant point of view, the CELTA was always something that the worthwhile schools would ask for, and from an employer point of view - it's much easier for me to see "CELTA : Grade A" than it is to see "Graduate Certificate in TESOL". Remember, Europe has a totally different attitude to university studies - such concepts as a "Graduate Certificate" don't exist here, it's the full MA or nothing.
Now, you're going to Warsaw. There are a *lot* of foreigners in Warsaw - and again - any credible school will simply scan your CV and say "CELTA? No. MA? No. Bin? Yes.". It's just the way it is - if a good school is receiving lots of applications, as they will be in Warsaw - you need to provide them with a reference point.
I appreciate your comments but I do find it quite hard to believe that it would count for nothing. I'm reasonably confident of my ability to make a good impression in other aspects of applications.
It's simply the nature of the system in Poland (and most European countries) - if you don't have recognised papers, see ya. Private schools simply aren't going to waste their time searching for your course and making sure that you've covered the same as the CELTA - why bother, when there are other people out there who have the CELTA?
I'm also wondering, if I had to study in Poland, I might prefer to study Polish so I could maybe apply for non-teaching jobs.
You won't get anywhere with non-teaching jobs without fluent Polish, so forget about that idea - unless you possess something that is highly in demand in Poland.