Lifelong education concept and higher education establishments: some legal regulation issues in the Third Polish Republic

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Народное образование. Педагогика


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D. Apanel
T. Maliszewski
The article presents what place in the legal regulations concerning higher education in Poland was occupied by the concept of lifelong education. The authors show the changes in this area that have occurred since the adoption by the Polish parliament of the Law on Higher Education in September 1990 to the present (ie, the times in which use provisions of the Act of March 2011).
Key words: higher education, lifelong education, the law on higher education in Poland, higher education and adult education.
Introduction. Nowadays, facing the requirements due to global changes and recommendations imposed by the EC, the member whereof our country has been for ten years, Polish universities are obliged to open their doors for unconventional student groups, among them handicapped students (Apanel, Maliszewski 2014, p. 104−106) or elderly people (Maliszewski, Apanel 2014, p. 139−141). Therefore a necessity has arisen recently to adjust the curriculum and the system itself to the needs of those new participants of the educational process. Polish universities have been taking a more active part in the practical implementation in the Polish circumstances of the lifelong education concept (Kula, P^kowska 2011, p. 298−312). In this regard, it is worth while to take a closer look at (at least some) changes in the legal regulation related to the functioning of the higher education system in Poland in the last quarter of the century in order to get a complete picture of the successive stages leading up to today'-s decisions, announced in the title of this article. At the same time we hope that this subject may attract the attention of specialists from other countries, since the way in which Polish universities have come to the realization of the tasks of lifelong education seems typical of many member states of the EU and can be viewed more broadly, also in relation to other countries.
The first years of the Third Polish Republic. The social and political changes which took place in Poland in the early 1990s caused the necessity to change the legal regulation of the higher education aimed at adaptation of the law to the dynamically changing situation. Thus the Law of 12th September 1990 on Higher Education (Dziennik Ustaw № 65 of 1990, item 385) was one of the most rapidly executed legal documents not related directly to economic issues (e.g. the Law on the Education System was adopted only a year later). It enumerated the principal objectives of a higher education establishment including:
(1) «Development and popularization of the popular culture and technical advancement- interaction for disseminating knowledge among the society, as well as care of the students' health and physical development» (Art. 3, Par. 2, item 5) —
(2) & quot-A university can provide the unified Master'-s training, higher vocational training and additional Master'-s training. A university may also provide post-graduate
training, post-graduate studies, as well as special training and courses. A university may also provide open-type training for non-enrolled students& quot- (Art. 4, Par. 2) — (3) the legislator also listed various types of study: full-time education, evening classes, distance learning and external studies (Art. 4, Par. 3), with the caveat that & quot-[…] the basic system of education is the full-time education if the charter of the university does not provide otherwise& quot- (idem) — (4) the law emphasized that all lectures at the university should be publicly available, open (if the provisions of the statutes do not impose restrictions in this area) (Art. 4, Par. 1).
In 1990 there were also modifications of the provisions concerning the education of non-enrolled students: (a) «Only a person having the Certificate of Secondary Education may study at a university except that of an open type. The same refers to the studies of non-enrolled students.» (Art. 140, Par. 1) — (b) the articles of the law relating to scientific and teaching staff state that they are to & quot-conduct research, develop scientific or artistic creativity and improve their skills- teach students and other participants in various forms of training and courses provided by the university- participate in the organizational work of the university& quot- (Art. 99, item 1). The document also defines the authority of university professors following the fulfilment of their duties to improve their professional qualification. They are regulated by Article 110: & quot-University faculty are entitled to the university postgraduate training at the university’s expense, as well as to participation in other forms of vocational education- the Minister of National Education determines the scope and forms of assistance in university teachers' postgraduate education and other forms of vocational training. & quot- The Law of 1990 was in force till the end of the 2004/2005 academic year. During its validity (it is worth noting as we find it important) the program of structural reform of higher education related to the implementation of the Bologna Process was developed and implemented in Poland (Fr^ckowiak 2012, с. 105−108).
Higher education system reform (2005). After Poland joined the European Union its government embarked on a long-cherished general revision of the law on higher education in Poland, as, on the one hand, its principles were to be updated, and on the other — the growing importance of science and higher education for acceleration of the country’s development had to be emphasized. Then the old law was replaced with new legal norms — the Law on Higher Education of 27th July 2005. (Dziennik Ustaw № 164 of 2005, item 1365) and decrees adopted subsequently. Art. 8 of the 2005 Law stated: «The university can provide education, post-graduate study, post-graduate training and refresher courses& quot- (par. 1). With regard to post-graduate training, it was clearly stated that the institution can provide it only & quot-to the extent to which the subjects are taught in the university& quot- (Art. 8, par. 6), and if the postgraduate training program goes beyond the university curriculum, this requires & quot-the consent of the minister responsible for higher education, issued after the expert opinion of the Main Council for Higher Education& quot- (Art. 8, par. 7).
The new law expanded, compared with the 1990 law the list of main objectives of Polish universities (Art. 13). According to par. 1 of this article, the main tasks of universities, with the proviso par.2 [… ], are the following: (1) teaching students to prepare them for professional work- (2) development of the students'- responsibility for the Polish state, the strengthening of the principles of democracy
and respect for human rights- (3) research and development works, as well as provision of research services- (4) training and promotion of scientific personnel- (5) promotion and increase of scientific, cultural and technological achievements, including the accumulation and provision for use of libraries and information collections- (6) learning with the aim to obtain and refresh knowledge- (7) creation of conditions for the development of physical training of the students- (8) activities for the local and regional communities.
Somewhat unexpected in the context of promotion of the concept of lifelong learning in higher education system looks Article 111, which defines the responsibilities of research and teaching university staff. It says, in particular:
scientific and teaching staff shall: (a) train and educate the students- (b) conduct research and development activities and develop scientific or artistic creativity- © participate in the organizational work of the university-
teaching staff are required to: (a) to train and educate students- (b) improve their professional skills- © participate in the organizational work of the university & quot-(Art. 111).
As one can see, only the teaching staff are required to improve their professional qualifications. The law adopted in July 2005 also confirmed that the lectures at the university are public (Art. 164, Par. 1), as well as the fact that: & quot-The lesson in high school can also be delivered by distance-learning methods and techniques& quot- (Art. 164, Par. 3).
Higher education reform (2011). The Law of March 18, 2011 & quot-On the Modifications of the Law on Higher Education, the Law on Scientific Degrees and Titles, and Artistic Degrees and Titles, and on Amendments to Some Other Laws& quot- (Dziennik Ustaw, No. 84 of 2011, item 455) introduced, in particular, substantial modifications in the process of post-graduate training. Thus, it stipulated that postgraduate training ends with & quot-postgraduate qualifications& quot- (Art. 2, Par. 1, item 11), which was defined in the law as follows: & quot-post-graduate qualification means achieving the intended results of the postgraduate education confirmed by a certificate& quot- (Art. 2, Par. 1, item 18i). Art. 13, Par. 1 modified the objectives of the university. One of the main tasks of a higher education institution is worded as follows: & quot-carrying out postgraduate training courses and other forms of training in order to create new skills necessary in the labour market in the education system throughout the whole life& quot- (Art. 13, Par. 1, item 6). This clearly shows that legally Polish universities in 2011 were already fully incorporated into the system of lifelong education promoted by the European and Polish political circles, developing in our country.
Conclusion. It should be added that on the basis of the above laws and decrees issued pursuant to them individual universities operating in Poland develop their own internal documents: statutes, regulations, decisions of collegial bodies, orders and others, including the documents describing the mission and vision of individual universities, as well as their development strategy. Increasingly, these documents contain the principles, promoting implementation of the lifelong education idea in a particular academic environment, although the idea itself and its implementation methods in their own environment are understood very differently by different universities (Fr^ckowiak 2012, passim.). In light of the above reflections it can be clearly seen that the concept of lifelong education is not only
reflected in the legal documents of the Third Polish Republic concerning higher education institutions, but was involved in the activities of specific institutions operating in the higher education system. Thus, a conclusion can be made that the difference (until recently quite distinct) between academic education and adult education in Polish society is being gradually eradicated. And this situation (probably) exists not only in Poland and other EU countries, but this process can be observed in more and more countries of the modern world.
Apanel D., Maliszewski T. (2014), Selected aspects of inclusive education of disabled adults in Poland after 1989, & quot-Lifelong learning. Continuous Education for Sustainable Development& quot- (sci. ed.: N. A. Lobanov, V. N. Skvortsov), Vol. 12, No 2, Sankt-Petersburg, c. 104−106. Fr^ckowiak A. (2012), Ksztaicenie ustawiczne i szkofy wyzsze — niewykorzystany potencjai, Radom.
Kula E., P^kowska M., (2011) Higher education in Poland facing the challenges of lifelong learning, [в:] Continuous education as a social fact. Monograph, sci. ed. N.A. Lobanov, V.N. Skvortsov (arr. N.A. Lobanov, E. Kula & amp- M. P^kowska), Saint-Petersburg, c. 298−312. Maliszewski T., Apanel D. (2014), Universities of the Third Age in Poland (1975−2014): from educational institutions for the city elite to a mass movement, & quot-Lifelong learning. Continuous Education for Sustainable Development& quot- (sci. ed.: N. A. Lobanov, V. N. Skvortsov), Vol. 12, No 2, Sankt-Petersburg, c. 139−141.
Закон от 12 сентября 1990 г. о высшем образовании, Вестник законов № 65 от 1990 г., поз. 385.
Закон от 27 июля 2005 г. о высшем образовании, Вестник законов № 164 от 2005 г., поз. 1365.
Закон от 18 марта 2011 г. об изменении закона Закон о высшем образовании, закона о научных степенях и научном звании, а также о степенях и звании в области искусства, а также об изменении некоторых других законов, Вестник законов № 85 от 2011 г., поз. 455.

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