Education in Poland
The Commission of National Education (Komisja Edukacji Narodowej) established in 1773, was the world’s first state ministry of education. The education of Polish society was a goal of the nation’s rulers as early as the 12th century. The library catalogue of the Cathedral Chapter of Kraków dating back to 1110 shows that in the early 12th century Polish academia had access to European and Classical literature. The Jagiellonian University was founded in 1364 by King Casimir III in Kraków—the school is the world’s 19th oldest university.
The modern-day Programme for International Student Assessment, coordinated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, ranks Poland’s educational system in its PISA 2012 as the 10th best in the world, scoring higher than the OECD average.
Education in Poland starts at the age of five or six (with the particular age chosen by the parents) for the ‘0’ class (Kindergarten) and six or seven years in the 1st class of primary school (Polish szkoła podstawowa). It is compulsory that children participate in one year of formal education before entering the 1st class at no later than 7 years of age. Corporal punishment of children in schools is officially prohibited since 1783 (before the partitions) and criminalised since 2010 (in schools as well as at home).
At the end of the 6th class when students are 13, students take a compulsory exam that will determine their acceptance and transition into a specific lower secondary school (gimnazjum, pronounced gheem-nah-sium) (Middle School/Junior High). They will attend this school for three years during classes 7, 8, and 9. Students then take another compulsory exam to determine the upper secondary level school they will attend. There are several alternatives, the most common being the three years in a liceum or four years in a technikum. Both end with a maturity examination (matura—similar to French baccalauréat), and may be followed by several forms of higher education, leading to licencjat or inżynier (the Polish Bologna Process first cycle qualification), magister (second cycle qualification) and eventually doktor (third cycle qualification).
In Poland, there are 500 university-level institutions for the pursuit of higher education. There are 18 fully accredited traditional universities, 20 technical universities, 9 independent medical universities, 5 universities for the study of economics, 9 agricultural academies, 3 pedagogical universities, a theological academy, 3 maritime service universities and 4 national military academies. Also, there are a number of higher educational institutions dedicated to the teaching of the arts—amongst these are the 7 academies of music.
Education in the Czech Republic is free and compulsory from ages 6 to 15. In 1996, the gross primary enrollment rate was 104 percent, and in 1995, the net primary enrollment rate was 86.9 percent. Primary school attendance rates were unavailable for the Czech Republic as of 2001. While enrollment rates indicate a level of commitment to education, they do not always reflect children’s participation in school. Many ethnic Roma children attend school less regularly and attend “special schools” for mentally disabled or socially maladjusted individuals. While the public school system is free and does not create significant financial barriers for children to attend, the private schools, particularly in Prague, are largely financially inaccessible for the majority of local population and thus also represent an element of exclusion, educating children separately from the rest of their peers.
- Preschools – (from 2 to 5 years old)
- Primary (elementary) – (from 6 to 15 years old, mandatory)
- Professional secondary (high) schools, grammar schools (gymnasium), vocational schools and courses
Education in the Czech Republic is free, but there are some exceptions like preschools which are paid by parents, though the last year before entering elementary school is free. There is also a long-standing discussion about paying fees for attending university. However, as education is free, parents only pay for textbooks, basic equipment and food if their child eats in a school cafeteria. The state pays health insurance for students up to 26 years of age.
Higher professional schools
Higher professional schools (vyšší odborná škola, VOŠ) is a type of school offering professional tertiary education. Schools offering this type of education are usually connected with professional high schools. In the end, the students have to take final exams (absolutorium) and write an absolvent thesis. Graduates are entitled to use the title “DiS” (diplomovaný specialista, specialist with diploma) after their name.
Higher education in the Czech Republic consist of public, state (police and military) and private universities. Study at public universities is unlimited and free (for education made in Czech language and first time attendants), but after the age of 26, the attendant will not receive the student status from social services and state would not pay his health insurance if he continues studying. Foreign students can attend as well, with choice to attend education made in Czech language for free, or pay for education done in English.
For private Universities a fee falls between 2,000 and 3,000 euro and for BSBA and MBA (not accredited by Ministry of Education) study programs between 3,000 and 10,000 euro. Prestige and qualities of education and research of public and state universities is much higher than private ones. Private universities have undergone many scandals in recent years.
Education takes from 2 to 6 years, depending on degree of studies, every degree is requirement for another:
- Bachelor degree programs– lasts usually 3 years, title Bc. (bakalář) or BcA. (bakalář umění) (only artistic fields of study), Maturita level is required. Students must pass final exam (státní zkouška, state exam – despite its name, this exam is not organized by state, but by universities themselves; at some universities required only if the student did not have good notes during his studies) and present their thesis.
- Master degree programs– Bachelor degree required, except of law, pharmacy and 1st stage teaching (5 years programs, maturita required) and medicine (6 years programs, maturita required). They are finished by final exam (státní zkouška, for medicine státní rigorózní zkouška) and thesis presentation.
- Doctor study programs, Ph.D. title. Except of these titles, more titles containing “Dr.” exist. These titles are granted after a special exam (rigorózní zkouška), containing also a thesis presentation.
Education in Cyprus
Cyprus has a highly developed system of primary and secondary education offering both public and private education. The high quality of instruction can be attributed in part to the fact that nearly 7% of the GDP is spent on education which makes Cyprus one of the top three spenders of education in the EU along with Denmark and Sweden.
State schools are generally seen as equivalent in quality of education to private-sector institutions. However, the value of a state high-school diploma is limited by the fact that the grades obtained account for only around 25% of the final grade for each topic, with the remaining 75% assigned by the teacher during the semester, in a minimally transparent way. Cypriot universities (like universities in Greece) ignore high school grades almost entirely for admissions purposes. While a high-school diploma is mandatory for university attendance, admissions are decided almost exclusively on the basis of scores at centrally administered university entrance examinations that all university candidates are required to take.
The majority of Cypriots receive their higher education at Greek, British, Turkish, other European and North American universities. It is noteworthy that Cyprus currently has the highest percentage of citizens of working age who have higher-level education in the EU at 30% which is ahead of Finland’s 29.5%. In addition, 47% of its population aged 25–34 have tertiary education, which is the highest in the EU. The body of Cypriot students is highly mobile, with 78.7% studying in a university outside Cyprus.
Source: Wikipedia Cyprus