Summary of Desk research

Lifelong learning is understood as personal and social development in all forms and in all settings, in formal, non-formal and informal system, ie. at schools and vocational training centres, universities and institutions of adult education as well as informally at home ,at work and in the community.

In Poland, the lifelong learning policy is based on the national strategic document Lifelong Learning Perspective adopted in 2013 and developed in order to ensure coherent actions in the area of lifelong learning. This document combines the process of education, adult learning and the gathering of occupational experience into one process of learning throughout a lifetime. The aim of the process is to continually develop competences, maintain occupational activity and possess competences and qualifications relevant for the needs of employers, thus offering flexibility at times of occupational crisis. This document also forms the basis for many systemic changes taking place in this regard in Poland, such as:

  • introduction of the National Qualifications System based on the National Qualifications Framework and the European Qualification Framework,
  • recognition of the human as the policy focus which is reflected in the strategic objective formulated as Children and young people well prepared to lifelong learning and adults extending and improving their competences and qualifications to match the challenges they face in their occupational, social and personal lives;
  • the effectiveness of the policy should be measured by indicators relating to people. At the same time, emphasis is put on the need to adapt education and training to individual needs as the effect of acceptance of the assumption of focusing on the human and hence – systemically – it becomes indispensable to reorient models for the financing of tasks in education and training. One of strategic intervention directions that has been adopted is Promotion of demand-based methods of financing of adult education and training; and
  • modernisation of vocational education as a positive choice for young people.

Detailed studies done in Poland (Study of Intellectual Capital, PAED) show continued disadvantageous tendencies in this regard. According to the report on after-school education („Kształcenie po szkole” (Polish version only), Konrad Turek, Barbara Worek, 2015) “within 12 months preceding the fifth study (that is nearly throughout 2013), 37% of Poles aged 18–59/64 (about 9.2 million) improved their competencies in the form of courses, training, self-learning or formal education”. Amongst them:

  • 20% (4.8 million) joined courses, training events, workshops, lectures, seminars, conferences, practical training, occupational internships or post-graduate studies,
  • 6% (1.4 million) participated in obligatory work safety and fire-prevention courses;
  • 14% (3.5 million) improved their competences joining non-mandatory courses and training events;
  • 20% (5 million) learnt on their own (learning something new or acquiring experience with the help of their family, friends, colleagues at work; books, professional journals; computer programmes and the Internet; programmes broadcast on television, radio, museums, exhibitions, galleries and centres of science). Involvement in self-learning was increasing systematically for five years (from 10% in 2010);
  • 14% (3.4 million) of the respondents joined formal education (learning at secondary schools or tertiary schools).

A decisive majority of Poles (63%) did not improve their competences in any way last year, not even through self-learning and 34% of Poles declared that they had never participated in courses, training events, workshops, practical training or any other forms of education. In the group of people aged 25–59/64, 31% improved their qualifications in various forms, including 14% of people joining non-mandatory courses and training events.

The said report notes that the structure of people engaging in lifelong learning includes people with higher education who are motivated regardless of their age. Amongst Poland’s sixteen regions, Małopolska ranks second in terms of participation in non-mandatory courses and training events, moreover it is one of two regions where an increase is noted in this regard.

Stakeholders involved in the process include policy makers at national and regional level (Regional Executive Board), institutions implementing training services, institutions of school education and higher education (including the scientific communities), entrepreneurs, business institutions, supporting institutions: career advisors, public employment services, NGOs.

Summary of practical results

From the learners’ standpoint educational opportunities should  respond to the labour market needs. This goal could be achieved by increasing the participation of employers in the process of training program’s development.

The recognition of customer’s needs should be emphasized more; the role of training institutions in this aspects is valid therefore should be strengthened.

Employers should be involved in the process of adult learning. The importance of in-house training in companies is stressed, especially for training specialists in particular types of industry. Employers’ efforts in this area should be supported through different programs/grants (eg. The National Training Fund).

The process of providing information about various learning opportunities should involve not only educational and training institutions but also a wider range of different actors, such as employers, government, research institutions, industry experts, etc.

The greater effectiveness of the implementation of lifelong learning polices will be ensured if the activities in this area are conducted by different actors cooperating in partnership (government, business, NGOs).

There is a need for a tool verifying the quality of the training offer, because the final effect for the learner, the result he or she can achieve depends on the quality of the training.

The learning outcomes acquired outside the formal system are recognized and verified by the employers. Certificates confirming qualifications acquired are important for employers depending on the rank of the document, the recognition of the certifying authority on the market, branch of industry and the dynamics of change in certain branch of industry.

Outcomes of the FORUMS

1. It is important to act towards enhancing the commitment of employers to the implementation of the LLL policy regarding:

  • development of career paths and career counselling at companies,
  • preparation of the educational offer and identification of competence gaps,
  • delivery of training (sectoral, which is as practical as possible); it is also important to enhance the awareness of the need to develop staff competences and undertake relevant activities,
  • validation of competences – through the involvement in the process by, e.g. identification of competence requirements and establishment of sectoral frameworks in the industries and raining awareness of what the process of validation is about and building trust in the process,
  • cooperation at the level of the industry /sector and at the strategic level to develop the lifelong learning policy.

2. It is necessary to develop solutions to standardise the process of validation of qualifications acquired through non-formal education and informal learning with the utilisation of the potential and resources of training providers, labour market institutions, entrepreneurs and the persons interested in having their competences confirmed.

3. It is necessary to enhance the network of cooperation between institutions to provide information and counselling on the possibilities of having competences confirmed and developing qualifications, promote the idea of competence balance as a tool providing motivation for career development.

4. Quality determines the learning outcomes. There is a need for standardization and certification of training services to provide top-quality educational offer. On the other hand, learning should be tied closely to practice – the award of a certification should mean actual validation of competences. The award of document completing a form of educational activity should mean that the learning outcomes have been checked, e.g. though tests, examinations, etc.

Prominent fact

The “Development Strategy of the Małopolska Region for 2011-2020 Małopolska 2020. Unlimited Possibilities” and the draft of the Intellectual Capital and the Labour Market Strategic Programme set new tasks for the Małopolska Partnership for Lifelong Learning. These were formulated in the „Action Plan for the Małopolska Partnership for Lifelong Learning until 2020”. The main directions of action for MPKU (Małopolska Partnership for Lifelong Learning ) until 2020 include primarily:

  • involvement in a programme for the development of mechanisms for the validation and recognition of qualifications obtained through non-formal education and informal learning,
  • involvement in the development of a concept for the functioning of a system of lifelong counselling in Małopolska,
  • involvement in activities promoting the financing of training through vouchers,
  • program for the development of lifelong learning attitudes,
  • engagement of SME circles into the pursuance of MPKU tasks.

Main axis of fostering the convergence within Europe

— Implementation of vouchers system for financing lifelong learning for enterprises and individuals along with a quality system

— Implementation of validation of lifelong learning skills for individuals

— Development of job advising as a tool for individuals in order to manage their career

Find below a list of related links:

Perspektywa Uczenia się przez całe życie
Uczenie się przez całe życie
Plan działań Małopolskiego Partnerstwa na rzecz Kształcenia
Barometr zawodów 2015
Festiwal Zawodów w Małopolsce
Od Europejskich do Krajowych Ram Kwalifikacji
Raport referencyjny
Programowanie perspektywy finansowej 2014 -2020
Projekt Regionalnego Programu Operacyjnego Województwa Małopolskiego na lata 2014- 2020
Zalecenie Rady
Developing of the Qualifications System



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