Poland’s traditions of academic education goes back to 1364 when King Casimir the Great established the Cracow Academy, known today as the Jagiellonian University. The Cracow Academy, being one of the oldest in the world, took after academies in Bologna and Padua, and was the second university in Central Europe after Prague. About two centuries later, in 1579, King Stefan Batory transformed the existing Jesuit College in Vilnius into the Vilnius Academy and in 1661 Jan Casimir, King of Poland, transformed the Jesuit College into the Lvov Academy. Thus, by the end of the 17th century, the Poland and Lithuania Kingdoms had three flourishing universities providing academic education to both national and international students.
Today, the Polish higher education system is developing rapidly. Poland holds fourth place in Europe (after the United Kingdom, Germany and France) in terms of the number of people enrolled in higher education. The total student population at over 400 university level schools is almost 1,5 million. Each year almost half a million young people begin their education at universities and colleges. Most schools offer courses in foreign languages.
3. Bologna Process
Poland plays an active part in the Bologna Process. Owing to the introduction of three-stage education modelled on Bachelor/Master/Doctoral studies as well as the European Credit Transfer System, both Polish students and foreigners studying in Poland stay fully mobile and can continue their education elsewhere in the European Union. Within just the Erasmus Program that has been going on for over 20 years now, over 43,000 foreign students have come to study in Poland while almost 100,000 students from Poland have taken part of their education in another country within the European Union. Foreign students coming to Poland can expect the most attractive and diversified education opportunities meeting high European standards. They can study medicine, biotechnology or engineering, but also art and business. The diploma awarded to them upon graduation is recognised not only Europe-wide but also in key countries of the world.
4. High quality of education
The Polish higher education system is well developed. The quality of the education provided is monitored and regularly evaluated. The main Polish institutions in charge of quality assurance in higher education are: the Polish Accreditation Committee, the General Council for Science and Higher Education and the Conference of Rectors of the Academic Schools in Poland. There are over 5000 courses available in Poland and each of them has had to gain the Polish Accreditation Committee’s approval. Among them there are a number of fields of study that have received the grade: excellent. The list of excellent fields of study is available at the Polish Accreditation Committee website: http://www.pka.edu.pl/?q=en/oceny.
5. Competitive costs of living and studying
Compared to other EU countries, the tuition fees in Poland are highly competitive and the costs of living are a fraction of what a foreign student would have to spend in other European cities. More information is available here and here.