According to the Polish constitution, everyone has a right to education, and education is compulsory until the age of 18. Thus, the right to education is guaranteed not only to Polish citizens but to all children living in Poland, including beneficiaries of international protection, who have free and unlimited access to education in public schools until the age of 18 or the completion of high school. Concerning higher education, beneficiaries of international protection have free access to it under the conditions applicable to Polish citizens.
The situation of IP beneficiaries generally does not differ from the situation of asylum seekers (see above Access to education). The situation of IP beneficiaries can be worse because the schools near the reception centres are more familiar with the challenges related to foreign pupils than other schools in the country.
Data on the number of foreign children is collected through the nationwide Educational Information System. The analysis of this data and comparison with other information shows that the system of collecting information on foreign students is flawed and data is incomplete. This is mainly due to the difficulties in correctly determining the legal status of pupils by the school staff.
As research shows, even though there are instruments stipulated by the law and designed for foreign children, such as additional Polish language classes, compensatory classes, preparatory classes and cross-cultural teachers’ assistants, due to insufficient funding their implementation is often inadequate. Some research shows that the biggest shortcoming of the inclusion of refugee children in the education system is the lack of trainings and methodological support for teachers who work with them. Other studies highlighted that children beneficiaries face more obstacles than other children with an immigrant background because of disrupted or minimal prior education. The challenges might also include a lack of documentation of their education, credentials, and diplomas. This makes it difficult to assess their skills. In addition, refugee children often deal with PTSD caused by trauma, pain, and the protracted lack of stability.
In 2022 the issue of education of refugee children was dominated by the arrival of a large number of children from Ukraine (see TP report).
With regard to the education of adults, the most important issues appeared to be learning Polish language and recognition of education obtained in the countries of origin. Beneficiaries of international protection have free access to higher education, under the same conditions as Polish citizens (tuition, completed secondary-level education and a maturity certificate). Nonetheless, the absence of this document for refugees does not hinder their ability to pursue studies, as there is an administrative recognition procedure specifically designed for them.
Knowledge of the host country’s language is perceived as one of the most important factors of successful integration, determining access to education, labour market, health, etc. Beneficiaries of international protection are obliged to learn Polish if they participate in an integration programme (IPI), and if there is a need for their participation in a course. Participation in IPI does not include automatic registering for a Polish language course, because it depends on the availability of the courses. Assessment of the need to learn Polish is made by a social worker from the family support centre responsible for mentoring the beneficiaries of the IPI. However, it is not specified what level of Polish language the beneficiary should reach after accomplishing the programme. Another problem is that IPI lasts only 12 months and so is the obligatory period of participation in the Polish language course.
The key challenges in the language education of adults identified in the latest research were:
- finding the right course: those organised for free by NGOs are usually overcrowded, because of the huge interest, and the ones run by private language schools are expensive (and the price can be a deterrent factor, even if it is reimbursed within IPI);
- lack of effectiveness of the courses, the lack of methodology of teaching based on the needs of learners and the lack of different approaches depending on the group’s native languages;
- lack of possibility to combine work with courses. The lack of organised childcare during language classes also makes it difficult for women who take care of children to attend the class.
 K. Potoniec (ed), Comparative analysis of instruments supporting the integration of pupils under international protection in the educational systems of the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary, 2021, https://bit.ly/35FtMps, 12.
 K. Sobczak-Szelc, M. Pachocka, K. Pędziwiatr, J. Szałańska, ‘Integration Policies, Practices and Responses. Poland – Country Report’, Multilevel Governance of Mass Migration in Europe and Beyond Project (#770564, Horizon2020), available at: http://bit.ly/3bfjTxL, p. 135.
 Ibidem, 131.