Access to education


Country Report: Access to education Last updated: 10/07/24



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 Reception Conditions: 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 third country national 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.[1] The Ministry of Education confirmed that such reports are not publicly available.[2]

As research shows, even though there are instruments stipulated by the law designed for migrant children,[3] such as additional Polish language classes, compensatory classes, preparatory classes and cross-cultural teachers’ assistants, due to insufficient funding their implementation is often inadequate.[4] 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.[5] 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.[6] Since 2022, the public debate on education for refugee children was mostly focused on the necessity to manage the arrival of a large number of children from Ukraine (see TP report). In 2023, the main problem identified in recent research regarding the education of foreign children was the shortage of Polish language classes, which were either not organised or not adapted to the needs of foreign students.[7]

Certain shortcomings – such as an insufficient number of teachers – emerged after the arrival of a larger number of foreign children in Polish schools after the outbreak of war in Ukraine. Another challenge regarded the fact that certain classes were only comprised of migrant children. Additionally, problems regarding the lack of monitoring of school attendance and limited cooperation between schools and parents were also observed.[8]

The main challenges for adults in education appeared to be learning Polish language and recognition of education certificates obtained in the countries of origin.[9] 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). The absence of relevant document for refugees does not hinder their ability to pursue studies, as there is an administrative recognition procedure specifically designed for these cases.[10]

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.[11] 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.[12]




[1] 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,, 12.

[2] Information from the Ministry of Education, 12 February 2024.

[3] Council of Europe, European Commission Agqainst Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), Report on Poland, sixth monitoring cycle, September 2023,, 23.

[4] K. Sobczak-Szelc, M. Pachocka, K. Pędziwiatr, J. Szałańska, M. Szulecka, From Reception to Integration of Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Poland, 2023, available at:, 121.

[5] 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:, p. 135.

[6] K. Sobczak-Szelc, M. Pachocka, K. Pędziwiatr, J. Szałańska, M. Szulecka, From Reception to Integration of Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Poland, 2023, available at:, 122.

[7] Council of Europe, European Commission Agqainst Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), Report on Poland, sixth monitoring cycle, September 2023,, 23.

[8] Programme of Integration of Immigrants in the Malopolska Region, ‘Open Malopolska’, Program integracji imigrantów w województwie małopolskim „Małopolska otwarta”, 24 October 2023, available (PL) at:, 13.

[9] Ibidem.

[10] Ibidem.

[11] Ibidem.

[12] Ibidem, 131.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation