copy the linklink copied!Executive summary

copy the linklink copied!OECD-Poland collaboration on the OECD Skills Strategy project

This National Skills Strategy (NSS) project provides Poland with tailored findings and recommendations on its skills performance from an international perspective, and supports the development and implementation of Poland’s Integrated Skills Strategy. The NSS project was launched at the Skills Strategy Seminar in Warsaw in October 2018, with senior representatives from the Ministry of National Education; the Ministry of Science and Higher Education; the Ministry of Digital Affairs; the Ministry of Investment and Economic Development; the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy; and the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology. Also present were the Educational Research Institute, the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development and the European Commission. During each OECD mission to Poland in February and May 2019, the OECD engaged with a range of ministries and government agencies and over 50 stakeholder organisations in interactive workshops, group discussions and bilateral meetings (see Annex A). This process provided invaluable input that shaped the findings and recommendations in this report.

copy the linklink copied!Key findings and opportunities for improving Poland’s skills performance

Three important themes emerged from the National Skills Strategy project for Poland:

  • Equipping students with skills for the future: Students and institutions need greater incentives and support to respond to labour market needs, and the adult learning system must do a better job at allowing past graduates to upskill and reskill during adulthood. Adults' skills must be put to better use in workplaces to mitigate skills imbalances, and skills needs information should be improved.

  • Developing a culture of lifelong learning in Poland: Youth, adults and enterprises require a mindset of lifelong learning. This starts in Poland’s formal education system. However, improving the awareness, flexibility and funding of adult learning can help to boost participation. Polish employers can maintain and augment adults’ skills by utilising them more fully on the job. This will require effective co-ordination between government, social partners and enterprises.

  • Strengthening co-ordination between governments and stakeholders: Employers can help improve Poland’s skills performance by co-operating with education institutions, supporting worker training and implementing high-performance work practices. Social partners have an important role in raising awareness of skills and learning, supporting employers and employees to develop skills, and contributing to skills governance. Central and subnational governments can build trust and co-operation, as well as improve skills information and funding, to improve Poland’s skills performance.

The OECD and the Government of Poland identified four priority areas for improving Poland’s skills performance. These priority areas are the focus of this report. The key findings and opportunities for improvement in each of the areas are summarised below and elaborated in subsequent chapters, which also have detailed policy recommendations.

Priority 1: Making the education system more responsive to labour market needs (Chapter 2)

A responsive education system allows graduates to develop a set of skills that are aligned with short- and long-term labour market needs. This can benefit individuals, enterprises and the economy as a whole. However, graduates of the vocational education and training (VET) system in Poland have struggled to find employment, despite strong shortages in vocational occupations. Graduates of the higher education (HE) system have been more successful, but they are often not well matched to their jobs. VET schools and HE institutions have been only partially successful at equipping graduates with strong foundational skills. Recent reforms aim to improve the responsiveness of the VET and HE systems.

Poland has opportunities to make the education system more responsive to labour market needs by:

  • Expanding career counselling services in education institutions.

  • Strengthening incentives for education institutions to align their offer with labour market needs.

  • Improving incentives and support for effective teaching.

  • Strengthening collaboration between education institutions and employers.

Priority 2: Fostering greater participation in adult learning of all forms (Chapter 3)

Adults’ ongoing, life-wide learning in workplaces, educational institutions, communities and homes is becoming increasingly important for Poland’s development. While Poland has successfully raised adult levels of formal educational attainment, many adults in Poland remain low skilled, especially older adults. And despite the growing importance of developing adults’ skills for Poland, participation in adult learning of all forms is relatively low. Adults with low educational attainment, in rural areas or working in micro- and small-sized enterprises are particularly disengaged from learning. Many adults in Poland report that they do not participate and do not want to participate in formal and/or non-formal adult education or training. Although the benefits of adult learning in Poland are relatively high, the majority of adults state that they have no need for further learning.

Poland has opportunities to foster greater participation in adult learning of all forms by:

  • Raising awareness of adult learning benefits and opportunities.

  • Making learning more flexible and accessible for adults.

  • Better sharing and targeting financing to increase participation in adult learning.

Priority 3: Strengthening the use of skills in Polish workplaces (Chapter 4)

Putting skills to better use in the workplace is important for workers, employers and the broader economy, with benefits for both the economy and society. However, the skills of Poland’s working population are not optimally used in workplaces. While average literacy scores in Poland are comparable with the OECD average, the use of reading skills is far below the OECD average. A similar gap exists for the use of information and communication technology (ICT), writing and problem-solving skills. There is a strong, positive link between the intensive use of skills and the adoption of high-performance workplace practices (HPWP). However, Polish firms are adopting HPWP at a lower rate than their counterparts in most other OECD countries.

Poland has opportunities to strengthen the use of skills in workplaces by:

  • Raising awareness of the relevance of effective skills use and related HPWP.

  • Supporting enterprises and organisations to adopt HPWP.

  • Equipping management staff with the right skills to implement HPWP.

  • Engaging employees effectively to implement HPWP.

Priority 4: Strengthening the governance of the skills system in Poland (Chapter 5)

Effective governance arrangements are essential to support Poland’s performance in developing and using people’s skills, and for achieving the goals of the Integrated Skills Strategy (Zintegrowana Strategia Umiejętności). The success of policies to develop and use people’s skills will require effective co-ordination between government, learners, educators, workers, employers, trade unions, and others.

Poland has opportunities to strengthen the governance of the skills system by:

  • Strengthening co-operation on skills policy at the national level.

  • Strengthening vertical and subnational co-operation on skills policy.

  • Integrating and using skills information effectively.


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