Detailed additional information on education opportunities for Ukrainian children
Admission of students arriving from abroad to schools in Poland is carried out on an ongoing basis, during the school year. According to the regulations, a student arriving from abroad is qualified for the appropriate class or semester and admitted to:
- public primary school, the perimeter of which has been established, competent for the place of residence of the student – ex officio (that is: the school cannot refuse admission) and on the basis of documents; if it is not possible to admit a child to a perimeter primary school, the school’s governing body should indicate another school that will admit the child.
- public primary school other than the one connected to the student’s place of residence – on the basis of documents, if the school has vacancies;
- public secondary school – on the basis of documents, if the school has vacancies.
Determination of the class (year of study) is made on the basis of documents issued by the school abroad, and in the absence of such documents, a statement by the parents on the total years of study abroad. For example: if a child in a given school year studied in the 9th grade at a school in Ukraine, then upon arrival in Poland he/she should also be admitted to the 9th year of study, i.e. to the first grade of secondary school.
A child may be enrolled in school by a parent, guardian or other person who has custody.
How to enroll a child to school
- Collect documents from your child’s previous education (certificates, diplomas, etc.). If you do not have them – write a statement of the total years of education completed with an indication of the institution the child attended.
- There is no need to translate the documents into Polish.
- Contact the Polish school of your choice and submit an application for admission to the school. The application for admission of your child to the school can be written by hand or on a form available on the website of the selected school.
- The decision on admission is made by the director of the school.
- The primary school in district where a child resides is obliged to accept him/her unless there are no vacancies in the school.
- If there is no free vacancies in a particular grade at the school of your choice, contact the municipality where you live and ask for a school where your child will be able to study.
- For information on the availability of places in primary or secondary schools, contact your city or municipal office. A list of all primary and secondary schools is available in the Register of Schools and Educational Institutions.
- A child’s lack of Polish language skills is not an obstacle to school admission.
- A student from Ukraine who do not know Polish sufficiently is entitled to an additional Polish language classes of no less than 6 hours per week; the school organizes these classes.
- The school may also create so-called preparatory classes. Students in the preparatory classes have at least 6 hours a week of Polish language, the remaining hours can be freely allocated by the head teacher to carry out activities that support the students’ adaptation and prepare them for further education in regular classes.
- Foreign students can benefit from remedial classes in their academic subjects.
- Students and their parents can count on psychological and pedagogical assistance in connection with the migration experience, provided by psychologists, pedagogues and educational therapists, among others.
Choice of education in the Polish system or in the Ukrainian system
The Ukrainian Ministry of Education advises: studying abroad provides a number of opportunities for a child. Among them are socialization in a new community and communication with peers, learning a new environment and language, psychological support of the child if necessary, the opportunity to learn in a different education system.
Return to Ukraine after attending school in other country:
The Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science has several bilateral agreements with key refugee hosting countries on mutual recognition of grades, certificates and diplomas. Ukraine is also part of the international ENIC-NARIC network for recognition of skills and competences. It is very important that parents keep records of the previous learning of their children in Ukraine (cf. report cards, evaluations, grades, diplomas, certificates). These will in most cases be taken into account when a child is assessed and placed in a host country school. Refugee children and youth that have studied abroad can also get their learning validated in the Ukrainian education system once they return. The Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science has issued methodological guidance on education recognition, explaining how children returning from abroad can get their learning history in secondary education abroad validated in Ukrainian schools.
There are two options available to Ukrainian families when it comes to schooling in Poland, or a hybrid modality of these two:
I) Continuing education in the Ukrainian system using distance learning methods and techniques
The website of the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science has information about the possibility of continuing education remotely in the Ukrainian education system online. The Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine recommends that students join the school where they studied in Ukraine if the school has organized distance learning. Parents can also apply to enroll a student in the International Ukrainian School or to educational centers that provide educational services to Ukrainian children in accordance with the standards of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, cooperate with the International Ukrainian School or other Ukrainian school, if distance learning is organized in these schools. Digital versions of textbooks for all grades (I-XI) and other teaching materials, including dictionaries (including Ukrainian-Polish), are available on the website of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine and the Institute for Modernization of Educational Content.
In the case of a child’s continuation of education exclusively in a Ukrainian school online or in the distance form of education, the parent or person who has custody of the child or student submits a statement to the Polish municipality having jurisdiction over the child’s or student’s place of residence that the child or student is continuing education in the Ukrainian educational system. Then they are not subject to compulsory education in Poland. This statement serves as information about Ukrainian childrens’ educational status in the municipality. If a parent or guardian does not make such a statement, the child or pupil will be expected to enroll in a Polish school or kindergarten and fulfill the compulsory schooling and education, as defined by the provisions of Polish educational law.
II) Application to a school functioning in the Polish educational system:
Children and pupils who are citizens of Ukraine, whose parents choose not to continue their education in the Ukrainian system, are covered by the provisions of compulsory annual preschool preparation, compulsory education, in accordance with the provisions of the Polish educational law. If a parent or guardian of a child or pupil submits a statement to the municipality having jurisdiction over the child’s or pupil’s place of residence that the child or pupil will continue education in the Ukrainian educational system, the child or pupil does not have to attend a Polish kindergarten or school. If the parent or guardian does not make such a statement, or withdraws it, the child must be admitted to a Polish school, thus fulfilling the relevant educational obligations under the Polish legal system.
The provisions of Polish educational law do not prohibit the admission to a Polish school or kindergarten of children and students who are citizens of Ukraine and who have received education in a kindergarten or school operating within the Ukrainian educational system. If the parent or guardian of a student-citizen of Ukraine decides to implement compulsory schooling or education in a Polish school, the statement on the continuation of education by the child or student in the Ukrainian educational system – submitted to the municipal office, should be withdrawn by him.
III) Hybrid learning
Children and pupils from Ukraine who receive education in schools within the Ukrainian educational system in the mode of online education, may at the same time be students of Polish schools if they choose to.
Enrolment in a host country school does not exclude refugee children from Ukraine to remain enrolled in on-line education according to the curriculum of Ukraine. The Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science allows children to continue following on-line lessons as distance learning students, externships, home education or in an individual educational trajectory in parallel. Exams and evaluations are organized online for certain grades.
Parents should evaluate the quality and continuity of these education options before considering them. For on-line education it is important that children have spaces were they can study on-line (a separate room in the house, or a space in the local school they can use after the normal teaching hours of the school). They also need to have access to adequate WiFi and electronic devices to allow them to learn online.
Parents should also consider the workload of children if they are in education in the host country and studying Ukrainian curriculum at the same time. Following parts of the Ukrainian curriculum for subjects that are not taught in the host country, such as Ukrainian language, history and culture is very useful to maintain linguistic and cultural links with the country of origin. Subjects that are taught in both the host country and in the Ukrainian education system, such as mathematics and sciences, are recommended to be followed only in the host country school where the child is enrolled.
When complementary forms of education in addition to education in the national school system are considered, parents should make sure that any learning that takes place is recognized and rewarded with official grades or certificates, so as not to lose any credentials of time in learning.
Preparatory classes for students – citizens of Ukraine
A child may be enrolled in a regular class with Polish peers or in a preparatory classes, which are attended by children coming from abroad. Preparatory classes are a good choice for students who:
- do not know the Polish language or know it at a level insufficient to benefit from learning;
- have communication or adaptation difficulties related to cultural differences or to a change in the educational environment.
Special act on aid to Ukrainian citizens
The Act include concerning solutions on education system:
- the possibility of creating other locations for teaching, educational and care-related activities organizationally subordinated not only to schools but also to nursery schools;
- the possibility for the school head to assign overtime hours to a teacher (with his/her consent) in more than 1/2 of the compulsory teaching time per week;
- facilitate the employment of Ukrainian citizens who know Polish in speech and writing to the extent that it is possible to help a student who does not speak Polish;
- exempt from fees for persons from Ukraine injured as a result of hostilities for submitting an application to the Superintendent of Education for recognition of the level of education in Poland and having the right to continue education at university.
- The headmaster may expel a Ukrainian student when:
– the child or pupil/student no longer resides in the area in which the nursery, other preschool education setting, school or educational institution is located,
– the child or pupil has ceased to attend classes in a nursery, pre-primary class, other preschool education setting, school or institution within a period of two months for at least 50% of school days.