Secondary education

Background and policy

Secondary schools in Poland that provide secondary education, i.e. high schools and technical schools, the length varies from 3 to 5 years. Education is compulsory until 18 years old.

Types of facilities

Types of secondary schools:

  • 4-year high school (liceum ogólnokształcące) – High schools prepare Will prepare for the baccalaureate exam after which one can continue their education at a University. As a rule, high schools offer specialized classes, where one will complete a basic curriculum in all compulsory subjects and an expanded one in several leading subjects of their choosing.
  • 5-year technical school (technikum), – technical schools prepare for the baccalaureate exam and a vocational exam (based on additional directional subjects).
  • 3-year stage I sectoral vocational school (first level) (branżowa szkoła I stopnia) – vocational school provides the opportunity to quickly acquire a specific profession, such as a chef, hairdresser, auto mechanic, electrician, tailor or other. After graduating from a 3-year vocational school of the first level and passing the vocational exam, one can start their career
  • 2-year stage II sectoral vocational school (second level) (branżowa szkoła II stopnia) – after completing Ist level of education at a vocational school, one can enroll into the second level which after graduation allows to take the baccalaureate exam and continue their education at a University


Public secondary schools are free of charge. In vocational education practical training at an employer means that a vocational students receive a salary for his/her tasks.


Education in Poland is compulsory and lasts until the completion of primary school, but no longer than the completion of 18 years of age. 

Enrollment process

Main enrollment process for secondary schools for next school year begins in May every year (although it is possible to enroll into school at any moment during year, but in that case it is only based on school vacancies).

Enrollment process into grade I in secondary school may vary between municipalities. In some cities recruitment is digital and one must register and follow procedures online. Before completing the application, one needs to read the rules, criteria and recruitment schedule. Recruitment criteria depend on the number of obtained points.


Graduation from secondary school ends with a school completion certificate.

In the end of last school year in High School or Technical school (4th year of High School or 5th year of technical school), if the student graduated last grade of secondary school he/she can take a baccalaureate exam (matura):

The baccalaureate exam is conducted on the basis of the requirements of the general education curriculum for secondary school and takes place in the period from May to September, in the main, supplementary and corrective terms.

The results of the baccalaureate exam are the primary criterion for admission to the various fields of higher education.

The baccalaureate exam consists of two parts: compulsory and additional.

In the compulsory part, the graduate takes subjects:

  • Polish language (written and oral part);
  • modern foreign language (written and oral part),
  • mathematics (written part);
  • national minority language – for graduates of schools or departments with teaching of the language of a national minority (written and oral part).

The written part of the matriculation exam is taken at the basic level. For the matriculation exam in the oral part, the level of the exam is not specified. For subjects passed in the compulsory part, a passing threshold (30%) is determined. Graduates are required to take the baccalaureate exam in at least one additional subject at an expanded level, with a specified pass rate (30%).

Each graduate has the right to take the matriculation exam in no more than 5 of the following additional subjects:

  • in the oral part from: ethnic minority language, national minority language, modern foreign language, regional language;
  • in the written part from: biology, chemistry, philosophy, physics, geography, history, history of music, history of art, computer science, Latin language and ancient culture, ethnic minority language, national minority language, modern foreign language, Polish language, regional language, mathematics, knowledge of society.

The baccalaureate exam in additional subjects is conducted at the expanded level or, in the case of modern foreign languages, at the expanded or bilingual level.

The exam in a modern foreign language is conducted in English, French, Spanish, German, Russian, Italian.

For graduates of: vocational schools, technical schools, post-secondary schools there is vocational qualification exam:

  • The vocational qualification exam is a form of assessing the level of mastery of person’s knowledge and skills in one qualification of a separate profession, as established in the program basis of education in the profession of vocational training.
  • The vocational exam is conducted on the basis of the requirements set forth in the program basis of education in the profession of vocational education.
  • The exam consists of two parts: written part – 40 closed tasks duration 60 minutes; the practical part – duration from 120 to 240 minutes, depending on the qualification.