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Poland - Country Summary

PopulationLiteracy rateGDP per capitaUnemployment rateInflation rateEthnic Groups (%)
(in millions) (%) ($) (%) (%) Polish German Ukrainian Belorussian
38.6 99.8 5.270 19.5 3.4 97.6 1.3 0.6 0.5


Since 1999 school education has followed a 6+3+3 pattern (primary, gymnasium then general lyceum, specialised lyceum, or secondary technical schools). Compulsory education lasts from the age of 7 to 18 until the completion of gymnasium. Completion of three years of Gymnasium leads to examinations, which will determine the route of further education.

Both school and higher level education is centrally supervised by the Ministry of National Education and sport. Polish education acts define the basis for the functioning of universities by setting out the:

  • degree of autonomy and central supervision
  • internal organisation of universities
  • competencies of university self-governing bodies
  • rules for employment of academic teachers
  • definition of rights and duties of students

Public universities are funded from the state budget allocated by the Minister of National Education.

The medium of instruction is Polish. However, there are also minority schools teaching in other languages including Slovak, Lithuanian, German, Ukrainian and Belorussian.

The school academic year runs from September to June.


Poland is a democracy with a president as head of state.

The President is elected by popular vote to serve a maximum of two five-year terms, he or she appoints the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister (from the largest party in the Sejam). The Parliament consists of two houses, the Senat and the Sejam with members elected by proportional representation to the Sejam and through a majority vote divided among the provinces to the Senat.

Poland remains close to its Eastern neighbours including Ukraine and Belarus and works to maintain good governance, economic stability, civil society and promote EU values. Considering the recent history of Poland as an international battleground (the flat open territory has made the country difficult to defend) the role it plays in boosting international stability is an understandable one.

Economics / Resources

Following its political freedom Poland underwent major development in an effort to modernise the economy and is now recognised as having one of the strongest economies in Central Europe. Its close proximity to Germany and relatively low wages have led to considerable foreign direct investment.

Heavy industry remains the largest economic sector with chief exports including machinery and semi manufactured goods.