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POLAND: Higher Education Reform
As of today, a wide-ranging reform of the higher education system has come into force in Poland. The reform, spearheaded by Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Gowin, changes all aspects of higher education such as institutional organisation, financing and the academic career course. Higher education in Poland has always been plagued with many bureaucratic requirements – the new bill integrates four separate laws, which has cut the number of regulations by half. The Ministry of Science and Higher Education hopes that the bill will financially incentivise universities to reduce their student numbers and focus instead on attracting the most capable students. The bill will be implemented gradually, with some organisational changes coming into life as late as 31 August 2020 to give Polish universities time to prepare. Still, the bill has many enemies among students, academic teachers, and opposition politicians. Opponents of the solution argue that the reform will marginalize entities in smaller cities, consequently putting poorer Poles at a disadvantage. With 400 higher education entities in Poland, 250 of the private, only a handful will be able to benefit from the changes in full extent. If Gowin’s bill does not prove successful before the 2019 parliamentary elections, his position in the ruling camp may be weakened considerably.