Polish shops, clubs, newspapers, products and business are all over England. And now a Polish university has come to London, the first in history. The Academy of Humanities and Economics of Lodz has set up a branch in the UK. The school has begun operations with an Information and Admission Desk in a room rented from the Phoenix High School in Shepherd’s Bush, west London.
Young Poles living in England can choose from five faculties: management, educational science, political science, nursing and information technology.
Undergraduate and masters courses started in October. All the courses will be conducted via the Internet in a Polish Virtual University, one of the projects run by the Academy of Lodz. Twice a year the students will have to visit Poland to pass their exams in Lodz. If they need additional information or help, they can meet with the university faculty or use the computers and training materials at Phoenix High School.
The academics will remain permanently in England, because the majority of them are Poles working in British universities. As many as 750,000 Poles aged 18 to 35 are estimated to be working in England. Last year more than 1,500 Polish students were accepted by British universities, a 50 percent rise since 2005.
But for a great number of Poles, studying in England is still unattainable. They often do not have sufficient language skills to study in English. In addition, the majority of Poles find that education in England is too expensive. The Polish Virtual University is significantly cheaper than British colleges. The students will develop their professional skills to increase the opportunity for better jobs. Together with a degree, students will receive a Diploma Supplement Label, which is intended to give the degree acceptance not only in Poland but also abroad. The Polish Virtual University can also provide a higher degree for young people who decided to break off their studies in Poland and move to England.
They will be able to finish their education as the Virtual University recognizes previous exams taken in Poland. The Polish Virtual University quickly stirred considerable interest in London. The number of young Poles willing to sign up for next year’s courses surpassed the expectations of university officials. About 150 are already signed up. The university has also attracted British media attention. The information about the school has appeared in the Times newspaper, BBC and London information outlets.