The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has published its annual report, “Education at a Glance,” on education in its member countries. The report’s analysis of the Polish education system is not very impressive. Poland ranked last of the 30 OECD member nations in the labor market participation of people with only an upper-secondary or lower education level.
However, chances for employment grow substantially for university graduates. This group enjoys an employment rate of 85 percent, for a ranking of 25th place in the listing. Generally speaking, the level of Polish society’s education is high. Almost 90 percent of students finish upper-secondary schools and 45 percent of these students go on to graduate from tertiary education institutions. Both figures are well above the OECD average.
Poland did not fare very well in comparisons of annual per student expenditures. Only Turkey, Slovak Republic and Mexico spend less on an individual student’s education annually than Poland’s average of $3,300 – far below the OECD average of $7,800. The U.S. leads with almost 4 times the per student expenditure. However, when it is considered that Poland spends 6 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product on education, the figure matches the average for OECD countries. Several countries, among them Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, devote a smaller part of their GDP to education.
On the positive side, tuition fees in the Polish education system are among the lowest in the OECD group. Private expenditures during primary and secondary education are very small, while only about 30 percent of expenditures in tertiary education come from private sources.