Polish Education Problem?

April 12, 2014
Bricks in a Wall?

Bricks in a Wall?

There are 36,000 foreign students in Poland from 149 countries, which is approximately 23% more than in the previous year. The largest group, more than 15,000, are Ukrainians, according to the ‘Perspektywy’ Educational Foundation. Students from Ukraine already make up 42% of the total number of foreign students in Poland, and are followed by students from Belarus (3,743), Norway (1,580), Spain (1,361) and Sweden (1,251). According to Perspektywy data and the Central Statistical Office (GUS) precisely 35,983 foreign students were studying in the 2013/14 academic year. This equates to a 23% increase in the number of students from outside Poland. “Such a sharp increase has not yet experienced in Polish universities,” reads a Perspektywy report. At the same time, the iPerspektywy’ Educational Foundation also claims that the internationalisation of higher education in Poland stems not only from an increase in the number of foreigners, but also an unprecedented decline in the total number of students. There are currently 1,549,877 students in Poland (2013/14) which is actually less than 125,000 compared to last year.
wiadomosci.wp.pl

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Polish Education Disaster

April 10, 2014
Typical Student?

Typical Student?

Polish students scored below average on the PISA problem-solving test. “It is easier for Polish teenagers to solve a maths problem than to buy a cheap train ticket. The latest PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) 2012 results show that Polish teenagers cannot cope with real-life problems,” according to Gazeta Wyborcza. “Creative problem-solving and tackling real-life problems is an additional part of PISA, which aims to measure the abilities of teenagers. Last year, in December, when PISA published the reading, maths and science results, it turned out that Polish teenagers were the cream of the crop in European countries with regards to maths putting the average Polish 15-year-old on a par with Finland, which is the leader,” we read in Gazeta Wyborcza. However, this time around, the PISA results in creative problem-solving have been published. And there is nothing to brag about. “15-year-olds in Poland scored below the OECD average. In thirty minutes they had to cope with tasks that were connected with the use of modern technology. The tasks included how to use a ticket machine to purchase the cheapest train ticket available, setting up an MP3 player according to specified guidelines or changing air conditioner settings without having any instructions,” describes Gazeta Wyborcza. The results were disastrous for Polish schools. Polish students scored an average of 481 points. The average for all countries was 500.
rmf24.pl

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Learn English in a Tram

April 2, 2014
Learn While You Ride

Learn While You Ride

For the past two months, every passenger in Warsaw has had the possibility to learn English in Warsaw trams. The tram English lessons include English phrases, example sentences as well as Polish translations all displayed on LCD monitors in selected trams. The lessons will be available in trams until the end of this year. So that passengers have time to read the phrase and examples on the screen, each lesson is displayed for one minute. There are two different screens shown every day on the tram monitors, each of them repeated, so that passengers can learn the expressions.
wawalove.pl

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Classroom Innovation

March 30, 2014
Counting Hands

Counting Hands

Łukasz Konopka, a Sieradz high school student has invented a device, which automatically checks student attendance. He was already writing computer programmes in primary school and pursued his interests in high school. Last year Łukasz was a finalist in a competition on technological innovation. This year he has a new device to present at the competition. He tested it out at home and he is going to set up an experiment in class. Łukasz explained, “I created the device to help teachers and students save time. There are 36 people in my class and it usually takes about 5 minutes to check the register, which is four teaching hours a week. So, thanks to my device, we can have more time to study. It took a lot of time to realise the idea. Now every student will have a gadget that has an encoded ID number. My invention should be installed at the entrance to the classroom in order to transmit the codes when students enter the classroom. This data is then transmitted to the teacher’s computer and is stored in the electronic school journal.
polskatimes.pl

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Foreign Higher Education

March 24, 2014
Education Problem?

Education Problem?

Over the past ten years the number of students studying abroad has increased around the world to 4.5m. According to various forecasts, in 2020 this number will increase to 8m. The majority of universities in developed European countries have opened their doors for gifted young people around the world. For example, last year the number of foreigners studying at German universities increased significantly with 11.4% of all German students being foreigners, according to DAAD in Bonn. Waldemar Siwinski, President of the Perspektywy Education Foundation states that over the past few years the number of foreign students has also increased in Poland. However, in terms of the overall percentage of foreign students, Poland comes second from bottom (1.39%) when compared with the EU average (6.5%). “We will still have a lot to do to get 50,000 students by the end of 2015 and 100,000 by 2020. This is the real target that we can and must achieve,” adds Siwinski. In order to understand how to increase the number of foreign students in Poland we have to “coordinate the policies and cooperation of central government organisations, such as the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to create a programme to promote education in other countries. As for universities, they should try and attract students with better study programmes and they should also provide students with the choice of studying in foreign languages, especially in English,” says Włodzimierz Nykiel, Rector of the University of Łódź.
radioporusski.pl

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Internet Generation

March 23, 2014
Internet Problems

Internet Problems

Every second teenager admits that spending excessive time on the internet badly effects how they study. “Life would be boring and empty without the Internet,” according to 51% of pupils of secondary, technical and vocational schools who participated in research undertaken by the National Bureau for Drug Prevention, which cooperates with the Center for Public Opinion Research (CBOS). Thid proves that the internet has become an integral part of young people’s lives. Every fifth teenager spends 4-5 hours a day in cyberspace. In addition, pupils of secondary schools spend more time on the internet in comparison with pupils of technical schools. Moreover, internet addiction leads to lack of sleep, neglecting study and household duties. Young people use the internet to find new contacts and what is more, “having a social network account serves as a status symbol for teenagers,” says Katarzyna Kalinowska, psychologist at Psychotherapy and Psychological Services in Warsaw. Researchers emphasise that young people usually portray themselves as they want others to see them on the internet. “Teenagers present a ‘brand’ to other people by uploading pictures and creating an image of an attractive and confident person. But the reality can be completely different. There is no line that is crossed that determines when social networking becomes a danger but parents should look for the warning signs. They should pay attention to whether their children spend a lot of time in the virtual world as opposed to meeting with friends, going to the cinema or playing football,” warns Kalinowska.
rp.pl

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Priestly Problem

February 24, 2014
Priestly Problem

Priestly Problem

Mariusz Kaczmarski, headmaster of a school, has decided to terminate the contract of a priest teaching catechism in the school. Only after his contract was terminated, it turned out that the priest had been conflicted with his students. Kaczmarski says, “the conflict and disagreement between the students and the priest had been increasing. There was something happening practically every lesson. It is difficult to say what the reason was. The priest may have not had the gift to communicate with young people. One incident was even recorded on a mobile phone,” says director Kaczmarski, “the priest apologised to both the students and parents.” Director Kaczmarski added that, “twenty four hours after the incident, the priest received termination of his contract.” Wojciech Lippa, the head of the diocesan curia office in Opole, informed the public that the priest from Kluczbork had not yet been removed from teaching at the secondary school in Kluczbork. The curia is currently “examining the case in a wider context.”
wiadomosci.onet.pl

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What Hollywood Thinks of Poland

January 24, 2014
Time to Stop Stereotypes

Time to Stop Stereotypes

“I will follow you to the end of the world, even to Poland or Beirut!” says the main character of the film “HappyThankyou-MorePlease”. The comparison of Poland to the capital city of Lebanon says a lot about what Americans think of Poland. Generally speaking, Polish characters are portrayed as people with lower social status, heavy-drinkers or sometimes people who come from an archaic country where time has stopped (around the 19th century). Dustin Hoffman’s directorial début, “Quartet”, includes a hint of Polishness, however, it is introduced in such a way that only Polish people or people who know Polish will notice it. In one scene, a person responsible for looking after an elderly pensioner says “niemożliwe” (pol. ‘impossible’), and that’s all. An entire string of dialogue can be heard in “The Fugitive”. The Poles portrayed in the film are drug dealers living in a ‘typical’ Polish apartment, with pictures of Pope John Paul II and and the Virgin Mary hanging on the walls. Polish people also appear in American TV series. Not wanting to break the stereotype, a Polish woman in “The Sopranos” is a cleaner. However, there is a Pole with a different occupation in “Boardwalk Empire”. In the series, the Polish character changes his surname to ‘Doyle’ – he is a gangster who makes moonshine. There is also a salesman from Poland in “Boardwalk Empire”. Chandler, in the popular sitcom “Friends”, bizarrely says, “If I can invade Poland, I can do anything”. In another TV series, “Gossip Girl”, we are introduced to Dorota, a cleaner who is played by an actress from Poland. Moreover, “Gossip Girl” is full of scenes where we can hear Polish. On the other hand, Poland’s ‘honour’ is restored by Clint Eastwood who created the character of Walt Kowalski, in “Gran Torino”. He is called “Polack” several times in the film and for most of the movie he is not liked by most of the other characters, however, as the film progresses, he becomes a more positive character, perhaps even a hero. This is surprising as it is difficult to find films where Polish people are shown in a positive light. The exception being characters in historical films. As a side note, in Oscar-nominated “Zero Dark Thirty”, a film about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, there is a scene which takes place in Gdańsk where CIA agents interrogate a person suspected of terrorism. What is interesting is the fact that the Polish authorities have still not admitted that terrorists were imprisoned and tortured in Poland. The film may, however, make it more difficult for Poland’s former Prime Minister Leszek Miller and his government to defend their position.
itvl.pl

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Revolutionary Polish Bike

January 23, 2014
IzzyBike Revolution

IzzyBike Revolution

It has seduced everyone who has ridden it. It won first prize in Think Big, organised by UPC Business, a competition for small businesses with global ambitions. This is not the first award for this unusual vehicle. Marek Jurek, an engineer from Warsaw, decided to create a new design for a bike. Two years ago, his IzzyBike was completed. He took it the the Iena fair in Nuremberg in 2011 and returned with a gold medal. One Polish businessman said that if it were not for the global crisis, IzzyBike would probably already be in the shops and on the streets. The Think Big award may change this. It is true that PLN 40,000 may not be enough to start mass production, but Martha Herb, daughter of the inventor and IzzyBike ambassador said that winning the competition will help launch the bike quicker onto market. The competition jury found IzzyBike to be the most innovative business design of the ten who made it to the finals of Think Big. The competition included: Electronic Flower MarketElimiDate, a mobile dating application; Fanshop xTRI.pl for triathletes; Kinetizer, an innovative tool for the job market; Scriptures Procedure Wizard, which helps users create lawsuit and pleadings; Mamabu, a Polish design store for children; Museum Guide, a mobile platform for attractively presenting art; the National Network of Children’s Laboratories Junior Explorer and Windu CMS, a tool for creating web pages. The last two won the second prize of PLN 10,000.
Gazeta Wyborcza

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Science Leaps Forward

January 20, 2014
Is It Improving?

Is It Improving?

Poland’s Minister of Science and Higher Education (MNiSW) has presented the priorities of the ministry for 2014. Developing a system enabling the efficient use of EU funds for the humanities and preparing students better for the job market are just two of the priorities of the ministry for 2014, announced by Minister Lena Kolarska-Bobińska. During a recent press conference, Kolarska-Bobińska explained that one of the most important goals of the ministry is the effective use of EU funds and the programme implemented to do this is called “Innovative Science, Innovative Economy”. She added that nowadays scientists use different resources to get funding, for example regional programmes, the European Horizon 2020 programme and Erasmus+. “Universities feel lost and don’t know how to use these resources,” the minister pointed out, “We can reach for really significant resources, but one of the conditions is cooperation and collaboration across three areas: science, business and government. Money from the EU can make our economy innovative, but the development of cooperation across these three areas is vital,” she emphasised. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Development (MiR) Elżbieta Bieńkowska was also at the conference. She reminded the audience that by 2020 expenditure on research and development will increase to 2%. “We want the Polish economy to go from an imitative model to an innovative one. We want to conquer Europe and the world through innovation. It is impossible to do this without good universities, a good education system and cooperation between science, the economy and enterprises,” she said. MNiSW want to implement a system that supports the whole process of the implementation of inventions. “We want entrepreneurs to be able to have an impact on the direction universities are taking, to support not only specific research, but also the whole process of education,” Kolarska-Bobińska said. MNiSW also wants PhDs sponsored by business. “Entrepreneurs in close cooperation with universities may put in a request for PhD research on a particular subject, so that PhDs are created in collaboration with industry,” said the Minister of Science. Another priority is to improve the job market for graduates. “We will seek to ensure that universities do not have graduates that cannot find a job,” said Kolarska-Bobinska.
biznes.pl

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