- 1 Overview
- 2 Education in Poland
- 3 Internet in Poland
- 4 Copyright law in Poland
- 5 OER Initiatives in Poland
- 6 References
Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country in Central Europe, bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north. The total area of Poland is 312,679 square kilometres (120,726 sq mi), making it the 69th largest country in the world and the 9th largest in Europe. Poland has a population of over 38 million people, which makes it the 34th most populous country in the world and the sixth most populous member of the European Union, being its most populous post-communist member.
Poland is a unitary state made up of 16 voivodeships.
Poland is a member of the European Union, NATO, the United Nations, the World Trade Organisation, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), European Economic Area, International Energy Agency, Council of Europe, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, International Atomic Energy Agency, G6, Council of the Baltic Sea States, Visegrád Group, Weimar Triangle and Schengen Agreement.
The establishment of a Polish state is often identified with the adoption of Christianity by its ruler Mieszko I in 966, over the territory similar to that of present-day Poland. The Kingdom of Poland was formed in 1025, and in 1569 it cemented a long association with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania by signing the Union of Lublin, forming the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Commonwealth ceased to exist in 1795 as the Polish lands were partitioned among the Kingdom of Prussia, the Russian Empire, and Austria. Poland regained its independence as the Second Polish Republic in 1918. Two decades later, in September 1939, World War II started with the Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union invasion of Poland. Over six million Polish citizens died in the war. Poland reemerged several years later within the Soviet sphere of influence as the People's Republic in existence until 1989. During the Revolutions of 1989, 45-year long communist rule was overthrown and the democratic rule was re-established. That gave foundations to modern Poland, constitutionally known as the "Third Polish Republic".
Despite the vast destruction the country experienced in World War II, Poland managed to preserve much of its cultural wealth. There are currently 14 heritage sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in Poland.
For further general information see Wikipedia:Poland.
Education in Poland
For a general description of education in Poland, see Eurydice, National System Overview on Education Systems in Europe 2011 .
E-learning in Poland
E-learning in Poland is becoming increasingly popular. In order to meet the demand, a growing number of universities, both public and private have adopted various e-learning models to support their education processes. However, there is a considerable diversity of approach and complexity of ICT used, ranging from online repositories of education resources to dedicated systems supporting education process at each level.
Recently, a useful database of e-learning activity in all higher educational institutions was created. This should provide evidence for the state of e-learning in Poland and could be a valuable addition to research in the field.
Individual learning and the personalisation of education through e-learning is a current focus for research in Poland. It is felt that recognising individual styles of user learning and offering appropriate activities and strategies of teaching are the first steps to building learning environments adaptive to user's needs.
In addition, OER is a current focus for researchers and specialists in informatics; determining how their repositories could assist in making the creation of e-courses more effective.
In 2007, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education issued guidance that distance teaching and learning is permitted at a university if:
- academic teachers are prepared to use distance education methods,
- there is at the university hardware and software that makes synchronic and asynchronic communication between teachers and students possible,
- didactic materials in electronic (digital) form were created,
- it is possible to control activity of teachers.
Guidelines also state that the total number of didactic hours in the form of distance education cannot exceed 70% of teaching hours for a course.
Universities must guarantee rigorous assessment of students achievement, including exams in traditional form. They must guarantee that students are properly prepared for using distance education methods (special courses). For schools at pre-academic level, distance learning methods are permitted only as complementary method of work - teachers are responsible for children during their presence at school, so it is considered unfeasible to replace traditional lessons with online lessons.
Teachers can prepare e-learning materials and use them as additional way of work with pupils.
Selected Examples of Good Practice
Many universities are developing e-learning. Often however, activity originates through individual academics rather than through institutional priorities.
The main higher education institutions that provide a focus on e-learning include:
- the Distance Learning Centre at Warsaw University of Technology
- Open and Multimedia Education Centre at Warsaw University
- Distance Education Study Centre at AGH - University of Science and Technology
- Polish Virtual University (PUW) - joint project of Maria Curie- Sklodowska University in Lublin and Academy of Humanities and Economics in Lodz
E-learning is also becoming popular with Polish managers. In early 2007, almost two thirds of them declared that this form of learning would be the most common form of raising qualifications in Polish companies. The main reasons for choosing e-Learning are the lower total cost, shorter course duration and savings associated with the elimination of travel costs.
Adapted from Source: E-Learning in Poland, Anna Rybak, University of Bialystok, Poland
Related document: Fe-ConE, National Report Poland, 2006
Very comprehensive source material can be found at Eurydice, Organisation of the Education System in Poland 2009-10
Internet in Poland
Poland has widely adopted the Internet, with 2/3 of the county over the age of 14 having access to this technology and 3/4 of those using broadband. As in most other nations with widespread adoption, use is anchored primarily in the household, and through a personal computer. However, Professor William Dutton of Oxford University’s Internet Institutes asserts, ‘it appears that the public as a whole and Internet users have a healthy scepticism towards the Internet. Many have yet to make up their minds on whether or not the Internet will improve their lives. They do not demonstrate a blind trust in the Internet, or an overly optimistic perspective on its promise. Nevertheless, most people in Poland have integrated it into their life and work and are adopting new technologies that will enhance the role of the Internet in their lives’.
It seems that Poland still needs to address many of the same issues as other European nations, including concerns over digital divides. A third of the population does not have access to the Internet and those without access are disproportionately concentrated among less well to do and the older and retired public. A quarter of users still do not have access to broadband Internet services. There is also an urban-rural divide in Poland that is less pronounced than in other nations, such as the UK.
Dutton concludes that, ‘I sense between the numbers and statistics that Poland is on the verge of crossing a tipping point at which the public will begin to value the Internet more, and integrate this technology more fully in their lives. Internet users in Poland have a good deal of experience online, but it will take longer for the nation to have a greater store of Polish language content, and applications focused on their particular needs and interests. Already, however, younger users in Poland are more engaged in living an Internet-style of life, with more positive attitudes toward the Internet. Three-quarters of users visit social networking sites, a proportion higher than Britain and many other nations. And it is already apparent that many users are moving into the next generation of access to the Internet by adopting more devices, such as laptops and smart phones that complement the household personal computer as the central point for access and enable greater mobility’.
He goes on to write that ‘users are concerned about issues surrounding their freedom of expression and privacy online. It is critical that government and Internet Service Providers in Poland focus on ensuring that users trust the Internet as a space for democratic expression, open communication, and access to trusted sources of information. The continued economic and social development of Poland depends in part on the vitality of the Internet, and inappropriate or over-regulation of the Internet could undermine that vitality. Too many users believe that government and corporations watch what they do online’.
Sourced from: Blog of Professor William Dutton, University of Oxford
The most popular ADSL services for home users in Poland are Neostrada provided by TPSA and Net24 provided by Netia. Both provide download speeds in the range of 1 to 80 Mbit/s. and upload speeds of 512kbit/s or more. Business users as well as some home users use Internet DSL TP also offered by TPSA. According to Eurostat, OECD and others, Internet access in Poland is among the most expensive in Europe. This is mostly caused by the lack of competitiveness and lack of know-how. New operators like Dialog and GTS Energis are making their own provider lines and offer more attractive and cheaper service. Recently,in February 2011, the Polish Office of Electronic Communication issued an order forcing the TPSA to rent 51% of their ADSL lines to other ISPs at 60% discount of their market pricing. As the result the prices are non-competitive, other ISP charge as TPSA making a guaranteed 40% profit, while TPSA has no incentive to lower its consumer prices, because it would result in lowering of wholesale pricing just as well. This order will definitely not affect the prices of DSL in Poland and most certainly will not improve speeds. But, the ping times are impressive at 28 sec.
Sourced from: Wikipedia
Internet in Education
At the preschool level, virtually no ICT is used (although most children have free access to computers at home).
Students begin taking technology-related courses during primary school when the child is approximately 12 years of age. At the grammar school level students are exposed to 2 hours a week of obligatory subject "computer science", which is called "informatyka".
The curricula of this subject includes the following:
• Computes in everyday life. • Working with computers. • Utility software (graphics editors, text editors, spreadsheets, databases). • Multimedia sources of information. • Algorithms. • Simulation and modelling.
Students continue the ICT focus while in vocational, technical secondary, specialized lyceum, and general lyceum schools. In general, the use of technology is being more widely incorporated into the curriculum as head teachers are encouraging teachers to include ICT in the classroom.
The use of computers in schools
A number of programmes and projects aimed at equipping schools with computers, providing internet access, and improving IT education and the quality of teaching have already been implemented, e.g. Interkl@sa (including “An Internet classroom in every community” and “An Internet classroom in every junior secondary school”), “Equipping secondary schools with an Internet laboratory”, “Teaching for the future” and two “Internet for schools” projects.
Poland supports the European Union’s vision for ICT in education policy. Consequently, eEurope and eEurope+ action plans were followed. However, ICT in Polish education is not as widespread and modern as it is in the EU countries.
The main aims and priorities of the policy were and still are: • Introduce the ICT in education to all schools not only on lessons of computer science but also on lessons of other school subjects, • Prepare all teachers to become animators of ICT in their schools and to use ICT for pedagogical purposes, • Assure access to rich educational content for all students.
Between January 1998 and December 2002 Polish schools, under the programme of the Ministry of National Education and Sport, were equipped with a total of 100 000 computers. ICT workrooms have appeared in all lower secondary schools in Poland. The aim of Interkl@sa was to equip all secondary schools by the end of 2004 and all Polish primary schools by the end of 2007. Interkl@sa started in co-operation with the private company Intel the teachers training programme "Intel teach to the future". Thanks to the cascading structure of the programme, by the end of 2002 over 40 000 teachers had been trained in using Information and Communication Technology for teaching and for their own work. It was vital for the Interkl@sa programme to open the ICT workrooms for local communities, to make use of them as training centres, and also as communal European information points, as tools for the promotion of communes, for the implementation of ecological projects, programmes for the disabled, in elections and referenda.
Efforts were made to turn school libraries into multimedia information centres.
Computers in Polish schools are mostly purchased by the Ministry of National Education and Sport (presently the name is: Ministry of National Education) and local governments.
All schools in Poland are equipped in computers with the access to Internet. In many schools there is more than one computer laboratory (for example: two laboratories for regular lessons from ICT education and one multimedia laboratory for lessons from other subjects supported by using technology). At the end of 2008 the programme “Laptop for grammar school (gimnazjum) student” began.
The main aim of this programme is to equip schools in big sets of laptops–with proper educational software - in order to lend them to students for three years (duration of continuing students in the school). About 12000 teachers were trained in operating mobile devices, multimedia devices and using methods of distance education. Methodology of using educational software (properly to particular subject taught at school) is to be a next stage of training.
In Poland teachers and students can use didactic materials gathered in educational portals. Portal Scholaris (www.scholaris.pl) (Internet Centre of Educational Resourses of Ministry of Education- launched with the support from European Union) is the biggest and the most famous one. It contains a large number of e-lessons, presentations, simulations, tests, pictures, maps, movies etc. categorized in two ways: type of material and subject that it is useful for. Also the portal contains online journals for teachers. Many of these journals are focused on using ICT in education (for example: New Technologies in the School, Safe Internet, Interklasa). Other very good educational portals are:
Many schoolbooks are now equipped with CDs that contains different multimedia interactive materials for students. A very interesting initiative is “Internet lining for schoolbook”. This makes materials for students and teachers available via the website of a publishing house. Materials are strongly connected with particular schoolbook, interactive and (mostly) dynamic (www.wsip.com.pl retrieved on December 9th, 2009).
Adapted from Source: E-Learning in Poland, Anna RYBAK, University of Bialystok, POLAND
Copyright law in Poland
Intellectual property in Poland is governed by two principle legal acts: the Copyright Act and the Industrial Property Act.
The Copyright Act relates to such acts of human creativity as literary activity, journalism, science, music, IT and many other. The Copyright Act, unlike the Industrial Property Act, does not provide for any registration requirements. However, the rules of licensing, transfer of rights, the permitted scope of use of copyrights and many other related issues are strictly regulated.
Sourced from: Wikipedia
Copyright law in Education
Openaire.eu states that Poland has already developed a good local tradition for Open Access content, with the active involvement of organisations like Creative Commons Poland.
Open Access repositories
AMUR - Adam Mickiewicz University Repository - Included among the repository collections are: journals published at the University, PhD theses, research papers, conference presentations and learning materials. On November 20, 2009 the Rector of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan issued an open access PhD theses mandate - the first in Poland.
Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences - Earlier this year the Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences registered an open access institutional mandate – “All newly published manuscripts must be immediately deposited in the repository in the final reviewed version (not publisher's proprietary pdf). Deposits will become available immediately or after expiration of embargo, depending on publisher's policy.”
ECNIS Repository (Environmental Cancer Risk, Nutrition and Individual Susceptibility)
Electrical Engineering Department, Wroclaw University of Technology
Digital Library of the Formal Linguistics Department at the University of Warsaw
Polish digital library federation - the PIONIER Network Digital Libraries Federationis - is maintained by the Poznań Supercomputing and Networking Center affiliated by the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of Polish Academy of Sciences.
Adapted from Source: Openaire.eu
However, the University of Economics in Katowice asserts that OA is not so widely understood. ‘Taking into account only one criterion i.e. Ph.D. works access, it should be noticed the only 8 out of the 35 Polish digital libraries enable open access to these works. Some other (i.e. 5 universities) ensure open access at local library to printed copies of Ph.D. works. Only the Rector of Polytechnic Institute in Cracow in 2004 has made decision that Ph.D. works are accessible in open repository for al. According to the survey done in 20 other countries the searching results are similar and the general conclusion is that universities do not strongly support the Ph.D. works to be openly accessible online.
For Polish digital libraries included in the OpenDOAR directory [of which there are 19], the unified standard of metadata, known as Dublin Core version 1.1 is applied for all the stored publications’ description. Although interface standard for eLibra digital repository Internet portal was widely applied, information retrieval is not easy because of the lack of clear classification of repository content and necessity to browse through a mixture of popular daily news, old manuscripts, maps, and scientific publications.
OpenDOAR directory does not cover all scientific research repositories in Poland. Some universities are overlooked and they develop their digital repositories within other projects. For example, Silesian Polytechnic Insitute in Gliwice is involved in Springer Open Choice/Open Access scientific publication programme. Within that programme publication are funded 100% by the Ministory of High Education in Poland within Springer/ICM agreement. Although ICT allows for high speed transfer and mass data storing, it does not mean a permission for uncontrolled redundancy of information. Unfortunately, digital library content classification are not cohesive. Lack of clear classification of publications results in longer time for searching and low effectiveness of information retrieval. Therefore it can be suspected that valuable research publication are not quoted.’
AGH University goes even further in disputing the widespread use of OA and OER.
Researchers at the institution stated that whilst creating open educational resources (OER) is a global movement, ‘there is still little awareness of open initiatives among Polish educators. ‘The attitude to openness in education varies from very positive to ignorant or even inacceptable according to different professions and academic policy.’
On the Polish educational market plenty of educational materials are published online. However, conditions of using and re-using them might be varied on several levels.
Much online is double closed. Several examples can be provided, but the most important from the academic point of view is Virtual Library of Science, which is a national project of the National Ministry of Science and Higher Education.
It was launched in order to guarantee free access to scientific literature for Polish higher institutions, scientists, academic teachers and students. In fact Virtual Library of Science provides access to closed password protected databases, which can be browsed only. Copyrighted content.
Second the majority of content freely available in the public web is copyright protected. In many cases those resources are high quality materials and could be excellent sources for teachers, trainers, academics for further use and adaptation. The fact that those materials are available for free in the web, does not mean the possibility to re-use them for any purposes. Copyrighted content, even if valuable for education, can be only read, browsed, watched/listened to in a passive way. Example here, can be online repository of educational materials for primary and secondary school Interklasa.pl or scholaris.pl which development is donated from public budget. Excellent example of learning resource prepared for academics is learning materials for informatics studies (Studia Informatyczne, 2006). Authors provided high quality educational materials and allowed everyone for unlimited usage. But if we look deeper, the condition set by authors shows that resources can be used, but re-use adaptation and modification is forbidden. This case is also a proof of wrong understanding of the idea of open educational resources.
To sum up, examples described above illustrate the lowest level of openness which should be called rather availability where the read-only approach is widely promoted. Those resources can be used on fair educational use condition and are opened for public view but at the same time closed for re-use and modification.
You can also find educational materials available on more liberal conditions based on Creative Common licenses. Here the level of openness can vary according to a type of chosen license. In Poland the main responsibility for shaping open education takes Coalition for Open Education [KOED – a partnership of organisations founded in 2008 to promte open education and science in Poland. Founding institutions include Modern Poland Foundation, the Polish Librarians Association, Wikipedia Poland Association, and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical and Computational Modeling at the University of Kracow. Coalition forces using the most liberal CC license with Attribution and Share Alike conditions and promotes the attitude that full openness allows for unlimited re-use, adaptation, modification for any purpose even commercial. But taking into account that in the context of Polish education, the awareness of open educational resources and open education is still low, the Coalition for Open Education supports every project aimed at OER production. It is believed that a small steps approach is better then hermetic, limited access.
The highest level in openness gradation is public domain. This institution is strongly developed in United States, where authors and creators can abandon the property right and decide to put their works in public domain, which means that the works is public property and can be used in unlimited way. However, the Polish law system is much more restrictive. Works are transferred to the public domain after 70 years after the death of an author(s). This means that modern works will be a public property for our grandchildren. Currently in Poland, there are several projects of digital libraries which allow for easy access to works from the Polish public domain. For instance, National Library POLONA or the Polish resources in Gutenberg Project.’
OER Initiatives in Poland
National OER initiatives
Overall there has been relatively low formal support for the development of open courseware and OER repositories in Poland. This is changing, though, as there are first specific steps taken by the government to facilitate openness of digital resources.
Digital School Program in Poland
The Prime Minister’s Office has initiated a program for the use of free digital textbooks under Creative Commons License in the polish schools.
The government has endorsed the value of open education in today's digital society: Their digital school program, the largest government-sponsored open education program in Polish history, has created a full set of educational materials for grades 4-6 licensed under cc-by license (the fully free creative commons license).
The “Digital School” program with the “Digital Textbooks” component was initially drafted and proposed to the Prime Minister Office by the Modern Poland Foundation, the Center for Civic Education, and Creative Commons Poland (with the cooperation of the Prime Minister’s Office). All those organisations are members of the Coalition for Open Education (KOED), a network of NGOs and educational institutions promoting open education in Poland.
One of the most ambitious features was the creation of a national repository of training materials. Teachers in all of the test schools will have access to this nationwide database.
The first draft was accepted by the Ministry of Education, but at a later stage of the negotiations, the free licensing requirement was left out. Both the Coalition for Open Education and the Modern Poland Foundation took part in the public consultation process; their comments in support of free licensing were agreed and accepted.
As a result of the adopted regulation, schools will be computerized and all educational materials for grades 4-6 will have a Creative Commons license (CC BY 3.0) to allow for easy sharing and attribution. By accepting the regulation and now also accepting the materials, polish schools will soon be fully adopting the open education model.
The textbooks are available under the Creative Commons Attribution license, in an open format (with the full specification being freely available both technically and legally), and for Web access as required by the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. so far, it appears that the only non-accessible material may be some of the images, which contain embedded text and thus may be inaccessible to blind students.
The initiative is a success for the KOED movement, ending several years of hard work. Three years ago, the Coalition for Open Education organised the OER conference in the Polish parliament, where for the first time in Poland, the need for free public educational resources was expressed. Since then, the coalition has grown substantially from four to over 15 organisations. the initiative has cost the government 45 million złoty (approx. 15 million USD), and is the largest government open education project in polish history.
Sourced from: Creative Commons Poland
KOED has been at the forefront of other significant combined efforts to raise awareness of OER through the following projects, such as the Public Domain Day Celebration. This is a series of events organised by the Coalition and other cultural institutions to expand the public domain resources. Public Domain Day has been celebrated in Poland since 2009.
Regional OER initiatives
Institutional OER initiatives
AGH is the first Polish higher education institution to establish an OER repository. Open AGH was launched in January 2010 and includes a growing number of courses. Prior to the official start of Open AGH, some of academic teachers had placed their resources on their home pages or within AGH VLE Moodle, but they were copyright protected. After Open AGH was launched, some of staff agreed to transfer those resources into open repository and made them available under creative commons. In addition, students’ work is part of Open AGH repository, which is quite unique even in the global perspective.
OER in Open AGH are available publicly under the terms of Attribution - Non Commercial – Share Alike Creative Commons license. Any user who is interested in Open AGH content can use and copy it for free, as well as transform and adapt for own purposes under three conditions: must give the original author credit, may not use this work for commercial purposes and distribute the derivate work only under a license identical to used in “Open AGH”.
The decision about choosing Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license was driven by the view of the academic staff attitude on open educational materials. While in Poland there is agreement that fully open educational resources is only those published on license CC BY and CC BY-SA, AGH has decided to prevent commercial usage of Open AGH resources. This decision gives the academic staff an assurance of not losing financial benefits. AGH authorities are convinced that with a chosen license, employees will be more willing to share their resources.