Polish Accreditation Committee
The Polish Accreditation Committee (PKA) was founded in 2002. It became a full member of ENQA in 2009.
Its web site is http://www.pka.edu.pl
The following is taken from ENQA page http://www.enqa.eu/agencydet.lasso?id=87
It is an Independent statutory body established by the Higher Education Act.
Its scope of Authority is to:
- assess the quality of education in individual fields of study; and to give opinions on applications for the establishment of new higher education institutions, the extension of permits for the establishment of non-public institutions, and for the authorisation for higher education institutions to establish new degree programmes.
Its role is to
- Support Polish public and non-public higher education institutions in the development of educational standards matching the best models adopted in the European and global academic space. Act as a platform for co-operation and dialogue between all parties interested to work with a view to ensuring high quality of higher education.
Background (to include in POERUP country page in due course)
External quality assurance in higher education includes:
- a procedure for the assessment of applications for a permit to establish a non-public higher education institution; this procedure may be considered a type of ex-ante institutional evaluation/accreditation, although the terms "evaluation" or "accreditation" are not used in the legislation in this context;
- a procedure for the assessment of applications for authorisations to provide first- (Bachelor's degree), second- and long-cycle (Master's degree) programmes in individual fields of study, which may be considered a type of ex-ante programme evaluation/accreditation;
- ex-post programme evaluation/accreditation which covers all first-, second- and long-cycle programmes;
- ex-post institutional evaluation/accreditation which may be undertaken in organisational units of higher education institutions where programme evaluations have already been completed in most fields of study (this arrangement was introduced as an option by the latest amendments to the 2005 Law on Higher Education which came into force on 1 October 2011).
Granting permits for the establishment of non-public higher education institutions (HEIs), and granting authorisations to provide first-, second- and long-cycle programmes fall within the remit of the Minister of Science and Higher Education, but decisions are taken after consultation with the Polish Accreditation Committee. PAC also conducts obligatory ex-post programme evaluations which provide a basis for the accreditation of first-, second- and long-cycle programmes in all fields of study at all public and non-public HEIs, and now may also conduct ex-post institutional evaluations. The frequency of evaluations is defined in the statutes of PAC and depends on the previous rating for the quality of education: 8 years in the case of an outstanding rating, and 6 years in the case of a positive rating. In the case of a conditional rating, PAC defines the time-frame for a follow-up evaluation in each individual case. Where a negative rating is given by PAC, the Minister of Science and Higher Education is required to suspend or withdraw the authorisation of the HEI unit concerned to provide a given programme.
In addition, mandatory accreditation of programmes in two fields of study, nursery and midwifery, is granted for 3 to 5 years by the Minister of Health on the basis of evaluations carried out by the National Accreditation Council for Schools of Nursing and Midwifery (NACSN&M) (the National Accreditation Council for Medical Education before the entry into force of the new Act on the Nursing and Midwifery Professions on 1 January 2012). Where accreditation is refused or withdrawn, student enrolment on a given programme is suspended until the programme has been accredited.
Moreover, there are peer accreditation commissions which were set up by the academic community and which currently operate under the auspices of the Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland (university-type HEIs). They conduct programme evaluations on the basis of applications submitted by HEIs on a voluntary basis. However, these commissions do not operate on the basis of the national legislation, and their accreditation decisions do not have any legal consequences.
The legislation obliges HEIs to establish internal quality assurance systems, entrusting rectors with the responsibility in this area, and to assess the peformance of academic teachers at least every two years or at least every four years in the case of teachers holding a professorial title and employed at an HEI on the basis of appointment. Feedback from students and doctoral students is obligatorily taken into account in the assessment of the teacher's peformance of their teaching duties. Detailed arrangements are laid down in the statutes and regulations of individual institutions. Internal quality assurance arrangements are taken into account by PAC and NACSN&M conducting mandatory evaluations, as well as by peer accreditation commissions.
The quality of higher education and quality assurance have been among the key issues recently tackled in both public debates and two draft strategies for the development of higher education prepared in 2009 and 2010. The latter include "The Strategy for the Development of Higher Education in Poland until 2020", developed by Ernst & Young and the Institute for Market Economics for the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, and "The Strategy for the Development of Higher Education 2010-2020", prepared by the Polish Rectors Foundation on behalf of the Polish academic community. A single official strategy for the development of higher education has not yet been adopted, but some changes proposed in the two drafts were incorporated into the recent amendments of the 2005 Law of Higher Education. Within the area of quality assurance, the amended regulations provide, for example, for: extending the range of responsibilities of the Polish Accreditation Committee to include ex-post institutional evaluation on an optional basis; entrusting rectors with the responsibility for implementing and improving internal quality assurance systems; extending the range of responsibilities for the Rectors’ Conferences to include the support for, and the monitoring of, quality improvement activities in HEIs, through the above-mentioned peer accreditation commissions; and securing funding for quality promoting activities in the State budget.
The Strategy for the development of Higher Education in Poland until 2020 is summarised in English at http://erawatch.jrc.ec.europa.eu/erawatch/opencms/information/country_pages/pl/policydocument/policydoc_mig_0001 - the original in Polish was at www.uczelnie2020.pl but this site seems inactive.
The Strategy for the Development of Higher Education 2010-2020 is summarised in English at http://www.krasp.org.pl/en/about_crasp/strategy