On this page:
- Education profiles at the elementary school level
- Education profiles at the secondary level
- Profiles and private schools
The issue of specialization in the education of kids and teens involves the so-called extension. Each student is required to complete at least two and at most four subjects in an extended field. The profile name usually reveals which subjects will be taken in an extended mode, e.g., in the biological and chemical profile, extended subjects are biology and chemistry, in the humanities, they’re Polish, history, and geography. The rules governing what and how many subjects students must study in an extended area are laid out by the Ministry of National Education.
Education profiles at the elementary school level
Some school establishments already at the elementary school level create education profiles. In this way, from an early age, kids have the opportunity to develop their passions and/or education in a spirit consistent with the aspirations of their parents. These are not profiles that somehow determine children's future educational choices. Rather, they are designed to provide children with wider opportunities to develop their interests.
The most popular class profiles in elementary schools are classes in the arts, sports, language, IT, polytechnics, and environment.
Let's look at some examples. In Bydgoszcz, there is a school with a polytechnic class attracting children interested in math, computer science, and nature. Students of this school participate in cyclical robotics and lego classes, where they develop IT and technical competences by building Lego Education WeDo blocks. One of the schools in Gorzów Wielkopolski, meanwhile, offers artistic education, and all students take part in classes in one of the profiles: artistic (drawing, painting, graphics, sculpture in school materials) or ballet (folk, classical, contemporary dance, music). At the basic level, there are more and more profiles in language and sport, because many parents want to develop their kids in these areas.
Education profiles at the secondary level
The decision to choose a profile at secondary school is of great importance to students and—especially in public education—for their further education, including university studies.
High school education profiles refer to specific groups of fields of study, which is why before the start of high school students are expected to specify their educational path. Choosing the right profile can enable a student to better prepare for final exams in their chosen subject and give them a chance to get into their dream university and their desired field of study, consistent with their interests.
For a long time, the following profiles have been popular:
Language profiles are also popular, e.g., bilingual profiles with Polish and English or Spanish.
This set of profiles is complemented by more modern ones, which often, in addition to standard extended subjects, offer additional, strictly specialized ones. Among other profiled classes you’ll find:
language and tourist,
managerial and economic,
psychological and social,
natural and medical,
economic and business,
police and uniform,
artistic and theater,
A large group of specialized classes in high schools is medical classes that prepare students to study in medicine, medical analytics, pharmacy, biochemistry, physiotherapy, emergency medicine, medical physics, etc. In one of the schools in Kielce, during high school, students learn about the structure of hospitals, and with diagnostic medical equipment, they gain knowledge about the rights of the patient and learn the technique of performing diagnostic tests such as blood tests, X-rays, and biopsies.
High schools also focus on preparing students for studying at prestigious universities abroad.
Technical secondary school education profiles function as fields of vocational education. Computer science, economics, and mechanics—research shows that these areas are some of the most popular for technical students in the future. The Ministry of National Education reports that the most popular fields of education in technical areas are those that prepare for the following professions:
technician, economic technician,
On the one hand, the profiles in the technical secondary school are the same as the name of the profession, and on the other hand, through specialized subjects and an extended curriculum, they provide solid preparation for pursuing further studies. For students who want to study in a technical secondary school, there is a wide range of profiles offered, and among them, apart from the most popular ones, you’ll find: ICT, mechanical, electrical, electronic, gastronomic, agricultural, environmental protection, energy, geological, graphic, geodetic underground mining, administrative, tourist, cosmetic, veterinary, emergency medical services, confectionery, construction, hairdressing, military, etc.
Profiles and private schools
Many guides suggest to students that before starting high school they should specify their educational path, i.e., decide about their distant educational future. In this way, high school profiles are like a "narrow filter," redirecting future high school graduates only to one and not another group of fields of study. When choosing a profile, you choose extended subjects, which in practice means that you must choose the subjects from which the student must pass a matriculation exam. And what if a child (only 14 to 15 years old) does not know so early what they will want to do in adulthood? What if his or her interests change?
Many private high schools see this as their advantage, that they are more flexible in terms of profiles and the possibility of changing subject extensions almost to the very last moment.
Many private schools do not leave their students alone in choosing the profile of their future class when they cross the border between elementary and high school. They offer counseling with specialists where the profile is chosen in a dialogue with the child and his parents. This means there will be a greater chance that the student's authentic preferences (if they already have them) will be taken into account when making decisions.
What distinguishes private high schools from public ones is also much greater flexibility—if the student's interests change, the school allows students to change their profile path up to the end of the 2nd class (in 3-year high schools) and 3rd class (in 4-year high schools), i.e., up to the last year of high school.
Private schools also offer students strong support and assistance in the process of applying to universities abroad, and many of them work closely with these universities. Students are not left alone to decide on the profile of the class and to determine the path of development from class I.
All this means that students do not have to be subjected to the enormous stress that can be caused by the awareness of entering the road without the possibility of retreat.
And as we know from the results of our own research, described in the Our Kids report on private education in Poland 2019, what parents value most in private schools is the emotional comfort of children and the support provided by the school.
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