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Public versus non-public schools in Poland

Comparing public and non-public schools in Poland

In Poland, all schools are either public or non-public (with private schools being a subset of public schools). This includes schools in Warsaw, Kraków, Poznań, Wrocław, Łódź, Gdańsk, Szczecin, Bydgoszcz, Lublin, and Rzeszów.

Here we discuss the difference between public and non-public schools. We then outline the main types of non-public schools.  continue reading...

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The difference between public and non-public schools

School establishment

Public schools: Public or state schools in Poland are always established and run by local government or state units.

Non-public schools: Non-public or non-state schools in Poland may be created in two different ways: (i) by legal bodies other than the government (such as associations, religious bodies, foundations, or companies), and (ii) by persons. To start a non-public school, approval must be granted by the register of institutions and non-public schools. A non-public school cannot be established by the government.


Public schools: Public education in Poland must be accessible to all. And similar to Canada and the US, in primary school, which is compulsory, students must be accepted by their local district public schools. Moreover, a non-public school can’t remove a student from a primary school (which is compulsory), though they can transfer them to another school.

Non-public schools: Non-public schools can decide which students to admit, using their own criteria. They can also remove a student from school for various reasons (e.g., for poor behaviour, failure to pay fees, etc.).


Public schools: Public schools don’t charge tuition fees. They’re free to all.

Non-public schools: Non-public schools charge tuition and there may be other fees as well. One exception is non-public schools created from public schools (see below), which are free of charge.

Government criteria

Public schools: Public schools in Poland are required to follow government rules of regarding school curriculum, organization, assessment, and more.

Non-public schools: Non-public schools, except those created from public schools, don’t have to follow these rules. Normally, though, they do, and they often meet and surpass government guidelines.

Three main types of non-public schools

Non-public schools in Poland aren’t established or run by the government. Nor must they follow government rules for curriculum, organization, or assessment (though they often do).

Beyond that, there are three main types of non-public schools: those without public school credentials, those with public school credentials, and those created from public schools (with public school credentials). Below, we discuss each type of non-public school.

Keep in mind, non-public schools also differ in terms of their aims, curricula, philosophies, and teaching approaches. For instance, there are international, Montessori, Waldorf, social, and special needs non-public schools.

Non-public schools lacking public school credentials

Some non-public schools in Poland don’t follow public school guidelines. This means they don’t follow the rules for Polish education (or at least some of them) established by the government. These rules govern curricula, student assessment, promotion, and more. Few non-public schools in Poland fall in this category, and they are all post-secondary schools.

Non-public schools with public school credentials

Most non-public schools have public school qualifications. These schools follow the Polish National curriculum and the government’s rules for assessing students established by the Ministry of Education. This allows students to obtain state certificates and diplomas when they graduate.

In fact, all non-public primary schools have these public school credentials. This means that they receive government funding. The size of a school’s subsidy will depend on the nature and aims of school.

The only schools without public credentials are post-secondary schools. This includes general universities and post-secondary schools focusing on specific skills.

Non-public schools created from public schools

Many non-public schools with public credentials were created from a public school by a person, group of persons, or local community. These schools are normally in rural communities in Poland.

They are free of charge and receive government funding. They also meet public educational goals, implement the national curriculum, organize exams based on the Ministry's guidelines, and are supervised by a government board. These schools are considered public in a sense, since they provide universal access to education and are free.

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Disclaimer: We cannot guarantee the complete accuracy of the school information on this site. Please contact schools directly to confirm all details.