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Before beginning the
analysis of the bilingual system in Poland, we must know some relevant information
of the country to better understand the content later on.

Poland is a Republic located
in Central Europe and with 38.346.279 (2014 statistic) of population is the
eight largest densely inhabited country in Europe. Its capital and largest city
is Warsaw  and Polish is the official
language which is spoken by almost all the population, around 38 millions
peoples (census 2002) being also the second more spoken language among Slavic
languages, just after Russian.

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The history of Poland is
full of different languages, cultures and religions. Before World War II the
country had a particularly large Jewish population, there were 3 million Jews
living in this country but just less than 300.000 survived after the war.

Poland used to be a
multilingual country before the Second World War, but adjustments of the
borders great migrations and the general policy of the communist government
made Poland a monolingual country. (Bronislawa
Zielonka, Poland: 147)

As said by the 2002 census,
96.74% of the population, consider themselves Polish, 1.23% confirmed another nationality
and 2.03% did not announce any nationality. The largest minority nationalities
in Poland are German (152.897 people), Belarusians (49.000), Ukrainians
(30.000), and then, Lithuanians, Russians, 
Roma, Jews, Lemkos, Slovaks, Czechs, and Lipka Tatars with just a little
percentage, recognized all them in the Act
of 6 January 2005 on national and ethnic minorities and on the regional
languages (A. Kwasniewki, Article 2). 

In 2011 another Polish
Census regarding national and ethnic identity stated that 93.8% of surveyed
(between 30 of April to 1 of June) declared themselves Polish ethnicity;
3,8% other and 2,4% gave no answer, differentiated by 99.7% of those who
declared Polish citizenship (understood it as being a legal member of a sovereign
state); 0.2% declared other citizenship.

 The official language of education has always
been Polish but the situation has changed faintly since 1989 when some minority
languages started to be taught at schools. These 16 other languages have
officially recognized status of minority languages in accordance to the Act
of 6 January 2005 on national and ethnic minorities and on the regional
languages.( A. Kwasniewski) . This
recognition of being an official language provides some rights like
having part of the education subjects in that language, having the language
established as the secondary administrative language to be used in offices, and
nowadays in some districts the names of some streets and some institutions are
given in both languages to promote and not lose them. (A. Kawasniedwki, Article

Up to 1980 Russian was the
language learnt as a second language and it was compulsory in the early fifth
class of primary, but it was in 1989 when this changed, placing English as the
first foreign language to be studied from the second class of primary school (Bronislawa Zielonka, Poland: 148) and it was in 2015,
when more than 50% of Poles affirmed to speak English very good (TNS Poland 17/6/2015).


According to this and as it
is stated in the publication Key data on
teaching languages in Europe (Eurydice, 2005, p.46) there was a raise of
the percentage of students who were learning English in Primary education from
24% in 1999 to 49.2% in 2002, and in the meanwhile 90% of the students of
secondary education studied English during the year 2001/2002. (Eurydice, 2005,
p. 51).

The management of
the education system in Poland is carried out from different levels. The Ministry
of National Education coordinates and develops the educational policy of the
State from the central government; supervises the work of the body of
inspectors (kuratoria) and collaborates with other instances in educational
matters. The regional educational administration is the responsibility of each
of the 16 regions in which the country is divided, headed by each one of which
is a regional education delegate (kurator), appointed by the regional
government delegate (wojewoda), responsible for carrying out within its
geographical demarcation the policy of the Department. The Polish term “powiat”
is an intermediate administrative unit between the region and the commune or
municipality. Currently there are 379 educational districts in the country from
each of which the management and administration of the upper secondary and
professional education centers or other special public schools is carried out.
The local educational administration corresponds to the 2,478 communes or gmina
distributed throughout the State. Among its competences are the management of
early childhood education centers, primary schools and secondary education
centers or gymnasiums (gimnazjum). In the daily management of an educational center it is necessary
to emphasize the competences of the directors, who, in addition to hiring the
teaching staff and non-teaching staff, have the authority to grant some salary
supplements, determine the disciplinary rules and sanctions, supervise the work
teaching didactics, propose decorations, etc.

In the following Chart we can see at a glance all the stage of
the Polish Educational System: