INCLUSION OF QUALIFICATIONS

A market qualification canbe included in the Integrated Qualifications System (IQS) at the request of entities engaged in an organised activity in the following areas: economy, labourmarket, education or training.

Such entities can represent, e.g. a trading company, an association of entrepreneurs from a given line of business, an association of manufacturers, a sports union or an association of companies offering training services. 

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A request to have a market qualification included in the system canbe submitted by any entity, which deems that this qualification needed and is capable of substantiating its choice.

The application should include a detailed description of the qualification.

The description should specify:

  • the learning outcomes an individual must have to attain the qualification
  • the conditions to be met by the awarding body(i.e. the entity responsible for the validation process)

The application also includes a statement of the reasons why a given qualification is needed, a description of the demand for the qualification as well as its typical uses.

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If the application is properly completed, it will be sentto the relevant minister.

The minister will examine whether the qualification is of the required quality and if there is demand for it. In the event the minister decides so – it will be included in the Integrated Qualifications System (IQS) and the minister will enter the qualification into the Integrated Qualifications Register (IQR).

The minister has 4 month to make the decision. A single 4-month extension of the deadline may occur.

DESCRIPTION OF A MARKET QUALIFICATION

An application for including a qualification in the Integrated Qualifications System (IQS) must contain its description.

The description serves as a guideline for each entity intending to award the qualification in the future – i.e. become an awarding body (AB).

Learn about the elements included in a description of a qualification:

1. Description of the learning outcomes

Learning outcomes include the knowledge, skills or social competences required for a given qualification.

Each learning outcome is briefly described and additionally clarified by means of assessment criteria – up to several criteria for each outcome.

The assessment criteria are actions to be performed by the individual throughout the assessment process to prove that they possess the required learning outcomes. The criteria describe, in great detail, what is confirmed by the certificate. They are important for both candidates as well as employers.

2. Conditions to be met by en an en tity in order applying to become an awarding body (AB)

These are the minimal standards, which must be fulfilled by entities applying to become awarding bodies to ensure the highquality of the entire process.

These must be adequate for:

  • the learning outcomes specified for a given qualification
  • the assessment criteria assignedto the learning outcomes

The conditions specify the following:

  • The methods for assessing the learning outcomes, approved for a given qualification or particular learning outcomes
  • In most cases, the conditions specify the requirements to be met by the individuals performing the assessment – assessors and commission members. Additionally, requirements for individuals responsible for designing the validation process or a validation counsell or may be specified.
  • Validation process as well as the organisational and material conditions.
    These may include the following: required facilities, required equipment, validation time-frame or other important aspects relating to the organisation of the validation process.

VALIDATION METHODS

Validation is not a typical exam taken at a school or a university.

Apart from the already known knowledge testing methods, validation also uses innovative solutions. Methods thatcan be easily adapted to the needs of adults.

Validation methods and techniques as well as examples of their use have been described in the Catalogue of Validation Methods.

3. Conditions to be met by an individual applying for a certificate

How the individual undergoing validation acquired the knowledge and learned the skills required to attain the qualification is not relevant. Nevertheless, initial requirements may apply for certain qualifications, where thisis expected by the market.

This means that the following may be required of a candidate:

  • a full qualification ata given level – e.g. a matriculation certificate, a BA degree or a junior high school graduation diploma,
  • a particular licence – e.g. a driving licence,
  • confirmation of additional skills – e.g. first aid skills,
  • insurance,
  • a health certificate.

4. The qualification description must include other information too

– this information will be relevant for deciding on the inclusion of the qualification in the system by the relevant minister.

This information includes:

  • the description of thequalification 
  • the market demand for the qualification
  • its typical uses

THE PROCEDURE FOR INCLUDINGORPORATION OF A MARKET QUALIFICATION IN THE IQS

The procedure for including a qualification is managed by the relevant minister.

The entity submitting the application to have a qualification included in the IQS shall pay afee of PLN 2,000 at the time of filing the application.

The role of the minister in the process of including a qualification:

1. The minister consults the proposal to include the qualification with interested parties.

Through the Integrated Qualifications System (IQS) portal, the minister announcesthe commencement of community consultations and collects opinions regarding the qualification.

2. The minister solicits the opinions of experts.

The minister seeks experts’ advice on whether there is demand for the qualification in the market. Based on the collected opinions, the minister decides whether or not to proceed with the application.

3. The minister assesses the application.

The following are assessed:

  • the learning outcomes required for the given qualification as well as the validation requirements
  • the utilityof including the market qualification into the IQS (meeting social needs, demanded by the labour market as well as expected by employers)
  • the adaptability of the qualification’s requirements to objective circumstances as well as the ability to attain of learning outcomes in a proscribed period of time,
  • similarity between the proposed market qualification and qualifications already included in the IQS.

4. The minister assigns a Polish Qualifications Framework (PQF) level.

The minister appoints a team of experts to compare the qualification’s required learning outcomes to PQF levels. 

The team recommends a PQF level for thegiven qualification. The recommendation may also include a revised description of the required learning outcomes, which the applicant agreed to. The minister sendsthe recommendation to the IQS Stakeholders Council.

In the event the Board assesses the recommendation:

  • positively – the minister assigns the PQF level to the qualification 
  • negatively – the team of experts prepares a new recommendation taking into account the opinion of the Board. This recommendation is final.

5. The minister prepares an announcement on the inclusion of the qualification in the IQS.

The announcement is published in Monitor Polski– the official gazette of the Republic of Poland. The qualification is included in the IQS on the date of this publication.

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The minister, specialists and experts shall work in close cooperation with the applicant at each stage of the process.

INTEGRATED QUALIFICATIONS REGISTER (IQR)

Each market qualification included in the Integrated Qualifications System (IQS) is entered into the Integrated Qualifications Register (IQR).

The IQR is a public register that collects information on the qualifications awarded in Poland.
The register includes:

  • qualifications awarded in the school and higher education systems 
  • regulated qualifications, and
  • market qualifications

Each qualification included in the IQR:

  • is confirmed by public authorities
  • has an assigned PQF level
  • is subject to quality assurance rules

The data collected in the register are publicly accessible on the IQR portal.

Examples of market qualifications incorporated intoincluded in the IQS:

Status of the qualifications in the Integrated Qualifications System (IQS)

1

Once included in the IQS, the qualification has the following status: INCLUDED.
An entity wishing to become an awarding body may apply for the authorisation to validate this qualification.

2

The minister grants the authority to an entity to be an awarding body (AB) and entrusts, by means of a signed agreement, a selected external quality assurance entity (EQAE) with the task of performing the external quality assurance with respect to the AB.

3

Once the agreement between the minister and the relevant EQAE has been signed, the status of the qualification in the IQS changes to ACTIVE. From this moment on, the entity authorised as an awarding body has the right to perform validation and award the qualification.

The minister may authorise other ABs wishing to award the same qualification. Such ABs will become entitled to perform validation only after the minister has appointed EQAEs for them and signed relevant agreements with them to perform the external quality assurance functions for such awarding bodies.

TYPES OF QUALIFICATIONS

The Integrated Qualifications System is not only about market qualifications.
Qualificationsencompassed in the IQS include:

1. Qualifications awarded by the formal general, vocational and higher education systems

These qualifications are awarded pursuant to the law, which regulates the functioning of the formal general, vocational and higher education systems – i.e. education in schools and higher education institutions.
All qualifications of this type are included in the IQS.
These include both full as well as partial qualifications.

2. Regulated qualification

Awarded pursuant to other laws – outside of schools or higher education institutions. These are an important addition to full qualifications. They are developed as demanded by the market.
Examples include the following: driving licences, diver’s certificate, an inland skipper’s certificate of competence, medical specialities, etc.

These can only bepartial qualifications.

3. Market qualifications

The awarding of market qualifications is not based on commonly applicable law. 

These can only be partial qualifications.

Market qualifications may refer to:

  • strictly professional activities,
  • social activities, including educational and child development activities,
  • recreational activities.

Full qualifications 

are awarded exclusively by schools and higher education institutions to individuals who have attained certain education levels. Examples include: a matriculation certificate, a BA degree or an MA degree.

  • Not all certificates are full qualifications. For example, a high school graduation certificate is not a full qualification. In this case, a matriculation certificate is deemed a full qualification, as it certifies the completion of secondary education.
  • Similarly, certificates confirming a qualification in a particular profession or certificates of graduation from postgraduate studies are not considered full qualifications.

Partial qualifications

all other qualifications. These include both qualifications awarded by schools or higher education institutions (e.g. a certificate confirming one’s vocational qualifications) as well as those conferred outside of schools or higher education institutions (e.g. a driving licence).

The scope of the required learning outcomes is narrower compared to full qualifications. In most cases, a partial qualification is awarded in a particular area of activity or line of business.

Partial qualifications may be:

  • required in order to be able to practice a profession – e.g. a driving license of the appropriate category in the case of a bus driver,
  • an addition to a full qualification – e.g. physicians completing specialties in order to be authorised to operate specialist medical equipment.

POLISH QUALIFICATIONS FRAMEWORK (PQF)

Each market qualification included in the Integrated Qualifications System (IQS) has a PQF level assigned to it – as early as at the stage of including the qualification in the system. Qualifications not included in the IQS do not have a PQF level assigned to them.

A PQF level is assigned to market and regulated qualifications by the minister responsiblefor a given qualification (relevant minister). This is done based on the recommendation issued by a team of experts appointed by the minister, whocompare the learning outcomes required for the qualification in question with PQF level descriptors. The experts proceed according to a specified procedure. They must compare key learning outcomes to those elementsof the PQF level descriptors most closely corresponding to them.The recommendation issued by the team of experts is binding for the minister.

All certificates issued under the IQS have a common visual element: a Polish Qualifications Framework (PQF) trademark.

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In addition to the Polish Qualifications Framework (PQF), Sectoral Qualifications Frameworks (SQF) may they further develop the PQF level descriptors in the language and context of a given industry or economic sector.

PQF (POLISH QUALIFICATIONS FRAMEWORK) level – the scope and complexity of required learning outcomes for a qualification at a given level, formulated by general descriptions of the learning outcomes, known as “descriptors”.

(art. 2, pkt 17)
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