The number of students choosing to study in private institutions in Poland has increased significantly in recent years. According to the latest statistics from the city hall, approximately 36,700 students in Warsaw attend private institutes, which is a 20% increase from the 30,000 students attending private institutions in 2018. In 2016, the numbers stood at 26,754.
According to data from Statistics Poland (GUS), 7.25% of students in Poland attended non-public schools in the academic year 2020-2021, compared to 6.45% in 2015-2016. Even though the figures of students attending private institutions remain below the level in the capital, there’s no doubt that Poland witnesses a nationwide increase in private school students every year.
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Several factors contribute to the growing trend to admit students to private institutions. These include:
Amongst all these factors, the teacher shortage and overcrowding are the leading reasons parents have opted for private schools instead of public ones. With 7% of teachers quitting their job in 2020-2021, the number of vacancies has risen to 2000 in the recent academic year, compared to 1600 vacancies a few years back.
The global pandemic that gripped the nation in 2020 caused significant stress to teachers. As a result, many have found the transition to online learning from traditional classrooms extremely challenging. Furthermore, lack of institutional support, overworking due to staff shortage and low pay has resulted in several teachers quitting their jobs.
On the other hand, private institutions have had a smoother transition to online learning. Teachers and students had easier access to better technology, making it easier for both parties to continue education without a hitch. Furthermore, returning to overcrowded offline classes can pose a challenge to students who have acclimatised to online sessions.
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Even before the pandemic, the shift in preference towards private institutions was apparent after the educational reforms put forward by the Law and Justice (PiS) government in 2017. The new model had removed the concept of middle schools, leading to massive upheaval and disruption to learning due to the sudden reconstruction of the learning system. As a result, parents have become more attracted to private institutions that promise stability and a better-quality education.