Between modernization of society and modernization of education The Polish Higher Education Case (CPP RPS 59/2013)

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Center for Public Policy Research Papers Series

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The paper will present three main theses. They will be supported with an analysis of documents related to the shaping of the policies of social and economic development, and higher education development in Poland. 1) Thesis: imitational character of modernization processes in relation to the modernization of Polish society. The specific character of the Polish modernization process is described in the categories of imitational modernization, where emphasis is placed on the necessity of Poland's adaptation to a certain democratic and market economy model. These processes got stronger together with Poland's accession to the EU, when the state intensified its activities to foster policies of social and economic development. Pursuing the goals of the Lisbon Strategy (to build a knowledge-based economy and society) was of particular importance as it was perceived as a chance to catch up with the civilization development. 2) Thesis: decision makers' failure to perceive or understand the function of higher education in view of society's modernisation needs. During the state transformation period the Polish decision makers forgot the fact that modernization of economy cannot happen without a concurrent social modernization, and the directions for the changes were paved only with general market economy and democracy slogans. The potential of schools of higher education was neglected for two decades. There is numerous data indicating poor "modernisation" of the education and research systems and therefore it is difficult to say that the decision makers treated higher education as a key factor determining the level of modernization potential of society. Reformatory measures of the Polish government in the area of higher education have intensified only within the last several years and the paper will analyse them in detail. 3) Thesis: ideological character of modernization of higher education. Higher education reforms are connected with pursuing the goals of the Bologna Process. The ideological character of the reforms carried out in Poland is manifested in the fact that both the Bologna Process and the Lisbon Strategy are perceived as political projects. Strategic documents generated by the government constitute a makeshift and politically orchestrated reply to the recommendations made by the EU. Polish decision makers have never placed higher education within their genuine political priorities before. The paper will show how this situation has recently changed.





CPP RPS Vol. 59 (2013), Poznań, 2013, pp. 1-21.



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Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Biblioteka Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Ministerstwo Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego