Social Perceptions versus Economic Returns of the Higher Education: The Bologna Process in Poland

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In the present study, the Bologna process is viewed through the lenses of the end product of reform initiatives it has been promoting in the last decade: in this case, a coherent system of three degrees – the bachelor, the master, and the doctorate. And in particular, it is focused on the changing social perceptions and labor market perceptions of the bachelor degree. The increasing acceptance of the bachelor degree in the Polish labor market seems to be an indirect product of the Bologna process: in the 1990s the bachelor degree both had low social prestige and was refused as appropriate higher education credentials by the labor market. But recent national data tend to suggest that while the social prestige of the bachelor degree is still low, its market value is quite high. Consequently, the bachelor degree may have much higher acceptance among students and graduates in the near future. The role of the Bologna process in this transformation has been substantial. There seems to be a combination of national and international forces at work which has managed to transform the national labor market position of the bachelor degree. The study is divided into the following sections: introduction; the degree structure in Poland in an European comparative context; the bachelor degree in Poland from a historical comparative perspective: legal changes and institutional transformations; the degree structure and the labor market response: review of recent empirical evidence; the bachelor degree and private higher education; and conclusions.




Bologna Process, European integration, Polish higher education, Polish universities, returns from higher education, wage premium, bachelor degree, bachelor/master split, Poland, labor market, labor market entry, postcommunism, private sector, private higher education, economics of education, marketization, Central Europe, university reforms, higher education reforms, reforming universities, university - labor market links, youth employment, labor market mismatch, graduate employment, education to work


In: Tamás Kozma, Magdolna Rébay, Andrea Óhidy, and Éva Szolár (eds.), The Bologna Process in Central and Eastern Europe. Dordrecht: Springer. 147-182.



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