An intensive development of universities in Poland started after 1989. The period after 1989 witnessed a significant growth in the number of colleges and students. Obtaining a degree of higher education was a trend that transformed into a standard in the labour market, particularly with reference to expert job positions. According to the data from the Central Statistical Office, over 1.29 million people studied at universities in November 2017, while in academic year 2016/2017 387.5 thousand students obtained graduation diplomas. The fact that the number of students keeps decreasing every year does not mean that society does not want to achieve higher education any more. It mainly results from a demographic decline visible in age groups that start their studies.
For the last 30 years, the market of colleges in Poland (and not only in Poland) had to deal with a number of transformations (also in relation to the information revolution) and problems, today, however, it runs smoothly not only within national, but also European borders. Polish universities favour mobile education of students and are becoming much more internationally-oriented e.g. in the aspect of academic scientific study, which makes them important entities capable of competing in international markets. They operate in the market related to the European Research Area, where the EU’s Bologna Process is steadily functioning.
Universities play an immense role in the growth of Polish economy. Their tasks include ensuring proper intellectual capital i.e. skilled employees, generating and launching innovations or creating appropriate R&D facilities.
OIn Poland there are presently over 400 active colleges, including several dozen universities. Every year a rating of academic colleges is drawn up. According to the latest rating, the leading colleges in 2018 were:
It should be noted that 6 out of 10 best Polish colleges are focused strictly on exact sciences. However, all of them offer valued technical fields of study, and their research staff participates in studies related to Big Sciences or highly-specialised technologies.