Polish higher education has made great strides in supporting entrepreneurship and innovation and offers good practices that can be widely implemented

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Polish universities support entrepreneurship and innovation. They engage in numerous partnerships and student clubs of entrepreneurship offer students valuable learning environments to create and act upon opportunities.

These are key findings of the HEInnovate Country Review of Poland, undertaken by a team from the OECD and the European Commission in co-operation with the Polish Accreditation Committee, the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education and experts from Portugal and Belgium.

The review findings and recommendations are published in new OECD/EU report “Supporting Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Higher Education in Poland is a result of a two-year review of Poland”, which was launched on 26 October 2017 in the Ministry of Science and Higher Education in Warsaw.

The report shows that many Higher Education Institutions in Poland have included entrepreneurship and innovation as one of the pillars of their development strategies. Higher Education Institutions have been expanding their offer of entrepreneurship education and support the creation of innovation centres also thanks to the use of the Structural Funds from the European Union. Most of the recommendations of the HEInnovate review of Poland have been already taken up by the reform of higher education and science, the Constitution for Science. Examples are the strengthening of teaching and learning through innovative pedagogies, more practical learning experiences for students, involvement of external stakeholders in  the management of HEIs, strengthening a didactic path of academic career, a greater emphasis of socio-economic impact in  quality assessment criteria and   evaluation  of research activity  and the creation of regional initiatives of excellence. The report recommends the Polish government to do more about spreading good practices in entrepreneurship education, strengthening linkages between higher education and the business community, and providing more incentives for academic staff to become engaged in entrepreneurship activities.

In terms of the Polish higher education system, key areas of improvement that require public policy actions as identified by the report are:

  • Build a resource base for entrepreneurship education and training, including platforms for good practice exchange and networks of entrepreneurship professors and entrepreneurs who can contribute to entrepreneurial learning.
  • Encourage the newly established Innovation Council to work with higher education institutions to define an entrepreneurial vision for the Polish higher education system and to oversee its implementation, and strengthen the start-up support infrastructure using European Union Structural and Investment Funds.
  • Develop a new international exchange programme for academic staff to build on the experiences of the Top 500 Innovators Programme, and strengthen animation of the existing network for past programme participants.

The report draws attention to the projects and initiatives carried out by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the National Centre for  Research and Development, strengthening the links between business and science, such as: 

  • Competency Development Programme
  • Programme of Apprenticeships at State Higher Vocational Schools,
  • Setting up the Innovation Council
  • Introduction of the National Qualifications Framework for Higher Education
  • Introduction of the National System of Tracking Graduates’ Career Path.

The representatives of the European Commission and the OECD congratulated Poland for a successful completion of the HEInnovate review process. HEInnovate is a key initiative to make Europe more innovative and entrepreneurial as it supports individual higher education institutions in their ongoing transformation. The free, online HEInnovate Tool, supports Higher Education Institutions to organise strategic discussions and debate around entrepreneurship and innovation. A wide range of stakeholders can be easily involved from within the Higher Education Institution (leadership, staff, students, academic and administrative staff) and the local economy. Easy-to-read graphs show where stakeholders agree or disagree and provide a basis for strategic discussions and debate in board meetings, the senate or public events. The online tool is available in Polish and 23 other languages; it is currently used by more than 800 HEIs around the world.

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