On 15 January 2016, the Act of 22 December 2015 on the Integrated Qualifications System came into force. Introduction of the Integrated Qualifications System (IQS) has been long anticipated by students, employers, trade unions, trade organizations, but especially by Polish workers - both those who work in Poland and those leaving Poland to work in other countries of the European Union.
The solutions that the Integrated Qualification System is introducing are a response to the changes in the labour market and economy. As the experience of other European countries shows, the introduction of a system based on the qualifications framework will results in the growing number of people interested in formal recognition of their competences and raising their qualifications which will not only affect people's professional situation, but also their sense of security in the labour market.
In Poland, qualifications are awarded in the general education and higher education systems, but also by associations and industry organizations, functioning on the basis of various regulations. Some of the qualifications awarded outside the general education and higher education systems conform to high standards of quality, but not all.
For those seeking employment abroad as well as for employers who hire foreigners, the possibility of a more objective comparison of diplomas issued in different countries is of key importance. Poles working in other countries are often employed below their knowledge and skill level. The reason is that abroad it is not very clear what level of the Polish Qualification Framework was assigned to the qualification. The possibility of verifying the actual level of qualification should, for example, help a Pole working in Ireland to earn as much as an Irishman of comparable competence level.
Work on the new system was carried out under the direction of the Minister of National Education, who oversaw and coordinated the entire area of changes to the qualification system.
Work on the Integrated Qualifications System in Poland was carried out in constant cooperation with nongovernmental partners. These were representatives of employers, trade unions, industry organizations, NGOs, educational and research institutions, training companies. Their opinions had a significant impact on the shape of many solutions used in the IQS.
The Integrated Qualification System is designed for those who want to learn and develop throughout their lives, as well as for the generations who are just preparing to enter the labour market. In the integrated system specific learning outcomes - what we know, what skills and competences we have and how we can use them in professional and social life are progressively more important.