Study visit to Poland, 15 - 18 December 2013
Croatian representatives from the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports, Ministry of Labour and Pension System were hosted by the Institute for Educational Research in Warsaw, Poland (IBE) during their three-day study visit in December. The aim of the study visit was to gain insight into the Polish Qualifications Framework (PQF) and investigate examples of financing activities related to the development of qualifications framework from EU structural funds. Study visit was organized as an activity within the scope of the EQF NCP grant and the Agreement on cooperation in the field of national qualifications frameworks, which the Republic of Croatia has signed with Austria and Poland.

The first day of the study visit was devoted to the Polish Qualifications Framework, where hosts from IBE presented the structure of the PQF and the importance that it has on the lifelong learning and promotion of cooperation between all stakeholders on the national level. Horacy Debowski, PQF Expert, gave a brief overview of key milestones in the development of PQF, reasons that led to the development of the PQF as well as the role that qualifications framework has within the Polish education system.

Marek Kopyt, PQF portal architect, explained the concept of the Integrated Qualifications Register, which will include all newly developed qualifications and serve as a mechanism for quality assurance. It will also enable mutual cooperation between all relevant stakeholders during the process of development of qualifications thus increasing transparency of developed qualifications.

Beata Balinska, PQF Expert, presented the importance of public debate and its contribution in the development of the PQF. Important accent was placed on main channels of promotion and raising of public awareness about the project through which the PQF was developed. Visibility activities of the project included various workshops, Internet advertisements, international conferences, study visits and cooperation with all the relevant institutions.

On the second day of the study visit, Croatian representatives visited the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, where they were presented with the overview of the Polish science and higher education system, major sources of financing and the results of the recently implemented reforms in science and higher education system.
During the visit to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Development, Croatian representatives were presented with management structure for implementation of Structural Funds and Cohesion Fund along with best practice examples, with particular emphasis on projects implemented in the education sector.

The last day of the visit was devoted to a joint meeting of Croatian representatives and IBE experts where all participants had the opportunity for open discussion and conclusions on valuable information about the Polish Qualifications Framework. Since there are various similarities but also differences in the implementation procedures, all the participants agreed that the exchange of the information was extremely valuable and will help everyone in their future work. Furthermore, the participants proposed to host a study visit for the Polish representatives in 2014 in Croatia in order to continue with the cooperation and peer-learning activities provided by study visits.