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Coalition meeting the Relevant system of  learning of the Polish language for people with granted international protection and asylum seekers

On September 21, the  Institute of Public Affairs - IPA held a coalition meeting on the Relevant system of  learning of the Polish language for people with granted international protection and asylum seekers gathering experts, advisors, practitioners and methodologists with diversifies experience in this topic.

During the online meeting  participants  shared experience, ideas addressed challenges by indicating possible solutions and steps that should be taken in aim to elaborate efficient language learning system oriented to meet the needs of people with granted protection and during the asylum procedure. 

Mikołaj Pawlak, NIEM’s project researcher, presented the latest results and compared Poland to other EU Member States, studied within the NIEM project. Poland presents an example of the state, where Polish language courses are available for people during the asylum procedure and also Office for Foreigners responsible for courses during pre-integration phase set some standards and systematic approach to language learning. But, talking about the Polish language learning for  beneficiaries of international protection, the country presents negatively comparing to other member states, comparing also V4 countries, especially during individual integration programme period, that takes 12 months after the decision on protection.  Poland seems to follow the “unique” model of “privatizing” language learning of BIPs, since BIPs can cover fees for courses from states benefits and free of charge language courses are offered only by NGOs or local authorities through their projects. The responsibility of finding and taking classes is on BIPs with some help from social workers, of course. \

The difference between the offer of  Warsaw Centre for Family Support responsible for implementing IIP and NGOs in the capital city, Warsaw,  and other parts of Poland was raised. This is one of aspects showing unequal treatment in access to public educational services, as Polish language learning should be, that derives from lack of national wise standards, guidelines and system. 

The crucial challenge remains in lack of system of language learning targeted to BIPs and gaps in many elements that the system would require: choice of consistent model, a body responsible for coordinating language learning as continious process from pre-integration and after IIP, indicating goal of language learning (by level of skills or hours spent on learning), national-wise programme, guidelines and quality standards to follow by institutions offering courses, monitoring and evaluation of quality of language learning, and others. 

The meeting once again proved the relevance of such discussions among practitioners – especially people who organize language learning for BIPs and feel responsible for the good quality of provided education – as well as BIPs. Though for many years the discussion seeks for the will of decision makers to deal with the issue of systematic gaps and ineffective language learning as an outcome and also for the will to introduce important changes. In the model of divided responsibilities for language learning between few institutions in Poland it was hard to indicate which entity should have a bigger responsibility and coordination role in introducing national-wise teaching programme, guidelines and quality standards for providing language learning etc. However, the meeting delivered good material for recommendations and further advocacy work toward  decision makers.

Thank you UNHCR Polska, Warszawskie Centrum Pomocy Rodzinie, Ministry of Family Laboru and Social Policy, Fundacja i Szkoła Nauki Języków Obcych "Linguae Mundi", Fundacja Kobiety Wędrowne, and others for fruitful discussion!