Country information for Poland - Financing of inclusive education systems

Education is funded primarily from public sources. Public funds represent around 91% of funding in school education and around 79% in higher education. The main sources of public funding include:

  • general and targeted state budget subsidies and grants;
  • local government unit resources;
  • other public funds (for example, the Labour Fund and budgets of central government agencies allocated for the training of specific occupational groups);
  • European Union (EU) funds.

Public funding is provided to public and non-public institutions which fulfil the requirements set out in the national legislation (E. Kolanowska, 2021: The System of Education in Poland 2020).

The general subsidy amount for all local governments is defined annually in the Budgetary Act. The minister for education then establishes the algorithm for the distribution of these funds among relevant local governments.

The algorithm assumes increased funding for learners with disabilities, socially disadvantaged learners or those at risk of social disadvantage who have an official decision of special educational needs. The amount of funds is different for different types of special needs. There is no difference in the amount of funds per learner given to mainstream and special schools. Integration classes and integration schools, where the support of an additional teacher is obligatory, receive slightly higher funds. There is no financial mechanism to directly promote inclusive education.

According to the Act on Revenues of Local Governments, local government authorities decide on the use of funds received as part of the general subsidy. Local governments can therefore decide on the total expenditure on education and on its allocation, taking into consideration their total revenues. However, they must only spend funds received from the central budget for the education of learners with special educational needs on this purpose.

Nursery schools and crèches are subsidised with state targeted grants. The school authorities are responsible for the preparation of income and expenditure (financial) plans for all supervised educational institutions. Local governments also establish regulations for teacher remuneration and for the provision of financial support for learners. They are responsible for educational investments. Funds defined in the financial plan, which is presented to the school authorities for consultation, are disbursed by the school head teacher, who is responsible for their proper use.

Primary schools should provide the text books and practice materials for learners, tailored to their needs. They receive a specific subsidy from the state budget for this purpose, which is higher for learners with disabilities.

The community must provide transport to nursery schools and schools free of charge (in cases specified in the Education Act). This is not financed by the state budget.

Parents pay for meals. If the family is in a difficult financial situation, it is possible to provide meals paid for by social care.                                                             

Last updated 02/03/2021


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