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Educational attainment, Poland

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EDUCPL indicates the person's educational attainment in Poland in terms of the level of schooling completed.

Comparability — General

All censuses give the information about the highest educational level completed by the person, but do not provide the number of years within educational level.

Categories do not equate well between 1978-1988 and 2002-2011 because of changes to the education system. Many differences in the degree of detail are captured at the second digit of EDUCPL. But categorization in 1978 is particularly problematic, as much detail in the original census was combined in the data in ways that are not well documented. Hence, "secondary completed" is a large catch-all category in that year, and it may include persons with some secondary as well as post-secondary education. The classifications are largely compatible between 2002 and 2011, but the latter identifies lower secondary and persons who attended training colleges. Those technical colleges appear to be included with university bachelor's degrees in 2002.

Prior to 1999, compulsory education was composed of 8 years of primary education. Since the educational reform introduced in 1999, compulsory education covers 6 years of primary education and 3 years of lower secondary.

Before 1999, secondary education was provided in three different programs: 2 or 3 years of basic vocational education, 4 years of general secondary school, and 4 or 5 years of secondary vocational education school.

After the educational reform implemented in 1999, secondary education was split into 3 years of lower secondary education (provided to graduates of primary school) and 2 to 4 years of upper secondary, which is provided in four types of modalities: general secondary (3 years), specialized secondary (3 years), technical secondary (4 years), and vocational secondary (2 to 3 years). Lower secondary education includes graduates of lower secondary schools as well as graduates of specific vocational schools.

Post-secondary education comprises programs that require the completion of high school level. Post-secondary non-university refers to those programs offered by teacher training colleges, vocational schools, and general study centers. Post-secondary university includes those programs taught in universities: bachelor's degree programs (3 years), master's degree programs (2 years), and doctoral degree programs (3 to 4 years). Since 2002, it is possible to distinguish between bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctoral programs.

The age universe for the question changes from 15 to 12 across the census years.


  • Poland 1978: Persons age 15+
  • Poland 1988: Persons age 15+
  • Poland 2002: Persons age 12+
  • Poland 2011: Persons age 13+


  • Poland: 1978, 1988, 2002, 2011