Poland an emerging destination for Pakistani students

December 28 2016

Education Expert

Every year, thousands of Pakistani students, academics and professionals – mainly youth – travel abroad for higher studies. Very few of them do the required research or make in-depth study when choosing a destination or identifying a university that matches their aims and objectives, especially the financial outlay and budget involved in their studies which they or their parents can provide.

Everyday, hundreds of so-called education consultants advertise in the press and media inviting students to go to the universities involving their own interest mostly in countries such as UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, China and Turkey. The choice offered is so huge and diversified that it becomes very confusing where to go, especially in the absence of professional and unbiased career counselling.

The majority of students have no clue of what is best for them in terms of choosing a destination or a university. However, there are some recognised and professional education consultants and platforms available that provide an opportunity to the students to get better advice through interaction with university delegates via regular education expos and seminars. But even then hundreds of students every year become victim of scrupulous and fake agents and end up not only paying huge processing fees but choosing a destination or a university making false promises.

It is of high importance for our student community to look at a number of factors before making a decision for a study destination and selecting a university which would deliver them quality and recognised degrees so that they can seek planned career objectives across the globe.

Among these factors a key element is of financial outlay when a Pakistani student starts making his budgets and converting Pakistani rupees into dollars or sterling pounds and realises how huge this investment is going to be. It is at this point that one has to look at a number of countries and make a comparative analysis to assess and evaluate his options in terms of educational facilities, quality of degree, living cost and other parameters before making this lifetime decision.

This author had an opportunity of visiting Polish universities recently and was amazed with the rich educational heritage and the state-of-the-art facilities that these universities offer to all international students on very affordable and competitive tuition fees and living expenses.

Poland’s economy continues to grow and the OECD had predicted that its GDP per person will grow by an average of 2.6 per cent a year between 2011 and 2030. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) – a leading financial service – forecast an annual growth averaging 2.5 per cent till 2050.

As for education, its tradition of academic history goes back to the 1364 when King Casimir III the Great, established the Cracow academy known today as the Jagiellonian University. Today, the Polish higher education system is developing dynamically. Poland holds the fourth place in Europe after the United Kingdom, Germany and France in terms of the number of people enrolled in higher education. According to a survey, the total number of students at over 450 university-level schools is almost 2 million.

Poland plays an active part in the Bologna process owing to the introduction of three stage education modelled on the Bachelors/Masters/Doctor template and the (ECTS) European Credit Transfer System. Polish students and foreigners studying in Poland stay fully mobile and can easily continue their education elsewhere in the European Union, within the Erasmus Programme now running for 25 years as almost 30,000 foreign students have come to study in Poland.

In addition to this, many Polish students had the opportunity of doing a portion of their course in other countries under this programme. A range of well-established and state-of-the-art universities offer bachelors and masters degrees and research/PhD taught in English covering almost all subject areas through a wide range of public and private sector institutions, many of those come in the world ranking tables.

Some of these universities are Jagiellonian University, University of Warsaw, University of Silesia, University of Wroclaw, Bialystok University of Technology, AGH University of Science and Technology, Wistula University in Warsaw, University of Lublin, Czestochowa University of Technology and University Of Euroregional Economy.

Poland, being well placed in the heart of Schengen area, offers international students the benefit and advantage of travelling in more than 22 countries within the EU giving them the opportunity to interact with many cultures, communities and societies and learn languages that ultimately become an asset in developing their future career prospects. All international students are allowed to work part-time under the European Union student visa rules.

The author interviewed the current ambassador of Poland in Pakistan Ananicz Andrzej for the Geo Network. He was very positive on exchanging educational links with the Pakistani institutions and encouraged students to look at higher education study opportunities at Polish universities.

Replying to a question, he pointed out that mining and agriculture are some areas that Poland can provide highly expert knowledge and qualifications due to their vast experience, research and heritage in these subjects.

Pakistani Ambassador in Warsaw Khalid Memon made a visit to Jagiellonian University. During the meeting with this author, he was hoping that more students from Pakistan will travel to Poland to seek higher education and the Polish universities will perhaps look at developing institutional linkages for exchange of students, faculty and research.

A typical international student who if seeks to do a undergraduate or a postgraduate degree will pay as low as 2,500 to 3,500 Euros per year as tuition fee depending on the course and the university with living expenses ranging between 2,500 to 4,000 Euros depending on the type of accommodation selected.

If this is compared with other European countries, I believe it will be the lowest tuition and living cost among many countries in the region. The public sector universities in Poland are very well-equipped with modern facilities, highly qualified faculty and latest modern teaching tools to deliver many courses taught in English.

The student visa rules are same as for other EU/Schengen countries in which the following factors and documentation are taken into account along with an interview with the visa officer, where applicable. In general, a student needs to demonstrate that he is a genuine and bona fide candidate seeking entry into a Polish institution. His/her educational documentation from school or university has to be duly attested with the relevant authority such as IBCC or HEC and should provide sufficient evidence of financial standing/ proof of income that he/she is able to support himself/herself during the entire period of studies in Poland.

The main document of the course is a letter of acceptance from a recognised Polish institution and the fees paid in some cases. The visa officer assesses an application to satisfy himself that the intentions of students are only to study and the paperwork is valid and genuine.

Poland, therefore, is one destination that offers very economical study packages that are affordable even for the middle income bracket Pakistani community and one can highly encourage them to look at this when making their study plans abroad. Free information and more help is available on the Polish embassy website as well as www.go.poland.pl or www.falconedu.com/studyinpoland

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