More foreigners graduating from Polish universities, says report

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In 2021, there were nearly 16,000 people from abroad among university graduates in Poland. This number has been increasing in recent years. In 2019, there were about 14,700 and in 2017 - about 11,400, according to new data from National Information Processing Institute.

One of the priorities of the higher education reform introduced from 2019 was to increase the competitiveness of Polish universities and increase their internationalisation level.

According to the report 'International Students in Poland 2022', nearly 89,500 international students from 180 countries studied in Poland in the previous academic year, over 4,700 more than a year earlier. International students now account for over 7.3% of all students in the country.

The largest group of foreign graduates are graduates of first-cycle studies (8,227). Slightly fewer foreigners complete second-cycle studies (6,111), and their number decreased in 2021. On the other hand, the number of graduates from abroad among those completing uniform master's studies is growing (1,636).

The data from the ELA system (the nationwide system for monitoring the Economic Situation of University Graduates, designed by the National Information Processing Institute) also show that the number of foreigners varies greatly depending on the major and the course type (1st or 2nd cycle studies, uniform master's studies). For example, among first and second cycle graduates, the largest share of foreign graduates was recorded in arts and social sciences, but in none of these fields does the percentage of graduates exceeded 10%. On the other hand, there is quite a large variation among graduates of uniform master's studies.

The largest group of foreigners graduate from medical studies. They include graduates from the USA, Norway or the United Arab Emirates, for whom the costs of studies in Poland are much more attractive, the report says.

According to the ELA system data, in 2021 over 17% of graduates of medical studies (future doctors and dentists) were foreigners. In the group of graduates of uniform master's studies, the share of students in the field of social sciences, including law and psychology, was the lowest.

'However, these are majors in which the specificity of a given country is important, including, above all, the specific national legal system in the case of law graduates, as well as the applicable national regulations regarding the profession of psychologist,’ the report added. 

The National Information Processing Institute also provided information on the post-graduation situation of foreign graduates. In the group of graduates of uniform master's, the largest percentage of foreigners continuing to work in Poland is observed among graduates of theological studies. This percentage is slightly smaller in social sciences and arts.

The analysis also shows that less than 1% of foreign graduates in the field of medical sciences and health sciences and slightly more than 1.5% graduates in the field of agricultural sciences find employment in Poland.

Among graduates of second-cycle studies, the highest percentage of graduates working in Poland was recorded in the field of science, natural sciences and humanities.

For years, Ukrainians have been the largest group of foreign students in Poland. However, their number began to decrease after the academic year 2018/19, when it peaked at 39,200 people. (PAP)

Szymon Zdziebłowski

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