While Poland has still one of the lowest shares (6,4 per cent) of foreign-born tertiary students in OECD countries, the country has observed a gradual rise in the number of non-Polish students lately. According to the Polish Supreme Audit Office (NIK), nearly 80,000 foreigners were studying at Polish universities in the academic year 2019/20, which means an increase of more than 27 per cent compared to 2016/17.
As recorded by NIK in 2019, the great majority of foreign-born students in Poland came from Ukraine (over 38,500), Belarus (8,200), India (3,300) as well as Norway, China and Germany (around 1,400 students from each country). A number of them decided to study medicine (7,400), management (2,100), information technology (1,700) and dental medicine (1,100).
The growing popularity of Polish degree programmes among international students can be partly attributed to the rise of academic exchange opportunities, including the ones offered by the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange. Launched in 2017, the Agency facilitates the process of internationalization of Polish academic institutions, by coordinating several scholarship and exchange programmes for students. As indicated by NIK, the process of internationalization, although challenging, plays an essential role in the development of higher academic institutions and improves the overall quality of tertiary education. Therefore, NIK has called for more support and academic opportunities for foreign students in Poland.
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