Education system in the Second Polish Republic

Education system in the Second Polish Republic: in the interwar Poland compulsory education covered the period of 7 years. Primary schools lasted for 7 years. However, secondary schools functioned on a different basis. The education in gymnasium (the former Polish secondary school) lasted for 8 years: 3 years of junior gymnasium and 5 years of senior gymnasium. In theory, a student who finished 4 years of primary school could continue their education in junior gymnasium, but on the condition of passing an entrance examination, which frequently diverged from the curriculum of primary schools. Therefore the so-called initiatory classes, which were to prepare students for the examination, were established in gymnasiums. There were 3 types of gymnasiums, which dealt with the following branches: the humanities, mathematical and natural sciences, and classical education with ancient Greek and Latin. Senior gymnasium was to be graduated with Matura examination, which was the base to be admitted to universities (without any entrance examination). The state education was payable. In 1932 the reform of the education system was conducted, which resulted in joining primary with secondary schools. The primary school lasted for 7 years, but in the case when a student wished to continue their education, they took an entrance examination already after 6 years. The secondary school, in turn, from 1932 on was divided into 4-year long gymnasium and a 2-year long lyceum, after which Matura examination was to be passed. The education system in Poland incorporated at that time the vocational education, thus establishing vocational gymnasiums and lyceums. During the whole interbellum in Poland, state education functioned alongside the private one. However, private gymnasiums did not have the right to issue the state Matura examination, therefore, while organizing the exams, an examiner from the board of education was invited to the gymnasium. The education of ethnic minorities in their languages was mostly private.

The term was created within the framework of the project Zapisywanie świata żydowskiego w Polsce [recording the Jewish environment in Poland], whose author is Anka Grupińska, a well-known Polish journalist and writer, specializing in the modern history of the Polish Jews. The project, initiated in 2006 by the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, consists in recording interviews with Polish Jews from all generations.
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