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August 5, 2003

Homeschooling in Poland

The Polish Constitution (1997) guarantees the right to choose home education. Article 70.3 states that "Parents are free to choose schools other than public for their children."

Unfortunately, the Educational System Act of 1991 limits the freedom to homeschool. Article 16. 8 states: "At parents' request the headmaster of primary (secondary or high) public school, where their child attends at, may give his permission for fulfilling the school obligation (or compulsory education) by the child, and [the headmaster] must determine all the conditions to do it. The child doing so may receive the document stating that one of the school years or the whole school cycle has been realized after he/she passes classification exams executed by the school the headmaster of which had given his permission to the request."

Marek Budajczak, president of Polish home school organization, Stowarzyszenie Edukacji Domowej, has stated that there are two problems with the homeschool law in Poland. First, all homeschoolers in Poland have to pass an examination each year and sometimes twice a year in order to continue homeschooling. This results in unequal treatment of homeschoolers, as public school students are not required to pass annual examinations. Secondly, the lack of procedural rules for the approval of homeschools results in a lack of uniformity in enforcement across the country. Every local school is free to create its own rules for homeschooling.

Marek Budajczak has indicated that in a few months he will launch, with the help of Polish parliament members, human rights defendants, and press representatives, an action for changing the homeschool law in Poland so that there are clearly defined requirements that local school administrators must comply with in "approving" homeschools. Homeschoolers across the world will be asked to voice their support of this legislation.