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Internationalisation (“Ukrainisation”?) of Polish universities

There are over 46 101 international students from 158 countries studying in Poland; (10 000 more than last year, a 28% increase). They make up 3.1% of the total student body. Polish universities have never before experienced such a growth in incoming student mobility. Such growth is in a large measure is a result of universities’ own steps and their engagement in “Study in Poland,” a joint program of Perspektywy Education Foundation and Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland (CRASP).
The increase of the internationalisation factor is due not only to the growing number of foreign students, but also to the decrease of the total number of students in Poland. In the academic year 2014/15 there are 1 469 386 students at the Polish universities –80 491 fewer than in the previous year, and over 265 000 fewer than three years ago. The decline in the number of students in Poland is primarily the result of the decline in the birth rate some years ago. For a number of years the demographic situation in the country is expected to be the major challenge facing Polish universities.
Responsible for the increase in the number of international students is mostly unprecedented influx of students from Ukraine. There are 23 329 students from Ukraine, 8 206 more than last year. They make up over 50% of the total number of foreign students in Poland. The rapid growth is a result both of the ten years of marketing and promotional presence of the Polish university at this market as part of the "Study in Poland" programme, and of the present difficult political situation in Ukraine.
The rise of a Ukrainian monoculture at some Polish has  led to much talk  about the “Ukrainisation” of Polish universities, according to Dr. Bianka Siwinska, author of the report "Foreign students in Poland in 2014". “Last year there were some xenophobic incidents in some academic centres,” she says. She warns that the academic community, the government and other stakeholders “should pay special attention to these trends and propose solutions supporting proper integration of Ukrainian students into university and local community.”
For more information please contact Bianka Siwinska, +48 501 535 785,