A Polish ECo-C: Perspectives

23.06.2010 01:00

Map of Europe

In our earlierarticle about the expansion of the ECo-C, some questions were posed relating tothe speed of said expansion in larger Western European countries. Poland wasnot one of them, but the question of whether and when the ECo-C will expand toPoland is linked to many important EU and Polish issues.

The accession ofPoland was, as everyone knows, a highly controversial thing. British newspapersconstantly discussed the tides of Poles who would take advantage of the free movementof persons to go to the United Kingdom and work there. Meanwhile, in France,the debate on Polish workers got so incongruous that someone felt it necessaryto issue an image featuring a handsome plumber saying „I’m staying in Poland,you’re welcome to come too!“ Although now known to be a hoax, the image was atthe time attributed to Polish authorities, and used to put the mass hysteriasurrounding this labour force into sharp perspective.

In and ofitself, the hysteria is simply a hype, and a nonsensical one at that (it shouldbe noted that the right to take up employment without any prior work permit wasphased out for the newly acceding countries; Poles still require such permitstoday). But the hype stems from specific issues, such as the matter of aninternational, migrating  workforce, the insufficiencies of the Polishlabour market, the importance of comparative qualification standards across theEuropean continent.

The NationalAction Plan for Employment 2008 (NAPE 2008) reports that, in Poland in 2006,only some 55.7% of persons aged 15-64 were employed, about 9% below the EUaverage. Some of the country’s largest problems include unemployment, insufficientinstitutional, infrastructural and related support, and, one notes withinterest, insufficient access and availability of training, both related to regulareducation, and to lifelong learning. However, insufficiencies also pinpointpossibilities for improvement, and indeed, the NAPE also suggests theaforementioned as opportunities which can be emphasized to strengthen thePolish labour market.

From thisrespect, the ECo-C is really something that Poland in general, and the Polesthemselves should welcome as a development: not only does it provide amarketable professional qualification, but because of its stringent qualityassurance mechanisms, because of the Europe-wide scope of the certificate, ithelps strengthen  the Polish Labourmarket, builds the value-added of the workforce, and improves its connectionsto a wider network of standards in both communication science and in theteaching thereof.


Pictured: Map of Europe
Legend: (1) Old EU Member states [light pink], New EU member states [light yellow], Poland [Orange], Others [Grey]

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