Ladies and gentlemen,
Pedagogical University of Cracow, named after the National Education Commission, (originally named the National Higher College of Teacher Training and is 1952 the Higher College of Teacher Training) is the oldest pedagogical university in Poland. The University was founded 60 years ago - in 1946 with the aim to continue the traditions of the pre-war Pedagogium led by Dr Henryk Rowid. The sixtieth jubilee of the University makes one reflect on its history. Initially it was a semi-higher vocational school with a total number of 98 students. Its aim was to educate teachers for primary schools in a country demolished by the Second World War. The intelligentsia, including the teaching staff, was badly decimated. Very soon, starting in the academic year of 1949/1950, the school undertook the education of teachers for secondary schools. A transformation of its status followed - from a semi-higher institution to a rightful academic college with the entitlements to confer the doctorate degree (in 1959) and to confer the degree of doctor habilitatus (in 1967). The Higher College of Teacher Training was given the honourable name of the National Education Commission in 1973. In 1999 it was renamed the Pedagogical University, named after the National Education Commission. A more detailed account of the history of the University will be introduced on the following pages of the publication.
At present the University has a very high standing. In country-wide rankings of colleges it is on the top of the rating among pedagogical colleges. The success is to the credit of a superb teaching staff, a permanently modernized teaching process and modern facilities offering excellent learning conditions. In recent years there has been a rapid growth in the number of students. Presently the Pedagogical University has more than 20 000 students studying in 4 faculties, 15 fields of studies and 40 specialities. Among highly qualified teaching and academic staff there are 800 academic teachers with 190 independent scholars. The students can use well equipped dormitories, "Za kolumnami" ("Behind Columns") being the most modern and luxurious facility of the kind in Cracow. The students have at their disposal a modern sports base including an indoor swimming pool with the dimensions of 25m x 12,5 m. The University participates in formal exchanges and cooperates with several foreign partners. More and more students exercise the possibility of taking part in an international exchange within the Socrates/Erasmus programme. The academic staff can take part in international research undertakings, take advantage of research training and consultations. The students can get to know new countries, improve their language skills, take part in teaching courses and work in the best world laboratories. The rank of the University is also marked by its own Academic Publishing House issuing 90 publications a year and the Main Library which, along with the network of faculty and institute libraries affiliated with it, houses 650 thousand volumes and is one of the biggest academic libraries in Cracow.
The current framework of the Pedagogical University of Cracow is the result of the creative initiative of a great number of rectors, deans, headmasters of scientific and teaching units as well as excellent academic teachers and administration. For 60 years generations of University employees have significantly contributed to the development of Polish schools by educating competent teachers and excellent pedagogues. From 80 thousand graduates of the University, the majority work as teachers and tutors in schools and various educational institutions. Among them there are also: headmasters, superintendents of schools, academic professors and rectors, as well as ministers.
At the moment the Pedagogical University is facing new challenges. A European Higher Education Area is being created, which comprises 40 European countries. Its goal is to create conditions for mobility as well as adjust educational curricula and teaching methods to the needs of the market with the aim to establish a uniform educational system in Europe. Thanks to the Bologna Process there will be a wider exchange of students and academics between partner countries. After introducing the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) into all Polish and European universities, students will be able to do a part of their studies abroad, outside their mother university. The Pedagogical University of Cracow will join the system and is preparing to meet European educational standards.