Decisions on the possible closure of medical courses opened in October will be made by May or June, announced the Minister of Science, Dariusz Wieczorek, on Tuesday. He added that these decisions will be preceded by a re-assessment of the Polish Accreditation Committee. In the previous assessment, as many as 10 out of 14 fields of study launched in October did not meet its standards.
By the decision of former Minister of Education Przemysław Czarnek, in October 2023, 14 new medical fields were opened at Polish universities. Already theirs then the matter was controversial. Only four of them received a positive assessment from the Polish Accreditation Committee. The remaining ten started despite, for example, the lack of appropriate staff, equipment or premises. It was noisy then, among others: about students of the Academy of Applied Sciences in Nowy Sącz, whose anatomy classes were planned in Radom, over 250 kilometers away.
New medical fields to be closed?
The current Minister of Science and Higher Education announced that the newly opened fields of study will now be re-inspected. – We are asking the Polish Accreditation Committee to inspect these fields of study (…) to verify them in terms of the quality of education – he said on Tuesday on Polish Radio Dariusz Wieczorek. The minister emphasized that the purpose of the inspection is not to close all fields of study, but to determine whether they are able to educate future doctors at the appropriate level.
As the minister emphasized, the repeated receipt of a negative opinion by the Polish Accreditation Committee for a given course does not necessarily mean its closure. – Either additional financial outlays and possible assistance from the ministry or local governments will be granted to finance such a course, or it will actually be closed – he said. – We will act so that students suffer as little as possible – he added. He emphasized that even in the event of the possible closure of any of the 14 mentioned medical fields, his students will be able to continue their studies because they will be taken over by public universities.
Referring to the issue of the deadlines for final decisions regarding the closure of majors, Dariusz Wieczorek pointed to May or June. – We would like to do it quite quickly. If there are such cases (closures of fields – editor), we would not want recruitment to take place this year – he pointed out.
The Minister of Science added that there would be more inspections – “not only in medical universities.” As he noted, an inspection plan for this year is to be prepared in February, and its commencement is scheduled for March.
Control of medical fields
In the last days of January, the Conference of Rectors of Academic Medical Universities and the Supreme Medical Council issued a joint appeal regarding the closure of medical fields that do not meet the requirements of the Polish Accreditation Committee. “The priority of medical education in Poland must be to maintain the high quality of education. Another point of view, in which the number of trainees is more important (…) is unacceptable,” it stated. “Patient safety and the quality of the entire health care system in Poland depend on the level of doctor education,” it was recalled.
At the same time, both institutions emphasized that their goal is not to deprive people who started their studies in any of the 10 fields of study negatively assessed by the Polish Accreditation Committee of the right to further education. These students “should, of course, be provided with conditions to continue their education at another university,” it was stated, assessing that “with some organizational effort and good will of the state authorities” this is possible.
Main photo source: tvn24