Poland: Third path to success
How to train such experts? Is there a tried and tested educational programme which guarantees success in this field?
We should start by realising that there are two ways of obtaining knowledge: the trial and error approach and the path of school education. But they both have substantial faults: the first is lengthy and laborious, while the second provides one with standard knowledge with no practical references. However, as my mentors used to say, there is also a third path: independent study or – as Americans say – “learning by doing”. In this model, theoretical knowledge is used to initially define what is possible, impossible or not yet possible, while knowledge and experiments – are used to transform the “not yet possible” into “possible”. In this manner, we establish a symbiosis between theory and practice, which drives permanent development: it lays the grounds for research and development activity targeted at enriching the theoretical basis.
Is this how specialists are trained in Germany?
German pupils and students have been learning in a dual system for a long time – under this system, classes are divided equally between the theoretical part – taught in classrooms, and the practical part, taught at production plants.
How does the Polish education system compare to the German one? How much do we still have to catch up here in Poland?
The differences between those two systems are still noticeable, but the German educational system is still facing many problems, as a result of which there is more and more talk of the need to reform it. Even though it is more targeted at practical skills, it too gravitates towards theory. There are also serious concerns about the unwillingness of young people to train in purely technical professions. In consequence, a gap is created in the market, caused by the ageing of experienced, specialised professionals, combined with the shortage of well-qualified potential successors. To put it briefly: both of these countries have their issues they need to face. For Poland, the first step towards solving them is to understand that the most effective way of acquiring knowledge is learning through practice. Only such knowledge – once obtained – gives one potential they can use for the rest of their life, creating the basis for professional success in the future.
Thank you for the interview.