Poland PDF Print E-mail

Polish Scientific Association of Adapted Physical Activity (PTN-AAF) 

ptnaafPolish Scientific Association of Adapted Physical Activity (PTN-AAF) was established by group of 30 founding members from the whole Poland. On 17th of September 2008 the founding assembly, run by prof. Andrzej Kosmol, took place at the Faculty of Rehabilitation at the Józef Pilsudski University of Physical Education in Warsaw, Poland. PTN-AAF is a non-profit association, and was established to organize and support all initiatives aimed on promotion and development of research and training programs provided for or by professionals in the field of adapted physical activity.

PTN-AAF plan to achieve its purposes by:

  • organizing conferences, symposia and scientific/professional meetings,
  • encouraging and supporting studies and publications in reviewed national and international journals from the area of adapted physical activity, disability sport, physiotherapy, adapted physical education and therapeutic recreation,
  • supporting and promoting both basic and advanced staff training in the field of adapted physical activity,
  • monitoring quality of research and professional training provided by PTN-AAF,
  • supporting PTN-AAF members initiatives, especially with regard to cooperation with other institutions, organizations, associations etc.,
  • disseminating information on research from the field of adapted physical activity and their practical application for individuals with special needs.

The Board of PTN-AAF was elected during the founding assembly and comprises of:

  • President - prof. Andrzej Kosmol, the Józef Pilsudski University of Physical Education in Warsaw
  • Vice-President - Joanna Sobiecka, Ph.D., the University School of Physical Education in Krakow
  • Secretary - Natalia Morgulec-Adamowicz, Ph.D., the Józef Pilsudski University of Physical Education in Warsaw
  • Treasurer - Witold Rekowski, Ph.D., the Józef Pilsudski University of Physical Education in Warsaw
  • Board Member - Krzysztof Kwapiszewski, the Sport Club for the Disabled „START” Warsaw
  • Board Member - Artur Sochacki, M.A., the Institute of Physiotherapy at the University of Rzeszow


1. Inclusion in general education

The first steps towards integration began at the beginning of the 90's. In 1991 the first legislation was introduced. It said that all Special Educational Needs (SEN) children should have the opportunity to gain an education. This education should be adjusted to their special education needs. In 1993, the legislation was updated (i.e. in kindergarten there should be 15-18 students in a class. In primary school there should be 15-20 students in a class. In each class should be between 3-5 SEN students per class. Schools can also hire an additional SEN teacher. The school should organise the program and the local department of education should accept or reject the curriculum put forward by the school. This legislation helped to increase the number of kindergarten and basic schools.

From 1994, schools were under the Local Authorities, which also helped to improve integration within schools.
From 1998 the central government gave larger grants for SEN students to local authorities who in turn gave the grants to the schools.

In integration classes the SEN students are given four times more money than regular students.
From 1998, local authorities became responsible for creating additional integration schools, also being responsible for programs, facilities and for transport.

The law at the moment says that every child between the age of 6 and at least 17 must receive an education.
The latest legislation based on ONZ (1993), UNESCO (1994) etc. include among other things.
The programs are adjusted for SEN students with different abilities and interests. Children with SEN and developmental requirements should receive extra help. These children should be included in a regular program with other children. However, the program should be adjusted for them.
Schools should have specialised facilities and equipment.

The support for regular schools is organised at a local level. Central government gives the local authorities grants and in turn the local authorities subsidise the schools. The money per SEN student is used for equipment and facilities to enhance the learning environment.
P.F.R.O.N (Public Foundation for People with Disabilities) also can support schools in financing additional equipment and facilities.
Each child is financially supported by Central Government. (Additional specialised teachers etc.)
In integrated classes often the number of pupils is smaller than regular classes (less than twenty). There can only between three and five special education children in each class.

Present National System of Inclusion
They are 13 Categories of disabilities that exist in the educational system:

  1. Visually impaired: profound
  2. Visually Impaired: severe, moderate
  3. Hearing-Impaired: profound
  4. Hearing-Impaired: severe, moderate
  5. Developmentally Disabled: profound severe,
  6. Developmentally disabled: mild
  7. Autism
  8. Long term illnesses
  9. Motor Disabilities
  10. Multiple Disabilities
  11. Socially Disadvantaged
  12. Behavioural Disorders
  13. Threatened with Addiction

2. Inclusion in physical education

Students have 3-4 hours per week PE instruction.
Specialist PE Teachers start to teach at the 4th grade level (9-10 years old). Children under 9 years old are taught PE by their classroom teacher and by the classroom support teacher (rehabilitant).

Teacher Training

In the initial teacher training there are some elements for Special Needs education. The Academies of Physical Education are responsible for PE teacher education.
One course amounts to one semester (approx. 39 hours) of ‘The method of special physical education for SEN students'. This consists of 4 sections:

- Special teacher training for those children that have:

  1. Developmental disabilities
  2. Auditory disabilities
  3. Visual disabilities
  4. Behavioural disorders
  • Also available is a specialisation, which consists of 98 hours of, increased tuition, practising in special schools, rehabilitation camps, and obligatory inclusion in two sporting events for SEN students, voluntary work in Special Olympics.
  • A course called ‘Special Physical Education', which consists of 150 hours, is also available at the Academy of Physical Education in Warsaw.
  • A post diploma study exists for PE and other teachers that wish to further their knowledge in the area of special needs. It consists of 170-240 hours of tuition.

Each child in integrated schools and inclusive schools are expected to participate in PE lessons. However they can be excused if in bad health.
The legislation is an incentive for inclusion however, many schools' awareness of SEN students needs are lacking especially in the field of Physical Education. There are not sufficient qualified specialists teachers. Many schools exclude the SEN students from PE lessons and they attend Rehabilitation classes or other classes. The teachers need to be more creative and open minded to new ideas and concepts in Special Education.

The legislation states that SEN students should be included in all lessons including PE lessons. All students are obligated to attend PE classes if they are healthy. Only doctors and parents have the right to excuse the children from the classes.

The number of SEN students participating in PE is less; due to the health problems and some of these students are transferred to physiotherapy programs or participate in other lessons. Also many PE teachers still believe that SEN students are not able to participate in PE lessons due to lack of knowledge how to include SEN students into regular PE classes. PE lessons are often still based on competitive content more than others. They are ill equipped with knowledge on how to include SEN students into regular PE classes, for example PE could be a good area to mix SEN students and non SEN students.

Support systems for Inclusion in PE

The other special education teachers support the PE teachers. A minimum of two teachers per class is recommended.
The regular PE teacher often has support teachers that are either special educators, or physiotherapists.
The PE teachers are usually allowed to purchase specialised equipment for the SEN children; the amount available is governed by the budget and the local authorities and non-government organisations (i.e. P.F.R.O.N)

SEN students are able to participate in structured school sports both during and after school. However, sometimes this is not the case due to the competitive nature of PE lessons and the attitudes of PE teachers.
In practice the PE teachers get less support than other specialist teachers.
There has not been any in depth research of inclusion into PE classes.

Inclusion in sports and physical activity

Basic sport formation and sports clubs working together and associated with physical education. These associations work individually to establish a federation of sports groups.

The main groups are:


The amount of expenditure in Poland was unavailable and this makes it difficult to calculate how much different organisations support disabled sports activities in percentage.
However, we can present a general level of financing categorized into individual types of disability and type of activity by government for last year:
Sport for disabled people is financing on the 5% level so-called special budget - it isn't all government budget for sport.

Level of co-operation between disabled and non-disabled structures:
Level of co-operation between disabled and non-disabled structures is very low, limited and sporadic as well as at a local and a national level:
We see the next main reasons: 

  • inaccessible sports structure (for example: sports halls),
  • different structure (tradition),
  • lack education for trainers, instructors in range of physical activity for disabled,
  • lack knowledge rules disciplines practice by disabled (to concern referees),
  • different budget for sport of disabled and non-disabled.

Employment of youngsters with a disability

The two main programs designed to encourage the employment of people with disabilities, Supported Work Establishments and the quota-levy system, originated just after World War I. A cooperative for blinded veterans was created in 1919, and the cooperative movement led eventually to the current Supported Work Establishments. Poland instituted the first quota-levy system in the world in 1920, with returning veterans with disabilities as the target beneficiary group. Although programs to encourage the employment of people with disabilities have this long tradition, it is now appropriate to evaluate whether these programs should be replaced or modified to reflect the lessons of experience in Poland and other countries in the last few decades.

In 1991 the former system of sheltered workshop cooperatives was transformed into a mixture of coops and private-sector businesses called Supported Work Establishments. In order to qualify for Supported Work Establishment status, a business must employ 40 percent or more workers with disabilities, of which 10 percent must be severely disabled. The business must meet other specific requirements for providing a suitable work environment such as purchasing appropriate equipment, providing training, access to medical treatment, and rehabilitation programs. It must also create an internal Enterprise Rehabilitation Fund which is used to finance these responsibilities. The Supported Work Establishments, in turn, enjoy generous tax advantages and additional financial support from PFRON, as described below.

As of December 31, 1998, there were 3,096 Supported Work Establishments, of which 505 were cooperatives. Private-sector Supported Work Establishments employed 226,955 workers with disabilities and cooperatives another 84,905. Fueled by the tax policies described below, the number of Supported Work Establishments has grown rapidly in recent years, doubling between end-1996 and end-1998. About 56 percent of the employees of Supported Work
Establishments at the end of 1998 had disabilities, but their share has been declining. About 2/3 of the workers with disabilities at Supported Work Establishments are in the least serious category of disability.

A rather small fraction of Poles with disabilities work at Supported Work Establishments or cooperatives (roughly 330,000 out of 5 million), and it is unclear how much workers with disabilities who do work there benefit in this system. It is not surprising that there is a continuing debate over the appropriateness of the substantial benefits the SWE's receive in comparison to their contribution to the welfare and employment of people with disabilities.

The National Fund for the Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons (PFRON) was created in 1991 as an extra-budgetary fund to support the employment and rehabilitation of people with disabilities. The main functions of PFRON are assisting in the financing of: employing disabled persons, improving access, various rehabilitation programs, and other subsidies and investments of projects having to do with disabled persons. PFRON is financed directly from payments made by enterprises. Some of the payments are levies paid under the quota-levy system by enterprises that don't employ at least 6 percent workers with disabilities. Supported Work Establishments make other payments to PFRON instead of paying certain taxes to the national treasury. Creating a fund outside the purview of the national budget was seen as a measure to avoid competing with other programs for budget during a period of austerity. Most of PFRON's funding for social, occupational, and therapeutic rehabilitation programs flows through regional governments and is used to support both child and adult programs.

Poland's Supported Work Establishments and quota-levy system are separate conceptually, yet they are related because their sources and uses of funds are entangled via PFRON, the National Fund for the Rehabilitation of People with Disabilities.
Although neither Supported Work Establishments nor PFRON receive money directly from the state budget, it is extremely important to understand that they are financed by public money that doesn't happen to pass through the budget. In economic terms, levies that to PFRON instead of to the national treasury are public funds because the levies are generated by the legal authority of the state and in economic terms the result is exactly the same as if the levies were paid from enterprises to the national treasury and then channeled back to PFRON. Enterprise rehabilitation funds are another example of public funds for programs for people with disabilities. Supported Work Establishments deposit money into enterprise rehabilitation funds instead of paying taxes. These are public funds because they diminish public revenues and they require higher taxes from other taxpayers than would be necessary otherwise.
The result is exactly the same as if Supported Work Establishments paid the taxes and the money was then deposited in Enterprise Rehabilitation Funds by the state instead of by the enterprises themselves.


Morgulec Natalia [2004]: "Poland inclusion in physical education"
Hoopengardner Tom [2001]: "Disability and Work in Poland". Social Protection Unit. Human Development Network. The World Bank
The National Fund for the Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons (PFRONare paid by enterprises) http://www.inclusivesports.org/countries/poland.htm



Login form

Creative Commons License

Copyright © 2007-2011, EUFAPA