The early days of the University School of Physical Education in Krakow were connected with a 2-year course organised at the Jagiellonian University in 1893. It was intended for candidates for gymnastics teachers, who would later work at secondary schools and teachers’ training colleges. That course, conducted at the Medical Department of the Jagiellonian University, gave rise to a 2-year School of Physical Education in 1913. Apart from the schooling of teachers, the School organised lectures and practical classes for the entire community of the University students. The course and then the School of Physical Education were pioneering institutions which educated PE teachers at a university level in Poland. Furthermore, the introduction of mandatory physical education for the community of students placed the Jagiellonian University third among the European universities, following those in Ghent (1908) and Copenhagen (1909).

The idea to educate PE teachers at a university level was taken up in 1927, and continued by the 3-year School of Physical Education, which was formed at the Medical Department of the Jagiellonian University in the Reborn Poland. The School was transformed into an independent institution, i.e. the Physical Education Teachers’ Training College in 1950. In 1954, 4-year undergraduate courses leading to a Master’s degree were also introduced. In 1972, the School received its new name: the University School of Physical Education and soon it was named after Bronisław Czech. The rights to award the doctoral degree (1970) and post-doctoral degree (1987) in physical culture were important achievements in the history of our school.

The three faculties (Physical Education, Tourism and Leisure, and Motor Rehabilitation) include the following: full-time (day and evening), part-time (extramural) undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Physical Education, Tourism and Leisure, and Physiotherapy, each of which offers courses in several specialities. This wide range of postgraduate studies is additionally supplemented by the courses conducted by the Department for Academic Staff Professional Development and Training.

Nowadays, apart from the several hundred postgraduate students, some 4,550 undergraduate students attend courses in our school. They have access to the relatively modern facilities which were built between 1972 and 2006, and to the equipment which is constantly upgraded and modernised.

Prof. Kazimierz Toporowicz, PhD

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