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Hungary:Early Childhood Education and Care

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Overview Hungary

Contents

Hungary:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Hungary:Historical Development

Hungary:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Hungary:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Hungary:Political and Economic Situation

Hungary:Organisation and Governance

Hungary:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Hungary:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Hungary:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Hungary:Organisation of Private Education

Hungary:National Qualifications Framework

Hungary:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Hungary:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Hungary:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Hungary:Funding in Education

Hungary:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Hungary:Higher Education Funding

Hungary:Adult Education and Training Funding

Hungary:Early Childhood Education and Care

Hungary:Organisation of Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Hungary:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Hungary:Assessment in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Hungary:Organisation of Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Hungary:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Hungary:Assessment in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Hungary:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Hungary:Single Structure Education (Integrated Primary and Lower Secondary Education)

Hungary:Organisation of Single Structure Education

Hungary:Teaching and Learning in Single Structure Education

Hungary:Assessment in Single Structure Education

Hungary:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Single Structure Education

Hungary:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Hungary:Organisation of General Secondary Education

Hungary:Teaching and Learning in General Secondary Education

Hungary:Assessment in General Secondary Education

Hungary:Organisation of Vocational Secondary Education

Hungary:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Secondary Education

Hungary:Assessment in Vocational Secondary Education

Hungary:Organisation of Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Hungary:Teaching and Learning in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Hungary:Assessment in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Hungary:Higher Education

Hungary:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Hungary:First Cycle Programmes

Hungary:Bachelor

Hungary:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Hungary:Second Cycle Programmes

Hungary:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Hungary:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Hungary:Adult Education and Training

Hungary:Distribution of Responsibilities

Hungary:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Hungary:Main Providers

Hungary:Main Types of Provision

Hungary:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Hungary:Teachers and Education Staff

Hungary:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Hungary:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Hungary:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Hungary:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Hungary:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Hungary:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Hungary:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Hungary:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Hungary:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Hungary:Management and Other Education Staff

Hungary:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Hungary:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Hungary:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Hungary:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Hungary:Management Staff for Higher Education

Hungary:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Hungary:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Hungary:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Hungary:Quality Assurance

Hungary:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Hungary:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Hungary:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Hungary:Educational Support and Guidance

Hungary:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Hungary:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Hungary:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Hungary:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Hungary:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Hungary:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Hungary:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Hungary:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Hungary:Mobility and Internationalisation

Hungary:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Hungary:Mobility in Higher Education

Hungary:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Hungary:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Hungary:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Hungary:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Hungary:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Hungary:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Hungary:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Hungary:National Reforms in School Education

Hungary:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Hungary:National Reforms in Higher Education

Hungary:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Hungary:European Perspective

Hungary:Legislation

Hungary:Institutions

Hungary:Bibliography

Hungary:Glossary

The system of early childhood education and care

Early childhood education and care is provided in different types of institutions for the different age-groups of children aged 0-6. In Hungary, early childhood education has a split system; the first phase is “early childhood educational development” is for ages 0–2, the second phase is “pre-primary education” from 3 until school age.

Children below the age of 3 years are provided day care in crèches' (day care centres, bölcsőde). Crèches institution is part of the child welfare provision and is supervised by the State Secretariat responsible for social affairs and inclusion within the Ministry of Human Resources. Kindergarten (óvoda) provides education and full day care for children aged 3 to 6 years. Kindergarten education and care belongs to the system of school education, within the competence of the State Secretariat for Education within the Ministry of Human Resources. Children between 20 weeks and 3 years of age, who live in families are provided day care in crèches, as part of the basic child care system, offering professional care and nursing with some educational elements. In addition to basic services, crèches may support families with advisory services, occasional child minding, with providing so-called “children hotels”, or any other services supporting child raising. (Such as parent-baby playgroups, or lending toys or equipment to families. If the child is over 3 but – on the basis of his/her level of physical or mental development – he/she is not suitable for kindergarten education he/she may continue to attend the crèche until he/she is 4. The crèche may also provide education and care for disabled children under 6.

Kindergarten provides education and full day care for children aged 3 to 6 years, and is compulsory from the age of 3. The kindergarten may also admit children living in its district who will turn three within six months from the admission provided that all the requests for the admission of children over 3 years can be granted in the district concerned. Kindergarten is mandatory for children from 1 September of the year when he/she turns 3 (before August 31). Children are obliged to participate 4 hours a day in the guided kindergarten activities from the age of 3, however, based on the request of the parents the notary of the town (or, in the case of church or private institutions, the operator) may exempt the child from kindergarten attendance until the age of 5. The decision can be justified by the child’s individual circumstances (family or/and abilities). The exemption permit is issued with the consent of the head of the kindergarten and the district nurse.  

Family day care aims to reduce the shortage of capacity in day care institutions. A person can obtain the right for family day care provision if he/she attends a training course. He/she can provide day care up to 5 children at the time (who do not receive care in a crèche or a kindergarten). If there is an additional adult as permanent staff, another two children can be cared for. If there is a child with disabilities in the group, the maximum number of children is lower, and appropriate care must also be provided). Family day care facilities provides age-appropriate care, supervision, meals and activities for children living in a family. Family day care can be also provided to children outside of the care provided by crèches, kindergartens and schools; therefore, children between the ages of 20 weeks and 14 years may be cared for in family day care facilities. In order to serve the objective to provide quality care, family day care facilities must be allocated into networks consisting of at least 5 day care facilities, where continuous consultation must be provided. Family day care is a type of child day care that does not undertake the functions of centre-based provision related to their professional/institutional competences; therefore, it is not a policy objective to develop it into alternatives to institutions.  

Policy and objectives' 

There are several strategic documents guiding the policies concerning early childhood education.

In 2014, as a result of the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, the employment of women significantly increased compared to other countries (by 4.6%). This trend was accompanied by the systematic development of early childhood education provision. Programmes aiming at improving the accessibility and quality of early childhood education institutions were established.

 

The Regional Operational Programmes within the New Széchenyi Plan – which is responsible for the regulation of the allocation of EU funds – provided financing for infrastructural development. Since September 2015, in line with the principles set out in the document “Hungarian Social Inclusion Strategy II – Permanently Deprived Persons – Children Living in Poor Families – the Roma” (2011–2020), children must be provided early childhood education from the age of 3.

Kindergartens can support disadvantaged children (including Roma children) through an integration pedagogy system. In the framework of the programme, kindergartens can apply for grants amounting to a total of HUF 4.2 billion in 2016. The four-year program offers the opportunity to support 5,500 children. The programme improves the competences of kindergarten teachers and develops methodologies dealing with disadvantaged children through supporting various activities, such as excursions, community programmes, as well as purchasing development equipment.

The Public Education Development Strategy focuses on the health development based on sports activities in the entire educational system, including kindergartens; furthermore, the complex personal development aspect of sports is also stressed.

An important aspect of the quality improvement of services is that from school year 2013/2014, state-financed kindergarten psychologists support the work of educational institutions, which also contributes to prevention in the fields of child protection.

The early childhood education system is an important instrument to combat child poverty. Children living in families with at least three children receive meals in crèches and kindergartens free of charge. Furthermore, the so-called “kindergarten milk” programme provides 0.25 litres of dairy products four times a week to every child (beneficiary). In 2015, the free meals programme was expanded to children under the age of 6; consequently, the number of children receiving free meals increased by 350% (from 92,000 to 320,000). In 2015, as a pilot programme, the free meal programme was extended to school holidays for disadvantaged children (142,000 children used this opportunity). In 2016, the fee meal during school breaks became a mandatory task for local municipalities, enabling as many as 208,000 children to receive lunch on weekdays during school holidays.

The rolling out of the Sure Start programme in Hungary facilitates the mitigation – at an earliest possible age – of the unfavourable circumstances of children living in disadvantaged families. The core of the Sure Start programme is to establish a strong cooperation with parents (or future parents) and other partners (workers in health care, social care and early childhood care) in order to promote the physical, mental and social development of young children and their parents. By the end of 2014, a total of 11,000 people contacted the relevant institutions. At the moment, there are 114 Sure Start children’s houses in Hungary. The government finances the establishment of an additional 50 houses, and also supports the expansion of the children’s house network and their services. The Sure Start children’s houses support the development of children aged 0–3 in the most disadvantaged micro-regions, in settlements with segregated areas and ghettos.

The implementation of policy objectives are supported by the following legal regulations.  

  • Act CXC of 2011 on Public Education and Act CXXIV of 2012 amending it
  • Ministerial Decree 20/2012 on the operation of educational institutions  
  • Government Decree 229/2012 on the implementation of the Public Education Act

Government Decree 201/2012 on the Educational Authority