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Hungary:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

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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

This chapter provides a thematic and chronological overview of national reforms and policy developments since 2012.

The introduction of the chapter describes the overall education strategy and the key objectives across the whole education system. It also looks at how the education reform process is organised and who are the main actors in the decision-making process.

The section on ongoing reforms and policy developments groups reforms in the following broad thematic areas that largely correspond to education levels: Early childhood education and care; School education; VET and Adult learning; Higher Education; and Transversal skills and Employability. Inside each thematic area, reforms are organised chronologically. The most recent reforms are described first.

Finally the section on the European perspective provides links to European strategies in which education and training have a prominent role.

Overall national education strategy and key objectives

The key challenges at present include:

  • decreasing the proportion of early leavers from education and training
  • improving basic competences and increase the role of schools in tackling disadvantages
  • improving the quality of vocational education
  • improving tertiary attainment and the participation of the disadvantaged in tertiary education
  • increasing adult participation in lifelong learning

Decreasing the proportion of school leavers without a qualification

Although Hungary has been successful in reducing the number of early school leavers (percentage of the population aged 18-24 with at most lower secondary education and not in further education or training) over the last decade, the early school leaving rate has started to rise again in recent years, from 10.5% in 2010 to 11.6% in 2015.

The 2014 European semester country-specific recommendations (CSRs) issued for Hungary also state that the country should “implement a national strategy on early school leaving prevention with a focus on drop-outs from vocational education”.

The government adopted the Early School Leaving Strategy (Mid-term Strategy Against School Leaving Without Qualification) in November 2014. It is a comprehensive strategy based on cross-sectoral cooperation and integrated interventions on the levels of individual pupils, institutions and the education system. The Strategy is mainly implemented through the measures of the Human Resources Operational Programme and the Economic Innovation Operational Programme. It includes preventive measures (e.g. expansion of high quality ECEC, flexible educational pathways, initial education and continuous professional development of teachers), intervention measures (e.g. early warning system, whole school approach, focus on disadvantaged locations, extracurricular activities, all-day school, improving cooperation with parents) and compensation measures (e.g. developing the offer of and access to “second chance” programmes, Youth Guarantee programmes).

In accordance with the Strategy, early childhood education becomes compulsory from age three (instead of age five) in 2015 as a preventive measure to reduce early school leaving. In addition, the School Education Act was amended in January 2015 to include the definition of pupils at risk of dropping out and to establish and operate an early warning and pedagogical support system.

Improving basic competences and increase the role of schools in tackling disadvantages

The performance of 15 year olds in the PISA survey worsened between 2009 and 2012 in all three areas tested, and in particular in mathematics and science. Hungary’s results are now below the EU average in mathematics, reading and science. Both the PISA and national competence tests show that the proportion of low-achievers in reading, maths and science is increasing, and confirm the strong correlation seen between socioeconomic status and performance in education. The country-specific recommendations for 2014-15 urge Hungary to “put in place a systematic approach to promote inclusive mainstream education for disadvantaged groups, in particular the Roma” . The 2016 European semester country-specific recommendation on education and training emphasises that Hungary " take measures to improve educational outcomes and increase the participation of disadvantaged , in particular Roma, in inclusive mainstream education."

The School Education Strategy, adopted in November 2014, has been developed for the period of 2014-2020, with fields of intervention such as inclusive education, the teaching of heterogeneous groups of pupils, reducing the rate of early school leavers and supporting the school success of vulnerable groups.

Hungary first adopted the National Social Inclusion Strategy in December 2011. The implementation of the strategy is based on three-year action plans. The action plan for 2012-2014 included measures in the fields of child welfare, education, employment, healthcare, housing, stakeholder involvement and anti-discrimination. Monitoring reports about its implementation were prepared in 2012, 2013 and 2014. An updated Strategy was adopted in November 2014.

Measures aiming at improving basic competences and tackling disadvantages include:

  • inspectorate (external evaluation of teachers, school heads and schools) and subject assistance and consultancy (professional support for teachers) introduced in 2014
  • teacher promotion system with teacher qualification procedures phased in from 2013
  • obligation of each school to prepare a development plan on the basis of pupil-level and school-level data derived from the National Assessment of Basic Competences. School heads are to prepare the development plans after consulting the teaching staff and submit it to their maintainer until June (from 2015). 
  • state maintenance of schools: taking over the maintenance of schools (but not kindergartens) from municipalities in order to break the link between the performance of schools and the wealth of municipalities maintaining them. They are now managed directly by a ministerial agency (Klebelsberg Institution Management Centre)
  • new scholarship targeting future teachers, increasing the duration of training elements in initial teacher education, the introduction of an aptitude test as part of admission to initial teacher education, introduction of an induction period for new teachers

Vocational education and training

Participation of students in upper secondary and post-secondary vocational education and training (ISCED levels 3 and 4) remains well below the EU average. The employment rate of young people having recently completed upper secondary education increased by more than three percentage points in 2013 but is still below the EU average. The youth unemployment rate is above the EU average. The drop-out rate in vocational schools remains a challenge and is particularly high in disadvantaged regions. The country-specific recommendations for 2014-15 in this field urge Hungary to support the transition between different stages of education and towards the labour market, and closely monitor the implementation of the vocational training reform.

The new Vocational Training Act came into force in September 2013. The most important changes introduced have been the shift to a ‘dual model’ of upper secondary vocational education and the reform of the qualification system, which has included reducing the number of vocational qualifications and introducing a new structure of partial and complementary qualifications as well as simplifying the examinations for vocational qualifications. Vocational education and training in vocational schools (szakiskola) has been shortened from four years to three years; the number of teaching hours devoted to general basic competences was reduced, while practical training has been given greater importance.

Improving tertiary attainment

The rate of tertiary attainment in Hungary is improving and has exceeded the national target of 30.3% among 30-34 year olds but it still remains below the EU average and the participation of the disadvantaged and the high drop-out rate still remain a challenge. The labour market demand for graduates of higher education is high: the employment rate among recent higher-education graduates in Hungary was 85.6% in 2013, compared to the EU average of 80.7%. The country-specific recommendations for 2014-15 in this field suggest that Hungary implement a higher‐education reform that enables greater tertiary attainment, particularly by disadvantaged students.

A Higher Education Strategy was developed and underwent consultation in 2014. It is now published (in Hungarian) by the Government on its homepage together with a related action plan. It sets strategic objectives in the fields of education, research (R+D+I) and the role of higher education in regional development.

In order to improve the labour market relevance of higher education programmes, dual programmes with strong vocational focus are offered by higher education institutions from 2015. It is supported by the establishment of a Dual Training Council and a call for tenders published to encourage the cooperation of higher education institutions and businesses.

Lifelong learning

The rate of adult participation in lifelong learning is amongst the lowest in the EU – it was 3% compared to an EU average of 10.5% in 2013.

The new Lifelong Learning Strategy for the period of 2014-2020 contains the following general objectives:

  • to increase participation in and improve access to lifelong learning
  • to reinforce the principles of lifelong learning in the education and training systems as well as in adult learning
  • to ensure the visibility and acknowledgement of the value and results of learning

The most important recent policy development in the area of lifelong learning is the implementation of the new law on adult training.

Overview of the education reform process and drivers

The education reform process is mainly initiated by the Hungarian government, who formulates draft legislation to be presented to the Hungarian Parliament. The Parliament adopts regulations (acts – e.g. the Act on School Education, the Act on Higher Education). Strategies (e.g. Lifelong Learning Strategy) as well as curricular documents such as the National Core Programme for Pre-School Education and the National Core Curriculum (primary to upper secondary education) are issued as government regulations (decrees or resolutions), adopted by the government.

The Minister responsible for education (the Minister for Human Resources) is in charge of:

  • evaluating the implementation of the National Core Pre-School Programme and the National Core Curriculum (relying on a council established by him) every five years and propose amendment if necessary
  • developing a strategy for school education,
  • establishing, developing and modernising the system of national examinations
  • assessing pedagogical problems emerging in school education and developing solutions and procedures for them,
  • providing support for the development of county-level and metropolitan school education development plans,
  • developing and issuing educational programmes.

The various agencies affiliated to ministries (e.g. Hungarian Institute of Educational Research and Development, the Educational Authority) also participate in the development of strategic documents and programmes. The analyses, workshops and discussions needed for the development of the Strategy against School Leaving Without Qualification were undertaken in the Qualification for All project of Tempus Public Foundation.

The main consultative bodies are:

  • the National School Education Council (Országos Köznevelési Tanács), a consultative, reviewer and proposer body of the Minister responsible for education. It monitors the state of school education, prepares proposals and expresses its opinion on issues of educational policy and research and development related to school education. It also gives an opinion on the draft National Core Curriculum, framework curricula as well as their implementation. Its members are proposed by professional bodies and are appointed by the Minister.
  • the Council of National Minorities (Országos Nemzetiségi Tanács), a consultative, reviewer and proposer body of the Minister responsible for education. It has to be consulted before the adoption of textbooks in national minority education. Its members are delegated by national governments of national minorities.
  • Higher Education Roundtable: established in 2013, it is a consultative body consisting of members delegated by the Government, the Hungarian Rectors’ Conference, the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Trade Union of Higher Education Staff and the National Conference of Student Unions
  • Dual Training Council: its task is to define quality requirements and the development of dual training in higher education, support the development of dual programmes
  • Anti-segregation Roundtable: established on the proposal of the Minister responsible for education, its task is to undertake analysis and make proposals for the elimination of segregation.
  • Hungarian Rectors’ Conference: a consultative body representing the interests of higher education institutions. Its members are the rectors of higher education institutions.
  • Hungarian Doctoral Council: it consists of the chairs of the doctoral councils of higher education institutions. It is consulted on matters of doctoral training, granting doctoral degrees and the distribution of state funded places in doctoral training.