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Hungary:Organisation of General Secondary Education

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Hungary:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Hungary:Historical Development

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Hungary:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

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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

Types of Institutions

General secondary schools provide general knowledge to students and prepare them for the secondary school leaving examination and for higher education studies.

General secondary education normally starts in grade 9 and finishes in grade 12. If education is provided in two languages - in Hungarian and in a foreign language - the programme has one more grade (grade 13). Since the restructuring of the secondary school system in1991, in addition to 4- (or 5-) grade programmes there have been longer secondary school programmes covering 6 or 8 grades, which start in grade 5 or 7 (ISCED 2) and finish in grade 12 (or grade 13 in the case of bilingual education). Vocational secondary education always starts in grade 9 and finishes in grade 12 (or in grade 13 in the case of bilingual education).

Geographical Accessibility

The total number of general secondary schools is over 600 but in terms of the total number of units where their tasks are being carried out (member institutions) there are more than 800 general secondary schools in Hungary. This is an extensive enough network for all young people to find a general secondary school near their places of residence - within a maximum of an hour’s travelling distance - anywhere in Hungary. Every smaller towns with populations of 8,000-10,000 and even some of the smaller towns have a general secondary school. The total capacity of the general secondary schools is far in excess of the number of young people intending to enrol, one of the reasons for which is the steady decrease in the number of young people reaching secondary schooling age year after year.

The above statistics do not, of course, mean that everyone will find a broad range of general secondary school near their homes. Broad ranges of services are offered only in the capital city, the county seats and other cities. This way students unable to find suitable programmes near their home have to choose a less attractive but still accessible programme, or move into dormitories (typically from Monday to Friday). Schools can offer dormitory places to most applicants, although both demand and supply for dormitory capacities are decreasing.

Admission Requirements and Choice of School

The freedom of choice of school is guaranteed by law for every student of the compulsory schooling age. Every general secondary school can, however - apart from exceptions prescribed by law - determine the admission requirements, and can organise entrance examinations as prescribed by legislation (decrees). The school must publish the entrance requirements in its notice containing admission information, at the time specified in the schedule of the school year (a ministerial decree). The general secondary school may request written examination. Oral exam can only be a requirement in schools, where central written exams are also mandatory. In most secondary schools students are admitted based on their results achieved in basic school, or the scores achieved in the written examination organised involving centrally issued, standardised, competence-based tests.

The administration of applications and admissions is performed by a central computer programme. Pupils may submit applications to several branches of several secondary schools, indicating the order of priority. Admission is granted by the computerised system based on the scores achieved in the admission test and the order of priority indicated by the pupil. The principal of the school decides on the admission of students.

The student status of a school-age student may only be terminated if he or she is admitted to another school at the same time. After reaching the upper limit of the compulsory schooling age (since the 1st of January, 2015 this is the last school day of the school year in which the student reaches age 16;), the student’s student status may be terminated for several reasons, e.g. :

  • following disciplinary action;
  • unjustified absence exceeding the maximum number of classes determined by law;
  • (in the case of a non-disadvantaged student) failing to pay an overdue sum after payment notice, following the examination of his/her social conditions;
  • if the student fails to fulfil the academic requirements of the same school year for the second time

Age Levels and Grouping of Pupils/Students

The principal is entitled to, after consulting the teams of subject teachers or the staff meeting, decide on placing students into classes or groups.

Students entering general secondary school education in grade 9 can start their upper-secondary education studies at the age of 14. In practice, however, only one third of grade 9 students are actually aged 14, the larger part of them is generally aged 15. In 6-grade or 8-grade general secondary schools students start their studies in grade 5 and grade 7, and are aged at least 10 (typically 11) and 12 (typically 13), respectively. The earliest age for completion of 4, 6, an 8 grade general secondary school programmes with secondary school leaving examination is 18 years (typically 19 years), while this age is 19 years (typically 20 years) in bilingual programmes.

Students often complete their studies later than expected due to various reasons. The most common reason is repeating a school year, but late completion may also be due to illness or switching to another programme. From the age of 25 students can only participate in adult education.

Since 1st of January, 2015 education is compulsory until the end of the school year when the student reached age 16. Those who do not want to or unable to attend full time education, can continue (or start) their studies in adult education, or may exit the education system.

Annexes of the Public Education Act regulate class size. The minimum number of students per class is 26, the maximum is 34 and the average (recommended) is 28 in general secondary schools. The maximum number of students may only be exceeded in a few cases determined by the Act. Actual class sizes are usually lower than the recommended 28; and in higher grades often even the minimum class sizes are not reached due to the high dropout rate. Limits on class size do not apply to non-state schools.

It is up to the school to determine the proportion of compulsory and non-compulsory subjects that can be held by dividing classes into smaller groups. Most commonly the small group scheme is used for foreign language (typically dividing the class into two groups), creating ability groups. Class divisions sometimes occur in other subject as well. Schools may also organise individual tutoring and small group sessions. This may be used for gifted education or for helping poor performers catch up.

Schools aim at ensuring that teachers teach classes from the first grade to the last in their subjects. Students usually stay in the same class throughout grades 9-12 in general secondary schools. The grouping of students may vary for certain subjects, particularly by the level of knowledge in the case of foreign language classes or by sex in the case of physical education classes.

Organisation of the School Year

The schedule of the school year is determined by the minister in charge of education in a decree for each school year and it applies to all schools and to all school maintaining organisations. Based on this centrally established schedule the schools are authorised to set out the local schedule of the given school year, which is included in the school’s work plan. Decision on this is made by the school management after consulting the school board, the parents’ organisation and the student unions.

The local schedule of the school year has to include the date and use of work days without teaching. The number of such days is determined by the abovementioned ministerial decree. In addition, the local schedule of the school year has to include the duration of holidays, the memorial days required by statutory provisions or determined by the school, the date of celebrating national and school festive days, the date of the student assembly as well as the dates for staff meeting.

Schools have to organise work with respect to the school year split into two semesters. The first and last days of the school year is determined by the ministerial decree. As a general rule, school year starts on 1 September, or the first working day of September, and ends on 15 June, or if it is not a working day, then on the working day preceding 15 June. The decree determines the number of actual school days (182 days in the 2016/2017 school year) and stipulates that six school days without teaching may be used for educational purposes, including one day, the programme of which may be determined by the student council, in consultation with the teaching staff. The decree sets the dates for the autumn, winter and spring holiday. The school may determine different dates for such holidays but may not modify the start and end of the school year. The decree also determines the date of secondary school leaving examinations and the National Assessment of Basic Competences.

Pursuant to the law, school years comprise five-day school weeks in all schools. There is no teaching on Saturdays and Sundays. Students are entitled to school holidays on public holidays as well. Following the last day of the school year, students have to be given summer holiday of at least 30 consecutive days. The secretariats of schools are open on all working days during holidays for administrative purposes. On the request of the school board and the student council and in agreement with the maintainer, six-day school weeks may also be organised extending to Saturdays. In agreement with the maintainer, the school head may also order the organisation of a six-day school week, but this form is very rarely used.

Students are entitled to at least three school holiday periods (including two periods with minimum six, and one period with minimum four consecutive days).

Organisation of the School Day and Week

The weekly and daily schedule of students is determined by the management of the school, based on the relevant regulations. This schedule is determined for one school year. When planning, it has to be considered that the length of a class is usually 45 minutes. The school is free to organise shorter and longer classes (up to 60 minutes) but it is rare. Curricular activities may also take the form of (in addition to traditional classroom teaching) project education, forest school and visits to museums library or exhibitions.

General secondary school education is typically organised in five-day weeks or in exceptional cases six-day weeks. It almost always takes place in the morning, usually between 8.00 and 14.00. However, schools may decide, with the consent of the parents’ organisation and the student council of the school, to have classes starting at 7.15 at the earliest and afternoon classes after 14:00 in some of the school days. Non-compulsory afternoon activities usually start after 14.30 with a compulsory lunch break provided before.

Students have to be given breaks between classes. The times of these as well as the start of the school day is determined by the internal regulations of schools. Breaks between classes typically last for 10 or sometimes 5 or 15 minutes.

The maximum number of compulsory classes per day is regulated by the National Core Curriculum. Grade 9-12 students may not have more than eight classes a day. They typically have six classes a day. The minimum number of weekly classes is 35 for students in grades 9, 11 and 12, and 36 for students in grade 10. While students are required to take 35-36 classes a week, the number of state-financed contact hours is 57 for grade 9-10 students, and 58 for grade 11-12 students. Schools may use the extra hours for splitting groups, for non-compulsory (elective) courses, according to student interests and demands, with an aim to provide catching-up, development, gifted education or tutoring.

Schools may also organise extra-curricular activities (afternoon clubs, study circles, sports, choir etc.) according to the needs and interests of the students and the school’s own pedagogical programme as well as homework clubs, which is an after-school programme that provides a quiet, structured environment for the child to do his/her homework.

A typical schedule of a 5-day working week


Extracurricular activities

Classes in the morning (from - until)

Lunch break

Classes in the afternoon (after lunch)

Extracurricular activities

Monday to Friday

Optional 7.15-8.00 a.m.

8.00 a.m. - 2.00 p.m. (it may be started at 7.15 a.m. and it may be ended at 1.00 p.m. or at 3.00 p.m.)

1 hour between 12.00 a.m. and 2.00 p.m.

Optional, 1.00/2.00 - 2.00/3.00 p.m.

Optional, 2.30 - 6.00 p.m.