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In Hungary, schools and kindergartens are established and maintained by the state, local governments, minority local governments, legal entities (foundations, churches, etc.) as well as natural persons. The state provides maintainers with a budget subsidy for the performance of their tasks. About 90 per cent of children attend public sector institutions.

The tasks related to administrative control and management responsibilities are shared among the central (national) government, the local (county and district level) authorities and the educational institutions. Overall responsibility lies with the Ministry of Human Resources, which is in charge of education, culture, social affairs, health care, youth and sport. However, school-based VET and adult training is within the competence of the Ministry for National Economy.

Participation in education is mandatory between the ages of 5 and 18, the upper limit currently being reduced to age 16.

Creche (nursery) is a welfare institution catering for children aged 20 weeks to 3 years and providing professional day care and development. Kindergarten education and care is offered for children aged 3-6 and is compulsory from age 5. From September 2015 it will be compulsory from age 3.

Primary and lower secondary education (ISCED 1, 2) is organised as a single-structure system in 8-grade basic schools (typically for pupils aged 6-14, covering grades 1-8). Upper secondary education (ISCED 3, typically for pupils aged 14-18, usually covering grades 9-12) is provided by general secondary schools, vocational secondary schools or vocational schools. However, general secondary schools are also allowed to offer longer programmes starting earlier (from Grade 5 or 7).

General secondary schools provide general education and prepare for the secondary school leaving examination, which is the prerequisite for admission to higher education. Secondary vocational schools provide general and pre-vocational education, prepare for the secondary school leaving examination and offer vocational post-secondary non-tertiary programmes (ISCED 4 C). Vocational schools provide general, pre-vocational and vocational education and may also provide remedial lower secondary general education for those who have not accomplished basic school.

Higher education programmes (ISCED 5A, 5B, 6) are offered by public or private universities and colleges (non-university higher education institutions). In accordance with the three-cycle Bologna degree structure, there are Bachelor degree programmes lasting 6-8 semesters (ISCED 5A, 180-240 ECTS credits), which can be followed by Master degree programmes (ISCED 5A, 60-120 ECTS credits) for another 2-4 semesters. The third cycle provides doctoral studies (ISCED 6). Nevertheless, there are also undivided long programmes (10-12 semesters, 300-360 ECTS credits, ISCED 5A) in some disciplines, e.g. medicine or law.

Adult education and training includes part-time general education programmes at all ISCED levels, vocational education, as well as a wide range of non-formal courses provided by the public and private sector.

For further information, please consult the introduction articles of Organisation and Governance and of each educational level: Early Childhood Education, Single Structure Education (Integrated Primary and Lower Secondary Education), Secondary and Post Secondary Non Tertiary Education, Higher Education and Adult Education and Training.

For a brief description of other main topics regarding the national education system, please read the introduction articles of Funding education, Teachers and education staff, Management and other educational staff, Educational support and guidance, Quality assurance, Mobility and internationalisation.

For information on recently adopted or planned reforms and policy measures, please consult the topic Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments.

Structure of the national education system 2014/15

Age of students                                                                                                                                                                                     Programme duration (years)

Diagram 2015 Hungary.png


Note: Under the Public Education Act of 2011, education will be compulsory only until the age of 16. The change is being phased in: the new lower age (16) will be applied to students starting in grade 9 from the 2012/13 school year; the higher school leaving age (18) will continue to apply to students in the grades above.

Key Notes.3.PNG

Source: Eurydice

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