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Hungary:Short-Cycle Higher Education

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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

A couple of years ago, the government significantly transformed the previous short cycle programme; as an indication of this transformation the government changed the name of the programme to higher education vocational training. The first new types of trainings were launched in the school year of 2013/14, (in the autumn of 2013). Significantly fewer training programmes are now available, and there is also less demand for it; the number of students dropped by 50%.

Branches of Study

In spite of the changes, it is still unclear whether the Hungarian short cycle programmes may be defined as first-cycle programmes of the Bologna system. These are practice-oriented higher education vocational programmes (ISCED 5B) provided by higher education institutions or upper secondary schools in cooperation with a higher education institution. They do not result in a higher education (Bachelor or Master) degree but a higher education vocational qualification included in the National Qualification Register. (Level 5, which is compliant with level 5 of the European Qualifications Framework.). All programmes last for 4 terms (2 academic years) and the qualification obtained is recognised (30-90 ECTS) in a relevant Bachelor programme.

The classification of higher education vocational training programmes are based on their field of studies. The effective Qualification Register includes the following 17 fields of training: Agriculture (3), IT (3), law (3), business (4), medical and health studies (1) arts (4) and engineering (1). These represent half of the originally planned programmes and just a fraction of the previously offered vocational programmes offered by higher education institutions. 

Now, significantly fewer institutions offer higher education vocational training. Higher education vocational programmes fell out of the scope of the former legal framework on vocational trainings, as a result their qualifications are not included in the National Vocational Qualification Register. The qualifications obtained in the framework of a higher education vocational training programme are now regulated by a set of legal provisions focusing on higher education. Consequently, they are defined based on education fields (instead of groups of professions) and by qualification and outcome requirements (instead of professional and exam requirements).

Admission Requirements

The same rules are applicable to admission to short cycle vocational programmes as to admission to Bachelor programmes. Passing the secondary school leaving examination is a precondition to admission. The higher education institution can make admission subject to rational health, professional and aptitude-related criteria which do not engender discrimination; passing health and aptitude tests or examinations during secondary school, as well as secondary school leaving examination results and vocational qualifications.

The proportion of new entrants to short cycle programmes is stipulated in a government decree on the number of entrants to state funded places. It is then broken down to institutions. The higher education institution makes its decision on admission to higher education vocational training on the grounds of the performance of applicants, based on the standard national ranking. Applicants are ranked by a central computerised algorithm.

The general rules of application are identical to the application rules of Bachelor Programmes. Also in this case, prerequisite is successful secondary school leaving examination, furthermore, provisions on obtaining extra scores and priority status requirements are also the same. 

Curriculum

Launching a short-cycle vocational programme is conditional on several requirements. The accreditation process is launched based on the preliminary approval of the minister responsible for higher education. The following documents must be attached to the accreditation request: opinions of the professional organisations, employers and the sectoral minister on the expected labour market impact; the opinion of the Chambers (economic, national sectoral and professional), as well as the opinion of the Hungarian Higher Education Accreditation Committee and the Higher Education Planning Council. Based on the supporting opinions, the Educational Authority initiates the creation of the legal framework concerning the Qualification and outcome requirements of the programme and the admission of the programme to the National Qualifications Register. The programme accreditation process can only be launched after the admission to the National Qualifications Register.

The higher education institution makes a decision on the recognition of the credits obtained in a Bachelor Programme. However, the Act on Higher Education stipulates that at least 30 of the ECTS credits obtained during the higher education vocational training must be recognised in relevant Bachelor programmes.

A higher education institution can only launch a higher education vocational training programme, if it is registered by the Educational Authority linked with a Bachelor programme or an undivided Masters Programme, where prior learning can be recognised, in order to ensure further studies. The programmes are held in Hungarian, there are few subjects taught in a foreign language.

Teaching Methods

There are no central regulations or guidelines on teaching methods and learning environment – and they are often not regulated at institution level either. The content and examination requirements include provisions on the infrastructure and technology to be used (e.g. library, availability of computers etc.). It is traditions and established practices that teaching is most often based on. Evaluations of recent years focusing on the introduction of the multi-cycle education system have pointed out that more conscious and deeper changes are necessary in order to improve the quality of the first cycle programmes and to achieve the objectives of the education. New teaching and learning management methods as well as innovative technology are used at the initiation of individual teachers or teams of teachers, however, according to research studies, they seem to be fragmented and isolated even within an institution. It is part of the autonomy of teachers to choose the teaching methods and learning management methods as well as teaching aids, textbooks and reference books. In recent years, several ESF funded projects have been launched for developing and using cutting-edge (digital) content. The relevant legal framework sets out that during the higher education vocational training traineeship placement must be provided for the duration of at least one term (14 weeks of work).

Progression of Students

Students previously had great flexibility in accomplishing studies, which has been restricted by the new Higher Education Act introduced in 2011. The legislators introduced certain measures to ensure faster progression and to reduce dropout rates and overextended studies. Such measures include defining the length of studies for full or partial state scholarships and the expulsion of students who do not complete their studies within the prescribed time frame, in which case they are also obliged to repay the state scholarships received. The impact of these efforts are not yet measurable. Because of lack of interest, institutions only do what is required by the law to encourage students to make progress, and to support students with learning difficulties. However, there is an increasing number of bottom up initiatives focusing on this issue, for example the Hungarian Rectors’ Conference has recently established a task force to elaborate measures aimed at decreasing the number of drop-outs.

As regards to students’ rights and obligations, the act enables students to obtain the number of credits necessary for their degree in a shorter or longer time than the length of the programme they are enrolled in. Provisions concerning grants/scholarships for students do not have an adverse impact on students progressing slower than the average, but aim at reducing unjustified overextended studies. The state-financed period for obtaining a given degree may be extended by a maximum of 2 terms. The higher education institution may extend the state-financed period of students with disabilities by a maximum of 4 terms. Furthermore, the law stipulates that institutions ensure that students are granted the opportunity to enrol for optional course units up to five percent of the credits required for the award of the diploma, and are offered a range of credit-earning course-units to select from at least twenty percent in excess of the total number of credits required. Furthermore, students have the opportunity of taking 10% more credits than the total number of prescribed credits of their study regime without having to pay extra tuition fee, and of taking at least 10% of the required credits in a foreign language. After that, students can still continue their studies but at a fee-paying place.

Institutions also impose restrictions on the length of studies in their internal regulations. Students can usually study the same subject for a maximum of three semesters. If they fail to fulfil the related requirements for the third time, they are expelled from the institution. The maximum number of attempts at passing an examination in a subject is generally 5-6. Students may to have active terms (when he/she can develop his/her own credit enrolment plan) and may have (a limited number of) passive terms (when no credits are obtained, and the student status is suspended. It is usually obligatory for students to obtain at least 60 credits in the first 2-4 semesters, and at the end of a phase of a programme a certain level of performance is a prerequisite for the continuation of studies are.

Underperforming students at state funded places are transferred to fee-paying places. In line with the Act on Higher Education, the student is reclassified to a fee-paying status, if he/she exceeded the number of terms financed by the state (that is defined as the officially determined programme period plus two terms), he/she has failed to obtain at least 18 credits in two subsequent terms, or he/she did not achieve the minimum level of performance (grade average) defined by the institution. Furthermore, if the students withdraws his/her statement that within twenty years after acquisition of the degree, to enter into and maintain employment or other work related status resulting in social insurance with an employer under Hungarian jurisdiction or undertake entrepreneurship under Hungarian jurisdiction (hereinafter: Hungarian employment) for a duration of the period during which he/she received (partial) state grant. The state funded status of underperforming students is filled by fee-paying students with good academic performance.

After accomplishing the first term, it is also possible to suspend one’s studies for a maximum of two terms at one go – and the maximum total length of suspension is regulated by the institutions. Consequently, the institution may give permission to suspend studies for longer than two subsequent terms, or before performing the first term.

Employability

Since the aim of establishing short-cycle advanced vocational programmes was to meet the needs of employers, these programmes contain more practice or in-company placement than other higher education programmes. The relevant government degree stipulates that a continuous practice-oriented training element of 30 credits (one term) must be provided in every higher education vocational training programme. Furthermore, it is also possible in this type of programme to enrol in a dual training programme that is based on the joint engagement of institutions and the business sector.

The success of the former short cycle vocational programmes is reflected by the fact that Bachelor students and graduates often decide to enrol to a short cycle vocational programme because of the labour market relevance of these programmes. A contributing factor to this trend was that several elements of the Bachelor Programmes were overlapping with some elements of the former short cycle vocational programme, as a result of which the path to the qualification was also shorter. At the same time, the acquired qualification was well accepted on the labour market.

Student Assessment

There is no policy on student assessment at either national or institutional level. Although some institutions have started developing such a policy, it is generally the competence of teachers, especially in smaller institutions. Institutions only regulate conditions related to degree thesis and final exam.

Traditionally, oral examinations are held at the end of the terms in the exam periods but where the number of students is high, written examinations and in-process evaluations are also common. In case of small-group classes (seminars, laboratory practice) there is usually continuous assessment of students.

According to the Act on Higher Education, at least one thirds of the credits required for the student to obtain their degree (diploma) must be obtained in their home institution, which gives more opportunities for the recognition of formal, non-formal and informal prior learning.

Research shows that institutions do not have policies for assessing and recognising prior learning; recognition and evaluation of credits is subject to informal negotiations between teachers and students. In 2010, an EU funded central project was launched for developing a formalised recognition procedure and introducing it in institutions. The second phase of the project took place in the period 2012-2014. However the interest of the various stakeholders are still unclear; there is no definitive governmental support policy and no pressure from the students, which would enable a wider usage of recognition.

The 5-point scale (5 – excellent, 4 – good, 3 – satisfactory, 2 – pass, 1 – fail) is the most common. This scale system is not applied on a relative scale (ensuring that each year about the same proportion of students achieve each score). In fact, the requirements are nearly the same each year, therefore the evaluation is of absolute nature.

Certification

It is the state that defines and recognises degrees (including higher education vocational qualification) through the government and the Ministry responsible for higher education. The rules on awarding Qualification is identical with the rules applicable for other higher educational programmes. Degrees (and the diploma) can only be awarded by state recognised (accredited) higher education institutions. Higher education vocational programmes are defined by qualification and outcome requirements issued in a ministerial decree. After a successful vocational exam the higher education institution issues the qualification certificate. For the issuing, content and registration of certificates the rules in connection with higher education diplomas must be applied. A central database is maintained on the issued certificates.

Organisational variations

Higher education vocational training is offered on full-time, part-time (evening classes), correspondence work and distant learning basis. However the evening class and distant learning forms are not very popular, only a few candidates applied and were admitted. In contradiction, the correspondence and full time forms have proven to be very popular. 

There are no specific rules in connection with the various forms of programme scheduling (full time, part time, etc.). They only serve the purpose of facilitating access to higher education by providing the option of working while studying. Also, there are no separate rules in connection with admission criteria, programme elements, and outcome standards. Pursuant to the regulations, in the case of part time or distant learning forms of programmes, the duration of the obligatory traineeship is 240 hours, whereby prior work experience can be recognised.