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Hungary:Teaching and Learning in General Secondary 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


 

Curriculum, Subjects, Number of Hours

The contents of teaching and learning in schools has been governed by a three-tier curriculum regulation in Hungary since 2000.

The central (top-level) regulation is comprised of the National Core Curriculum (NCC) first issued by the Government in 1995 and amended several times. In 2012 the government adopted a new NCC, which was phased in gradually from 2013. The National Core Curriculum is a strategic document compulsory for all schools. It provides ideological-theoretical-philosophical grounds for the subject areas to be taught, the phases of school education in terms of content, and the development tasks that must be fulfilled in the various phases until the upper limit of compulsory schooling and even beyond (since the reduction of the compulsory schooling in 2011).

The second level of content regulation provides support both in terms of curriculum and methodology. The middle level of the system is comprised of framework curricula based on the National Core Curriculum and issued by the minister responsible for education. Separate general curricula are developed for 4, 6, and 8 year general secondary schools.

The pedagogical programme of schools containing the local curriculum and the educational-teaching programme constitutes the third, local level of regulation. The local curriculum is prepared by the school teachers independently. School-level content regulation documents are adopted by the teaching staff and are subsequently approved by the school maintainers following consultation with experts.

The local curriculum of general secondary schools inevitably has to consider the set of requirements prescribed for secondary school leaving examinations and the National Assessment of Basic Competences. Both the secondary school leaving examination and the National Assessment of Basic Competences function as strong content regulators.


National Core Curriculum (NCC)

According to the definition given in the NCC, the National Core Curriculum is „The core document of regulating Hungarian school education. It is not a traditional curriculum, because it does not prescribe subjects, lesson numbers or syllabus structures for each grade. It is rather a basis for the preparation of framework and local curricula, content of subjects, examination requirements, text books and other teaching aids. The national character of the National Core Curriculum lies in the fact that it conveys common national values, and contributes to the cultivation of national traditions and to the development of a sense of national identity. The National Core Curriculum is issued as a government decree. The core curriculum is periodically revised as prescribed by the Public Education Act.

The standardisation of the content of education and the mobility of students between schools are guaranteed by the National Core Curriculum in grades 1-12. The core curriculum also contains the principles of education for students belonging to national or ethnic minorities, as well as for students with special needs and it also determines the tasks of schools in the field of health development, environmental consciousness and consumer protection.

The National Core Curriculum has been developed by education science scholars and curriculum theory experts, draft versions have been subjected to wide professional debate, and it is revised every 3 years. The most recent NCC, issued in 2012, was prepared in the Hungarian Institute of Educational Research and Development, the background institution of the ministry responsible for education.

Due to its core curriculum character and its role played in content regulation, the NCC regulate the content of education until the age of 18, irrespective of the fact that the 2011 Public Education Act reduced the upper limit of compulsory schooling age to 16. NCC is broken down into three educational phases (grades 1-4, 5-8 and 9-12), and within these phases it determines priority and subject-based development objectives for 2-grade periods

The National Core Curriculum does not determine compulsory subjects, only subject areas. Exceptions are cases when a subject area is covered by only one subject, e.g. Mathematics or Hungarian Language and Literature. The proportion of the 10 subject areas is not expressed in lesson numbers but rather in rough percentages (by determining the lower and upper limits), this way giving more scope for framework curricula (see table….). The NCC more or less preserved the former proportion of subject areas.

 The proportions of subject areas in grades 9-10 and grades 11-12 in the NCC issued in 2012 (phased in), %

Subject areas

Grades 9-10 (%)

Grades 11-12 * (%)

Hungarian Language and Literature

10-15

10

Foreign languages

12-20

13

Mathematics

10-15

10

Man and Society

8-15

10

Man in Nature

15-20

10

The Earth and the Environment

5-8

0

Arts

8-15

6

IT

4-8

4

Life and Practical Skills

4-8

0

Physical Education and Sports

14-20

15

Total

90-144

78

 * In the final two years of upper secondary education, due to the diversity of programmes and because of the need for preparation for the school leaving examinations, only minimum percentages are provided.


Framework curricula

The implementation of the contents of the National Core Curriculum is guaranteed by framework curricula. For each school type and educational phase, the framework curricula contain the objectives of education, the subject system, the topics and content of the subjects, the subject-related requirements for one or two grades, the development tasks of cross-curricular knowledge and skills, and the compulsory or recommended time frames available for meeting these requirements.

According to the definition in the NCC glossary: “The ministry responsible for education approves and issues elective framework curricula (built on the National Core Curriculum and serving as a basis for local application) concerning the specific phase and contents of schooling. ...Framework curricula, on the one hand, determine the system of subjects, the time frame (lesson number) of each subject, the structure of the syllabus, as well as the exit requirements of the last grade of the given phase; on the other hand, they have an impact on the content of course books. In connection with these elements, framework curricula may specify alternatives and elective solutions within the framework of their own system. ...Framework curricula are prepared for specific school types (basic school, general secondary school, vocational secondary school, vocational school etc.).”   As a new element new framework curricula also determine the structure and breakdown of the syllabus and the content of course books in order to specify and standardise content.

Framework curricula can be applied after the approval by the minister. The issuing and approval of the framework curricula are regulated by Ministerial Decree 51/2012. (XII. 21.) (Ministry of Human Resources).

In general secondary school, courses are designed to provide a general knowledge to students and prepare them for the secondary school leaving examination and for higher education studies.  Development requirements, activities and contents determined in the general curriculum of general secondary schools ensure that students are prepared for the secondary school leaving examination, the entering into the labour market or the continuation of studies in a higher education institution.

'Framework curricula for general secondary schools, annual number of hours', 2012


Grade 9.

Grade 10.

Grade 11.

Grade 12.

Hungarian Language and Literature

144

144

144

128

Foreign Language 1

108

108

108

96

Foreign Language 2

108

108

108

96

Mathematics

108

108

108

96

History, social and civic studies

72

72

108

96

Ethics



36


Biology


72

72

64

Physics

72

72

72


Chemistry

72

72



Geography

72

72



Music and Singing

36

36



Visual Culture

36

36



Drama and Dance or Film and Media

36




Arts



72

64

IT

36

36



Life and Practical Skills




32

P.E. and Sports

180

180

180

160

Form master's class

36

36

36

32

Optional

144

144

216

256

Total:

1260

1296

1260

1120

Arts in grades 11–12 can be freely used for Music and Singing, Visual Culture, Drama and Dance as well as Film and Media studies.

 

Local curriculum

Professional work is carried out in the education institutions in accordance with the applicable pedagogical programmes which must be made publicly available. The pedagogical programme includes the education programme comprising personality and social skills development programme and the local curriculum which is the school’s level of content regulation, which is the first level of the three-tier content development system. The schools determine the local curricula drawing on the education programmes issued by the Minister of Education and adapt another framework curriculum approved by the minister to their own environment. Most institutions opt for the curriculum elaborated by the Ministries background institution. The requirements of entering the next grades as well as the forms of the evaluation and rating/grading of the students are also regulated by the local curriculum.

After the release of the National Core Curriculum and the framework curricula general secondary schools must - by the deadline prescribed by law - adapt their local curricula to the modified higher level regulation. The schools may devote an increased number of classes to the compulsory subjects at the expense of the subjects that can be freely scheduled or those that are not compulsory or they may introduce completely new subjects as well but they cannot exceed the weekly maximum number of classes specified in the decree on the workload of students. Secondary schools may also organise optional class activities in line with the students’ interests and needs, in order to enable them to catch up with their better performing peers or to promote development, talent fostering, consultation or to impart special or supplementary knowledge elements.

In the last two grades of general secondary school (the 11th and the 12th grade) the students tend to choose additional classes for themselves in the subjects in which they will have to take the secondary school leaving examination and/or that represent the fields in which they intend to take up further studies.

== Teaching methods and materials

In regard to the methods applied in the teaching and learning process schools as well as teachers enjoy a high degree of freedom where the range of applicable procedures is not determined by any kind of central document. The school’s pedagogy programme however, determines the basic pedagogical principles and tasks of education and teaching in the school along with its means and procedures. In line with the policy intentions of standardising education, the past practice of free choice of textbook is also very limited in state run general secondary schools. In most cases, teachers must use textbooks developed by the Ministry’s background institutions.

In the vast majority of schools teaching takes place in the framework of 45-minute classes organised by subject. The subject matter is organised for the most part in subjects, integrated or cross-curricular structuring of the contents taught appears only sporadically, in the wake of local pedagogical innovations, typically in schools preferring alternative pedagogical approaches. Although so-called project teaching has been encouraged since 2003 by the act on education and thousands of teachers have been trained to apply this approach, it has been adopted only in a very limited range of schools so far. The main reason for this is the extra burdens and not infrequently the extra costs of the organisation of teaching, borne by both the school and the teachers concerned, because the school maintainer does not cover additional costs. As a result of the ‘en masse’ training courses differentiation and individualised or small-group activities are spreading gradually.

Teachers enjoy full freedom in terms of the methodologies chosen in order to attain the goals of education and teaching. Research has shown that teachers are applying a rather narrow range of methodologies. The application of infocommunication technologies in class activities is spreading slowly.

Teachers traditionally attach particular importance in Hungary to homework assigned to students and its regular checking. Students are given homework practically every day thus questioning students about their homework and/or having them write brief tests in class, i.e. oral or written testing of their homework performance is an indispensable part of classes.

Dividing classes, mostly into two, less frequently into three groups, is a very widely applied practice. This occurs in language classes most frequently, it is basically the rule. Group forming is also frequent in the teaching of subjects such as information technology, design technology and physical exercise. In the case of the latter two boys and girls are usually taught/trained separately.

Methods focusing, instead of simply reproducing the subject matter, on encouraging students’ own activity those activating students and promoting creativity, are also spreading, slowly but steadily. In a part of general secondary schools - primarily in privately run schools - teaching takes place almost exclusively in the form of individual teaching or in cooperative group activities, the rigid separation of the subjects is replaced by integrated subjects and projects and the subject matter is processed in epochal frameworks. The number of such schools, however, is still rather small. There are some Waldorf–Steiner general secondary schools and one Rogers-general secondary school in the upper secondary education system in Hungary but their methods have already been adopted by a few (mainly non-state-run) general secondary schools as well.

Teaching tools, textbooks

The list of the minimum set of aids and equipment of public education institutions was put together in 1998. Some schools have not been able to meet its requirements even to this date, owing to financial difficulties. Therefore a ministerial decree eased the requirements in 2008.

Textbooks continue to be indispensable means of teaching in schools in Hungary. The teacher used to be entitled to select the textbooks to be used, after the schools’ teachers teaching the same subject have discussed the possible choices, which lead to a standardised choice within the school. As a result of the government’s policy intentions of standardising education content, the past practice of free choice of textbook is also very limited in state run general secondary schools. In most cases, teachers must use textbooks developed by the Ministry’s background institutions. The Minister responsible for public education annually issues a list of textbooks to be used.

The textbooks have to be purchased by the students (their families). The cost of the average package of textbooks of a given student in a given school year in the grades of upper secondary education amounts to nearly 1 % of the annual average wage. Students in need may be given textbooks free of charge, in most cases the books are borrowed. The rules on procedures in connection with free textbooks are defined by the minister responsible for education. The amount of state support for free textbooks are included in the Act on the annual national budget. Textbooks are allocated completely free of charge to students of permanent health impairment, those of special educational needs, those living in families of three or more children as well as those receiving child protection allowances on a regular basis.

So-called unconventional content carriers - particularly those based on the digital technology - are playing an increasingly important role besides textbooks. In the government decree on the textbook supply, separate provisions are defined on the approval of digital content. Even the framework curricula includes one (the so-called Digital Secondary School framework curriculum accredited in 2008) that is based on digital teaching aids.