Education in Hungary

Education in Hungary

Infobox Education
country name = Hungary
agency = Ministry of Education and Culture

leader titles = Minister
Deputy Secretary
leader names = István Hiller
budget = 272.86 billion Ft
budget year = 2006
primary languages = Hungarian
system type = Central
established events = Established
established dates = October 26, 1995
September 1, 1998
literacy year = 2003
literacy total = 99.4
literacy men = 99.5
literacy women = 99.3
enroll total = 1,877,500
enroll primary = 886,500
enroll secondary = 570,000
enroll post-secondary = 421,000
attain secondary = 86
attain post-secondary = 14
footnotes =

The social environment of education

The decline of Hungary's population that started in 1981 has also continued in recent years. According to the 2001 census, the population of Hungary was 10,198,000, about half a million less than the figure of twenty years earlier. By 2005 the population dropped to 10,077,000. The age pyramid of the Hungarian population is among the most irregular ones in Europe. On 1st January 2005, due to the extremely low number of live births in the preceding years the size of the 0-4-year-old population was smaller than the next age groups of five-year increments up to the age group 60-64. There are major differences in the size of the various generations.

The official language of instruction is Hungarian, but a number of ethnic andnational minorities (e.g. German, Romanian, Slovene, Serb and Croatian) have minority educational institutions with their own languages as first or second language of instruction at primary and secondary level of teaching. According to the 2003 survey, the rate of Roma children in the population entering school education in 2008-2009 is expected to be around 15%. [Medgyesi, M. (2007). [ "The socio-economic environment of education."] In Loboda, Z., Lannert, J. and Halász, G. (ed.) [ "Education in Hungary 2006."] Budapest: Hungarian Institute for Educational Research and Development.]

Public education administration

Horizontally, the administrative responsibilities are shared between the Ministry of Education and other ministries (primarily the Ministry of Employment and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Interior). Vertically, the administrative control is decentralized and the managing responsibility is shared among the central (national), the local (regional) and institutional levels.

The local governments administer pre-primary, primary and secondary education. The different establishments enjoy a fair degree of decision-making autonomy not only in terms of organization and functioning but also with regard to their budgets.

Most pupils attend public-sector schools, which are administered and organized by the public authorities, primarily the local governments. The financing of educational institutions is sector neutral. State and private institutions receive funding according to the same criteria. [ [ "National summary sheets on education systems in Europe and ongoing reforms"] . (2006) Brussels: Eurydice.]

chool system in Hungary

A special feature of the Hungarian education system is that institutional structures and the structure of educational programmes are not aligned with each other. The system's institutional structure and the presence of programmes allowing early selection show similarities with Central European and ex-socialist countries. The system's content structure, the uniform and general phase of education has extended, and secondary level education may be characterised by increased opportunities for transition. The general phase of education lasts until the age of 16 in Hungary's education system. Participation in secondary education, offering a wide variety of programmes, is fairly high. Within secondary education, the proportion of students studying in programmes leading to a secondary school-leaving certificate and offering transition to tertiary education is around the international average. [Imre, A. and Györgyi, Z. (2007). [ "The educational system and the progression of students."] In Loboda, Z., Lannert, J. and Halász, G. (ed.) [ "Education in Hungary 2006."] Budapest: Hungarian Institute for Educational Research and Development.]

Hungarian education and training programmes (ISCED-97)

Source: Statistical Yearbook of Education 2002/2003, OM, 2003.

Notes: Destination for which the programmes have been designed to prepare students: A=access to further general education, B=access to further vocational education, C=access to the labour market. Orientation category is based on the degree to which content of programme has been specifically designed: G=general, P=pre-vocational, V=vocational.

Organization of the educational system

Pre-primary education

This educational level is considered as a crucially important integrated part of the schoolsystem. It caters for children from 3 to 7 years of age. Participation in pre-primary education at this level (óvoda) is optional, except for the final year (beyond age 5), which is compulsory.

Public-sector institutions may only charge for services additional to their basic tasks, including for example extra-curricular activities, meals, excursions, etc. Currently, the attendance rate with regard to the age groups 3-5, is just above 86%. The average duration of participation of children aged 3-7 in pre-primary education is just over 3 years (3.3), which is the highest average value in Europe. [ [ "National summary sheets on education systems in Europe and ongoing reforms"] . (2006) Brussels: Eurydice.]

Primary education

Children start primary school when they reach school-maturity, usually in the year in which they have their 6th birthday (7th if they were born after May 31).

Primary education can last for 4, 6 or 8 years. 8-year education is the most widespread; the other two options were introduced in the early 1990s.

Subjects include literature, grammar, mathematics, music, art, Physical education, environmental studies (from 1st to 5th grade), biology (from 6th grade), geography (from 6th grade), history (from 5th grade), history of art, physics (from 6th grade), chemistry (from 7th grade), one or two foreign languages (usually English, German or French). Before 1990 Russian was compulsory.

econdary education

Secondary education usually lasts for 4 years. In "gimnázium"s it can also last for 5, 6 or 8 years depending on how many years the student spent in primary school. Since 1997 the numbering of years in secondary school are following that of primary school (i. e. after the 8th grade of primary school the student goes to 9th grade, which is actually the 1st year of secondary school.)

There are three kinds of secondary schools:
* "Gimnázium" (non-vocational; prepares students for higher education; teaches at least 2 foreign languages)
* "Szakközépiskola" (vocational school but also prepares for higher education)
* "Szakiskola" (vocational school)

After finishing secondary school, students take a school-leaving exam (Matura or final exam, "érettségi" in Hungarian). This consists from 2005 of exams on five subjects: written exam in mathematics, oral and written exams in "literature and grammar", a "foreign language", "history", and written and/or oral exam in a subject of the "student's choice". These exams also serve as an entry exam to universities and colleges.

New secondary form until the school year of 2004/2005

Many of the "gimnázium"s have begun to teach a foreign language intensively (usually 12-14 lessons a week) and IT (usually 3-4 lessons a week) in the first year. This is called "nyelvi előkészítő évfolyam", literally "Language training class", or simply "nulladik évfolyam". After 2005, students will have less foreign language lessons and IT.

At schools where there is no "nulladik évfolyam" (beginners classes), they may be required to introduce them because the majority of Hungarians do not speak more than one language, or only speak their parents language or dialect. Most students will finish High School at the age of 18 or 19, or when they complete Year 13.

Those who had at least an intermediate level language exam weren't required to pass a language exam at Matura, but has become compulsory since 2006. In language training classes, a student must pass an intermediate level language exam in the second year, and the same level Matura in the third year.

Higher education

Higher education is divided between colleges and universities. College education generally lasts for 4 years, while university education lasts for 4 to 6 years depending on the course undertaken. University PhD courses usually take 3 years to complete.

Before students get their degree, they must pass an intermediate level language exam in the foreign language of their choice. English and German are the most popular. The number of Spanish-learners has been growing in the last few years. Recently a high number of students chose Esperanto and Romani languages. The latter is said to have a relatively small vocabulary and easy grammar.

ee also

* Gymnasium
* Matura



* [ Number of enrolled students]
* [ About educational attainment] (data from 2000)
* [ About the educational budget] (Hungarian only)

External links

* [ Ministry of Education] (in Hungarian and English)
* [ Hungary's profile at]
* [ Hungarian Institute for Educational Research and Development] (in Hungarian and English)
* [ Education in Hungary 2006]
* [ Hungarian Education] (OSEAS)
* [ The social and political history of Hungarian education]
* [ - Education, culture]

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