Education is a fundamental right in which countries either rise with or fall with. Hungary hasbeen long promoting education as early as the end of the 10th century. Hungarian HigherEducation has been representing academic excellence for more than 600 years. However,Hungary performed below the OECD average in PISA 2012, with improved performance inreading, unchanged performance in science and decreased performance in mathematics.The impact of socio-economic background on mathematics performance of 15-year- oldswas among the largest in OECD countries, with high variance between schools.
Pre-primaryeducation starts at age 3. School education is compulsory from age 6 to 16, withcomprehensive schooling typically from age 6-7 to age 14-15, and grade repetition is low.The foreign language programs are of high standard and tuition fees are very favorablewhen compared to its competition. The range of study fields students can choose from iswide. The present structure and organization of the Hungarian education as well as thecontent of education is the product of many centuries of evolution embodying traditionalEuropean structures and values deeply rooted in the national cultural heritage; On the otherhand, it reflects the impacts of the comprehensive social and economic and politicaltransformation Hungary has experienced in a global, and in particular, in a European contextsince the early 1990’s.Hungary faces challenges in improving students' basic skills, reducing the impact of socio-economic background on educational outcomes of disadvantaged students..
Another keyissue is making education and training more responsive to labor-market needs. Hungaryneeds to tackle the general quality of tertiary education and reduce dropout. The teachingworkforce is ageing, and there is a shortage of subject teachers in certain regions and fieldsof teaching. Priorities include attracting a younger teaching workforce and improvingteacher training. The country needs to ensure that evaluation and assessment results areused effectively to improve school quality and student learning. It is gradually introducing aYouth Guarantee Implementation Plan to provide all 15-24- year-olds with an offer ofemployment, a place in further education within four months of registering with theNational Employment Service. The plan will be fully operational in 2018 and will also covertraining of those who are neither employed nor in education and training.
In Hungary, theshare of 25-34- year-olds with at least an upper secondary education (87%) is above theOECD average (83%). The proportion of 25-34- year-olds with a tertiary education in Hungaryis 32%, 9 percentage points below the OECD average of 41% in 2014. The aim of thegovernment is to raise the number of incoming international students from 25,000 to40,000 by 2021. The government’s updated Decree on the Basic National Program ofKindergarten Education came into force in 2013, outlining the principles and tasks ofkindergarten education.
Starting in 2015, participation in ECEC became mandatory from age3, with minimum attendance of four hours per day, as a preventive measure to reduce earlyschool leaving, particularly for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. In order todevelop a high quality higher education system as well as third mission for both the societyand the economy, the government recently introduced the following reforms:1. New practice oriented bachelor programs: in the training system, students do 22-24weeks of practical training at a company over the whole study program. This is afixed-term employment contract, during which students receive a salary. In 2015, 19higher education institutions launched 79 BSc programs in dual form.
2. Chancellery system: There is a chancellor appointed by the Prime Minister in eachpublic higher education institution. Chancellors are executive heads with finalresponsibility for financial and economic decisions, while rectors retain finalresponsibility for teaching and research decisions.Institutional governance: a five-member body (three members delegated by the ministerresponsible for higher education plus the rector and chancellor of the institution) sets long-term strategic goals for the institution.The Hungarian Government approved the Higher Education Strategy in December 2016 aspart of its change of pace in Higher Education Initiative and amended legislation accordinglyto create a competitive and high quality higher education system.
The government createdthese three aspects:1. The knowledge passed onto the students should be relevant;2. Research should be beneficial for society and the national economy;3. Institutions should act as regional catalysts.