Country Report Hungary

"The country report presents the main characteristics of the Hungarian education system. In addition to a general picture, it illustrates with data and diagrams the trends that today, through current changes in the structure and operation of the system, have an impact on the learning and life chances of disadvantaged young people. The document focusses on challenges and issues that identify areas for improvement in Hungary. At the same time, however, it also consistently refers to isolated, standalone domestic good practices that can be internal resources and starting points for finding solutions."


Main Parts of the Document

Structure of the Hungarian school system and the main characteristics of each level (nursery school, kindergarten, primary and secondary school, vocational education, teacher training).

• Main features of social inclusion and exclusion at different levels of education, governance and society.

• Most important concepts, actors and organisations of the issue of inclusion in Hungary.

• Hungarian indicators related to the topic.

• Key issues that outline learning needs from the perspective of education supporting social inclusion.


Learning objectives

Getting to know models that

1. in order to promote social inclusion of disadvantaged groups and increase their chances of learning and life, are simultaneously capable of achieving on a lasting basis:

the development of the education system across government cycles, based on professional consensus, and the systemic coherence of the various interventions;
supporting the transformation of educational institutions into learning organisations in relation to this dimension;
networking and collaboration of leaders and teachers on this topic beyond their own institution.

2. can reduce the prejudice of majority status groups in the society and help strengthen the culture of partnership in communities at different levels of the country.


Main statements and lessons

In Hungary, several factors hinder social mobility and contribute to the persistence of inequalities of opportunity due to socio-cultural differences at birth.

At the level of society, the most important such factors are:

•The most vulnerable group is the Roma, most of whom live under worse conditions than the average in society, however, the majority of the poor are not Roma.

• Children living in persistent poverty, regardless of their ethnicity, accumulate a lot of disadvantages by the time they go to school and are not helped to overcome this.

Main barriers at the level of the education system are:

• There are no sufficient nursery school care in disadvantaged areas, so there are large differences in development between children entering kindergarten.

• Kindergarten teachers need more professional knowledge about the developmental characteristics of children to be able to substantially reduce these differences at the age of 3-6 years.

• There is a need for a nationwide programme to support the transition between kindergarten and school to address these differences.

• Although there is a strong emphasis on the development of basic skills in the lower grades of primary school, little attention is paid to it in the upper grades. Thus, children’s school performance from now on is fundamentally determined by their family background.

• There is a tendency in the Hungarian education system that young people from different backgrounds and social backgrounds enter different secondary schools at the age of 10, 12 or 14. This causes an early selection.

• A significant proportion of lower performing and disadvantaged students tend to end up in vocational training.

• The curriculum of general education is divided into subjects in each type of school, and it is mostly aimed at the development of cognitive competencies.

• Most schools have difficulties in dealing with the cultural diversity and the heterogeneous abilities of their students.

 • The majority of low performing students are often facing early leaving from school. • Cultural differences that existed at the beginning become learning disadvantages during the period of public education, determining the entire career of young people concerned.


Factors contributing to inequality at the policy level

Reforming the education system in an inclusive way, strengthening basic skills, and establishing a differentiating methodology based on professional responsibility and autonomy of teachers were aimed at in several efforts in the first decade of the 21st century. However, these programmes must be continued in the future.