European Education, vol. 34, no. 4, Winter 2002–3, pp. 10–33. © 2003 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN 1056–4934/2003 $9.50 + 0.00.


Transformation of Education Systems: The Case of Hungary
Central and Eastern Europe ceased to belong to the Soviet sphere of interest in 1994, and returned to the historic roots retained during the period of Soviet influence. The united and compulsory basic and lower secondary school was organized under the Soviet influence after World War II, although the new system appeared to be unified only on the surface and in declarations. Empirical research occurred only after the political system began to lose its stability in the 1970s, and even then not everywhere, especially not at the institution level. It would be interesting to compare basic seven-year schools in Romania or Serbia with eight-year ones in Hungary or Croatia, especially if the study examined basic schools restructured from former lower gymnasiums, representing a generalizing of the system of lower gymnasiums, or higher elementary schools, representing a lengthening of elementary public education. Differences between education systems in distant areas of the region (e.g., Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia) were even greater. In the former case it was possible to continue vocational training after six years of basic education even in the 1980s, in the latter case nine years of basic education beEnglish translation © 2003 by M.E. Sharpe, Inc. “Az oktatás átalakulása: Magyarország és Közép Kelet Európa esete. Atalakulás: társadalmi és történelmi kihavás.” Paper prepared for the international symposium “Transformation of Educational Systems in Comparative Perspective,” DIPF [German Institute for International Educational Research], Berlin, 24–26 January 2002, with the contributions of Imre Radácsi and Magdolna Rébay. Tamás Kozma is a professor at the University of Debrecen, Hungary. Translated by Gabriella Zsigovits and Leslie English.

WINTER 2002–3 11

came compulsory. Diverse territorial conditions led to tremendous differences, as could be seen in the backwardness of the network of institutions in the Balkans in the 1970–80s, while in Central Europe this network fitted in the municipalities and new centers of industry. The international tendency of the expansion of secondary education reached developed areas of the region in the 1960s; overall educational reforms of the region date from then. Such reforms were not really launched in countries that inherited firm and traditional secondary schools; they resisted the pressure of the party, international unity of action, or the demands of experts. The clamor for a ten-year “upper polytechnical school,” which was regarded as a Soviet pattern, led to its creation only in the German Democratic Republic. A new type of secondary school (secondary technical) was added to the system. In these areas of the region, the education policy satisfied the increasing demand for secondary schools by developing the system of vocational training instead of opening more secondary schools. This was the universal trend in socialist countries at the time, but the combination of secondary education and vocational training was created only in this area of the region. This factor widened the basis for continuing studies in colleges and led to an expanded need for higher education. In countries where the tradition of secondary education was weaker, legislating the education system to have ten compulsory years was easy and rapid, as it meant restructuring and reorganizing traditional institutions; in some countries, it induced development of schooling. Nevertheless, in most places this acted as a new filtering device between the tenth grade and the preparatory years before higher education. Traditional centers of secondary education, which were already accepted by local society, were dissolved or reorganized into two-year vocational training and as a consequence lost their reputation. As 1990, the year of change, approached, this restructuring was described as a failure in Poland, Romania, and in some states of Yugoslavia, and they tried to return to the abandoned (French) pattern of secondary education. Thus, restructuring has been one reason that the expansion of secondary education is reaching countries on the periphery of this region only now, thirty or fifty years later than in the developed regions of Europe. As secondary school is selective and academic, the real need for higher education is even weaker. The spectacular rise of needs at the beginning of the 1990s can be described as temporary and can be explained by the sudden release from political pressure (e.g., Bulgaria,

so higher education is accessible to wider groups of local society. However. These factors contribute to the fact that the needs for higher education are still stagnant in this region of Europe. The equipment of schools differs according to the area. in Bács-Kiskun. However. More than 50 percent of primaryschool children live in towns in some counties. developed areas in the region. in other counties (e. In . specialized universities are specialized on the national or sometimes regional level. Higher education in the region is ahead of overall reform processes that would widen the network and the narrow field of specialization. it would cause inextricable difficulties in the present network. Recognition of this situation supports the pursuit of regional higher education policies and the political slogans about privatizing higher education in the 1990s. instead. The school system in transition Basic-school provisions The most important basic institutions are the primary schools. This network comprises. and Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén). except for Hungary in the 1970s. the number of schools in villages is one and a half times larger than the number of schools in towns. This could be a way of making higher education in central Eastern Europe democratic. more or less. we develop cultural basic provision by developing primary education. It is difficult to reform and expand higher education under conditions of an economy that is falling apart and awaiting restructuring. This process can be launched in this region only when economic prosperity occurs and countries of the region catch up with the European Union. a network of so-called “specialized universities” came into being. In the long run. it is highly improbable that the problem could be solved this way. The lack of tertiary vocational training is typical of the network of institutions. if they suddenly rose. from the viewpoint of development. that development concentrated on towns may influence only the minority of children in some areas. Organizing educational activities imply different tasks depending on the type of settlement. which means that they cannot necessarily meet the needs for higher education in particular areas in their present form.. Békés. It means. The network of higher education at hand cannot fulfill the needs of extended continuation of studies.12 EUROPEAN EDUCATION Romania).g.

the following variants are suggested: more intensive coordination of existing educational. is teachers’ more flexible movement among levels of education. Higher-education provisions Expansion of higher education is possible if the system of institutions is expanded as well. This process will be supported by a more unified and flexible training system for class teachers or specialized teachers. however. These differences can be found simultaneously and side by side in regions of the country. vocational training. Secondary-school provisions There have been different ideas (models) in connection with the development of secondary education. developing so-called “common” secondary schools. integrating horizontally the social and cultural basic provision. building and developing cultural urban centers. building and maintaining cultural areas. the system of institutions is centered .WINTER 2002–3 13 towns. We have to take into consideration the potentialities of the settlement and its role in a particular area when we organize complex (integrated) cultural institutions. which show large differences in the ratio of students to teachers. integrating the pedagogical and vocational-training programs of a gymnasium. have fewer pupils per teacher than in town schools. The expansion may break the system of institutions into smaller pieces. the number of teachers who graduated from teaching institutes is higher than the number without teaching diplomas. The need for supplies in village schools is much greater than in towns. society. Considering that regions develop differently. and cultural institutions. The institution that can provide for the needs of a region is an existing or planned “regional university. Schools in small villages.” Highereducation policies are the following: forms of further education between existing institutions of secondary and higher education are in the center of development in the long run. moving on in the educational system. One condition that will aid students’ further learning. and culture and tried to solve the associated problems. The demands of structural development and effectiveness can be aligned if the existing and planned institutions are integrated in bigger structural units. building vocational-training centers. a vocational secondary school. and/or a vocational school (preserving institutional independence). These ideas presupposed different levels of economy.

which are the majority in grades five through eight. and combining elementary public schools in education districts). the 8+4 structure can be considered 4+4+4 as well. but by the need of the necessary intellectual background. An important aspect was to organize. expanding higher elementary public schools. which corresponded to lower secondary school. in the Scandinavian countries. though with different grades. They are incomplete formations from the historic point of view. . The basic structure of Hungarian education was easy to survey before 1990 The traditional structure started to change after 1990. we need to build up an almost complete structure of education in every area and maintain medium-size and smaller institutions. The educational administration at the time insisted on organizing all of them within one building. The organization of general education schools was supported by professional and political reasons.g. Thus. the university is developed as a multifunctional institution. lower and upper grades can be organized independently from each other. quantitative or polycentric development of the existing intellectual center. while the devaluing of elite gymnasiums was a political reason. grades five through eight. Expanding and standardizing secondary education seemed to be a professional reason. 8+4 basic structure with four-year secondary school Four-year secondary schools (grammar schools and secondary technical schools) involve upper secondary education compared with international standards. We can see similar incomplete formations. To use intellectual potential more effectively. It does not seem reasonable to maintain general education schools without any changes after forty years. We can develop intellectual centers if we can rely on the wider potential of a region.. possibly in every settlement. Possible variants are the following. Obviously. in one standardized system. Problems can be caused not only by a system that is broken into smaller parts.14 EUROPEAN EDUCATION around a regional university. The goal was to develop an integrated education system. The structuring of general education schools was not an organic process (e. Four-year secondary schools are the direct results of the organization of general education schools.

could offer vocational training. could slow the reduction of the network while fulfilling the requirement of compulsory education until sixteen years of age. 6+6 basic structure with six-year secondary schools Secondary schools with six grades do not have such a long tradition. Rural primary schools are threatened by further “centralization” (whatever name it will be given in the future). Eight grades are easy to arrange by dividing the present primary school. A way of “escaping ahead” is keeping in school the fourteen. Increasing primary school to ten years. where the three-grade structure . or could prepare for secondary grammar school.WINTER 2002–3 15 10+2 basic structure with two-year additional training A basic structural problem of public education is that compulsory education until the age of sixteen. In this case the upper grades are to be joined (again) with a “mother school. Some of its concepts present a real alternative to existing grammar schools. Where possible. does not have the necessary organizational framework and legal guarantees. the age of fourteen. since the number of students decreased after the demographic boom. The system is so deficient in this respect and the legal controls so controversial that leaving primary school at the normal time.to sixteen-year-olds who will not go on to secondary school. a lengthened primary school could take over compulsory subjects from vocational training schools. which matches European standards. This part of the concept is the easiest to realize and agrees with the educational policy that would like to (because it could) supply local authorities with institutions of fewer grades (and fewer students). constitutes compulsory education. which is preferable in areas with scattered settlements. Eight-grade grammar schools require restructuring independent four-grade elementary schools. This idea appeared first in the educational policies of programs of new parties after the downfall of communism in 1989–90. which are close to a crisis. 4+8 basic structure with eight-year secondary school The idea of eight-year grammar schools began in 1988–89. There are similar schools in the Scandinavian countries.” It should be mentioned that this version was included in the 1961 reform—schools with twelve grades—some of which operated almost until the present.

this model is easier to handle than that of 8+4 or 10+2 from the viewpoint of organization. Another positive element of this idea is that the aims and methods of basic schoolteacher training would not be divided. languages and computer science. It is definitely easier to organize six grades than eight grades in each area of settlements. rather than the four-grade German–Austrian type. as well.16 EUROPEAN EDUCATION of the French education system was adopted. at around twelve years of age there are psychological processes in the child’s development that make changing schools necessary and possible. where 30 percent of secondary school students go. The six-grade secondary school presupposes a six-grade basic school. . there is an emphasis on them in the curricula. This concept is supported by the psychological reasoning that the age limit of elementary education should be raised by two years so that children can catch up. The school content in transition The National Core Curriculum The 1993 Law on Public Education superseded central curricula documents. There is a huge social interest in the development of two areas. The question is how certificates from different types of gymnasium can be validated in other types of secondary schools. The National Core Curriculum was accepted in the autumn of 1993. It prescribes unified requirements for all types of school until tenth grade. At the same time. and existing variants may be authorized as possible alternatives. as it is today. How it is possible to change one type of gymnasium to another? We can expect that a unified overall structure will be formulated in the next few years. The models discussed concentrate on gymnasiums. There is also the problem of inner equivalence. The “movement” of an alternative grade structure can be viewed as the need of gymnasiums to find their place. A similar type of structure change occurs with vocational schools. because it could lead to reconstructing an old and outdated structure: the elementary public school and upper-grade schools. Because the demand for these subjects is growing as a consequence of globalization at the turn of the millennium. the majority of secondary schools. These arguments are supported by the inner differentiation of the current primary-school bureaucracy. There are heavy arguments against this model.

which means the number of language learners in elementary school would decrease. Schools had to begin preparing their local curricula in early 1997. and 8 percent could not manage this task at all. For the sake of comparison. followed by English. schools have to teach according to their local curriculum and pedagogical program that is compatible with the National Core Curriculum. 16 percent had not even started to prepare it. The National Core Curriculum is flexible concerning languages. Schools were supported by the budget through the preparation of local curricula and in-service training for teachers. The information network of institutions of public education was built while the supply of curricula was developed. 10 percent had a local curriculum. but on the basis of the National Core Curriculum it would start in fifth grade. Most spoke German. 8 percent of schools had completed the pedagogical program. The other important area to develop is computer science. or after the agreement between local/municipal government and the school. The 1996 Law for Public Education provides for its compulsory introduction starting in 1998. Russian. The National Institution of Public Education developed the data bank of curricula starting in late 1996. The new National Core Curriculum was launched in the beginning of 1997. From that date on. The number of language learners grew in Hungary in the 1996–97 academic year. It is uncertain how many language classes are scheduled in a given school after preparing the local curriculum and pedagogical program. Compulsory language learning now starts in the fourth grade. The success of the teaching and development programs of computer science depends on the teachers and other agents of education who recognize the possibilities offered by information technology. as well as development of the information network and the context of public education. It enhances the modernization of aspects of public education such as administration. The success of the introduction of the National Core Curriculum depends on the schools that are able to prepare their local curriculum with the necessary quality and on time. knowledge of foreign languages among adults is rather poor: only 32 percent of those older than fourteen spoke any foreign language in 1994. in Austria 69 percent of people above the age of fifteen spoke some foreign language.WINTER 2002–3 17 Unfortunately. and French. 23 percent were planning to buy . According to a 1997 survey. Regulation leaves ample room for schools to adjust their local curricula to the knowledge and capacity of their students.

and this group became resigned to paying more and more. which organizes exhibitions and conferences. .140Ft/person) and in primary schools at the nominal value (760Ft/person). and 84 percent were still preparing the local curriculum. the average price of books increased 22 percent. This kind of aid was unified at all levels of public education (860Ft/ person) in 1994. It is more popular to have a student use one approved textbook for several years. The normative aid was out of step with inflation. This regulation helps publishers who are successful professionally but cannot invest the necessary capital. Also. textbook publishers whose books are on the list of approved textbooks are given some credit with a state guarantee to purchase a certain number of books. The flourishing of the market of educational materials has come late. it was decreased in secondary schools at the real value (1. in addition to paying for school meals. The result is that families cover an increasingly larger part of expenses while the state covers less and less. so we can only estimate how much it costs for the family. primary among which is the National Union of Textbook Publishers. This initiative is not successful with parents and children because they do not like to use second-hand books.18 EUROPEAN EDUCATION a curriculum from the data bank. Textbooks According to the ratio of inflation between 1996 and 1997. Every school decides which textbooks to choose. professional organizations have an important role in textbook selection.000 and 12. Family expenses in buying textbooks are supported through the budget but the subsidy does not keep up with the rising costs. parents are not involved in choosing appropriate and sometimes more expensive textbooks. but it was differentiated in 1997. A typical form of social aid offered by local authorities is assistance given to the poorest families to buy textbooks. Teachers consider this decision to be part of their expertise and professional autonomy. The pedagogical institutes of the counties help teachers get acquainted with the new books from the very large range of those available. Since 1993. The Ministry of Education prefers textbooks that can be used for several years in order to justify expenses.000 Forints (Ft) in the 1997–98 academic year. A new practice has come into being at some schools: families pay in monthly instalments. the group of solvent parents became smaller under the influence of the Bokros package. This estimate was between 4.

the list of educational materials must be published for the teachers. educational software. called the basic examination. The 1996 Law on Public Education stipulates that the minister of education publish the list of educational material that must be obtained. cannot be seen yet. The new list of educational materials is compatible with the National Core Curriculum and covers a wide range of educational materials. history. International examples show that developing and marketing the most expensive educational materials such as educational videos. This tendency is strengthened by the expansion of education after the secondary level and the need for maturity examination in vocational training. Detailed regulation was elaborated after the National Core Curriculum was instated in June 1997. Examinations The other important element of the contextual regulation is the change of the system of examinations. parents’ and students’ organizations and local authorities were consulted when the list was compiled. or CD is impossible without some kind of state support. content. Compulsory examination subjects are Hungarian language and literature. and one subject may be chosen by the applicant. Teachers’ unions. and foreign language. in both primary and secondary schools. (3) elective subjects. The maturity examination covers three areas: (1) education and instruction in the eleventh and twelfth grades of gymnasium and vocational secondary school.WINTER 2002–3 19 National production is hindered by the need for capital. thus giving it a marketing function. applicants have to pass in at least five subjects at the general education level. it includes not concrete materials but rather educational tasks. The examination has general education and advanced levels. which can be passed after the tenth grade. (2) compulsory subjects. . In the opinion of experts the functional list informs producers and traders about the demand. The 1993 Law on Public Education introduced an examination. Now the role. Any subject that is not involved in compulsory subjects or any subject accredited in the local curriculum is optional. The role of the state. especially budget support. and imports are blocked by the fear of competition. At the same time. and users every year. mathematics. and function of the maturity examination are questioned. The maturity examination was passed in large numbers in the mid-1990s and as a result of the expansion of secondary education it will be general in the future. schools.

Compulsory groups of subjects are (1) foreign language or information technology. physics. the certificate of the basic examination entitles them to join forms of vocational training approved by law or to take certain jobs. environmental studies. Basic examination of education is a new element of the Hungarian system of education. 64 percent. Students can sit for this examination after completing the tenth grade. The teaching profession in transition Teachers as a group Teachers as a social group can be characterized by the following. and the census shows 489. and other groups of intellectuals are under 10 percent.000 in 1980. and according to the census. 42 percent of teachers were women. The aim of the examination is to assess academic knowledge and the needed problem-solving skills. and visual education. household practice. In 1930. The facts show that teachers comprise the most numerous group in Hungary among intellectuals. polytechnical studies. forty-one. The material included can be any cultural area of the National Core Curriculum. in 1949 seventeen out of one hundred. and today 37 percent. In fact. Of these. and the number of teachers was growing even more quickly in this group. Hungarian intellectuals became feminized more rapidly than the teaching profession. in 1970 thirty-one. according to the requirements of the National Core Curriculum. The proportion of other sizable professions is small in comparison: technical intellectuals comprise fewer than 30 percent. It is an examination that must be held nationally. dance and drama. In 1930. This number grew to 176.000. The teaching profession is feminized. The number of the intellectuals was rapidly growing in the past fifty years. and in 1980. sports.000 in 1960. music. 29 percent twenty years ago. agricultural intellectuals fewer than 20 percent. the number of people with diplomas in Hungary was 87. Fifty years ago.20 EUROPEAN EDUCATION The measures referring to the materials of examination decide the parts of examination (oral. Teachers as a whole are younger than Hungarian intellectuals in gen- . in 1980. and practice). only every tenth person with a diploma was a woman. although it used to be a typical choice for women. media studies. (3) social studies. chemistry. written. physical education. 18 percent were teachers fifty years ago. as can be seen if we compare it with other professional careers. (2) biology and health education.

but this proportion is only 7 percent among teachers. We can suppose that the social force that motivated .” The transformation of the Hungarian teacher society is the result of a historical process. The proportion of people over age sixty is 10 percent among intellectuals in general. A certificate of secondary education means “not trained. but only 30 percent of teachers do. The educational level of teachers has grown rapidly in the past fifty years. but the majority of teachers have a diploma. it is the profession of one’s teacher. Statistics of entrance examinations show that children of blue-collar workers are more numerous among student teachers than among students at other institutions of higher education. A recent survey showed that every tenth teacher was absent from work because they were on maternity leave. especially elementary teachers (15 percent) and nursery-school teachers (16 percent). Rural intellectuals living in towns determine teacher society. as far as its publicity and the work itself. Because young women predominate among teachers. but only 10 percent among teachers. Statistics from the end of the nineteenth century show that the profession of a (secondary) teacher was more open to the children of nonintellectuals than other intellectual careers in that historical situation.WINTER 2002–3 21 eral. The proportion of people over fifty is nearly 25 percent in general among people with diplomas. The teaching profession lost a lot of prestige in society. Great numbers of students graduated from higher education and appeared in the schools in this period. The effects of structural changes among teacher society can be expected from now on. but teacher-training institutions do not have enrollment problems. there is comparatively more absence due to maternity leave. If there is a workplace that everybody gets to know in childhood. including growing numbers of women. If there is a profession that strongly attracts one. Secondary education was typical of teachers around 1930 (secondary teacher-training institutions). where the proportion of teachers is 30 percent. The teaching profession A teaching career has a great advantage over other professions. 61 percent of teachers are under forty. 40 percent of intellectuals work in the capital. it is school. but only 57 percent among intellectuals. 70 percent of teachers live and work in the rural areas. but fundamental changes occurred in the past ten to fifteen years. 20 percent of intellectuals work in villages.

Teachers—a group of intellectuals that is numerous and influential—feel they are on the periphery of public life. but it is not clear yet for whom and against whom. Outsiders may think that teaching as a job has fewer restrictions. Teachers at vocational-training schools leave their job most often. Teachers’ poor political clout is not the only reason. physical education. Even today. of educational practice. Relevant statistics indicate that primary-school teachers. they have to keep together. and some arts subjects. but nearly half of the students in college are thinking about leaving the profession. are least likely to leave their job. As we can expect. But only great numbers of teachers in vocational training can expect to make a living from teaching as a business. A teacher can assert his interests as an employee. could prescribe whom they want to take and with . suggest and elaborate a national system of requirements and examinations. The teachers’ chambers. Professional interests Teachers’ jobs seem easily substituted by other teachers. sciences. above all. A national system of examinations would be the most important self-defense weapon of a professionally organized teacher society. teachers do not think so.22 EUROPEAN EDUCATION young people to join the teaching profession was upward social mobility. and. They should represent the professional standpoint of the teacher society in opposition to governmental plans. While they can refuse to participate in activities. he can even refuse work—a preferred method in Hungary nowadays. particularly in popular subjects such as languages. this is more typical of men than of women. those who choose a teaching career consistently adhere to their choice. that there is more free time. There are teacher unions (teacher chambers) again. although few teachers do so. and. if they were strong enough. in very few cases would this present a real threat to the operation of the school. They feel that time utilization is wasteful. Teachers try to change this situation in different ways. The majority of young women want to stay in their job. and they are not expected to do what they can do best and what they like most. Teachers try to realize their knowledge in the market outside school. If teachers want to assert their professional and scientific interests. especially twenty-year-olds. what is more. and this is still the case. they have been brought up to be loyal so that they will bring up loyal students.

The role of the social partners is more important in the administration of systems of public education. at the local level by the local authority. (3) local level. The Council of Public Education Policies is the minister’s advisory organization that prepares decisions and formulates opinion and recommendations. interest groups independent of the government or local authorities. The 1996 Law on Public Education widened the minister’s responsibility with further education of teachers and heads of institutions. at the institution level by local interest groups. textbooks. teachers’ trade unions. (4) institutional level. Sectoral responsibility in public education rests with the minister of education. and assessing and evaluating public education. . The law defines three types of responsibility: (1) direct administration. These partners are teachers’ professional organizations. the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. minority authorities. Supervision is regulated at the national and regional levels by the minister. but it is not necessarily so at the regional level. social. (2) territorial or regional level. local authorities. amd at the teachers’ level by the head of the institution. teacher-training colleges and universities. Furthermore. Educational policy in transition School administration There are four levels of educational administration: (1) central or governmental level. The National Council of Public Education coordinates partners interested in the contents of public education (regulation of syllabuses. teacher training). and governmental partners. This Council initiated a national maturity examination board and the national in-service teacher-training accreditation board. and ministries interested in education. parents’ organizations. preparing county development projects. (3) development. students’ organizations. such as teachers’ professional organizations.WINTER 2002–3 23 what qualification. at the territorial level by the county authority. and the minister’s direct representatives. educational materials. system of examinations. The main characteristic of the Hungarian educational system is that decision making is possible at the school or local level. organizing a students’ parliament. (2) regulation. there are examples in the world that could help teachers to prepare for the qualifying examination that meet the requirements of the chambers. It involves national professional.

and research. Institutions of public education. It is very difficult to establish the necessary expertise to perform tasks of educational administration for most local authorities. The ministry of education controls the Hungarian Institution of Educational Research. services for public administration. An authentic register of institutions is missing. the National Institution of Public Education. The responsibility for collecting data is shared by the Central Statistical Office and the Ministry of Education. a data base of patterns for local curricula). counseling in teaching subjects. in-service training. there are central institutions of research and improvement. The registration and statistics of public education has been in a state of constant change for years. local/municipal governments. and the National Bureau of Services for Public Education. Data showing the processes of public education can be found in different data collections. Local authorities have the right to decide how they want to provide for the public education of their inhabitants.. and local authorities are among those that may need these services. Any institution can offer pedagogical professional services.24 EUROPEAN EDUCATION The national administration of education is supported by national institutions of improvement. and the role of private enterprises is more important. Taking responsibility for public education is a task for local communities and authorities in Hungary. The quality of local administration of public education is the most important strategic issue of national educational policy. and cooperation is most important. The Ministry of Education made a one-time data collection for the first time in 1995. teachers. In the past few years. with the task of creating information services (e. the responsibility of regional. but the 1996 Law on Public Education stipulates that this falls under the aegis of county authorities. County pedagogical institutions cooperate in these tasks. county levels of . the responsibility for supply is not connected with the obligation of plant maintenance. tasks in documentation and information. In the past few years an information network of public education was developed. The only restriction is that local authorities have to take into consideration the county’s development projects for public education. and participation in research. students. counseling for institutions.g. which can include assessment. which contains the most important data of the institutions of public education. services. County offices of the Central Statistical Office took over the task of collecting the statistical data of public education from county cultural departments after 1990.

In the educational systems. and churches. More than 60 percent of religious schools belong to the Catholic Church.WINTER 2002–3 25 administration was growing.5 percent of the total number of educational institutions were owned by churches or privately. The 1996 Law on Public Education imposed the responsibility of planning on county authorities. where decision making at the institution level is important. local religious organizations and monastic orders are under its control. Now local authorities maintain more than 90 percent of institutions of public education. 20 percent are Calvinist. Lutheran schools are maintained by the diocese and the local Lutheran organizations under the control of the National Office of the Hungarian Lutheran Church. or other interest groups maintain the rest. There were no important changes in the administration of institutions. The most important challenges for institutions are the decreasing number of children. and the preparation of a local educational program that is compatible with the National Core Curriculum. which means that they must make a plan for performing necessary tasks to maintain and develop institutions. Private schools or schools of foundations (about 76 percent) belong . and this should be done in cooperation with local/municipal governments. The Law on Local Administration stipulates that local authorities create the necessary conditions for compulsory education. Calvinist schools are maintained by the diocese and Calvinist organizations under the control of the Synod Office of the Hungarian Calvinist Church. foundations. Catholic schools are maintained by the diocesan Catholic educational authorities. the well-todo living in towns needed private schools and in rural areas religious schools were more common. the quality of institutional management is a key issue. 4. the independence of institutions is still important. and 1 percent Jewish. 10 percent Lutheran. In the 1995–96 academic year. budget restrictions. School maintenance The state monopoly of maintaining schools was ended in 1990. There was hardly any demand for religious and private schools. Twenty-three monastic orders deal with education in Hungary at the present time. either by maintaining public institutions or by contributing to the maintenance of private institutions for children of local families.

Rogers. some typical of state influence. If the influence of local authority is stronger . When schools (teachers. Several means of influencing schools were developed. In the democratic restructuring of public administration (local authorities). Increasing state influence brought about various forms of opposition. Advocates of autonomy seem to forget about the fact that the school is not the property of teachers. 15 percent are maintained by private enterprises. Under the Kádár regime. it looks for a new supporter. A group of foundation schools belong to a branch of reform education such as Waldorf. and others) unite and assert their interests collectively in opposition to the state (administration. others identical with the means school supporters use in connection with their schools (and teachers). Absolute monarchy initiated and organized public education almost everywhere in Eastern Europe. etc. School autonomy is guaranteed by building up interdependencies. Private schools have become more popular. as it is impossible to organize expanded education without state financial support. A particular example of socialization is in so-called socialist countries where autocratic communist parties socialized churches and their schools. education as an organization followed the state curriculum guidelines. it belongs to students and parents as well. art schools. this restricts state influence. state influence can best be restricted if different individuals and organizations maintain schools. it can turn to the central administration. control. especially vocational schools. it is thus under state influence.26 EUROPEAN EDUCATION to individual organizations. and 9 percent are maintained by associations. or Montessori. Secondary and vocational education were expanded after World War II. headmasters. Neoliberal economists best expressed the ideology of restricting state influence in education by increasing the role of the private sector and the market. experimenting school reformers resisted the control of the totalitarian regime. and nursery schools. Restricting the state’s “absolute power” means dividing areas of power in the representative democracy. If a school has a problem with its local authority. legislation. According to some. local interest groups.). schools were taken over by the new interest groups without reasonable guarantees. That is why the next step of democratic changes in education was building up representative democracy instead of school autonomy. if it has to defend itself from the bureaucracy of the ministry. The slogan “socialization of schools” hides the ideology of liberating schools from the influence of the state and substitutes this with the influence of different interest groups.

Local taxes: The local community can finance the complementary services of schools and nursery schools from local funds.) Per-capita financing: the expenses of general education should be calculated and allocated per child. the state subsidizes citizens so they can buy necessary services. afternoon classes. —Vocational training should be maintained by the entity for whom it is profitable (the citizen. and leisure activities. and the budget assures this sum to everybody. Foundations: People may pay here according to their level of income. so it is budgeted centrally. and leisure-time activities outside of school. so the budget will guarantee every citizen the necessary amount to obtain a general education. . so different conditions of schools and teachers can be considered. School finance There were many who understood the reform of education as a reform of finances. —Higher education must be supported in areas where citizens are least likely to find employment. or a foundation. No amount of money can be attached to teacher tasks and projects. then a reasonable increase of state influence would be felt without restricting school autonomy. in brief. (When deciding on the task different priorities can be determined. but would give them more space to oppose their supporter. such as school meals. a church. Normative financing: the financial support for performing a task is decided in the budget. Similarly. Basic education was overloaded with additional programs. Complementary activities are paid for by citizens.WINTER 2002–3 27 than that of the administration. The opinion of this author. whether the supporter be a local authority. General education is a central task of the state. These have a different financing from the general educational budget. is as follows: —General education should be maintained by the budget. different financial and educational support needs to be made for social work. or both). organization. cultural activities. Project financing: Projects and programs are financed rather than institutions. sports. The following financing techniques are used. However. Possible forms of support in Hungary are now: Tax allowances: The family pays for complementary social and educational services but the budget balances it with allowances.

and this expansion entails an intensive integration of the educational system. they will create a fourth stage. Today this rate is around 40 percent. Income supplementation: For example. The expansion of higher education does not necessarily take place . adult education. Assignment: Local authorities finance the “buyer. Those who expected the increase to peak at about 35 to 40 percent must be surprised.28 EUROPEAN EDUCATION and the budget may support them directly or indirectly. funds are assigned and parents (children) can pay the school with these funds. and progress. and now they are included in tertiary education. Institutions receive funding in proportion to the service provided. 10 to 15 percent of eighteen. This is reflected in their names as well: once aristocratic and restrictive universities were mentioned first in higher education statistics. training. People produced a strikingly different result. Adult education Adult education received new emphasis in international understanding in the 1990s. as were decision makers who expected a comparable level of secondary-school graduates in the mid-1970s. it can be argued that everything that was already known in 1960–70 has been rediscovered. but signs of new tendencies could be detected in the previous decade. The expansion of higher education cannot be hindered. As there has not been a new formal stage of educational systems in general. In the past.” not the services. To ensure that money is used only for education.to twenty-three-yearolds in a given country continued studies in higher education. Expansion of education will not stop at “conquering” the third stage of education. with a different emphasis and orientation. and continued increase seems inevitable in almost all European countries. This change of emphasis is symbolized in the Report of the Delors Committee in 1998. The transition process: prospects and dilemmas Expansion in higher education The expansion of higher education means that more and more secondaryschool graduates seek the possibilities of further education. Comparing this period with the 1970s. the employer may supplement a family’s income to allow them to pay for educational services.

not only children come as immigrants. because their educational background is wholly or partially inadequate with requirements here. and the proportion of the elderly and the young are imbalanced in European societies. 1990. pp. The two trends—the expansion of nontraditional institutions of higher education and the transition of adult education into lifelong learning— actually follow the same route. References Anweiler. The majority do not flock to universities in the most developed regions of the Atlantic area (at least not yet). New migration If social security and safety covers everyone. O. and cultural situation. These different forms gradually become identical. Europe would need 100–150 million new immigrants. but. even more important. 251–63. Eine Herausforderung an Politik. New York: Vintage Books. T. choosing instead postsecondary or postcompulsory forms of education.” Bildung und Erziehung.WINTER 2002–3 29 through the expansion of traditional institutions. and the elderly are supported primarily by the contributions of the young. no. and who must become acquainted with the economic.G. The Uses of Adversity: Essays on the Fate of Central Europe. 3. In such a case the need for the fourth stage of education will increase not only because the population’s level of education is higher. . “Bildungsprobleme postkommunistischer Gesellschaften. Ash. then there will be a growing and more intensive social demand for the fourth stage of education and a corresponding change in educational policy. The “fourth stage” is expected to develop after the third stage of education. political. 1992. How will the expansion of education change in Hungary if there is a huge wave of immigrants. which is not traditional either. how it is possible to assure. social security and relatively equal opportunities of different age groups? According to recent UNESCO demographic forecasts. but first of all young people who are active economically. at the present level. If it holds true that the numbers of migrants increase. Wissenschaft und Praxis. or if Hungary has to rely on these immigrants? Might a better-developed immigration policy expand the fourth stage further? Naturally. as long as secondary education becomes general and compulsory.

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