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The OECD has acknowledged the aims and accomplishments of Hungarian education policymaking, a government official said, commenting on the organisation’s Education at a Glance report. Ministry of Innovation and Technology parliamentary secretary Tamás Schanda told a news conference that the publication said Hungarian higher education was on the path to being more international, with the proportion of foreign students rising from 5 to 10% of the total between 2010 and 2017, one of the biggest increases among the countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. Foreigners enrolled in masters courses account for 27% of the total. In addition, the proportion of people with tertiary education increased markedly between 2008 and 2018, the number of women rising to 37% from 28% while the proportion of men rose to 25% from 20% in the 25-34 age group. More and more young people have enrolled in higher education, with 89,500 first-year students this year, 4,500 more than the previous year and the highest number since 2014. The government wants to help young Hungarians study at better and more competitive universities and gain valuable degrees so they can find their place on the labour market, he said.
Schanda said the OECD report also noted with approval the government’s plans for vocational training. The proportion of people in vocational training is less than 25%, compared with the OECD average of 40%, though this year’s admissions data shows that vocational training is becoming increasingly popular, he said. The government’s vocational training strategy developed jointly with market players provides up-to-date training and an attractive learning environment that will create career paths and livelihoods for participants, he said, adding that this in turn would help to further strengthen Hungary’s economy.
Meanwhile, the state secretary for public education, Zoltán Maruzsa, noted the report mentioned a major transformation in kindergarten education which has been almost completed. The government, he noted, in 2015 made kindergarten education compulsory from the age of 3. He said that in Hungary there are 12 children per kindergarten teacher, while the EU average is 15 and the OECD average is 16. In primary and secondary education, the Hungarian teacher-student ratio is more favourable than the OECD average, he added, where the latter is 15 students per teacher, while in Hungary it is 11. Maruzsa said the burden on teachers in Hungary is also lower than the OECD average, with 648 hours per teacher, compared with the OECD average of 783 hours. This is largely due to Hungary’s longer summer break, he said.
The latest OECD survey contains data for the 2016-17 academic year.