Hungarian universities

A few days ago I saw a headline that read something like this: "Five Hungarian universities among the best schools in the world." That headline aroused my curiosity because until now I have heard only about the sad state of Hungarian higher education. Among the top 200 universities in the world not one was Hungarian. So I decided to look behind the headline and found the following. First of all, the survey was not about universities but business schools. And "among the best" meant "among the best 1,000." The survey covered 150 countries and in European countries they found 331 best business schools. So, in brief, the headline greatly exaggerated the importance of this piece of news.

On the very same day that this headline appeared in the Hungarian media Sándor Friderikusz’s guest was Géza Komoróczy, professor of oriental studies, who is deeply dissatisfied with the current state of Hungarian higher education. In Hungary the number of students in colleges and universities has grown enormously while the number of professors has remained practically the same. Many new institutions with low standards have opened their doors. According to Komoróczy, they are at the level of an American community college. And that is pretty low!  Komoróczy mentioned that students arrive at ELTE, where he teaches and which is one of the better universities in Hungary, with incredible deficiencies. A few years ago Professor Komoróczy didn’t have to flunk anyone, but now at one of the exams he gave forty students failed.

Meanwhile I saw a YouTube video on which Ferenc Gyurcsány in Davos emphasized the importance of learning. A learned population is the key to success in global competition. If that is the case, and I believe Gyurcsány is right, Hungary is in big trouble. Half a million people barely finished eight grades and have no skills. And according to experts on educational matters, the existence of the kind of elite Professor Komoróczy finds lacking in Hungary is simply not enough in today’s world. There ought to be those who are not necessarily students of oriental studies but who have learned to think and who are able to work on sophisticated machinery, manage a business, run a supermarket, and so on.

University professors cry over the disappearance of the former elitist educational system, but a new, broadly based educational system has not yet been developed. So the situation is rather grim.

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New World Order

Not to question the problems at the university level, but I think the real crisis (that also contributes to many of the problems in higher education) is at the lower levels of the education system. The basic fact is that the combination of Hungary’s on-going financial crisis, poor policies and (most of all) Hungarian demographics are leading to a total melt down in the educational system. In Hungary the Roma population is approx. 6% of the total, but in the school system (outside of Bp.) the Roma percentage is 25%! Unfortunately, these children are not prepared for school, do not receive sufficient support at home to learn and create a shocking burden on the whole system. Without either addressing the problems within the Roma society in Hungary and finding a way to improve the demographics in Hungary over the long term [i.e., increased incentives for people to immigrate to Hungary], these problems will only worsen.
FInally, while this is all a crisis for the country, the good news is that the best students now have greater oportunities to study and live outside of Hungary if they so choose.

The “socialism” that ruled in Hungary was extremely elitistic. It created an “learned” elite to rule the masses in the Nomenclature or just to become dissidents. No wonder that many of the leaders of 1990 had a solid university-background. Today we find the remains of this system among the right-wing of politics, they miss their old status as being important. This is one part of the puzzle. The other part is that Hungary now at least try to integrate the Roma. NWO is probably correct in his figures, but one piece is missing and that is the quality of teachers in the lower level of the educational system. As usual it is worst in the small villages, but during my 12 years I have had my children in the schooling system here in Budapest (Buda-side, no gypsies there) I have met some very bad teachers, which were worse than what I experienced as I child in Sweden. We have also always paid for extra teachers and one of them is a special class teacher with responsibility to check how several schools implement the integration of “special needs”-children. She broke down in tears when she told about her experiences on some… Read more »
Odin's lost eye
The problem today is that the academics only want to teach the elite. There is no real training for the real people who are the foundations of the economy. The missing cadres are the innovators –people who can actually think-‘ skilled people and what I would call the ‘sergeants’ –people who can organize and get things done! It is useless having all ‘chiefs and no real Indians’. We all place to higher value on the academic elite and ignore the missing cadres who are the real powerhouse of our society. I agree with the sentiments expressed by the author of the original story and the quotation from it about the people we really need -“but (people) who have learned to think and who are able to work on sophisticated machinery, manage a business, run a supermarket, and so on” to which I would add “and who can also do things by hand instead of relying on machines”. This cadre people were destroyed by Socalist Academic who lumped them together with the ‘oiks’ as “Workers” and gave them no respect! When my company reorganized due to Messers Gorbachev and Yeltsin I had to teach –part time- to ‘earn a crust’. I… Read more »