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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What some recent numbers tell about Hungarian education

According to a publication on Hunagrian education (2009 data), in Hungary, 84 percent of the 20-24 years old population has completed at least upper-secondary education (grammar school or vocational secondary school) compared to 78.6% in the 27 EU member states.
Early leavers (population aged 18-24 years with at most lower secondary education – equivalent to the classes 5-8 of the 8-years primary school - and not in further education and training) are 11.2% compared to the EU-27 average of 14.4%.
In the population between 25 and 64 years, Hungary has a high proportion of upper-secondary (grammar school or vocational secondary school) and post-secondary graduates (61 versus the Eu average of 47 %). The proportion of both lower and higher education is lower than in the EU overall.
Source: Spotlight on VET, Hungary, European Centre for the Development of Vocational training http://bookshop.europa.eu/en/spotlight-on-vet-pbTI3111147/downloads/TI-31-11-147-EN-C/TI3111147ENC_002.pdf?FileName=TI3111147ENC_002.pdf&SKU=TI3111147ENC_PDF&CatalogueNumber=TI-31-11-147-EN-C

Some recent results of the PISA tests also show an interesting picture. Just one graph from the EC press release:

Percentages of low-achieving 15 year-old students in reading (2009)
Source: OECD, PISA 2009 database

Hungary has slightly higher proportion of low achievers than the EU target but lower than the EU average and scores better than its neighbours.

These figures raise interesting questions concerning the educational concept and changes in the school system:
Did the reforms yield a result in spite of scepticism? Hungarian students scored significantly better in the last two PISA tests than before. In the first one, two years age, the area investigated was one where Hungarians usually scored better (technical and scientific) but the latest one (late 2010) did show a significant improvement in areas where we did not score well before.
Is it justified to decrease the number of students in higher education? Are we really over-qualified?
Will the decrease of compulsory education age limits improve the rate of early school leavers (which is not high even with the present limit) or ont he contrary, yield more pupils who leave school without finishing their education to a level where they can find their place on the labour market?

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