The Education System in Hungary
We present you with an overview of the Hungarian education system. For better understanding, an exact graphic representation of the system is added below.
There are two types of childcare before entering school:
Nursery (bőlcsöde) is a professional day-care for children from the age of 20 weeks to 3 years .
Kindergarten (óvoda) is a school preparation programme for children from 3-7 years. Most kindergartens are state-funded. Preschools are open from 7 am till 5 pm.
Hungarians have 10 years of compulsory school. Education is mandatory until the end of the school year in which the child becomes eighteen.
Elementary school (általános iskola) is intended for pupils aged 6 – 14. It is divided into two levels:
Junior level, grades 1 – 4, a teacher teaches most of the classes
Senior level, grades 5 – 8, most classes are taught by specialized teachers
The pupils are graded according a 6 point grading system fwith one as the best and six as the worst grade.
Approximate Day Schedule
The school day usually starts at 07:45 and finishes at about 13:30, each lesson lasts 45 minutes. School days are from Monday to Friday.
After school activities
Afterschool clubs for pupils in junior years are supervised by teachers who assist in their homework and organize activities.
The school year starts in September and finishes in mid-June for the whole country, which has two semesters (autumn and spring). It has short breaks in autumn and at Easter, and a little longer break during Christmas. The summer holidays start in mid-June and last until the end of August.
Upon finishing primary education, pupils enroll in secondary school.
Some secondary schools require applicants to complete an entry exam. There are three types of secondary schools:
Secondary school academic enrolls pupils from the age of 15 to 19, so they attend the school for four years and concludes with a school-leaving examination (“Matura”, érettségi), which entitles them to attend university.
A secondary vocational school is concluded with a school-leaving exam. The pupils have theoretical and practical education and complete professional graduation at the end of 12th grade.
Technical high school enrol pupils from the age of 14 to 18 or 19.There are different vocational schools, depending on field of work: mechanics, energy, industry, agriculture, transport, postal services, catering etc. Upon completing the first four years, students take the vocational secondary school leaving examination (szakmai érettségi).
Tertiary education in Hungary is carried out according to the standards of the European Bologna system. It is run under the ECTS – European Credit Transfer System and helps students to move between countries and have their academic qualifications recognized within the EU and the world.
According to the Bologna degree system, there are the following programmes:
Bachelor degree (alapfokozat) lasting 6 – 8 semesters
Master degree (mesterfokozat) lasting 2 – 4 semesters
Doctoral degree (doktori képzés) lasting 6 semesters
Long single-cycle structure studies lasting 10 – 12 semesters in the following fields: medicine, pharmacy, dental and veterinary studies, architecture, law, teacher training, and specific arts-, crafts- and design-related study programmes.
Vocational higher education (felsőoktatási szakképzés) lasts 2 years and is intended for advanced vocational qualifications.
Enrollment Requirements for Tertiary Education
After secondary school graduation, pupils can apply for a university study. The admission process at a given study program is different for every faculty or university. Students are chosen based on the secondary study results and entrance exam results. Some educational institutes might require completed multiple-choice tests, interviews, or motivation speeches.
The academic year in Hungary starts in September and consists of two semesters.
At present, there are 67 higher education institutions in Hungary, that are state, private or church funded.