Education in Hungary dates back many centuries. Since its beginnings in the early Middle Ages, nourished by European culture, it has developed and its accomplishments have added new colours to universal erudition and knowledge. In the 20th century Hungarian education has produced such eminent figures as the Nobel Prize-winner Albert Szent-Györgyi, who discovered vitamin C, and János Neumann, the father of the modern computer and computer science.
After ten years of associate membership, the Republic of Hungary became a full member of the European Union in 2004. Following accession to the European Union, Hungarian education is directly involved in the process of creating a Single European Educational Area, which aims to fully implement the democratic principles and practices commonly adopted by European nations. Hungary takes an active part in forming the common European education policy within the renewed Lisbon strategy. Tasks regarding the education and schooling of migrant pupils constitute an organic part of the objectives and instruments of this policy.
Over the last decade, in accordance with Community principles and regulations a series of measures have been taken by the authorities responsible for the management of Hungarian education to guarantee to migrant children of school age full access to and participation in public education on equal footing with their Hungarian counterparts. Beyond guaranteeing equal conditions on a legal basis, in order to promote harmonious social and cultural integration of nearly 20,000 pupils of foreign nationality in the academic year 2004/05 the minister of education issued a pedagogical programme for the intercultural education of migrant children. Those schools which organise the education of their non-Hungarian speaking pupils based on this pedagogical programme may claim additional support. Furthermore, the 1st National Development Plan (2004-2006) of Hungary supported the development and introduction of pedagogical and methodological tools for teaching Hungarian as a foreign language.
Since 2003 a multilingual home page with many useful facts and much information for pupils and parents of foreign nationality has been accessible on the Ministry of Education's Internet portal. This provides particulars of the Hungarian educational system, the regulations on the admission and studies of migrant children of school age, as well as brief information on civil organisations providing professional assistance with the integration and education of primarily refugees, especially refugee children of school age.
I sincerely hope that your stay in Hungary will be pleasant, that every pupil from abroad wishing to join the Hungarian school system will perform to the best of their ability and that the information on the Ministry of Education and Culture's home page will help you find out about our educational system.
Budapest, December 2006
Dr János Szüdi
State Secretary for Public Education