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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments


14.Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Last update: 17 April 2024

This chapter provides a thematic and chronological overview of national reforms and policy developments since 2021. The introduction of the chapter describes the overall education strategy and the key objectives across the whole education system. It also looks at how the education reform process is organised and who are the main actors in the decision-making process. The section on ongoing reforms and policy developments groups reforms in the following broad thematic areas that largely correspond to education levels: 

Inside each thematic area, reforms are organised chronologically. The most recent reforms are described first.

Overall national education strategy and key objectives

The challenges at present include:

  • decreasing the proportion of early leavers from education,

  • improving basic competences and increasing the role of schools in dealing with disadvantages in the field of public education,

  • reducing the educational performance gap between the institutions,

  • improving the efficiency of basic and secondary-level education and consolidating a more efficient and more productive institutional management system in general education,

  • creating opportunities for efficient career guidance,

  • improving the quality of vocational education and making it more attractive,

  • providing the conditions for the extension of dual training and taking economic demands into consideration to a greater extent during the content development of VET and in practical training,

  • establishing a more efficient VET institutional system,

  • improving the number of students obtaining a tertiary-level degree and the participation of disadvantaged students in tertiary education,

  • increasing adult participation in lifelong learning,

  • promoting the digital transition in the entire educational and training system.

General education

The government adopted the public education strategy (Köznevelési stratégia 2021-2030) for the EU programming period between 2021-2030 in August 2020, its main objective is to achieve an equitable, modern public education system. The strategy defines 5 specific objectives and 14 intervention directions.


Equitable, modern national public education



1 Ensuring the internal balance of education

  • The harmonised intellectual, mental and physical development of learners

  • Development of early childhood institutional education and care

2 Development of human resources involved in public education as a state-provided public service

  • Increasing the preparedness of and appreciation for teachers

  • Increasing the role of personal directly assisting teaching

  • Developing and supporting institution heads

3 Equitable public education that takes individual unique features into consideration

  • Reducing the ratio of underperformers and early school leavers – promoting equity, integration, and catching up

  • Inclusive education, development of children/learners with special education needs

  • Enhancement of talent support

4 Public education responsive to the challenges of the 21st century

  • Development of digital competences and services

  • Development of foreign language skills

  • Content development

  • Modern public education infrastructure

5 Educational support of the Hungarian diaspora and the minorities in Hungary

  • Set up of the educational area of the Carpathian Basin

  • Supporting the education of ethnic minorities living in Hungary

Link with the new targets set by the Member States of the EU, the Council:

Decreasing the proportion of early school-leavers

The number of early school-leavers (percentage of the population aged 18-24 who have not finished at least lower secondary education and also do not participate in further education or training in the last 4 years) is between 11,6 and 12,5 in Hungary from 2015 (12.4% in 2022). The new target for 2030 is below 9%.

The new strategy builds on the achievements of the previous programming period. The compulsory school age starts at the age of 3 instead of 5 from September 2015. The Public Education Act was modified in January 2015, the notion of students at the risk of dropping out was established and an early warning tracking system was stipulated to set up and operate. The proportion of students at the risk of drop out was 4,05% in the second semester of the academic year 2022/23.

The training of educational personnel and the support of disadvantaged students in the János Arany and the so called Tanoda Programme is ongoing. Among others, the development comprises situation analysis pertaining to the organisation of local education as well as supporting education, and the preparation of a complex action plan facilitating desegregation. In the course of the implementation of desegregation measures, increased emphasis is placed on the comprehensive planning of education organisational processes, and a more complex analysis of education indicators.

Ongoing improvement of early childhood institutional education and care

The previous European target aimed at children above 4 and it was 95%, Hungary had already achieved it back in 2017 with 95.6%. The EU target for 2030 is that the proportion of children between the age of 3 and compulsory school age participating in early childhood education and care shall be 96%.  The status of the new target was 93.4% in 2021.

The compulsory education starts at the age of 3 in Hungary.

Key developmental strategic directions relating to early childhood institutional education and care:

  • enabling widening participation in early childhood education and care;

  • education that supports the development of the child’s personality;

  • support of the preparation of children for school and the transition from kindergarten to school;

  • developing the system of kindergartens and schools which provide student/teacher trainee mentoring opportunities, and the reinforcement of their responsibilities.

Increasing the role of school in the development of basic competences and overcoming disadvantages:

Compared to 2018, Hungarian students achieved results corresponding to the OECD average, but higher in mathematics and natural sciences. Hungary has clearly improved its position: out of 81 countries, it ranked 27th in the field of natural sciences, 28th in mathematics, and 32nd in literacy. Examining the background variables of education, Hungarian students feel safer and with a greater sense of community at school and are also more content with their own country than the OECD average.

Between 2018 and 2022, the mathematics results of the OECD member countries deteriorated by an average of 17 points, the literacy results by 11 points, and the natural sciences results by 4 points. The OECD average in mathematics is 472 points, the result of Hungarian students is 473 points; the OECD average in natural sciences is 485 points, the Hungarian result is 486 points; the OECD average in literacy is 476 points, the Hungarian result is 473 points. The pandemic and its impact can also be seen in the Hungarian results: compared to 2018, eventhough Hungary scored 5-point higher in the field of natural sciences, a 3-point decrease in literacy, and an 8-point decrease in mathematics can be observed; however, these results can be somewhat nuanced by the more significant deterioration of OECD results over the same period.

In Hungary, the GDP per capita is significantly lower than the OECD average, but the performance of Hungarian students is at OECD average, which is why Hungary produced better results than would be expected based on this indicator of the economic situation alone.

Based on the last measurement, Hungary's average ESCS index is at OECD average; in the 2022 survey, a slightly larger proportion of Hungarian students met the criteria of ability level 2 in all three assessment areas than the OECD average. Hungarian students performed below the OECD average in the previous assessment, but now the Hungarian result is better than the average.

Development of digital competences and services

The EU target is that the share of low-achieving eight-graders in computer and information literacy should be less than 15%, by 2030.

The Public Education Strategy (Köznevelési stratégia 2021-2030), in accordance with the Digital Education Strategy identifies the following areas for development:

Development of digital competences and services

  • The significance of digital competences

  • Digital infrastructure

  • The digital preparedness of teachers

Content development

  • Textbook development

  • Digital content development

  • Development of the public education LMS system

Vocational education and training

In 2019, a new concept was developed for the medium-term development of vocational education and training, as a result of which the Government adopted the medium-term development strategy for vocational training, titled “Vocational Education and Training 4.0” (Szakképzés 4.0. - A szakképzés és felnőttképzés megújításának középtávú szakmapolitikai stratégiája)  the same year. Act LXXX of 2019 on Vocational Education and Training (2019. évi LXXX. törvény a szakképzésről) serves as a basis for its implementation. The Act entered into force on 1 January 2020, and new entrants into vocational education – from 1 September 2020 – started their studies on the basis of these new regulations.

The development of the prestige, quality, and efficiency of vocational training requires several interrelated interventions. In reforming the system, focus must be on areas that bring the largest contribution to an in-merit change. Therefore, the three pillars of the VET 4.0 Strategy are the following:

1. Career opportunity: Occupational training must provide a basis for the possibility of a flexible and predictable career both for the younger and older generations. At the completion of technicums, students must acquire a competitive qualification and the knowledge for which there is a labour market demand, thus, providing safe subsistence and high income. This is supported by a

  • simple, transparent, flexible training system

  • direct path from the technicum to the higher education based on the results of the professional examination

  • grant system

2. Attractive environment: High-quality buildings, classrooms, school workshops, sports and leisure-time facilities must be set up that provide a real and attractive alternative for young people making their career choice and for their parents. This is supported by:

  • infrastructure, development programmes (buildings, tools)

  • high quality, well equipped apprenticeship classroom to enhance field oriented vocational education  

  • digital content

3. Educators with up-to-date knowledge: In vocational training, it is of particular importance that the knowledge of the vocational educators is up-to-date and that they are constantly able to follow the the sector's technological trends. This is ensured by:

  • accredited trainings at companies for instructors

  • involvement of engineers, experts working in the economic sphere in the school programme

  • flexible trainings for engineer teachers and instructors of the given field

  • development of the methodology for small groups of students to catch up, mentor programme

  • QA system tailored for the needs of the vocational education and training, educator career system

  • digital assistants

The target of the EU is that the share of recent graduates from VET benefiting from exposure to work-based learning during their vocational education and training should be at least 60%, by 2025.

Improving tertiary attainment

The rate of tertiary attainment in Hungary (aged 30-34) is about 33-34% (2021: 35,5%). The share of 25-34 year-olds with tertiary educational attainment should be at least 45%, by 2030. In 2021 this was 32.9% in Hungary, while in 2022, it was 31.9%.

The  higher education strategy entitled “Shifting of gears in higher education” (Fokozatváltás a felsőoktatásban) has the target year of 2030.

The  higher education strategy entitled “Shifting of gears in higher education 2.0” has the target year of 2030. 

The strategy set the following main objectives to be achieved in higher education:

  • institutions give a quicker and more effective response to labour market demands as a result of organisational changes;

  • the local network of higher educational institutions should give a chance for everyone to join higher education;

  • increasing the number of students coming from regionally disadvantaged areas, disadvantaged families as well as disabled and Roma students and graduates;

  • increasing the number of female students in STEM courses;

  • increasing the number of students and graduates in STEM courses

  • significantly decreasing the rate of drop-out;

  • improving students’ competences related to labour market demands;

  • increasing the ratio of students with a higher education degree within a certain age group population;

  • increasing the number of students participating in international mobility programmes

  • significantly improving the pedagogical and teaching-methodological preparedness of teachers

  • students obtain degrees that are more competitive and provide a more grounded knowledge;

  • Hungarian higher education become more attractive;

  • due to a balanced training structure, institutions have a greater potential to provide international trainings/programmes; consequently, their income deriving from these may increase.

  • There has been a major overhaul of the higher education admissions system to increase access at the right level and in a meaningful way.

Adult learning

The rate of Hungarian adult participation (between the age of 25 and 64) in lifelong learning is considered low in the EU (7.9 % compared to an EU-27 average of 11.9% in 2022).  Over the 12 months preceding the data collection, the participation rate in adult learning was 60%. Based on the 2022 survey, Hungary reached 62.4%, an improvement on the previous survey (2016). However, when it comes to adult learning alone, there is still room for improvement.

Strategic goals in the adult training (A felnőttképzés megújítása 2020):

  • Ensuring the measurability of training courses (based on Big Data): In response to ongoing challenges in the labour market, it is a measure of strategic importance to ensure the measurability of training courses through the career tracking system established in vocational and adult training as well. The uniform data collection system – in line with the data collection structure that includes both general and higher education –, integrated into a uniform career tracking system, makes the effectiveness of training courses measurable and thus comparable.

  • Further strengthening of the training system driven by labour market demand, in order to effectively and quickly satisfy labour market needs, thus ensuring that Hungarian citizens can take part in training courses that best match their skills and interests, and can find jobs that match them. The task of the Labour Market Forecasting System (MER), which is currently operating as a pilot project, is to inform professionals and the general public about projected labour market trends.

  • Reduced administrative burdens compared to the procedural rules required by the laws in force before 2020, by simplifying tasks related to the launch, organisation, implementation and closing of training courses; by transforming the multi-channel data reporting systems into a single-gateway solution, and by digitalising the remaining procedures. This could improve the attractiveness of adult training and increase the adult training supply and competition.

  • Increasing the number of participants in adult training, by introducing attractiveness, quality and innovative solutions. The Individual Learning Account system is being developed, and the micro-certificate system that can be used on the labour market is being adapted domestically; both are done with the support of the European Commission (DG Reform) (within TSI projects).

The EU target is that at least 47% of adults aged 25-64 have participated in learning during the last 12 months, by 2025, and 60% by 2030, based on the national targets supported by the European Pillar of Social Rights. According to the data on the 12 months of 2022, 62.4% of the adult population in Hungary were engaged in formal, non-formal and informal learning activities. European data collection started in 2022, latest data are expected by the end of 2023.

Overview of the education reform  process and drivers

Reform in education is normally initiated by the government by formulating draft legislation to the Hungarian Parliament. The Parliament adopts acts (e.g. the Act on Public Education (2011. évi CXC. törvény a nemzeti köznevelésről), the Vocational Education and Training Act (2019. évi LXXX. törvény a szakképzésről), the Adult Education Act (2013. évi LXXVII. törvény a felnőttképzésről), or the Act on Higher Education (2011. évi CCIV. törvény a nemzeti felsőoktatásról)). Strategies are mostly adopted by the government, while the mandatory curriculum regulations, such as the National Core Programme of Kindergarten Education, the National Core Curriculum, the Programme Outcomes Standards and Requirements for vocational training and higher education, and the Programme Requirements for vocational training in adult training are adopted either by the government or the competent ministry.

Central educational governance or supervision are under the auspices of two ministries; namely the Ministry of Interior (Belügyminisztérium) (public education) and the Ministry of Culture and Innovation (Kulturális és Innovációs Minisztérium) (higher education, vocational education and training, adult learning). 

The tasks and powers of the ministers are regulated by Government Decree 182/2022 (V.24.) on the duties and powers of the members of the Government (182/2022. (V. 24.) Korm. rendelet a Kormány tagjainak feladat- és hatásköréről).

The Minister responsible for general education is in charge of:

  • evaluating regularly, but at least in every five year - with the help of a council established by the same minister - the experiences related to the introduction and implementation of the National Core Programme of Kindergarten Education and the National Core Curriculum for school education, and if necessary this minister initiates the necessary amendments at the Government,

  • developing a strategy for general education,

  • establishing, developing and modernising the system of national examinations,

  • assessing pedagogical problems in public education, and developing pedagogical solutions and procedures for them,

  • developing and publishing educational programmes.

The minister responsible for higher education, among others

  • manages the higher education sector.

  • defines the education and training output requirements of tertiary vocational programmes (ISCED 5), as well as in bachelor's and master's programmes.

  • every year, within the framework defined by law, legally establishes -with a ministerial decision- which HEI programme can be financed with Hungarian state (partial) scholarships.

  • defines the directions of teachers training,

  • prepares development plans for the higher education system, including the medium-term development plan.

  • furthermore, examines the training and educational problems occurring in higher education, and orders the development of solutions, and provides the professional conditions necessary for national student competence measurements.

  • ensures the organizational and financial prerequisites necessary for research in higher education,

  • supports new training and educational methods, solutions, organizational forms, and institutional network development.

  • revises the structure of programmes in higher education (tertiary vocational programmes (ISCED 5), bachelor's and master's programmes).

  • evaluates the relationship between higher education and the economy at least every three years.

  • determines the principles of long-term financing under the Act on Public Interest Trust Founds performing public functions and the framework financing agreements concluded on the basis of this, and analyses the necessary financing data and examines the statistical data.

The minister responsible for vocational education and training

  • manages the vocational training centres established by him, exercises the supervisory management powers over the vocational training institutions operating as part of the vocational training centres,

  • performs tasks related to the use of the training fund part of the separate state fund related to employment programmes,

  • publishes the education and training output requirements.

  • determines the content of the central examination of professions with the consent of the member of the Government responsible for the given sector.

  • develops the vocational education and training textbooks with the consent of the member of the Government responsible for the given sector.

  • ensures the necessary prerequisites for the operation of the VET Innovation Council,

  • ensures the operation of the basic registration and study system and, as part of it, the system supporting the prevention of early school drop out, and the closed system for distance education training management.

  • carries out research and service development tasks related to VET and develops the methodology for the evaluation of instructors (oktatók).

The Minister responsible for adult learning:

  • supervises further training and examinations,

  • keeps electronic records of programme requirements and standards,

  • adjudicates on applications for registration, amendment and deletion of programme requirements and standards,

  • classifies, after obtaining the opinion of the member of the Government responsible for the sector concerned, certain education or training programme as training programme of major importance for the national economy,

  • exercises the powers of the State Adult Education Administration in relation to the keeping of the register of adult learning experts,

  • determines, with the agreement of the Minister responsible for taxation policy, the level, collection, management, registration and use of the service charge for the programme requirements and standards, its amendment and cancellation,

  • determines, with the consent of the Minister responsible for vocational education and training, by means of a regulation issued, the rules for the registration of the content of the programme requirements and standards,

  • lays down in a decree the detailed rules for the professional and legally compliant organisation and delivery of training programmes in the form of contact hours, distance learning and closed e-learning and for the monitoring of the obligation to provide data,

  • lays down in a regulation the detailed conditions for the content and issuance of micro-credentials,

  • regulates the detailed rules for the transmission of data by the adult education and training provider to the Adult Learning Accreditation Database (FAR).

Important actors of the management of the educational subsystems and support for their operation are the central management organisations such as the Educational Authority, the Klebelsberg Centre, and the National Office of Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning.

The key actor of the educational sector is the Educational Authority (Oktatási Hivatal), regulated by the government by the Government Decree 121/2013. (IV. 26.) on the Educational Authority (Az Oktatási Hivatalról szóló 121/2013. (IV. 26.) Korm. rendelet). Its core activity is to perform the tasks related to the sectorial administration of general education and higher education, those related to registration, official, professional audit, measurement, evaluation and admission procedures for publicly accredited general education and higher education; those related to the recognition of foreign certificates and diplomas; those related to teacher training, pedagogical and professional services; those related to IT, data processing, data reporting, teacher qualification system in the educational sector; those related to state textbook and course material development, state textbook publishing, and the domestic and international educational research, analysis and evaluation tasks in general education. Additionally, it also participates in the development of strategic documents and programmes.

The Klebelsberg Centre (Klebelsberg Központ) performs maintainance, central and mid-level educational management tasks in the field of general education. It exercises governance, efficiency and financial control powers with regard to the school district centres that participate as maintainance entities in the performance of the state’s public task in general education; furthermore, it participates in the elaboration and implementation of the strategic directions of the state’s public task in general education, and in ensuring the provision of of the public task in a nationally uniform manner.

An important player in the management system of vocational training is the National Office of Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning (Nemzeti Szakképzési és Felnőttképzési Hivatal), which, as an mid-level managing authority, exercises the supervisory powers of the minister responsible for vocational training over the various vocational training centres and their institutions, and, as a state administrative body for vocational training

• keeps the register of vocational training institutions and decides on matters related to the operating licence,

• operates an electronic platform related to the vocational exam and evaluates appeals related to the vocational exam,

• keeps the central register of the data of the vocational exams, and of the issued diplomas, professional certificates, qualification certificates and exam master files,

• keeps the register of vocational education textbooks,

• operates the national reference and coordination centre,

• coordinates the activities of the persons involved in career counseling and career guidance.

Another actor with an important role in the operation of the vocational training system is the IKK Innovative Training Support Centre. Among other things, this organisation undertakes a role in the development of content and tools for vocational training, in the creation of methodology for teaching material development, and in the development of the methodological system for sectorial training centres. It supports the development of the career tracking system. It operates the teacher training system and the vocational training orientation and information centre. It also acts as a national examination centre.

The main consultative bodies are:

  • the National Public Education Council (OKNT) which is a proposer, a reviewer and a consultative body as regards general education. This body may give opinion on the National Core Curriculum and framework curricula. Its members are delegated by the Minister. The list of members and the agenda of the Council is available online (Országos Köznevelési Tanács). The National Public Education Council was reformed in 2017. (Government Resolution 1382/2017. (VI.16) on certain public education professional bodies (1382/2017. (VI. 16.) Korm. határozat egyes köznevelési szakmai testületekről)describes the formation of the National Public Education Council (OKNT), the Roundtable on General Educational Strategy and the Council of National Minorities.) Out of the 17 members of the OKNT, six members are proposed by professional organisations; and two members by HE teacher training institutions.

  • The coordination of national strategic matters related to vocational training takes place within the framework of the Vocational Training Innovation Council (SZIT). The Vocational Training Innovation Council, as a national body that prepares decisions, expresses opinion and makes recommendations, assists the minister responsible for vocational training. As part of its activities, it expresses an opinion on strategic matters affecting the development of the vocational training system, the principles of the vocational training support system, draft legislation affecting vocational training; makes recommendations for the development of professional requirements, educational materials and new procedures; evaluates the effectiveness of vocational training and the application of vocational training materials and professional requirements; makes recommendations relating to the employment opportunities of those starting their careers after having acquired a vocational qualification, especially in relation to the situation of unemployed young people. The Council is made up of representatives of large enterprises, the Government, vocational training institutions, higher education institutions and their maintainers, the Hungarian Rectors’ Conference, the National Chambers of Commerce and professional organisations, trade unions and advocacy organisations operating in the field of vocational training, established churches with cooperation agreements, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, as well as students and training participants, educators and representatives of national minorities. The SZIT carries out its activities and tasks through the operation of working groups.

  • Pursuant to Government Resolution no. 1382/2017. (VI.16.) (1382/2017. (VI. 16.) Korm. határozat egyes köznevelési szakmai testületekről), the Roundtable on General Educational Strategy was established. The Roundtable on General Educational Strategy is a social consultative body which makes proposals, gives opinions and carries out strategic counselling activity with five stakeholders: the government, the professionals of the sector, the maintainers, the trade union and the student-parent organisations. The expert group of professionals includes the representatives of the national organisation of teachers, the academies (Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Arts), the Hungarian Rectors’ Conference, the teacher training placement schools of initial teacher education and the National Public Education Council (OKNT).

  • Council of National Minorities: participates in the preparation of decisions related to the general education of nationalities; it is a national expert body providing proposals, opinions and consultancy activities. Its members (13) are delegated by the national self-governments of national minorities.

  • Dual Training Council: Among the tasks of this body is to develop the professional, qualification and evaluation requirements relevant for the vocation in the specific training field established by law. Furthermore, it develops the professional and qualification requirements imposed on the organization participating in practical training, as well as on the specialist participating in the practical training on behalf of the organization. At the request of the minister responsible for higher education or the minister responsible for the coordination of science policies, this body provides their ad-hoc expert opinion, as well as it prepares, analyses and conducts research to assist policy-making, and certifies as well as makes ex post evaluation on the vocational practice sites of dual training.

  • Hungarian Rectors’ Conference: a consultative body representing the interests of higher education institutions. Its members are the rectors of higher education institutions.

  • National Doctoral Council: consultative body; tasked with formulating positions related to doctoral programmes and the award of doctoral degrees. This body is also consulted, e.g., when state funded doctoral places are being allocated. It determines principles governing the organisation of the comprehensive examinations, and defines the principles of a quality and performance based distribution among higher education institutions of doctoral students admitted for programmes funded through full or partial Hungarian state scholarships. The members of the Council are the presidents of the doctoral councils of higher education institutions.

  • The Hungarian Accreditation Committee is an independent national expert body established for the purposes of the external evaluation of the quality of educational, academic, research and artistic activities performed in higher education and the internal quality assurance systems operated by higher education institutions, and the provision of expert services in the procedures related to higher education institutions, as provided for in a relevant Act.

  • The National Board of Teachers: a public body with self-government for people employed in teachers’ positions as public servants in general education institutions managed by the state and by local municipalities, with which the Ministry of Culture and Innovation has entered into a cooperation agreement. The cooperation agreement envisages cooperation between the Ministry of Culture and Innovation, the Ministry of the Interior and the National Board of Teachers in the field of vocational training, higher education and talent management.

In addition, anti-segregation working groups are set up in every school district at local level on the basis of the modifications – effective from November 2017 – of the Government decree 134/2016 on Organisations Participating as Maintainers in Public Education and on the Klebelsberg Centre – (134/2016. (VI. 10.) Korm. rendelet az állami köznevelési közfeladat ellátásában fenntartóként részt vevő szervekről, valamint a Klebelsberg Központról). The tasks of the teams are to monitor and provide advisory expertise. Furthermore, they monitor the distribution of students and help public-maintainer dialogue.