The provision of early childhood education, school education and vocational education and training as well as the maintenance and operation of public education institutions lie with the state. However, churches, foundations, private enterprises, and other legal entities may establish and operate public education institutions under the constitutional right to freedom of learning and teaching and the freedom of conscience and religion. Church maintained and private education institutions may assume public education tasks under a public education contract concluded with the operator. Within the frameworks of the public education contract, the education and training becomes free of charge for the children and students, and for the admission of children and students, the rules applicable to the statal institutions shall apply.
The conditions thereof are as follows:
- comply with the relevant legal requirements regarding the rules of organizing formal education,
- adhere to the requirements regarding the content of education as described in relevant national documents like the Basic Programme for Kindergarten, the National Core Curriculum or the Syllabus of the National School Leaving Examination, and relevant vocational and higher education qualification programmes,
- comply with regulations concerning the professional qualifications of the teaching staff, and
- comply with the standard requirements of an educational environment.
Private public education institutions are subject to legal scrutiny by government agencies.
Private Higher Education Institutions
The same rules apply to the establishment, operation, and state recognition of higher education institutions, regardless of their operator. Organisations qualifying as higher education institutions may be established or operated if founded for the purpose of providing higher education activities and acknowledged by the Parliament. The state may acknowledge higher education institutions that authorised to provide a minimum of four Bachelor programmes or four Bachelor and Master programmes or four Bachelor, Master and Doctoral programmes or four Master and Doctoral programmes in at least two fields of study or disciplines. Only state acknowledged higher education institutions are authorised to issue diplomas acknowledged in Hungary.
Church and private higher education institutions also operate in Hungary besides state maintained institutions. The minister oversees the lawful operation of non-state higher education institutions.
The Hungarian state contributes to the financing of church and private higher education institutions by “ordering” state funded places at such institutions. The number of state funded places in each programme is set out by government decrees every year. Besides state funded places, the number of research contract supported places is also determined by field of study on an annual basis. Further grants may be obtained on a contractual basis for specific educational services (such as in-service training courses for teachers) or as research grants.
Private Service Providers Offering Non-formal Education and Training
Non-formal education and training is performed within the frameworks of adult training in Hungary. The adult training act of 2013 classifies four cycles of trainings to be subject to the scope of the act. The trainings classified as type A are non-formal trainings for obtaining vocational qualifications accredited by the state, that can be obtained in school vocational training as well, listed in the National Qualifications Register (OKJ). Type B trainings contain programmes that are not accredited by the state, not listed in OKJ, identified as other vocational trainings, the programme requirements of which are licensed by the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in a special procedure, and on the basis of this, certificates are issued at the end of the training. Type C contains foreign language courses that can be completed on the basis of licensed programme requirements. Type D contains so-called “other trainings” that are not professional but e.g. licensed catch-up, competence development trainings (without programme requirements). The trainings regulated by the act on adult training may receive state support and are VAT exempt.
Regulated activities not subject to the scope of the Adult Training Act include trainings regulated by public authorities and the compulsory specialist training systems.
Trainings regulated by public authorities form a separate group (these belong to the competence of several ministries, and are regulated in separate legal regulations issued by the competent ministry).
The compulsory specialist training systems of various professions require the collection of certain number of credits or points by participating in recommended programmes in 4-5-7-year periods. Such separate system is the compulsory in-service training programmes of teachers, as well as the compulsory specialist training of civil servants, healthcare workers, lawyers or accountants (the registration, the range of institutions participating in the training and the programmes are regulated by separate legal regulations in each case).
The non-regulated adult trainings listed as so-called “free market” services not subject to the scope of the Adult Training Act include non-supported workplace or company trainings.
In the operation of the 2013 regulation system of adult education, significant role was granted to the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, defined as a public body to which public administration competences have also been delegated. As a professional organisation and the general advocacy partner of the players of the economy, the chamber has appropriate information and oversight in relation to the needs of the economy, and therefore, it is able to present the content and structural needs related to the business/economic trainings. It also has an important role in considering the needs of the economy when establishing the supports of the trainings. Accordingly, the act on adult education grants significant competences and in certain cases, exclusive decision-making competences to the chamber in connection with the issues of vocational trainings.
Private Educational Institutions Maintained by Sovereign States in Hungary
Sovereign states can maintain educational institutions in Hungary under their own educational law. Such institutions are usually established by interstate cultural agreements, whereby they are entitled to issue mutually acknowledged diplomas. The financing of such institutions depends on the bilateral agreement. The obligation to have operating license and state acknowledgement also applies to educational institutions maintained by sovereign states.