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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Organisation of private education


2.Organisation and governance

2.4Organisation of private education

Last update: 17 April 2024

Public education in non-public institutions

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. Based on the Act on National Public Education, the minister responsible may conclude a public education contract with the maintainer of a non-state public education institution. Within the frameworks of the public education contract, the education and training become free of charge for the children and students, and for the admission the same rules shall apply as in state institutions.

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 National Core Programme of Kindergarten Education and Care (Government Decree No. 363/2012. (XII. 17.) the National Core Programme of Kindergarten Education and Care (363/2012. (XII. 17.) Korm. rendelet az Óvodai nevelés országos alapprogramjáról), the National Core Curriculum (Government Decree No. 110/2012. (VI. 4.) on the Issuance, Introduction and Implementation of the National Core Curriculum (110/2012. (VI. 4.) Korm. rendelet a Nemzeti alaptanterv kiadásáról, bevezetéséről és alkalmazásáról)) or the Requirements of the Upper Secondary 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 authorise higher education institutions that 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 recognised higher education institutions are authorised to issue diplomas recognised in Hungary.

Institutions can be divided into three types based on their maintainers: private, religious and public higher education institutions. 

In 2019-2022, there were significant changes in the funding structure, as a result of which most of the formerly state-maintained institutions were taken over by public trusts with a public service task and became private institutions. The operation of trusts is regulated by the Act IX of 2021 on public interest trust funds performing public functions (2021. évi IX. törvény a közfeladatot ellátó közérdekű vagyonkezelő alapítványokról). 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 allocation of research contract places by field of study is decided annually. 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.

In the absence of the conditions (authorisation, operation) specified in the Higher Education Act, a natural legal person or an organization without legal personality may not engage in higher education activities in Hungary. The minister responsible for higher education is responsible for monitoring the legality of higher education activities.

Private Service Providers Offering Non-formal Education and Training

Non-formal education and training is performed within the frameworks of adult training in Hungary. Training outside the school system is also available to public schools, various legal entities and individual businesses.  The adult education and training system aims to respond to real labour needs in the economy.

From 2020, the scope of adult training covered by the Act LXXVII of 2013 on the Adult Education and Training (2013. évi LXXVII. törvény a felnőttképzésről) has been significantly expanded. Currently, as a general rule, all training that is organised and aimed at building or developing competences, such as internal training for employees, is covered by the Act. 

A separate group of training courses organised on the basis of are subject to a limited set of regulations (notification, reporting) after 2020.

The Adult Education Act applies to all self-employed persons or enterprises whose activities include adult training. Those who act as adult training providers (even if only as organisers and implementers of in-company training) have two options. Adult training providers who do not provide vocational training or training funded by budgetary or EU grants are subject to a notification obligation for their adult training activities. If their activities include VET (vocational or partial vocational training) or if they organise training with subsidies, their adult training activities must be subject to authorisation.

The Pest County Government Office is responsible for the public authority tasks related to adult training activities. On the basis of the notifications and the authorisations issued by it, it keeps a register of adult training providers and adult training experts and monitors their activities. The Minister responsible for adult training exercises the powers of the governing body in relation to the adult training tasks of the Pest County Government Office.

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.