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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Organisation of private education


2.Organisation and governance

2.4Organisation of private education

Last update: 27 November 2023

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. 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, the National Core Curriculum 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.

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 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.

Regulated activities not subject to the scope of the Adult Education 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 Education 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.