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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Organisational variations and alternative structures in single-structure education


5.Single-structure primary and lower secondary education

5.4Organisational variations and alternative structures in single-structure education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Organizational variations

The vast majority of primary schools in Hungary are state-run. Since 1990, besides public schools, churches, business organizations, foundations, associations and individuals are allowed to offer educational activities. The legislative environment allows all educational activities to be pursued within the framework of private education. Due to the nature of private financing, such institutions also provide additional services.

The establishment of non-public schools is subject to the condition that the founders certify that they are authorized to carry out such activities and that they obtain licenses to certify registration and lawful operation. The issuance of an operating license is subject to compliance with the prescribed material and personal conditions and the availability of appropriate equipment, facilities and infrastructure. All of these criteria are similar for establishing publicly funded institutions.

Private institutions often provide educational services in exchange for tuition or training fees. However, it is possible for a private school to enter into an agreement with the state. In this case, the institution shall offer educational activities free of charge.

As required by the Public Education Act and the Annual Budget Act, the State grants subsidized rights to private education institutions. The amount of state aid depends on the legal status of the maintainer, the tasks performed at the institution concerned and the number of children enrolled. Government funding is also available through tendering. The non-profit sector (foundations, associations, etc.) tends to receive more funding than private entrepreneurs. State aid covers 60-70% of the operating costs, with the remainder being the responsibility of the operator. The part of the operating budget allocated to schools operated by churches registered in Hungary shall be disbursed by the State in accordance with the agreement between the Republic of Hungary and the Holy See.

In order to improve the knowledge of foreign languages, two primary schools or classes with two languages of instruction can be established, where all (or at least 3) subjects are taught in foreign languages.

Alternative Structures

In order to improve the educational work in kindergarten, primary and secondary education, the Minister responsible for education may authorise the use of specific solutions for:

  • the content of education and training;
  • the management model;
  • methods of organising education and training;
  • the system of quality policy and care;
  • the number of compulsory lessons per week for pupils
  • the qualifications of the teacher (if there is no relevant higher education at national level for the subject or subject module)
  • the conditions of operation.

In this case, if the maintainer of the institution is not a central budgetary body or a municipal government, the Minister responsible for education registers the institution and issues its operating licence.

If the submitted curriculum's subject structure differs by no more than 30% from the subject structure of the NCC and the framework curriculum issued by the Minister responsible for education - in order to ensure mobility between schools and further learning when adapting the areas of learning defined in the NCC- approval may be granted.

The maintainer of the kindergarten and the school is entitled to submit the application for approval to the Minister responsible for education. Basic art education

It is the task of the Elementary School of Art to develop artistic skills, talents and, if required, prepare students for further studies. Elementary School of Art has a minimum of six and a maximum of twelve grades, which include education in pre-primary, primary and further education in music, fine and applied arts, puppetry and dance areas. After completing the last year of primary education, the student may take the basic art exam and, after completing the last year of advanced education, take the final art exam. In state-run and public task-participant elementary art schools, six teaching sessions per week are provided for a fee to teach the subjects’ practice and theory, and one hearing per year and one artistic presentation, as well as the use of school facilities and equipment are provided. In any case, participation in the first elementary arts education is free of charge for disadvantaged, multiply disadvantaged, physically, organically (visually, hearing), moderately and mentally handicapped, or autistic students.

The sports school

The sports school system has been built around a twofold goal: On one hand, to develop health-conscious behaviour and lifestyles in the growing generations, making them live their daily lives as a citizen who enjoys physical activity and sports after leaving the public education system. On the other hand, to promote competitive sports, which are the base of the supply of top sports. The sports school system is a part of the public education system, and this new type of sports school system is an integral part of the unified and comprehensive system of youth education.

A school may carry out the functions of a public sports school if it fulfils the following conditions, as laid down by law:

  • integrates the framework curriculum for public sports schools issued and published by the Minister into its local curriculum - for all grades of the school;
  • in its pedagogical work and when organising sport activities, the school takes into account he sporting curricula of the sports approved by the relevant sports federation and freely chosen by the school;
  • in the case of secondary schools, integrates the learning methodology issued by the Minister and certain sport theory framework curricula (Sport history, P.E. theory, Training theory, Sport psychology, Sport and its organisations, Sport disciplines) into its local curriculum.

Ethnic minority education 

One of the aims of primary and secondary schools is also to preserve national languages and strengthen the identity of ethnic minorities in Hungary. In ethnic minority schools, education and learning is conducted in the language of ethnicities. Children (ethnic or non-ethnic), whose mother tongue is Hungarian, minority languages are learned as a foreign language. According to the Minorities Act (CLXXIX of 2011 on National and Ethnic Minority Rights), at the request of at least 8 parents, a nationality class or study group may be set up. For groups of less than 8, language studies are organized in an extra-curricular form and, if necessary, travelling teachers are provided. The maintainer may also start a minority class or group even if there are fewer applicants.