European, Global and Intercultural Dimension in Curriculum Development
Significant changes have taken place in the labour market, as a result of this, there is an increasing need for non-routine cognitive and interpersonal skills. Higher education and the methods of teaching and learning have to prepare the students for this demand. This can be achieved by among others, increasing the quality of teaching and learning, which complements the renewal of the programmes, the restructuring of the training and learning outcomes requirements and the renewal of their content, in addition by making higher education more student-oriented.
The renewal of the training and learning outcomes requirements in higher education was addressed by two policy interventions starting in summer 2015. The first intervention started by reducing the number of degree programmes serving the purpose of closing the gap between the training offers of education and the economic and labour market demand. The results of the Post-graduate Career Tracking System served as a basis for the reduction of the number of degree programmes. The other intervention was that the new governmental degree, not only defines the higher education programmes and the requirements for starting them, but also sets out that the training and learning outcomes requirements of the programmes have to be described according to the descriptor categories of the Hungarian Qualifications Framework (knowledge, skill, attitude, autonomy and responsibility). The renewal of the training and learning outcomes requirements and the definition of the programmes’ learning outcomes in line with the Hungarian Qualifications Framework descriptors can be considered as an integral part of the implementation of the Hungarian Qualifications Framework in higher education.
Hence, the content requirements of the programmes are described in learning outcomes. As a result of a reconciliation process, the decree of the Ministry responsible for education modified the training and learning outcomes requirements in 2016, by which general features, competences were determined for the educational attainment levels of tertiary vocational programmes, bachelor programmes, master programmes and teacher training as well, in the fields of knowledge, skills, attitude, as well as autonomy and responsibility.
According to the governmental decree, the Hungarian Accreditation Committee will assess whether a request on launching a new higher educational programme is in line with the learning outcomes defined in the training and learning outcomes requirements concerning that given programme. With the review of the training and learning outcomes requirements, a centrally initiated, top-down, long-term transformation process has started shifting the approach towards the use of learning outcomes. Linked to this, a number of higher education institutions have started the content development process. Trainings and consultations that support educators in the change of attitude have begun as well.
In the higher educational concept in effect until 2030 the Hungarian government stressed the importance of the introduction and spreading of foreign language programmes in higher education and the introduction and implementation of dual trainings. In the case of foreign language programmes, students can have subjects in foreign languages (without additional fees) adding up to 10% of their total mandatory credits, which provides a wide-range of specialised language skills.
Dual education was launched in higher education in the 2015/2016 academic year, with the participation of approximately 700 students and over 300 corporate partners in the first year. Since then, the number of training venues and partner organizations has increased considerably. In 27 higher education institutions, 900 partner organizations (including foreign companies operating in Hungary) are involved in training in the fields of agriculture, IT, economics, science and engineering. This latter area of education makes up more than half of the students of all fields. In the social sciences, there is also the possibility of dual training in the practice-oriented social work basic training programmes. The coordination and quality assurance of this training type is carried out by the Dual Training Council.
Partnerships and Networks
The objective of the Central-European Higher Education Exchange Programme (CEEPUS) is a is supporting the establishment of long-term collaboration in the region. Accredited higher education institutions from Albania, Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Kosovo, Poland, North-Macedonia, Hungary, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia can participate in the programme. The CEEPUS III program phase lasted until 2018 and was extended for another seven years until 2025. The member states voted for the preparation of the new phase IV of the programme, starting in 2025.
For the academic year 2021/2022, 115 applications have arrived to the central office of the CEEPUS, of which 86 networks were accepted. Hungary coordinated 6 of them, and took part as a partner in another 61. Supported Hungarian applicants requested 3,554 scholarship months for the incoming students and teachers, whereas Hungary offered support of 700 months for the academic year 2021/2022. During the academic year, altogether 25 institutional CEEPUS grant agreements were concluded.
The objective of the Erasmus+ Cooperation partnership programmes is to create an opportunity to increase the quality of education in higher education through the elaboration, dissemination and application of innovative practices and methodologies. Applications must be submitted in partnership with at least three different institutions from at least three countries . Cooperation partnerships can last from 12 to 36 months. Projects of any topic related to higher education and in line with the objectives of this type of call can be implemented. In addition to the horizontal priorities, in the field of higher education, key priorities include the development of STEM fields, the promotion of innovative learning and teaching practices, and support for digital and green capacities.
Calls for proposals for the new programme phase are ongoing, the previous programme period’s Partnership scheme has supported around 10 projects per year for the last 2 years. (In 2020 12, in 2021 11) Coordinating institutions worked with an average of 2-7 partners on projects from 20 different countries in 2021.
The Campus Mundi programme which supported the internationalisation of higher education institutions had a special focus on the development of services in addition to the available student scholarships. Campus Mundi also supported professional activities to help inward and outward mobility. Within the above activities, for the development of institutions, peer learning activity (PLA) type workshops were organised with the participation of international and national experts. Another priority aim was to support international visibility through educational fairs with a focus on institutions and student recruitment. The programme also supported research activities in order to help the internationalisation process.
The Stipendium Hungaricum programme, launched in 2013, also promotes the internationalisation of Hungarian higher education institutions. The programme is coordinated by the Tempus Public Foundation. The primary aim of the scholarship programme is to provide students from developing countries with training that can help them in their own country, and to improve the competitiveness of Hungarian higher education and the cooperation with the countries involved in the programme. Hungarian higher education institutions can apply for Stipendium Hungaricum scholarships with specific student capacities per training programmes. Based on international agreements between the ministries responsible for education of Hungary and the partner countries, each partner country may nominate students for Stipendium Hungaricum Scholarship for a definite number of quotas. The students participate in part-time or full-time programmes, in bachelor, master or doctoral level and in higher educational preparatory studies in the subject areas as specified in the agreement if they are admitted to the training of the concerned institution.
In 2015 altogether 36 partners participated in the programme with a total of 2,320 quotas, in 2016 the programme had 3,600 places for 51 partners, in the 2018/19 academic year, there were already 5,500 quotas for applicants from 65 countries, and the next year from 66 countries. In the 2020/21 academic year the number of partner countries increased to 70, in 2021/22 to 78. The partners participating in the programme cover the target areas of the opening to the East and South: the Western-Balkan, Eastern Europe, Asia, Middle East, North and Sub-Saharan Africa and South America. The number of students in the programme grew dynamically until 2019, from 68 students at the start in 2013 to more than 9,000 in 2019, in autumn 2020, there were 10 759 students in the programme, and in autumn 2021, 11 712. Students from abroad mostly apply for IT, economics, engineering and medical training, and the number of applicants far exceeds the number of places available each year. Students who come to Hungary with the Stipendium Hungaricum Scholarship Programme are also supported by a mentoring programme.The programme originally supported studies at bachelor, master and postgraduate level, but now scholarships are also available for doctoral studies. Launched in 2021, the internship programme had 8 companies in its first year.
The aim of the Hungarian Diaspora Scholarship Programme is to support the studies of foreign students with Hungarian roots at Hungarian higher education institutions. Participants are expected to either work in Hungary after graduation or contribute to the development of the Hungarian diaspora community abroad. Since 2021, the scholarship programme has been closely linked to the Stipendium Hungaricum programme, and 58 students started their studies in the first academic year.
The number and proportion of foreign students has been increasing in Hungary for years, rising from 5.2% to 13.75% between 2010 and 2021. The Stipendium Hungaricum Scholarship Programme also plays a role in growth, in 2021, 28.6% of the international students were members of the programme.
The establishment of an international alumni network has started recently, the aim of this is to encourage foreign students who studied in Hungary to promote the country and their higher education institution after their studies. In 2018, the IT development of the Alumni Network Hungary portal was completed, and already about 7,000 alumni members had registered on this site. The portal is completed by the Alumni Network Hungary Facebook page, which promotes the portal and its content and gives space for various campaigns. The social media site currently has more than 7000 followers.
The PROFFORMANCE (Assessment Tool and Incentive Systems for Developing Higher Education Teachers' Performance) project aims to support the improvement of the quality of teaching and learning in European higher education institutions by developing a teacher performance assessment tool and incentive system, collecting and sharing good practices.