The education of teachers is adjusted to the structure of public education.
Currently, teacher qualifications can be obtained through the following ways:
- in divided training: teacher’s MA degree;
- in indivisible training: teacher’s training(s);
- in parallel teacher’s MA degree with non-teacher MA degree subject to areas and fields of technology, computer science, economics and agriculture, or
- following a non-teaching masters degree in the area of specialization in a given teaching discipline, in a teaching masters degree. (§1 of Ministry of Human Capacities Decree 8/2013 (I. 30.))
In 2004, Hungary made a decision to introduce a divided training system, in line with the Bologna process. In the divided training system launched in September 2006, the first cycle, the bachelor program which focuses on the former specialised college training was raised from former college training, to kindergarten teachers’, primary school teachers’ and special educational pedagogues’ training level (chapter 7.2), and teacher training (in preparation for both the primary and secondary school level) was raised to the master training level (chapter 7.3). The Bologna reforms created the following structure: The first cycle provides degree courses in various disciplines (to form a basis for subject-based teaching qualifications), while the Master’s degree in teaching is acquired in the second cycle that also includes traineeship. As a result, the teachers’ training became more standardised, and the 110 various types of training programmes were replaced by a single teacher training Master’s degree that is divided into various groups according to subjects. The Bologna-style divided teacher training was running Until September 2017.
Changes came with the Higher Education Act of 2011, which defined teacher training as undivided in the general phase of education and training (7.4). In general education, the length of training for elementary school teachers is 10 semesters, of which the last two semesters are school practice.. The initial education of upper secondary school teachers is also offered as undivided long programmes, lasting 12 semesters, also with a compulsory traineeship of two semesters. These compulsory traineeships of two semesters are counted in the two-year traineeship period. In the case of vocational education, degrees are provided both as divided and undivided programmes. The studies of both types of teachers end in a Master’s degree. In teacher training for general subjects and in specialized teacher training in certain arts subjects, teachers are required to obtain two vocational qualifications. Teachers’ special trainings in vocational teacher training offer a preparation for teaching several special subjects. Teacher training in its undivided form commenced in the 2013/14 academic year. Starting from the 2017/18 academic year it is only available in the form of undivided training. Teachers to be entering higher education also have to take an aptitude test.
Employment of teachers
Most teachers are employed as public servants and their status is regulated by the Act on Public Servants and the Act on Public Education. Public servants are paid according to a central salary matrix. The amended law stipulates a period of traineeship before appointment to a permanent public servant status.
The teacher career model was introduced in September, 2013, whiches first two years is a compulsory traineeship period, and ends with an evaluating exam. Following a successful examination, the pedagogue becomes Teacher 1. The next level is Teacher 2, which is also obligatory for teachers to obtain. The two top level of the career model are Master Teacher and Researcher Teacher grades, which are optional.
Since July 2016, the teacher career model has been extended to certain professionals at institutions providing pedagogy-related professional services, to teachers at institutions under the Act on Protection of Children (Act 1997/XXXI on Protection of Children and Guardianship Administration) and to pedagogical assistants with a professional qualification in pedagogy. The precondition of being advanced to the next career grade is the evaluation of the teacher’s professional work and portfolio (application for Master Teachers and for Researcher Teachers), through a certification procedure (certification exam for apprentices).
It is necessary to clarify that in Hungary the infant and small child teachers (not in ISCED)do not belong to the system of public education, but to the social sector. Many times, howeverthere are uniform regulations, so in many cases the term „teacher” includes everyone who teaches and educates.. This unity is shown – for example - by the fact that the scope of the teacher career model extends both to the infant and small child teachers, and to the teachers. However, strictly speaking, kindergarten teachers at ISCED 0 level are considered as teachers, but the infant and small child teachers who work at nurseries, are not considered as teachers.
An important change is that from 1 July 2020, intitutions that provide initial vocational education and training were excluded from the scope of the Act on Public Education, thus the public servant status of teachers employed there has terminated, they became teachers, and their employment continues within the framework of employment relationship.
Continuing professional development (CPD) for teachers
In the late 90s, a free market of in-service training for teachers formed, where the training supply met demand from schools. The most significant change in the field of CPD was brought about by the amendment of the Public Education Act in 1996, which introduced obligatory participation in in-service training for teachers lasting 120 hours in every 7 years. Participation in in-service trainings for teachers can be implemented in several ways, whereas non-fulfilment might imply sanctions. The employment of a teacher who has not participated in in-service training or has not successfully completed his/her studies may be terminated.
The in-service trainings for teachers provided by the state as a professional teaching service, is free-of-charge. These are carried out by territorially competent centres for education and pedagogy. However, there are market-based providers too, who provide trainings for a certain fee. There are also some special in-service trainings for teachers, that are available - beyond the education sector - to the infant and small child teachers, employed in the social sector.