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Teaching and learning in vocational secondary education

Hungary

6.Secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education

6.5Teaching and learning in vocational secondary education

Last update: 10 August 2022

Curriculum, subjects, number of hours

In the VET institutions, general education conducted according to the general knowledge framework curriculum based on NCC. In regard to the requirements of the sectoral basic exam, the VET institution -when applying the general knowledge framework curriculum- may regroup the topics, content and number of the general subjects between the grades by keeping the specified weekly time frame and curriculum content.

The VET institution provides basic sectoral education before the vocationally oriented training. Sectoral basic education includes the common professional content of a given sector as defined in the training and learning outcomes requirements. The basic sectoral education should be organized in the VET institution. The initial sectoral education ends with a sectoral basic exam.

The aim of the vocationally oriented training is to provide the student or the person participating in the training with the skills and knowledge necessary for the work activities within the framework of the profession, enable them to apply these in practice, and to prepare them for the exam.

The student or the person taking part in the training, can participate in the vocationally oriented training in the VET institution or with a vocational training employment contract at the dual training place.

Since 2000, the content of the general teaching and learning in schools has been governed by a three-tier curriculum regulation in Hungary.

The central (top-level) regulation is the National Core Curriculum (NCC), issued by the Government in 2012 and amended several times. (Government Decree 110/2012 (VI.4.) on the Issuance, Introduction and Implementation of the National Core Curriculum), which, following its modification in 2020 entered into force in a phasing-out system.  

The second level of content regulation provides support both in terms of curriculum and methodology. The middle level of the system consists of framework curricula based on the National Core Curriculum. These curricula are issued by the Minister responsible for education (Ministry of Human Capacities). Separate curricula have been developed for upper secondary vocational schools, for secondary vocational schools for special vocational schools, and for vocational schools.

In the VET institutions, the pedagogical and educational work is based on a mandatory use of the programme curriculum and on a professional programme, which was developed according to the programme curriculum.

National Core Curriculum (NCC)

The highest level regulator of general education is the National Core Curriculum, which is “the core document regulating Hungarian public and general school education.” The national character of the National Core Curriculum lies in the fact that it conveys common national values, and contributes to the cultivation of national traditions and to the development of a sense of national identity.  As prescribed by the Act on Public Education, an evaluation of the experience gained with the introduction and application of the core curriculum is carried out every five years, and it can be amended if necessary.

The standardisation of the content of education and the mobility of students between schools are guaranteed by the National Core Curriculum from grade 1 to grade 12, namely in the basic, lower and upper secondary education. The core curriculum also contains the principles of education for students belonging to national or ethnic minorities as well as for students with special educational needs. Also, it determines the tasks of schools in the field of health development, environmental consciousness and consumer protection.

Due to its role played in content regulation, the NCC regulates the content of education until the age of 18 irrespective of the fact that the 2011 Act on Public Education reduced the upper limit of compulsory schooling age to 16. The NCC is broken down into three educational phases (grades 1-4, 5-8 and 9-12) and, within these phases, it determines priority and subject-based development objectives for 2-grade periods.

The proportions of subject areas in grades 9-10 and grades 11-12 in the NCC issued in 2012, (%). Number of lessons and proportions still used in the phasing out system.

Subject areas

Grades 9-10 (%)

Grades 11-12 * (%)

Hungarian Language and Literature

10-15

10

Foreign languages

12-20

13

Mathematics

10-15

10

Social Sciences

8-15

10

Science

15-20

10

The Earth and the Environment

5-8

0

Arts

8-15

6

IT

4-8

4

Life and Practical Skills

4-8

0

Physical Education and Sports

14-20

15

Total

90-144

78

 * In the final two years of upper-secondary education, due to the diversity of programmes and the need for preparation for the school-leaving examination, only minimum percentages are provided in the NCC.

The National Core Curriculum was revised in 2020. The amended NCC and the related framework curricula is introduced in a phasing-out system in the case of secondary schools, from the 2020/2021 school year in the 9th grades.

Framework curricula

The implementation of the contents of the National Core Curriculum is guaranteed by framework curricula. For each school type and educational phase, the framework curricula contain the objectives of education, the subject system, the topics and content of the subjects, the subject-related requirements for one or two grades, the development tasks of cross-curricular knowledge and skills and the compulsory or recommended time frames available for meeting these requirements.

Each institution has the right to develop a framework curriculum. Once approved, a curriculum may be applied in education. Most schools apply the framework curriculum developed by the background institution of the Ministry.

According to the definition in the NCC: “The Minister responsible for education issues framework curricula, core programme and guidelines. Framework curricula, on the one hand, determine the system of subjects, the time frame (lesson number) of each subject, the structure of the syllabus as well as the exit requirements of the last grade of the given phase. Besides, these curricula have an impact on the content of course books. In connection with these elements, framework curricula may specify alternatives and elective solutions within the framework of the system. Framework curricula are prepared for specific school types and published on the website of the Educational Authority.

The structure of subject and number of classes in upper secondary vocational school (applied in phasing-out system).

Subjects

grade 9

grade 10

grade 11

grade 12

overall number of classes (9-12)

grade 13

overall number of classes (grade 13)

Hungarian Language and Literature

4

4

4

4

556

-

-

Foreign Language

4

4

4

4

556

4

124

Mathematics

3

3

3

3

417

-

-

History

2

2

3

3

345

-

-

Ethics

 -

 -

1

31

-

-

Information Technology

2

2

-

-

144

-

-

Arts

1

 -

-

36

-

-

Physical Education

5

5

5

5

695

-

-

Form class

1

1

1

1

139

-

-

Obligatory complex science class

3

-

-

-

108

-

-

Sector related science class*

2

2

2

 

216

-

-

Compulsory elective subject**

 -

-

2

2

134

-

-

Financial and business training

-

1

-

-

36

-

-

Sum of professional subjects

8

12

11

12

1488

31

961

Freely planned timeframe

-

-

-

-

-

4

124

Time frame available/week

35

36

35

35

35

number of weeks/school year

36

36

36

31

31

Overall number of lessons per year

1260

1296

1260

1085

4901

1085

1085

*To be included in the local curricula of vocational secondary schools, according to the table of science subjects related to each sector.

** Subject included in the school leaving exam, Foreign Language, Science, Informatics, Professional subjects or Basic Military Skills.

To be included in the local curricula of upper secondary vocational schools, the science subjects related to certain sectors – applied in a phasing-out system.

Sectors

Subjects related to sectors

Compulsory selected science subject

Forestry and Game management XXXII., Agriculture XXXIII., Horticulture and Landscaping XXXIV., Sports XXXVII.

Biology

Physics or Chemistry

Health I., Environment XXIII., Cosmetics XXX., Food Industry XXXVI.

Biology

Physics or Chemistry

Health Technology II, Fine and Applied Arts V, Sound, Film and Theatre Technology VI, Building Engineering VIII, Mechanical Engineering IX, Electrical and Electronics XI, Telecommunications XII, Information Technology XIII, Construction XVI, Light Industry XVII., Wood Industry XVIII., Transport Engineering XXII., Agricultural Engineering XXXI., Transport, Transportation and Logistics XL., Water Management XLI.

Physics

Chemistry

Metallurgy X., Chemical Industry XIV., Chemist XV., Printing Industry XIX.

Chemistry

Physics

Mining VII., Economics XXIV., Business Administration XXV., Trade XXVI., Catering Industry XXVII., Tourism XXVIII., Optics XXIX., Land Surveying XXXV.

Geography

Physics

Social III., Pedagogy IV., Police and Public Service XXXVIII., Public Education XXXIX.

Biology

Geography

Performing Arts XLII.

Complex science or a science subject

 

 

 

The proportion of classes per week related to general education in the 2016 framework curriculum for secondary vocational schools- in phasing-out system:

Subjects

grade 9

grade 10

grade 11

Communication – Hungarian Language and Literature

2

1

Foreign Language

2

2

2

Mathematics

2

1

Social Studies

2

1

Science

3

Physical Education*

5

5

5 ***

Lesson devoted to community building in class

1

1

1

Free time frame for lessons**

1

-

1,5

Overall:

18 lessons

11 lessons

9,5 lessons

*    On the basis of the NCC, every-day Physical Education classes (minimum one PE class per day) are to be organised only on those days when there is either general education or vocational training. If – as a result of the above conditions – the requirement of having five Physical Education classes per week cannot be met, the remaining classes will become part of the free timeframe. As a result, the institutions can decide about the structuring of these classes.   

** The school may decide about the structuring of the free timeframe. Consequently, information technology may also become part of the local curriculum (to help this effort, separate curricula are provided including the instruction of information technology).

*** In grade 11 of secondary vocational schools, it is possible to choose from the Physical Education and Sports framework curriculum developed for years 11-12 of upper secondary vocational schools. This does not pertain to the Physical Education and Sports curriculum including only 3 classes (it has been developed only for grades 9-11).

Framework Curriculum for grades 12-13 of vocational training schools (these grades prepare students for the school-leaving exam). Weekly lesson numbers: in phasing-out system

Grades/

Subjects

grade 12

Full-time students

grade 13

Full-time students

grade 12

Part-time students

(evening programme)

grade 13

Part-time students

(evening programme)

Hungarian Language and Literature

6

6

3

3

Foreign Language

6

6

3

3

Mathematics

6

6

3

3

History, Social and Civic Studies

4

5

3

3

Science

2

1

Information Technology

2

2

1

1

Physical Education and Sports

5

5

Lesson devoted to community building in class

1

1

Free timeframe for lessons

3

5

4

5

Overall (lessons related to general education)

35

36

18

18

Based on the NCC 2020, technicums use the framework curricula of upper secondary grammar schools for the general subjects.

Weekly timetable for vocational schools based on NCC 2020.

 

Subjects

Grade 9

Grade 10

Grade 11

Overall number of classes

(grades 9-11)

General education

Communication - Hungarian Language and Literature

2

2

2

206

Foreign Language

2

1

1

139

Mathematics

2

2

1

175

History, Social and Civic Studies

3

0

0

108

Science

3

0

0

108

Physical Education and Sports

4

1

1

211

Lesson devoted to community building in class

1

1

1

103

Financial and business training

0

0

1

31

Overall (lessons related to general education)

17

7

7

1081

Sectoral basic education

16

0

0

576

Specialised education

0

25

25

1675

Freely planned timeframe

1

2

2

170

Number of weeks/school year

36

36

31

 

Overall number of lessons per year

1224

1224

1054

3502

Timeframe available/week

34

34

34

 

Local curriculum

In educational institutions, thus also in vocational training institutions, professional work is performed in accordance with the applicable pedagogical programme that must be made publicly available. The pedagogical programme includes the educational programme consisting of development programmes (such as personality or social skills development) and the local curriculum, which is the school’s level of content regulation. The requirements of entering into the next grades or the possible forms of assessment are regulated by the local curriculum.

Secondary schools may also organise optional class activities in line with students’ interests and needs in order to enable them to catch up with their better performing peers or to promote development, talent support, consultation or to impart special or supplementary knowledge elements. Students can participate in extra-curricular activities only at their own requests. Besides, participation has to be based on their parents’ written declaration (until they become 18).  The role of the local curriculum as a content regulator has decreased due to the reduction of the free timeframe.

The educational work in VET institution shall be carried out in accordance with the

  • the compulsory Training and Learning Outcomes Requirements of VET, and
  • the vocational programme based on the recommendations laid down in the curriculum (with the exception of the overall number of compulsory vocational lessons).

Teaching methods and materials

With regard to the methods applied during the teaching and learning process, schools as well as teachers enjoy a relatively high degree of freedom when it comes to the range of applicable procedures.  The school’s pedagogical programme determines the basic pedagogical principles and the tasks of education in along with its means and procedures. The most important documents regulating public education and vocational training determine the development of competence-based strategies and the diversity of applied methodologies as key priorities.

In most schools, teaching is structured in 45-minute classes. However, vocational training classes last for 60 minutes. As a result of the ‘en masse’ training courses, differentiation and individualised or small-group activities are spreading. The application of info-communication technologies in class is also spreading.

Traditionally, in Hungary, teachers attach particular importance to the homework assigned to students and its regular supervision

Quite frequently, the reason behind splitting classes into smaller groups in vocational education is the fact that students in the same class are being trained for different vocations.

Pedagogical methods focusing on encouraging students’ own activity and promoting creativity instead of simply reproducing the subject matter are also spreading.

Teaching aids, textbooks

In the case of all vocational qualifications, professional and examination requirements contain the list of required teaching aids. The exact requirements are regulated in decrees issued by the minister in charge of vocational education. The availability of these aids, used also for practical training, is examined by the regional vocational centres of the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the external training sites.

Textbooks continue to be indispensable means of teaching in schools but their role is getting less important in vocational training. In the majority of trades, the number of students is so low that it is uneconomical to publish regularly updated textbooks. In the case of some qualifications, there are no textbooks available at all. In vocational education, the utilisation of Internet content is getting increasingly widespread. Making vocational textbooks and teaching aids available is the responsibility of the Minister in charge of the given vocational qualification. In state-run institutions, for the most part, teachers use textbooks developed by the Ministry’s background institution.

In Hungary, textbooks are provided free of charge for all students.