Hungary spends far more on the development of schools and the education system than the OECD’s and the EU’s averages, Minister of State for Education László Palkovics said at his press conference held in Budapest on Tuesday.

In evaluation of the OECD’s latest study, the Minister of State highlighted: this is relevant and significant because the earlier children enter the education system, the better their study results will be.

He added: in 2015, 81 per cent of three-year-old children attended kindergarten, while the OECD average is 78 per cent. At the same time, among four-year-olds the Hungarian average is 95 per cent compared with 89 per cent in the OECD countries.

Mr Palkovics also told the press that the chances of young people with secondary qualifications of finding jobs have changed highly positively in the past ten years compared with the OECD’s average. As regards young people with degrees, unemployment is the lowest in Hungary at 2.5 per cent among the Member States of the OECD.

The Minister of State for Education remarked: Hungary has one of the best percentages among young people with vocational qualifications as well. The report highlights that this is fundamentally thanks to the strong and integrated education system.

Among those with no vocational qualifications, some 15 per cent cannot find jobs which conforms to the OECD average.

As he said, if a person has technical, science or IT qualifications in Hungary, they have a much better chance of finding a job than the OECD average.

From among the findings of the report, he highlighted that a degree continues to remain a good investment in Hungary, and our country is among the best as regards the returns on this investment.

He further pointed out that, according to the report, 82 per cent of those with teaching degrees are in employment. This is somewhat below the OECD average; at the same time, the emission of higher education institutions is the highest here in this department among the OECD countries.

He remarked: pursuant to the methodology used, if they take a look at the expenditures to GDP, according to 2014 data education expenditures account for some four per cent which is one of the lowest among the OECD countries. At the same time, funding allocated for the purpose has increased continuously since 2015, and while the allocation earmarked for education amounted to HUF 1,386 billion in 2013, according to estimated data, this sum will be in excess of HUF 2,100 billion next year.

Mr Palkovics also informed the press that while teachers’ salaries were among the lowest in Hungary in 2013, they increased by 31 per cent in 2015 as part of the teacher career model, though at that point in time they had not yet reached the OECD average. Teachers’ pay more or less reached this level by September 2017, compared with the earnings of other degree holders, and the rate of the increase was the highest in Hungary from among the OECD member countries.

The Minister of State for Education further highlighted from among the general findings of the report that young people continue to prefer higher education, and the chances of those with degrees of finding a job are substantially better. Additionally, the amount of expenditures used for education increased more than the number of graduates. At the same time, the age pyramid of teachers further deteriorated, and the number of those close to the retirement age increased, Mr Palkovics mentioned as another finding of the report.

(Ministry of Human Capacities/MTI)