“Hungary spent more than the EU average on education in 2016: it spent 4.9 percent of its GDP on education, which represents 10.5 percent of total public spending”, Deputy State Secretary for Public Education Zoltán Maruzsa from the Ministry of Human Capacities said on Tuesday citing the Education and Training Monitor 2018 report published by the European Commission.

Mr. Maruzsa said that the report summarising the performance of the countries of the European Union determined that a career in teaching has become more attractive in Hungary and that the number of applicants for teaching courses increased further in 2017, particularly with relation to courses for nursery school teachers and special needs teachers.

“The increased interest on special needs teaching courses was contributed to by the fact that while such training was previously only available in Budapest, courses were available at a second location from last year, in addition to which the Klebelsberg Scholarship Programme was also expanded to include this course”, Mr .Maruzsa said.

“The report also highlighted the increase in teachers’ salaries and the results achieved with relation to nursery school education as positives”, the Deputy State Secretary added. With relation to the latter, he told reporters that in Hungary 95.7 percent of children aged 4-6 attend nursery school, which is higher than the EU average.

Nursery school attendance by Roma children is also approaching the national average, making it one of the highest in the EU and the highest among the countries of the region. The report also spoke positively about the public service requirement introduced as a prerequisite for receiving a high school diploma, and with regard to the increasing numbers of schools that are realising programmes based on environmental awareness, he stated.

The European Commission pointed out that a large number of teachers will be retiring within the next ten years. We would like to remedy this by providing as attractive a career model as possible, he highlighted. According to the Deputy State Secretary, the report also recommends reducing the difference in performance between schools.

This goal is served, amongst others, by the fact that the maintenance of schools has been taken over by the state from local governments, Mr. Maruzsa said.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)