The renewed National Curriculum is a 21st century, child-centred and patriotically oriented document all at once, Minister of Human Capacities Miklós Kásler said on Friday in Budapest. The Minister announced that the framework curricula attached to the National Curriculum have been completed and are now accessible on the website of the Education Office.

In the presence of journalists, Mr Kásler highlighted that the renewed National Curriculum had gained its final form on the basis of a broad professional consensus, after a long series of social and professional consultations.

The document will make education more modern, more effective and more efficient, he said.

He highlighted that the revised National Curriculum and the almost fifty framework curricula constitute a single system in which the latter identify the relevant development tasks, breaking down skills and the most important knowledge to be acquired into topics. The renewed National Curriculum and the attached framework curricula were prepared in light of almost a thousand comments, the Minister indicated.

He pointed out that the renewed National Curriculum and framework curricula reduce and even out the burdens of learners, and determine the maximum number of weekly lessons for learners in every form.

Departure from the maximum number of lessons is only permitted by two lessons in bilingual schools, sports schools and institutions offering an advanced level of education. In national minority education, the weekly number of hours may increase by three or four lessons, the Minister added.

Mr Kásler also highlighted that, in accordance with the requests of teachers, the new framework curricula offer a longer free time frame in the selection of the contents of subjects. So far, teachers have been able to decide about 10 per cent of the time frame of each subject within their own competence; from now on, in the new framework curricula, this will increase to 20 per cent, he said.

He added that the goal was to make possible the acquisition of the skills and knowledge laid down in the framework curricula in just 80 per cent of the core number of lessons in an average school, and to ensure that the remaining time can be used for integration, talent fostering or skills development.

He pointed out that in the majority of subjects the quantity of lexical knowledge would decrease, in harmony with the general expectations of professional organisations and teachers as well as with the recommendations made in the relevant social consultation.

Mr Kásler said the new framework curricula are based on modern pedagogical and methodological principles, the development of the individual areas of competence is more emphatic, and teaching contents are also more up-to-date. In the case of every field of study, the structures of the new framework curricula are identical: they identify and discuss the foundations of learning and thinking as well as the relevant terms, skills and development tasks.

In the case of the Hungarian language, Hungarian and universal literature, history, and singing and music, the latest methods and selected contents ensure that learners acquaint themselves with and learn to love the Hungarian nation’s cultural treasures, traditions of 1,100 years, the changes in its mentality and historical experiences, he underlined. During the lessons allotted to the teaching of contemporary literature, teachers are free to decide about the authors and works they wish to teach. The framework curricula of sciences identify so-called “science-type” curricula, focusing on practical knowledge and a science-centred mentality.

He also pointed out that optional lessons are available to supplement the curriculum for those who wish to continue their studies in higher education. In mathematics, they have laid more emphasis on skills that can be used in daily life. At the same time, the framework curricula of subjects that were optional in the past will not be phased out, he indicated. Schools will remain free to use the framework curricula of chess, philosophy, defence studies or sailing.

No central curriculum has been prepared with respect to advanced-level education, with a view to the reduction of learner burdens. Schools will be able to shape their syllabuses on the basis of their own profiles and training preferences. In every form, institutions will be able to introduce an additional two lessons a week, the Minister added.

He stressed that the system of textbook supply is fully prepared for the management of changes as well as for the revision, printing and supply of textbooks. Schools will be able to order textbooks without any disruption, as they did in previous years.

In the first round, they will revise textbooks for the 1st, 5th and 9th forms, in line with the scheme of the introduction of the revised National Curriculum. The relevant work is ongoing, and the new textbooks will be available in good time, he indicated.

Mr Kásler finally said he would like Hungarian children “to be cheerful and full of enterprise, following in the footsteps of their ancestors” in which case they will not lose their way in today’s world. The Minister sent the message to teachers that “they should build on stone foundations because stone is durable, everything else is perishable”.