Hungarian is the primary medium of education, although facilities do exist for minority groups like Germans, Romanians, Slovenes, Serbs and Croatians too. There is a fair degree of decentralization and some discretion in the application of school funds. The general phase of education continues through to age 16. This begins with pre-school from ages 3 to 7 where some basic skills are learned. Four years of primary school follow, with a wide spread of the usual academic subjects and 1 or 2 foreign languages.
The 4 years of lower secondary school that follow add biology, geography, history, physics and chemistry to the learning mix. It is during this time that aptitudes are considered to have settled, and decisions made regarding the focus of the remaining school years.
Secondary education is continuing to evolve as Hungary enters Europe and requires a whole new choice of skills. Students not entering general vocational school can choose between a Gimnázium
with their eyes set perhaps on university, or aSzakközépiskola
vocational school that prepares them for more technical tertiary education.
By contrast, Szakmunkásképző Szakiskola
vocational schooling focuses on providing the more practical skills that make young people job ready, or perhaps keen to enter a trade.
In Hungary tertiary education is provided by a number of colleges and universities. Education at the former takes 4 years, but at the latter up to 6. In both cases students must pass an intermediate examination in a foreign language of their choice before they may graduate. English and German continue to be popular choices although Spanish is on the ascendant too.
Hungary has a proud history of tertiary education. In fact Louis the Great founded the University of Pecs illustrated here in 1367.