Two vocational qualifications may be obtained free of charge within the formal school system in Hungary

    Two vocational qualifications may be obtained free of charge within the formal school system in Hungary: practical implementation

    On 27 May 2015, the Hungarian Parliament adopted Act LXVI of 2015 amending Act CLXXXVII of 2011 on Vocational Training, Act LXXVII of 2013 on Adult Training and some other acts on related subjects. The purpose of the new act was to ensure compliance with Directive 2006/123/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 12 December 2006 on services in the internal market.

    The act entered into force on 12 June 2015 and  enables citizens in Hungary to obtain not only the first but the  second qualification within the formal school system free of charge and we wish to give an overview of its implementation during the past two years.

    In Hungary, education and vocational training within the formal school system is state-funded, and students are entitled to student card, with corresponding allowances and benefits.

    Education within the formal school system may be both full-time  youth education and adult education. Adult education may be carried out in the form  of full-time  coursework, evening, correspondence or other special  coursework (e.g. distance learning). Within the full-time adult education the number of lessons must be at least 90% of the number of lessons provided within the full-time youth education. The number of lessons given under evening training must be at least 50% of the number of lessons given in full-time  youth education, for correspondence lessons such ratio is 10%.

    does not take place within the formal school system, it is not free of charge (with the exception of registered job seekers), and the participants do not qualify as students, therefore, they are not entitled to student cards. The training is provided on the basis of an adult training agreement.

    Within the formal school system, young people under the age of 25 may obtain their first vocational qualification free of charge within the framework of full-time youth or adult education. Students enrolled for full-time courses with the aim of obtaining their first professional qualification are entitled to a student card, the parents of students under the age of 20 are entitled to family allowances, and students may also receive a scholarship of HUF 10 000 to 30 000 per month if they choose a vocation with skills shortages.

    The second qualification may be obtained through non-full-time adult education provided within the formal school system. From the year in which the students acquired their first vocational qualification within the formal school system, they may begin a new academic year in a training course with the aim of obtaining a second vocational qualification exclusively within adult education (Act on Vocational Education, Section (34/A)(4)). Such training may be provided in the form of evening, correspondence or other special courses (e.g. distance learning).Not only young people aged from 18 to 25 years but also people in their thirties, forties or fifties may benefit from this option, as there is no maximum age limit. The participants may receive such training in evening or correspondence classes whilst continuing to work, thus paving the way for a career change.

    NQR (National Qualification Register)  qualifications acquired through self-financed training courses are not taken into account as first or second qualification obtainable free of charge. Qualifications that can be acquired  through trainings which ensure a higher  performance of duties than the existing qualification required for the position are not taken into account as  second or third  qualification.  

    Such measures regarding qualifications obtainable free of charge does not cover all the vocational qualifications but only approx. 300 out of the 650 qualifications included in the NQR, those which can be provided within the formal school system. Those qualifications can be acquired within the formal  school system free of charge for which is indicated  full-time,  evening or correspondence coursework  in the NQR.  Unqualified young people under the age of 25 may also choose qualifications for  which is indicated   full-time coursework in the NQR. 

    Trainings offered within the formal school system shall start in September or February and finish in the middle of June. In the first week of September 2016, 12 500 adults applied for such trainings. The application is not subject to any examination similar to the entrance examinations required for higher education but, in some cases (e.g. for art education), the applicants may be required to take an aptitude test.

    The duration of NQR courses does not count towards the 12 state-funded semesters in higher education. Upon the decision of the universities and colleges operating in the relevant fields, wishing to continue their studies in a particular specialisation may receive 24 extra points for their NQR qualifications within the admission procedure to higher education.

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