Hungary - Country Commercial Guide
Education and Training
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Overview

Education in Hungary follows a more traditional approach than in other European countries. One major difference is the increasing number of church-funded schools that incorporate religious elements into their curricula. Another important element is the reorganization of the leadership structure of formerly state-owned universities. In the frame of the so-called

Hungarian education has many challenges to face in the coming years, according to the OECD.  Though the level of vocational qualifications has increased in the last few years, they haven’t reached the average of the OECD countries. In Hungary, 38% of 25–34-year-olds have a vocational education and training (VET) qualification as their highest level of attainment: 24% at upper secondary level and 13% at post-secondary non-tertiary level and 1% at short-cycle tertiary level. At the same time 44% of all upper secondary students are enrolled in VET across the OECD. Tertiary education among younger adults (between 25–34 years old) remains substantially lower in Hungary than the OECD average at 33% compared to 48% in 2021. Tertiary admission is based on a combination of three factors: subject grade points from secondary schools, grade points from the final examinations and socio-economic status and/or personal achievements. In 2022, Hungary invested a total of USD 8,612 per student on primary to tertiary education compared to USD 12,647 on average across OECD countries. Government spending on education represented 5% of the National GDP in 2020, which is close to 5.1% on average across OECD countries.

Sub-sectors

Higher Education: According to the 2023 Open Door Report, the United States hosted 1,057,188 international students in its schools in the 2022/2023 school year, an increase of 11.5%.  There were 712 international students from Hungary at U.S. higher education institutions in 2022/23 which is only 1% increase compared to the previous academic year.  In 2022, 636 students from Hungary studied in the United States, according to the Global Flow of Tertiary-Level Students research from UNESCO.

Hungarian tertiary education has been representing academic excellence for more than 650 years.

There are 28 state-funded, 11 privately funded and 26 church-funded institutions for students to choose from.  As a result of Hungarian institutions’ internationalization process, students can find what best suits their interests - institutions offer more than 500 courses in English, German, French and other languages. Additionally, students have a wide range of study fields to choose from, including Agricultural Science; Computer Science and Information Technology; Legal Science; Economic Science; Medical and Health Science; Arts, Arts and Humanities, Arts Education; Engineering Science; Social Science; Teacher Training; Sport Science; Natural Science.

Higher education studies are offered at two types of institutions, egyetem (university) and főiskola (college), both offer courses in all three training cycles (i.e., Bachelor course, Master course and Doctoral course). In 2023, 126,449 people applied for full-time undergraduate and master’s degree programs in Hungary, 27,000 more than in the previous year, which is a record high level in the last 12 years.  21% of the applicants applied for economics courses, 12% for technical fields, 8% for IT, and 11% for humanities. As in previous years, the proportion of first-year students in natural science courses was the highest, followed by arts and almost the same proportion in law and social sciences. However, it is becoming more and more challenging to get enrolled into art courses.

Education Technology: In Hungary, most universities use many platforms for distance learning. The most popular platform for distance learning is Microsoft Teams. In higher education, Google Slides, PowerPoint, and Prezi are regularly used applications for presentations. Another application students use to study is Quizlet. Similarly, Zanza.tv is a very popular platform among students in secondary schools; it helps them prepare for their final exams in an interactive way.

Educational applications and digital solutions for learning are also becoming more popular. There were 101 EdTech startups in Hungary in 2022, for example there are e-book applications, English language learning apps, school management, and other online tutoring apps. 

Opportunities

Fulbright Hungary promotes education between Hungary and the U.S. by means of educational and cultural exchange.  The Fulbright Commission for Educational Exchange has been registered in Hungary as a non-profit public interest educational foundation. It is open to all the fields of arts and sciences. The program is financed mostly by the U.S. government, as well as the partner governments and by private contributions and in-kind support.  Fulbright offers scholarships on a broad scale. There are application opportunities for undergraduate students, graduate students, teachers, researchers and even for secondary educators and students as well.

Hungary used to be part of the Erasmus+ Program. Erasmus+ Program is a long-standing exchange opportunity for students. The Erasmus+ program aims to help European students become active citizens, with the skills, knowledge, and experience to tackle the challenges facing our society, both now and in the years to come.  According to a decision taken by the EU Commission at the same time as it froze funds from the Cohesion Fund for Hungary in December 2022, funding from the European Union’s Erasmus program for 21 foundation-managed Hungarian universities was also suspended. Brussels justified the measure pointing to conflicts of interest and the risk of corruption given that high-ranking politicians sit on the universities’ boards of trustees. U.S. educational institutions may profit form the fact that European mobility may be inaccessible for Hungarian students for an undetermined time.

Digital Marketing Strategies

In 2023, 89.7% of Hungarians are internet users, with social media usage being one of the most popular online activities as 72.2% of the population are users. Key platforms are Facebook and Messenger, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok.

The largest user group for social media are those under 24 years old. This age group also uses Facebook to the greatest extent, as the younger generation likes to have a separate community on social media. The most popular social media sites among the 18-24 age group are Instagram and TikTok.

Aside from social media, students also use the internet to aid in job searching. The three most popular job searching websites are Profession.hu, Jobline.hu and CV-Online.hu. LinkedIn also showed increasing popularity for searching jobs online among the 25-34 age group.

In terms of accessing information online, Google was the most important search engine in Hungary as of October 2023 by market share (97.53%).

Netflix and HBO GO are the most widely used streaming websites in Hungary. YouTube is also very popular among young people for streaming videos and sharing content online.

EDUCATIO is Hungary’s largest education expo. The aim of founding the EDUCATIO International Education Exhibition was to answer questions regarding higher education. Its goal is to connect participants of education (national and international institutions of higher education, course book publishers, language schools, and vocational training centers) with people who are interested in them (e.g., students, teachers, and parents). The best months of the year to recruit students at educational fairs are January through March and September through November. 

The Ministry of Culture and Innovation through the Education Office is an important source of information regarding educational opportunities for students and parents in Hungary. The Education Office supervises the operation of the national recruitment system that guarantees all opportunities and considers all applications. (https://www.felvi.hu/). Additionally, the HVG Job Fair is also an important source of information on educational opportunities.

Events

Resources

U.S. Embassy - U.S. Commercial Service

Katalin Jaksa, Commercial Assistant

Budapest, Hungary

Tel: +36 1 475 4433

Email: katalin.jaksa@trade.gov