6.3 Preventing early leaving from education and training (ELET)
On this page
On this page
The Public Education Strategy 2021 - 2030
In Hungary there is no national strategy with the specific aim of tackling early school leaving, but this topic was included in the Public Education Strategy 2021 - 2030 (Köznevelési stratégia 2021 - 2030) adopted by the Hungarian Government in 2020. One main aim of the Strategy is to develop access to qualitative and fair education, prevent early school leaving, and develop qualifications.
In relation to this aim, the development areas are
- decreasing the number of those students who underperforms,
- further development of the early warning and pedagogical support system,
- development of the underperforming schools,
- supporting the education of the children with special educational needs,
- supporting the students with strengthening the cooperation between the educational institutions and families,
- programmes for the development of the basic, digital and foreign language skills of the disadvantaged students,
- unique methodological and resource support for the disadvantaged student groups.
Results of the 'Medium-term strategy against leaving school without qualifications'
Formerly, the 'Medium-term strategy against leaving school without qualifications' ('A végzettség nélküli iskolaelhagyás elleni középtávú stratégia') aimed specifically to tackle early school leaving. The timeframe of the strategy was 2016-2020.
According to the information provided by the Ministry in 2022, the evaluation of the Strategy was finished in 2022 and it was focusing on the projects aimed at tackling early school leaving and at the reduction of segregation. The evaluation states that
- based on data from the early warning and pedagogical support system (which aims to prevent early school leaving) the percentage of students at risk of early school leaving has decreased between 2017 and 2021,
- students' skills have improved: in the national skills survey, pupils who participated in the EFOP - 3.1.5-16 project (for more details on the project see below),
- the rate of students who no longer want to continue studying in secondary education institutions has also decreased among those who participated in the EFOP project.
A few measures have already been taken due to this strategy earlier as following
- from September 2015, the kindergarten is compulsory for children from year 3 with the aim to ensure educational successfulness,
- the Educational Authority (Oktatási Hivatal) created a system for controlling and monitoring the work of the teachers,
- the Pedagogical Educational Centres (Pedagógiai Oktatási Központok) were established to coordinate controlling and monitoring at the local level,
- the expectation and recognition of competencies of inclusive education are included in the qualification procedure of the teachers and
- those teachers who work with disadvantaged students (for example, Roma children) are entitled to extra pay from January 2019.
Early warning and pedagogical support system for preventing early school leaving
The amendment of the Government regulation no. 229/2012 (VIII.28.) on the implementation of the Act on National School Education [229/2012. (VIII. 28.) Korm. rendelet a nemzeti köznevelésről szóló törvény végrehajtásáról] entered into force on November 19 2016. The regulation introduced the early warning and pedagogical support system for
- the prevention of early school leaving and
- the commencement of related institutional and state tasks at the national level.
The support system is intended to contribute to the achievement of the 'Medium-term strategy against school leaving without qualifications' ('A végzettség nélküli iskolaelhagyás elleni középtávú stratégia'), and to help achieve the targets of the Europe 2020 strategy, namely that the proportion of early school leavers in Hungary should fall to 10% by 2020. The system draws attention to situations and areas requiring development that, if recognised in time, might prevent the dropout. These are usually linked to
- declining school performance,
- problematic behaviour,
- regular absence from school,
- problems in the family. (Oktatási Hivatal, 'Tájékoztató')
The target was nearly reached in the second half of the school year 2020/2021 (it was 12.1% in 2020) (Eurostat, 2022). The dropout rate was higher than 10% in only 3 counties and in 1 region. Based on the latest data from the Educational Authority, the rate of pupils at risk of dropping out of school was higher than 10% in the second half of the school year 2021/2022 in only 1 county (Oktatási Hivatal, 2022).
Scholarships for preventing early school leaving
Arany János Programs
The Arany János Talent Program (Arany János Tehetséggondozó Program), Arany János College Program (Arany János Kollégiumi Program) and Arany János College-Vocational School Program (Arany János Kollégiumi-Szakiskolai Program) are complex support schemes for socially disadvantaged students in upper secondary education, thus trying to prevent early school leaving. The development of the Arany János Programs was also part of the aforementioned goal of the 'Medium-term strategy against school leaving without qualifications' ('A végzettség nélküli iskolaelhagyás elleni középtávú stratégia') as it aims to provide complex-pedagogical, social, health and cultural support for dropout groups of students. Further program developments focus on specific objectives and target groups (Arany János programok). For more information about scholarship programmes, see sub-chapter 4.4 Inclusive Programmes for Young People.
The 'Útravaló' Scholarship Program
The 'Útravaló' Scholarship Program (Útravaló Ösztöndíjprogram) was set up to provide support for disadvantaged youth (mainly Roma) to prepare for further education or finish their current studies in primary or secondary education. According to the information provided by the Ministry in 2021, almost 10 000 students acquire professional and financial support in each year and in the 'Road to Degree' Program (Út a diplomához program) in the 2020/2021 academic year 507 students have a scholarship in the frame of the Program and 170 of them were Roma.
The Complex Basic Program
- differentiated development,
- cooperation, and
- equal opportunities
by providing specific opportunities and compensation for disadvantaged groups (for example students with disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds, such as families with very low monthly income or Roma children) by introducing new principles and methods personally. The general aim of the program is to develop the work in those classes where there are children with different skills, performance, and who are coming from different socio-economic backgrounds. Therefore, the programme also supports talented students. Its main goal is to teach the 'practical' knowledge of life within the framework of formal education and to make children feel better at school.
The Springboard program and the workshop school program
To tackle early school leaving and to integrate to the labour market those who has lower educational attainment, the government set up the Springboard program (Dobbantó program) and the workshop school program. Similar type of supports has already existed, these were called the School Education Bridge Program (Köznevelési HÍD – program) and the Vocational Training Bridge Program (Szakképzési HÍD – program) and they were transformed to these new programs.
The target group of the Springboard program are those young people who
- reached the age of sixteen and
- do not have a primary education by at last day of the previous school year. [12/2020. (II. 7.) Korm. rendelet a szakképzésről szóló törvény végrehajtásáról]
After the Springboard program, the student can attend a workshop school aimed at acquiring the skills needed to enter vocational training or the labour market. This type of school provides a partial qualification in a trade, in a few months. There is a so-called 'mentor' who supports the student in learning a trade. (Innovatív Képzéstámogató Központ, Műhelyiskola)
For these programs, the Ministry for Culture and Innovation is responsible in general, and the Vocational Training Centrums (Szakképzési Centrumok) are coordinating at local level.
Students participating in this programs can receive a scholarship of 5% of the minimum wage (Innovatív Képzéstámogató Központ, Dobbantó program).
Results of the Springboard Program
In the 2020/2021 school year, more than 500 students participated in the Springboard program and attanded workshop schools and in September 2021 the programme was already offered in 63 schools in the country (Innovatív Képzéstámogató Központ, Dobbantó program és műhelyiskola)
According to the information provided by the Ministry in 2022, in the 2021/2022 academic year, among state maintained schools
- 50 schools from 33 Vocational Training Centrums (Szakképzési Centrumok) offered training in the frame of the Springboard program and 761 students participated in these trainings and
- 60 schools from 36 Vocational Training Centrums (Szakképzési Centrumok) launched a workshop school program and 1 049 students participated in workshop school programs.
- 45% of the students who participated in workshop school programs obtained a job,
- 16% of them started a vocational school program and
- 4% of them went to another workshop school program.
The Springboard program is also mentioned in Eurydice sub-chapter 2.3 Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure.
The 'Orientation Classes' were started from the 2022/2023 school year in 47 schools. The aim of these preparation classes is recommended for those students who obtained the primary education certificate but needs redevelopment or do not know which type of secondary school or profession they should choose. (Innovatív Képzéstámogató Központ, Orientációs évfolyam)
Furthermore, there was a pilot project from 2018 in one school where 150 students found the profession/job they would like to do. The results were:
- 38% of them went to vocational schools,
- 15% of the students continued their studies at a workshop school,
- 11% of them went into technical schools,
- 27% of them got a job or started learning at other education institutes and
- only 9% of them dropped out. (Innovatív Képzéstámogató Központ, Pilot projekt)
Supporting Institutions with High Dropout Rates
The project 'Supporting Institutions with High Drop-out Rates' (EFOP - 3.1.5-16 A tanulói lemorzsolódással veszélyeztetett intézmények támogatása) is organised by the Educational Authority (Oktatási Hivatal). The project aims to reduce the rate of early school-leavers to below 10% following the Europe 2020 Strategy. Therefore, it supports cooperation within local communities to decrease the risk of dropout of students and to help them gain the qualifications and skills necessary for the labour market.
The other goal of the project is to improve local pedagogical services. The following activities are supported:
- the complex development of participating institutions through individual and differentiated development programs with central coordination,
- support of students with a high chance of dropout without qualifications, improvement of their success at school and later, on the labour market,
- development of network among the institutions of higher education,
- improvement of local pedagogical services operated by the Educational Authority, development of the organisation of education.
The project aims to support convergence areas and those age groups which were in the target group age (18-24 years). Different targeted programs exist for assisting the situation of disadvantaged students. (Further information can be found in sub-chapter 4.4 Inclusive Programmes for Young People.)
The Tanoda Program
The Tanoda program (Tanoda program) was established to prevent early school leaving. It is a community scene featuring a non-governmental organisation with local features based on voluntary participation and focusing on the individual needs of children. It provides a complex service for the development of personality that would be otherwise unavailable for disadvantaged children. For this program we cannot make a difference between age groups, since every Tanoda has unique mix of age groups. It depends on who is involved into it. There are places, where special target groups are involved (for example disadvantaged children in kindergartens or in primary school), but usually students from the youth age group (16-18 years) and from primary schools are present.
The schools are usually established by foundations, public benefit organisations and other non-governmental organisations, and they are mainly run by volunteer staff. The tutors could apply for funding under the EFOP-3.3.1-15 study contest (EFOP-3.3.1-15 tanodapályázat), which resulted in the acquisition of 171 schools in 2015 for a total of HUF 25-30 million (about EUR 84 000-100 000) (Tanoda Platform).
In the 2017 academic year, 275 workshops were held and the government provided a total amount of HUF 11.5 billion (about EUR 3.8 million) financial support for the work (MTI, 2017).
The amount of the support in the budget was HUF 2.5 billion (about EUR 7.5 million), which was allocated first in 2019 (2018. évi L. törvény Magyarország 2019. évi központi költségvetéséről). Since then, circa the same amount was allocated in every year in the budget.
Results of the Program
The practical activities of the schools are diverse, for example, the Csepp Tanoda School of Csobánka (Csobánkai Csepp Tanoda) helps Roma children in learning, acquiring the curriculum by common learning. The Kompánia Tanoda (Kompánia Tanoda) also organises afternoon training where they provide individual development, rehearsal, computer use and English language training. The Toldi Tanoda, created by the Real Pearl Foundation (Igazgyöngy Alapítvány), aims to develop reading motivation, reading comprehension, mathematics, foreign language and social competencies, prepares children in kindergarten for school, and organises recreational development programs.
The 'Let's Teach for Hungary' program
The 'Let's Teach for Hungary' (Tanítsunk Magyarországért) program aims to provide opportunities for the young people (especially primary school students) living in small towns and in villages and prevent them from early school leaving. According to their website, the mentor has an important role in the program:
'The participating mentors role is to show them the excitement and opportunities existing beyond their direct environment - zoos, museums, secondary schools, businesses - to give them an idea of how many different professions and versions of the future they can choose from.'
The program was launched by the
- former Ministry for Innovation and Technology,
- former Ministry of Human Resources,
- Klebelsberg Centre (Klebelsberg Központ) and the
- National Organisation of Student Self-governing Bodies [Hallgatói Önkormányzatok Országos Konferenciája (HÖOK)].
The program has 4 pillars:
- university mentor program,
- secondary school mentor program,
- HÖOK mentor program and
- business mentor program.
The Public Education Strategy 2021 - 2030 (Köznevelési stratégia 2021 - 2030) states that the policies related to early school leaving must
- identify the social and educational factors that can result in early school leaving and
- continuously monitor the educational pathways of the most vulnerable pupils.
To achieve this, the above-mentioned early warning and educational support system is used and special measures are implemented for students or young people who would leave the education system. The coordination of the implementation and monitoring requires the participation of different actors from the related ministries and other non-public actors in the field of public education.
In general, cooperation of local institutions and civil organisations (including organisations in social, healthcare, sports, child and youth protection) is very important regarding the coordination of ELET interventions. It is also essential to establish efficient communication and cooperation between the schools and the various stakeholders, and the participation of local cultural institutions in out-of-school educational activities.
Furthermore, the strategy defines a monitoring system which is based on a yearly evaluation, related to the Action Plan of the Strategy.
Monitoring of ELET interventions
The evaluation of 'Medium-term strategy against school leaving without qualifications' ('A végzettség nélküli iskolaelhagyás elleni középtávú stratégia') was finished in 2022. The objectives were also included in the Action Plan (akcióterv) of the Strategy:
- developing an indexing system for analysing institutional and local data;
- further development of databases containing national and regional data suitable for the analysis and decision making in educational policy,
- the operation of signalling system for statistical and diagnostic purposes, which can follow an individual's life and to support with intervention if necessary,
- evaluation of programs to decrease rate of drop out, feedback of results. (For more details on the evaluation please see above sub-sub-chapter Results of the 'Medium-term strategy against leaving school without qualifications')