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EACEA National Policies Platform


9. Youth and the World

9.4 Raising awareness about global issues

Last update: 3 April 2024
On this page
  1. Formal, non-formal and informal learning
  2. Youth-targeted information campaigns on global issues
  3. Information providers
  4. Key initiatives

Formal, non-formal and informal learning

Formal education
Concept on Global Responsibility Education

The Concept on Global Responsibility Education (Koncepció a globális felelősségvállalásra nevelésről) outlines the core values of global responsibility, namely:

  • openness,
  • empathy,
  • holistic approach,
  • adopting global perspectives,
  • engaging in social justice,
  • peaceful and effective conflict management,
  • child and youth orientation,
  • (environmental, social and economic considerations),
  • critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

The intention is that by acquiring all these values, young people will be able to understand the world of interdependence and global problems. Global issues are defined in the Concept as

  • poverty,
  • climate change,
  • wars and regional conflicts.

The document emphasises

  • peace education,
  • education for democracy, civic responsibility, participation,
  • education of activities,
  • awareness,
  • respect and observance of human rights,
  • education for self-knowledge,
  • knowledge of other cultures and appreciation of education,
  • environmental education and
  • sustainability education.

The Concept also urges the expansion of the topics of global education in the Eco-School Education and Training Program (Ökoiskolai nevelési-oktatási program), taking into account the following areas:

  • respect for human dignity and solidarity,
  • education for democracy,
  • active citizenship education,
  • human rights awareness, awareness raising and respect for other cultures,
  • respect for education,
  • education for the environment and sustainability,
  • education for development. [Concept for Global Responsibility Education (Koncepció a globális felelősségvállalásra nevelésről)]
National Environmental Education Strategy

The latest (3rd edition) of the National Environmental Education Strategy (Nemzeti Környezeti Nevelési Stratégia) was published by the Hungarian Society for Environmental Education (Magyar Környezeti Nevelési Egyesület) in 2010. The strategy is intended to provide educators with a communication and recruitment tool that will guide them from cradle to grave. It is intended to provide 'environmental educators' with recommendations in addition to 'awareness raising'

The strategy consists of the following topics:

  • pedagogy of sustainability, including values and principles and quality assurance;
  • private life, including the topics of material culture, family, household, lifestyle, health promotion and leisure, tourism;
  • social environment, including topics like traditions, science, religion, law, environmental information, financing environmental education, international cooperation;
  • institutional environmental education, such as extracurricular environmental education, non-school environment;
  • towards the realisation of the Strategy, including tools of environmental education.

According to the Ministry information in 2020, the renewal of the National Strategy for Environmental Education is already underway. The process is coordinated by the Ministry of Agriculture (Agrárminisztérium) with the participation of the Hungarian Society for Environmental Education.

National Environmental Programme

In 2022, the Parliament has adopted the National Environmental Programme until 2026 (2026-ig szóló 5. Nemzeti Környezetvédelmi Program). The task of the programme is to define the country's environmental goals and the tasks and means required to achieve them, taking into account the country's environmental status, the development goals of society and the obligations arising from international cooperation and EU membership.

The document declares that the environmental education in Hungary is an integral part of public education and public education tasks. It is primarily present in the National Fundamental Curriculum of Nursery Schools (Óvodai Nevelés Országos Alapprogramja) and the National Core Curriculum (Nemzeti Alaptanterv). The Act CXC of 2011 on National Public Education (2011. évi CXC. törvény a nemzeti köznevelésről) provides guidelines to educate environmental awareness and healthy way of life, suitable to the age of the child.

The programme states also that in the field of environmental, sustainable focused 'lifelong learning' and the education still need to be developed. Besides the government programmes, various civil organisations, national parks and museums participate in environmental educational tasks.

The appearance of global education in high schools

The Concept for Global Responsibility Education does not detail the exact integration of global issues in high school and higher education. In 2021, the framework curriculum for the optional subject 'Sustainability' was introduced for grades 9-10 and 11-12. A textbook, teaching tools and teacher training for teachers are available for the 'Sustainability' curriculum. From 2024, 'Sustainability' will become an optional maturaty exam subject.

However, in addition to environmental education, clearly appearing in elementary school environments, and classes in biology, chemistry and geography in secondary schools, there are several lessons available to schools to incorporate the issues of global education into their curriculum.

Most of the lessons or programmes available are related to environmental education or the topic of sustainability, for example

Furthermore, several environmental study competitions have been introduced:

The development of relevant competences is also supported by the Digital Theme Week (Digitális Témahét) and the European Money Week ('Pénz7' in Hungarian) which is a financial and entrepreneurial thematic week. (For more information about the European Money Week see sub-chapter 3.8 Development of entrepreneurship competence.)


Currently, the Educational Authority (Oktatási Hivatal) runs the Eco-school Program (Ökoiskola Program). The aim of the Program is to create foundations for the education of sustainable development.

Under the Program, schools can earn the title 'Eco-school' or 'All-Time Eco-school' which is awarded directly by the State Secretariat Responsible for Public Education. In addition, schools awarded this title are accepted as professional members of the Hungarian Eco-schools Network, where they can share best practises and guidance and access training and programmes.

At the beginning of 2016, the number of institutions with the title 'Eco-school' was over 900, and third of them held the title 'All-Time Eco-school'. According to Hungarian Central Statistical Office data, in 2023 1 402 schools were participating in the Program and 816 of them held the title of 'All-Time Eco-school' and the numbers are increasing. Currently, one in every three students attends a school with the title of 'Eco-school'.

Non-formal education
School community service

The Concept for Global Responsibility Education combines global responsibility education with social responsibility in the frame of the school community service. [Act CXC of 2011 on National Public Education (2011. évi CXC. törvény a nemzeti köznevelésről)] The Concept emphasises education for global responsibility in all high schools and fits into a complex, carefully thought-out active national education programme. This is the purpose of serving the school community service. According to the Concept, the experience gained here can be used by students in later stages of their lives. [Concept for Global Responsibility Education (Koncepció a globális felelősségvállalásra nevelésről)] (See more information on the school community service below.)

Support for educators - teacher's training

The Government Decree No. 277/1997 (II.22) [277/1997. (II. 22.) Korm. rendelet] regulates the conditions for the establishment of teacher training programmes in Hungary.

The Accreditation Department of the Educational Authority organises several training sessions for educators in teacher's training in the field of environment, environment-conscious thinking and sustainability, such as:

Furthermore, several lesson plans and teaching materials are available online, developed by various public and non-public actors, such as:

World's Largest Lesson

The World's Largest Lesson event is organised for the 9th time in 2023 in Hungary. The Ministry of Interior (Belügyminisztérium) is the owner of the project and the UNESCO Hungarian National Commission, the UNICEF and the National Council for Sustainable Development support the implementation of the programme. 

In 2023, the central theme of World's Largest Lesson was the 10th Sustainable Development Goal, 'Reduced Inequalities'. According to Ministry information in 2024, a total of 602 schools registered for the programme, representing 4 316 classes and 89 509 students were reached and actively engaged. A total of 20 Hungarian schools from across the border registered (Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine). Around 140 students attended classes on site and more than 33 000 students participated online.

Main programmes or actions aimed at supporting young people to learn about global issues 'by doing'
'You pick it up!' – Volunteering for a pure Hungary

According to its own self-determination, Hungary's largest volunteer movement is 'TeSzedd!' (in approximate translation: 'You pick it up!'), is supported by the Ministry of Energy (Energiaügyi Minisztérium). The aim of the movement is the volunteer cleaning of the neighbourhood of the participant. By this activity, the students involved can complete 5 hours of school community service from their compulsory 50 hours. It lasts 3 days per year (since 2011). The target group is everyone, especially young people and students.

In 2021, 650 education institution have registered their classes for the voluntary waste collection. Besides schools, 242 NGOs, 272 public administration institutions and 156 private actions were carried out by volunteers. In total, almost 100 000 volunteers took part in the nationwide action and collected illegally dumped litter from public areas in Hungary. According to Ministry information, in 2023, approximately 97 000 volunteers helped to collect illegal waste at around 2 200 public areas, filling 88 796 bags, weighing in total 1 777 tonnes of litter.

'72 hours without compromise'

The '72 hours without compromise' ('72 óra kompromisszum nélkül') is a voluntary social action organised by the three historical Christian churches. In the framework of the national programme, volunteer work is carried out by young people in groups for 72 hours. The target group is everyone, especially young people aged 14 to 30. The responsible organisation is the Ecumenical Youth Office (Ökomenikus Ifjúsági Iroda).

The speciality of the action is that volunteer groups only get acquainted with their task for three days only the night before the programme begins. Their tasks also include preliminary planning before and joint evaluation at the end. The main aim of the programme is to ensure broad publicity and to 'make volunteer work visible in youth communities'.

The tasks are divided into three parts:

  • social: any activity that involves people, such as programmes, lectures, helping for the elderly and young people,
  • ecological: environmental and nature conservation actions, such as forest clean-up, litter collection and tree planting,
  • development: renovation of playgrounds, kindergartens, painting of fences.

Financing and funding sources:

In 2022, the main achievements were: 8 500 volunteers participated in activities, in 100 settlements. The project is held in October, every year. Also, this activity can be counted as 9 hours of school community service from the compulsory 50 hours. In 2023, 170 teams in 77 settlements completed social, ecological or development projects such as sport programmes for impaired children, creativity programmes in nursing homes, flower planting and recovery of kindergarten playgrounds.

School community service

From January 1, 2016, 50 hours of school community service (iskolai közösségi szolgálat) is a compulsory pre-requisite for graduation.

'The community service means social and environmental protection activity, as well as its educational processing, carried out individually or in group for the advantage of the local community of the student, which is carried out within organised framework and is independent of financial interests.' [Act CXC of 2011 on National Public Education (Nemzeti köznevelésről szóló 2011. évi CXC. törvény)]

The responsible organisation for the school community service is the Educational Authority. The aim of the programme is to develop the personal and social skills of students; to strengthen their sense of responsibility and to prepare them for teamwork. The target group is high school students.

According to the rules, school community service activities can be carried out in the following areas:

  • health care,
  • social area and charity,
  • education,
  • culture and community,
  • environment and nature conservation,
  • disaster recovery,
  • sports and leisure time with children, pupils with special educational needs, elderly people,
  • crime and accident prevention for bodies established for the purpose of performing specific police duties.

There are several legislations that concern the school community service:

Youth-targeted information campaigns on global issues

Specific contact points for the knowledge and understanding of global issues in Hungary and Hungarian websites do not exist. However, there are initiatives that young people have access to.

Plastic Pirates - Go Europe!

The Plastic Pirates - Go Europe! campaign is an EU programme for school classes and youth groups with the aim of research and innovate to restore our oceans and waters. The participants collects plastic samples from the rivers and document their findings. Afterwards, researchers analyse the sources of plastic pollution and they can take effective action to reduce it. 

The campaign aim is to encourage children and young people to contribute to the main objective of the Ocean Mission, which is to prevent and eliminate pollution of European seas and waters. In Hungary, this scientific programme was launched in June 2022 and runs for 30 months. The first Hungarian campaign was held between 8 and 15 September 2022. During the survey, 250 students and 30 teachers measured the plastic pollution in local watercourses and researches of the University of Pannonia analysed the results.

The main coordinator of the Plastic Pirates - Go Europe! campaign in Hungary is the Express Innovation Agency, the innovation agency of the National Research, Development and Innovation Office (Nemzeti Kutatási, Fejlesztési és Innovációs Hivatal).

Plastic Cup

The Plastic Cup in Hungary aims to eliminate plastic and prevent it from entering the Tisza River and Lake Tisza. They organise litter collecting events on the river and send the plastic for recycling. The Cup was organised in three locations in 2023 with the support of the Ministry of Energy (Energiaügyi Minisztérium) and the participants collected more than 30 tonnes of waste and 65% of it was recycled. They also created a textbook series, called 'Clean Tisza', to raise awareness of the river pollution problem. 

European Year of Youth

The EU has declared 2022 as the European Year of Youth (referred hereinafter to as EYY). There were various activities available for young people in Hungary, with the topics of environment protection, sustainability, volunteering, youth work, sports, learning about the European Union. Two outstanding events were the Youth Conference in Gyula (Gyulai Ifjúsági Konferencia) and the II. Roma Youth Conference (II. Roma Ifjúsági Konferencia).

The EU Youth Dialogue National Working Group of the National Youth Council (Nemzeti Ifjúsági Tanács) coordinated and organised the events and the supports. (For more information on the European Year of Youth, see sub-chapter 5.6  and sub-chapter 5.8.)

Parliamentary Youth Day

The 'You have a say!' Parliamentary Youth Day ('Van beleszólásod! Parlamenti Ifjúsági Nap') aims to give young people the opportunity to participate in the legislature procedure, debates and meet the members of the National Assembly and EU Parliament. (For more information on the Parliamentary Youth Day, see sub-chapter 5.8.)

Our living planet

Hungary was the first country to join the initiative launched by former US Vice President Al Gore. In Hungary, the former President of the Republic, has launched the Our Living Planet (Élő Bolygónk) campaign, which anyone can join on the project's website. The aim of the campaign is to raise public attention to climate change issues and to encourage the best possible agreement for the participants of the Paris Climate Summit in December 2015. The initiative was signed by 194 699 people in Hungary.

Planet Budapest 2023 - Sustainability Expo and World Summit

The Planet Budapest organises each year a Sustainability Expo and World Summit with the Support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Külgazdasági és Külügyminisztérium) that aims to help young people learn more about sustainability through experimental learning.

In 2023, the summit had a sustainability programme for students between the age 8-16, called, the 'Heroes of the Future'. It was an interactive programme for young people and the aim was to experience how effective collaboration shapes the future. According to Ministry information, in total, 7 000 students participated in this programme.

Information providers

Tempus Public Foundation

The Tempus Public Foundation, established in 1996, is a public benefit organisation under the Ministry of Culture and Innovation (Kulturális és Innovációs Minisztérium) which provides mobility programmes in Hungary.

The objective of the Tempus Public Foundation is

  • supporting initiatives aiming at the modernization and quality improvement of education, training and human resources development,
  • encouraging international cooperation and mobility,
  • strengthening the European dimension in these fields.

Their activities include

  • promoting the programmes,
  • assistance and consultancy services,
  • active role in partnership building,
  • financial management,
  • monitoring and
  • dissemination and valorisation.

The Tempus Public Foundation manages the following international mobility programmes that offer opportunities for all actors in education and training:

Tempus Public Foundation also acts as a contact point for the National Europass Center (Nemzeti Europass Központ). It offers special training courses for teachers and educators on how to use EU funds in their activities.

Key initiatives

Week of Sustainability

The decrees of the Ministry of Interior (responsible for public education from 2022) on the school years [for example the 22/2022. (VII. 29.) BM rendelet] regulate in each academic year the so-called 'Thematic Weeks'. The most relevant thematic week for global issues is the Week of Sustainability Issues (Fenntarthatósági Témahét). The Ministry of Interior (Belügyminisztérium) is responsible for the programme. The aim of the programme is to

'develop the environmental sensitivity of high school students to make them understand the identification, mitigation and prevention of local, regional and global environmental problems. It encourages students to recognise that Earth is a fragile ecological system, whose preservation is a shared responsibility of present and future generations.'

The curricular elements of the programme were adapted to specific age groups and available online on the website. In 2024, for secondary school students, 9 lesson framework curriculums are available in five main topics:

  • conscious consumption,
  • circular economy in everyday life,
  • athmosphere,
  • responsible consumption,
  • speding leisure time together (learning collaboration and active free time activities).

In addition, the students also participated in a school competition, where high school students could plant vegetable plants in the school garden. The programme included four thematic competitions so far:

  • Sustainability Cup,
  • 'GreenClever' Cup,
  • secondary school competition in the Carpathian Basin,
  • selective waste collection competition and
  • a literary competition.

In 2024, only the 'GreenClever' Cup ('ZöldOkos' Kupa) competition is launched until the end of March.

Results in 2022
  • 1 762 schools participated in the programme (52 Hungarian schools from neighbouring countries).
  • 25 000 school classes were involved in the programme, it means 380 000 students in total.
  • 570 teachers participated in personal workshops and 350 teachers in 5 online webinars.
  • The education packages which helped the adaption of the topic contained 28 framework curriculums and 18 online education materials.
  • 10 000 students and 300 teachers filled out the online questionnaire on their views and knowledge on sustainability, for the third time.
  • 654 school teams, from the 7-8th grades, participated in the 'GreenClever' Cup.

Results in 2021

  • 1 630 schools participated in the theme week (78 schools were Hungarian schools from the neighbour countries).
  • 18 920 school classes were involved in the programme.
  • The number of students was nearly 370 000.
  • 1 080 teachers participated in teacher training.
  • The education packages which helped the adaption of the topic contained 30 framework curriculums, 20 online lessons and education videos, contests and activities.
  • 25 000 students fill out the online questionnaire on their views and knowledge on sustainability.
  • 9 previously recorded or live thematic lessons were held and almost 20 000 classes have been watching them.
  • 651 teams registered for the Sustainability Cup contest.
Carpathian Sustainability Day

According to Ministry information, in 2022, in the framework of the Carpathian Convention, Hungary initiated the establishment of the Sustainable Education Network. The network consists of members of youth organisations in the participant countries. The network planned to organise a Carpathian Sustainability Day in all member countries in autumn, 2023 but there is no available information on this.

Scholarship programmes of the Blue Planet Foundation

The Blue Planet Foundation (Kék Bolygó Alapítvány) provides scholarships for students participating in higher education programmes related to

  • climate protection,
  • water protection,
  • nature conservation,
  • climate change,
  • sustainability and
  • green innovation.

The Prime Minister' Office (Miniszterelnökség) and the Bethlen Gábor Fund (Bethlen Gábor Alapkezelő Zrt.) support the Foundation.

Researcher scholarship programme for PhD students in Chile

The researcher scholarship programme for PhD students (PhD ösztöndíjprogram Chilében) aims to provide financial support to talented PhD students who are carrying out scientific work on water protection or other topics related to nature conservation, climate change, sustainability or green innovation to participate in the research project of the Centre for Climate and Resilience Research. The aim is to understand earth systems, study water security in the long term and increase resilience in Chile. In 2023, the available scholarship was HUF 2.31 million per student for 5 months (about EUR 5 920).

Mathias Corvinus Collegium – Climate Policy Institution scholarship

Another scholarship programme (Mathias Corvinus Collegium – Klímapolitikai Intézet Ösztöndíjprogram) aims to provide opportunity to 3 students in the above-mentioned topics to participate in the courses of other higher education institutions at home or abroad. They supported various fields such as (law, economics, engineering, natural sciences, economics, media, political science, arts etc.). In 2023, the available scholarship was net HUF 3.75 million per student for 3 months (about net EUR 9 615).

Fontus water and environmental scholarship

The Fontus water and environmental student scholarship (Fontus vízügyi és környezetvédelmi hallgatói ösztöndíj) offers students of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics or the Hungarian University of Agricultural and Life Sciences with the opportunity to deepen their knowledge in the field of water management through quality work experience and networking. According to Ministry information, in the 2022/2023 academic year the amount of the scholarship was a one-time gross HUF 500 000 per student per 5 months (about EUR 1 282).

Apprenticeship programmes

The Global Water Partnership scholarship programme to Stockholm and Bratislava (Gyakornoki Program Stockholmban és Pozsonyban) provides an apprenticeship opportunity to students who acquired their master degree in the last two years and studied water conservation or other topics related to nature conservation, climate change, sustainability or green innovation. The available scholarship was gross HUF 5.12 million per student for 6 months (about gross EUR 13 130).

The Environment and Water Internship Programme (Környezetvédelmi és Vízügyi Gyakornoki Program) aims to support students in higher education who continue studies related to water conservation, water engineering, water management, water innovation, climate change, nature conservation, sustainability or green innovation. In this internship programme the participants had the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and positions in local companies and other organisations with an environment protection and water focus. The student can spend 2 months at the company. The available scholarship was gross HUF 225 564 per student per month (about gross EUR 578).