Parliament adopted the amendment with an overwhelming majority (95,2 %), which seems to reflect the unequivocal discontent with the performance of vocational education and training. Organisations of employers have long voiced their dissatisfaction with the existing structure of vocational education and training (VET), introduced in 1998, calling for major changes and have advocated for the introduction of a more practice‑oriented training that better meets the needs of the economy.
The so-called ‘early VET’ (előrehozott szakképzés) allows students to start vocational training right after the completion of the eighth grade of primary school, at the age of 14. Early VET programmes take 3 years to complete, therefore students may obtain a vocational qualification as early as the age of 17.
Although in Hungary the compulsory school attendance age is 18, one section of the 1993 Public Education Act allows for an earlier completion of studies for those attaining vocational qualifications recognised by the State. It is up to the parents to decide whether their child should be enrolled in early vocational training or not, and schools can decide whether to offer this form of training besides the ‘normal’ training. However, if a VET institution introduces early VET, then it has to offer regular training as well.
A core curriculum has been developed for general training in early VET; furthermore, vocational programmes have been developed for the 86 vocations in which early VET is offered. In September 2010, just above 10 % of vocational training schools launched such training programs and it is estimated that around 10 % of all VET students are now enrolled in this form of training.
The expected outcome of the introduction of early VET programmes is a more flexible and more productive VET, one that is more in sync with the demands of the labour market.
Kézdi-Köllő-Varga. Az érettségit nem adó szakmunkásképzés válságtünetei. In Fazekas Károly, Köllő János (szerk.), 2008.
Szabó, László. Hátsó padban. Embert vagy droidot – mi legyen a szakképzés feladata? In Magyar Nemzet, 23/9/2010.