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Hungary: vocational education and training in the digital era

The newly approved mid-term strategy (VET 4.0) for the renewal of vocational education and training and adult education programmes is the policy answer to the challenges of the 4th Industrial Revolution.

The economy and the labour market are continuously changing. Due to technological developments new professions are emerging, increasing the demand for a quality labour force. School-based VET (including adult education programmes offered in flexible learning forms) is faced with new challenges.

Demographic trends in recent years show a rise in the upper secondary population, especially in VET (40% against 36.4% in the general path in 2019). To attract the young, VET schools should offer creative and flexible knowledge in competitive economic areas. To attract low-qualified adults wishing to upskill, a flexible, short-cycle adult education system is also essential.

The VET 4.0 strategy – approved by the government in 2019 – aims to ensure that all VET learners leave school with the right set of skills and competences (including basic competences), and that they successfully pass a final exam granting a State-recognised VET qualification. The national vocational qualification register is updated annually to ensure that formal qualifications included in the register are labour-market-relevant.

The strategy is structured around three pillars:

  1. attractive career opportunities for learners

Supporting learners in completing school-based VET programmes, and choosing a career pathway leading to a good – even high-income – job, and ensuring a smooth transition into working life, are at the core of the strategy.

An integrated scholarship system is under way. It includes financial support for talented disadvantaged learners; scholarships in the so-called orientation (last) year to prevent dropout; a uniform VET scholarship scheme instead of a system focusing on professions in demand; scholarship amount proportional to the learner’s study results; introducing a lump-sum benefit as a start-up aid for learners having passed their final exam. Together with the possibility to conclude an apprenticeship (labour) contract, the measure is expected to attract and keep more learners in school-based VET.

A five-year technical programme (technicum) will replace the 4+1-year vocational grammar school (EQF level 4) programme (szakgimnázium). The upper secondary school leaving certificate will be taken in four general education subjects and one vocational subject, taken as an advanced level exam. A good technician exam grade opens the way for further studies in tertiary education in the same specialisation. Students obtaining a VET qualification will gain significant advantage in the course of their further specialised learning, depending on the results of the vocational exam.

  1. providing VET teachers with up-to-date knowledge

VET teachers and in-company trainers are key actors in ensuring quality training in line with technological advancements in the sectors. The strategy anticipates the option of engineers giving occasional lessons in schools, and teacher training in a corporate environment. The aim of the government is to start a complex human resources development programme for VET instructors.

  1. creation of an attractive learning environment

The strategy focuses on equipping practical workshops with state-of-the-art technology, modern equipment and a rapid WiFi network, as well as creating a digital curriculum.

The strategy also supports adult learning opportunities for upskilling of the adult population through more flexible learning opportunities in adult education and other adult training programmes.

Read more:

Government Decision No: 1168/2019. (III.28.) on the mid-term strategy ‘Vocational Education and Training (VET) 4.0 for the renewal of VET and Adult Education (AE) (in Hungarian)