Relocating to a new country can be a daunting experience, especially when it comes to understanding the educational system for your children. This guide aims to provide expats with a comprehensive overview of the educational system in Hungary. It covers the main stages of education, the process of enrolling children in school, language requirements, the availability of bilingual and private schools, and the options for homeschooling and online schooling. The goal is to help you make informed decisions about your children’s education during your stay in Hungary.
What are the main stages of education in Hungary?
The Hungarian educational system is divided into four main stages: preschool (óvoda), primary school (általános iskola), secondary school (középiskola), and higher education (fels?oktatás). Preschool starts at age 3 and is compulsory from age 5. Primary school begins at age 6 and lasts for eight years. Secondary school is for students aged 14 to 18 and is divided into general academic secondary schools (gimnázium) and vocational schools (szakközépiskola). Higher education includes universities and colleges.
Preschool Education (Óvoda)
Preschool in Hungary is for children aged 3 to 6. It focuses on the development of basic skills and social behavior. Attendance becomes compulsory from age 5. Preschools in Hungary are known for their high-quality education and nurturing environment.
Primary School (Általános Iskola)
Primary school in Hungary starts at age 6 and lasts for eight years. The curriculum includes Hungarian language and literature, mathematics, science, social studies, art, music, and physical education. Foreign language learning usually starts from the fourth grade.
Secondary School (Középiskola)
Secondary school in Hungary is for students aged 14 to 18. It is divided into general academic secondary schools (gimnázium) that prepare students for higher education, and vocational schools (szakközépiskola) that provide vocational training. Both types of schools offer a school-leaving examination (érettségi) at the end of the studies.
How does a newcomer from a different country enroll their kids in school?
To enroll your child in a Hungarian school, you need to provide a birth certificate, proof of residence, and an immunization card. If your child has previously attended school, you should also provide a school report or certificate. The enrollment process usually starts in the spring for the following school year.
My children are still learning Hungarian, can they enroll in a public school?
Yes, children who are still learning Hungarian can enroll in public schools. There are special preparatory classes for foreign students to help them learn Hungarian. However, the availability of these classes may vary depending on the school and the region.
Are there public bilingual schools?
Yes, there are public bilingual schools in Hungary. These schools offer a curriculum in both Hungarian and a foreign language, usually English, German, or French. Admission to these schools is competitive and often requires passing an entrance exam.
What types of private schools are common in Hungary?
Private schools in Hungary include international schools, bilingual schools, and religious schools. International schools offer an international curriculum and are popular among expats. Bilingual schools offer instruction in both Hungarian and a foreign language. Religious schools are usually Catholic or Protestant and combine religious education with the national curriculum.
Do expats typically send their children to public or private school?
Many expats in Hungary choose to send their children to private schools, especially international schools, due to the language barrier and the different educational system. However, some expats prefer public schools for their children to immerse in the local culture and language.
How expensive are Private schools in Hungary?
Private schools in Hungary can be quite expensive, with tuition fees ranging from a few thousand to several thousand euros per year. The cost depends on the type of school, the curriculum, and the location.
Are you allowed to homeschool while living in Hungary?
Homeschooling is not common in Hungary and is usually allowed only in exceptional cases, such as for children with special needs or for families living abroad. If you are considering homeschooling, you should consult with the local education authority.
May kids attend online school instead of a local school while living in Hungary?
Online schooling is not widely recognized in Hungary. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools have implemented online learning platforms. If you are considering online schooling, you should check with the local education authority for the latest regulations and options.