Personal tools
You are here: Home Projects LLE Hungary/Hongrie Hungary



Legal framework

There is just one national language in Hungary: Hungarian.

In 2002, a law was promulgated to recommend that Hungarian be protected as the majority language in official texts and the media and that a Hungarian translation of any information intended for the general public (signs) and particularly consumers (labels) be provided.


Institutional body with the responsibility for developing, implementing and controlling linguistic legislation

At the level of the central administrations, there is no department which has responsibility for managing the Hungarian and minority languages. At the present time, there is only a department of the Ministry for Education which has responsibility for certain schools which are authorised to teach ethnic minority languages.

The Hungarian public education system is entirely decentralised.

All sectors are the responsibility of the institutions which offer the service. A university could, for example, get a programme in teaching Hungarian as a Foreign Language accredited. In Hungary, all courses and diplomas must be accredited if they are to be accepted within the national system, even in private schools.


Legal provisions concerning the linguistic integration of migrants and public linguistic training facilities available to them

A ministerial decree of 2004 makes it compulsory for all foreign national children to receive Hungarian language lessons within the public education system. At present, this decree is only partially applied, due to an insufficient number of qualified teachers.

Following the publication of this decree, the language faculties at Budapest and Pécs implemented teacher training programmes for teachers of Hungarian as a Foreign Language. This specialism supplements the basic qualification of a teacher of Hungarian language and literature. Students studying foreign languages can also opt to take the specialism. These new courses should in time be sufficient to supply all the necessary posts in the public education system.

In higher education, foreign national students can benefit from two years of foreign language teaching. There are a number of Hungarian as a Foreign Language classes available in language schools.

This system benefits from accredited language exams. A number of different textbooks have been published by private publishing houses. The summer university of Debrecen is internationally renowned in the sector of Hungarian language teaching.


Principal legal provisions in force concerning the use of regional or minority languages

Hungary signed the European Charter on Regional and Minority Languages on 5 November 1992 and it came into force in 1998. A law recognising the rights of national and ethnic minorities was enacted in 1993 and a convention framework for protecting national minorities was ratified by Parliament in 1995.

There are thirteen minority languages in Hungary. Local authorities are obliged to offer either bilingual teaching (Hungarian and the minority language) or teaching solely in the minority language if the child’s parents request it. Primary and secondary schools can also offer specific exams. The subjects taught remain the same as in the Hungarian curriculum. Teacher training programmes are available in higher teaching establishments. The main regional or minority languages are German, Slovakian, Romanian, Romani and Serbian.


Financial support mechanisms aimed at encouraging the use of national and regional or minority languages

Funding is generally provided by the Ministry for Education and Culture. The funds are transferred to local authorities.


Teaching foreign languages within the education system

In primary school (from six to 14 years old), just one foreign language is compulsory from the 5th year. The number of pupils learning French at this level is 0.47% of the school population.

In secondary school (general and technical colleges) it is compulsory to take two modern foreign languages. 14.51% of secondary school students learn French.

Between two and four hours per week must be devoted to language learning.

A growing number of colleges (particularly in Budapest) are developing intensive language teaching. These courses must be accredited too and the schools benefit from a large margin for manoeuvre as a result of the decentralised system. In contrast, universities struggle to fill their language courses. These courses are often chargeable and few and far between. Some only offer French specialism, whatever level the student may have acquired in another language. Only 1.68 % of students study French at univerisity.

Universities offer facilities enabling the students to take language exams. Students must take two if they are to be awarded a university degree.

Outside the education system and most notably for ministers and in the field of adult learning, lessons are available on demand, depending on the institutions. The Hungarian Ministry for Foreign Affairs has its own language exam system. Some are accredited training courses while others are available from language schools or via shared funding.

There is a strong policy of encouraging language learning in public and private services. Those with foreign language skills can earn up to 30% more than those who do not have such skills. French comes in second place after English as a priority language in the public sector.






Document Actions