In 2014, after the formation of Viktor Orbán’s third government, László Palkovics became responsible for higher education management. At that time, the unification of certain Budapest universities was already planned. Accordingly – Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME) and Semmelweis University were to become united into one institution; integrated according to the different fields – medical, engineering, humanities and social sciences, economics and agricultural faculties.
The University of London was set as the role model. As Figyelő described,
The main goal was to make the performance of Hungarian higher education visible on the international market, and at least one Hungarian university to be listed among the world’s best 200 educational institutions.
In order to realize it, the government considered unification as the best solution; however, nothing happened at that time. One year later – 1st September – the issue turned up again.
According to the Hungarian news portal 24.hu, directors of university faculties have been already informed about the suggestion; however, they are opposed to the idea as it would result in the termination of individual faculties. By way of example – humanities, social sciences, pedagogy and psychology would be joined together; however, ELTE operates three different faculties at these fields. So certainly fewer pedagogues would be needed in these areas; additionally, it would result in the devaluation of humanities as well.
Some news reported that the idea of “Budapest University” is so advanced, that its rector has already been appointed – László Borhy archaeologist, current rector of ELTE University.
On Monday afternoon, ELTE University issued a notice in which it has been clarified that –
“Recently, ELTE is not negotiating with anyone about the unification plan of Budapest universities”. It was also added that – “Regarding this question, László Borhy, rector of ELTE University did not get any request from the government.”
The Ministry of Innovation and Technology emphasised that
“The government’s plans concerning higher education are accessible on the government website, in which unification or institutional closures are not included.”
However, “cooperation between national and international universities is of great importance, which is being developed currently.”
Last Thursday, Prime Minister announced the establishment of the Association of European Universities with the involvement of five Hungarian universities. Its goal is to “create new, world-class, international higher education institutions” as “it enhances the involvement of Hungarian higher education in European research and innovation, which is vital to increase its competitiveness.”
Source: 24.hu; index.hu