Corvinus University of Budapest

Hungarian universities are needed to be transformed and modernised. Now the government has this purpose with Hungarian universities, especially Corvinus University of Budapest. The transformation of the University may be the first rehearsal in practice. While foundation-funded and enterprise-funded universities are doing well in Finland, it is strongly questionable, how effectively it would work in Hungary.

There was a debate, where higher education experts were asked about their opinion on Budapest Corvinus University’s economic- and organisational transformation on a forum, reports. Important questions, like which alternatives do we have to boost institutional independence and flexibility.

Is Corvinus the laboratory mouse for the new model?

In October 2018, Corvinus University of Budapest was introduced to become one of the best 100 universities in Europe, where tuition fee can go up to 4 million HUF in a semester. The university will have its new scholarship system, which will be available for the bests among the bests only.
The role of universities in our life changes – the need to not just educate professionals, but also fulfil society demands is growing. Universities need freedom of choice and autonomy, according to Gergely Kováts, in order to let scientists research independently while reacting to the market’s needs. Universities not only must be autonomous, but also accountable, and these two aspects must be in balance to create an efficient operation.

’There were many attempts to reform universities’ operation in Hungary before, but there was no comprehensive change yet’ – said András Derényi (Institution for Educational Research and Development)

In the 2010s in Finland, Finnish universities could choose from operating as a foundation or as an enterprise. In both cases, the state ceased to operate as a provider; it remained as the sector’s leader. This means that universities still can receive state money, but universities could also manage uni resources more flexible, in order to cooperate with the market.

Which factors are the reasons that the current system is not sustainable in the long term? Péter Kádár-Csoboth examined this question.

  • Hungarian universities are designed for education; however, their functions should belong further. Cooperation with the market, project implementations and social responsibility are needed to be restructured.
  • The environment is very bureaucratical.
  • Underpaying university teachers are ’compensated’ by having lower workplace-expectations, but this is not motivating at all in the long run.
  • There is no ’ownership approach’ – the ministry maintains and manages the sector at the same time.
  • There is no performance evaluation.
  • Institutions are underfinanced to stimulate them to make income, but it is non-effective.

According to Péter Kádár-Csoboth it makes a big problem that in Hungarian universities IT devices are bought centrally, not independently by the institutions.

Making reforms is going to last for even a decade because it requires social consultations in the country. Although the universities have to live up with the market’s opportunities, it is not the university’s purpose to fulfil the market. Many experts considered the Corvinus’s transformation to be too risky, in the sense that it can become the ’university of the elite’, thus spoiling social mobility.

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