According to Index.hu, new elementary school system of nine years is to be introduced in 2019 in Hungary. Also, the National Core Curriculum would be seriously reconsidered, László Palkovics, Minister for Education announced during a round-table discussion.
In the last few months, the Ministry for Education and the participants of the public education round-table discussion have analysed Hungary’s disastrous Programme for International Student Assessment results; its Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study results; and the conclusion of the Hungarian assessment. The Ministry reported the outcomes to the Hungarian government, and the new Hungarian educational strategy has been prepared based on that report, Index.hu noted.
According to the plans, the extra year would be spent on bridging the gap between nursery school and elementary school. This time would be spent on preparing the child for effective learning, Index.hu told. The new education system would be introduced as soon as in 2019, provided that all the necessary circumstances are successfully ready by then. Schools will need new classrooms, they will have to expand their area, and they will need more teachers. All these mean massive expenditures. Another important question is how the changes will affect the 16 years of compulsory education, the tertiary education and the labour market.
Index.hu reported that, based on international assessments, children are the most easy to improve between the age of 3 and 12. This is the most sensitive age, when they are able to acquire the basic competences for learning later. This is the period of time when skills in reading, writing and numeracy are needed to be deepen, which is the very basis of learning. A psychology professor told that the plus year at the end of the elementary school has no use, because those who have not learnt to read write and count will not succeed at the end of the elementary school. She also told Index.hu that children can be the most successfully familiarized with the notions of numeracy, the basis of writing, at the first extra year of elementary school, this is the period when their intellectual, emotional, memory and social skills, all necessary for learning, can be improved.
The National Core Curriculum, the basis of education, determining all the general knowledge to be acquired in every school, is going to be reviewed as well, Index.hu adds. All the successful international examples were taken into consideration which can be compatible with Hungarian traditions.
The environment, in which children are growing up and will work later, has changed; therefore, new approach of curriculum is needed. There are major shortcomings in the system of the current one, as the professor told. It is not the amount of knowledge the new curriculum is going to focus on, but on key competences such as communication in mother tongue and foreign languages, numeracy, literacy, scientific, and digital skills, required for learning and working later. Child stands at the centre of the new National Core Curriculum. It has to serve the children’s emotional and intellectual development, and teachers have to assist that.
As for the subjects, Index.hu informs, they are going to be rearranged according to content areas, taking into consideration the applicability of knowledge. Children are tried to be taught to use what they have learnt during the lessons when interpreting more complicated issues or phenomena. The extra year is not about more material. The material shall be adjusted to children’s age specific characteristics and interests. This is how knowledge and competences will be able to deepen. Also, life skills need o be strengthened. Enough time and opportunity shall be provided for those lagging behind to catch up, and for bright students to blossom out.
In brief, new approach of teacher training and further education is needed. Nursery school teachers’ and elementary school and secondary school teachers’ qualification is to be harmonized. Acquiring practical and experience-based teaching methods is going to be a crucial aspect during teacher training.
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