The government has been referring to gender studies as an ideology, not a faculty of study, and now they have decided to ban gender studies at both the Eötvös Lóránd University in Budapest (ELTE) and the Central European University (CEU), reports hvg.hu.
Universities were given 24 hours to give their response to this plan. If nothing changes, then it will become impossible for new students to enrol in gender studies. It is important to note that August is usually the month when Universities are basically shut down, and mostly everyone is on vacation, so that makes it impossible for the academics to answer this ban in less than 24 hours.
This proposal offers two modifications: one of them tries to clear up the line between the free and tuition courses, while the other one cancels gender studies at the graduate level, without giving reasons or an explanation.
Two Universities in Hungary are affected by this: the ELTE and CEU. In the case of Central European University, they are only cancelling the Hungarian gender studies programme. Which means that in case this legislation really goes into effect, there will be no way to earn a Hungarian degree in gender studies.
As far as we are aware, there were no antecedents to this, and we are talking about accredited programs that are being cancelled and banned with almost no notice or explanation. ELTE already has students enrolled in the first year of their gender studies Master’s programme. They, along with the other students already in the programme will have the right to finish their studies, but after starting next year, the universities cannot offer these courses.
Although we do not have the official reasons behind this ban, it is interesting to see what Fidesz has been saying about this programme. The leader of the Christian Democrat wing (KDNP) has labelled gender studies a wasteful and destructive luxury last year. Bence Rétvári, State Secretary at the Ministry of Human Capacities, questioned whether gender studies even qualifies as a legitimate academic field, saying that this kind of research is at odds with everything the Fidesz government supports.