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Hungarian pupils better at literacy tests but tired and hungry

Hungarian pupils better at literacy tests but tired and hungry

Hungarian fourth-grade students around the age of ten have achieved their best ever results in the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), an international test of reading and literacy involving 50 countries, an official of the Hungarian Education Office reported on Tuesday.

According to MTI, Hungary scored 554 points in 2016, a 15-point improvement on the 2011 results, Ildikó Balázsi told. Hungary was ranked joint 9th on the international list along with ten other countries with similar results, she noted.

Commenting on the results, László Palkovics, state secretary for education noted that public schools have been under direct state supervision since 2012. This, according to him, provided a safer, more stable and predictable environment. The government‘s career model for teachers is also paying dividends, he added. also reports on the good news about Hungarian education. Hungary is among the 18 countries in which fourth-graders’ literacy improved in the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), in 2016. Hungarian pupils on average had 543 points in 2001, 539 points in 2011, in 2016 they had 554 points.


It is three points better than the so-far best result in 2006 (this is not a significant difference) and is 15 points more than the last one, in 2011.

The pupils with the best literacy rates live in Russia (581 points), Singapore (576 points), Hong Kong (569 points), Ireland (567 points), Finland (566 points), Poland (565 points), and Northern Ireland (565 points). Hungary is ranked 9-16th, while five years ago it was only on 13-22th place.

In the study, pupils have solved tasks related to experiences and information acquisition. The Hungarian pupils had much better results in the former task, but their results were somewhat better in the information acquisition task than before, too. Traditionally, girls perform better in reading comprehension. This was still the case, but in Hungary the differences are smaller than in other countries in general.

According to PIRLS’s data, teachers are content (49%) or very content (48%) with their job, only 3% said they were not. Hungarian teachers usually spend more time in the profession than teachers in other countries.

Hvg also reports on another aspect: the study also shows how much pupils lack their basic needs.

43% of fourth-graders feel tired every day or almost every day. 48% feel tired sometimes and 9% do not feel tired at all. (The international average is 32, 50, 18 per cent.) Even more worrying is the fact that 19% of Hungarian pupils are hungry when arriving at school (almost) every day. The international average is even worse: 26%. 44% of the Hungarian pupils are sometimes hungry (international average: 41%).

According to the international average, most of the students (62%) attend a school that is said to be safe and disciplined by the teachers. The situation in Hungary is worse: only 51% go to safe schools,

42% attend a school with smaller discipline and safety issues (international average: 35%).

According to teachers, in Hungary and internationally 3% of the pupils go schools that are not safe, but headmasters’ responses show that 6% of Hungarian children attend schools that are unsafe, the international average is 8%. Based on the experience of teachers, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Azerbaijan have the safest and most disciplined education atmosphere. Northern Ireland and England are the safest in the European context.

Photo: MTI

Source:, MTI

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