Hungarians do not like to learn foreign languages – why?
Young Hungarians do not have a strong desire to learn foreign languages. At least, this is what a new research showed – according to nepszava.hu. Professionals say that the problem is in the Hungarian education system, not with the language learners.
Lack of willingness, knowledge and bravery
In fact, the European Commission’s Education Directorate General examined the passion to learn new foreign languages and the knowledge of foreign languages among the 18-30 years old Europeans. According to their results,
72% of the young Hungarians can read and write only maximum two languages
including their mother tongue. Not surprisingly, Hungary is at the back end of the list containing the EU-28 with this data.
Young people living in the UK (74%) answered that they are comfortable with speaking only one language (English). They are followed by Hungarians (49%). Furthermore, Hungary is in the third place from the back regarding the number of young people who want to develop their foreign language knowledge.
Commenting the results, Milán Berényi, president of the Professional Association of Language Schools said that there is great need for total change. He added that it would be important to see that the aim of foreign language learning is not to pass an exam but to be able to use a language properly in everyday life.
Thus, schools should not teach languages as subjects, instead they should
implement experience-based language teaching.
Reform is needed in language teaching
However, though there are already very good teachers, most schools teach by using old methods. Furthermore, there are huge differences in this regard, as well.
For sure, the problem is not with the number of language teaching hours. In fact,
the National Core Curriculum provides altogether 936 hours to teach languages in school.
Clearly, in a language school half of this time would be enough to acquire intermediate language knowledge even for total beginners. The most popular foreign language is English. In fact, only 60% of the Hungarian students learn more than one foreign language. This rate is 84% in the Czech Republic, 95% in Romania and 96% in Poland. Moreover, the research also highlighted that Hungarians are the least brave when they have to use a foreign language.
Zoltán Rozgonyi, president of the Nyelvtudásért Association said that the results did not surprise him. According to him, classes should be
more interactive and communicative
because frontal methods are not too useful in language teaching anymore. He added that sadly they cannot see any efforts aiming to change this situation.
No Hungarians will be able to study forward without a language exam
According to nepszava.hu, the Educational Authority has not conducted any national research regarding why the language knowledge of the Hungarians is so weak for a decade. However, it is very telling that
many university graduates do not get their diploma because they lack their language exam.
According to a government decree, from 2020 on only those can be enrolled at a university who have at least one intermediate language exam. Thus, professionals say that tens of thousands will not be able to study forward. In fact, László Székely, the commissioner for fundamental rights cleared that the decree was precipitous.
Source: Juhász Dániel – nepszava.hu