Budapest, August 29 (MTI) – September will see the start of new kinds of vocational training in Hungary, Economy Minister Mihály Varga said in Kecskemét, in central Hungary, on Monday.
Opening the new school year at a youth centre in Kecskemét, southern Hungary, Varga noted that both vocational high schools and vocational colleges will offer matriculation exams, so there is a possibility that students can continue into higher education. This will abolish the previous state of affairs whereby many students who opted for vocational training found themselves at an educational dead-end.
He said an indispensible condition of maintaining economic growth was making sure that trained employees are available in every single sector.
Policymaking for vocational training has been put under one roof thanks to a law which also provides for the establishment of new training centres and an emphasis on spreading dual training that underpins work experience.
The new vocational schools form a part of government plans to offer high standards in vocational training, returning the prestige it deserves, Varga said.
The number of scholarships in vocations where there is a skills shortage on the labour market will be increased and students can receive up to 50,000 forints (EUR 161) a month in stipends, depending on their academic performance, he said.
The Hungarian economy is on a growth track, with exports rising to above 100 billion euros and the budget deficit is in check as well, the minister said, adding that employment numbers have risen to unprecedented highs and the aim is to reduce the unemployment to below 5 percent this year.
Addressing the event, László Parragh, the head of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said plans were to raise the number of students enrolled in the dual system of vocational training to 70 percent. Student contracts now number over 50,000, he added.
The opposition Socialists criticised the new system and said it was a “dumbed-down” training system which only increases labour shortage in the country. Ágnes Kunhalmi, the party’s education spokeswoman, said ruling Fidesz has created “uncertainty and chaos” among schools when it did not give them a clear curriculum, both for vocational and academic subjects, with the changes.
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