Ruling Fidesz party: Higher education amendment serves sector’s protection
Budapest, April 4 (MTI) – The amendments to the higher education law approved on Tuesday by parliament serve the protection of Hungary’s higher education sector, the ruling Fidesz party’s parliamentary group leader said.
The bill approved by lawmakers will require foreign colleges and universities in Hungary to operate under an intergovernmental agreement and to have a campus in the country in which they are based.
Speaking at a press conference after the vote, Lajos Kósa insisted that the amendments would not affect the operations of the university registered and accredited in Hungary under the name “Közep-európai Egyetem”.
He suggested, however, that Central European University (CEU), which is registered in the US, had exploited “loopholes” in the higher education law by awarding American degrees at a university that operates in Hungary.
Kosa insisted that such “loopholes” needed to be closed in order to protect Hungarian higher education, and rejected the suggestion that the law affects academic freedom.
He said the amendments needed to be passed in a fast-tracked procedure because a prolonged procedure would have given the universities in question less time to prepare for the new regulations.
The human resources ministry accused the CEU of misleading the public, including prominent international academics and prestigious organisations. The amendment to the law on higher education approved by parliament does not affect Közep-európai Egyetem and CEU will be able to continue operations once an inter-state agreement between the two countries in question is signed, the ministry said in a statement.
The “Soros-university” enjoyed privileges that were not offered to any other educational institution in Hungary which was good business to founder Hungarian-US financier George Soros but it represented an unfair advantage in the competition between universities, it added. The amendment has put an end to this discrimination, the ministry said.