Hungary (i/ˈhʌŋɡəri/; Hungarian: Magyarország [ˈmɒɟɒrorsaːɡ] ( listen)) is a unitary parliamentary republic in Central Europe. It covers an area of 93,030 square kilometres (35,920 sq mi), situated in the Carpathian Basin, and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Romania to the east, Serbia to the south, Croatia to the southwest, Slovenia to the west, Austria to the northwest, and Ukraine to the northeast. With about 10 million inhabitants, Hungary is a medium-sized member state of the European Union. The official language is Hungarian, which is the most widely spoken non-Indo-European language in Europe.
Hungary’s capital and largest metropolis is Budapest, a significant economic hub, classified as a global city. Major urban areas include Debrecen, Szeged, Miskolc, Pécs and Győr.Hungary joined the European Union in 2004 and has been part of the Schengen Area since 2007. Hungary is a member of the United Nations, NATO, WTO, World Bank, the AIIB, the Council of Europe and Visegrád Group. Well known for its rich cultural history, Hungary has contributed significantly to arts, music, literature, sports and science and technology.
Hungary is the 11th most popular country as a tourist destination in Europe, attracting 14.3 million international tourists in 2015. It is home to the largest thermal water cave system, the second largest thermal lake in the world, the largest lake in Central Europe, and the largest natural grasslands in Europe.
Types of Higher Education Institutions
The network higher education institutions is quite extensive in proportion to the country’s surface, population and the number of students enrolled in higher education, but, compared to other countries, it is of medium size. Higher education institutions can be categorised in the following two ways.
On the one hand, there is a clear distinction between state and non-state institutions. Non-state institutions can be founded by churches, business organizations or foundations. The foundation and operation of non-state institutions is subject to the same input (quality) criteria as the foundation and operation of state institutions and compliance is checked in the course of accreditation at the time of foundation. Institutions meeting the criteria are granted state recognition by the Parliament. State and non-state institutions recognised by the state are listed in the Annex of the Higher Education Act. Only organisations included in the list as well as municipalities and national minority governments can provide higher education. Establishment and operation of non-state higher education institutions are regulated by the Higher Education Act and related regulations. Non-state institutions also receive state funding, based on an agreement with the government. However, the budget of both state institutions and non-state institution is only partly financed by the state. The state grant provided for institutions maintained by the Roman Catholic church is governed by a concordate concluded between Hungary and the Vatican and the Hungarian government has concluded similar agreements with other historical churches for ensuring funding their higher education institutions.
On the other hand, as regards their academic profile, there are colleges (non-university higher education institutions) and universities. The main difference lies in capacities.
Universities are higher education institutions authorised to provide Master programmes in at least two fields of study and offer doctoral programmes and award doctoral degree in at least two fields of study. At least half of their teaching and research staff employed directly or on a public service employment basis have a doctoral degree. A university has at least three faculties, operates students’ academic circles and is able to provide courses in foreign languages in some of its programmes. Universities are authorised to offer programmes in every educational cycle.
Colleges can also operate as a faculty of another higher education institution. At least one-third of their teaching and research staff employed directly or on a public service employment basis have a doctoral degree. Colleges are entitled to operate students’ study circles. Colleges are authorised to provide Bachelor programmes, Master programmes, single-cycle long programmes, in accordance with the provisions of the government decree, as well as training that does not result in a higher education degree (higher education vocational training, post-graduate specialist training). No differentiation is made by law, but colleges are usually more active in practical education due to historical reasons. Their portfolio mainly offers first cycle programmes and shorter programmes and applied research. By contrast, universities usually offer more theoretically oriented degree courses; they have more Master programmes than colleges and are especially active in basic research.
State universities are large organisations with several faculties, while colleges are rather smaller institutions, with a few exceptions. Non-state institutions are usually smaller than state institutions (in terms of the number of faculties and students) and the majority of them are colleges.
Foreign higher education institutions may also operate in Hungary. In Hungary, foreign higher education institutions may offer study programmes resulting in a degree if their state-recognition granted in their home country is recognised and the operation is approved by the Hungarian Educational Authority. The Educational Authority recognises the foreign decision, if the principles of the higher education system of the respective state are in line with the educational fundamental principles of the European Higher Education Area. At present there are 28 such institutions.