From 2020, high school graduates in Hungary are required to possess at least one upper-intermediate language certificate or a higher-level Hungarian Matura from one language to be able to meet new university admission standards.
Until now, the system worked slightly differently—university students had been expected to submit their language certificates in order to be able to receive their degree. The only difference was that they had more time to reach that proficiency. The level and number of language qualifications were determined based on the attended course and the importance of the language presence in the chosen professional field.
Most of the courses required an upper-intermediate (B2) language certificate, although, it wasn’t rare to have higher requirements like taking an advanced (C1) and/or an intermediate professional or business language exam. Those directly affected had been struggling to get hold of their degree, even though all required university exam needs were satisfied. On many occasions, it took them years to be able to pass their language tests and finally take ownership of their HE awards.
Students have had different ideas about how they could meet these high conditions. Dora Szalai, an alumna of the University of Pannonia took the opportunity of attending a semester at University of Derby through the Erasmus Program, so she had passed the test in Liverpool before returning to Hungary. Others have chosen different routes like enrolling in a language school or taking private lessons from a tutor.
- 98 do not hold a language certificate
- 7 only completed B1
- 9 only passed part of the language exam, either written or oral exam
This means that 114 politicians wouldn’t be able to gain access to HE in the new system, which is 58% of all the MPs.
We cannot know for sure how this amendment will affect students’ chances in the future but the numbers that Milan Berenyi, chairman of the Professional Association of Language Schools, mentioned in an interview with Magyar Nemzet are not too promising. Berenyi claimed that only 45% of university applicants and 55% admitted students possessed language certification in recent years, therefore a decrease in the number of university attendees can be expected from 2020.
Bio: Kitti Palmai is a UK-based freelance writer and translator whose byline has appeared in The Expat Magazine, Thrive Global, Elephant Journal, and many more. Email address: [email protected]