Yet another lunacy: Law on teaching foreign languages

The other day I happened upon a very funny 10-minute video. In Hungary bakers must put a big, ugly paper sticker on every loaf of bread before it goes into the oven. But only bread; other baked goods don’t have to have the sticker. So, a journalist wanted to know why the distinction between bread and, let’s say, brioche. No one the journalist asked could give an answer. People in the industry just shrugged their shoulders. At the end, he asked an official of the Bakers’ Association who naturally had no rational explanation for this idiocy either but said that “there must be order in this world.”

Every bureaucracy tends to overregulate, but what has been going on since the Orbán government came into power defies imagination. Regulation on top of regulation in all aspects of life, which naturally makes not only the individual’s life ever more complicated but also negatively affects business activity and hence economic growth.

As we know, Hungarian education suffers from overcentralization and useless bureaucratic constraints. More and more paper work to satisfy the authorities at the top of the pyramid overburdens the teaching staff. Striving for absolute uniformity of teaching material kills the individual initiative of both teacher and pupil.

After “reforming” public education, the Ministry of Human Resources began work on a new law governing higher education. This project, however, was recently put on ice since the proposed bill that had been hammered out by István Klinghammer, the newly appointed undersecretary of higher education, was torpedoed by László Parragh, president of the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Parragh has peculiar ideas about the purpose of  higher education–ideas, however, that Viktor Orbán finds attractive. Parragh’s “veto” meant that the entire draft had to be pitched.

Then there was the new law on adult education, a task that fell to the officials of the Ministry of Economics. This is the law, in effect since September 1, that prompted an outcry in the community of teachers of foreign languages. There are large language schools for which, it seems, the law is tailored because they are the only ones who can fulfill all the requirements stipulated in the law. The Ministry refuses to divulge the names of organizations that were consulted in connection with drafting this bill, but eventually it became clear that there were only three: the association that represents large language schools, Parragh’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the National Chamber of Agriculture. There is an association that represents smaller language schools called Nyelvtudásért Egyesület (Association for the Knowledge of Foreign Languages) whose aim is to promote wider knowledge of foreign languages. No representatives of this association were invited to participate in the preparation of the bill. In addition, there are the thousands of private teachers who are either freelancers or who teach in high schools during the day and in the evening have a few pupils.

languages

According to the law, no distinction is made among these groups. All of them must put up 1 million forints as insurance that they don’t run away with the money of their pupils. All of them must follow the same curriculum, the same books, the same lecture structure. All of them, even private teachers, must have separate toilet facilities for the students. All such teaching facilities must provide daily data on the number of students entering their courses as well as school attendance and the number dropping out. The rules even dictate that the teacher must have a copy machine and a printer, two separate pieces of equipment. As one private teacher pointed out, since he has a multifunction printer he is not eligible. The same teacher complained that there is not one word in the law about teaching online, which constitutes a good portion of his teaching activity.

There is one exception to all of these rules: those teachers who concentrate on specific language competencies. For example, special vocabulary for doctors, for mechanical engineers, computer scientists or for that matter pastry chefs or bricklayers. Here I see the hand of Parragh who has no appreciation of anything that is not practical.

If this law remains in its present form, Hungarian foreign language teaching will receive another blow. Only very large language schools will remain, where apparently the classes are too large. According to some teachers, as many as sixteen pupils make up an average class. I know from personal experience that one learns nothing useful in such surroundings. It is possible that smaller language schools operating with only a handful of teachers will not be able to fulfill all the requirements because, as it is, they are struggling to keep their heads above water. They might have to throw in the towel, and their teachers will most likely go to work for the few large schools. As for the private teachers, they will either stop teaching or go “underground.”

The incompetence of the people who have joined the ministries since Fidesz won the election in 2010 is really staggering. First of all, I don’t know why the Ministry of Economics was entrusted with drafting a law that deals primarily with education. Yes, one could argue that the knowledge of foreign languages has something to do with business, but teaching is teaching. Moreover, not only adults turn to language schools or private teachers. Many high school students find that what their high schools offer is simply not enough to pass the language exams necessary to acquire a university degree.

These incompetent bureaucrats feel so powerful and knowledgeable that they don’t ask experts in the field to help but instead listen to lobbyists and leaders of business or agricultural trade associations who surely are unfamiliar with the topic of foreign language teaching. Moreover, I even doubt that they understand what the professions they represent actually need. Let’s hope that the outcry that this law spawned will result in some changes. If not, its consequences will be dire, the profession predicts.

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43 comments

  1. I heard of this before, but with less of the staggering details.

    Everything goes the way some people predicted – even before April 2010.

    “Many high school students find that what their high schools offer is simply not enough to pass the language exams necessary to acquire a university degree.” My “ceterum censeo” remains that noone should be allowed to enroll at a university without all necessary language exams passed before entering university. To demand such language qualifications at the time a university degree should be obtained is ludicrous. I means that you can study a field – only knowing Hungarian and not being able to read the pertinent foreign literature – until the day of your exam. That can’t be the idea. And I have heard of this practice only in Hungary. Plus, I knew a few people who studied and produced papers for ten years and then failed to get a degree because they couldn’t pass any language test. But, admittedly that was long before Orbán. It probably started in communist times. But that doesn’t make it any better.

    BTW, I’m sure these silly and annoying paper stickers are put on the loaves after baking (remember 451 Fahrenheit?). But I have seen them in various other countries in my youth, also in Bavaria. So they are only a re-invention. Still not more useful, though.

  2. I believe you, of course. But as a child I saw bakers using a little flower dissolved in water and putting them on after baking when the bread was still steaming hot.

    Latest rumor has it, though, that nowadays these labels are stuck on pre-baked products which come from factories. In that case the loaves are not so long in the oven and the heat is lower and not so long as they are only crisped up.

    Anyway, your post is about the unimaginable chicanery on language teachers and language schools and not primarily about annoying bread stickers.

  3. On the day – as member of the diplomatic community – that I was given an advance tour of the spanking-new and rebuilt Hungarian President’s mansion in the Castle District I saw the foreboding of an era of militarization ethic in this country. Here were soldiers in old style unifroms stiffly saluting each other marching up and down in front of the premises.

    A few months later, in a cascade, came laws for the uniformization of various aspects of the civil services. Taxi vehciles’s carosserie color, the per km fixing of prices for the service, the ownership of schools and hospitals, all decisions having to be made from the ‘very’ top-down….

    Alarm bells were resonating in my ears, from every-which direction…

    Lets be frank, I seen lots. And I know that when – in the intimate sphere – within a couple, one gets very fussy with expectations, that means throuble sooner or later.

    Victor Orban has a case of expectation-sickness toward others in a ‘heavy duty’ way.

    I personally think it may be a slightly female trait, I’ve received most of these kinds of requirement specifications from females… HOWEVER this just means that Orban – who would like to appear terribly MACHO is having a VERY tough time admitting that he has elements of his character that are usually aoociated with females. Normally we all have some male, some female aspects within our character, but, some people have a hard time admitting to that straight-forward fact.

    Expectation of the museum-like spotless and dutsless home, on that gypsies should keep their yard in order according to the ‘standars’ of the ‘locals’…. ehem… all the schools belonging to one entity that spells out all the laws and regulations, all the hospitals belonging to one entity, all decisions being made pyramid-like from the top down. In part these are traits that belong to those that (male or female) want to have control over others. In business such behavior is called “micro-control” that is, being over-eager to controll every minute aspect of every stop by every person in the community. A FEUDAL strategy if there ever wqas one.

    Militaristic style. No question about it. Have you seen Duna I and Duna II Tv? Can’t spend longer than 15 minutes without seeing a Hungarian Husszar popping up in one corner or another on the screen…

    Remember the Orban review of soldiers on Heroe’s square… when congratulating the commander (the tv recorder happened to be ‘on’) for having kept the selection of soldiers “extended-belly-less” – something that he preferred not to encounter on display among the service-men. (That just means he’d rather not look in the mirror…).

    With his military, uniformization, idealistic mode, he is actually saying to those open to hearing him that with more and better military Trianon could have been avoided . That is single-channel pragmatic military logic.

    And he is betting that the majority of Hungarians are gonna love to blieve this as the ultimate solution for a more successful future.

    The general population here is incapable of drawing the conclusion from past history that both the Soviet Union and the United States have lost most battles because military might with its militaristic orderliness does not win hearts and minds…

    And foreboding though it might seem, we may be just at the beginning.

  4. This is maddening and idiotic bureaucracy but it has a logic. The deal is the same as in the case of the extensive government regulation recently introduced in other fields (tobacco shops, taxis, pharmacies): to eliminate market competition and to impose stronger state control so as to to hand over the market to the Fidesz faithful and loyal. Even among language schools. The very essence of the regime is this modus operandi. You have to increase state control and regulation to be able to control who has access to the “goodies.”
    Little by little the Orban regime is extending its spider web over to every corner of life… the goal is to control the society in a way that people’s livelihood will be directly dependent on serving the regime. Free market does not fit into this picture.

  5. When I began writing my comment-essay about uniformization there had been no comment as yet. By the time I had finished, I noticed 4 more brief comments had arrived in the meanwhile.
    Mostly about the cute-but-bothersome bread ‘stickers’.

    Well, I got somethin’ of my own to say about these little devils. In the happy old barracks ‘commie days every single product had to have a label stuck on it describing what it was or what its intended function whould be: Eg. “Soap holder” or “Bedroom night-table”. And it would need to appear in the Hungarian language, Polish or Czech was insufficient. Just so youd know what you were gonna use the soap holder for… (apparently they were already secretly lookin down at the general population, their fledglings).

    As for the sticker-labels on the bread, I respectully disagree with a few. Yes it is annoying to have to cut it off and lose a part of the delicious crust, for sure, but I personally vouch for its usefulness. Not to be contrarian. But just that with ALL the bread (STILL often quite DELICIOUS in Hungary) being manufactured and delivered and shelved in massive quantities, it would be REAL tough to figure out which type of loaf, weight, manufacturer, date of expiration you were presenting at the cash register. Not all loaves are sold at the bakery. Many are delivered to a supermarket from various vendors. Loaves are not individually wrapped for a reason. The attendant handing you a loaf of bread is not the same as the one who is checking it out at the register. Ders gotta bee some system like it or not to help identification… seeing that finger-printing would not be hygienic…

    As to why the brioche etc may have no label – its that they are apparently fewer in range and visibly more identifiable.

    The other elements of unifromization I discussed above in Comment No. 6.

    Bon appetit

  6. @An. What on earth have we been talking about all this time? Can’t you remember what some of us had it about – even pre-April 2010?

    That’s what’s happening. It is all according to plan (even if the detailed plans are changed every other day, and less and less of daily things work anymore or have become so costly that nobody can afford them).

    But the Grand Plan was visible long before the 2010 elections for those who had eyes to see and intuition to imagine. After all, this way of highjacking an entire country isn’t the first time, is it? But nobody had so much time and money to plan for the slightest detail to gain power and how to keep it.

    The EU will not do much unless it can identify a strong and trustworthy opposition. Then some of them might be all gang-ho about it. But as yet you have to look for the opposition just in Budapest – and with a microscope, no, several microscopes. Not so much to write home about…

  7. @andy -. In this country, every bread in the supermarket is wrapped in a bag that is printed with information about what’s in it. After baking on the spot, the loaves are taken out by gloved hands and stuffed into the individual bags.

    But still: Topic of post: new language teaching regulations in Hungary.

  8. Eva S. Balogh :
    Minusio, honest to goodness, I saw the bakers sticking them on the dough!

    If you’ve ever cut of a sticker you quickly realize that the sticker is baked into the bread. I mean, it’s part of the bread. I’ve always found it odd but then, who cares as long as the chemicals in the ink don’t leach into the bread. As for the paper burning, as long as there is moisture in the bread the paper cannot burn

  9. An has the point.

    Fidesz wants to capture as many markets as it possibly can, because distribution of the goodies (issuing the licenses) means another form of control and another source of money.

    (Next are the 11 new licenses for slot machine play halls and there is a lot of thinking going into how to reorganize the sale of alcohol in Hungary, after all the market is based on licenses in the US, and heavily restricted in the Scandinavia.)

    But remember: these marker captures happen always in line with EU laws and practice, as there are plenty of examples of restricted taxi services and pharmacies.

    So Fidesz can always point to long-standing EU examples. Putin does the same, so nobody can criticize his laws on public demonstration, because in the UK the law is even tougher (the potential fines are bigger).

    These dictators are pretty smart. As the EU can only think in terms of “rule of law” and is crazily over-legalized and over-procedural, these dictators will always win the legal arguments against the EU as they have done every time so far (remember that Orban never retreated on any issue as a result of any EU action, all the judges were fired, all the media is under control and so on, the EU is indeed a toothless paper tiger and the butt of jokes at Fidesz HQ).

  10. Never mind the bread… this absurd law on teaching language may well have its origins in some misguided economic view of the world but it’s a shame that no language acquisition experts seem to have been consulted. If they had, they would have made the important point that having a centralised syllabus simply doesn’t work. We know now much more about how languages are learned than we did, even 15 years ago since there is a large and active research community. Without going into lengthy detail here, it’s clear that this law will backfire badly and hurt those who are at the bottom of the this particular ladder: the students.

  11. Forget language schools and stop dubbing all movies and TV shows.

    As for special language training for professions.. I can only comment on software developers. Contrary to popular belief, programming languages aren’t for computers, they are for Humans to read. They are to provide us with a higher level of abstraction in which to describe a solution to a problem. They also allows developers to develop a vocabulary that helps describe the problem space they are working in. Take HTML for example. It describes how to render this text in your web browser by using tags such as for paragraph (the brevity of ‘p’ is considered bad form), and so on. While the vocabulary for HTML is well defined, it’s parent, XML come vocabulary free which helps others define their own vocabulary such as FPML for financials. As you can see, computers don’t need any of this. Regular programming languages serve the same purpose which essentially means the vast majority of programs are written in “English”.

    Reading a program written by a non-native english speaker is sometimes interesting. If you understand the flow of a persons thoughts you can survive a mislabeling and still derive intent. However this doesn’t work when the programmer has no English at all. These people are marginalized which may work in France or Germany, countries with markets so large that they can adsorb these people. However, even in these countries companies realize that they *must* work with outside experts and they must be able to adapt to newer technologies and to be able to do so means their programs must be written in English. Learning that számítógép is computer in English isn’t going to cut it in a market like Hungary’s where most developers are sucked up by multi-nationals setting up developer pools in places like InfoPark.

  12. As soon as Fidesz/KDNP came to power it was obvious that their main thrust was control, control, control. In the past 3 1/2 year this has succeeded completely, to the dismay of liberals and democrats. The flip side of the government’s task was to fix the economy and in this Matolcsy, Orban and Varga have been dismal failures. The Fidesz/KDNP control freaks with their nationalistic, irredentist, kuruc arrogance have succeeded in turning economic investment and (non-Fidesz) business confidence in Hungary into a wasteland. Language teaching? More of the same.

    A personal “Thank you” to Prof. Balogh for writing this blog. It must be hard work but there are a lot of readers on this end who depend on it for counter-balancing information against the propaganda and who appreciate the research effort necessary. More power to you!

  13. “If this law remains in its present form, Hungarian foreign language teaching will receive another blow”

    Yes and no. Smaller language schools will certainly take a blow whereas Fidesz institutions (eg International House) will mop up the legal market. However, the desire or necessity to learn a foreign language does not depend on the regime.

    International House and the other Fidesz schools presently charge the highest price; admittedly IH also does provide a relatively high standard of teaching but they do at present charge 2 even 3 times more than the typical quality smaller school. Once its competition has been removed, then logicakky those prices will go up even further.

    However, as I said, simply because only the Fidesz elite and their spolit brats can afford to study at IH it doesn’t mean that the normal decent folk will just decide to give up.

    *Unofficial* private language teaching operates in a purely free-market environment (best teachers get the most students) and due to its flexible and ad hoc nature is almost impossible for the Orban bully boys to stop.

    Now, most of those teachers would love to operate legally but why should they prostitute themselves in front of a scumbag regime and its vindictive and idiotic bureaucracy?
    So, country loses out in a lot of tax and social security payments but decent teachers continue to earn a crust and more importantly, the normal folk continue to receive a language education that Hungary’s dictatorship seems determined to limit to a privileged minority.

  14. Minusio :

    @andy -. In this country, every bread in the supermarket is wrapped in a bag that is printed with information about what’s in it. After baking on the spot, the loaves are taken out by gloved hands and stuffed into the individual bags.

    But still: Topic of post: new language teaching regulations in Hungary.

    Here too.

  15. Curly: Thank you for the correction. Still, while the US current-account deficit is around 100 billion, Hungary`s 830 million euros in the black is not bad for a country with practically no resources.

  16. 95% of Hungarians still can be fooled by the rulers of any current systems.
    Even in the last days of uber-patritoic post-KISZ apparatchnik Orban, there will be still a love-fest in the open.
    It is strange that too many fellow Hungarians lack straight logic.
    VOTE DK.
    What would our resident smart guru, Petofi say?

  17. OT but what to make of this bonkers story about Tamás Deutsch, with his usual foul language and boorish manner, threatening the Prosecutor’s Office to shut down kuruc.info… OR ELSE!
    http://hvg.hu/itthon/20131214_Lejart_Deutsch_ultimatuma

    Incidentally what an odd photo Deutsch has on his Facebook profile page: Orbán looks supremely bored, and Deutsch himself is biting his fingernails. I guess he can put up whatever photo he wants of himself but it’s not exactly the most flattering one…
    https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000694338124

  18. Joe Simon :
    Curly: Thank you for the correction. Still, while the US current-account deficit is around 100 billion, Hungary`s 830 million euros in the black is not bad for a country with practically no resources.

    Magyarország jobban teljesit? Does Hungary perform better?

    According to Eurostat
    Poverty share in % of the Hungarian population in at least one of the following three conditions:

    1) at risk of poverty, meaning below the poverty threshold,
    2) in a situation of severe material deprivation,
    3) living in a household with very low work intensity.

    2008 2011 2012

    28,2 31,0 32,4

    The EU average was 24,8

    So while the Oligarch Maffia gets richer, the Hungarian population becomes poorer

    Source
    http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index.php/People_at_risk_of_poverty_or_social_exclusion

    see also:
    http://www.napi.hu/nemzetkozi_gazdasag/itt_vannak_a_friss_szamok_magyarorszag_nem_teljesit_jobban.571852.html

  19. Joe Simon :
    Curly: Thank you for the correction. Still, while the US current-account deficit is around 100 billion, Hungary`s 830 million euros in the black is not bad for a country with practically no resources.

    Joe, that is actually bad. Developed countries run current acount deficits. Poor countries have surplus. This is not a thing to brag about.

  20. “Yet another lunacy: Law on teaching foreign languages”

    They way I understand the word it is not lunacy, just another example of the logic of dictatorship. A dictatorship will bleed to death unless its borders are closed. It is unlikely that the Hungarians will tolerate that their borders get closed once more, so the Fidesz-dictatorship must look for other ways to keep people in the fold. The new law on language teaching is meant to imprison the majority of the Hungarians in their own language. Those who know only Hungarian will stay in Hungary, because they cannot get jobs abroad. Those who can afford to learn foreign languages in the new competition-free schools belong to the Fidesz nomenklatura. No problem with them.

    The law strikes two flies with one stroke. The slowing down of the depopulation is the primary objective. Taking away the business from small language schools and giving it to the Fidesz mafia is a minor collateral advantage. Not the same scale as the slot machine and the tobacco affairs.

  21. SL :
    95% of Hungarians still can be fooled by the rulers of any current systems.
    Even in the last days of uber-patritoic post-KISZ apparatchnik Orban, there will be still a love-fest in the open.
    It is strange that too many fellow Hungarians lack straight logic.
    VOTE DK.
    What would our resident smart guru, Petofi say?

    There is a similarity between the technique of American evangelicals and the Fidesz party (namely, Orban)–declare the people’s exceptionality; that you alone fully recognize it; and that you are the seer to direct them. It works for those who can’t, or won’t, think for themselves.

    I’ve said on numerous occasions that Hungarians have been mis-educated. The Catholic Church has a great responsibility for this because they can’t get their hands on young children early enough to indoctrinate them. This mal-formed Christianity is infused into the society. The idea of Independence is not promoted anywhere in the education system.
    Moreover, I have seen little indication that the wisdom of other cultures in books is promoted
    at either the high school or university level.

    When one is the ‘greatest’ and ‘leading edge’ of civilization, what need is there to know of others?

    Can book-burning be far behind?

  22. I must add:

    Orban clearly believes that Hungarians have nothing to learn from others or from the Past….or why bar Precedent from the action of courts?

  23. THe Orban government submitted a bill to fideszize the textbook publishing industry today, on a Sunday evening. It will be a law within 48 hours.

    The brainwashing of the future generation is a high-priority goal.

    One Volk, one Fuhrer, one textbook.

    http://www.parlament.hu/irom39/13406/13406.pdf

    Child, here are the commandments you have to observe as a Hungarian Hungarian:

    First commandment: Obey your Fidesz rulers
    Second: St Istvan wrote in his testament that a man called the “Great Orban” will be his genuine successor.
    ….
    Tenth: Never question the first nine commandments.

  24. It really appears that Fidesz wants a return to a feudal system, where only a few privileged learn foreign languages or even get a higher education at all – you don’t need the three Rs to raise pigs … Remember “Fidesz wants a return to a work based economy” ???

    This reminds me of the story of friends from Romania (ok, it’s a bit OT, but still …):

    A Romanian family of German descent came to Germany in the late 80s after having been harassed for not conforming – the wife first lost her job as a German teacher, but after that she made more money by giving private lessons to the children of the Romanian nomenklatura …

  25. “7.§
    (8) The Association of Textbook Entrepreneurs will cease to exist on on March 31.
    (9) Its Board must convene by February 1.
    (11) The Association must not decide to live longer in a changed or any other form.”

    These are the words of a TOTALITARIAN government.

  26. Tappanch, does that come from this law? It strikes me as an outright violation of the EU Charter of Funamental Rights, under Article 12, Freedom of Assembly and Association and possibly, Article 16, on the Freedom to Conduct or Run a Business.

  27. @GW

    This is a translated excerpt form the text of the bill. Fidesz can change a word or two in the bill before Tuesday, but their objective remains the same.

    In the summer, when they fideszized the credit unions, they put a similar clause in that bill:
    the Association of Credit Unions had to convene and approve the government’s dictate.
    And this is what happened.

    I cannot recall any audible objection from the EU.

  28. The name of the previous law was

    “Order in the Textbook Market”,

    The title of its replacement, this very law will be

    “Textbook Supply to the National Public Training”

    see 8.§

    —————–
    For some reason, they do not like the word “public education” (közoktatás),
    they replaced it in every legal text with the word “public training” (köznevelés)
    in the last two years.

    Dictionary of Fideszspeak:

    oktatás = teaching, education
    Example: a pre-Fidesz school teaches (oktatja) its pupils.

    nevelés = upbringing, training,
    Example: a Fidesz era school (or the parent-like government) raises (neveli) its school-age subjects.

  29. tappanch :
    The name of the previous law was
    “Order in the Textbook Market”,
    The title of its replacement, this very law will be
    “Textbook Supply to the National Public Training”
    see 8.§
    —————–
    For some reason, they do not like the word “public education” (közoktatás),
    they replaced it in every legal text with the word “public training” (köznevelés)
    in the last two years.
    Dictionary of Fideszspeak:
    oktatás = teaching, education
    Example: a pre-Fidesz school teaches (oktatja) its pupils.
    nevelés = upbringing, training,
    Example: a Fidesz era school (or the parent-like government) raises (neveli) its school-age subjects.

    – Well, we couldn’t expect them to express explicis verbis, that the real term would be “indoctrination”, could we?

  30. You may recall that we had quite a discussion about the word “köznevelés” versus “közoktatás” at the time when Rózsa Hoffmann renamed public education. Unfortunately, the former that the Orbán government decided to use in my mind means indoctrination. As if the schools are taking over the bringing up of children instead of their parents.

  31. Re köznevelés. Yes, exactly this is the plan. Teachers are by nature conservatives in Hungary and they have been feeling along with Ms. Hoffmann that Hungarian parents neglect their children. Kids rarely receive the necessary attention even in high-income families, with which I can agree. Lack of parenting skills and other issues make this problem especially acute in schools which educate low-income kids, whether they be rural primary schools or urban “szakközép” secondary schools. Many low-income families simply lack the necessary know-how to teach the kids even the most basic skills, like washing tooth every day (ideally at least three times), since they themselves do not do it. Or closing lockers or doors (as opposed to leaving them open) or have an orderly desk or throwing the thrash into bins. (The general state of dental health in Hungary is more than appalling, fpor example at least 10% of people never washes their teeth.) These trends are partly the result of lack of money, but the point is that many teachers feel that much more is needed than just teaching kids chemistry. “Köznevelés” is a nod to these teachers.

  32. in my experience in Hungary it’s not the language students who are in danger of language teachers and schools running away with their money, but the other way around:

    -Students are usually required to pay their courses in full or at least half of the fee at language schools in order to motivate them to actually show up and not have to cancel that course due to poor attendance and hence guarantee the school’s and teacher’s salary. Sometimes students need to only prove they have taken a language course and not take an exam proving they are proficient to fulfill some job requirement, so they sign up and just show up whenever they feel like.

    -Private teachers are the most vulnerable for this same reason, due to last minute cancellations. For this reason, one of my friends who teaches English privately at his home has students pay the next course up front and no refund if they cancel less than 24 hours before.

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