The Ministry for Human Resources has launched a programme with a budget of 4.5 billion forints (EUR 15 million) aimed at facilitating cooperation between schools in Hungary and abroad that cater for underprivileged pupils, Minister of State for Public Education Rózsa Hoffmann and Minister of State for Social Inclusion Zoltán Kovács announced at a press conference in the village of Nyergesújfalu, northern Hungary.

In the first phase of the programme, 165 schools with at least 7,550 pupils – 3,020 of whom are grossly disadvantaged – have been awarded funds. The Ministry of Human Resources is launching a second tendering phase for the remaining budget of 1.4 billion forints, the two ministry officials announced.

Photo: Károly Árvai

The new tender will make funds available for the cooperation of sister schools in Hungary, neighbouring countries and the European Union.

Mr. Kovács added that schools with pupils in fifth grade and upwards were qualified to enter the tender. To receive funding for domestic cooperation, applying schools had to have at least 50 disadvantaged pupils and an underprivileged pupil ratio of at least 20 percent. In this part of the tender, 130 schools were awarded funds for at least 6,500 participating pupils.

Photo: Károly Árvai

35 schools with 1,050 participating students have been awarded almost 500 million forints for programmes in neighbouring countries or the European Union. Both domestic and international projects must be completed by the summer of 2015.

Ms. Hoffmann denied opposition allegations that the current administration has reduced public funding for education. “Quite the opposite is true: one only has to look at the budget figures and the tenders in question are in addition to that (the education budget)” – she said.

(Ministry of Human Resources)