Monday, 4 May 2015


In Hungarian colleges and universities

Conductive World has more than once remarked that it is hard enough to penetrate the Hungarian language, but understanding what is going on in Hungary is further obscured by more than just the Hungarian language. There is also the problem of Hungarian culture. And history. And values and attitudes.

And there is also the problem of Hungary's politics and institutions.

A recent posting on Conductive World concerned the newly announced administrative positions at the PAF (the András Pető College – formally the Pető Institute):

These personnel are listed under two heads, the Rector's people (under Franz Schaffhauser), and the Chancellor's, under Mihályi Máté Győző. In so far as I understand the matter, I attempted to explain this dual governance as follows –
Chancelleries are new structures recently imposed by central government upon all higher-education institutions in Hungary, to keep an eye on the money and ensure government control.

This of course applies to higher-education institutions across that country. As far as the PAF is specifically concerned –
There is no organigram (organogram, if you prefer) to show how the two management sectors or the individual posts within them relate to one another and to the world outside

This is hardly a matter that occasions widespread interest in the English-speaking world. Here, however, is a recent view on this, from someone who seems somewhat more knowledgeable than myself. In the Huffington Post this week Professor Jon Van Til writes
...the Hungarian regime has moved to the task of higher education reform. It first appointed a new officer to every state-funded university, calling this person 'chancellor', and sitting him at the side of the university rector (or president) with the task of overseeing the fiscal health of the institution. These new officers, soon to be referred to by knowing faculty members as 'commissars' suspected as enforcers of the Fidesz party's reputed blacklist for employment, were largely selected from a pool of political hacks who had managed to lose a variety of local and national elections despite their adherence to the ruling party...
Or, to put it more directly: Whoops, there goes academic freedom in a country that has long prided itself on the quality of its higher education...
Prof Van Til might well think that. I couldn't possibly comment:


Sutton, A. (2015) Who's who at the World Famous: revised hierarchy published today, Conductive World, 24 April

Van Til, J. (2015) Dumbing down Hungary: an unraveling regime strikes and then retreats, again, Huffington Post, 5 April

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