Tuesday, 23 May 2017


SOTE incorporates the Pető Institute

Image result for sote egyetem

This morning's Magyar Hirlap reports a written Parliamentary reply by Secretary of State Bence Rétvári to an opposition question, in which he give more details of the arrangement for the merger between the Semmelweis Medical University and what the paper calls the 'Pető Institute'.

The Humanities Ministry confirms that this merger may come into force this August. The integration of the two institutions will not affect applications, and that the merger should increase the number of students and the international prestige of both institutions.

Since 2014 PAF (the András Pető College) has been controlled by the Ministry of Human Resources. The merger will improve the quality of service and management by improving the quality and effectiveness of rehabilitation capacities.

By law such a change can occur each year only on 1 February and 1 August. The framework for this change now been agreed by the two senates and there is agreement with the employees' and students' bodies in both institutions.

Bence Rétvári states –

The proposal on which the decision is based contains a detailed concept of institutional transformation... transformation takes place by merging the college into the university

An independent András Pető Faculty and Conductive Pedagogical Centre will then be created. PAC's present organisational units such as the international the adults' departments and the children's services can continue within the framework of the university. Fundraising and recruitment will continue. So too will Chancellor Máté Mihályi's decentralisation project aimed at widening access outside Budapest. This is not outsourcing, all places continuing to be provided within the framework of the college. The State Secretary also pointed out that the Government raised the public support of the Pető Institute between 2015 and 2017, from 1231 million to 1492 million forints, and that this commitment will be maintained.

The period before 2014 still casts its shadow, from what the newspaper calls a crime of alleged treachery under the previous management. This remains under police investigation.

Some first thoughts

The new 'College' title has not caught on. In public discourse the institution remains the 'Pető Institute'. From August, what will the new university unit be officially called?
  • There is other terminology to get used to. The newspaper headline refers to 'SOTE' rather than Semmelweis, the abbreviation for Semmelweis Orvostudomanyi Egyetem (Semelweis Medical University). Better get used to both.
  • My, this is going through quickly – and everything will have to be in place for initial implementation to ensure business as usual in just over two months' time.
  • At the moment there is no suggestion but that as far as services (including training) will be as before. In the longer term, organisationally, personally, with respect to premises etc., one will have to see.
  • I have used the word 'Faculty' here to translate the Hungarian word Kar. I could have written 'Chair'. And this should remind everyone that this change will be far more than just an administrative move. András Pető's heritage in Hungary will now be taken back into the academic medical establishment, with all that this implies. Think on it. One obvious implication: chairs mean professors... Who? For good or for ill, this will inevitably all add up to more than 'institutional transformation'.
  • Decentralisation will continue, with care taken to state that this will remain a centrally provided public service.
  • There is no mention of the services provided abroad with financial support from the Hungarian Government (in Kazakhstan and countries surrounding Hungary).
  • 1231 million forints = £3.45 million; 1492 million forints = £4.19: not a lot really towards the annual costs of a two-site institution of that size. It is going to take an awful lot of fundraising and commercial activity to make up the shortfall.
  • Budapest's fraud squad still has the PAI's pre-renationalisation financial management as an active case. How far back and how wide the investigations is extending remain unstated, even what it is that they are looking at. But the Minister makes sure that we are reminded that it is looking...
I am sure that others will have their own thoughts on this announcement...


Kacsoh, D (2017) Befogadja a SOTE a Pető Intézetet. Az érintett intézmények szenátusai rábólintottak, így eldőlt: a Pető András Főiskola a Semmelweis Egyetembe olvad – értesültünk. Az integráció nem érinti a felvételizőket. Magyar Hírlap, 23 May

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