Saturday, 17 June 2017


A lesson from history
With only a few weeks to go till the incorporation of the present PAF (the former Pető Institute) into the Semmelweiss Medical University, minds are doubtless turning to how things might change, how things might be different, how it will all look.

As yet, of course, it is too early to tell, though after 1 August, however things change when the new arrangement comes into force, it seems reasonable to assume that they will change even more in the years that follow. Indeed, as those who have known organisational mergers in other contexts will testify, it takes a remarkably short time for old ways and former people, to pass out of immediate experience and, well, be forgotten.

A comparison

There is possibly an interesting precedent for what is now happening with respect to the the PAF and the Semmelweis – what has already happened in Budapest with the Gusztáv Bárczi College of Special Education and ELTE (the Eötvös Loránd University).

The Gusztáv Bárczi College, like the Pető Institute, had a strong, eponymous identity – but also a wide-ranging presence in the Hungarian education system. Then in 2000 it followed a common precedent within higher education in being incorporated into a large established university..

The former special-education college was incorporated into ELTE as a kar (a 'chair' or faculty), and maintains an eponymous identity as the Bárczi Gusztáv Gyógypedagógiai Kar (the Gusztáv Barcsi Faculty of Special Education). This is housed in a spanking new building, it has its own Rector* within the wider structure of the university, and its own library.

Perhaps its webpages might offer something of how a future 'András Pető Conductive Education Faculty' might appear to the world, both in image and in content.

In Hungarian: Bárczi Gusztáv Gyógypedagógiai Kar:

A shorter English-language summary of this:

Time will tell. For the moment Budapest will now have two major universities with faculties dedicated to special education/ rehabilitation. In the past, the Gusztáv Bárczi and the Pető Institute held each other very much at arms' length. For the immediate future they will kikkely continue to develop in some respects apart, not just under separate universities but within separate academic/professional traditions. Certain broader academic traditions, however, they will now share, within which their development might prove more parallel than hitherto – or even convergent.

It is worth noting by the way that the Gusztáv Bárczi's specialist departments include one that trains special-education students to work with children with physical disabilities (and that Hungarian education has an established system for such children quite separate from that of the PAI/PAF.

Entanglement with national (and nationalistic) politics and with matters financial have obscured the fact that the Pető Institute exists in a world where shape-shifting, mergers and other significant institutional changes have become commonplace features of higher-educational life.

We are now where we are and changes due to come into force on 1 August are likely to normalise the future development of the institution that retains the name 'Peto'. Whether this will be for the future benefit of Conductive Education as a whole... well, that will be to be seen, in a world that will be very different from before.

One earlier posting on this merger


* The present Rector is Peter Zászkaliczky. In the context of the wider theme of this present posting on Conductive World, you might find this interesting:

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