Historically we are experiencing the second PISA shock – said education policy analyst Péter Radó reacting to the conclusions of OECD’s 2016 PISA report on Hungary. During his lecture he said the situation of the Hungarian education system has been affected by numerous trends, which are concerned in the report, as well. Consequently the researcher warned about three main phenomena, which may be challenges for the education system.
The first challenge is the steady increase of time spent in the education process. The researcher highlighted that secondary education in Hungary today is regarded as the primary education had been in the 20th century, justifying the prolonged time spent in pre-school education and professional and vocational trainings. On the contrary, the number of 18-year-olds studying in secondary education has been gradually decreasing since 2011 – which may raise concerns in the future.
Second, the analyst believes the revaluation of knowledge has also caused problems. By the 21st century, the knowledge being present in education has also depreciated, while the knowledge bases have become outdated. Education has to concentrate on utilizing this knowledge as tools in order to develop student skills, as skills regarding understanding and utilization – on contrary with lexical knowledge – have been valorized. The researcher added education systems have been widely democratized, creating a ’knowledge minimum’ instead of general knowledge. He added Hungary has been underperforming in this context – the number of those underperforming in education has increased significantly since 2009.
Third, the more dramatic economic and social costs of failure and underperformance has also become a serious challenge to tackle. Connecting to this issue, the number of skills needed for many jobs have increased due to significant developments in demographics and technology. Satisfying the emerging needs of the industrial and service sectors thus collides with the skills shortage of laborers today.
According to Radó, the consequence of emerging trends is that inclusive education has become the centre of education development. On the contrary, the Hungarian system has been reproducing school failures more than ever – the number of those lacking the most essential skills regarding all 3 basic competences measured has increased, as stated in the report. Reacting to the steady increase of functional illiteracy, the education researcher said „the performance of the Hungarian education system is absolutely dramatic.”
Nonetheless, educated parents may be of service to education development: in Western countries education systems are not influenced by only the state, but parents, as well, which might serve as an example.