Saturday, January 21, 2012

Educatio - yes? no? maybe?

Doubt -- this expression describes what surrounds the new education "reform". Ifs, buts and high tuition fee increase is what we have to face. Despite the unsure circumstances, the annual university fair did take place this year, too. This is Educatio.

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Instead of SYMA, it was organized at Papp László Sportaréna, (5-minute walk away from the previous place). I think it was due to the huge audience that usually attends the 2-day-long exhibition, but changing the place was not really a solution (horrible crowd right after its opening). The whole thing started at 10, I got a call from a friend at 10:30 suggesting not to come because the security guards no longer let anybody in.

If plan A does not work comes plan B or plan P -- as "p" referring to press. It was not at all easy, but finally I made it: managed to get into the exposition. I grabbed a map at the press entrance, and it turned out that the only university I wanted to check is not even present. Fantastic. So I spent the whole afternoon asking about both undergraduate and graduate programs at each university. And I even met a devil and an angel... 

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What did I experience? Panic. Everywhere. The unilateral changes to terms and conditions of higher education caused desperation (or hopelessness?). None of the representatives could answer to any of questions starting with "how much"... nobody knows the exact amount of tuition fees... nobody knows how many students can study for free (state sponsored) nor which courses offer state support. However, frame numbers mostly turned out: IT and engineering programs are the ones that the government wants to support, all the others are more or less unnecessary... I tell you an example: I'm studying law (besides many other things...) and the faculty accepts at least 300 students each year. Now, this year only 100 prospective lawyers will be enrolled in the whole country (!). Then to top it all, the new concept would forbid students to leave the country for a set number of years after receiving their degree.

As an answer to the changes in the higher education system, activists of Hallgatói Hálózat (university student network) arranged a creative demonstration in front of the stage where the head of the Education Authority wanted to give a speech. They just cut him off :) genius. 



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