We want a Hungary where universities play a central role, where knowledge is not only transferred, but also created and utilized, the Minister of Innovation and Technology said at the inaugural senate meeting of the University of Debrecen at the Nagyerdei Stadium on Sunday.
Photo: Facebook / Lajos Kósa
László Palkovics said that the spirit of the University of Debrecen and the directions of the Hungarian higher education strategy are in line.
There is a thirst for knowledge and the intention to continue learning in Hungarian young people: the number of students has been growing steadily since 2017, 11 percent more people applied to higher education institutions this year than last year, and 67 thousand of the 102,000 applicants were admitted, he added. According to the head of the ministry, in order for the institutions to meet the requirements of the age, a change of degree was necessary, and for this, three conditions had to be ensured. According to his list, the first is the financial background necessary for innovation: direct state support for higher education will increase from HUF 210 billion this year to more than HUF 400 billion next year.
Hungary is one of the Member States of the European Union that most intensively supports the functioning and innovation of universities: in 2021 the government will spend almost 1.2 percent of GDP on universities, and by 2022 the 650 billion higher education budget will be supplemented by university development and innovation with a budget of 310 billion for science parks. This already represents a nearly 1,000 billion higher education budget, which will account for 1.7 percent of projected GDP – László Palkovics detailed.
He added that they are currently working to meet the development needs of universities of HUF 2,700 billion at the beginning of the year, the vast majority of the funds are available, a large part of which will soon go to universities. As a second condition for the degree change, he mentioned an operational environment that makes better use of its potential, as resources are only properly utilized if the operational model of higher education is suitable for the efficient and effective use of resources. According to László Palkovics, the structure known as the foundation model has many advantages, and although the maintenance rights are transferred to the foundations, “the state has not let go of the hands of the universities”.
“The essence of the Hungarian model is that we want to take advantage of the more flexible framework provided by the operation of private institutions, while preserving the role of the state in financing.”
– said the Minister, noting that in the new academic year this year, 21 universities will start training in the new structure, out of 280 thousand students, about 180 thousand will start their studies in these institutions. The third condition for the change of degree was called by the Minister “appreciation of work, knowledge and diligence on both the faculty and student side”.
Speaking about the University of Debrecen, he said that the form of the foundation will increase the competitiveness of the institution. As a result of the model change, DE’s self-financing capacity may increase, especially with the business models emerging in connection with the development of the innovation park – László Palkovics pointed to the investment of the national vaccine factory, “based on the university’s scientific experience.
György Kossa, president of the Count István Tisza Foundation for the University of Debrecen, said that the new form of operation would strengthen the university’s autonomy, present and future. A modern, efficient, value-creating, excellence-educating, teaching and research university is a national treasure, the president added.
Zoltán Szilvássy, the rector of the university, greeted the first-year students on the occasion of joining the institution’s 40,000 community. He mentioned as a special feature of the university that in addition to the faculties, faculties and training places, there are also branch cabinets, through which the students also get in touch with the industrial companies.
According to Member of Parliament Lajos Kósa, Debrecen is in a serious stage of development. “Everything can be achieved with work, perseverance, diligence, (…) faith,” the politician encouraged the new citizens of the university.
“The city of Debrecen plans and builds the future together with the citizens of the university.”
Mayor László Papp addressed the first-year students. He added that the university citizens were esteemed citizens of the city in the history of higher education in Debrecen, encouraging them to “enjoy Debrecen as a university student”.