Changing Mindsets

'Patriotic' Education in Central Europe

16 March 2020

While the new Hungarian curriculum was widely criticised nationally and internationally, its approach is nothing new in a region of heterogenous societies with post-communist education legacies.

Following the introduction of the new national curriculum (also called NAT) in Hungary, the uproar from multiple segments of society followed. Non-governmental and professional organisations, as well as opposition parties, criticised certain aspects of the new curriculum.

The curriculum’s explicit goal concerning the “transmission of national culture” via history as well as literature came under heavy fire. The government was accused of “revisionism”, introducing “pro-Nazi writers” into the canon, as well as distorting history in order to present Hungarians in a positive light.

Additionally, the structure, the quantity, and the style of the introduction were conceived as being “backwards”. Pro-government voices responded by claiming that the curriculum is “child-centred and patriotic”, while it decreases the burden on students and providing them with the knowledge that makes them competitive in the job market.

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Károly Gergely

Hungarian freelance journalist at Magyar Hang and a reporter for The International Cybersecurity Dialogue. He completed a Russian and East European Studies master's at the University of Oxford and currently serves as a researcher and analyst.

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